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Gun culture is a uniquely American phenomenon. Is there a way to pass legislation despite it? by Angela K. Evans

lab notes:

Hitching a ride to orbit by Travis Metcalfe


Denver’s annual bison auction ends after 35 years, returning animals to the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes by Will Brendza


How Boulder’s theater community survived and thrived during the pandemic by Amanda Moutinho


Local real estate group launches program to fight food insecurity in Boulder County by Matt Cortina

weed between the lines:

New research reveals that majority of Americans don’t understand the difference between CBD and THC by Will Brendza

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The Anderson Files: GOP plutocrats’ phony culture war against big business Guest Column: COVID carnage in India Letters: Sign, sealed, delivered, your views News: Indigenous communities face water insecurity, Long’s Gardens gets conservation easement, and more Events: What to do when there’s ‘nothing’ to do Astrology: by Rob Brezsny Savage Love: Quickies Film: Melancholic comedy in ‘Limbo’ and ‘About Endlessness’ Try this: Coconut Shrimp Bowl @ The Bamboo Skewer


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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

Cover Photo, Susan France

April 29, 2021 Volume XXVIII, Number 37 As Boulder County's only independently owned newspaper, Boulder Weekly is dedicated to illuminating truth, advancing justice and protecting the First Amendment through ethical, no-holds-barred journalism and thought-provoking opinion writing. Free every Thursday since 1993, the Weekly also offers the county's most comprehensive arts and entertainment coverage. Read the print version, or visit boulderweekly. com. Boulder Weekly does not accept unsolicited editorial submissions. If you're interested in writing for the paper, please send queries to: editorial@boulderweekly.com. Any materials sent to Boulder Weekly become the property of the newspaper.

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dissent or misbehavior. “...Your ‘conservative’ social platform isn’t worth much when Amazon can shut it down. Your vote may still be yours, but if your party is denied the means to effectively organize by corporate monopolies, it’s not going to win. Your church, well, you can still attend for now, but go to the wrong church and you may not have a job in a few years.” Hawley felt persecuted because so many have called for his resignation after he “fist-pumped and cheered the rioters as they arrived on Capitol Hill” on Jan. 6 in the words of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board. Not too long ago, right-wingers denounced leftists for our anti-corporate power views. Now we are supposedly in cahoots with “woke” big business. Adam Serwer of The Atlantic notes the term “woke” is “stolen from Black American English, repurposed by conservatives as an epithet to express opposition to forms of egalitarianism they find ridiculous or distasteful.” Republicans are now posing as “the working class party.” However, Serwer says, “Republicans cannot imagine labor relations as exploitative

GOP plutocrats’ phony culture war against big business By Dave Anderson


he marriage between the Republican Party and big business is shattering, according to many breathless news stories. “My advice to the corporate CEOs of America is to stay out of politics,” thundered Mitch McConnell. Something is weird since McConnell has been a leading corporate stooge as well as the biggest defender of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which resulted in a tsunami of secret corporate cash into the political process. In late January, GOP Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri penned a front page op-ed in Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post entitled “It’s time to stand up against the muzzling of America.” He proclaimed: “The alliance of leftists and woke capitalists hopes to regulate the innermost thoughts of every American, from school age to retirement. And they’ve trained enforcers of the woke orthodoxy to monitor




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COVID carnage in India by Nishant Upadhyay


ver the last 10 days, witnessing the bleak and horrific toll that COVID has taken across India, and all territories that India illegally occupies, far away from home and fully vaccinated, has been an emotional turmoil. Many in my family and friend circles are sick, hospitalized and struggling to find resources and adequate care, with some deaths in the extended circles as well. As more and more people are dying, numbers remain grossly underreported at all levels and we have seen the complete collapse of the state as it has failed to provide resources and denied all responsibilities. At the same time, the BJP, the current Hindu right-wing nationalist ruling party, has continued to campaign for elections, hosting maskless rallies with hundreds of thousands of people, and sponsored multi-million-people festivals of Hindus in the last two weeks. Further, in the last few days the state has actively sought to suppress local mutual-aid and resource-sharing initiatives and has even resorted to mass blocking on social media, denied news of supply shortages and sought to curb news at all levels. The news we are getting is still from mostly urban centers and of privileged communities who have more access to resources than the vast majority in a deeply casted-country. It will take a few more weeks to get a sense of current numbers and devastation across the country; meanwhile the peak is being predicted towards the end of May. The horrors we are watching is not just a country failing to respond to a natural calamity, but rather a humanmade disaster at the hands of the Hindu fascists ruling the country — their politics of hate and blatant disregard of all life. With the ultimate goal to turn India into a Hindu-majority/ dominant nation without Muslims and Christians, BJP, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, has escalated hate politics since 2019. The state could have been better prepared to avoid the current second wave had it been invested in protecting life rather than its fascist and genocidal agendas. But the Indian state is not the only culprit here. The U.S., U.K., E.U., Australia and other global north coun6


tries have to also share the blame for this humanitarian disaster. Vaccine shortage, rather vaccine apartheid, has curtailed India’s effort to mass immunize. Meanwhile, high-income countries, aka imperialist forces, have purchased over half the vaccines for just one-fifth of the global population. According to the U.N., 87% of the vaccines so far have been administered in the global north, meanwhile 130 global south countries, accounting for about 2.5 billion people, are yet to vaccinate a single person. Moreover, patent protection for vaccines and control of raw materials has limited the supply to global south countries. This is all to protect the profits of big pharmaceutical companies and western imperialist agendas. Pharma profits, accounting in billions now, matter more than the lives of those in the global south. Thankfully, under political pressure, the U.S. has agreed to share raw materials, resources and vaccines with India. While this is welcome, it does not eliminate the vaccine apartheid and the logics of profits over lives. More has to be done sooner to prevent more deaths in India and across the global south, including waiving of vaccine patents. This is critical as 92 of the world’s poorest countries are depending on India to produce the vaccines. As I witness people in India die because of the lack of oxygen, I am also witnessing people in the U.S. (and in the U.K. and Israel) who are fully vaccinated and planning their best post-pandemic lives. I am guilty of this as well. It has been extremely unsettling to sit with these global inequities and violence at the hands of fascists, imperialists and corporations who do not care for lives, and continue to be implicated in their politics of hate and profits. Vaccine apartheid is a profoundly entangled violence shaped through racial, colonial and neoliberal processes. Last year has shown us that a global pandemic needs public and universal health and social solutions, centering the lives of the most marginalized, in the U.S., India and globally. Nishant Upadhyay is an assistant professor of ethnic studies at CU Boulder. This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.  APRIL 29, 2021


except in that someone might have to sit through a tedious video on race or gender sensitivity in the workplace.” Serwer doesn’t believe that “woke capital” exists as a distinct group in the power structure. “Brand management” exists. Big corporations do not want to be branded as racist, sexist or homophobic. Consumer boycotts can really hurt. Meanwhile, GOP plutocrats are launching a new PR effort in the culture war. Recently, someone shared a fundraising email with Isaac StanleyBecker of the Washington Post. It was from a Republican-aligned group which has launched an initiative called the “American Culture Project,” a stealth “persuasion machine” to “reclaim the public narrative” from “the left” with its “cancel culture” and “woke supremacy.” Created as a social welfare organization, the project doesn’t have to disclose its donors or pay federal income taxes. Little is publicly known about its activities. Through ads on Facebook and other platforms, it aims to swing voters to the Republicans in the 2022 election and beyond. It has organizations in at least five states — Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia. It presents itself as an outlet for news dissemination and community building. The Michigan group organized against pandemic business restrictions by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Recently, major corporations have been issuing statements denouncing voter suppression laws proposed by Republicans in state legislatures across the U.S. However, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen released a report early this month — titled “The I

Corporate Sponsors of Voter Suppression” — which showed that since 2015, AT&T, Comcast, UnitedHealth Group, Walmart and other big businesses have donated a combined $50 million to state Republican lawmakers who are currently supporting voter suppression bills. During the 2020 election cycle, U.S. corporations donated $22 million to Republican architects of voter suppression bills that are advancing through state legislatures. Hundreds of U.S. companies and CEOs recently signed onto a twopage spread in the print editions of the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, which stated, “For American democracy to work for any of us, we must ensure the right to vote for all of us.” Yet, several of the companies that lent their names to the statement are also members of the highly influential business lobbying group the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that recently put out a “key vote alert” against the comprehensive voting rights and election reform bill in U.S. Congress. (S. 1/H.R. 1 or the For The People Act). Rick Claypool, one of the authors of the Public Citizen report, gets it right: “No matter how many PR statements Big Business puts out, its complicity with the anti-democratic forces that want to make voting harder is clear. Corporations should keep their money out of our democracy — and Congress must put the people back in charge by swiftly passing the For The People Act.” This opinion does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.


WALDORF FINANCE In my career I served as a national, institutional-level commercial real estate appraiser, and earlier as a staff economist for an $18 billion regional bell company. In Brett Kingstone’s April 15 letter about the U.S. fiscal position, he mixes apples and walnuts. While that may be useful in a Waldorf salad, it does not help us understand national or personal budgets, finance, debt or expenditures. I’m not a fan of debt; I don’t use it. But I share in a way in the liabilities and assets of the public sector. It is important to remember first that privately held wealth is not taxed in the U.S. Private income is. The former is known as a stock, while the latter is a flow. If one’s income is taxed at an effective rate of 25%, and that income represents even 4% of the stock of wealth (a reasonable rate in today’s environment), then 1% of a “wealth” pool is being shared with us all. The citizen keeps 3%. We all get the highways, airport and the rest of the institutional and infrastructure items we must have. If the rate of total return on my assets exceeds my personal rate of inflation, then I can probably remain solvent. Even the Peoples’ Republic of China, late to the quasi-capitalist game, knows that a country also must keep its citizenry well and satisfied, for no man will revolt so easily over politics as he will over hunger. Second, the national debt is continuously rolled over, essentially refinanced through the issuance of replacement debt. Vice President Cheney famously said, “Deficits don’t matter.” The above suggests that no true “balance sheet” can be stated for the U.S. We elect our Congressional representatives; this is akin to an agency relationship, similar to a limited power of attorney. But outlays can exceed appropriations. Consider the Pentagon’s budget, up at a 4.45% annual rate since 2000. What we’ve bought with much of that is the hatred of a noticeable portion of the world’s people. Asset or liability? The time value of money is also important. The longer we defray outlays to build new facilities or fund growing social needs (see “citizenry,” above), the more costly. Inflation does not sit still, even if the Bureau of Labor Statistics may say so. Deferred maintenance of national

assets such as the Interstate Highway system incurs the wrath of weather, upheavals of an adolescent Earth, plus wear and tear. Upkeep on St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, nearly 500 years old, offers a point: Its upkeep runs roughly $27.5 million for an edifice the replacement cost of which is reportedly about $5.5 billion. Government doesn’t seek profit or operate like a business. It provides services that are not sold. And those



aren’t getting any cheaper. Gregory Iwan/Longmont THE MEANING OF PROGRESS? As the world moves forward into the 21st century, many nations seem in a cultural retrograde to earlier forms. Vladimir Putin has created an oligarchy of wealth and serfdom not far different from that of the rule of Russian tsars. Beyond Brexit, the European Union is struggling with renewed squabbling and

APRIL 29, 2021

grievances of cultural and national sovereignty. China is flexing its new-found wealth with ambitions of Empire, with the Communist Party acting essentially as an Imperial Court. The United States has yet to resolve the bipolar ambivalence of the Founders’ declaration that “all men are created equal” and their embrace of slavery and white supremacy. Over the centuries, how much “progress” actually has been achieved?   Robert Porath/Boulder



The million-dollar question

Gun culture is a uniquely American phenomenon. Is there a way to pass legislation despite it?

by Angela K. Evans


or Jonathan Obert, it all hit a bit differently this time. Born and raised in Boulder, Obert was at Horizon High School in Broomfield right before the Columbine shooting. His parents now live within blocks of the movie theater in Aurora where 12 people were killed in 2012. He worked at the King Soopers on Arapahoe after college. His best friend is the manager at another King Soopers in the metro area. Now the shooting at the Table Mesa location on March 22, adding 10 victims to the growing list of mass shooting casualties in America. “I’ve lived a very peaceful life, but there’s a way in which this connects immediately to my experience,” he says. “So, I’ve been thinking a lot about that: How even though I’m not really much of a gun person myself, the effects of gun culture sort of do penetrate everywhere.” Now, Obert is an assistant professor of political science at Amherst College, who researches and writes about gun rights and violence in American culture. (His current book project is entitled Arming the Body Politic: The Economic Origins of American Gun Rights.) He defines gun culture specifically as “people really seeing something of their own identity in the possession and use of guns,” at least from 8


the white perspective. (Obert acknowledges plenty of other communities have a very different relationship to and cultural significance associated with guns. But for the purposes of this article, we are talking about it in terms of the white experience.) And it’s this cultural aspect of the conversation that is often missing, or unaccounted for, in the national debate over guns. But without it, Obert says, any sort of regulations will fail. Support for tougher gun laws is rising nationally. A 2019 Pew Research Center survey reveals 60% of Americans say regulations should be stricter, up from 52% in 2017. There’s been widespread reporting on how even gun owners are in favor of more regulations like background checks and keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. Other policy proposals draw partisan lines. According to Pew, while nearly nine-in-10 Democrats favor banning large-capacity magazines and assault-style weapons, only half of Republicans do. Half is more than enough, theoretically, to move such legislation forward, and yet we’re still stuck in a stalemate while gun deaths continue to rise nationwide. In the wake of another run of mass shootings, both gun-control and gun-rights advocates are entrenched as ever in their opposing viewpoints. On the one hand, there is a push for stricter gun regulations on the state and national level to prevent both mass shootings, as well as an onslaught of daily gun violence. Others maintain a fundamental right to bear arms of any sort, some going as far as advocating for more guns and gun-free zones so citizens can protect themselves. “Firearms are dangerous. Let’s just talk like it is. They’re meant to be dangerous,” says Taylor Rhodes, executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, the state’s largest gun lobby, based in Loveland. “It’s not that gun violence isn’t a problem, it’s how we propose solving it [that differs].” As state and federal legislators consider policy

APRIL 29, 2021


proposals in the weeks to come, we’ll take a closer at the efficacy of such regulations and the debates around them, but this discussion is about gun culture. For Rhodes, gun culture is about getting to shoot with friends and meet new people. “It’s no different than going and being active in your gym or being active at a country club or being active at a church or anything of that nature. It’s a community,” he says. “I think there is that stigma of: ‘Oh, these crazy people with guns.’ Well, that’s not necessarily the case.” Gun culture is about a person’s desire “to take personal responsibility for one’s own safety,” says Alan Rice, spokesperson for Gun Owners of America. “Gun owners don’t own guns, carry guns, in an offensive way. It’s a defense, it’s reactionary.” There’s a certain individualism, an identity, to gun ownership that makes it difficult to come to any sort of comprise, “because you don’t compromise over your identity,” as Obert says. And, in a lot of ways, this is a uniquely American phenomenon. “One thing that has made the United States distinctive traditionally, is that from a very early period, guns were sold and marketed toward private individuals,” Obert says. While it may be legal for individuals to own firearms in other countries, historically it was a privilege afforded to the elite in places like England and Germany for the aristocratic pursuit of hunting. Here, the federal government relied on private gun manufacturers for military weaponry, but as it turned out, “the federal government was not always a great reliable buyer of those guns. And so, they had to sort of find other ways to sell them,” Obert says. Of course, the Second Amendment also plays into America’s unique gun culture. What started as a conversation about who controlled violence in the new country (the states or the federal government), BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

Obert says, came to have larger cultural significance as guns also represented control of the “frontier” communities (whether that was New England in the early days of the colonies and country or out West) from indigenous people or controlling slaves in the antebellum South. In Obert’s research, the idea of shooting guns as a civic activity really begins to emerge in the post-Civil War era, as reform groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA) in its nascent form began promoting the idea that being able to shoot a gun is something every American should be able to do. But it wasn’t until the 1950s and ’60s that the political case for guns solidified in America’s conscious. “When people start to think of guns not just as something you can buy as a tool, but also as something that has a political significance that something like American gun culture really starts to emerge,” Obert says. It’s at this point that “this thing that we connect to our citizenship starts to transform into something that needs to be used for selfdefense,” he says. As society starts grappling with the concept of civil rights, the NRA begins to shift from its focus on shooting guns as a sport to the right to bear arms as a constitutional right. “The NRA was able to promote this idea of it’s not just that [gun control advocates] are wanting safety or that they’re against your guns. It’s that they’re against you as a person,” Obert says, referring to Barnard College professor Matthew LaCombe’s book Firepower: How the NRA Turned Gun Owners into a Political Force. Despite its waning influence in recent years amid scandal, bankruptcy and threats from regulators, the NRA has been instrumental in shaping this narrative, as this aspect of gun culture has gone into “hyperdrive” over the last 20 years, according to Rachel Friend, Boulder City Councilperson, who has been involved with gun violence prevention activism for years. For her, it’s this purposeful emphasis on guns as a right and part of a person’s identity that focuses on the individual over the collective that helps create the policy impasse. “Some people are focused on the greater good and some people are focused on the individual good, and often those two don’t match up on guns or masks or many other things,” she says. “And when I think of what that culture produces, it’s an unwillingness to pass laws or legislation that

limit [this cultural perspective] in any way.” The other side of the conversation, Friend adds, is the culture created by prolific gun violence and mass shootings, where active shooter drills are normalized and it is expected a public place could, at any moment, turn into “a war zone.” “I think we owe it to our kids to change the culture because it’s not a fair culture that they’re growing up in,” she says. It’s not just this concept of individual or collective, or even all the talk


about the rural-urban divide, regulations threatening the rural lifestyle under the guise of protecting people living in cities. For Rhodes, it’s deeper than that. “There’s a divide, not only rural versus urban, but between people who believe that the government will protect them and people who believe they’re responsible for their own personal safety and their own protection,” he says. He says it’s akin to using seatbelts, wearing helmets on bicycles and motorcycles, even voluntarily, and

smoke detectors. In this case, “The gun just happens to be the safety rescue tool,” he says. “Guns are not violent and they’re not peaceful. They are inanimate objects. They’re metal, plastic, wood, in some cases,” Rice continues. “That’s why we don’t blame the gun. We blame the person who’s abusing the gun.” In his estimation, after 30 years as a firearms instructor, the majority of gun owners purchase guns to protect themselves, not trusting the governsee GUNS Page 10

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yourself as: my community is now CHEESE opposed your community, and if WITH to THE both the COVID-19 pandemic and myPURCHASE community or my culture of norOF A BAGEL national protests for racial justice last mal people who are traumatized is LAFAYETTE GOLDEN WITH CREAM 489 US Highway on Route 93 summer caused an unforeseen spike287in nowCHEESE opposed to what you’re up to, 303.665.5918 303.279.1481 gunBOULDER sales across the country, he says. then it’s just warfare, right? It’s polarLONGMONT Village atIt’s Meadows part of the gunProspect rights moveization,” he says. “But I think on the 1940 Ionosphere, Ste. D Shopping Center ment’s narrative — more guns will other hand sometimes surprising 303.834.8237 303.554.0193 make everyone safer. things happen in politics. It’s hard to “If more guns made us safer, we’d predict when an issue might get be the safest country on Earth, but realigned along a different terrain.” they don’t,” says Dawn Reinfeld, The other option is for one side to Boulderite and executive director of get enraged enough to essentially OF ostracize or alienate the other — Blue Rising Together, an advocacy organization that got its start in gun often using rhetorically violent and COUNTY 2020 WINNER— to build enough violence prevention. And much has brutal tactics been written about the more than 30 momentum to push their policies peer-reviewed studies that show guns through without compromise. That are linked to increased risk of violence may be what it takes for gun control OF and crime in communities, not less. legislation, Obert says. “Unfortunately, we’ve gotten used “A lot of times we do think about COUNTY 2020 to, in our country and in our state, a politics as compromised asWRITE-IN opposed to certain level of gun violence,” Reinfeld confrontation,” he says, “but a lot of says, “That we are somehow — I don’t times it really just is confrontation.” feel this way, but I think other people And in reality, compromise doesn’t feel this way — willing to tolerate a seem to be on anyone’s mind. certain amount of death and massa“It seems that every time they cres of all different sizes to appease come up with one more outlandish people that want to carry guns and proposal than the next it involves who want more guns everywhere.” restricting the right to bear arms,” So how do we get past this stand- Rice says. “All of these meeting-inoff that leaves most Americans with the-middle proposals involve gun the impression that any sort of regula- owners giving up something. And tion or reform is impossible? we’re not willing to give up anything.” “That’s the million-dollar quesFor him, it is personal. Gun regution,” Obert says. lations that would require him to give First of all, everyone needs to start up even some of his guns will turn having the same conversations, as the him into a “criminal” overnight. language used by those with opposing “How is it that a person can own a viewpoints differs widely. On the one legal product one day, then the govhand, there’s talk of public health and ernment changes the law, the person security; on the other, it’s about idendid nothing wrong, they harm nobody, tity and rights. and now they’re a criminal?” he says. “When you talk about rights ver“That’s not the American way.” sus security, those things don’t work For Reinfeld, gun rights and gun together,” Obert says. “We’ve had the safety don’t necessarily have to be same debates over [rights versus secu- mutually exclusive conversations. And rity] since 9/11... They’re just not both she and Friend, the self-procompatible.” claimed eternal optimist, do see a Then, it could be that policymakpath forward, even if it’s hard to make ers with credibility on both sides are out in this political climate. At the needed to craft proposals with similar same time, they are, like many gun language. But those efforts haven’t violence prevention advocates, resolute always been successful, he says. in the push for legislation. Creating trust and finding positive “It would be wonderful to come incentives to achieve compromise up with more bipartisan solutions could also work. But that’s proven dif- where we can agree on a common ficult as well, as concessions made by vision for how we want our lives to be individuals on both sides have often and that we want less death and violed to public shaming — even punlence in our lives,” Reinfeld says. “But ishment — by more radical factions of I do believe 1) we’re on the right side their own community. Plus, comproof history. And 2) when you work on mise can be a difficult pill to swallow, an issue out of love and fierceness Obert admits. about what kind of a world we want “What makes compromise really to leave our children, I think that’s an I COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE hard though, is when you start to see BOULDER unbeatable force.” I


by Boulder Weekly Staff

Report: Indigenous communities in Colorado River Basin lack clean water



hirty tribes located in the Colorado River Basin lack access to a clean, reliable source of water. The water insecurity these tribes face has likely contributed to high pandemic death tolls in indigenous communities. A new report from the Water and Tribes Initiative, released April 28, illuminates the problems: More than any other racial demographic, Native Americans are most likely to lack access to piped drinking water. Navajo residents, in particular, are 67 times more likely than other Americans to live without access to running water. Water quality is an issue, too; for instance, 75% of people living on Hopi land are drinking

contaminated water. And water infrastructure is crumbling on tribal lands, and investments to fix those issues hasn’t kept up with the demand. “This lack of access reflects historical and persisting racial inequities that have resulted in health and socioeconomic disparities,” the report states. The report does outline some solutions. Calling the federal government’s approach to providing tribal lands with clean drinking water “haphazard and inefficient,” the Initiative suggests maximizing and pooling federal funds and resources to fix the problem. The federal government should work with local tribal authorities to accurately address shortcomings, the report found, and one outcome should be greater tribal control of water resources.

City of Boulder acquires conservation easement on Long’s Gardens



he City of Boulder has acquired a conservation easement on the 25-acre Long’s Gardens property in North Boulder, the City announced on April 22. The property has been owned and operated by the Long family for more than a century and contains the city’s oldest gardens. It also serves as the headquarters for nonprofit Growing Gardens. Long’s Gardens will remain in private ownership, but the City’s easement means agricultural and horticultural activities must continue on the property, with plans approved by the City. The City spent $5.3 million to complete the acquisition of the easement; it marks the completion of a purchase that was first approved by city voters through an open space tax ballot question in 2019. “The conservation easement honors and preserves the land’s agricultural past while looking to the future and all that this farm will continue to provide for the community — literally a place to connect to our roots,” Catherine Long Gates said on behalf of the Long family in a press release. "We’re very grateful to everyone that has worked to ensure this future." The City has pursued similar purchases in the past — acquiring conservation easements on private property limits development, conserves natural areas and helps facilitate integration with multi-use paths. BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


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Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver, other Colorado mayors, ask Biden to back urban forests


s the Biden administration tackles a number of issues in its first few months in charge, a coalition of more than 30 mayors — including Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver and the mayors of Denver, Fort Collins, Lakewood, Lyons and Thornton — sent a letter asking for urban and community forestry to be included in pandemic recovery plans. “Our urban and community forests are vital to combating climate change, creating good paying jobs and building more equitable communities,” the mayors wrote, while asking for increased funding and programs to increase urban tree cover. Increasing tree cover in dense areas could have a big impact on combating climate change, improving lives and creating jobs. Trees in metropolitan areas and small towns across the U.S. absorb a little over 800,000 metric tons of air pollutants every year and prevent 575,000 cases of acute respiratory illness, the mayors wrote. They also cited stats that indicate trees reduce residential energy costs by $7.8 billion annually. Increasing urban forestry will require better governmental organization — the mayors suggested a successful program will work with multiple agencies and private groups in areas across the country. “Expanding these outcomes in our cities and in communities across the country is a necessary strategy to achieve the climate change and economic responses you have outlined for America’s recovery,” the mayors wrote to Biden.




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APRIL 29, 2021

Hitching a ride to orbit by Travis Metcalfe


n April 23, SpaceX launched another crew of NASA HAS relied on Russian spacecraft astronauts to the International Space Station to transport American (ISS), the third successful mission of the astronauts to the Intercommercial crew transport program. Over the national Space Station past 15 years, NASA has paid Russia nearly (ISS) since 2006, but increasing costs — plus $4 billion for seats on their Soyuz rockets, enduring a political tensions and price tag that increased dramatically after the space aging technology — shuttles were retired in 2011. With escalating tenhave pushed the U.S. to sions over Russian interference in U.S. elections, and a buildup of forces near the Ukrainian border, there couldn’t be a better time for the U.S. to have its own ride into orbit once again. The ISS has been gradually built since 1998, with a continuous presence of astronauts onboard for more than 20 years. It was conceived as an orbiting scientific laboratory, and a testing ground for the technologies that will be required for long-term missions to the moon and Mars in the future. Circling the Earth about 250 miles above the surface, it orbits the planet in just over 90 minutes. One section of the ISS is run by the U.S. in collaboration with space agencies from Japan, Europe and Canada, while another section is operated by Russia. The last major component of the U.S. portion was added in 2011, but Russia might expand its side starting later this year. The U.S. plans to continue operating its part of the ISS until at least 2030, while Russia recently announced that it may pull out of the collaboration in 2025 to build its own station. There were initially only two spacecraft that were certified to bring astronauts and cosmonauts to the ISS, the U.S. space shuttles and Russian Soyuz rockets. In 2003, the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated as it reentered the Earth’s atmosphere, tragically killing all seven crew members. NASA grounded the fleet for more than two years while developing plans to complete construction of the ISS and then retire the shuttles in 2011. Astronauts began flying to the ISS with Russia in 2006, and NASA paid around $25 million per seat during the first five years. But when the shuttles retired and Russia became the only launch provider, the price per seat skyrocketed from $37.4 million in 2011 to $90.3 million in 2020. “Relying on the Russians for regular transport to the ISS has become increasingly problematic for several reasons,” says Jack Burns, a professor of I



companies with concepts for commercial space stations, ranging from an updated version of the ISS with modern interiors designed by French architect Philippe Starck, to inflatable habitats that could herald the debut of orbiting hotels for space tourists. astrophysics at the University of Colorado who served on NASA’s Advisory Council in the lead up to the retirement of the space shuttle program. “First, the political situation with Russia is unstable. They could pull the plug at any time and we wouldn’t be able to get our astronauts to the ISS,” he says. “Second, the Russians continue to increase the price per seat. Third, the Russian Soyuz spacecraft is getting quite old. The original vehicle was designed in the 1960s. Safety is becoming a question.” After the Columbia disaster, NASA initially tried to develop its own partially reusable space capsule called Orion starting in 2005. Several years later, the incoming Obama administration reoriented the Orion program to focus on deep space exploration, and directed NASA to collaborate with commercial partners to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS. Just a few months before the final shuttle mission in 2011, four companies were awarded initial contracts to develop human spaceflight capabilities within five years. At the end of a competition, NASA awarded $4.2 billion to Boeing for development of their Starliner concept, and $2.6 billion to SpaceX for their Dragon capsule. In 2016, both companies announced that their first crewed flights would be delayed until at least 2018. SpaceX finally launched its first crew of two astronauts to the ISS in May 2020, while Boeing is expected to send their first crew later this year. The SpaceX launch came just five months before NASA purchased its final $90 million seat on a Russian Soyuz rocket, which was quickly followed by a second SpaceX launch sending a full crew of four to the ISS. The third SpaceX launch last week marks the beginning of a busy year of crew rotation at the ISS, with an additional SpaceX flight scheduled for October and the initial Boeing flights slated for September and December. It’s more traffic than is necessary to keep the ISS packed with astronauts, but NASA wants to avoid relying on a single company for future flights, even if one of them is clearly more reliable and cost effective. “SpaceX has pioneered recovery and reuse of the first stage of their Falcon rocket. The first stage engines are the most expensive part,” Burns explains. “In principle, reuse can lower the cost of access to space. Just by creating this new competitor, SpaceX is forcing the cost of all launches to decline.” The future of the ISS may be similar to the development of commercial spacecraft over the past decade. By 2030, NASA intends to provide funding for companies to develop new space stations that might complement or eventually replace the ISS. There are already several companies with concepts for commercial space stations, ranging from an updated version of the ISS with modern interiors designed by French architect Philippe Starck, to inflatable habitats that could herald the debut of orbiting hotels for space tourists. If there’s one thing NASA has learned from the commercial crew program, it’s that such concepts will likely require more time and funding to develop than anticipated. Starting these projects now will ensure an uninterrupted human presence in orbit, far beyond the expected lifetime of the ISS. 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. BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


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he City of Denver has maintained two herds of genetically pure bison, descendant from the last wild bison in North America, in Genesee and Daniels parks for more than 100 years. And for the last 35 years, the City has held annual auctions,

The new bison deal

Denver’s annual bison auction ends after 35 years, returning animals to the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes


INSTEAD OF HOLDING a bison auction, the City of Denver has reached a deal to return the animals to the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes.

selling some heirloom bison off as a means of culling the herd and controlling their numbers. But, after a new deal between the City and the native Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma, those auctions might be over forever. Now, those bison will be more than just a highway tourist attraction and a stream of income for the City. Instead, they’ll be reintroduced to tribal lands, where they were run to near-extinction a century ago, to once again serve as a resource for the tribes who subsisted off them for generations. “[The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes] were there in Denver before gold was found, and we were removed from Denver because there was gold found — and not by our choice,” Reggie Wassana, governor of the Cheyenne and Arapaho



Tribes, says. “So it means a lot to us that [Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR)] reached out to us with this offer.” Wassana says they were very proud and excited to receive the bison. “Our bison are coveted,” Scott Gilmore, deputy manager of DPR, explains. “People really want our bison because they’re genetically pure — it helps their herds sustain genetic diversity and health.” In 2020, Denver auctioned off 35 bison from its two herds for a total of $40,050. This year, it auctioned 36 bison for $40,550. But after the 2021 auction, Gilmore’s staff came to him concerned that DPR actually hadn’t sold enough bison. With this year’s impending drought, they were concerned the herd’s size would over-burden the park pastures they occupy. “We had about 14 cows — adult females — that we were looking to get off the pastures to help with how we manage the range,” Gilmore says. “And I realized that we couldn’t do another auction because we just did one in March.” That’s when Gilmore had an idea. The National Wildlife Federation, of which Gilmore is a board member, has a bison conservation program that aims to reestablish bison on tribal lands. DPR also works with several Native American groups, like the InterTribal Buffalo Council and the Tall Bull Memorial Council. Gilmore called Bill and Rich Tall Bull, who he’d worked with in the past through DPR, to see if they knew of any native tribes that would be interested in acquiring the bison cows. “They told me, ‘Scott, the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma would take them tomorrow if you want to donate them,’” Gilmore says. The Tall Bull Memorial Council put DPR in touch with the tribes, who quickly struck a deal. Not only would DPR donate this year’s excess bison to the tribe — 13 in total — but it’ll do away with the auction entirely for the next 10 APRIL 29, 2021

years. Instead, all of the bison that would otherwise be sold to the highest bidder, will now be donated to the Cheyenne and Arapaho, where they’ll be incorporated into the tribes’ growing herd. “We will get more use out of these buffalo than probably the person who would have purchased them at auction,” Wassana says. “They’ll be with us for a long time and their genes will go on in our breeding process.” In addition to diversifying the Cheyenne and Arapaho bison herd’s genetics, Denver’s bison will help feed some of the tribes’ most vulnerable and provide for cultural rituals. Wassana explains that the Cheyenne and Arapaho have a program that distributes bison meat to tribe members who suffer from diabetes — a prevalent health issue among Native American peoples. “We also use it to help feed the elders because it is leaner meat,” Wassana says. “And we do use the buffalo for ceremonies still to this day.” To Gilmore, DPR and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, this seems like a perfect solution for dealing with Denver’s excess bison. First, because it returns these animals to the Native inhabitants of this region, but also because it’s helping to heal old wounds and build a relationship between the City of Denver and the tribes. “The other reason that the [Cheyenne and Arapaho] Tribes were selected was because of their ties, culturally, to Colorado, and the Sand Creek Massacre,” Gilmore says. “This is actually a way of giving back the land to these tribes because the bison are a part of the land.” “Just reaching out to the Tribes to build a relationship, a partnership, a friendship with us ... that’s really the best thing,” Wassana says. “And we do carry that relationship into the future.” Gilmore says that he plans on extending the 10-year contract for as long as the City of Denver has bison to donate. To him, this represents an “end goal” — a purpose for Denver’s coveted bison that the animals haven’t had before. And likewise, for Gov. Wassana and the people of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, it represents a step toward a goal they’ve had for centuries now. “We just want to grow the herd so that it will become one of our independent resources once again,” Wassana says. “Like it used to be in the 1800s.” I


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The year of empty theaters How Boulder’s theater community survived and thrived during the pandemic

by Amanda Moutinho

Everyone has a last-thing-I-did-before-the-pandemic-started memory. For me, it was seeing SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical at the Buell Theater. The coronavirus panic was starting to swell, but sitting in a theater surrounded by roughly 3,000 other people still seemed like a safe choice. Soon after that performance, it was lockdown and a year-plus of varying levels of quarantine. And even though it was a genuinely lovely theater production, I still had some anxious, lockdowninspired episodes wondering: Would SpongeBob: The Musical be the last theater show I ever saw? Though theater-loving patrons went without in-person productions, the artists who put on those productions were hit even harder. Without the capacity to gather securely inside, theaters have stood empty for more than a year. But as the vaccination rollout continues to gather steam and warmer temperatures allow for outdoor gatherings, it looks like the spotlight will soon shine again on a stage filled with actors, over a theater filled with people. Many Boulder theater organizations are setting their sights on future live productions. And as theaters begin to plan for in-person shows, organizations are reflecting on a tragic, unconventional year that forced many to innovate and pivot their offerings. In spring 2020, companies around Boulder were in various states of production. Local Theater Company was about to open a new play, and Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company (BETC) was starting rehearsals for its final show of the season. After hiring a cast and crew of nearly 30 people, conducting a month of rehearsals, a week of previews, and an expanded orchestra, BDT Stage opened its production of Ragtime on March 14, 2020. And then shut it down on March 15. see EMPTY THEATERS Page 18



APRIL 29, 2021




“It was heartbreaking,” says Michael Duran, executive producer at BDT Stage. “It’s such a powerful show. All of us got so invested during rehearsal, and then we were so excited to get it in front of the audience. Then not being able to perform it was just awful.” Unfortunately, canceling shows wasn’t the only hardship that 2020 would bring. BDT Stage had to lay

the context of our story out there,” Rudnick says. “In a pandemic year, the concept of recognizing that story will comfort us became really clear. This is the time we should be investing in artists. They’re documentarians, memory keepers. They’re our collective consciousness.” So even as the theater and arts community struggled, as most did,

off most of its staff, getting down to only two employees in the fall. Local Theater’s Founding Artistic Director, Pesha Rudnick, says she had to let go of 50 people in a “crushing” three-day period. During a year of so much loss and heartbreak, it called into question art’s place in the world. When survival is the primary concern, where does art fit in? But as most of the world was locked inside looking at screens or listening to headphones, art’s importance crystalized. Not only did it serve as an escape route, but it helped to metabolize an experience that was excruciatingly hard to digest. “We started to realize early in the pandemic that story is survival, and that survival is about putting

to navigate the pain of last year, many rose to the occasion and pivoted to online shows, lectures, educational programs, outdoor performances and film projects. BETC kept busy with multiple projects, including the (inter) Generations program, where it paired younger and older playwrights for collaboration; Science Shorts, which showcased the work of local scientists; and its Ghost Light Series that featured skits, interviews and lookbacks on favorite BETC moments. “We stayed pretty busy. It was really important for us on a couple of fronts, in that we wanted to stay connected to our audience, and we wanted to continue to serve our community by providing thoughtful and provoking work,” says Stephen


ALTIUS QUARTET plays in front of an outdoor audience in the parking lot of The Dairy Arts Center during the pandemic.



APRIL 29, 2021


Weitz, BETC’s producing artistic director. Breaking the routine also gave BETC time to slow down and recalibrate. “The arts are a situation where you’re constantly trying to keep your head above water. To be able to slow down a little bit and go, ‘Who are we and who we want to be? Who do we want to serve, and how do we want to reach them?’ — it was a really valuable opportunity,” Weitz says. “It was a terrible reason that it happened, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a valuable opportunity for us as an organization. And I think that we’re going to be coming out of this a different kind of organization than we were going in.” Local Theater Company was able to expand its offerings, as well, for its first virtual season. The company put out 10 shows, from traditional scripted work to pieces born in the rehearsal room. It also explored new viewing avenues, like giving members access to rehearsals and hosting a salon series in people’s living rooms with local playwrights and well-known actors like John Lithgow. Through its work, Local was able to reach national and international audiences. Rudnick says a light bulb went off about accessibility and the theater’s mission. “We sort of grew into our name. Our name is Local Theater Company, and our intention has always been theater for where you are,” she says. “Our idea was for that moment in time that you’re in a theater, you’re a local there. Becoming an online theater company that could reach people all over the map helped us. It catapulted us into what we always intended for our name.” Rudnick plans to continue a quarter of Local’s programming online to continue keeping its work available for a broader audience. And for the theater purists, don’t get too nervous about the move online. Rudnick reassures that the majority of productions will still be in person.


Media evolves with the times. The ability to connect with your favorite theater company online has many advantages. And during a year where it was the safest option, it let art prevail. The Dairy Center’s Director of Programs, Glenn Webb, says he understands why people are worried that online content will supplant live performance, but it’s a recurring concern as media evolves. “People were worried that television was going to destroy movies. And then that Netflix was going to destroy movies. And now there’s this idea that online content was eroding away at live performance,” Webb says. “There will be some interplay between those aspects, but there will always be a place for live performance. “And that’s kind of reassuring. Going through this difficult learning process to understand just how important what we do is,” he says. “The ability of arts organizations to adapt and transform and be reborn out of their ashes has been proven time and again.” Webb is optimistic about reopening The Dairy’s doors for larger audiences soon. “There is absolutely nothing like a real human being in your immediate presence saying and doing things. That has an emotional impact on you that’s just undeniable,” he says. “A year of Zoom and phone calls has led us all to understand that in a way that we did not necessarily understand before.” The pandemic has taught Duran, of BDT Stage, not to take anything for granted, and he’s excited to reconnect with patrons. “We think we’re always going to be there and that theater’s always going to be there, and it’s not,” he says. “It really reminded me of how badly we all need it. We need that interaction. We need the camaraderie of being in a room together watching a live performance.” While plans for indoor shows are still being finalized during, hopefully, the tail end of the pandemic, Local Theater Company had already announced its first live show with Discount Ghost Stories: Songs from the Rockies at the Boulder Bandshell starting June 24. Rudnick says the mood at Local is “giddy” about performing in front of a crowd again. Local’s Associate Artistic Director, Nick Chase, says the theater is working with COVID compliance protocols from both its actor’s union and

the City of Boulder. “It’s going to be a really exciting experience for everyone to gather safely in a way that feels comfortable. The comfort and safety of our audience are paramount,” Chase says. “It’ll be really exciting to see everyone again, at a respectable six-feet distance.” With the recent events in Boulder, Rudnick acknowledges the grief and the healing the community needs, and she hopes Discount Ghost Stories will



help bring that with its focus on the beauty and singularity of Colorado. While the pandemic has been challenging, the silver lining is the new perspectives gained. Weitz, of BETC, says the pandemic has forced people to be creative. Whether that’s navigating how to transition work online or thinking deeply about the company’s mission, he believes the theater community will look different when it emerges.

APRIL 29, 2021

“Anything that shakes up the norm and makes us revisit who we are, artistically can only lead to innovation and excitement,” he says. “We’ve all heard talk about getting back to normal. But I don’t think that that’s the goal of artists. I don’t think artists should want to get back to normal. I’m really excited to see not only what we do but what all of our fellow artists were thinking and dreaming of over the past year.”





APRIL 29, 2021





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


8 p.m. Friday, April 30, The Louisville Underground, 640 Main St., Louisville. Price: $15/person, thelouisvilleunderground.com Your favorite comedy show is back on April 30 with limited table seating only. Headliner: Derrick Rush, featuring Zoe Rogers with Tobias Livingston.


bluegrass.com/spring-grass/concerts Concerts are back at Planet Bluegrass, both in-person and streaming. 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 29: Andrew Marlin (of Mandolin Orange) — with Josh Oliver 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 30: Andrew Marlin — with Masontown 5 p.m. Saturday, May 1: Andrew Marlin — with Bowregard 5 p.m. Sunday, May 2: Andrew Marlin — with Jordan Tice 5:30 p.m. May 4 and 5: Martin Sexton — with Emma Rose 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 7: Bonnie Paine & Friends — with Taarka 5 p.m. Saturday, May 8: Bonnie Paine & Friends — with Taarka CARLA HARVEY



7 p.m. Tuesday, May 4, Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St., Boulder, bouldertheater.com “No coast” reggae band Green Buddha gather a few friends (members of The Subdudes, Policulture, Jyemo Club, P Funk and more) for a show to benefit the Colorado Healing Fund, which is supporting families of the victims of the Table Mesa shooting. Gasoline Lollipops, SubBuddha (members of The Subdudes and Green Buddha) and Danny Shafer will open the evening.

5 p.m. Thursday, April 29. Registration: cu.law/RegisterApr29 In this virtual lecture, part of the University of Colorado Law School’s Race and the Law series, clinical professor Ann England and Anne-Marie Moyes, director of the Korey Wise Innocence Project, will examine the role of race in wrongful convictions. They will explore why they happen more to people of color, how race informs the lack of adequate reforms, and why exonerations take longer for Black versus white defendants.


Virtual: 5 p.m. Friday, April 30; In-Person: Noon. Saturday, May 1, museumofboulder.org Celebrate the Mexican Day of the Children/ Día de las Niñas, los Niños y les Niñes! Participants will make traditional Mexican toys with new and traditional technologies and art expressions. This workshop will be conducted in English and Spanish.


May 1-June 1, firehouseart.org/slay-the-runway Slay the Runway, the Firehouse Art Center’s free outreach program for LGBTQIA+ youth and their allies, opens for applications May 1. Slay the Runway provides fashion design and sewing classes in Longmont and Boulder. The class will run for eight weeks and concludes with a professionally produced runway show at the B2 Center for Media, Arts, and Performance in CU Boulder’s Atlas Institute. In addition to garment construction and design, participants will work with make-up artists and choreographers to refine their final performance. There will be two in-person cohorts, one in Boulder and one in Longmont (small classes following county COVID guidelines) starting in September. The workshop is open to Colorado residents ages 13-18. Everyone is welcome, but all participants must respect that this is a safe space for LGBTQIA+ expression and celebration.

7 p.m. Friday, May 7, streaming live from Boulder’s Nomad Playhouse. STORIES ON STAGE Ticket-holders will receive a link to the performance. Tickets are $15 and PRESENTS ‘STILL available at storiesonstage.org or by calling 303-494-0523. CRAZY AFTER ALL Leslie O’Carroll (a Denver Post Ovation award-winning actress with TV and film THESE YEARS.’ credits including Breaking Bad, Longmire and the original Footloose) makes her Stories on Stage début, joining Allison Watrous and Sam Gregory, performing stories to show the crazy side in all of us.



APRIL 29, 2021



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7 p.m. Sunday, May 2, collectiveaporia.com/innisfree In this free event, Toni Oswald — writer, musician, performer, filmmaker and visual artist — will read from her latest release, Sirens. Joining Oswald are Brent L. Smith, CAConrad, Dan Hoy, Ella Longpre, HR Hegnauer, Mairead Case, No Land, Orlando O. White, Sarah Elizabeth Schantz and Selah Saterstrom. Seth



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Streaming May 3-30, with single and household tickets available for one-week access, phamaly.org Denver’s premier disability-affirmative theater, Phamaly Theatre Company, is proud to present CoronaVox: Stories from the Front — a compilation of original theatrical pieces created by Phamaly writers and actors. The pieces are based on members of the Colorado community who have been the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 crisis and their unique experiences during the pandemic. In classic Phamaly fashion, the stories will come to life with vitality, respect, humor and heart, demonstrating that even during the darkest of times, we can find light in human connection and storytelling. Captions and audio descriptions will be available to all audiences.


5:30 p.m. Friday, April 30, Roosevelt Park, 700 Longs Peak Ave., Longmont. Hosted by No Mas Chuecos and Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC), community members will meet in Roosevelt Park to demand a pathway to citizenship for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants. At the same time as the march in Longmont, other Colorado advocacy organizations will join Mijente and others across the country to conduct their own, virtual independent Truth and Accountability Forum on the country’s immigration enforcement arm, calling on Biden to take immediate administrative action, including an immediate halt to all deportations.


8 a.m. May 3-8 p.m. May 5, biddingowl.com/artslafayette Find a great Mother’s Day gift and support the arts in Lafayette in this online auction. All 12x12 art pieces were created by Lafayette artists and local notables. Bidding on art begins at $35. Proceeds from the 12x12 Online Auction go directly to supporting Art on the Street, Art Night Out and Art in the Community initiatives. Works may be picked up at The Collective, 201 N. Public Road, May 6-8.


April 29-May 5, openstudios.org/boulderstrong Buy art to support the families of those who lost their lives at the shooting in Boulder. Choose from more than 40 miniature artworks, generously donated by Open Studios artists and others. Everything is priced at $60. Proceeds go directly to Elevations Victims Assistance Fund. Artwork will be exhibited at R Gallery (2027 Broadway) through April, as well as in the online Boulder Strong Gallery. 22


APRIL 29, 2021



keep her company. Even in her old age, she still consorted with them. I bring this to your attention, Virgo, because now is a great time to acquire new imaginary friends or resurrect old ones. Guardian angels and ancestral spirits would be good to call on, as well. How might they be of assistance and inspiration to you?


MARCH 21-APRIL 19: Poet Allen Ginsberg despairingly


noted that many people want MORE MORE MORE LIFE, but they go awry because they allow their desire for MORE MORE MORE LIFE to fixate on material things — machines, possessions, gizmos and status symbols. Ginsberg revered different kinds of longings: for good feelings, meaningful experiences, soulful breakthroughs, deep awareness and all kinds of love. In accordance with astrological potentials, Aries, I’m giving you the go-ahead in the coming weeks to be extra greedy for the stuff in the second category.

SEPT. 23-OCT. 22: “To hurry pain is to leave a classroom


OCT. 23-NOV. 21: In her poem “Every Day,” Scorpio poet

APRIL 20-MAY 20: In her poem “Mirror,” Taurus poet Halina my body.” I applaud her brazen admiration and love for her most valuable possession. I wish more of us could genuinely feel that same adoration for our own bodies. And in accordance with current astrological omens, I recommend that you do indeed find a way to do just that right now. It’s time to upgrade your excitement about being in such a magnificent vessel. Even if it’s not in perfect health, it performs amazing marvels every minute of every day. I hope you will boost your appreciation for its miraculous capacities, and increase your commitment to treating it as the treasure that it is.


MAY 21-JUNE 20: Gemini poet Buddy Wakefield writes

that after the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami of 2004, “the only structure still standing in the wipedout village of Malacca [in Malaysia] was a statue of Mahatma Gandhi. I wanna be able to stand like that.” I expect you will indeed enjoy that kind of stability and stamina in the coming weeks, my dear. You won’t have to endure a metaphorical tsunami, thank Goddess, but you may have to stand strong through a blustery brouhaha or swirling turbulence. Here’s a tip: The best approach is not to be stiff and unmoving like a statue, but rather flexible and willing to sway.


JUNE 21-JULY 22: No educator had ever offered a class

in psychology until trailblazing philosopher William James did so in 1875. He knew a lot about human behavior. “Most people live in a very restricted circle of their potential being,” he wrote. “They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness, and of their soul’s resources in general, much like a person who, out of his whole bodily organism, should get into a habit of using only his little finger.” I’m going to make an extravagant prediction here: I expect that in the coming months you will be better primed than ever before to expand your access to your consciousness, your resources and your potentials. How might you begin such an adventure? The first thing to do is to set a vivid intention to do just that.


JULY 23-AUG. 22: “Someone in me is suffering and strug-

gling toward freedom,” wrote Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis. To that melodramatic announcement, I reply, good for him! I’m glad he was willing to put himself through misery and despair in order to escape misery and despair. But I also think it’s important to note that there are other viable approaches to the quest for liberation. For example, having lavish fun and enjoying oneself profoundly can be tremendously effective in that holy work. I suspect that in the coming weeks, Leo, the latter approach will accomplish far more for you than the former.


AUG. 23-SEPT. 22: Virgo novelist Agatha Christie sold

hundreds of millions of books, and is history’s mosttranslated author. While growing up, she had few other kids to associate with, so she created a host of imaginary friends to fill the void. They eventually became key players in her work as an author, helping her dream up stories. More than that: She simply loved having those invisible characters around to

still in session,” notes Libran aphorist Yahia Lababidi. On the other hand, he observes, “To prolong pain is to miss the next lesson.” If he’s correct, the goal is to dwell with your pain for just the right amount of time — until you’ve learned its lessons and figured out how not to experience it again in the future — but no longer than that. I suspect that such a turning point will soon be arriving for you.


Denise Levertov wrote, “Every day, every day I hear enough to fill a year of nights with wondering.” I think that captures the expansive truth of your life in the coming weeks. You’ve entered a phase when the sheer abundance of interesting input may at times be overwhelming, though enriching. You’ll hear — and hopefully be receptive to — lots of provocative stories, dynamic revelations and unexpected truths. Be grateful for this bounty! Use it to transform whatever might be stuck, whatever needs a catalytic nudge.


NOV. 22-DEC. 21: I hope you’re not too stressed these

days. There has been pressure on you to adjust more than maybe you’d like to adjust, and I hope you’ve managed to find some relaxing slack amid the heaviness. But even if the inconvenience levels are deeper than you like, I have good news: It’s all in a good cause. Read the wise words of author Dan Millman, who describes the process you’re midway through: “Every positive change, every jump to a higher level of energy and awareness, involves a rite of passage. Each time we ascend to a higher rung on the ladder of personal evolution, we must go through a period of discomfort, of initiation. I have never found an exception.”


DEC. 22-JAN. 19: We can safely say that Anais Nin was

a connoisseur of eros and sensuality. The evidence includes her three collections of erotic writing, Delta of Venus, Little Birds and Auletris. Here’s one of her definitive statements on the subject: “Sex must be mixed with tears, laughter, words, promises, jealousy, envy, all the spices of fear, foreign travel, new faces, stories, dreams, fantasies, music.” In response to Nin’s litany, I’m inclined to say, “Damn, that’s a lot of ambiance and scaffolding to have in place. Must it always be so complicated?” According to my reading of upcoming cosmic rhythms, you won’t need such a big array of stuff in your quest for soulful orgasms —at least not in the coming weeks. Your instinct for rapture will be finely tuned.

Let’s Go Out! It’s Time...


JAN. 20-FEB. 18: “One is always at home in one’s past,”

wrote author Vladimir Nabokov. I agree. Sometimes that’s not a good thing, though. It may lead us to flee from the challenges of the present moment and go hide and cower and wallow in nostalgia. But on other occasions, the fact that we are always at home in the past might generate brilliant healing strategies. It might rouse in us a wise determination to refresh our spirit by basking in the deep solace of feeling utterly at home. I think the latter case is likely to be true for you in the coming weeks, Aquarius.


FEB. 19-MARCH 20: “Not everything is supposed to

become something beautiful and long-lasting,” writes author Emery Allen. “Not everyone is going to stay forever.” Her message is a good one for you to keep in mind right now. You’re in a phase when transitory boosts and temporary help may be exactly what you need most. I suspect your main task in the coming weeks is to get maximum benefit from influences that are just passing through your life. The catalysts that work best could be those that work only once and then disappear.



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Dear Dan: I have a quick question about bisexuality. What if one has a preference for dating straight individuals? As a straight woman, I am only interested in dating straight men. Is that some kind of phobia? Or is it OK for that to be a preference? I’ve always wanted to ask someone this but I’m afraid of being thought of as having a phobia. —Nervously Asking Dan Something

hide their views so they’re not pariahs. Not sure how to handle — simply not responding? Citing his father’s views in the RSVP? Never going to any family function where they will be, ever? I really don’t want my kid around these people, but also, I feel like maybe I should go to set an example. But then, wearing my best suit and tie to a Trump wedding deep in a red state makes me worried for my physical safety. —What would you do?

Dear NADS: I think you’re fine, NADS, so long as you’ve taken a moment to think about why you’re burdened with this “preference.” Our sexual Dear WWYD: I would send my attractions, orientations and preferences regrets along with a broken toaster and are easily distorted and limited by prejuthe wrong receipt. dice. If you reflect on what ROMAN ROBINSON might be at the root of your Dear Dan: I just got “preference” for men who dumped in a pretty brutal are straight (or for men and inconsiderate way by a who’ll tell you they are), guy I really liked. He didn’t NADS, you might be able want to tell me it was over, to open yourself up to he just pulled away and left more partners. But a perme to figure it out on my son can reflect day and own. We were dating for a night for decades and still year and he even started feel the same way. At the dating someone else and very least, though, we can didn’t bother to inform me all be thoughtful about our but didn’t hide it from me erotic and/or sexual biases, take respon- either. I feel depressed and really sad sibility for them, be considerate about because I still like him and I miss him how we express them, and — perhaps and I don’t know what to do. most importantly — do our best not to —Sad And Depressed Over New transit them. I’m not into shame, but not Ending finding a particular group of people attractive for whatever reason is someDear SADONE: If he did that... if he thing we can keep to ourselves — not broke up with you like that... you didn’t just to avoid doing harm to people we like him. Not really. You liked the idea of aren’t attracted to, but to avoid passing him you formed in your head. He gave our erotic biases and limitations on to the you the outline of a decent guy and you next generation. filled that outline in with everything you hoped he was, i.e., a kind, loving, decent Dear Dan: My wife and I (lesbian guy who was as into you as you were moms together) have been invited to into him. Or at the very least, SADONE, her cousin’s wedding. And she’s marry- a guy who cared enough about your feeling the son of a former Republican ings to end things in a kind and considerstatewide official who, in the early ate manner if it came to that. You can 2000s, turned the power of his state and should feel sad about losing the guy against gays, especially gay parents. you hoped he was but don’t feel sad His son hasn’t renounced his views — about losing the guy he turned out to be. in fact, he’s converted his fiancée, my Because that guy was an asshole. cousin-in-law, to Trumpism. If it’s relevant, they’re more country-club homoSend questions to phobes than rednecks, they want to be mail@savagelove.net, follow Dan on seen as mainstream and pleasant, and Twitter @fakedansavage, and visit they now live in a very liberal city and savagelovecast.com. I


Deadpan double feature

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ometimes a coincidence is too good to ignore, and this weekend we’ve got two new movies, alike in style and substance, ripe for a good old-fashioned double feature. First up, Limbo from Scottish writer/director Ben Sharrock. Set on an unnamed Scottish isle, Limbo centers on four resettled refugees in waitON THE BILL: Limbo is ing: for asylum, for work, for opportunity and for heavier available in select theaters; About coats. The wind blows constantly here, and there’s little Endlessness is availto do beyond watching Friends DVDs or taking the social able to rent via integration class run by a Scottish couple trying to help CU-Boulder’s International Film their new neighbors navigate employment and romantic Series’ virtual theater, cues. They’re well-meaning but misguided. It’s funny, but internationalfilmseries. it’s also uncomfortable. com. Both open April Limbo is loaded with those types of couplings. Omar 30. (Amir El-Masry) is accepting of his plight but resigned. Housemate Farhad (Vikash Bhai) is also accepting but excited. The locals are welcoming and dismissive — often in the same breath. One resident insinuates that Omar is a terrorist but then offers him a ride to town. Sharrock and cinematographer Nick Cooke present Limbo as a series of mostly static shots framed in boxy Academy aspect ratio: an aesthetic that’s become vogue with art-house comedy and art-house horror movies. Limbo is a bit of both, with Omar endlessly wandering between the winds, his grandfather’s oud — a wooden stringed instrument related to the lute — in tow. Back in Syria, Omar was a gifted musician. Here, he doesn’t even play. But he brings the oud wherever he goes. It’s like a piece of cultural baggage everyone encourages Omar to embrace. There’s also plenty of cultural baggage in Roy Andersson’s About Endlessness, the

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About Endlessness comprises 32 immobile shots, most of them non sequiturs of varying length, each one narrated by a nameless woman who opens her statements with “I saw.” Sometimes the narration arrives at the beginning of the scene, contextualizing it for us; other times, the narration comes in the middle or end as punctuation or subversion. And there’s a lot of subversion to About Endlessness. In one scene, a young father is trying to get his infant to smile for a photo. He lifts the baby in the air with a slight toss and the kid giggles. It’s a sweet moment, but Andersson and cinematographer Gergely Pálos frame the shot so that your eye can’t help but notice all the hard, concrete angles surrounding the father and child. They’re just steps leading to a church, but they look so menacing you hold your breath and wait for something to go wrong. Nothing does, though, and when something truly terrible does happen — that’s another scene entirely — Andersson cuts away before we can gather any real context or deduce what transpired. It’s as if he cannot bear to watch. These shots are perfectly composed and framed, like paintings hanging on a wall, but with movement. Dioramas might be a better descriptor. And like strolling through a

Wendy Sweet President, Board of Directors Boulder Mountainbike Alliance

may or may not be there, and less with the direct ones. The mind can absorb only so much misery. Both Limbo and About Endlessness are funny, in an off-kilter, deadpan sort of way. Limbo is the more lighthearted of the two, so grab a friend and start your double feature with that one. That way, you can wrap up with About Endlessness, and have plenty to discuss.



APRIL 29, 2021











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HOW DO THE FOLKS running the Bamboo Skewer food truck, which specializes in Japaneseinspired street food, get so much coconut flavor into the shrimp? That’s the question we were left with after ordering (and devouring) the coconut shrimp bowl from the truck on a recent sunny afternoon at Rayback Collective. Served alongside rice, slaw and a sweet chili sauce, the coconut shrimp is outstanding — fried in a seasoned coconut breading until golden and exceptionally crispy. Dip it in the chili sauce for a sweet-sour tang, and you’ll be happy.


1 FIRST BITE BOULDER GENERATES $82K FOR LOCAL RESTAURANTS IN NOVEMBER 2020, First Bite published A Bite of Boulder, a book in which 30 local restaurateurs and chefs shared recipes and stories in an effort to connect with diners while we were all stuck at home. Half of the proceeds from book sales have gone directly to those restaurants that contributed. As of the end of March, the cookbooks (sold along with take-home meal kits on the book’s launch weekend) generated over $82,000 for the participating restaurants. Says First Bite Owner and Producer Jessica Benjamin, “I am immensely proud of our team to be able to support our restaurants in this way. This cookbook has been such a special project that kept diners and restaurants connected throughout the last six months. Every single purchaser of the cookbook and diner at these restaurants should know that they contributed in making this possible, and we are grateful for their support.” You can still buy the book, and support restaurants, at firstbiteboulder.com/cookbook.



WEDNESDAY FARMERS MARKET RETURNS TO BOULDER MAY 5 BOULDER COUNTY FARMERS Markets is hosting the first Wednesday evening market of the season in Boulder on May 5 from 4-7:30 p.m. In season now are cucumbers, lettuces, mustard and collard greens, chard, potatoes and more. You can also pick up meat, baked goods, eggs, dairy and other locally produced goods, as well as numerous packaged and prepared options. Reservations for the Wednesday evening market can be made (go to bcfm.org to do so and for more info), but they’re not required. You can still also pre-order goods for pickup. And in case you didn’t notice, the Saturday morning markets in Boulder and Longmont are currently open until November. APRIL 29, 2021




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Sister Carmen goes to Washington


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The misunderstood molecule

“So that was the fundamental question we wanted to know,” Vaughn says. “To what degree do people know the difference between CBD and the psychoactive component of cannabis, which is THC?” ing an answer to that question. They tions and polled over a thousand people across the web, from different demographics, age groups, political orientations, geographical regions; collecting data from as diverse a sample as they could get. And their results were not what they had expected, according to Vaughn. “We found 58% of Americans don’t know the difference between CBD and THC,” he says. “I was surprised.” On top of that, they found that 62% of their respondents had never used a CBD product in their life — and 53% said they were unwilling to ever try one. Only 36% of respondents who had taken CBD or THC — and a mere 32% who had never tried either — knew there was difference between the chemicals. All of which speaks to a widespread misunderstanding of CBD as a chemical, as a medicine and as a product, according to Vaughn. A lot of people are simply grouping CBD and “marijuana” together without understanding that they’re chemically distinct and offer distinctly different physical effects and medicinal uses. “It’s just much, much less understood than we

New research reveals that majority of Americans don’t understand difference between CBD and THC

by Will Brendza


ow many people actually know the difference between tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD)? Ask a chemist, a medical professional or, really, any average Coloradan, and you might get a variety of answers: The chemical arrangement of CBD and THC’s carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms are slightly different, so the body receives them differently; THC bonds strongly inside the cannabinoid 1 receptors in the brain, while CBD bonds weakly to them; THC is psychoactive and CBD isn’t. All that might seem like common knowledge in a place like Boulder. But, new research from Invisibly, a data analysis and survey company, reveals that a majority of Americans actually don’t know that there’s any difference between CBD and THC at all. That, according to Don Vaughn, a Ph.D. and the head of product at Invisibly, is causing serious challenges for from their products. “Some exchanges let CBD companies run ads, but other ones will say they’re too close to ‘drugs’ and won’t run into that legal gray area,” Vaughn says. That drives a barrier between CBD companies and their customers. “And small or medium business owners don’t have the political sway to go out there and do much about it right now.” The CBD industry is caught in a strange limbo a Schedule I controlled substance, Vaughn says. That prevents a lot of CBD companies from marketing their products like normal companies would, selling their products at certain retailers and shipping their products across state lines — thus adding pressure to an industry that’s already stigmatized.



APRIL 29, 2021


thought,” Vaughn says. “Lumping CBD in with the rest of cannabis is harming [these companies’] ability to do marketing.” In turn, the CBD industry’s ability to reach people points out. Patients suffering from anxiety, chronic back from it due to a lack of understanding, he says. real relief from using CBD products in moderation,” Vaughn says. “But if they don’t know about it, they That’s part of his hope in putting Invisibly’s research on this topic out there. It exposes this lack of understanding that’s getting between people and a medicine that could help them — between CBD businesses and their customers — so that it might be remedied with education and outreach. Bridging that gap and shedding light on this misunderstood molecule could help CBD businesses reach customers and patients across the country and into the future. “We’re all in a bubble with what information we’re getting. Coming from academia and coming from science, I know the difference between these chemicals,” he says. But as it turned out, outside of Vaughn’s bubble, 58% of Americans didn’t. “I think that the most important thing about Invisibly’s market research is breaking that information bubble,” Vaughn says. “We really get to know overall what Americans believe, or do or do not understand.”


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Boulder Weekly 4.29.21  

news, gun, American phenomenon, legislation, lab notes, hitching, orbit, boulderganic, Denver, bison, Cheyenne, Arapahoe, Boulder, pandemic,...

Boulder Weekly 4.29.21  

news, gun, American phenomenon, legislation, lab notes, hitching, orbit, boulderganic, Denver, bison, Cheyenne, Arapahoe, Boulder, pandemic,...

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