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What the shecession reveals about how we value women’s work by Angela K. Evans









weed between the lines:


Subsequent years of beetle kill and wildfire slow regeneration of Colorado forests by Katie Rhodes

Motet drummer Dave Watts dishes on the Big Wait, the creative process, recording at home and watching the sun come up by Dave Kirby

Rosenberg’s Bagels and Delicatessen opens on the Hill in April by Matt Cortina

An excerpt from the forthcoming book ‘Boulder County Beer: A Refreshing History’ by Michael J. Casey

How federal decriminalization without state legalization could create more problems than it would solve by Will Brendza

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The Anderson Files: What did Kevin McCarthy know and when did he know it? Letters: Signed, sealed, delivered, your views News Briefs: Congressional wildfire caucus, call to pause oil and gas leasing on state lands and more Events: Virtual events, music, podcasts and more to do when there’s ‘nothing’ to do... Astrology: by Rob Brezsny Savage Love: Pandemic pressures Film: Kino Now celebrates Black History Month with ‘Within our Gates’ Food/Drink: Super Beef Shawarma Wrap @ Kalita Grill Greek Cafe



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Publisher, Fran Zankowski Editor, Matt Cortina Circulation Manager, Cal Winn EDITORIAL Senior Editor, Angela K. Evans Arts and Culture Editor, Caitlin Rockett Contributing Writers, Peter Alexander, Dave Anderson, Emma Athena, Will Brendza, Rob Brezsny, Michael J. Casey, Sarah Haas, Jim Hightower, Dave Kirby, John Lehndorff, Rico Moore, Amanda Moutinho, Katie Rhodes, Leland Rucker, Dan Savage, Alan Sculley, Ryan Syrek, Christi Turner, Betsy Welch, Tom Winter, Gary Zeidner SALES AND MARKETING Market Development Manager, Kellie Robinson Account Executives, Matthew Fischer, Sami Wainscott Advertising Coordinator, Corey Basciano Mrs. Boulder Weekly, Mari Nevar PRODUCTION Art Director, Susan France Senior Graphic Designer, Mark Goodman CIRCULATION TEAM Dave Hastie, Dan Hill, George LaRoe, Jeffrey Lohrius, Elizabeth Ouslie, Rick Slama BUSINESS OFFICE Bookkeeper, Regina Campanella Founder/CEO, Stewart Sallo Editor-at-Large, Joel Dyer

February 18, 2021 Volume XXVIII, Number 27 As Boulder County's only independently owned newspaper, Boulder Weekly is dedicated to illuminating truth, advancing justice and protecting the First Amendment through ethical, no-holds-barred journalism and thought-provoking opinion writing. Free every Thursday since 1993, the Weekly also offers the county's most comprehensive arts and entertainment coverage. Read the print version, or visit boulderweekly.com. Boulder Weekly does not accept unsolicited editorial submissions. If you're interested in writing for the paper, please send queries to: editorial@ boulderweekly.com. Any materials sent to Boulder Weekly become the property of the newspaper.

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What did Kevin McCarthy know and when did he know it?

him to publicly and emphatically call off the riot. In her account, McCarthy said he told the president, “‘You’ve got to hold them. You need to get on TV right now, you need to get on Twitter, you need to call these people off.’” Herrera Beutler added that Trump at first repeated the falsehood that the insurrectionists were left-wing anti-fascists (Antifa). But the president insisted, “Kevin, they’re not my people.” According to Herrera Beutler, McCarthy replied, “Yes they are, they just came through my windows and my staff is running for cover. Yeah, they’re your people. Call them off.” Trump, McCarthy told her, said, “Well I guess these people are just more angry about the election and upset than you are.” At that point, McCarthy lost it and shouted, “Who the fuck do you think you are talking to?” according to CNN. (Masha Gessen in The New Yorker notes that McCarthy’s own account of the phone conversation has changed several times). McCarthy was a man Trump called “My Kevin” at ral-

by Dave Anderson


t’s too early to know the impact of Trump’s second impeachment trial. Many millions watched it on TV, but the size of the audience was disappointing when you consider the importance of the event. We are all suffering from Trump fatigue, including many of his supporters. Nevertheless, we need a reckoning with the past whether it is the spiritual smog of white supremacy or the legacy of the loathsome moron who was just voted out of office. The various investigations of the Jan. 6 insurrection are only beginning. Near the end of the impeachment trial, a story emerged about a phone call between Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Republican Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington state publicly related the story to different news outlets and a town hall meeting. She was explaining why she was one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. Herrera Beutler said McCarthy called Trump and asked FEBRUARY 18, 2021





lies. McCarthy has been a fervent Trump sycophant from the beginning. He had joined a bogus lawsuit to overturn the election, refused to acknowledge Joe Biden as the president-elect after the results were absolutely clear, and worked with the group of Republicans who plotted the Electoral College challenges. But right after the insurrection, McCarthy said, “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.” He added: “Some say the riots were caused by Antifa. There’s absolutely no evidence of that and conservatives should be the first to say so.” He suggested a fact-finding commission and possibly a resolution censuring Trump. Then McCarthy said that Trump hadn’t provoked the Jan. 6 riot. Then he said, “Everybody across this country has some responsibility” for the insurrection. Then McCarthy flew down for a “cordial” meeting with Trump at Mara-Lago. They discussed strategy for winning the House majority in next year’s midterms. McCarthy pleaded with Trump for his mailing list of supporters. Trump refused to share it. There was another controversy about a conversation that McCarthy had about Trump during the presidential campaign, but it has been largely forgotten. A month before Trump won the Republican nomination in 2016, McCarthy (then-House Majority Leader) had a private conversation on Capitol Hill with fellow GOP leaders. Then-House Speaker Paul Ryan immediately ended the conversation and swore the Republicans present to secrecy. At the time, Ryan hadn’t yet endorsed Trump but McCarthy had signed up to become a Trump delegate to the RNC and formally endorsed Trump. Before the conversation, McCarthy and Ryan had emerged from separate talks at the Capitol with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, who had described a Kremlin tactic of financing far-right politicians in Europe. The day before, The Washington Post had reported that Russian government hackers had penetrated the computer network of the Democratic BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

National Committee. This news prompted McCarthy to bring up the subject of Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He blurted out that he thought Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Putin. “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016, exchange, which was listened to and verified by

The Washington Post. (Congressman Dana Rohrabacher was a California Republican known in Congress as a big defender of Putin and Russia.) Some of the lawmakers laughed at McCarthy’s comment. But McCarthy quickly responded: “Swear to God.” Ryan immediately said: “This is an off-the-record ... [laughter] ... no leaks! ... [laughter] ... alright?! ... This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

The remarks remained secret for nearly a year. Then spokesmen for McCarthy and Ryan denied that such remarks were made. When they were told that the conversation was recorded, McCarthy and Ryan claimed that McCarthy was just joking. The Trump years have many mysteries. This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.


FEBRUARY 18, 2021



Promote veganism more




FEBRUARY 18, 2021

I was heartened to recently see a mention about a vegan meal in the Boulder Weekly (which sounds delicious, pasta in a Cajun cashew cream sauce from Fresh Thymes, yum!) (Re: Food/Drink, Jan. 7, 2021). I love BW and am an avid reader, however it is disappointing to see how rarely veganism is mentioned, as the best action we can take to help the environment and animals is to go vegan. I understand that eating (and wearing, testing on, etc.) animals is considered “normal” in our society, however there was a day when it was “normal” that only white men could vote. I know BW readers care about the environment, and above anything else, it is well documented that not eating animals or their fluids, can help save our ecosystems. From huge water and land usage to the plethora of waste, to greenhouse gasses and killing of native wildlife, animal agriculture is a mess. Working in a factory or slaughterhouse is a terrible job, so of course, the least privileged of us gets those jobs (just look at the COVID-19 outbreak and deaths at JBS slaughterhouse in Greeley). Nearly all animals we eat are killed as babies and live short, horrific lives. I am an anti-speciesist and do not approve of torturing and killing certain animals above others. Why does the life of my dog matter more then the life of a pig? Simply perspective. In a racist world where we just witnessed white supremacists getting free reign of the Capitol building, it makes sense that some I

think they are better then others, it all starts with how we treat the most vulnerable among us. For human and non-human animals, for the environment and for health, I urge you to try the 30-day vegan challenge; there are a ton of free resources online to help you. One of the easiest ways we shape our world is how we spend our money, so why not spend it on products that are not born of cruelty and injustice? Like the writer who raved about that dish in BW knows, eating plant-based is healthy, delicious and nourishing. Let us make 2021 the year we wake up out of the matrix and work together to create a more compassionate world for all. Erica Sodos/via internet

Healing the country

When you re-caulk the margin of the shower basin you always scrape out the old caulk, or you risk more problems later. And you don’t paper over a crack in a weight-bearing wall. So why would our excuse for a Senate in large part refuse to punish the recent president? This guy was Aaron Burr, George Armstrong Custer, Lester Maddox and Joe McCarthy all in one. Thought he might be Henry VIII. At least he did. Healing is not completed by leaving a Band-Aid over an open sore forever. Exposed to air a scab forms, then the thing heals. Our country can, too. But the GOP must stand up for once and think of us, not themselves. Greg Iwan/ Longmont BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

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What the shecession reveals about how we value women’s work by Angela K. Evans


n January 2020, female workers in the United States hit a major milestone: they held more payroll jobs than men, netting 95% of positions added the previous month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The U.S. economy was thriving at the time, and women, particularly black and Hispanic women, were a part of the fastest growing sectors — retail, hospitality and health care. It was only the second time in history women held the majority of jobs, the first time was a decade prior during the aftermath of the 2008 recession, which saw huge job losses in manufacturing and construction, positions traditionally held by men. While the gender wage gap and the undervaluing of predominately women-held positions was still a concern, it was seen by many as a turning point. “It reminds us to take a moment and think about the kind of strides women have made in the labor market. But also, the future of the labor force is going to involve greater women’s equality,” Betsey Stevenson, a University of Michigan economist who served in the Obama administration, told NPR at the time. Then came the coronavirus pandemic, and in March, the entire picture changed. Those same sectors that saw such huge gains at the end of 2019, constricted significantly or came to a screeching halt altogether in the first few months of COVID-19. The female unemployment rate peaked in April, hitting 16.1% and remaining above 10% through July. According to the National Women’s Law Center, women have never seen unemployment rates in the double digits since 1948 when BLS began reporting data by gender. More recent data show the trends have continued. In December, the BLS monthly jobs report revealed that women lost 156,000 jobs while men gained 16,000. Overall, U.S. women have lost more than 5.4 million net jobs since February 2020, accounting for more than half of overall net job loss since the start of the pandemic. In Colorado, the female labor force decreased by 20,000 in 2020, while the male labor force increased by 9,900, Ryan Gedney, senior economist for the Colorado 8


Department of Labor and Employment, recently told 9News. Early in the pandemic, the term “shecession” was coined by C. Nicole Mason, president and chief executive of the think tank Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), to describe the disproportionate impact this economic recession is having on women, and the long-term effects that could come with it. “Persistent and high unemployment will affect women’s economic stability and well-being,” Mason wrote in a recent IWPR report. “It’s not just lost jobs, but a prolonged departure from the labor force, voluntarily or involuntarily, that will have an effect on long-term earnings, home ownership, career advancement and wealth accumulation for women.” As the pandemic stretches on, it’s continued to affect the female workforce, particularly women of color, many of whom are primary breadwinners. And it’s exacerbated other historic issues like wage inequality and the cost of childcare. It’s confirmed caregiving in our society predominately falls to women, whether it’s in the home taking care of children and elderly relatives, or it’s in the workforce as part of the hospitality, service and health care sectors. For women who run their own business, access to adequate funding from banks and investors, which was already a concern pre-pandemic, has only become more competitive, as many don’t know how long they can stay open. And all of this has left many wondering how and when women will be able to re-enter the workforce successfully. “None of these things are new. All of these conversations are things that people have been talking about for decades, if not longer,” says Sabrina Volpone, a diversity researcher at the Leeds School

FEBRUARY 18, 2021


of Business at CU Boulder, who focuses on barriers women face in the workplace. “Instead of seeing all these women exiting the workforce, it seems like if we would have paid attention to these conversations and thought through some problem-solving, the amplification would not have happened to this extent.” In the Colorado retail sector alone, women made up for 89% of the total job loss in 2020, while they make up just 48% of jobs in the industry, according to a new Common Sense Institute (CSI) report, set to release Thursday Feb. 18. A pro-business economic and fiscal policy research organization in Denver, CSI has been monitoring the shecession in Colorado particularly. Young women are also being hit hard by job loss, as the unemployment rate for females ages 16 to 24 jumped to 12.5% in the last quarter of 2020. But the pandemic has hit mothers particularly hard — a January CSI report looking at the Colorado labor force participation rate (LFPR) one in every 10 mothers that was a part of the labor force in February 2020 was no longer by November. “Monitoring data during COVID can at times be hard to find trends; the thing that CSI found, though, by monitoring unemployment rates and labor force participation rates month over month was that women continued to be impacted more than men,” Boulder entrepreneur and University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl writes in an email to BW. She’s also on the board of CSI. “Our ongoBOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

ing research at Common Sense Institute paints a potentially worrisome picture. The pandemic and this recession threaten progress for Colorado’s working women, especially those with kids.” It started early in the pandemic, when childcare centers and schools closed, leaving many working moms without adequate childcare solutions. When it became clear it wasn’t safe for most schools to reopen in the fall, women again faced tough choices. According to an IWPR analysis of labor department data, in August and September, 865,000 women left work. At the time, a little more than 200,000 men exited the labor force. “Women tend to be the ones then who either need to make hard choices to leave [their jobs] or go more part-time,” says Debbie Pope, executive director of Boulder County YWCA, which runs a flexible drop-in childcare program on a sliding scale. Colorado has the eighth highest childcare cost in the U.S., and Boulder County is more expensive than the state average. In Boulder County, it costs a family of four — two adults, one child in preschool, the other in elementary school — nearly $27,000 for childcare each year. “We were already at a childcare crisis before the pandemic,” Pope says. YWCA has doubled its capacity in the last year, and the program has been used throughout the pandemic for women who are now working from home and may need a couple of days a week to focus on work, but also for lower-income women who work in essential jobs, those who can’t work from home and need consistent, less-expensive childcare. Still, the need far outweighs the demand. But not all of the female job loss during the pandemic can be attributed to childcare concerns. According to a recent survey of about 1,000 women-owned small businesses in the state, only half said virtual schooling impacted their business this year, while the other half said it had no impact. When it came to staff, the business owners reported little to no shortages or reduced engagement due to childcare challenges. The survey was conducted by Energize Colorado, a volunteer-powered nonprofit that launched in the spring to support small businesses across the state. “What was most daunting for us — the gut punch — was that so many businesses who responded to our survey are dealing with a month to six months of runway,” says Kate Hyatt, Energize Colorado’s team lead for the womenowned business segment. “And so it’s just the urgency of those small businesses needing assistance is really clear.” The survey found that across the board, these businesses said they need help with e-commerce and digital marketing to replace reduced foot traffic. There’s also a huge need for funding — financial assistance like loans and grants as well as rent relief — and many were unaware of the resources BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

available, Hyatt says. “COVID has just made a lot of the challenges even more profound, so it exacerbated things that women were already dealing with,” she adds. Barbara Brooks and Guadalupe Hirt, cofounders of SecondAct Women, a Denver-based international business network for women 40 and older, began seeing the fallout of the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on women early in the pandemic, as unemployment began to uptick in their community significantly. “What’s happened is we already had an imposter syndrome going on and lack of confidence as we get older, due to ageism and age bias — society-wise, brand-wise, advertiser-wise, corporate America. I mean, you name it,” Brooks says. “We were already in a pickle and we were already seeing our jobs go away and then the pandemic hits.” As the recession has continued, the question for SecondAct becomes, how do women re-enter the

SECONDACT workforce in positions equal to WOMEN where they left? cofounders Barbara Brooks “We’re stuck between wanting and Guadalupe to do more than we ever have, Hirt because we’re so excited about this stage of life — as we call it this middle essence,” she says, “but we’re being told you’re too old or no, you’re worth too much, you’re asking for too much.” If the wage gap between men and women was already an issue before the pandemic, progress now seems even further off, as the shecession continues. In 2018, women across the U.S. earned on average 82 cents for every $1 earned by men, and the gap was more significant for women of color. Here in Boulder County, the contrast is even more drastic than the nationwide average: Pre-pandemic, women with a graduate or professional degree made just $55,585 a year compared to their male counterparts whose median income was $96,199. “When we look at gender pay wage gap alone I

for white women, and this is pre-pandemic, we were already looking at 38 years before we could even get to equal pay. For a black woman and women of color it’s 100 years,” Pope from YWCA says. “This one woman was saying to us, that’s not even my daughter and not even her daughter will be able to be recognized and be in a place where their wage is equitable, that is at the rate it should be.” Like it or not, Pope adds, we live in a capitalistic society that values money and yet the roles and jobs women work to keep society going are not being financially acknowledged. According to IWPR, before the pandemic, women spent 37% more time on household and care work than men. “We need to make a bigger investment and recognize that most of those positions are held by women and many of our essential backbone jobs are held by women. So we need to start acknowledging that and paying for that,” she says. “And we are going to have to get to a place in our society where we’re changing how we think about gender and the roles that we have to play. ... We need to figure out a way to balance responsibilities at home.” If there’s any silver lining in all this, though, it’s the role community has played in supporting women throughout the economic impact of the pandemic. According to the Energize Colorado survey, about 18% of women-owned businesses reported improved community relations and support, as well as increased resiliency as a result of the pandemic. At SecondAct, “I hadn’t realized how important the role that we’ve been able to play in really helping women understand that they are not alone,” Hirt says. “It’s literally a lifesaver for what we’ve heard from a lot of our women.” As we come out of the pandemic and begin economic recovery, there’s also an opportunity to implement structural changes that make the labor market more equitable across the board, Valpone says, like increasing diversity and inclusion initiatives and changing work-life balance policies. “We have this opportunity to redefine what work looks like, to overcome a lot of these amplified inequalities,” she says. “Let’s take this opportunity and not use a very limited lens that has been used in the past.” Recent legislative changes in Colorado may help address some of the historic inequities, like the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act that went into effect Jan. 1 and the Paid Family and Medical Leave that voters passed in November, but there’s still more that can be done by organizations, employers and government to ensure women are a robust part of the workforce, as the pandemic loosens its grip and economic recovery begins. “Women are an incredibly important part of our economy,” Ganahl says. “We need their insights, passion and expertise. Our companies, our society, is better — much better — for having women at the table.”

FEBRUARY 18, 2021



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Rep. Neguse, others introduce wildfire caucus and legislation BEN NELSON, ENVISION STUDIO


olorado Rep. Joe Neguse and Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah) recently announced the launch of the Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus, which intends to raise awareness and bipartisan consensus on federal responses to wildfires. In the Caucus’ first action, Neguse and Curtis introduced bipartisan legislation to help communities recover from wildfires that ravaged many parts of the West last year. The Wildfire Recovery Act would enable emergency response funds to be more flexibly applied to areas in need. “In Colorado and across the West, our communities are facing unprecedented devastation from more frequent and more intense

wildfires,” Neguse said in a press release, adding that the needs of “our local fire crews, our Western communities and fire mitigation and recovery efforts” will be prioritized in future actions. The Wildfire Caucus is foundationally bipartisan — members of one party can only join if a congress person from the other party joins at the same time. Currently there are 10 members of Congress, all from

Western states, in the Caucus. The Caucus will advocate for funding for disaster relief, prevention and mitigation; share relief programs and resources with communities before, during and after wildfire season, and present sciencebased management proposals in Congress. There’s local support for the efforts, too. Former Boulder County Commissioner Deb Gardner said in a statement supporting the Wildfire Recovery Act: “Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme wildfires in our community and countless others. Recovering from these events is costly, and the federal government is an essential partner in that process. ”

A panel discussion on Boulder’s history of racial exclusion


oulder’s oldest lawfirm, Hutchinson Black and Cook (HBC) (founded in 1891), is hosting a four-part community discussion series on race issues in Boulder County, in coordination with several local organizations. The series, “The roots of today’s racial exclusion in Boulder County and the road ahead,” starts Feb. 25 with a discussion focusing on the experiences of Boulder’s black community and will feature Quintard Taylor, professor emeritus of American history at the University of Washington; Penfield Tate III, a form Colorado legislator and son of Boulder’s only black mayor; Charles Nilon, a professor of environmental science at the University of Missouri and son of CU Boulder’s first tenured black facBOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


ulty member; and Polly Bugros McLean, author and associate professor of media studies at CU Boulder. The series of discussions is part of a larger set of racial equity initiatives HBC is undertaking in the wake of the widespread calls for change last summer and the recognition “of the overwhelming homogeneity of the Boulder community.” The series is co-sponsored by BlackPast. org, The Center for the America West, the Boulder chapter of the NAACP, the Native American Rights Fund, University of Colorado School of Law and CU Law School’s Black Students’ Association. The Feb. 25 program (7-8:30 p.m.) is free and can be accessed at hbcboulder. com. FEBRUARY 18, 2021

Environmental group calls on Polis to pause oil and gas leasing as Colorado plans land sale


s the Biden administration continues efforts to pause the proliferation of oil and gas on public lands, WildEarth Guardians recently called on Colorado Gov. Jared Polis to follow suit and halt oil and gas leasing on state public lands. The request comes as the Colorado Land Board is set to sell off more than 100,000 acres of oil and gas leases across the state. “Sadly, climate progress in Colorado is being actively undermined by Governor Polis’ own administration,” said Jeremy Nichols, climate and energy program director for WildEarth Guardians. “It’s clear the state needs to step it up to ensure complete climate leadership. That starts with making sure state-level climate action aligns with federal action.” In a letter sent to Polis, WildEarth Guardians asked the governor to reconsider all oil and gas permitting in the state. So far this year, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) has approved more than 200 new drilling permits. The group also asked Polis to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, saying that the low bonding rate for extraction companies is liable to leave communities on the hook for cleanup in the future. WildEarth Guardians also asked Polis to commit to a plan that ensures a just transition for oil and gas, not just coal. Such a move would bring Colorado in lockstep with the direction of the Biden administration. “We believe Colorado has been a climate leader, but that leadership must evolve and keep pace with new policies, new actions and new opportunities,” the group wrote in the letter. “In light of President Biden’s climate action at the federal level, we have to catch up. Please seize the opportunity presented by the president to ensure complete climate leadership and action for our state.” I



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THE WEST FORK FIRE COMPLEX burned more than 100,000 acres of forest already ravaged by beetle kill in the San Juan mountains in 2013.

Subsequent years of beetle kill and wildfire slow regeneration of Colorado forests by Katie Rhodes


onifer trees — spruce, Douglas fir, and pine trees — make up many of Colorado’s subalpine forests, essential habitats for many of the state’s birds and small mammals. These historically dense forests are also essential for sequestering and storing carbon, and hold snowpack during the winter, making them necessary in preserving the state’s water resources. Frequent spruce beetle outbreaks, however, are now coinciding with large-scale wildfires to fundamentally change the way these forests naturally regenerate. A recent study led by Robert Andrus, recent CU Boulder Ph.D. graduate in physical geography, tracks the compounded disturbance interactions of more frequent spruce beetle outbreaks with increasingly devastating wildfires, and the effect this has on subalpine forest regrowth in the San Juan range of the Rocky Mountains. According to his research, an area that experiences a spruce beetle outbreak prior to a wildfire regenerates at a drastically lower rate than forests that have only experienced either beetle kill or wildfire. Climate change seems to be the main driving force: warming temperatures create drier conditions, which BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

puts stress on the trees and prolongs the survival rate of bark beetles. Historically, bark beetles — like the spruce beetle — and the trees they attack have co-evolved and cultivated a somewhat symbiotic relationship, with forests showing a relatively high rate of recovery after an outbreak as these beetles typically appear in low populations and kill only weak or dying trees. Now, however, the beetle populations are more

abundant and are no longer just killing weakened trees, but mature conifers. Plus, the number and severity of outbreaks are increasing and coinciding (within a span of 2-8 years as documented in this study) with severe wildfires caused, at least in part, by drought and increased temperatures. According to previous research conducted by Andrus, a I

spruce beetle outbreak does not necessarily increase the severity of a wildfire in a region; there is no known link between these disturbances, but when combined they can convert Colorado’s dense forests into grassland and in turn shift entire ecosystems. “As ecologists we don’t comment on this and say it’s good or bad,” Andrus says. “We’re just interested in how things are changing — and they are changing quickly.” The latest major bark beetle outbreak in Colorado began in 2005, killing mostly large, dominant spruce trees, many of which were easily over 100 years old and produced the most seed (and conifers regenerate exclusively by seed). Andrus’ research shows that if the same forests that experience beetle kill also succumb to a wildfire in the years after, then there isn’t enough seed in the burned areas to regenerate the species, severely stunting forest re-growth. “The combined effect of bark beetles knocking out the major seed sources and subsequent wildfires means there just won’t be enough seeds available to allow them to recover within the fire perimeter,” FEBRUARY 18, 2021

Andrus says. It’s important to note that this research only covered fires in Rio Grande National Forest in the period between 2012 and 2020, and the state’s mature conifer forests can take over a century to replenish; however, short-term recovery is indicative of long-term recovery, and “with continued global warming, there will come a time when conditions caused by climate change exceed the forests’ ability to recover,” Andrus says. 2020’s East Troublesome Fire in Grand County — which burned more than 190,000 acres and is the second largest wildfire in state history — also occurred in an area previously affected by beetle kill. While Andrus says there is still no definitive data about how this will affect regrowth in the area, he says that spruce beetles, pine beetles and western balsam bark beetles are likely the pests that affected this area. Regardless, the research team is hopeful that their work will be useful in “developing adaptive management strategies in the context of warming climate and shifting disturbance regimes,” they write in the report. “Our goal with this research was just to show under what conditions forests will not recover. We’re just showing the trends,” Andrus explains. “It’s up to land management to look at it and decide, ‘Do we want to maintain some of these areas as grasslands? Or do we want to replant some areas?’ They have to take it from here.” I



ON THE BILL: The Motet. April 23 and 24 (two socially distanced shows per night), Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom, 2637 Welton St., Denver, cervantesmasterpiece.com Dave Watts and Friends. April 9 and 10, Mishawaka Amphitheater, 13714 Poudre Canyon Road, Bellvue, themishawaka.com


e all know, this isn’t funny anymore. Not that it ever was really funny to begin with, but the notion that live music for all intents and purposes went on hold felt, 10 months ago, a little like a time out. Touring bands caught an unexpected breather, a little time to toss out the old ketchup in the fridge and reacquaint with the dog and get back to all the things, creative and mundane, that life on the road didn’t leave time for. But if things still look grim, and 2021 is slow (really slow) in delivering on a promise of redemption, there’s an essential fact about the Big Wait that outlasts the shroud of pandemic gloom: Musical performance is, at its essence, an expression of positivity. The music still plays, and the crowd is still there... just not all in one place. But perhaps the drought is lifting: The Motet just announced two socially distanced shows on April 23 and 24, at Cervantes, and the band’s drummer and founder, Dave Watts, will host an “...And Friends” gig at Mishawaka Amphitheater on April 9 and 10. The Motet worked the road as hard as anybody in the year or two before Bowling for COVID, equally successful as a marquee and festival act, indisputably one of the area’s hardest working and most durable success stories. The blackout may have sidelined one of the best bands on the circuit, but Watts has been in this business too long to do anything less than move forward. “I’m trying not to be grim about it,” he says in a recent phone chat, “seeing venues fall by the wayside, just the lack of gigs and work is rough. I really feel for the players, the freelancers, who have no work. I’m lucky enough to have a band that at least has the concept, if not performances. It’s just the kind of thing where you gotta have faith, y’know, that it’s all going to come back.” Transition periods are sometimes planned, and sometimes imposed. This one feels a lot like the latter, and in The

Goin’ ahead

Motet drummer and chief protagonist Dave Watts dishes on the Big Wait, the creative process, the perils and seduction of recording at home, and watching the sun come up.

by Dave Kirby



Motet’s case, there’s an added dimension to the road sabbatical: the departures last fall of vocalist Lyle Divinsky and trumpeter Parris Fleming, leaving the core band a five piece of Watts, Drew Sayers, Garrett Sayers, Ryan Jalbert and Joey Porter. Personnel changes can be a challenge or an opportunity, and Watts, who’s seen more than a few over the band’s 20-plus-year career, says this one is an opportunity, evidenced by the release a few months ago of “False Prophets,” a sixminute instrumental single that blends spicy funk with passages of retrohorn chill, hanging together despite (or because of) its competing instincts. The piece represents a bridge between pre- and postpandemic, and it either suggests where the band is going stylistically, or simply suggests that they’re on the way. “We were working on that before COVID,” Watts says. “It was one of those things that was just sitting on a plate while we were working on a way to put out new content. So most of it was written and recorded before COVID hit, and to be honest, we had envisioned it as a vocal song at first... while we had a FEBRUARY 18, 2021

vocalist. And when Lyle decided he needed to part ways, we decided, well, this is a good opportunity to feature the instrumental side of the band, which is something we’re going to do more of in the future, for sure.” But Watts says the band is still looking for a vocalist. “Yeah, absolutely... It can be a tricky proposition, finding a vocalist who also plays an instrument, which is really our goal,” he admits. JENISE JENSON “The only thing I’m looking for, personally, is instead of having a ‘front man,’ is someone who is in the band, you know? Like, all the time, whether we’re playing an instrumental song, or a vocal song. And maybe the band moves in a new direction because of that. Anything’s possible, and that’s what gets me excited.” That might be a big ask. “Yeah, it is, but that’s why we’re giving ourselves time... I don’t think we need to put a timeframe on it. We’d all like it to happen as soon as possible, but the reality is I’m in a band with four other great players who can all hold it down in our own right, so we’re psyched to make music as the five of us as well. Whoever I

we get will just be icing on the cake.” Quarantining at home means a lot of time for composing and strategizing. And long distance recording. Watts says the band’s recent release of “And the Beat Goes On,” a bang tidy read of The Whispers’ 1980 hit featuring Lettuce vocalist Nigel Hall at the mic, was assembled exactly that way. “That thing with Nigel was all of us playing basically at our houses, or at a studio separately, so that’s been kind of a new skill, writing and recording separately and putting it all together. Which is pretty cool.” But while the single amply displays the band’s R&B chops, stanchioned in Watts’ and Sayers’ brawny rhythm section, longtime fans of the band know better than to bookmark The Motet’s postCOVID re-emergence as an R&B outfit. In fact, don’t chuck labels at The Motet at all. The day after I interviewed Watts, I caught a germane quote from the late jazz pianist Chick Corea — who passed on Feb. 9 — in an obituary in the New York Times: “It’s the media that are so interested in categorizing music,” he told the Times in 1983, “the media and the businessmen, who, after all, have a vested interest in keeping marketing clear cut and separate. If critics would ask musicians their views about what is happening, you would find that there is always a fusion of sorts taking place. All this means is a continual development — a continual merging of different streams.” Watts expressed a similar sentiment about The Motet, and why he avoids buying into the labels that diminish the band’s evolution and feral stylistic restlessness. “In the end, it’s music, that’s all,” Watts says. “People get so attached to ... the band, the ‘thing,’ the song... and it’s just about the music. Music isn’t supposed to be one thing, and the same thing forever. Music is supposed to be about whatever gets the musicians excitBOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


ed and put themselves into it and share that. And that’s number one. None of us are going to be around forever, so you might as well be in the moment, as opposed to recreating or imitating yourself the whole time.” As for Corea’s passing, Watts points to his Trio work, especially with Roy Haynes as one of his own influences. “Chick Corea, along with Herbie Hancock, have been the two most influential keyboardists in my life,” Watts says. “Chick had the great musical sense to use my favorite jazz drummer, the legendary Roy Haynes, throughout his career. The record Trio Music with Miroslov Vitous and Roy Haynes is one of the greatest expressions of musical improvisation ever recorded. And a recording of the Chick Corea Freedom Band Live at Jazz in Marciac (2010) can be found on YouTube, which over 30 years later shows how relevant his live performances have been.” Recently working in DAW programming, I shared with Watts some of my own epiphanies about the creative process, particularly the challenges of composing, recording and mixing in isolation. Especially that weirdly elusive phenomenon where an idea grows into a song, but very subtly morphs into something quite different from its original concept: dressing your daughter for the prom and then sending her off instead to a technicolor rave in some imagined desert landscape leaves you wondering who needed the prom in the first place. It makes sense that this sort of thing happens to amateur hobbyists like me, but I wondered if that happened to a disciplined and trained musician like Watts as well. “Oh, yeah. I think it happens more when you’re home recording,” he says. “With Motet, we’re heading into the studio, we’re rehearsing ahead of time, we’re listening back to the rehearsal. It’s a different process. “When recording and mixing and producing all the tracks yourself, I feel like you start out with a certain thing in mind, and it shifts, it always shifts. It’s a matter of making that shift sound good. It shifts in one direction, and the next day you’re like, ‘Ah, gotta shift again,’ and two weeks later you’re listening to it again, and it’s not what it started as, but it’s cool. “When I’m recording, a lot of times I’ll add tracks, and it’ll be too much, like a tangled head of hair, and you’re combing through the hair. Every time you do a pass, and you hear something that doesn’t quite work, and you’re cleaning it up and straightening it out, and by the BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

end you have this beautiful head ... of straight hair. “For us, all we need — I’ve discovered this over and over — all we need is the simplest spark of an idea... eventually it blows up into a song. We know we can create a song. I think that’s how bands that are really successful have always worked: A


certain combination of people always work creatively, and always come up with interesting material.” So there’s the collective work — the collaborative process — where players work off each other, build up ideas, find their way into the material and create something coherent and representative. But

FEBRUARY 18, 2021

also that individual thing, where the only collaborator is your own ears. “I love that sort of time in the wee hours where everyone’s asleep, and you just start listening to a track, and trying ideas, and it just keeps going and going, and then all of sudden you realize the sun is coming up, and you’ve been on this thing all night,” Watts says. “There’s a magic during that time that I really like. I can’t always do it, having a kid, or life on the road the way it used to be, but when I get that opportunity, I always enjoy it.”




RESIDENTS IN 7 STATES CASH IN: The phone lines will be ringing off the hook. That’s because for the next 48 hours, packages containing actual Gold Vault Bricks still loaded with four 5-ounce Jumbo State Bars layered in valuable 24 Karat Gold minted by the Federated Mint are being shipped to residents in 7 states. These are the only Gold Vault Bricks known to exist and everyone wants them. That’s because they’re still loaded with Jumbo Gold Bars bearing the name of The First Bank of the United States of America and the state they were once destined for. And here’s the best part. If you live in one of the 7 states listed in today’s publication you cover only the minimum gold fee set for state residents of just $49 per ounce. That’s a real steal because residents living outside of the designated 7 states must pay $124 per ounce if any remain.

Heavy Gold Vault Bricks loaded with valuable Jumbo State Bars layered in 24 Karat Gold are up for grabs as thousands stand to miss the deadline to claim the gold bars; now residents in 7 states can claim the Gold Vault Bricks for themselves and keep all the valuable bars found inside just by covering the minimum gold fee set for state residents within the next 48 hours “It’s like a modern day gold rush,” said Mary Ellen Withrow, emeritus 40th Treasurer of the United States of America. That’s because actual Gold Vault Bricks™ still loaded with four 5-ounce Jumbo State Bars layered in valuable 24 Karat Gold bearing the name of the First Bank of the United States of America™ and the state they were once destined for are up for grabs as thousands of U.S. residents stand to miss the deadline to claim the gold. Now any resident of those states can claim the Gold Vault Bricks for themselves and keep all the valuable gold found inside. That’s four massive bars weighing a full 20 ounces of high demand bullion copper layered in valuable 24 Karat Gold in all. And here’s the best part. If you live in one of the 7 states listed in today’s publication you cover only the minimum gold fee set for state residents of just $49 per ounce which totals R1007C


980 for the full 20 ounces locked away inside these gold vault bricks. That’s a real steal because residents living outside of the designated 7 states must pay $124 per ounce which totals $2,480 if any remain. “As special counsel to Federated Mint I earn my pay delivering breaking news. And today’s announcement confirming the release of Gold Vault Bricks to the general public is as big as it gets. Believe me, I know how valuable these Gold Vault Bricks are to resellers, collectors, dealers and anyone else who gets their hands on them,” Withrow said. “So my advice is this, anyone who gets an opportunity to get their hands on one of these Gold Vault Bricks better jump at the chance before they’re all gone,” Withrow said. “These Gold Vault Bricks loaded with massive 5-ounce Jumbo State Bars layered in valuable 24 Karat Gold make the most impressive gifts for Christmas, birthdays, graduations, weddings, and any other occasion, especially for that hard-to-buy-for person,” Withrow said. According to Ms. Withrow, since thousands of U.S. residents stand to miss the deadline to claim the gold, today and tomorrow are intended as a “special 48 hour release” for the benefit of persons living in; CO, AZ, KS, NE, NM, OK and WY. This gives residents of those states a fair chance to claim the Gold Vault Bricks and all the valuable gold loaded inside for themselves. But, Ms. Withrow added, “The Gold Vault Bricks are only available as inventory permits during the special 48 hour release and once they’re gone, they’re gone.” The emeritus Treasurer added, “Remember this, these Gold Vault Bricks contain a full 20 ounces of high demand bullion copper layered in valuable 24 Karat Gold and we have no power to stop dealers, resellers, collectors and the like from buying up all the Gold Vault Bricks they can get their hands on and reselling them for a big profit,” Withrow said. Anyone who fails to obtain them during this special 48 hour release may be forced to buy them later in the secondary market from a dealer, reseller or collector at a hefty premium. ”We already know the phones will be ringing off the hook. That’s why hundreds of agents are standing by to answer the phones beginning at 8:30am this morning. We’re going to do our best, but with just 48 hours to answer all the calls it won’t be easy. So make sure to tell everyone to keep calling if all lines are busy. We’ll do our best to answer them all,” Withrow said. “That’s why Federated Mint set up the State Distribution Hotlines in order to make sure residents in the 7 designated states listed in today’s newspaper publication can get them now,” Withrow said. The only thing readers of today’s newspaper publication need to do is make sure they live in one of the 7 states listed in today’s newspaper and call the State Distribution Hotlines before the special 48 hour release ends midnight tomorrow.


How much are the Gold Vault Bricks worth:

Why the vault fee is so low:

FIRST LOOK INSIDE THE GOLD VAULT BRICKS: Pictured above are the Gold Vault Bricks containing the only Jumbo State Gold Bars known to exist bearing the name of the First Bank of the United States of America and the state they were once destined for. State residents are rushing to get them because the Gold Vault Bricks are still loaded with four 5-ounce Jumbo State Bars layered in valuable 24 Karat Gold. To claim you Vault Brick, just call 1-800-749-6917 GB2025 before the deadline ends. Everyone lucky enough to get them better hold on to them because there’s no telling just how much they could be worth.





If your organization is planning an event of any kind, please email Caitlin at crockett@boulderweekly.com. AN EVENING WITH ESTHER PEREL.

7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, via Zoom, bit.ly/esthercu. This event is free. Esther Perel, a psychotherapist, awardwinning podcast host and best-selling author, will speak virtually at CU Boulder on Feb. 18. Perel is recognized as one of today’s most insightful and original voices on modern relationships. As a psychotherapist, Perel has helmed a therapy practice in New York City for more than 35 years. She is the bestselling author of The State of Affairs and Mating in Captivity, as well as an executive producer and host of the award-winning podcast Where Should We Begin?. The first 3,000 registrants (preference made to CU Boulder students) will receive a Zoom link on event day.


7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18. Livestreamed to Facebook, LongmontPublicMedia.org, and Local Comcast Channel 8/880. This event is free. Since 1971, Su Teatro Cultural & Performing Arts Center has been dedicated to promoting, producing, developing and preserving the cultural arts, heritage and traditions of Denver’s Latinx community. Join Su Teatro’s Tony Garcia and playwright Bobby LeFebre in conversation to honor Su Teatro’s 50th anniversary.


7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19 through Sunday, Feb. 21, 11 p.m. Tickets are $20, cupresents.org. Filmed on Sept. 27, 2020, at Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City in accordance with COVID safety standards, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Septet’s streamed performance of The Democracy! Suite aims to entertain, inspire and uplift audiences. Led by trumpeter/composer Wynton Marsalis and featuring seven of jazz’s finest soloists, the concert’s unique repertoire celebrates jazz’s embodiment of freedom and democracy. The evening will feature a personal address from Marsalis, followed by the premiere of The Democracy! Suite, his new composition written during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis as a response to the political, social and economic struggles facing our nation.


5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20. Register for this free, online event at bit.ly/DREAMbpl Celebrate joy in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black History Month. Join in for an afternoon with Janet Damon to sing, read and talk about MLK’s life, legacy and the importance of dreaming. Ages 5-12 encouraged.


Through Feb. 20, communitycycles.org Join in a fun scavenger hunt put together by Community Cycles to highlight new bicycle, pedestrian and community infrastructure around Boulder. Play along by taking your photo in front of any five of the eight locations listed on Community Cycles’ website, email your photos to hunt@communitycycles.org and you will win a Community Cycles’ Park Tool Multi-tool. (Multitools must be picked up at the Community Cycles shop during open hours while supply lasts. Other prizes will be awarded after the multi-tools run out.) The hunt closes on Feb. 20.



FEBRUARY 18, 2021


11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20 (with additional dates each month through the year), firehouseart.org/virtual-market-series Support Longmont’s creative community at the ArtWalk Strongmont Virtual Artist Market series. Going beyond a typical online shop, this dynamic and interactive portal is an invitation into each artist’s studio to watch them create art live. Virtually visit each artist, watch them create and purchase from their online shop, all from the comfort and safety of your home. This community-based event will donate 15% of all sales to The Firehouse Art Center.







Thursday evenings and Sunday evenings and afternoons, Feb. 21-March 7. Jesters Dinner Theatre, 224 Main St., Longmont. Tickets are $33, jesterstheatre.com This spirited musical adaptation — a richly textured celebration of life, love and the family set against the background of the American Civil War — dramatizes the story of the March sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. Scenes move rapidly between locations and through time, telling the stories of all four girls, each of whose experience and distinctive personality are vividly portrayed. Underlying the play’s story and music are Louisa May Alcott’s timeless themes of coming of age and the importance of honesty, hard work, true love, home and family. Only one party will be sat at each table, and masks are required when not seated.



6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21. Tickets are $20, bayeslrl.eventbrite.com Director, performer and Yale School of Drama professor Christopher Bayes welcomes you into his living room (virtually) for a conversation on his creative process, including his extensive experience in physical theater and comedy. Through his groundbreaking methodologies, a number of which he will discuss and demonstrate during this event, Bayes has guided thousands of award-winning performers and nonperformers toward a more liberated, open expression. As Bayes has said, “I want to laugh more when I go to the theater. I want to be astonished by the logic of nonsense and by the blistering ferocity of passion expressed without worry and given away with complete and hilarious abandon. I love to see actors surprised by their talent.”

9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23, boulderphil.org. This event is free. In honor of Black History Month, the Boulder Philharmonic presents a virtual reading of Max Found Two Sticks, a story about a young boy’s discovery of the joy of making music, written by Brian Pinkney. Read by DeAunn Davis, this storytime will be shared on Facebook and YouTube, and will be embedded on the Boulder Philharmonic’s website.


5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23. This event is free, colorado.edu/law/race-and-law-series In this lecture, Tyrone Glover, a civil rights and criminal defense lawyer at Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP, will explore the link between the black criminal inferiority narrative and the making of modern American systems of policing and criminal justice. Glover’s lecture will focus on the history of slavery, black subjugation in the Jim Crow South, the excessive arrest rates and overrepresentation in Northern cities and prisons following the great migrations years, and the fallout from decades of war on crime politics and their corresponding laws. He will offer insights from his on-the-ground experience as a former state public defender, current civil rights and criminal defense lawyer, and social justice advocate. Lastly, he will offer insights as to how lawyers can seek to meaningfully change these modern-day manifestations of centuries of oppression.


2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24. Please join this meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone: global.gotomeeting.com/join/460617685 Sometimes referred to as “the other Frida,” and proclaimed by Pablo Neruda as “perhaps the greatest of all Mexican painters,” María Izquierdo used portraiture to explore cultural and ethnic identity, combining modernist experimentation and the figurative tradition. Not only was she “blocked” by some of her contemporary painters, but she also died in poverty and was largely forgotten by history. Join us as we explore her art and place in early 20th-century Mexican art.




Len Webb and Vincent Williams are trying to watch and discuss every black feature film ever made. They started in 2016, and they’re still going strong nearly 250 episodes later. Named in honor of Oscar Micheaux — regarded as the first major AfricanAmerican filmmaker — Webb and Williams’ The Micheaux Mission combines critical thinking with a welcome conversational tone that touches on more than the movie at hand. Start with their discussion of Within Our Gates, the oldest surviving feature from a black filmmaker (Ep. 47), follow it up with the wrestling with 2020’s animated Soul (Ep. 237) — both touch on what does and does not make a black film — and go from there. New episodes post every Wednesday. BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


Colorado-based music industry vets Chris Webb and Dave Tamkin know a thing or two about making it in the biz, so they launched Musicians Tip Jar, a podcast about the business of making music. On the show, Tamkin and Webb take the mystery out of how musicians can make money without sacrificing their art and passion. Both Tamkin and Webb come from decades of experience with musicians, live music and the business behind the shows. “Chris and I started talking about this idea over seven years ago,” Tamkin said in a press release about the podcast. “We were both teaching music and playing out as much as we could. We listed all our strategies on a whiteboard and thought it would be helpful if we could share our ideas and bounce them off of other musicians.” Upcoming episodes will discuss livestream performances and other ways to make a living as a musician, like busking, selling old merch and songwriting for hire. see EVENTS Page 20

FEBRUARY 18, 2021




EVENTS from Page 19


Yoga Parties

Corporate/Private events catered specifically for your group Alignment Based Strong but Slow Flow Wednesday @7:30 am MST Fridays @ 3:30 pm MST

Yin yoga to slow down and stretch your subtle body tissues Mondays @ 6:00 pm MST

Beginning Yoga

Next 4 week series to begin March 28 Only $6 for Zoom classes Why you will love to practice with me:


5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23, via Zoom. Tickets are $5 at Eventbrite, boulderbookstore.net. Yoga Where You Are welcomes readers of all backgrounds, body sizes and abilities into the practice of yoga. Dianne Bondy and Kat Heagberg offer everything you need to know to build a custom yoga practice that supports you exactly where you are — now and at every stage of your life’s journey. Yoga Where You Are discusses how yoga intersects with body image, introduces essential information on elements like breathwork and meditation, and celebrates yoga’s diverse roots through an introductory chapter on its origins and history. Bondy and Heagberg also present tips to find inspiration and creativity on the mat. With inclusive language, alignment options for every body and photos of a range of practitioners, the book provides you with everything you need to customize and deepen your practice with clarity and confidence.


4:15 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23 (with additional dates each month), bit.ly/2ZmQXOP What does your protest look like? Protest with the Read Woke movement, which gives teens in grades 6-12 an opportunity to read books that teach about others so we can treat all people with respect and dignity. Upon completing five books, participants will earn a Read Woke T-shirt. To join at any time or to ask a question, Contact Brooky (Erie Public Library’s Teen Librarian). No registration required. February’s topic — African American Voices Book: This Is My America, by Kim Johnson March’s topic — Female Voices Book: Watch Us Rise, by Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan



FEBRUARY 18, 2021



been magnificent, but I was afraid.’ In five years, I want to tell of how fear tried to cheat me out of the best thing in life, and I didn’t let it.”


MARCH 21-APRIL 19: Atheists like to confront religious peo-

ple with accusations like this: “If God is so good, why does he allow suffering in the world?” Their simplistic, childish idea of God as some sort of Moral Policeman is ignorant of the lush range of ruminations about the Divine as offered down through the ages by poets, novelists, philosophers, and theologians. For example, poet Stéphane Mallarmé wrote, “Spirit cares for nothing except universal musicality.” He suggested that the Supreme Intelligence is an artist making music and telling stories. And as you know, music and stories include all human adventures, not just the happy stuff. I bring these thoughts to your attention, Aries, because the coming weeks will be a favorable time to honor and celebrate the marvelously rich stories of your own life — and to feel gratitude for the full range of experience with which they have blessed you. P.S.: Now is also a favorable phase to rethink and reconfigure your answers to the Big Questions.


APRIL 20-MAY 20: Blogger Rachel C. Lewis confides, “I

love being horribly straightforward. I love sending reckless text messages and telling people I love them and telling people they are absolutely magical humans and I cannot believe they really exist. I love saying, ‘Kiss me harder,’ and ‘You’re a good person,’ and, ‘You brighten my day.’” What would your unique version of Lewis’s forthrightness be like, Taurus? What brazen praise would you offer? What declarations of affection and care would you unleash? What naked confessions might you reveal? The coming days will be a favorable time to explore these possibilities.


MAY 21-JUNE 20: It’s a good time to become more of who you are by engaging with more of what you are not. Get in the mood for this heroic exercise by studying the following rant by Gemini poet Adam Zagajewski (who writes in Polish), translated by Gemini poet Clare Cavanaugh: “Read for yourselves, read for the sake of your inspiration, for the sweet turmoil in your lovely head. But also read against yourselves, read for questioning and impotence, for despair and erudition, read the dry, sardonic remarks of cynical philosophers. Read those whose darkness or malice or madness or greatness you can’t yet understand, because only in this way will you grow, outlive yourself, and become what you are.”


JUNE 21-JULY 22: You’re on the verge of breakthroughs.

You’re ready to explore frontiers, at least in your imagination. You’re brave enough to go further and try harder than you’ve been able to before. With that in mind, here’s a highly apropos idea from Cancerian novelist Tom Robbins. He writes, “If you take any activity, any art, any discipline, any skill, take it and push it as far as it will go, push it beyond where it has ever been before, push it to the wildest edge of edges, then you force it into the realm of magic.” (I might use the word “coax” or “nudge” instead of “force” in Robbins’ statement.)


JULY 23-AUG. 22: In her story “Homelanding,”

Margaret Atwood writes, “Take me to your trees. Take me to your breakfasts, your sunsets, your bad dreams, your shoes. Take me to your fingers.” I’d love you to express requests like that. It’s a favorable time for you to delve deeper into the mysteries of people you care about. You will generate healing and blessings by cultivating reverent curiosity and smart empathy and crafty intimacy. Find out more about your best allies!


AUG. 23-SEPT. 22: You’re about to reach the end of your phase of correction and adjustment. To mark this momentous transition, and to honor your everincreasing ability to negotiate with your demons, I offer you the following inspirational proclamation by poet Jeannette Napolitano: “I don’t want to look back in five years’ time and think, ‘We could have


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SEPT. 23-OCT. 22: It’s not a good time for you to be obsessed with vague abstractions, fear-based fantasies and imaginary possibilities. But it is a favorable phase to rise up in behalf of intimate, practical changes. At least for now, I also want to advise you not to be angry and militant about big, complicated issues that you have little power to affect. On the other hand, I encourage you to get inspired and aggressive about injustices you can truly help fix and erroneous approaches you can correct and close-athand dilemmas for which you can summon constructive solutions.

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OCT. 23-NOV. 21: “The most beautiful things are those that

madness prompts and reason writes,” declared author André Gide. As a writer myself, I will testify to the truth of that formulation. But what about those of you who aren’t poets and novelists and essayists? Here’s how I would alter Gide’s statement to fit you: “The most beautiful things are those that rapture prompts and reason refines.” Or maybe this: “The most beautiful things are those that experimentation finds and reason uses.” Or how about this one: “The most beautiful things are those that wildness generates and reason enhances.” Any and all of those dynamics will be treasures for you in the coming weeks.




NOV. 22-DEC. 21: The poet Nayyirah Waheed has some

advice I want you to hear. She writes, “Be easy. Take your time. You are coming home to yourself.” I will add that from my astrological perspective, the coming weeks will indeed be a time for you to relax more deeply into yourself — to welcome yourself fully into your unique destiny; to forgive yourself for what you imagine are your flaws; to not wish you were someone else pursuing a different path; to be at peace and in harmony with the exact life you have.


DEC. 22-JAN. 19: “The chief object of education is not to

learn things but to unlearn things,” wrote author G. K. Chesterton. He was exaggerating for dramatic effect when he said that, as he often did. The more nuanced truth is that one of the central aims of education is to learn things, and another very worthy aim is to unlearn things. I believe you are currently in a phase when you should put an emphasis on unlearning things that are irrelevant and meaningless and obstructive. This will be excellent preparation for your next phase, which will be learning a lot of useful and vitalizing new things.


JAN. 20-FEB. 18: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873–1943)

ultimately became one of the 20th century’s most renowned composers. But his career had a rough start. Symphony No. 1, his first major work, was panned by critics, sending him into a four-year depression. Eventually he recovered. His next major composition, Piano Concerto No. 2, was wellreceived. I don’t anticipate that your rookie offerings or new work will get the kind of terrible reviews that Rachmaninoff’s did. But at least initially, there may be no great reviews, and possibly even indifference. Keep the faith, my dear. Don’t falter in carrying out your vision of the future. The rewards will come in due time.


FEB. 19-MARCH 20: Ancient Greek playwright Euripides

was popular and influential — and remains so to this day, 2,400 years later. But there’s a curiously boring aspect in five of his plays, Andromache, Alcestis, Helen, Medea and The Bacchae. They all have the same exact ending: six lines, spoken by a chorus, that basically say the gods are unpredictable. Was Euripides lazy? Trying too hard to drive home the point? Or were the endings added later by an editor? Scholars disagree. The main reason I’m bringing this to your attention is to encourage you to avoid similar behavior. I think it’s very important that the stories you’re living right now have different endings than all the stories of your past.


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Dear Dan: I’m a gay guy living in New York in his late 20s. My boyfriend has really been emotionally impacted by the pandemic having been a frontline worker. I think he is suffering from some mild depression or at the very least some intense anxiety so I just want to preface this by saying I completely sympathize with what he’s going through. Before the pandemic we had a really good sex life, but lately he hasn’t been interested in sex at all besides a few assisted masturbation sessions. While I know that these are unusual times, I can’t help feeling rejected. Normally, I would suggest opening up the relationship, for the sake of both myself and him, and I think that he might benefit from having sex with some guys where there isn’t an emotional investment. Of course, right now that isn’t an option. I want to be there for him and we otherwise have a solid relationship, but this issue has been making me feel hurt. I’ve encouraged him to masturbate without me but I do wish he could include me more in his sexual life. Do you have any other thoughts or advice? —Thanks For Reading

hospice and they set the phone next to his head so I can talk at him. He was so excited about my pregnancy and I know he would not want me to risk it. But now not only am I grieving my father, I feel guilty and selfish. Am I right to be angry? My aunt’s brother is dying. She’s sad. Everyone is sad. But this is not the first time she has used guilt to try and control others in moments of trauma. —Crying On My Abdomen

Dear TFR: As much as I hate to give you an unsatisfactory answer — you aren’t satisfied with what you’re getting at home and you’re not going to be satisfied with what you get from me either — the only way to find out whether his loss of libido is entirely pandemic-related, TFR, is to wait out the pandemic and see if your sexual connection doesn’t rebound and/or if opening up the relationship is the right move for you guys as a couple. But if you suspect the collapse of your boyfriend’s libido has more to do with what he’s witnessed and endured as a frontline worker than it has to do with you or your relationship, TFR, therapy will do him more good than sleeping with other guys or masturbating without you. Urge him to do that instead.

Dear Dan: I wanted to second something you wrote about kinks last week. You said — I’m paraphrasing here — that kinks are hard-wired but some people do manage to acquire them. My husband is into rope bondage. I gave it a try a couple of times at the very start of our relationship and for whatever reason being tied up didn’t work for me. We had great vanilla sex and he had a small stable of bondage boys on the side. A few months after the lockdowns began he started to worry about getting rusty. I offered to let him practice on me. I don’t know what changed, Dan, but when he tied me up for the first time in a decade, I was so turned on! At first I thought it was the pot edible but we’ve done it a bunch of times since, times when I wasn’t high, and I’ve enjoyed it just as much or more. Now I’m the one pestering him to go get the ropes. I somehow acquired his kink and he couldn’t be happier! —Restrictions Of Pandemic Enables Development

Dear Dan: My dad is dying. He had a stroke two days ago and is in a coma with no brain function. My aunt (his sister) is trying to make me feel guilty for not traveling to see him. Even though I’m pregnant and high risk. I would have to take an airplane across the country and multiple public buses to see him. I would have to risk my baby’s life to say goodbye to a man I love with all my heart. She insists that if I don’t, I didn’t love my dad. I’m heartbroken. I keep calling his I

Dear COMA: There has to be someone in your life who would be willing to step in and tell your aunt to go fuck herself. If there isn’t, COMA, send me your aunt’s phone number and I’ll do it. P.S. I’m so sorry about your dad — who is already gone — and I’m sorry your kid won’t get to meet their grandfather. And you have every right to be furious with your aunt for giving you grief when you have all the grief you can handle right now. Don’t get on that plane. And if your aunt never speaks to you again, COMA, just think of all the guilt trips she won’t be able to drag on in the future.

Dear ROPED: Thanks for sharing, ROPED! Send questions to mail@savagelove. net, follow Dan on Twitter @fakedansavage and visit ITMFA.org. BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


Kino Now celebrates Black History Month with ‘Within Our Gates’

Call 720.253.4710

by Michael J. Casey


All credit cards accepted No text messages

To criticize a movie, you have to make another movie. — Jean-Luc Godard

t might be the most notorious climax in American cinema: A black man terrorizes a white woman, a black militia lays siege to a white family’s cabin, and the Ku Klux Klan rides in and saves the day. So concludes D.W. Griffith’s 1915 silent epic, The Birth of a Nation, America’s first blockbuster, the first film to be screened at the White House and the film responsible for reviving the KKK. Membership numbers were dwindling before Birth’s release, but enrollment soared following. For decades to come, the Klan would use the film as a recruiting tool. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First, let’s meet Oscar Micheaux, a novelist and filmmaker born in Illinois in 1884. The son of slaves, Micheaux tried his hand at a variety of trades in Chicago before moving to South Dakota, where he bought land and worked as a homesteader. That work informed Micheaux’s writing, and in 1913, he published The Conquest: The Story of a Negro Pioneer. Six years later, Micheaux adapted the work into his first feature, 1919’s The Homesteader, a film that’s since been lost. That makes Micheaux’s second film, 1920’s Within Our Gates, ON THE BILL: the oldest surviving feature from a black filmmaker. And in STREAM ‘WITHIN honor of Black History Month, KinoNow.com is offering its Our Gates’ for free 2016 restoration — featuring a new score from former CU on Kino Now with promo code, Boulder artist-in-residence Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky — PIONEER. kinonow. free for the month of February. com/series/withinThat should give you an idea of the historical significance our-gates-micheaux Within Our Gates brings, not to mention the context in which Micheaux worked. Fewer films have cast a longer shadow than Birth of a Nation, both for subject matter and artistic merit. And both of which Micheaux riffs on in Within Our Gates, particularly in the movie’s stunning third act. Getting there is a bit complex, though. Gates’ story involves multiple threads — from an educator, Sylvia (Evelyn Preer), heading north to raise funding for an impoverished school in the South, to a black preacher convincing his congregation not to covet white wealth or power and hold out for heavenly glory. The movement between the North and the South echoes Griffith’s structure in Birth, but it’s in the third act where Micheaux enters into an aesthetic conversation with Griffith. As mentioned at the top, Birth culminates with Lynch (George Siegmann in blackface) attempting to assault Elsie (Lillian Gish) in one home while another family holes up in a besieged cabin. Griffith cuts back and forth between these parallel storylines, stitching them together with shots of the KKK riding to the rescue. Cross-cutting, they call it, and Griffith was a master. It’s easy to see why this movie excited the Klan so. But where Griffith uses cross-cutting to show salvation, Micheaux uses the technique to underline the damnation of being black in America. Again, a woman is menaced, Sylvia, this time by a white man (Grant Gorman), but when Micheaux cuts away from Sylvia under attack, he finds no one riding to her rescue. Instead, we see the lynching of Sylvia’s parents at the hands of a bloodthirsty white mob. Where Griffith goes for rousing suspense, Micheaux targets stark horror. As the story goes, Griffith had to be told why Birth of a Nation was inherently repugnant. Maybe there’s something to that: His best films were still ahead of him, and his next, Intolerance, plays like an apology. As for Micheaux, he was just getting started with Within Our Gates, and his follow-up, Symbol of the Unconquered, would also take aim at Birth by recasting the KKK as a band of marauding thieves using violence and intimidation to get what they want. All four are integral works of American cinema, but only one has been seen by hundreds of millions. It’s high time we fix that. BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


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Old traditions, new places

Rosenberg’s Bagels and Delicatessen opens on the Hill in April, with East Coast bagels, pizza, a full bar and more

by Matt Cortina


o Joshua Pollack, happiness is a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. “I love when people go, ‘Well, you’re the owner, what breakfast sandwich do you eat the most?’” says Pollack, owner of Rosenberg’s Bagels and Delicatessen, with two locations in Denver and one — come April— on the Hill. “And I’m like, ‘I’m sorry I’m not more exciting, but a bacon, egg and cheese, SPK [salt, pepper, ketchup]. That’s it. I eat that all the time.” It’s a fair question — Rosenberg’s (Pollack’s mother’s maiden name) has several enticing bagel sandwich options, from lox varieties to pastrami to Taylor ham, that go along with its menu of deli sandwiches, salads, spreads and sides. And the New Jersey native is used to answering it by now. In fact, the reason Pollack has to answer the question and, more broadly, educate folks about offering foods typical of Jewish and East Coast delis, bodegas and bagel shops is the same reason Rosenberg’s and Pollack’s other East Coast-style restaurants — Lou’s Italian Specialties, Famous Original J’s Pizza and Sherry’s Soda Shoppe — even exist. Pollack came to Colorado via CU Boulder over 10 years ago, and found that none of the foods he grew up with — bagels, subs, pizza — were being made the way they were back home. The first time he went to a bagel shop here, he says, “I was like, ‘Yeah, let me get a bacon, egg and cheese on an everything bagel and they were like, ‘What’s an everything bagel?’ I was like, ‘What? That one right there.’ They’re like, ‘That’s Italian.’” If you live in Boulder County and are from New Jersey (as I am) or thereabouts, you’re chuckling right now because you’ve had this conversation. But you, as well as Pollack, know it’s more than just a semantic difference. There is “passion and tradition” that goes into BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

producing deli sandwiches, bagels, pizza and other foods abundant in the Northeast that have historically been undervalued out West. For example, Pollack says, “This’ll be on a shirt one day: ‘Toasting is OK in the privacy of your own home.’ If a bagel’s not fresh, aka more than three hours out of the oven, that’s when it becomes acceptable to toast a bagel. But everyone in the world needs to try a hot and fresh bagel. I try to reprogram everybody.” Or take lox. You go into a chain bagel shop here and you order “lox.” Not so back East, and not so at Rosenberg’s. “Lox means salmon. We have many types,” Pollack says — gravlax (cured with salt, sugar and dill), Scottish (cold-) smoked salmon, kippered (hot-smoked) salmon and other variations, with other fish, all cured, smoked or otherwise prepared in-house. “We’re trying to get people excited about the depth we go into with this food,” Pollack says, “and to show people that it’s special; it’s not necessarily some cheap food you get at some convenience store.” One of the big reasons Pollack has pulled off the previously impossible task of bringing “authentic” East Coast eats to Colorado — this’ll be the third Rosenberg’s location, with more to come — is because he understands what he can and can’t replicate. He can replicate New York’s water (long mythologized as the reason for its superior pizza) by making a concentration of Colorado water and then adding minerals (primarily calcium and magnesium, which affect gluten strains) back in. He can’t replace time — baking processes that take 25 minutes at a lower altitude might take an hour and a half in Colorado. And he can’t replace air moisture — kaiser rolls, for instance, are light breads that turn to “sawdust” within hours in Colorado, and so it’s a fool’s errand to try to pull them off. “We’re not reinventing any wheel,” Pollack says. “It’s so much harder to do that, to create a concept out of your imagination or inspiration. This food already inspired I

FEBRUARY 18, 2021

me, and there’s already a roadmap for this. People have been doing this for over 100 years the same exact way, whereas all these places outside of New York just didn’t do it the same way and that’s what blows my mind. It’s like, stop. Stop changing it. Stop steaming your bagels; they need to be boiled. Stop proofing on plastic, they need to proof on wood. Stop rushing it. ... There are all these steps that go into it.” You may have to pay more for this goodness than you would on the East Coast (though not by Colorado standards; $1.75 for a bagel, $10-$13 for a bagel sandwich is on par). Pollack says that’s because of a variety of factors including the concentration of such delis, bagel shops and whatnot on the East Coast driving price down through competition, as well as the cost of “importing” products like Taylor ham (or pork roll, depending on where you’re from). But, the more people eating and valuing this stuff in Colorado, the more Rosenberg’s locations there are, the more other restaurants bring in fresh salmon, meats and other ingredients, the quicker the price will go down. In a lot of ways, the Rosenberg’s expansion into Boulder brings Pollack full circle. “The Hill has lost a lot of its luster over the last decade compared to when I was a student there,” he says, citing an experience last year when he got out of a show at the Fox and couldn’t find a place to have a bite and a drink. But with the addition of a bagel shop with mutlidemographic appeal like Rosenberg’s, and which will turn into Rosenberg’s After Dark in the evening — with a full bar, pizza, deli sandwiches, music, Seinfeld and Jets games showing on the TVs — Pollack hopes to help bring the neighborhood back to the way he remembers it during his glory days. And the revitalization extends to the actual spot on which Rosenberg’s is located — 1262 College Ave. The plot was the site of one of the Hill’s first homes, and the building that’s there now, once housed the Rose Hill movie theater. One final thing: This story probably reeks of East Coast favoritism, but if you’re a native Westerner (and made it this far), the Northeast ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, certainly not anymore. Says Pollack, of when people note the prices of his food: “People will be like, ‘Oh, it’s so cheap in New York.’ I’ll say, ‘When was the last time you were there?’” So maybe we’re not all that different, that our tastes aren’t dissimilar. Maybe, like Pollack’s bagels, all it takes to spread good food throughout the country is time. I


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‘It got crazy’

An excerpt from the forthcoming book ‘Boulder County Beer: A Refreshing History’

by Michael J. Casey Editor’s note: Longtime Boulder Weekly contributor Michael J. Casey has written a definitive history of the local craft beer scene, Boulder County Beer: A Refreshing History. Packed with firsthand accounts from adventurous brewers, Casey recounts the tale of those who turned Boulder County into ground zero for craft beer in the Centennial State, and supplements those stories with notes on beer styles, traditions and techniques. The book, published by Arcadia Publishing, drops on Feb. 22, but you can preorder your copy at arcadiapublishing. com/Products/9781467144759. Casey’s planning a book tour whenever such things are safe to do again.


oulder’s brewpub scene was jamming: Walnut, Oasis, Mountain Sun, RedFish and BJ’s — all within a one-mile radius. “Those were neat times,” Alex Puchner [of BJ’s Brewhouse] said. “It got crazy,” Goerge Hanna [of Oasis Brewing] said. “Boulder responded very well to Oasis. And drinking.” “A lot of serious beer drinkers there,” Puchner said. “It’s one of the best craft beer markets in the country, if not the world.” And the scene was exploding. “One year, I think it was ’95, just as we were trying to open the new facility, the brewpub hit 5,000 barrels — the second-largest production in the nation at that time for a brewpub,” Hanna said. “And it was all done on a seven-barrel system.” Hanna needed a second brewery, one dedicated to production and packaging. The Oasis Brewery Annex, located two miles east on Walnut Street,

would be it — 12,000 square feet, enough to produce beer for Boulder and beyond. “Around ’94, ’95, we were really selling a lot of beer,” he continued. “We started packaging, handbottling and everything at that point, but we were seeing a demand for our kegs, and we started distributing with a local distributor, state distributor. And it started going really quickly.” According to Hanna’s estimates, Oasis brewed about 10,000 barrels a year at its peak — an enormous sum for the time. “If you really had something, you caught a little traction. You get some investors and people willing to put some money into equipment, especially back then because there wasn’t much,” Hanna said. Brewing is a capital-intensive proposition: Before you can sell beer, you have to produce it. And production doesn’t just involve raw materials but also physical space. Be it kegs (a half-barrel of beer) or large tanks for brewing, fermenting, conditioning and storage, real estate is required. And real estate is always limited and always expensive. For Hanna, the Annex was the answer. For Puchner, the brewpub on Pearl Street is all he had to work with. “I’ll be the first to admit, it was a terrible design,” Puchner says of BJ’s layout, which incorporated tanks behind the bar and two floors of production. “Having the mill up those stairs, and having no silo or auger and having to haul those 50-pound sacks [of grain] up two flights was just ridiculous,” he said. “But the other ridiculous thing was the brewhouse right behind the bar.”

The restaurant business was changing. Whether you went to Spago on the Sunset Strip or to a Subway sandwich shop anywhere in America, you could watch your food being cooked and assembled. Brewpubs followed suit when it came to beer. “It’s how we designed them,” Puchner said. “The idea is that the brewer would be very social and talk to the guests at the bar.” At first, when business was steady, it might have helped break down customers’ hesitations to try something different, something new. But the brewing business in Boulder was anything but steady. It was busy as hell. “You got bartenders tripping over your hoses,” Puchner said. “And it’s dangerous because you’re dealing with chemicals—that was the last time I ever designed a brewery like that.” Nowadays, most brewpub breweries are behind glass or isolated in some capacity for safety reasons. But back then, “it was pretty common,” Puchner said. Imitation and inspiration were also common. When Puchner scouted Pearl Street in 1995, he stopped in Mountain Sun, Oasis and Walnut for inspiration. He found that inspiration, particularly Walnut’s beer logos, on the wall. “We basically stole that from them,” Puchner said. “We loved that look. So, when we started brewing beer, first in our Brea location, then Boulder, then Portland and elsewhere, we modeled a lot of the interior of our restaurants after that look,” he said. “That brewpub statement.”



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Try this week:

Super Beef Shawarma Wrap @ Kalita Grill Greek Cafe

KALITA GRILL GREEK CAFE. 2426 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, 303-443-0596, kalitagrill.com

THE FAMILY-OWNED and -operated Kalita Grill Greek Cafe makes gyros, wraps, salads, plates, desserts and more that burst with flavor. Take the beef shawarma wrap we had on a recent visit. Tender steak strips are wrapped in pita bread with lettuce, grilled onions, tomatoes, pepperoncinis, marinated red cabbage and parsley. It’s doused in a well-spiced, vibrant tahini sauce. Everything on the wrap is well-made, but we’d like to highlight two humble ingredients that elevated this from the routine to the sublime. First, the ample grilled onions add a slightly sweet, rich umami flavor with each bite and, second, the pita is the perfect texture, holding up the entire, gooey operation while providing an understated, balancing and satisfying flavor. Like other dishes at Kalita, this is not your average Greek wrap.


1 Community Cooks: Seasonal Vegetable Gnocchi with Matt Collier JOIN BOULDER LIBRARY and Chef Matt Collier for this month’s Community Cooks on Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. It’s a virtual dinner party and cooking demo. Every month, a new cook shares recipes close to their heart and culture, with ingredient lists provided ahead of time so you can cook along. This month, Collier, of Seeds Library Cafe, will be making potato gnocchi with seasonal winter vegetables and a sage brown butter sauce. Collier has been a chef in Boulder for the last 18 years at local food institutions like The Kitchen, OAK at fourteenth and T/ACO. His main emphasis now is focusing on sourcing products from local farmers and ranchers and letting those ingredients shine. Tune in on Instagram at instagram.com/boulderlibrary. The ingredient list is available at calendar.boulderlibrary.org/event/7446220. BOULDER WEEKLY


Wonder and Jungle go coconuts THE FRIGID WEATHER of the past week might have you jonesing for warmer weather and tropical vacations. But because of the pandemic and the nature of time, you can’t just transport yourself to Tahiti or the summer. You can, however, try to trick your mind with a coconut from Wonder juice bar and Jungle, a tiki bar turned (temporarily) burger joint. Both are in Boulder and both have just brought on organic Cocobear coconuts, which you can pierce with a straw to enjoy the sweet nectar that is coconut water. Eat the flesh on the inside if you want, too. The coconuts come from Thailand’s Ratchabury Province, where they’re handpicked, dehusked and frozen fresh before being shipped to Colorado.

FEBRUARY 18, 2021



The banshee screams for MORE

throughout the U.S. “But at the same time,” she wonders, “are we missing an opportunity to set some sort of legal structure at the federal level with decriminalization?” Because of her role at CDPHE, Urso naturally thinks of this issue from an environmental standpoint. “If the government says it’s not illegal to possess or to cultivate, without giving a legal licensing structure for businesses to operate in, you get a lot of gray-market activity,” Urso points out. That translates to a lot of unnecessary waste: of electricity, water, hazardous materials and packaging. The same applies to quality standards, she says. Without an authority providing some kind of quality control, there’s nothing stopping cultivators from using pesticides, fertilizers and methods that might otherwise be prohibited under full legalization. And there’s no regulatory agency to verify businesses’ claims to customers, no consequences for inaccurate or outright dishonest advertising. “Essentially, if you have decriminalization without legalization, you lose all of those protections,” Urso says. On top of that, while it won’t technically be “illegal” under federal decriminalization, any cannabis cultivator or retailer could still be vulnerable to fines, and police could still charge people for possession in gray-market states. Plus, criminal drug traffickers would still have a hold over those gray markets. The Drug Policy Alliance writes on its facts page, “Decriminalization will also do nothing to eliminate the

How federal decriminalization without state legalization could create more problems than it will solve

by Will Brendza


nding the federal prohibition of cannabis has never felt closer than it does now. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act passed the House in December, and awaits action in the narrowly Democraticcontrolled Senate. As a result, hopeful investors are pumping cannabis stocks ahead of what could finally be the federal decriminalization of cannabis in America. However, federal decriminalization could create more problems than it will solve, according to Colorado officials and industry insiders. Decriminalization without legalization perpetuates the unregulated and illegal markets, doesn’t allow jurisdictions to tax cannabis revenue and fails to address the systemic inequalities in the cannabis industry. But, perhaps most importantly, to decriminalize cannabis without legalization would be to miss an opportunity to guide a federally legal industry toward success. Kaitlin Urso, environmental consultant, project manager and small business assistance program specialist for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), is excited about the MORE Act moving through Congress because of what it could mean for non-violent cannabis offenders with felonies on their records. She’s also happy that the MORE Act’s passage could finally open up scientific cannabis research



FEBRUARY 18, 2021


lucrative underground market for marijuana, estimated to be worth $40 billion in the U.S.” The underground market, and the revenue that comes with it, is largely controlled by cartels, which would only perpetuate violence and deal in far more dangerous substances than pot, under decriminalization, the DPA says. Instead, revenue from a legalized and regulated market could fill government coffers. Just last year, cannabis sales taxes collected in Colorado exceeded $380 million. “This immense market is completely untaxed,” the DPA’s fact page continues, “a source of revenue that federal and state governments can ill afford to neglect.” Finally, federal decriminalization without legalization will fail to address the systemic racial inequalities plaguing cannabis use. According to the ACLU, black Americans are 3.64 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than whites. “In every single state, black people were more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession,” the authors of the ACLU’s 2020 cannabis analysis write. “In 31 states, racial disparities were actually larger in 2018 than they were in 2010.” Until a bill was passed in Colorado last year, anyone with a cannabis felony on their record was prohibited from participating in Colorado’s legal market in any way — a fact that boxed many minorities out of the industry from the get-go. Decriminalization without legalization would provide no guidance to states seeking to legalize. Of course, none of this is to say that decriminalization of cannabis wouldn’t be a historic step. If the MORE Act passes, cannabis will be decriminalized and hundreds of thousands of records will be expunged — which will do immense good for countless Americans. However, decriminalization without legalization misses an opportunity to set the U.S. cannabis market up for success; and it would do nothing to address many of the biggest issues surrounding its criminalization. “That’s basically what the regulatory structure is designed for: safety, security and diversion — making sure we have safe products, safe packaging and integrity in the supply chain,” Urso says. “None of the benefits of being a legalized business are there under decriminalization.”





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Profile for Boulder Weekly

Boulder Weekly 2.18.21  

news, shecession, women, boulderganic, Colorado, beetle kill, wildfire, forests, buzz, Motet, Dave Watts, Big Wait, home, sun, feast, Rosenb...

Boulder Weekly 2.18.21  

news, shecession, women, boulderganic, Colorado, beetle kill, wildfire, forests, buzz, Motet, Dave Watts, Big Wait, home, sun, feast, Rosenb...