Boulder Weekly 3.25.21

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Another day in America by Boulder Weekly staff

Boulder could play central role in shaping state pretrial reform legislation by Angela K. Evans

eTown celebrates three decades of broadcasting with an induction into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame by Katie Rhodes

The 2021 SXSW Film Fest offers two features on messianic men by Michael J. Casey



weed between the lines:


Brooklyn Pizza’s story is in its name by Matt Cortina

Rep. Ed Perlmutter reintroduces bipartisan SAFE Banking Act as cannabis momentum grows in Congress by Will Brendza

WIN GIFT CARDS! Drawing on 4/1 for all customers who send completion of Best of Boulder survey 1st: $200 Gift Card 2nd: $100 Gift Card 3rd: $50 Gift Card

departments 7 8 10 12 23 26 27 31 33 37

Just Economics: Thoughts on work and compensation Guest Column: On Atlanta and Boulder killings: Abolitionist visions Letters: Signed, sealed, delivered, your views Lab Notes: Scouting for life on Mars Events: Art, theater, music and more to do when there’s ‘nothing’ to do... Words: ‘in the light,’ by Aren McCartney Astrology: by Rob Brezsny Food/Drink: Lapsang Souchong Bulgogi @ Dushanbe Teahouse Drink: Pink Boots Society collaboration beers support women in craft beer Savage Love: Livestream



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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

March 25, 2021 Volume XXVIII, Number 32 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 Boulder Weekly does not accept unsolicited editorial submissions. If you're interested in writing for the paper, please send queries to: editorial@ Any materials sent to Boulder Weekly become the property of the newspaper.

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Thoughts on work and compensation by Tina Eden


resently in the United States we are experiencing a wealth gap not seen since the gilded age. A plethora of explanations exist for this phenomenon, and along with each explanation, one can find solutions that range from libertarian ideals to largescale social programs. One portion of the problem can be attributed to low wages. With this in mind, it might be useful to consider how we determine appropriate wages for the labors required of various types of work. Some contributions, or professions, require a wide range of skills. Some professions require a high degree of physical strength and/or endurance. Some require a high level of intellect, while others require a strong emotional foundation that can endure stress. There are also professions that call upon creative abilities and others that call upon leadership and/or entrepreneurial skills. In summation, one could say there are five broad categories of abilities that humans call upon to work. These abilities could I

be characterized as domains of the 1) physical, 2) intellectual, 3) emotional, 4) creative and 5) leadership/entrepreneurial realms. Presently, the way we compensate people for their labors often does not reflect the level of difficulty of the work. To some degree, there is a positive correlation between the amount of schooling one needs for a job and its pay, but the number of non-examples is tremendous. Our highly paid athletes and entertainers earn many times more than those who hold doctorates. With this in mind, let us consider a scoring of occupations based on a scale from one to 10 for each domain, and, using this scoring system, determine fair compensation for occupations. Here is an example for the occupation of bank teller: see JUST ECONOMICS Page 8

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Physical: 3 Intellectual: 4 Emotional: 4 Creative: 2 Entrepreneurial/Leadership: 2 Bank Teller Score: 15 Given the five domains with scores from one to 10, the greatest number of points possible is 50. Which occupation would only score a five? Which would score a 50? If you are old enough to recall the commercials with the Maytag repairman, you might agree that this particular repairman’s occupation could be scored as a five. The famous Maytag repairman never had to work. His days were filled with wishing for an appliance to breakdown, but because Maytag made such excellent products, or so the commercial purported, our repairman sat at a lonely desk with his playing cards for games of solitaire to pass the time. Physical: 1 Intellectual: 1 Emotional: 1 Creative: 1 Entrepreneurial/Leadership: 1 Maytag Repairman Score: 5 At the other end of the spectrum there are astronauts. Theirs is a profession that calls upon each domain to its highest degree. They must be in excellent physical condition, have a keen intellect, be emotionally strong enough to work in dangerous and isolated environments, and to accept that they may be killed on the job as many of us witnessed with the 2003 Columbia explosion or the 1986 Challenger disaster. Astronauts need to possess problem-solving creativity to serve them in the event of a mechanical device malfunction, and they must be leaders who can take charge in the event one of their colleagues falls ill or loses their life. For this occupation, a score of 50, 10 points in each category, is appropriate. Physical: 10 Intellectual: 10 Emotional: 10 Creative: 10

Entrepreneurial/Leadership: 10 Astronaut Score: 50 With this scoring system in mind, work as an astronaut would pay the most, and the sort of work comparable to the fictitious Maytag repairman would pay the least. If points were converted into dollars, with a minimum wage of $25 per hours for those 25 years old and above, the lowest paid occupation would be set at $50,000 per year, and the highest paid at $500,000 per year, assuming full-time work. All earnings above $500,000 could be taxed at a percentage between 99% and 100%. If the president of the United States only earns $400,000 annually, how can we justify allowing others to earn more than 125% of that amount? The wealth gap in our society, and many others, is not the result of wages alone. It is comprised also of holdings in the form of properties, businesses and stocks. This exploration is not intended to suggest that a change in compensation will rectify the gap, but rather that is part of its solution. Also, it is intended to call to mind the primary purpose of money: a means to exchange goods and services. At present, however, it is serving another purpose for a small percentage of the population. It is enabling some to live as if they were kings, requiring the labors of multitudes. This is how large swaths of the human race have existed throughout recorded history. There were slaves, serfs and now a compensation system that has resulted in a wealth gap not seen in nearly a century. How it is resolved may depend in part in what our society believes to be the purpose of money and how we use it to compensate people for their work. Just Economics is written by members of the Economic Justice Collective of the Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center. This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.

Presently, the

way we compensate people for their labors often does not reflect the level of difficulty of the work.



MARCH 25, 2021

On Atlanta and Boulder killings: Abolitionist visions By Nishant Upadhyay


he horrific killing of six Asian and Asian American women by a white man in Atlanta last week has brought to light the violence of anti-Asian racism in this country, and how this violence is continued to be denied and disavowed. In the face of the trope of the Asian im/migrant as the model minority, and Asian complicities in anti-Indigenous and anti-Black processes in the U.S., as an Asian American Studies scholar I have been guilty of undermining the continuities and specificities of anti-Asian racism. While the trope of the model minority is shaped through white supremacy, and some Asian communities have acquired many privileges in the U.S., many Asians and Asian Americans are left out of the American dream through their varying experiences of racialization, colonization and imperialism. There is a long history to their oppression in the U.S. and beyond the borders of the U.S., including: the exploitation of Chinese railroad workers, race riots targeting Asians (including the attack on Denver’s Chintatown in 1880 and the mob killing of one Chinese man), illegal occupation of the Philippines, anti-Asian immigration laws from the late 19th I

century until the 1960s (and into the present, including Trump’s Muslim ban), incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, multiple and endless U.S. imperialist wars across Asia, U.S. economic exploitation and expansion across Asia, to the ever increasing Islamophobic violence against Muslim communities since 9/11. All these processes continue to render Asians and Asian Americans as perpetual outsiders whose labor can always be exploited. As we remember the lives of the killed Asian and Asian American women, we must remember how anti-Asian racism continues to reproduce itself primarily through racialimperial heteropatriarchal violences on the bodies of Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander women, queer and gender non-conforming peoples. In the last year, over the pandemic, 68% of the cases of at least 3,800 reported anti-Asian incidents of violence were directed against women. The first ever anti-immigration and xenophobic law was targeted against Chinese women in 1875. The Page Act prohibited the entry of Chinese and other Asian women as see GUEST COLUMN Page 10


A note about gun violence In my sophomore year of high school, there was a school shooting at Freeman High School, in Spokane, Washington, just a couple miles south of my house. We hid under desks and told our moms we loved them, as it was unconfirmed whether or not Lewis and Clark High School was the next target. Frantically I texted everyone I knew who went to Freeman, or who had close friends there. The next week was spent in a community-wide depression and vigil attendance. In my junior year of high school, an anonymous account threatened rape — calling out girls by name, and how he would harm them described in unsettling detail — and a shooting of my high school. In my senior year of high school, the person behind the account was arrested and released on bail (three times in total) and would do the same thing each time. Now in my freshman year of college, I watched the place I am beginning to call home get torn to shreds by another senseless act of violence. I heard the sirens from my apartment. I saw the helicopters and police from all over the state drive on the road I take every day. I was at that King Soopers on Table Mesa at 10 p.m. the previous night. I have the privilege of saying I chose to go grocery

shopping on March 21 instead of March 22. But not everyone does. No one knows where, who or what is next. It is not the first act of violence of this week, it is not the first for Colorado, it is not the first of the year, it is not the first I have personally experienced as an 18-year-old. And unless something changes, it will not be the last. We must change this. We cannot live like this. How much more needs to happen before you are mad too? How much more needs to happen before there is policy, reform and change? Ask these questions to yourself, your family and your representatives. I am an 18-year-old and I have multiple personal experiences with gun violence. I am just one (young) person — imagine everyone you know and their personal experiences. I pine for a time in America we do not have to read about mass shootings in the news, and you should too. Check up on your friends, and advocate for change. Now. Erin Miller/CU Boulder student

Against Asian-American blame Even if the recent shootings of Asian-Americans in Atlanta were not racially motivated, there is a serious problem with violence towards and harassment of that part of our population in the last year. And it’s not

just violence — economically AsianAmerica has been in decline, more so than the general population (they went from having an unemployment rate roughly the same as that of white people, to, according to Pew Research, having one in May 2020 that was more than 1.5 times the white one). This hostile environment is largely the product of Donald Trump’s insistence on blaming China for COVID-19. He insists on calling it the China virus, the Wuhan Virus or the “Kung Flu.” A lot of Trump supporters probably would say that objecting to use of that last one is evidence that one doesn’t have a sense of humor. But it’s very offensive. It goes further than calling it the China virus. It implies that there’s is something culturally Chinese about the virus. Going back to the less offensive terms, I don’t think anyone called “Mad Cow Disease” the “English disease” (I don’t think that even Irish republicans called it that). Some people who call it “Kung Flu” might say that the absolutely serious nature of this public health emergency justifies the hostility towards Asian-Americans, but it’s the opposite. I’m sure it’s very upsetting for Asian-Americans to think about how so many Americans blame part of their community for

COVID-19 deaths. Tom Shelley/internet

Private student loan protections As a student that faces barriers within the education system, I have found myself struggling with student loan debt. Being a full-time student, I was forced to work 35 to 40 hours a week to be able to save enough money to not only pay off debt but to also live in Colorado. At this point, it feels like I am drowning in work, going in endless circles to pay off my debt. My parents are both immigrants and are considered lowincome. Because of this, I had to become financially independent at a young age. That being said, the weight of student loans only intensifies my family’s circumstances. With few protections in place, the student loan industry is taking advantage of our financial stress. Student loan debt is something that affects my friends and I tremendously. For example, in Colorado, over 743,000 people have student loan debt, with an average debt burden of more than $38,000. Coloradans carry $28.6 billion in student debt and borrowers currently owe $9.1 billion in private student loan debt. see LETTERS Page 11

GUEST COLUMN from Page 8

they were seen as “prostitutes” and “immoral” women and a threat to white heteronormative families. Since then, Asian women continue to be hypersexualized for consumption and exploitation by white men, as white men see Asian women bodies as simultaneous sites of desire, hatred and dominance. We know the long history of sexual exploitation of Asian women by U.S. soldiers across Asia, from Okinawa to Saigon to Subic Bay, and the portrayal of Asian and Asian American women in U.S. media as submissive, docile and sexual. More specifically, Asian women who are migrant/undocumented/refugee sex workers more often bear this violence through criminalization of their work, police violence and incarceration, deportation, violence through anti-trafficking policies and anti-sex work stigma prevalent in 10


Our anger and sadness should not be mobilized to strengthen the police, carceral and deportation state. the U.S. society. These histories and processes are fundamentally connected to the killing of the six Asian women in Atlanta. A week later, as we witness yet another brutal killing — this time here, in Boulder — we need to act now to understand gun violence as a public health crisis. At the same time, we need to be hyper vigilant about how the Boulder shooting may spark more waves of Islamophobia across the MARCH 25, 2021

country. While Islamophobia and anti-Asian racism are seen as mutually exclusive, we need to make the connections between them more apparent in order to dismantle white supremacy. Our anger and sadness should not be mobilized to strengthen the police, carceral and deportation state. Demanding increased funding for policing and surveillance or more stringent anti-hate crime laws will invariably target Black, Indigenous, brown and im/migrant communities. Incarcerating, deporting and killing these communities is not the solution. The solutions are fairly straightforward and not impossible: decriminilization of sex work, gun control, end to U.S. military wars and abolition of ICE and the police state. Nishant Upadhyay is an assistant professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly. I


LETTERS from Page 10

A bill that would create protections for private student loan borrowers has been introduced into the Colorado state legislature. The Student Loan Equity Act would protect private student loan borrowers that face exploitation and injustices from the predatory private student loan industry. As tuition and the cost of living both increase, living in Colorado becomes more and more difficult. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) and low-income communities are disproportionately impacted by the student debt crisis due to a history of systemic and institutional oppression. This industry uses lending and servicing practices that take advantage of BIPOC and lower income communities; this bill would help to mitigate this exploitation. The private student loan industry lacks both transparency and equity, resulting in more economic hardship for my family and me, as well as other people in my community that have similar experiences. In order to create positive change within our education system, we must start with the financial burdens and stress that private student loans put on young adults, particularly those disproportionately affecting low-income communities. Adi Sadeh/CU Boulder student

these costs accounted for in bonds, Colorado taxpayers are left with billions of dollars in costs that oil and gas companies are not liable to pay. It is both morally unacceptable and completely unnecessary for the state of Colorado to put this burden on taxpayers. Far more conservative states, such as North Dakota, have stronger bonding requirements than Colorado. Why isn’t Colorado protecting its citizens from the downfalls of this industry like North Dakota is? The COGCC (Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission) is beginning its 700 Series rulemaking process to review and update its financial assurances program. Stronger regulations must be enacted that eliminate blanket bonds and require single well bonding at a rate that aligns with the true cost of closing and remediating these wells. Take action to ensure the citizens of Colorado are not held accountable for these liable wells. Write and call the COGCC (303-894-2100) to urge them to enact stronger bonding requirements for oil and gas drilling in Colorado. Also, participate in the public comment period for the COGCC starting March 31. Kieran White with 350 Colorado/ Boulder

Financial assurances for orphaned and abandoned wells Colorado taxpayers face a major financial liability on behalf of oil and gas companies in our state. At present, our state only has financial assurances for 2 percent of the cost of plugging and reclaiming oil and gas production sites. We stand at a point of opportunity to strengthen regulations through an upcoming legislative process on orphaned and abandoned wells in Colorado. The COVID-19 pandemic caused bankruptcies and worker layoffs for oil and gas companies across Colorado. As a result, companies have begun abandoning their wells and leaving taxpayers with the burden of paying for the capping and closures of these sites. The state of Colorado currently has over $7 billion in unfunded liable wells. With only 2 percent of

Thanks for the clear picture of the difficult financial situation college students and graduates are facing (RE: “It’s not my proclivity for avocado toast,” Guest Column, March 18.) No wonder many young people have decided college (debt) isn’t worth the effort. The recently passed American Relief plan provides a temporary way to deal with the hurdle of college debt, but more needs to be done. Like the rent and hunger relief, the tax credit increases that cut poverty, and the funding for global health (less than one percent), this college debt crisis relief needs to be just a start. This beginning of the road to equity can continue, if we the people speak up to our members of Congress and ask for it. Be sure to thank them for this start and request it boldly continues. Then follow-up, follow-up, follow-up... Willie Dickerson/Snohomish, Washington



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Scouting for life on Mars by Travis Metcalfe




n 2012, a Dutch foundation called Mars One announced plans to establish a permanent human colony on Mars, with the first settlers arriving in 2022. The company hoped to fund the operation primarily by selling broadcasting rights to a series of short films documenting the astronaut selection process and their oneway journey to Mars. More than 200,000 people expressed interest in becoming the first settlers, with several thousand completing the initial steps of the selection process. After raising tens of millions of dollars, Mars One ultimately went bankrupt in 2019 without ever launching a rocket or producing a documentary. Although interplanetary space travel may sound like science fiction, NASA hopes to send astronauts to Mars by the 2030s. In mid-February, they landed the latest in their series of rovers on the red planet to push that goal forward. Despite the ongoing global pandemic, the Perseverance rover launched from MARCH 25, 2021

Florida on July THE PERSEVERANCE 30, 2020. Some ROVER is tasked with of the final prepfinding primitive geoarations were logic evidence of life on Mars. It’s equipped completed from with new technology the living rooms that figure to provide and backyard profound results. patios of NASA engineers. The timing was critical, because Earth and Mars only have a close approach every 26 months. Even then they are more than 35 million miles apart, or about 150 times the distance to the moon. The new rover completed the journey in just over six months. The primary goal of Perseverance is to search for geological evidence of primitive life on Mars. Previous NASA rovers found clear indications that liquid water played an important role in shaping the surface of Mars in the past. If that water helped nurture certain types of bacteria billions of years ago, the hope is that Perseverance can find I



some fossil evidence of those life forms in Martian rocks. Although the rover has a broad array of instruments designed for this purpose, it can’t possibly conduct all of the experiments that would be required to detect ancient life on Mars unambiguously. So Perseverance has another capability that was missing from earlier rovers. “A very important objective of the mission is to collect samples that are to be stored in small containers and cached for collection by a future sample return mission,” says Bill Farrand, a research scientist and head of the Center for Mars Science at the Space Science Institute in Boulder. After studying geology as an undergraduate, Farrand did his graduate work at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson, Arizona. He became an expert in hyperspectral imaging, a technique that can remotely identify minerals using special images that are sensitive to many different types of light. After finishing his doctorate, he worked on some hyperspectral imaging projects in the private sector, eventually bringing him to Boulder in 1995. When NASA sent its first rover to Mars in the late 1990s, Farrand started applyof ing his expertise to new obserpeople signed up for a one- vations of the red planet, and ended up working with the way trip to the red planet Spirit and Opportunity rovers. with Mars One, most astro“With both rovers, we nauts would prefer to return found abundant evidence of rocks that had been altered to Earth at the end of their through the action of water. In mission. its early history, water was very active in affecting the mineralogy of the planet,” he explains. In addition to searching for signs of ancient life and preparing samples for eventual return to Earth, Perseverance also hosts some technology demonstration projects. The most visible of these experiments is a small helicopter named Ingenuity, which will soon attempt the first rotorcraft flight on another planet. The small vehicle, about the size of a toaster but with blades four feet across to keep it aloft in the thin Martian atmosphere, has a high-resolution camera but no scientific instruments. If Ingenuity does manage to fly, future drones may gather their own scientific data or serve as scouts guiding their rovers to the most promising nearby geological sites. The coolest technology demonstration project on Perseverance may not be as flashy as a space helicopter, but it is far more important for the future of human exploration on Mars. “It has an instrument that will test a process for generating oxygen from the Martian atmosphere,” Farrand says. “Future missions could use this capability to produce part of the fuel for a return trip to Earth. That would be a huge thing, making round-trip missions much more feasible.” Although thousands of people signed up for a one-way trip to the red planet with Mars One, most astronauts would prefer to return to Earth at the end of their mission. The ability to manufacture oxygen, and ultimately rocket fuel, from resources that already exist on Mars would make more room for other necessities of the long journey. The most efficient mission plans require 18 months of travel time plus 500 days on the planet itself, while more expensive options would aim to complete the trip in just over eight months. Keeping the mission duration as short as possible will help astronauts survive the harmful cosmic radiation in interplanetary space. Perseverance was designed to work on Mars for a minimum of two years, but its predecessor, the Curiosity rover, is still running strong after eight. NASA releases images and information about new discoveries frequently, so stay tuned to as the mission continues. Travis Metcalfe, Ph.D., is a researcher and science communicator based in Boulder. The Lab Notes series is made possible in part by a research grant from the National Science Foundation.


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Another day in America by Boulder Weekly staff




here are the sirens. The police cars. The SWAT team. The yellow tape. The media trucks. The overhead shots of the crime scene. The people fleeing through the back door. The livestream. The tearful interviews. The embraces of survivors. The shot of the bloody suspect. The police chief on CNN. The shock. The hashtags. The grief. The grief. Didn’t we just go through this? In Atlanta six days ago. In five other mass shootings in the last week. In Colorado Springs, Aurora, Littleton. Las Vegas, Orlando. Newtown, Parkland. No, it feels different. It’s Boulder. It’s us. It’s our turn. It’s shocking to see the roof of our neighborhood grocery store on the national news, and the sidewalks of Broadway tinted by the red and blue lights of cop cars out our office window. It’s shocking to see our neighbors struggle in front of dozens of news cameras; struggle to make sense of how a normal day in Boulder, a trip to the grocery store, became, in an instant, an indelible moment in history. Shocking to see our home, from the locked doors of our South Boulder office, become another entry in a long list of mass

MARCH 25, 2021

shootings in the U.S. A name on a Wikipedia page. Boulder, 10 killed. Ten people. Eric, Denny, Neven, Rikki, Tralona, Suzanne, Teri, Kevin, Lynn and Jody. Ten souls taken from this earth. Any one of them could have been us, could have been you. Someone you know, or someone you love. Maybe you do know them, maybe you do love them. And maybe this feeling is familiar, because you can’t live in the United States of America without being affected by gun violence. March 22 was just another day in this country. Just like any of us could have been in that store that day, a killer with an assault rifle could have opened fire in any community in the U.S. That’s the country we live in. And the question we must ask ourselves as we grapple for meaning and cope with our grief is, would our reactions to this shooting be different if it happened in Omaha or Phoenix or Grand Rapids? Of course it would. Because our reaction now to this shooting so close, with our neighbors and loved ones and public servants involved, is different than our reaction to shootings elsewhere. And so we ask ourselves next: Does every town need to endure a mass shooting in order for change to occur?



The students at Marjory happened, anger that many Stoneman Douglas High of the officials we elected to School who so swiftly and protect us are failing, anger efficiently launched a that we didn’t do enough to national movement to hold them accountable until change gun laws did so gun violence came for us, because they were burand anger that we, too, must dened with the weight of now carry the burden of grief from a mass shooting changing gun culture. in their community — the Let’s turn it into action. burden that we now carry. We’ll do our small part They were representaat Boulder Weekly by examintives of a generation that ing the causes of this tragewas finally going to say, dy, exploring the solutions, “Enough,” and the media tracking the impact of the lauded these young cataviolence in our community, lysts. But it’s clear now the and holding lawmakers focus was too much on the accountable for action. We’ll messenger and not the do it long after the TV message. And we put too crews leave town and anothmuch on them. We looked er story takes over the news at these motivated young people and cycle. And we’ll widen our scope on handed off the impossible burden of this issue to cover events and actions may be feeling a lot of things reversing centuries of U.S. gun culture. beyond Boulder County because now And the events of the past few days are we’re certain: gun violence anywhere is right now. A look around social media indicates evidence we didn’t do enough. gun violence here. When soulless people called them You may notice we aren’t providing righteous anger is one such emotion. Anger that crisis actors, and when those same much coverage of the incident in this opportunistic halfwits did the same to week’s paper, as there are plenty of local the Sandy Hook parents, did we do and national sources to find the limited this happened, anger that we, too, must now carry enough to engage and challenge our details yet released — and plenty of neighbors, family members and friends conflicting and erroneous information the burden of changing gun culture. who were “just asking questions” in flying around the internet. But like so group chats and at family gatherings? many of you, we’re religiously following Let’s turn it into action. Did we push our lawmakers enough, this as it unfolds. We understand our support other communities to push role in Boulder’s media landscape — to their lawmakers enough? dig deeper and contextualize breaking Of course we didn’t. Maybe we news to help the community undercouldn’t. How could we sympathize stand and process what is happening. with survivors of mass shootings who As journalists, we’re committed to must cope with unique grief, carry a unique burgiven the suspect didn’t live in Boulder and we covering this story for the weeks, months, even den? don’t yet know where he bought the gun. years ahead. As people, we’re grieving. Now we know. And we can leverage the We may not know all the answers that will preBut the burden of change is lessened if we all resources in our community to effect change. vent another shooting like this in another commucarry some weight. Tell us what you’re doing to Though there is a complex array of factors — nity or our own, but we have places to start: ban make change. Tell us how we can help you. mental health, socioeconomics, social support — assault rifles, expand background checks, remove And take care of yourself, Boulder. Take the that contribute to every mass shooting, one thing is officials beholden to the gun lobby and its hardline time you need to cope and then look forward. We constant: the ease with which those who want to supporters from office, invest in mental health are not victims. We are all survivors — it could kill people can get a gun. resources and find novel ways to reach those on the have been any of us, and it always could have been. And there is a tragic irony in the fact that the fringe before they commit acts of violence. And so we will make change. We will dawn a suspected killer used an assault rifle, according to You, like us, may be feeling a lot of things right new day in America. the arrest affidavit, and just a week prior, a judge now — and the shock may not have even worn off A verified fundraiser for the families of those killed struck down Boulder’s assault weapon ban — not yet. But a look around social media indicates righon March 22 is open for donations: that the ban would’ve prevented this shooting teous anger is one such emotion. Anger that this

You, like us,



MARCH 25, 2021



Boulder could play central role in shaping state pretrial reform legislation by Angela K. Evans


oulder has become the center of a robust debate about criminal justice reform as legislation proposed by the ACLU and introduced in the Colorado Senate has drawn criticism from local law enforcement, businesses and residents. If passed, Senate Bill 21-062 would increase law enforcement discretion to use summons instead of arrest, requiring it for low-level misdemeanor and felony offenses like traffic violations and drug offenses where public safety or ongoing criminal behavior aren’t a concern. It also builds off a 2019 law that eliminated cash bail for petty offenses by requiring courts to instead use personal recognizance bonds for limited misdemeanor or lowlevel offenses, unless the person is considered a flight risk. Lastly, it codifies the authority local sheriffs have been using during the pandemic to safely reduce their jail populations. Sponsored by Democratic Sen. Pete Lee of El Paso County, the legislation is an effort to decrease Colorado’s overcrowded jails, populated in large part by pretrial detainees. It was developed through a stakeholder process, including law enforcement groups. Many of the proposed changes come out of public health policies implemented at jails around the state during the coronavirus pandemic. For example, the ACLU released a report in October that found the increased use of summons and heightened arrest standards used during COVID led to a 48% drop in people being held pretrial on misdemeanor charges across the state. But at a March 4 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing deliberating the bill, advocates of the legislation were surprised to hear pushback from Boulder, largely seen as a partner in 16


issues of criminal justice reform. Local Boulder business owners, as well as Chip from Downtown Boulder, testified against the bill, citing increased break-ins on the Pearl Street Mall. Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold also opposed the bill, citing increased property crime statistics in the last year and comments

she’s heard from the community and seen on social media questioning public safety. “I feel like the community feels like the police cannot protect them,” she said. “The anxiety in Boulder right now is high.” Louisville Police Chief Dan Hayes, also testified against the bill calling it “anti-victim.” And the legislation has some more obvious opponents. The American Bail Coalition, represented by Jeff Clayton based in Denver, specifically opposes the cash bail provisions of the bill, saying that it significantly reduces judge’s discretion, offering limited exceptions. He thinks the same discretion afforded at the time of arrest should also be given to MARCH 25, 2021

region say there’s been an uptick in certain types of crime over the last year of the pandemic — vehicle thefts and property crimes, like breaking into cars, in particular — it’s difficult to connect that directly to jail populajudges. For example, as it’s written tion size. now, “mandatory DV [domestic vio“There are two things that I know lence] arrests are presumptive zero to be true, and that is crime is real bail,” he says, “which is really crazy and the fear of crime can even be that it’s important enough for an offi- worse,” Maes says. “And I get that cer to have discretion to arrest on the Boulder has seen spikes in certain street, but it’s not important enough types of crimes, but there is no data for a judge to have discretion.” to support that that increase in crime Overall, he cautions Colorado in is correlated to the decline in the jail population.” BOULDER WEEKLY STAFF Both Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle and District Attorney Michael Dougherty, who have taken a neutral position on the legislation, agree it’s difficult to make a direct correlation between increased crime and the current jail restrictions, citing more complex factors driving recent crime increases. “I think it has to do with the financial strain on individuals, the lack of behavioral health treatment, especially during the pandemic when people can’t connect in person,” Dougherty says. “I think it’s partly fewer witnesses being out on the streets. We see less crime when there’s more people outside.” Both Pelle and Dougherty expect these types of crime to adopting legislation limiting cash bail decrease significantly as the pandemic that other states have passed and wanes, and express their continued rolled back, like what’s recently hapcommitment to criminal justice pened in New York. reform. Since Pelle was first elected However, the bill’s supporters say 18 years ago, he says there’s been this is all part of the criminal justice pressure to reduce the jail population. reform Boulder so frequently advo“When we’re trying to fix probcates for. lems, like angry, upset, semi-violent “Pretrial reform is something that people, because they’re mentally ill or we work on every session, and this is high on drugs, the jail isn’t going to the next iteration of that work,” says fix it,” Pelle says. “And now there’s a Denise Maes, public policy director of lot of pushback saying we need to put the ACLU of Colorado. She adds people in jail, so it’s been an interestthat aspects of this bill have been dis- ing twist.” cussed for years, some of it was even Dougherty adds, “I think if this included in a large bipartisan criminal bill were introduced a year from now, justice reform bill proposed in early I imagine there’d be far less focus, 2020 that ultimately fell to the panattention and concern on it.” demic chopping block. In other words, the timing of the While law enforcement across the bill also plays into some of the comI


munity resistance. “The constant threat to criminal justice reform is if people in the community lose faith, because they think public safety is being jeopardized, that’s when they start to speak out,” Dougherty says. “I think that’s what we’re seeing right now is just the perception that because property crimes have gone up, people are less safe than they used to be.” Dougherty says Boulder is safe, however, relative to other communities, and public safety is his office’s top priority. (BW interviewed the DA prior to the mass shooting on March 22, but it’s a sentiment he reiterated during press conferences following the event.) Misinformation is swirling around the debate as well. Pelle says he’s getting community questions about why the jail is closed (it’s not), or how people are being assaulted, or stores broken into, or how suspects aren’t booked into jail (they are). But jail capacity is still limited due to certain social distancing and COVID precaution measures in place, and law enforcement has expressed frustration about the jail not taking more people into custody, Pelle says. Since last March, the population has hovered between 280 and 300, Pelle says, still higher from the early months of the pandemic, when it dropped below 200, but also down from its height of 460 daily average pre-pandemic. Overall, Pelle says what’s proposed under SB 62 more closely resembles the County’s arrest standards pre-pandemic. What the bill would do, however, is codify that across the state, he adds. When it comes to cash bail, while the bill may change things for other places, it won’t change much in Boulder County, Pelle says, given that community corrections and pretrial services have been used instead of monetary bonds for a while. “This is the work, what criminal justice reform is, and I’m having a lot of conversations with folks in Boulder who want criminal justice reform on a national level,” says Elizabeth Epps, founder of the Colorado Freedom BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

PUTTING MORE AND more people in jail is not the answer to any of our societal woes. ... The fact is that we have had an addiction to jails and prisons for a long time, and yet we are no safer as a result of them. So we need to find a different way. — Denise Maes, public policy director of ACLU Colorado

Fund, a community bond initiative, and a community organizer with the ACLU’s Bring our Neighbors Home initiative. “And they support the George Floyd policing act, they have these big-picture ideas of progress, but when it comes to what that looks like in their own communities, they’re incredibly resistant.” Among the bill’s individual supporters are Denver DA Beth McCann, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weisser, and La Plata County Sheriff Sean Smith. Both the County Sheriffs of Colorado and the Colorado District Attorneys Council have taken a neutral stance on the legislation. The state’s large, wellfunded victim advocacy groups have all taken a neutral position on the bill, as well, and many victims testified in favor of it at the judiciary hearing, advocates point out. The Boulder Chamber has yet to take a position on the bill, but president and CEO John Tayer says he’s following the bill, wanting to make sure law enforcement has tools to address crime and repeat offenses, as well as ensure civil rights protections for individuals. “Boulder Chamber wants to make sure that whatever position we take on the legislation is thoughtfully balancing public safety, as well as respect for those who are accused of criminal behavior,” he says. The Senate Judiciary Committee eventually passed the bill 3-2 along party lines. It’s currently in Senate appropriations, given its $93,000 general fund price tag. It will then go to the full Senate for discussion I

(expected in the next several weeks), which is where more amendments could potentially come into play. Dougherty says he plans to meet with the ACLU to continue conversations about amending it further, and the City of Boulder appears to also want amendments. On March 18, Boulder’s Intergovernmental Affairs Committee discussed the bill with many initially wanting to take an oppositional stance. Council member Aaron Brockett, however, cautioned against such a strong position, advocating instead for the City to work with the bill’s authors on amendments to clarify and address issues raised by Boulder’s business and law enforcement community. “Moving away from an arrest and jail-based approach to enforcement of minor offenses is a positive direction to go in,” Brockett says. “And this is in the context of the United States as a society that experiences mass incarceration particularly with people of color and African-Americans, we need to be moving away from using jail as a tool for too many situations.” Like the rest of Boulder’s public officials, Brockett is concerned about increased crime in the last year, however, he attributes a lot of it to the pandemic and doesn’t expect it to continue as the public health emergency fades. “We’ve heard from a lot of people in the community that they’re worried that this bill would sort of keep the current problematic state of things and make it permanent,” he says. “That’s not the intention of the bill.” MARCH 25, 2021

Instead, he’s advocating Boulder lobby for certain amendments that would add specificity to some of the exceptions and clarify which serious crimes could still result in an arrest. For example, currently the bill allows for an arrest if someone is in possession of a firearm, but Brockett would like to include other deadly weapons like knives or machetes. In the end, the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee agreed not to oppose the bill, but instead take an “amend” position. The full City Council is scheduled to discuss the legislation at its next regular meeting on April 6. “Personally, I don’t think we should oppose this bill,” Brockett says. “I think we should work to improve it because I think it’s going in good directions.” A spokesperson for Boulder Police Chief Herold told BW in an email: “Chief Herold is currently busy working on amendments on the bill with impacted organizations.” Maes says she’s aware of the City’s amend position, and has some indication of what changes, at least conceptually, the City would like to make, but the ACLU has yet to have any substantial discussions about new amendments. “Putting more and more people in jail is not the answer to any of our societal woes. And it’s certainly not the answer to crime,” Maes says. “The fact is that we have had an addiction to jails and prisons for a long time, and yet we are no safer as a result of them. So we need to find a different way.” While many within Boulder County are still debating SB 62, everyone seems to agree on one thing: They want to see more done at the state legislature to address issues of substance and mental health, which for years has been the largest contributor to high jail populations. “I also think we have to work on the substance abuse and mental health issues that people experience as an initiative in and of itself,” Brockett says. “The support that we have in our society for people experiencing those issues is really lacking.” I


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MARCH 25, 2021




30 years of community and music

eTown celebrates three decades of broadcasting with an induction into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame

by Katie Rhodes



s this issue was going to print, we learned that eTown’s House Manager Suzanne Fountain was among the 10 people fatally shot at the King Soopers in South Boulder on Monday afternoon, March 22. Nick Forster and the eTown team posted a memorial on Facebook and have put her picture up on eTown Hall’s front doors with a display in her memory. “We’re all going through a lot of different stages of grief right now,” Nick, eTown founder, says in a Wednesday morning phone call. “We’re super sad, but we’re also angry and dumbfounded that this kind of behavior is so prevalent and accepted.” Fountain had worked with eTown for around 17 years, according to Nick, and was a valued and cherished member of the team. Starting as a volunteer in the earlier years, she was eventually hired as the house manager when eTown Hall was founded in 2011. Fountain also worked as a Medicare agent, helping seniors find supplemental insurance coverage, having spent the previous 15 years as a financial counselor at Boulder Community Health. She was also well known in the local theater world as an award-winning actress and supporter of the arts. Fountain leaves behind a son and life partner. While nothing is planned yet, Nick hints that future


eTown shows will feature tributes to Fountain, and could also include discussions about gun control. “There are 10 families that are heartbroken today,” Nick says. “We’re just one of the circles in her life: she had her family, her professional circle, her theater circle and her eTown circle, and we’re all feeling the same thing. Disbelief. Loss. She was really special; a smart, service-oriented, problem-solving fierce and feisty redhead with a huge heart.”

EARTH DAY IS SPECIAL FOR NICK AND HELEN FORSTER. On April 22, 1991, an idea was born in their Boulder backyard: create a radio experience that combined a live music broadcast with conversations about environmentalism and sustainability. Now, 30 years later, eTown is one of the largest internationally syndicated broadcasting shows in the country, featuring radio content, podcasts, and multimedia and events production. Decades of exceptional live music, concentrated content on climate change and social issues, and community outreach has made eTown a staple in Boulder, see ETOWN Page 20

MARCH 25, 2021






ETOWN from Page 19

and earned it a place in the Colorado Music Hall of Fame (CMHOF), into which it is being inducted, fittingly, on Earth Day this year. “eTown’s success has been amazing,” says Chuck Morris, founder of the CMHOF. “This organization is such a great representative of the music community in Colorado and has put Boulder on the map in a lot of ways. It wasn’t easy for them to grow into what they are today. They take risks with their content, and in doing so have created something very few people could accomplish. Nick and Helen put this show together on a wing and a prayer, and now it’s been one of the crown jewels of the music scene for decades.” Nick, a veteran of the ’70’s genre-defining rock/bluegrass band Hot Rize, had a vision of what this radio show could become from the very beginning. Fueled by the naïve swagger of a determined man with a dream, Nick preemptively called NPR in the early spring of 1991 pitching a hot new radio show, one that was different from anything anyone had ever heard, one that combined live music with important conversations about the changing world, the environment — an example of how humanity can come together over good music to promote and implement positive change. NPR politely declined. This prompted his then-fiancé (now wife) Helen, cofounder of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and a musician and performer in her own right, to encourage a demo recording of the first episode of the show put on at Boulder Theater. It was this demo, taken by Nick down to New Orleans for the Public Radio Conference later that spring, that ultimately got NPR’s attention. “I went down to that conference by myself, set up a tent, and acted like I knew what I was talking about,” recalls Nick, laughing. “I was completely uninformed. I had printed up T-shirts, was handing out cassettes, made flyers that read ‘COMING SOON TO PUBLIC RADIO: Great Live Music, Environmental Information, and More!’ And people were coming up to me asking about the show, asking questions I didn’t know the answer to, but answered anyways under a ‘fake it until you make it’ guise.” It only took a few weeks for NPR to call back and 20


give Nick an enthusiastic thumbs up. eTown was picked up and thrown onto a circuit of 40 radio stations — the first to commit, as Nick recalls, was KDNK in Carbondale, Colorado. It started with 13 shows. Nick called in favors from all the people he had met on the road touring with Hot Rize, and in eTown’s first season it featured performances by Lyle Lovett, Shawn Colvin, James Taylor, Sam Bush, and many others. eTown continued to put on shows at the Boulder Theater in those early days, lodging visiting artists at the Boulderado and connecting with local radio stations like KBCO to broadcast. But after a lightning round 13-week run, eTown ran out of money and went off the air. “We didn’t really know what we were doing,” Nick admits. “We were trying to sustain ourselves on ticket sales, we had no sponsors or advertisers, and we just didn’t know how to raise money at all. It took us a few years to figure out how to make a show. Those early years were awkward but precious; we were apologetic and unsure as we tried to find that balance between music and environmental content.” But they kept the ball rolling, learning from self-proclaimed naïveté, and eventually found the right track. eTown’s weekly show came to consistently feature two artists (instead of the initial four) during an hour-long time slot, offering a chance to dig deeper with each guest: usually one well-known artist and one yet to break onto the scene. After four years with NPR, eTown became completely independent with no network, no distributor, no title sponsors — an incredibly rare find among syndicated radio shows. Nick wrote all the scripts while Helen did pre-production. The crew was small but the vision was growing, coming into itself. Helen established the eChievement Award program at the very beginning in 1991, highlighting organizations and individuals whose work fell into categories like “Feeding the Hungry,” “Protecting the Planet,” “Supporting Children” and “Social and Environmental Impact.” Winners were (and still are) invited to come on the show as guests and talk about their work, a way of celebrating ordinary people doing extraordinary things — and a major step forward in eTown’s community outMARCH 25, 2021


reach work. ON THE BILL: ETOWN WILL BROADCAST ITS Other work through 30TH anniversary show on the years includes April 22, featuring its induceTown’s HandMade Songs tion ceremony into the Colorado Music Hall of program, which gives Fame, performances by Lyle young songwriters in Lovett, Los Lobos, new artist Colorado the opportunity Raquel Garcia, and many more, with plenty of retroto submit recordings of spective archival material to their original songs, with celebrate three decades of five chosen every year to bringing music and environmental content to the compair with producers and munity and beyond. record in the eTown studio. Recently, the organization spearheaded a project offering instruments and instruction to young people experiencing homelessness, with an opportunity for studio time. In 2020, when the pandemic upended income opportunities for artists of all stripes, Nick co-founded Create Boulder to help local artists secure more funding. But in those early days, the strain of trying to sustain the organization and rent the Boulder Theater pointed to a need for a dedicated facility. In 2012, eTown moved into 1535 Spruce St., the site of an old stone church. The City originally told Nick he could buy the building but not use it, since it was only zoned for use as a church; Nick, determined to move eTown into the space he had been after since 1991, went online and became an ordained minister so the City couldn’t reasonably refuse him. The church was lovingly renovated (all with repurposed materials) to make its own solar power and generate energy-efficient heating and cooling, and now eTown Hall not only serves as the organiztion’s office headquarters but also as a live-music venue and recording studio all-in-one. For the first time, everyone was together under the same roof during pre-production, broadcasting and post-production. Its labyrinthine halls lead from recording studios to editing suites, from office rooms to voice-over booths. Bits of the church’s original stone walls and foundations peek out in unexpected places, a testament to the repurposed nature of the building and a nod to its past. The hall also boasts a dimly lit “Amendment 69” room (with BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


its own ventilation system), where visiting artists can take a smoke break and doodle on the wallmounted chalkboard. Artist signatures crawl up several walls in the building, taking up the space between portraits of past performing artists, many of them friends of Nick. Every part of the structure is sustainable — the original wooden gym floor now lies on the floor of the recording studio. The old church pews make up the seating area in the live music theater. Counters are crafted from the rejected materials of a company that turns recycled paper into “paperstone.” The cabinets are made from Beetlekill pine, and on and on. The whole building is a testament to how eTown practices what it preaches. “eTown is built on the premise of music being a community builder,” Nick says. “My experience as a musician was predicated on the same thing. Music brings people together across boundaries and borders. We live in a divisive time, so we’re looking for ways to break down those barriers and bring people together. We want to infuse people with a spirit of discovery, and broaden people’s sense of what kind of music they like. The fabric of eTown is using music to build community and raise awareness around issues that are critical. When we moved into eTown Hall, we suddenly had the opportunity to do that in a tangible way for our community here in Colorado.” But even before eTown had permanent digs, Nick and Helen’s vision was strong: pair bigger artists with

lesser-knowns, mainstream with niche. People came to hear the big names and left talking about artists they’d never heard of before. In 2006, eTown broadcast a Christmas show from The Town Hall in New York City, featuring Canadian balladeer Sarah McLachlan and gospel icons The Blind Boys of Alabama. The first time Willie Nelson appeared as a guest on the show in 1996, eTown paired him with West-African singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo; neither had heard of the other. Some of these pairings went on to record songs or even whole albums together. The first time Ben Harper was on the show, Nick says Harper was so inspired by the eChievement Award winner he was paired with that he stayed in touch with him, sending him a boombox so he could listen to music while

working with his nonprofit Living Lands and Waters on the Mississippi River, and inviting him to shows when he played locally. “It’s this kind of cross-pollination between artists and interview guests and award-winners that we’re seeking to foster,” Nick says. The presence and influence eTown has in Colorado — and the country, for that matter — has never gone unnoticed by the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. Paul Epstein, current co-chair of CMHOF, explains that since the organization’s inception 10 years ago (like eTown, the Hall of Fame is also celebrating an anniversary this year), eTown has been on its radar. “We were always going to induct eTown,” says Epstein, owner of Twist and Shout in Denver. “eTown is about trying to create something magical, inspiring, intangible,” Nick says. “It’s hard to measure the impact we’ve been able to make, but I know that there have been inspiring moments during every show that we’ve shared with millions of people. I think the main thing is, every time we tape a show, over 30 people go to work, from the house band to the recording engineers, lighting designers, the house managers, not to mention the volunteers and donors... it’s a big crew and team of people that work together on behalf of this bigger idea. We’re not just trying to be in the music business, we’re trying to be in the change-the-world business with music as our currency.”

Friday, March 26 Saturday, April 3, 2021 Overflowing with cultural destinations, public art, and home to thousands of artists: Boulder ranks among the top art cities. Boulder Arts Week is Boulder’s only large-scale, inclusive celebration of our community’s vibrant arts, culture and thriving creativity. In 2021, Boulder Arts Week will feature virtual and COVID safe art walks, exhibitions, performances, dance, music, theater, public art, readings, and workshops. Join us to show your love for our arts community! Street Wise Arts. In progress photo of “Portrait of Sojourner Truth” by Jodie Herrera as part of Street Wise Boulder. Photo credit Peter Kowalchuk.



MARCH 25, 2021



Join us for the 73rd

Conference on WORLD AFFAIRS April 5–11, 2021

7 days 29 live events 80+ speakers

Endless discoveries Join us for a week of live virtual events, free and open to all

New Monday-through-Sunday schedule Watch live at

2021 event themes include racism in the U.S., health care, Generation Z. See the full speaker list and RSVP at



If your organization is planning an event of any kind, please email Caitlin at


6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 25, Fairview High School, 1515 Greenbriar Blvd., Boulder. In the wake of the shooting at the Table Mesa King Soopers, Moms Demand Action hopes to help support the Boulder community through a drive-in, socially distant car vigil. Organizers ask that you adhere to other COVID protocols and mask wearing.


March 23-31, Out Boulder County celebrates Trans Awareness Week at the end of March in honor of Trans Day of Celebration (March 31; internationally recognized as Trans Day of Visibility). Out Boulder strives to center and celebrate trans community members through programming that is educational, inspiring and empowering. For questions, please email Michal Duffy (they/them) at Boulder County Gender Support — 7 p.m. Thursday, March 25, email to get the meeting link ‘Man Made’ Film Screening — 7 p.m. Friday, March 26, RSVP and the viewing link will be sent to you 30 minutes before the event: Name and Gender Change Clinic — 3 p.m. Thursday, March 27, with Colorado Name Change Project, Zoom: Boulder County Gender Support — 7 p.m. Monday, March 29, email to get the meeting link Hear Our Stories: TransLatina Immigrants in the U.S. | Escuche Nuestras Historias: Inmigrantes TransLatinas en los Estados Unidos — 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 30, Zoom: Intergenerational Trans Talk — 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, with Rainbow Elders of Boulder County, Zoom:


2 p.m. Sunday, March 28, Museum of Boulder, 2205 Broadway, Boulder. Tickets are $8-$10, children 4 and under free, The Persian Cultural Circle is set to host Senses of Nowruz, a sensory experience throughout the Museum of Boulder, featuring a display of artisanal hand crafts and traditional musical instruments, as well as a calligraphy art/Omar Khayyam poetry card and a festive take-home craft. In the Garden Level courtyard, visitors will be served Persian tea with individually packaged customized cookies infused with cardamom, rose petals and saffron, listen to traditional music and enjoy the surroundings. The organization’s members will be posted throughout the museum, with some wearing traditional Iranian garments. Senses of Nowruz is included with admission to the museum on the day of the event.


5:30 p.m. Sunday, March 28, via Zoom. Tickets are available through Eventbrite, Bishop Karen Oliveto and Rev. Jeff Rainwater will be reading aloud Cristian Solano Córdova’s autobiographical story of enduring courage in the journey across the border, through threats and toward liberty.


8 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, via Webex. Registration is required and is available online at The Longmont Public Library’s popular Authors We Love series returns with best-selling author Jamie Ford, a Northwest author widely known for his bestselling Seattle-based novels. His debut, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, spent two years on the New York Times bestseller list. Ford is the great-grandson of Nevada mining pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated from Kaiping, China, to San Francisco in 1865, where he adopted the western name “Ford,” thus confusing countless generations. Attendees will be invited to submit questions via chat during the presentation for Ford to answer after the talk. Ford’s books, with signed bookplates, will be available for purchase at Barbed Wire Books. Readers can also check out his books from the library catalog.


Thursday, March 25-31. This virtual showing is free, Grab a Guinness and settle by the fire for some classic Irish theater! The Upstart Crow presents three short plays by Lady Gregory: The Rising of the Moon, The Gaol Gate and Spreading the News. see EVENTS Page 24



MARCH 25, 2021



EVENTS from Page 23




BOULDER ARTS WEEK 2021 Boulder Arts Week is back with a slate of programs intended to keep you safe while you explore the best arts and culture Boulder has to offer. From virtual classes to exhibitions, art shows, panel discussions, plays, choreography and live music, there’s something for everyone. Here’s a smattering of events coming up; check for a full lineup.


March 25-April 5, Bricolage Gallery at Art Parts Creative Reuse Center, 2860 Bluff St., Boulder, As a tribute to collage artist Romare Bearden, you’re invited to help create a new version of his famous work “The Block” at Art Parts Creative Reuse Center. Stop by the shop any day during Boulder Arts Week and make your own city block to add to a mural in the Bricolage Gallery. Open to artists of all ages and abilities. Art Parts will provide the materials, so just bring your creativity.


Through April 15, The 2021 Library Art Contest has started and everyone is encouraged to enter. Five different designs will be chosen from different age brackets. Download an appropriate form (kids or adults) online, and submit your design in-person or online. Only one submission per person. Winners will have their design featured on library cards until next year.



11 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, March 26, via Zoom. Free event, registration required: Join The Big Dream community for this virtual summit to get inspired, connect and step into your “superpower.” 11 a.m. — The Big Dreamers Panel: Get inspired by badasses who are already living life outside of the box. 2 p.m. — Playshop: The Big Dream’s Guide to the Galaxy: Founder Diana Sabreen takes you on a treasure hunt to find your superpower and start living your dreams. 5 p.m. — The Big Dream Meetup: A fun and facilitated community-building happy hour to network, play and connect.

Call for Artists: 2-8 p.m. Friday, March 26; Art sale: Saturday, March 27– Thursday, April 1, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, 1750 13th St., Boulder. All artists are invited to share their work at Open Wall, a week-long self-curated community art exhibition and sale at Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. Artists are invited to come to BMoCA anytime between 2-8 p.m. on March 26 to install their art in the museum. Artists price their own work, and all art must be install-ready. Open Wall art will be on exhibition in BMoCA’s event space and for sale from Saturday, March 27–Thursday, April 1.



March 26-28, Learn more about the films here: Join the second annual Women’s History Month Screening, celebrating and featuring the work of womxn directors and extraordinary womxn performers. This lineup, brought to you by Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema, features contemporary dance films from Australia, Brazil, Japan and the United States.


9 a.m.-5 p.m.Thursday, March 25, Walden Ponds Wildlife Habitat, 3893 N. 75th St., Boulder. Tickets are $10$15 (students are free), All photographers, using any equipment, are welcome to register for this first-ever event, brought to you with support from Mike’s Camera. Similar to a plein air paintout, you are welcome to spend as much or as little time as you like shooting in this beautiful wetlands wildlife habitat. Qualified images must be shot at Walden Ponds at any time through 5 p.m. on March 29. All submitted images will be displayed on a special online gallery page and the best three will be acknowledged and awarded prizes from Mike’s Camera. The three winning images will also be printed and exhibited at the Boulder store.


4 p.m. Friday, March 26, Kutandara Center, 5401 Western Ave., Suite B, Boulder. This class is designed for 6- to 8-year-old students who have had one year or less of marimba instruction. Students will learn the names of the marimbas, their relationship to each other, and the names of the notes on each one. Students will also learn how to hold mallets correctly and strike the keys properly.



MARCH 25, 2021

March 26-April 4. 40th season subscription: $175 per adult; ‘SPRING’ concert film only: $50 per adult, Boulder Bach Festival’s SPRING ing Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A Major (K.414), on an exquisite historical piano. Zachary Carrettín leads an ensemble of strings in Mozart’s own chamber version of this thrilling and heartfelt concerto. The duo collaborates with BBF favorite artists in a variety of musical artworks. To view the SPRING Colorado concert film, patrons will receive their own password and a link to view directly online (using a computer or television via internet browser).





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1 p.m. Sunday, March 28, The Spark, 4847 Pearl St., Suite B4, Boulder. Draw four different models, collectively offering 50 different poses throughout the duration. The first two hours will be short poses: dynamic two-minute gestures, followed by five-minute warm-ups, 10-minute poses and 20-minute poses. Then there will be a short break to switch sets of models before the final two hours of long poses: a 45-minute pose before finishing up with a one-hour pose. Artists must pre-register to maintain safe gathering numbers. All of the Spark’s theater garage doors will be wide open, essentially making this a covered plein air venue. We are asking the artists to bring their own easel or chair for as touch-less of an experience as possible.


1 p.m. Sunday, March 28, Boulder Public Library, Main Branch, 1001 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder. Short Story Dispensers are the rage in Europe and are now popping up around the U.S. The Boulder Public Library Foundation gifted the library with two dispensers that will be available for the public to interact with for years to come. Come wave your hand over the kiosk and a story will be generated just for your reading pleasure. Authors from around the globe are featured, and choices include short stories curated for children, adults or in Spanish.

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March 26-April 3, via YouTube. This event is a video tutorial: Batik is an Indonesian technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to the whole cloth, made either by drawing dots and lines with a spouted tool called a canting, or by printing with a copper stamp called a cap. But don’t worry: no fancy wax needed for this tutorial!


7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 28, Oskar Blues Pearl St. Taproom, 921 Pearl St., Boulder. Tickets: This workshop is for all artistic skill levels and will clearly walk you through creating a fun, colorful painting that is sure to wow your friends. Canvases, paints and live instruction will be provided as you paint your masterpiece in a safe, socially distanced space. Oskar Blues beer and food will be available for purchase, but is not included in the ticket cost.

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4:30 p.m. Monday, March 29 via Zoom, A talk about the healing power of indigenous art, the development of resilience and creativity, and the ways in which art can help us heal from historical and generational trauma. The discussion will approach the ancestral and contemporary art of some indigenous regions of Mexico to learn about its transformative power, and the way in which art has empowered indigenous peoples. Participants will learn about the healing processes some indigenous women have found through art. This event will be bilingual (English and Spanish).



Dr. Terri Oneby 303-443-4545 MARCH 25, 2021



in the light

by Aren McCartney


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Waking up each morning Pieces of my skin stick to my sheets Flesh unbound, pulling away A viscous, visceral stretch in the direction of my movement, a line between what was and what is I start each day Molting, shedding off what I used to be Attempting to be comfortable in my own skin as I begin To try and determine what’s underneath and let my petals open To feel a sense of release From all that I’ve surrounded myself in Trying to grow and get out from under What I’ve been telling myself was peace But all along I’ve been in a war with the one person I can no longer ignore So I do my best to break through layers and levels of thick fluid and blood Painful with the hurt of having a beating, bleeding heart, I start With my two red-stained hands And rip the dead, unwanted skin off me So I can not be so down and heavy Under the morning sun I have begun to realize that for which I strive is to feel completely, openly, honestly, deeply alive To have each flower that makes up who I am blossom and thrive I’ll spend every day peeling away and clawing through the barriers I’ve built up that are in my path Until all that’s left is pure and right And I’ll wake in the morning whole, intact Blooming in the light

Aren McCartney is a poet and artist currently living in Denver. I



MARCH 21-APRIL 19: In the novel House of Leaves, the

hero Johnny Truant describes his friend Lude as wanting “more money, better parties, and prettier girls.” But Johnny wants something different. What is it? He says, “I’m not even sure what to call it except I know it feels roomy and it’s drenched in sunlight and it’s weightless and I know it’s not cheap.” In my opinion, that declaration is far too imprecise! He’ll never get what he wants until he gets clearer about it. But his fantasy is a good start. It shows that he knows what the fulfillment of his yearning feels like. I suggest you get inspired by Johnny Truant’s approximation to conjure up one of your own. Gaze ahead a few years, and see if you can imagine what your best possible future feels like. Then describe it to yourself as precisely as possible.


APRIL 20-MAY 20: How distraught I was when I discov-

ered that one of my favorite poets, Pablo Neruda, was an admirer of the murderous dictator Joseph Stalin. It broke my heart to know I could never again read his tender, lyrical poetry with unconditional appreciation. But that’s life: Some of our heroes and teachers disappoint us, and then it’s healthy to re-evaluate our relationships with them. Or maybe our own maturation leads us to realize that once-nurturing influences are no longer nurturing. I recommend that sometime soon, you take a personal inventory with these thoughts in mind. I suspect there may be new sources of inspiration headed your way. Get ready for them.


MAY 21-JUNE 20: Self-help author Steve Maraboli has

useful advice for you to consider in the coming weeks. I hope you’ll meditate on what he says and take decisive action. He writes, “Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” To get started, Gemini, make a list of three things you do have power over and three things you wish you did but don’t have power over.


JUNE 21-JULY 22: While he was alive, Cancerian author

Franz Kafka burned 90% of everything he wrote. In a note to a friend before he died, he gave instructions to burn all the writing he would leave behind. Luckily, his friend disobeyed, and that’s why today we can read Kafka’s last three novels and a lot more of his stuff. Was his attitude toward his creations caused by the self-doubt that so many of us Cancerians are shadowed by? Was he, like a lot of us Crabs, excessively shy about sharing personal details from his life? In accordance with astrological omens, I urge you to at least temporarily transcend any Kafka-like tendencies you have. It’s time to shine brightly and boldly as you summon your full powers of selfexpression.


JULY 23-AUG. 22: To create your horoscope, I’ve borrowed ideas from Leo-born author Cassiano Ricardo. He speaks of a longing “for all that is tall like pine trees, and all that is long like rivers, and all that is purple like dusk.” I think yearnings like those will be healthy and wise for you to cultivate in the coming weeks. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you need expansive influences that stretch your imagination and push you beyond your limitations. You will benefit from meditations and experiences that inspire you to outgrow overly small expectations.


AUG. 23-SEPT. 22: Virgo actor and director Jean-

Louis Barrault (1910–1994) aspired to “wake up a virgin each morning.” He wanted “to feel hungry for life,” as if he had been reborn once again. In order to encourage that constant renewal, he regarded going to sleep every night as “a small death.” I recommend his approach to you during the coming weeks. In my


astrological opinion, the cosmic rhythms will be conspiring to regularly renew your desires: to render them pure, clean, raw and strong. Cooperate with those cosmic rhythms!


SEPT. 23-OCT. 22: Is there anything more gratifying than being listened to, understood and seen for who you really are? I urge you to seek out that pleasure in abundance during the coming weeks. My reading of the astrological omens tells me you need the nurturing jolt that will come from being received and appreciated with extra potency. I hope you have allies who can provide that for you. If you don’t, search for allies who can. And in the meantime, consider engaging the services of a skillful psychotherapist or life coach or some other professional listener.

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OCT. 23-NOV. 21: “Blobs, spots, specks, smudges,

cracks, defects, mistakes, accidents, exceptions and irregularities are the windows to other worlds,” writes author Bob Miller. I would add that all those things, along with related phenomena like fissures, blemishes, stains, scars, blotches, muck, smears, dents and imperfections, are often windows to very interesting parts of this seemingly regular old ordinary world — parts that might remain closed off from us without the help of those blobs and defects. I suggest you take full advantage of the opportunities they bring your way in the coming weeks.

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NOV. 22-DEC. 21: Innovative psychologist Carl Jung had

a nuanced understanding of the energies at work in our deep psyche. He said our unconscious minds are “not only dark but also light; not only bestial, semihuman and demonic, but also superhuman, spiritual and, in the classical sense of the word, ‘divine.’” I bring this to your attention, Sagittarius, because now is a favorable time to get better acquainted with and more appreciative of your unconscious mind. For best results, you must not judge it for being so paradoxical. Don’t be annoyed that it’s so unruly and non-rational. Have fun with its fertility and playfulness and weirdness.

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DEC. 22-JAN. 19: The fantasy drama Game of

Thrones appeared on TVs all over the world. But the audience that watched it in China got cheated out of a lot of essential action. Government censorship deleted many scenes that featured nudity and sex, fighting and violence, and appearances by dragons, which play a starring role in the story. As you can imagine, Chinese viewers had trouble following some of the plot points. Telling you about this, Capricorn, is my way of nudging you to make sure you don’t miss any of the developments going on in your own personal drama. Some may be hidden, as in China’s version of Game of Thrones. Others might be subtle or disguised or underestimated. Make it your crusade to know about everything.


JAN. 20-FEB. 18: “Words are, of course, the most power-

ful drug used by mankind,” wrote author Rudyard Kipling. Yes, they are. I agree. They change minds, rouse passions, build identities, incite social change, inspire irrationality and create worlds. This is always true, but it will be especially important for you to keep in mind during the coming weeks. The ways you use language will be key to your health and success. The language that you hear and read will also be key to your health and success. For best results, summon extra creativity and craftsmanship as you express yourself. Cultivate extra discernment as you choose what you absorb.


FEB. 19-MARCH 20: Piscean linguist Anna Wierzbicka says

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the Russian expression dusha naraspashku means “unbuttoned soul.” She continues, “The implication is that it is good, indeed wonderful, if a person’s ‘soul,’ which is the seat of emotions, is flung open in a spontaneous, generous, expansive, impetuous gesture, expressing full trust in other people and an innocent readiness for communion with them.” I wouldn’t recommend that you keep your soul unbuttoned 24/7/365, but in the coming weeks, I hope you’ll allocate more time than usual to keeping it unbuttoned.


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ON THE BILL: ‘WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn’ (pictured below) will be available to stream on Hulu starting April 2. Keep an eye out for ‘Dear Mr. Brody’ (pictured at left) on the film festival circuit.

Turning rebellion into money

The 2021 SXSW Film Fest offers two features on messianic men

by Michael J. Casey ‘WEWORK,’ COURTESY HULU


hat is it about messianic men and the chaos they cause? They are almost always false prophets, yet time and time again, we fall for their charm, for their snake oil. You probably don’t have to think long to conjure one, but if you’re drawing a blank, try these two on for size: Adam Neumann and Michael James Brody Jr. Both Neumann and Brody are the subjects of two new documentaries that premiered at 2021’s South By Southwest Film Festival — which wrapped on March 20 — and both play beautifully into psychologist Timothy Levine’s truth-default theory. But after you watch these movies, dupe-default might be a better fit. Let’s start with Neumann’s doc, WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn, from Jed Rothstein, covering the rapid rise and fall of Neumann, an Israeli entrepreneur who lived in a variety of countries before settling in New York City at the age of 23. Drawing off the city’s energy and the millennial generation 28


coming into the workforce, Neumann and partner Miguel McKelvey created WeWork, a coworking space Neumann said would change the nature of work. Capitalizing on a generation’s need to find a calling, WeWork provided purpose and a sense of belonging. To an outsider, WeWork looked an awful lot like a cult — a multi-billion-dollar cult with no ceiling. But Neumann’s inspiration became imposition: on his partners, his investors, his employees, everyone. And quicker than you can say MARCH 25, 2021

IPO, he was out. The making and breaking took less than a decade. Brody’s story is nowhere near as long and probably less familiar, even if you were around when it played out. That’s what makes Dear Mr. Brody such an effective watch; it’s a true story so forgotten it almost feels false — which director Keith Maitland leans into, crafting a documentary that plays like a mystery. The less you know about Dear Mr. Brody, the better, but here are the basics: In October 1969, Brody turned

21 and inherited his fortune as the oleomargarine heir — an unlimited sum, Brody told reporters. Three months later, Brody announced he was giving it all away to anyone who asked. All they had to do was contact him. And contact him they did. From there, things get interesting. Like Neumann, Brody was a captivating figure: young and wealthy, tall and skinny, with a shaggy head of hair. Ecstatic devotion sprung up around them, and both offered their believers something more than money. For Neumann, it was purpose; for Brody, it was love — that, and a lot of greenbacks. Of the two, Dear Mr. Brody is the better movie — WeWork is a decent doc about a fascinating story with an atrocious ending — but both hammer the point home: There are an awful lot of lost souls adrift in this world. And when a Brody or a Neumann comes along with promises too good to be true, far too many go down with them. WeWork will be available to stream on Hulu starting April 2. Dear Mr. Brody has not yet acquired distribution but will no doubt play the 2021 festival circuit until it is.











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1 Shake Shack opens March 26 At long last, Shake Shack is opening at 1680 29th St. in Boulder on Friday, March 26 at 11 a.m. The new location of the renowned burger chain will have an outdoor patio (which is dog-friendly), and you can order food from the restaurant online for pickup or delivery. There’s also an outdoor walk-up window and a drive-up window. Foodwise, the Boulder Shake Shack will offer the “regionally exclusive” Green Chile CheddarShack burger, with Hatch green chilies grown and roasted in New Mexico. Local beer and some fun lemonades and drinks will also be available; head to for menu info. Buy something on opening day and Shake Shack will donate a meal in return to Food Bank of the Rockies.



Boulder County Farmers Markets in-person markets return April 3 ASHTON RAY HANSEN

It’s spring, which means early-season and greenhouse crops are about ready for harvest and vendors at the Boulder County Farmers Markets (BCFM) are ready to sell them. BCFM is scheduled to return to in-person Saturday markets on April 3 in Boulder and Longmont. The Boulder Wednesday evening market is slated to come back May 5, and the Lafayette location will open in July. BCFM’s curbside and delivery services, launched last year because of the pandemic, will continue throughout the year. Customers can reserve a shopping time for each of the markets at, but walk-ups will be allowed, based on capacity. And BCFM will hold early shopping sessions (8-8:30 a.m.) for those over the age of 65 and anyone in a COVID-vulnerable population.

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raft brewing is a male-dominated field. Though you can dig through history to find plenty of examples of women brewers, the craft beer renaissance of the last few decades hasn’t included them in key brewing positions. A recent Brewers Association survey found that only 7.5% of responding breweries had a woman in the role of brewer; meanwhile, women make up 54% of the service staff.

The Boulder PBS chapter worked with LUKI Brewing and 4 Noses Brewing to make Pink Cyclone, a white IPA, featuring the aforementioned hop blend. Hops were added every five minutes to a Belgian wit malt bill, with additional dry hopping added a week later, creating a brew that’s hop-forward with tropical, citrus and herbal notes. The brew will be released on Friday, March 26 at the two breweries and Wild Provisions. Boulder PBS chapter leads Cammy Smith of LUKI Brewery, Amanda Oberbroeckling of 4 Noses Brewing, as well employees of Someplace Else Brewery and Sanitas Brewing Company participated in the brew day. These experiences showcase the ingenuity of women brewers and provide an opportunity to push brewing boundaries and highlight that creativity. “One of the greatest lessons I have learned through collaborating with women in PBS is that we can’t be afraid to be our best,” said Oberbroeckling, quality assurance and lab manager at 4 Noses Brewing, in a press release. “For women to be better represented in the brewing industry, we have to show up, work hard, and be an example for other women looking to enter the industry.” Other local breweries working with the Boulder PBS chapter will be releasing their collaboration brews in the coming weeks, all using the Pink Boots hop blend. Upslope’s got a saison with hibiscus and honey; Left Hand has a sour ale with prickly pear and lemon and lime peel; Odd13 will serve a West Coast-style IPA; and Sanitas is offering the Micki’s Strawberry Blonde. For more info on PBS, visit, and make sure you head out to try these unique beers and support women in brewing.

Crafty women, tasty beers Pink Boots Society collaboration beers support women in the craft industry

by Matt Cortina But there are efforts to get more women into brewing and leadership positions at breweries, along with programs that celebrate the unique contributions women make to the craft beer industry. Take the Pink Boots Society (PBS), a group that works to help women in craft beverages advance their careers through education. Every year, PBS holds a Collaboration Brew Day on International Women’s Day (March 8), wherein chapters of the group and breweries work together with female employees and interested community members to brew a unique beer using a hop blend featuring Yakima Chief hops. Proceeds from the sales of resulting brews — which vary in styles — is split among PBS chapters and used for educational programming and scholarships for its members. Now, the brews are ready and we get to taste the beers with plenty of local options to try.



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Via Williamsburg Brooklyn Pizza’s story is in its name

by Matt Cortina FROM YUGOSLAVIA to the Bahamas to Brooklyn to Colorado — and then all over again — Genc Sokolaj has lived a life that comes through in his Boulder pizza place.



ou walk into a pizza place and sometimes it has photos on the wall of New York City or other places associated with the food. It doesn’t indicate authenticity — it’s just there to prime you for New York-style pizza, emphasis on the style. Some places put an East Coast landmark in their name, which raises expectations further, expectations that are objectively hard to meet. But there’s simply no other suitable name for Brooklyn Pizza, a little shop across the street from Boulder High. Genc Sokolaj is connected to the namesake borough, and he’s got the story to prove it. It’s a story that feels like it should be a yarn — starting in the Bahamas, or actually the former Yugoslavia. Sokolaj grew up working in family bakeries before trying to open a food business when he got older. “I was trying to open a bar but they didn’t give me a license,” Sokolaj says. So he opened a clothing store, and it was successful. He did that for eight years and then wanted to get out. The plan was to travel: “six months Bahamas, six months Europe, work on English, work on food; learn, see, explore,” he says. While he was in the Bahamas, war broke out in Yugoslavia (Sokolaj is from what is now Croatia), so he hopped a boat, entered the U.S. and landed in New York City; he had some family to crash with in The Bronx. After two months — his relatives were “too old-fashI

ioned” for him — he found a cheap spot in a pre-gentrified Williamsburg, in Brooklyn. About $130 for a room per month. It was a tough time, but he learned valuable lessons. “That first year and a half was really rough,” he says. “I worked in so many places, but got so much experience because of that.” As Sokolaj tells it, he worked at restaurants throughout the city for two to three weeks at a time and when employers asked for his papers to keep employing him, he had none — he’d left his passport on the boat, he says. “They’d say what’s your Social Security number,” he says. “I don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about, to be honest. I’d say, ‘55739624836845,” and they’d say, ‘Why’d you give me so many numbers.’ I’d say, ‘Just take less numbers.’” So Sokolaj bounced around restaurants. This was 1989-90, he estimates. He was struggling financially, but connecting with the community. He was playing basketball, him and another bulky Croatian dude, every morning on the local court. He was navigating a neighborhood that had some gang and drug issues, to put it mildly. In time, though, he got his footing, and Sokolaj, who had already opened and run a successful business once before, decided to open a restaurant with $47 in his pocket. “I was the pioneer of Williamsburg,” he says with a laugh. “Opened it in ’92. In that see BROOKLYN PIZZA Page 36

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time, I can tell you on one hand how many places were there.” Out of a redesigned garage, Sokolaj started selling Mediterranean and Italian food. The response was robust, but a five-month, never-ending winter rolled in — “It was on CNN: ‘Don’t walk your dog.’ It was that bad.” He’d have to break holes in the snowpack in order for people to see the restaurant, let alone enter it, he says. Unfortunately, that killed that restaurant. With some debts to pay family and friends, he started working again. With some time and experience in the U.S., he was able to retain jobs at high-end Manhattan restaurants — Da Silvano, La Lanterna di Vittorio — waiting tables, manning cook stations and eventually managing. It was a good time for Sokolaj. He moved to a big apartment in Chelsea for a year with some other Croatians (an apartment once occupied by Debbie Harry, he says), before running back to Williamsburg for a much larger apartment all to himself, his bike and his dog. Then, life got a little complicated. He went back to Croatia for a bit, but almost as soon as he got there, he got a call from his girlfriend back in the States. “She goes, ‘Congratulations, I’m pregnant,’” he says. See, it does sound like a yarn, right? Sokolaj talked to some “old people” — his mother and grandmother — who said he should invite her over to Croatia. “I said, ‘Mom, she’s not gonna come here to give birth in 18th-century hospitals.’ But I called her and said, ‘You wanna come here?’ She says, ‘Yeah.’” So she came, learned the language, and they had a son. Neither liked the postwar feeling of Croatia so they thought it might be wise to come back to the U.S. They decided on Denver, where she’s from. They landed here, had two more kids, the marriage dissolved, and he took the kids back to New York, nothing in his pockets. He was starting from scratch in New York, again. They stayed with a friend, the kids sleeping in a tent in the living room. “It was the hardest part of my life. Oh my god, it was unbelievable. I didn’t have money, didn’t have nothing,” he says. So Sokolaj called on the people he knew while making it the first time in New York and found success with a few consulting jobs. A friend lent his family an apartment in West New York, New Jersey. The consulting jobs were a good fit — Sokolaj, who had been in so many restaurants, found a niche at mismanaged restaurants by hammering the details of service he had learned over the years: waiters stand here, they pour wine like this, they upsell tables like this. He came into restaurants, and “I did WD-40,” he says. Though New York gave him a second chance, it was tough to raise a family there, and it was changing. So the kids moved back to Denver with a relative, and Sokolaj worked for a couple years in New York, living in Brooklyn again, visiting Colorado when he could. Then, wanting to see his family more, he says, he moved to Colorado for good about seven years ago. Sokolaj met an “angel from the sky” landlord in Boulder who rented him the space that now occupies Brooklyn Pizza. Here he was starting a business again. He worked on the dough, and the day he figured out the right recipe — using top-line Caputo “OO” Americano flour after a month of trial-and-error — he opened Brooklyn Pizza. So there it is. The name of the business is the story. And the pizza’s good — best if you get the ultra-thin-crust slices right out of the oven. And try the lasagna; it’s excellent. The pandemic has put a crimp in sales — Brooklyn Pizza is down about 80% from its daily average in pizza slice sales, though dinner service has picked up a bit. But if there’s someone who can navigate turmoil, seems like it’s Sokolaj. 36


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BY DAN SAVAGE I want to thank everyone who attended our third Savage Love Livestream last Saturday night. Mistress Matisse was our very special guest, and we tackled a lot of questions about BDSM over a very lively 90 minutes. We didn’t get to every question — there were so many — but I will now, as promised, power through as many livestream leftovers as I can in this week’s column…

you’re not gay, you’re bi. Q: I’m way more into BDSM than my huzzben. He enjoys it, but he does not initiate play. How can I encourage him to be the instigator of rough sex? We have negotiated limits and safe words but he finds using restraints and toys to be too much work!

A: Since your huzzben has made it Q: You say people need to be in “good clear that restraints and toys are a too working order” to be in a much work, I would advise relationship. What if you will ROMAN ROBINSON you to relieve him of the burnever be in “good working den of tying you up and order” because you cope shoving toys in your ass by with a mental health condifinding a third who enjoys tion? your kinks and/or regularly attending play parties with or A: Having a mental without your husband — health condition isn’t proof a when the pandemic ends, of person isn’t or can’t be in course. Who knows? Your good working order; likehusband might not like doing wise, not having a mental the work of tying you up but health condition isn’t proof a he might enjoy making out person is in good working with you (or someone else) order. I mean, we all know while someone else does people without mental health conditions the work of tying you up. who are walking disasters. Now someone with a mental health condition who refusQ: If my fiancé bought a house, do we es to get help or to stay on their meds say, “We bought a house”? I got laid off at might not be in good enough working the start of the pandemic, but her career order to be in or sustain a relationship. has taken off and she’s proud of being able But taking care of ourselves is one of the to afford a house all on her own. So how most important ways we demonstrate that do we keep things respectful while still honwe are, in actual fact, in good enough oring her accomplishment? She wants the working order to fuck, date or marry. Or all house to feel like mine as well. (I’m a three. So far from proving you’re not fit to dude.) be in a relationship, having a mental health condition that you’re doing someA: To casual acquaintances you could thing about — having one or more that say, “Hey, we got a new place.” To close you’re actively coping with — is evidence friends and family you could say, “She’s you are good working order. doing so well that she bought this house — I’m really proud of her and so lucky to be Q: I’m a bi widower and not out to any- with her.” Hell, you could say those things one. While teaching a Zoom class to young to casual acquaintances and close friends people I accidentally left open a tab that interchangeably because both are true. read “gay.” One of the students alerted me And assuming you live in a marital property in the chat and I closed it right away. It was state, Mr. Dude, the house becomes yours embarrassing and awkward. Should I just too after you’re married. In the meantime ignore it or address it in some way? you can earn a little sweat equity (and homeowner cred) by taking the lead on fixA: If you wanted to come out you could ing the place up. seize this opportunity to do so. If you don’t want to come out, well, you aren’t obligated Thanks again to everyone who joined to, gay tab or no gay tab. Unless parents us for the livestream, and we’re going to are complaining and demanding an explaschedule another one very soon! nation, you’re free to shrug this off. And if someone assumes you’re gay because Send questions to mail@savagelove. they saw a gay tab, well, you’re free to tell net, follow Dan on Twitter @fakedansavthem that they’re mistaken… because age, and visit BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


MARCH 25, 2021



Reintroducing SAFE

The SAFE Banking Act was authored by Perlmutter, sponsored by Reps. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-New York), Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) and cosponsored by more than 100 other members from both sides of the aisle. The legislation was first introduced to Congress in March 2019 and subsequently passed through the House with a 321-103 vote — with 91 Republicans voting in favor of it. It never made it through the Senate. Specifically, the act aims to protect banks from the

Rep. Ed Perlmutter reintroduces bipartisan SAFE Banking Act as cannabis momentum grows in Congress

by Will Brendza


n 2016, Travis Mason was working as a security guard at Green Heart when two armed men walked through the dispensary’s door. The robbery that ensued went horribly wrong. Mason was shot three times as he stood between the men and their target: the store’s cash storage. He died on the spot — the murderers got away, and remain at large to this day. Mason’s death was the needless result of a cash problem cannabis businesses across the nation face. The Schedule 1 status of cannabis puts banks at risk of losing their federal banking insurance (and of facing legal consequences for breaking federal laws) if they offer services to a cannabis business like Green Heart. That forces cannabis businesses to keep massive amounts of cash on hand and puts employees like Mason in serious danger. That’s why Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter has reintroduced his landmark Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act to Congress. This legislation would allow cannabis businesses in legal states to access the banking system like any other legal retailer, so they no longer have to shoulder the threat of theft, burglary, robbery or worse. “The genie is out of the bottle and has been for many years,” Perlmutter said in a press release about the SAFE Banking Act’s reintroduction. “Thousands of employees and businesses across this country have been forced to deal in piles of cash for far too long.”



money laundering laws that currently make it risky to bank with cannabis businesses; it prohibits insurers from incentivizing against doing business with the cannabis industry; and protects banks from being otherwise penalized for working with the cannabis industry. According to the SAFE Banking Act’s summary, should it pass: “a depository institution, a Federal Reserve bank, or an insurer shall not, under federal

MARCH 25, 2021


law, be liable or subject to forfeiture for providing a loan or other financial services to a legitimate marijuana- or hemp-related business.” “The cannabis industry has been operating with great success, with many of these businesses deemed essential as the coronavirus pandemic took hold,” Rep. Velázquez said in the recent release on the act’s reintroduction. “However, without the ability to safely utilize the banking system, cannabis-related businesses are left behind and stuck resorting to tactics that can threaten public safety and economic success.” While the SAFE Act has yet to pass through the Senate (despite passing in the House with bipartisan support), Perlmutter hopes the path to the president’s desk is clearer this time than it was under the last administration. Since the last election there has already been a swell in support for the federal decriminalization of cannabis: four states voted to legalize medical or recreational cannabis in November; and the Marijuana Opportunity and Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, spearheaded by now-Vice President Kamala Harris, passed the House in December and is currently being reviewed by the Senate Finance Committee. That all has Perlmutter hopeful about the SAFE Act’s prospects. While in the past his cannabis legislation has been met by what he calls the “chuckle factor” from some of his colleagues, this time around he doesn’t expect anyone to be laughing. As the tragic death of Travis Mason illustrated in 2016: lives are quite literally at stake. It is not safe for these businesses, their employees or their communities to deny them access to the banking system and force them to assume so much risk, Perlmutter said. “It is the responsibility of Congress to step up and take action to align federal and state laws for the safety of our constituents and communities.” Perlmutter said. “The public safety need is urgent.”


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