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A Good Day-Day

Comic and actor Mike Epps opens up about why cannabis is an alternative medicine.

features 16 Double Trouble Jay & Silent Bob are back! Boulder, you ready? 18 Beautiful Creatures Those who give their meds to their pets . . . are barking up the wrong tree! 22 Plant Power Expect 2014 to be the Year of Hemp. 24 The Age of Reason Research suggests cannabis can protect the brain from the effects of aging and disease. 28 Head Games The metal miscreants of Neurosis continue to defy boundaries. 30 Solar Flair Rival Sons gets a bluerock endorsement from a legend.

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departments 8 News Nuggets

Cannabis makes headlines here, there, everywhere—and we give you the scoop—PLUS our latest By the Numbers


Letter from the Editor

Some people just don’t understand the real meaning of pain and suffering.



Destination Unknown

Visit Luang Prabang, Laos, for a glimpse of laidback locals and rice-hungry monks.


Profiles in Courage

Our latest feature provides insight into the life—and struggle—of a medical cannabis patient near you.


Before A64 kicks in, let attorney Ann Toney give you the rundown.

38 50 52 54 58 60 Strain & Edible Reviews

Our ever-popular sampling of amazing strains and edibles currently provided by your friendly neighborhood dispensary.

Healthy Living

Dr. Alan Shackelford explains how the ills of aging can be treated naturally.

Cool Stuff

From the Save-a-Bowl to the GravityLight, if it’s a cutting-edge product or cool lifestyle gear, we’re all over it.


Feeling presidential? You will be after sampling this inauguration-inspired menu. Happy Presidents Day!


Here are the green-friendly things we saw you doing around town.

Entertainment Reviews

The latest films, books, music and more that define our culture—plus Kevin Longrie’s best Liner Notes ever!

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letter from the editor

Vol 4 IssUE 8


Jeremy Zachary


Roberto C. Hernandez Editor-In-Chief


Roberto C. Hernandez

Managing Editor Jake Browne

Editorial Contributors

Dennis Argenzia, Omar Aziz, Sarah Bennett, Jacob Browne, David Burton, Michael Carlos, Grace Cayosa, Jasen T. Davis, Stacy Davies, Rev. Dr. Kymron de Cesare, Alex Distefano, David Downs, James P. Gray, Lillian Isley, David Jenison, Liquid Todd, Kevin Longrie, Meital Manzuri, Jane Mast, Sandra Moriarty, Assia Mortensen, Damian Nassiri, Keller O’Malley, Tommy Purvis, Paul Rogers, Jeff Schwartz, Lanny Swerdlow, Arrissia Owen


Pain If you’re human, you’ve experienced pain. Everyone does. Chances are, you might be in pain right now—which is likely the reason why you turned to God’s green plant for relief. And pain can take many forms. It can range from the soul-killing pain you undergo battling cancer, chemo and radiation treatments. There’s the excruciating, down-to-the-last-white-hot-nerve pain of a broken back or a cluster headache. There’s the profound pain and discomfort of diabetes, multiple sclerosis and muscle spasms. And there’s the crippling psychological pain of stress and anxiety. To paraphrase country music and cannabis icon Willie Nelson, stress “is the biggest killer on the planet, and the best medicine for stress is marijuana.” So, there are all types of pain, and, thank goodness, we can use cannabis to tackle it. Unfortunately, the fact that we experience pain and some of us opt to legally use a plant instead of an opioid to treat it doesn’t sit well with some people. Exhibit A: Arizona lawmaker John Kavanagh. The state legislator recently proposed a measure for the 2014 ballot that would rescind that state’s Medical Marijuana Act, which passed in 2010. What’s Kavanagh’s problem? Well, several things, but he’s upset over the fact that MMJ cardholders in Arizona say they use cannabis for, among other things (and those “other things” include cancer, hepatitis, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s disease, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease and nausea)—


pain! Yes, pain. More than 30,000 patients list cannabis as their med of choice for chronic pain. Ah-ha, Kavanagh (a former cop) must have thought, since, in his mind, “vague, ill-defined, impossible-to-disprove” pain complaints suggest abuse. “This is what critics feared: that [Arizona’s MMJ program] would be abused by people saying they had a bad back, and that’s apparently what we’ve gotten,” he told media outlets. So—let me follow the argument here—because lots of people decide to treat their pain with a plant instead of a pill, that’s bad and grounds for potentially shutting down an entire state’s voter-approved MMJ system?!?!?! Kavanagh’s so wrongheaded he won’t even allow an exception for cancer patients to use cannabis if his measure was successful. Wow. What do the “real” experts say about chronic pain? According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Such pain affects more people than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. Pain costs our country anywhere from $560 billion to $635 billion in health care costs each year, according to 2010 data. Besides the terminal conditions, lower back pain, headaches/migraines and neck pain are the most commonly reported types of pain. Pain is real. Your pain is your own. Only you and your doctor can make a decision about how to treat it. And if you’re lucky to live in an MMJ state, you have the right to use cannabis for the health benefits it provides—don’t let others take that choice away. Never mind what John Kavanagh—and other wrongheaded prohibitionists—say. He’s just being a pain. c

Steve Baker, Gregory Cannon, Kristopher Christensen, Michael Gifford, John Gilhooley, Khai Le, Ryan Mazrim, Michael Seto, Kim Sidwell


Joe Martone, Derek Obregon,

Art Director

Steven Myrdahl

Graphic Designers

Vidal Diaz, Tommy LaFleur

Director of Sales & Marketing Jim Saunders

Regional Manager Kim Slocum

Office Manager Iris Norsworthy

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Account Executives

Jon Bookatz, Gene Gorelik, John Parker, Dave Ruiz, April Tygart, Nick Villejo

IT Manager

Serg Muratov

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Culture® Magazine is published every month and distributes 40,000 papers at over 1,000 locations throughout Colorado. No articles, illustrations, photographs, or other matter within may be reproduced without written permission. Culture® Magazine is a registered trademark of Southland Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. 300 Center Drive #220 Superior | Colorado | 80027 Phone 888.694.2046 | Fax 303.305.4373

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Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy

THE STATE Smart Approaches to Marijuana . . . not so smart?

A Denver-based group—called Smart Approaches to Marijuana—is going about reforming cannabis policy in all the wrong ways, critics say, according to The Boston Globe. The Marijuana Policy Project even called the group—which includes former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy— “extremist.” “The nonprofit supports making the medicinal properties of marijuana available to patients and is in favor of decriminalizing recreational use and keeping users out of jail,” the Globe reports. “But it asserts marijuana should remain a controlled substance and plans to launch a public education campaign focused on the need to screen users to ensure they are not addicted and at risk of causing long-term harm to their mental health.”

Grower and dispensary owner demands her medicine back

nabis has been damaged or not returned, her Denver attorney, Sean McAllister, will demand $3,327,460 in damages. “I think there is a possibility of a lawsuit against both the Colorado Springs Police Department and the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division,” McAllister says. Hillery was acquitted of drug charges in December.

High Times U.S. Cannabis Cup coming to Denver

Organizers just announced the first-ever High Times U.S. Cannabis Cup, scheduled for April 20-21 in Denver. The two-day event will feature sessions for activists, seminars for growers, talks by High Times editors and discussions from leading activists and advocates. The musical entertainment will include performances by Cypress Hill, Slightly Stoopid and others at Red Rocks. If you are a Colorado MMJ patient, an outdoor medicating area will be provided. A separate outdoor area for adults 21 and older (in the wake of Amendment 64) will also be available. A High Times Medical Cannabis Cup has been held in Colorado for the past three years. “We’ve done pretty well in Denver the past several years,” High Times editor Bobby Black told The DC Social Reader. “But we’re expecting it to be a lot bigger. The ability for people now

to come from out of state and enjoy a smoke without needing a (medical marijuana) card opens the floodgates for more attendees. We hope it will really blow up and be the start of something really big.”

THE NATION Arizona lawmaker trying to repeal state’s MMJ program in 2014

State Rep. John Kavanagh is proposing a ballot measure for 2014 that could end Arizona’s medical cannabis program, radio station KTAR-FM reports. The lawmaker alleges there is evidence that suggests provisions of Proposition 203 are being subverted by recreational users. But patients and activists slammed Kavanagh’s proposal. “We see a lot of patients, people who really use it as a medicine, people who are tired of taking painkillers and other pills that just do more damage to the body,” weGrow owner Sunny Singh told KTAR-FM. Kavanagh says the state Department of Health Services’ breakdown of MMJ applicants shows 90 percent of patients cited using cannabis for severe and chronic pain as opposed to

terminal illnesses or cancer, for instance. Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act passed in 2010.

Cannabis Unity Conference scheduled for the nation’s capital In an effort to continue pushing the cannabis cause and fighting for patients’ rights, Americans for Safe Access, (ASA), has announced a “Unity Conference” aimed at bringing together activists and experts. The “Bridging the Gap Between Public & Policy – Americans for Safe Access National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference is scheduled for Feb. 22-25 in Washington, D.C. The event is also geared as a networking opportunity that will include exhibitors, scholarships and other events. Some of the discussions and presentations include “The Science of Medical Cannabis” and

Alvida Hillery, an MMJ grower and founder of Rocky Mountain Miracles, recently filed a motion demanding local officials to return 36 pounds of cannabis and 304 plants, according to The Daily Chronic. The cannabis was seized in a March 2012 raid by the Colorado Springs Police Department and the state Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division. If the can-

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“Lobby Day,” in which ASA supporters will get an opportunity to advocate to members of Congress via face-to-face meetings.

THE WORLD More Mexican leaders leaning on the side of legalization

From a country long decried as the source of black-market cannabis, Mexico’s own political leaders—prompted by developments in Colorado and Washington—appear to be leaning towards a more commonsense approach to regulating the controversial plant. The country’s new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, recently told CNN that legalization measures in the United States might prompt his administration into “rethinking the strategy.” The governor of the Mexican state of Colima has

proposed a legalization referendum. A left-wing lawmaker, Fernando Belaunzaran, has introduced a national legalization bill. Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera called for a national legalization forum right before voters in Washington and Colorado approved measures allowing minor cannabis possession for adults 21 and over.

by the numbers has suspended an MMJ business’s license: 0 (Source: The Denver Post).


The number of times Colorado MMJ enforcement has revoked an MMJ business’s license: 0 (Source: The Denver Post).

6 1

The amount of food, clothing and toys (in pounds) donated by patients to God’s Pantry, a Fountain-based food and clothing bank: 400 (Source: Colorado 4 Cannabis Patients Rights).

The number of medical conditions that qualify MMJ patients in Connecticut: 11 (Source: Hartford Courant).


The number of times Colorado MMJ enforcement has levied fines against an MMJ business: 54 (Source: The Denver Post).


The number of times Colorado MMJ enforcement

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The number of MMJ cardholder in Montana who rely on cannabis providers: 5,211 (Source: Department of Public Health and Human Services).


The total number of plants that cultivation centers in Washington, D.C., can grow: 95 (Source: The Washington Post).


The number of regulations (in pages) governing Washington, D.C.’s, MMJ program: 96 (Source: The Washington Post).


The amount of money (in dollars) donated to the family of Cash Hyde, a 4-year-old MMJ patient with brain cancer who passed away in November: 730 (Source: Colorado 4 Cannabis Patients Rights).

Department of Public Health and Human Services).


The estimated number of Israelis licensed to use medical cannabis in 2009: 400 (Source: The New York Times).


The percentage of Iowa residents who support the medical use of cannabis: 64 (Source: Des Moines Register Iowa Poll).


The number of MMJ cardholders in Montana as of November 2012: 8,404 (Source:


The estimated number of Israelis currently licensed: 11,000 (Source: The New York Times).

Big Boi

The evolution of Big Boi has seen many changes, but his start is well known as one-half of OutKast with a number of hit songs from Speakerboxx/The Love Below album. The pop-rap duo’s success turned Big Boi and Andre 3000 into a household name with their dissimilar rapping styles that somehow complimented each other so well. Big Boi is currently venturing out on a solo project to continue his growth as an artist by taking a different approach to music and creating a new alter ego character: Sir Lucious Left Foot. His new solo album, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, shows off his new, more mature persona based on his personal life (“Chico Dusty” is his father’s nickname and he takes a lot of inspiration from him). Like father like son? You can only find out if you come see Big Boi perform his new material with the same clever and witty lyrical playon-words he’s known for.


What: Big Boi in concert. When/Where: Feb. 9 at the Boulder Theater, 2032 Fourteenth St., Boulder. Info: Tickets $35. Go to or call (303) 786-7030.

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Jay & Silent Bob strike back at Boulder! {By David Jenison} In the pantheon of great cannabis duos, Jay & Silent Bob are second only to Cheech & Chong. The character of Jay, played by Jason Mewes, created a lexicon of stoner quotables and logic in the films of writer-director Kevin Smith, who plays the more stoic Silent Bob. Though he will soon retire from film directing, Smith’s characters live on through the Jay and Silent Bob podcast, which comes to Boulder Feb. 1 for a live event dubbed the POTcast. “It will be the Jay and Silent Bob Get Old podcast, but that night will be heavily themed toward weed,” explains Smith. “The shows are always drug themed because we talk about Jason Mewes’ heroin addiction. I’m really just his co-pilot. I’m Marlin Perkins, if you will, on this journey through the Wild Kingdom that is Jason Mewes. Ironically,

it is essentially an intervention podcast, but I’m usually baked out of my mind, and the audience is shit-faced and drunk.” “Smoking doesn’t bother me, and drinking doesn’t bother me,” says Mewes, who’s currently five years sober. “I definitely like both of those, but I don’t crave them like other drugs. I couldn’t be around an audience doing cocaine and bottles of OxyContin, but smoking won’t bother me. I think marijuana is a big help, and I totally agree with its medical use. My mom, who passed away from AIDS, was really sick and couldn’t eat, and the doctors prescribed her joints and Marinol, which are THC pills. It was the only thing that could help her eat. It really was.” Smith, a more recent recreational user, admits it was a 16-year-old Mewes who “fully

Wifely Duties Kevin Smith is so open about his recreational use of cannabis, he spoke openly to Larry King last October about sharing a truly special cigarette with his wife. Using 5-year-old cannabis (an old Christmas gift), Smith says he rolled up the crumbly

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informed all my marijuana references in those movies.” Mewes remembers the days of driving around looking for smoke, the excitement of finding it and hoping for quality, which it often wasn’t. Though his sobriety prevents further smoking, he admires the product that MMJ dispensaries now provide. “The other day, I was looking at the weed my wife got, and the jar had Scully and Mulder from The X-Files on it,” Mewes explains enthusiastically. “It was called Alien OG, and when you opened it up, it had red hairs and crystals. There were no seeds and no stems.” For the POTcast, Mewes has great stories from a past Boulder visit, but he’s coming to Colorado early to stir up new mischief he can recount at the event. Likewise, with the podcast recently celebrating its 100th episode, he’s updated the

format to encourage more audience involvement. This change has the duo wondering just what the Boulder Theater will allow. “If it is state legal there, the big question is, can one smoke during the show?” Smith asks. “And am I a [wimp] if I don’t smoke during the show? It means a bunch of camera phones come out, but who am I kidding? Everyone knows I smoke weed. I talk about it so much.” Mewes adds, “If he can do it without getting in trouble, I totally think he should. It would be awesome, and if everyone else lights up as well, it would be like one big puff of smoke.” Jay and Silent Bob are what rehab counselors call “enablers,” but for the POTcast audience, it will be the ultimate in group therapy. c

plant and shared it with his wife of many years “And we smoked together, and it was amazing,” he told King. “Like, this was someone I’d known for years, had a kid with, and you think you know them inside and out, and suddenly it’s different . . . After ten years, ‘This is who I really am, and isn’t this way better?’ So it kind of changed me in that way. I like who I am.”

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Pet Project How to keep the peace between man’s best friend and Mother Nature’s best medicine {By Jasen T. Davis} We’ve all heard the joke about getting a dog high. However, in real life, medical cannabis patients usually don’t and shouldn’t give their cat or dog cannabis, just like person would never feed an animal Paxil, ibuprofen or alcohol. Medication is a serious subject with serious consequences if consumed by your pet. Eric Barchas, a professional veterinarian working in San Francisco, has seen the number of cases where a pet has been made ill from eating cannabis increase over the years. “Serious, long-term health consequences and fatalities from marijuana intoxication are essentially unheard of,” Barchas says. “But pets that are exposed to marijuana may display anxiety and are prone to ‘bad trips.’ They may lack the coordination to consume food and water.” Depending on the dosage, your pet will most likely survive any cannabis ingestion, but the animal is not going to enjoy the experience.

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“Intoxication with marijuana appears clinically similar to other, more serious forms of poisoning,” Barchas says. “However, most animals recover from marijuana toxicity over a period of several hours.” Individuals who have exposed their pets—either on purpose or inadvertently—to cannabis may not want to admit the fact to their vet, further endangering the pet’s health. “Because it is a controlled substance, people who know that their pet has consumed marijuana are often reluctant to reveal this fact to veterinarians,” Barchas says. Unless you want to put your pet through more misery, Barchas suggests that you tell the truth. “The symptoms of marijuana intoxication are similar to those of several more serious syndromes. If the veterinarian

treating the pet is not aware of marijuana exposure, he or she is likely to recommend a number of expensive tests and treatments that may not be necessary.” Treatments for a cat or dog that has consumed cannabis include forcing the animal to orally ingest a charcoal solution every four to six hours. The animal is also given plenty of water, intravenously if necessary, to restore lost fluids, to avoid dehydration and kidney failure. The medical bills for your dog or cat can be as much as a car payment, especially if an overnight stay for observation is required. Even if you aren’t trying to medicate your pets, they might poison themselves, warns veterinarian Jennifer Schoedler of the Alpine Animal Hospital in Durango, Colorado. “Dogs love the stuff,” Schoedler says. “I’ve seen them eat the buds, plants, joints and marijuana in food.” So lock your meds up. Your pet really does thank you for it. c

Don’t Weed the Animals Do dogs and cats enjoy being the psychoactive effects of cannabis? According to Jennifer Bolser, a representative of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, Colorado, the answer is no. “Marijuana exposure in pets causes neurologic toxicity, which is not the same as the ‘high’ that people experience. The symptoms that develop in pets do not appear enjoyable for them,” she says. These symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of bladder control, nausea, heart palpitations, anxiety, apathy, hypothermia and reduced balance and coordination. “The neurotoxic effects of cannabis ingestion in animals usually occur within a halfhour to two hours of eating it, and usually last for about 12 hours,” says Cheryl K. Smith, an attorney and executive director for the Compassion Center in Eugene, Oregon. “However, they can last for days because the cannabinoids are stored in fat.”

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Rise of Hempire One of Amendment 64’s little-known provisions calls for a hemp revolution for 2014 {By Jake Browne}

Making History

If you’re interested in celebrating Hemp History Week, mark your calendars for June 3-9. Locally, several Sprouts market locations in Westminster, Thornton, Littleton, Greeley, Greenwood Village and other communities will be doing their part by promoting hemp foods and body care products by manufacturers, like Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. For more info, go to

When Coloradans passed Amendment 64, they ushered in a new era in agriculture for the state. The immense health benefits of this plant have been becoming more and more apparent in recent years, as well as the millions of potential dollars in tax revenue and

ability as fuel, as well. And any trip to a Whole Foods market will show you that hemp seed and hemp oil are one of the hottest health food crazes in America right now, with shelf after shelf of imported products—usually from Canada. Heck, they even blog about Hemp History Week. So why aren’t Colorado

large-scale growing still risks incurring the ire of the federal government. Colorado farmers are banking on the Obama administration looking the other way as was the case with medical marijuana in the late 2000s, and as they’ve hinted at when the President famously said in a December interview with Barbara

around the state, including the Rocky Flats area. The study is set to extend through 2022, but could be accelerated by that one innocuous line in Amendment 64. Activists haven’t let up in the wake of 64’s passage; in fact, they’ve redoubled their efforts. We The People, the White House’s

new jobs. What most didn’t know, however, is that the regulation and distribution would be handled in one concise line: “Not later than July 1, 2014, the General Assembly shall enact legislation governing the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp.” Welcome to the hemp revolution. Touted as one of the most versatile plants in the world, hemp has been used for thousands of years for its strong fibers and pulp. Because it “grows like a weed,” more and more research is being conducted to determine its vi-

farmers cashing in, too? Industrial hemp generally contains trace amounts of THC, landing it squarely on the Schedule 1 banned substances list. Most proponents argue this would be tantamount to banning mouthwash sales to those under 21 because it contains alcohol. Farmers worry about the perception that they’re growing marijuana and the stigma attached. Still, it may be a moot point in the end. While many states have considered or approved initiatives that would sanction this production,

Walters, “We’ve got bigger fish to fry.” Politicians at the state level, at least, are willing to give it a shot. In February 2012, Rep. Wes McKinley introduced legislation to begin a study of how hemp could benefit Colorado in a unique way: phytoremediation. The plant has long been used in areas where soil contamination poses a serious threat to those around it, including wildlife and small ecosystems. Hemp absorbs these toxic elements and has a net positive effect on its surroundings, and could have practical uses

official petition site, currently lists hemp as the No. 5 most popular petition in the agriculture category, with three GMO petitions above it and one for, you guessed it, legalization of cannabis. The organizer argues that instead of being regulated by the DEA, the trace amounts of THC in hemp would be better handled by an agricultural agency: the USDA. While it appears that the petition will face an uphill fight to reach the goal of 100,000 signatures, this issue is clearly not going away. Not until that hill is covered in hemp plants. c

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Function New research suggests cannabis compounds can slow the degeneration of brain functions {By Jasen T. Davis} The usual stereotype perpetuated by the mainstream media, modern entertainment and government-sponsored propaganda is that if you ingest cannabis, your brain will fry like an egg in a hot pan. As this narrative dictates, we would certainly never expect that any living thing afflicted with a degenerative brain condition could possibly improve its condition after being exposed to cannabis. But that may not be the case. Dr. Andras Bilkei-Gorzo, of the Institute of Molecular Psychiatry at the University of Bonn in Germany, conducted a scientific study that indicates cannabis might be effective for maintaining normal brain functioning in mice suffering from degenerative brain conditions caused by old age and disease. The study, “The endocannabinoid system in normal and pathological brain aging,” was published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, the oldest scientific journal in the English-speaking world. Bilkei-Gorzo’s study found that when the cannabinoid systems in healthy mice were activated, an antioxidant type of “cleanse” resulted, which removed damaged brain cells. This also enhanced the mitochondrial function within the brain cells, resulting in more efficient cognitive functions than before.

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Mice—particularly white albino lab mice—are frequently used in laboratory experiments because of the species’ genetic similarity to humans. In previous experiments performed on mice by others, synthetic versions of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have been used to stimulate cannabinoid receptors, leading to regenerative results similar to Bilkei-Gorzo’s study. Laboratory mice that have been genetically bred to lack cannabinoid receptors have shown rapid, degenerating brain functions as they age, specifically as a result of damage done to the hippocampus, an area responsible for memory and other vital functions. Eliminating certain cannabinoid receptors “leads to early onset of age-related memory decline, similarly affecting both reward and aversion-driven learning,” Bilkei-Gorzo wrote regarding other mice-cannabinoid experiments conducted prior to his own. Previous studies have also suggested that cannabis can play a

role in healing the damage done to the brain from disease and old age by reducing inflammation. This is of great interest to patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other illnesses that can affect brain tissue. “Cannabinoid system activity is neuroprotective,” Bilkei-Gorzo says. Using cannabis compounds “could be a promising strategy for slowing down the progression of brain aging and for alleviating the symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders,” he adds. Another scientist involved in Bilkei-Gorzo’s study, Dr. Gary Wenk of Ohio State University, comments, “I’ve been trying to find a drug that will reduce brain inflammation and restore cognitive function in rats for over 25 years; cannabinoids are the first and only class of drugs that have ever been effective. I think that the perception about this drug is changing and in the future people will be less fearful.” Naturally, more research—on humans, preferably—needs to

Cannabis compounds “could be a promising strategy for slowing down the progression of brain aging and for alleviating the symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders.”

be done. Even the abstract for the study acknowledges this: “In preclinical models of neurodegenerative disorders, cannabinoids show beneficial effects, but the clinical evidence regarding their efficacy as therapeutic tools is either inconclusive or still missing.” c

Being Mindful Aging is a fact of life—and

it affects our brains, too. Once you pass 60, it’s not uncommon to experience declines in concentration, focus, judgment and memory. This may also signal the onset of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Also, as we age our brains decrease in weight and volume, likely the result of a loss of neurons and brain fluid. Keeping your brain busy as you get older (sign up for a class, learn something new, take up a new hobby) can help keep those nerve cells healthy. V I S I T U S AT i R e a d C u l t u r e . c o m

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Federal Court



Cannabis . . . For Now Despite being backed by three American advocacy groups, a federal appeals court last month rejected a petition that sought to have marijuana reclassified from its current status as a supposedly

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dangerous drug with no medical value. The three-judge panel essentially tossed the matter back to the DEA and (shockingly!) said there were not enough completed clinical studies to support cannabis as a benign plant with many health

benefits. Well, Americans For Safe Access (ASA) had something to say about that: “To deny that sufficient evidence is lacking on the medical efficacy of marijuana is to ignore a mountain of well-documented studies that conclude otherwise,”

Joe Elford, chief counsel for the patient advocacy group, said. ASA has plans to file for a rehearing, and the DEA still lists “currently acceptable medical use” as requiring “adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy.” c

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An Act of Submission After a five-year spell, Neurosis plants musical seeds for the future {By David Jenison} “I’m not going to talk about personal shit,” says Scott Kelly, vocalist and guitarist for Neurosis. “I’m not going to talk about it. We’re not going to do that.” Details be damned, Kelly does admit this: personal issues contributed to the delay and depth of Honor Found in Decay, the band’s first full-length album in five years. He continues, “We didn’t intend to take five years between records, but that had more to do with our lives and what was going on. That was what caused the delay, but the experiences we went through really came through on the record. The songs are more open emotionally than they have been before.” Steve Von Till, who shares the vocal and guitar duties, said in a promotional trailer that there can be no legacy if the band doesn’t “continually burn down the past and plant seeds in the ashes.” Neurosis—whose lineup also

includes Dave Edwardson (bass), Jason Roeder (drums) and Noah Landis (keyboards)—arguably cemented a legacy already as an influential metal band that defies boundaries. Still, this death and rebirth theme epitomizes the band’s artistic fire, and from the ashes arose an album with newly frayed emotions and a deeper electronic assimilation. “It just so happened that Noah really nailed it,” says Kelly, responding to the album’s muchpraised keyboard contributions. “It is very clear that he has moved into another space with his work and comfort level. His sounds really drove the record in many ways as we were writing it, more so than previously.” Kelly sees the band’s divergent side projects as a positive influence as well. He adds, “Anytime you work within this craft, it helps broaden the scope. If [songwriting] is like a funnel, it makes the funnel bigger and allows more

things to come in.” As Neurosis approaches its 30th anniversary, the metal vets remain relevant by employing a novel approach. The band members prefer to support themselves with day jobs rather than live off the band and risk letting the business side of things overpower the art. This allows them to avoid long, punishing tour cycles that might sap their creative energy and enthusiasm. This mindset is evident when Kelly describes what other bands should do to find their own magic. “Do whatever they must to find that spot inside themselves and commit to doing it,” he explains. “It is an act of submission. It is not like practice, practice, practice, and you’ll get better. You must turn your soul over to the shit. That is how it happens. You just have to turn it over and let it go.” c

V For Victory

In the past, Neurosis vocalist/ guitarist Scott Kelly has talked about using psychedelic drugs and struggling with addiction, so he currently pursues a sober path. Still, as Neurosis heads to play in Denver later this month, he praises the state’s new marijuana laws. “I think that is great, man,” he says. “Decriminalization is a victory as far as I am concerned. It will help the economy and keep people out of prison. I don’t see weed as problematic, and much less so than alcohol and tobacco, let alone heroin, speed, cocaine and pharmaceuticals. As far as medical use, he adds, “Sure, why not? I am not a doctor, but totally. It makes perfect sense for me.” ON STAGE Appearing Feb. 16 at The Summit Music Hall in Denver.

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“I’m totally fine with it” Rival Son frontman Jay Buchanan is definitely part of team green. CULTURE asked him about his views medical cannabis, a plant, the frontman says, that was declared illegal for all the wrong reasons. “Now that we know it was wrongfully made illegal, now that we know all the positive things from cannabis we can benefit from, now that people are speaking up around the country, making it legal, I’m totally candid, I’m totally fine with it and totally use it now and again.”

Headspace Rival Sons is the coolest rock band out there—Jimmy Page says so! {By Derek Obregon}

Remember the name Rival Sons because this is one of the hottest bands out there right now. At least according to iconic Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, who recently gave the upstart blues-rock band a nod in a recent NME cover story Even with growing fame and success, Rival Sons frontman Jay Buchanan remains humble and focused. The singer never dreamed of being in a rock ’n‘ roll band—but now he’s playing sold-out shows around the world and the band’s latest album, Head Down, hit the No. 1 mark on the UK rock charts. I guess Jimmy was right.

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In your own words, can you describe the band’s sound? It’s kind of a tough one. I would say we’re a modern take on rock ’n‘ roll. We call this a rock ’n‘ roll band more than anything. We’ve got bass, drums, lots of guitar solos and bluesy, soulful vocals. That just makes rock ’n‘ roll to me. Is blues where you got your start? Is that where your vocals come from? Yeah, blues and singer-songwriter acoustic music have always been my main staples. I grew up playing it in coffee shops and stuff through high school and that was my jam. But I also played with blues bands because I loved soul music. Have you always wanted to be a singer/songwriter? Always, always. I’ve always wanted to be a vocalist.    Who influences you as a vocalist?  As a vocalist, the list is way too long. All the guys from Otis Redding to Blind Louie Johnson and all of the blues cats, and all of the women like Aretha Franklin . . . It’s not like there’s never ever been someone I’m trying LIVE Appearing Feb. 21 at the Marquis Theater in Denver.

to emulate. It’s kind of like you end up making this big pot of stew from everything that’s good in your life.   Does rock and blues go hand in hand? Yeah, of course, but see rock ’n‘ roll has been missing. [There are] a lot of these bands that are playing rock. They took out the roll because the roll is the honesty part, the truth part. And they didn’t want to be burdened. They didn’t want to have to deal with the sincerity. They wanted to be “rock stars” so they call it “post-grunge” and everything else. Anyways, I had never wanted to be part of the problem. But [drummer Michael] Miley hit me up and said, “Look, man, the guys want you there. I talked to [guitarist] Scott [Holiday] on the phone and we totally hit it off. We qualified each other on old blues. We got together, and as much as I’d wanted it to not work out, the energy was so good [that] as soon as we started playing together I immediately got out of doing my own project. I had a lot of pots on the stove, and I just thought I have to make room for this. It didn’t take long before it was Rival Sons 24/7. c

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destination unknown

Story and photos by Dennis Argenzia and Grace Cayosa

Lush Landscape Travel through Luang Prabang for eco-minded tourism and religious traditions

5:31 a.m.

Through barely open eyes, we spy a silent, steady march of orange figures just below our window. An army of not-dead Kennys have come to visit us in our fuzzy dream state. But they’re not Kenny, and we’re not in South Park.

One Day Earlier

We find ourselves standing on a peninsula where the Khan and Mekong rivers meet, and thinking, “Weird, this kind of looks like Los Angeles.” Or at least, like a French-inspired outdoor mall somewhere in the county. But we remind ourselves that we’re in Southeast Asia, and this place—Luang Prabang—predates any tweener hangout by at least a hundred years. Once the political capital of Laos, Luang Prabang now holds the more relaxed title of cultural capital. It is home to gold-leafed Buddhist wats (temples), traditional Lao stilt houses, teak-trimmed French colonial architecture, lush green landscape and some of the most laidback locals you will ever meet. We start our day with an elephant ride just outside Luang Prabang. As a rule, elephants pressed into the service of man usually get a bum deal. But at the Elephant Village Sanctuary, abused pachyderms get a second life. As a bonus, local employees learn trade skills, and eco-minded tourists get a short ride atop nature’s Monster Truck of mammals. After a 60-minute jungle stroll, during which our beloved elephant decided to tear her own route back to the village, we were transported by boat to the nearby Tad Sae waterfall. Now, we love water32 CULTURE • february 2013

falls, but Tad Sae appeared strangely fake. It is a stepped limestone waterfall, but looks suspiciously like a theme park contractor decided to build foam pools for blue dye water. We were assured they were real, and then were promptly whisked back to Luang Prabang. We dawdled the rest of the day away in prime tourist manner—wandering the quaint streets, practicing English with young Laos at Big Brother Mouse, getting wicked foot massages from steel-armed local women—until the night market finally opened. The night market is the place to get all sorts of goodies: wax-lined paper parasols, Buddhist prints, “I Heart Beer Lao” T-shirts, whole fried fish on a stick and, of course, green stuff. Cannabis is readily available from tuk tuk and mototaxi drivers, and is clearly wild grown. Quality is generally good, but seeds can be a problem. On paper, Laotian law treats drug possession very seriously: possession of up to 22 pounds of marijuana is legally punishable by a maximum fine of US$2,500 and 10 years imprisonment. For quantities over 22 pounds, punishment is death. In reality, practicing discretion should keep you safe, and if not, a steep bribe should set you free. Early the next morning, we witness

an endless column of orange-clad monks shuffling quietly by our balcony. This is tak bat, or the Theravada Buddhist tradition of silent alms giving. Every morning, the monks leave their monastery, lined up with the most senior person in front, and travel along a set route through Luang Prabang, silently receiving small offerings of food—usually sticky rice—in their bowls. Through tak bat, the monks get their daily meal rations, and the givers earn merit (the religious karma kind, not the Boy Scout kind). There are definitely rules: men can stand, but women must kneel or sit, and both must be respectfully lower than the monks; don’t wear shoes, shorts or tank tops; don’t touch the monks; and, for heaven’s sake, shut up. This is a silent tradition. Rejuvenated by alms giving, awesome French baguettes and Laotian coffee, we rent a motorbike for the day. Our first stop is the Pak Ou caves, about an hour’s ride north and full of Buddha statues, followed by the Kuang Si waterfalls. These are the impressive big brother of the Tad Sae: larger pools, taller falls. You can even climb 200 feet to the top of the main cascade, stand in the rushing water and look over the edge. Yeah, we thought of death too. Our day ended with a minor crash and a rushed repair job. We were certain our passports would be withheld . . . until we heard the singing. It was our motorbike vendor, happily buzzed on Beer Lao. Motorbike and passport were exchanged with a smile, and we watched him ride off, steady and loud, into the beautiful Lao night. c

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profiles in courage Patient: Jon Otto

AGE: 47

Condition/ Illness:

Photo by Michael Gifford

Anxiety, agoraphobia, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, aortic aneurysm, enlarged left ventricle

Using medical cannabis since: April 2012

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Are you an MMJ patient from Colorado with a compelling story to tell? If so, we want to hear from you. Email your name, contact information and details about your experiences with medical cannabis to

Why did you start using medical cannabis?

I knew from past experience that cannabis may not kill the pain, but knew it would at least make me forget about it. I also knew cannabis would turn a raging fight-or-flight anxiety attack into a sit-back-and-relax Big Mac attack in about 90 seconds . . . MMJ has, without a doubt, saved me from many more ugly situations and places.

Did you try other methods or treatments before cannabis?

Yes indeed. I have been fighting this spine of mine for a quarter-century and have run the gamut medically from every nerve block shot known to mankind, manipulations [and] many prescription narcotics which I’m happy to report that, due to MMJ, I am down to one pain medication. For me [and] my friends, that is fantastic! I am down to one anxiety med as well. Again, unheard of for me.

What’s the most important issue or problem facing medical cannabis patients?

The biggest issue facing MMJ patients is really two-fold. First is general lack of acceptance of the American people that marijuana is, in fact, medicine and may very well have saved or prolonged one of their loved one’s lives, or at least made their final months bearable if given the opportunity, which brings my second point: uniform laws nationwide. I pray those that have a need for MMJ and cannot legally get it are able to do so soon. I started signing petitions back in the ’70s and will stop when my heart does.

What do you say to folks who are skeptical about cannabis as medicine?

To the skeptical one: Reefer Madness was propaganda! If you or someone you love is wasting away to nothingness due to no appetite—step out of the box [and] give MMJ a chance. c

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The rights of medical cannabis patients are under attack everywhere— even in MMJ states. It can be especially challenging when you’re also a parent (read: Child Protective Services). But even with court decisions or legal opinions that say just because some parents uses cannabis for health reasons doesn’t mean that they are drug users or abusers, there are still risks. Here are a few tips (thanks, Americans For Safe Access):

If you grow at home, lock up your cultivating room. Also, have no more cannabis on hand than your condition or MMJ state allows. If you’re only allowed to possess six mature plants, only have six mature plants.

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Use discretion when you medicate—don’t do it in front of your child (Consider medicating after your child goes to bed, for example). Never drive with your child after medicating.

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Illustrations by Vidal Diaz

While we all want to be honest, do not volunteer information about your MMJ status to a family court judge or CPS. However, if directly asked about cannabis use, you should inform officials that you are a patient.

Keep all medicine out of plain sight, and inside child-proof containers in an inaccessible place. Always.

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strain & edible reviews GET YOUR CLICK HERE

Hong Kong Diesel Sometimes we just can’t resist a name. When we saw Hong Kong Diesel on the shelf at Denver’s Walking Raven, we expected a DVD of the latest Fast & Furious spinoff. “Look, Vin finally muscled his way into the title,” we quipped. What we walked out with was absolutely no joke—a combination of coastal powerhouses in Hong Kong and NYC Diesel. Listed as a 50/50 hybrid, the distinctive China red hairs sprout out behind the occasional Castrol green leaves. A meticulous cure left the nugs as some of the stickiest of the ickiest we’ve sampled in a while, feeling like grease monkeys as we searched for a shop rag to get the resin off our fingers. The aroma and flavor are straight Diesel, fumes wafting up from our pockets like we had an accident at the pump. Be ready to drift through your day, as we found serious pain relief for those dull winter aches, similar to a good stretch after a long car ride. A couple reviewers noted it was great for their daily workout, although they preferred yoga to pumping iron. We can’t all be muscle-bound action stars, right?

The Growing Kitchen Fantastic Brownie Let’s face it: we could all stand to eat a little better. By now, most of us have given up on that New Year’s resolution, resorting back to our hedonistic ways. Oh, not you, you say? Well, check out one of The Growing Kitchen’s Fantastic Brownies that Rocky Mountain Miracles in Colorado Springs treated us to. Dairy-free and 100 percent organic, The Growing Kitchen offers a refreshing take on an old favorite, with cagefree eggs and aluminum-free baking powder. We weren’t even aware the latter was a thing and giggled when we imagined tiny cages for the former. The end product, however, is one of the best in its class. For starters, it’s the perfect density for a brownie, and it’s not overly sweet with dark chocolate chips and a hint of cinnamon that compliment the light cannabis flavor quite well. The size is perfect (it could double as a small birthday cake), because at 100mg you’re not forced to nibble at a corner before putting it down for fear of over-medicating. What we really love, however, is that this brownie is available as a sativa and an indica—and they’re regularly tested at Rm3 Labs. We’ll be heading out to the farm soon.

Amsterdam Hydro White Widow For many years, Amsterdam was the mecca for cannabis aficionados, drawing travelers from around the world to partake inside of smoky “coffee shops.” But the conservative government has tightened restrictions on “pot tourism,” limiting the amount of herb that can be distributed and banning alcohol sales. Feeling on the nostalgic side, we picked up a Dutch cult classic—Amsterdam Hydro White Widow—from Holistic Life and Rocky Mountain MMJ, both in Lakewood. The name has little to do with the family line (Brazilian and Indian, respectively) and more to do with the incredible amount of trichomes that cling to every calyx like that snowy tree branch that busted up your windshield. Spicy, yet slightly fruity, the exhale is similar to a vat of strawberry Fruit Roll-Up goo that an intern accidently dropped a pepper shaker into. Though this strain’s appearance would lead you to believe the Widow is strictly an indica, the 60-percent sativa provides a pleasant initial head buzz that shouldn’t be wasted alone. Social by nature, you may lose track of conversations as the energy can be frenetic at times, like a barista making one-too-many lattes. Tot ziens, Amsterdam! Hallo, Holistic Life!

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Larry OG If there were ever candidates for a medical cannabis card, the Three Stooges would qualify sight unseen. And if they were ever genetically crossed with a medical plant, you’d have to say that Larry would make the best strain, with his crazy hairs sprouting out every which way, right? Luckily, it will never have to come to that, because RiverRock Wellness (with two Denver locations) has a far superior idea: Larry OG. Grown from seeds from Swerve and the famed Cali Connection, we were immediately drawn to the light green, slender branches in the jar that could easily poke an eye out if you weren’t careful. OG as Vaudeville itself (if OG didn’t stand for “Ocean Grown”), this is perfect for those into the citrus-like, piney rubber scent so characteristic of a traditional Kush. This strain definitely hit us over the head. You won’t be up to any Three Stooges hijinks either, as this strain has incredibly powerful sedative effects. One reviewer noted he could have fallen asleep facedown in a pie, something we do not recommend, even if we wished we had one handy.

FlintStoned Fruit Crisp It’s hard to go wrong with a bowl of cereal—the sheer childhood memories alone make this a go-to snack and breakfast. Sense of Healing in Denver has figured out how to deliver a favorite food memory with a healthy dose of cannabis in its FlintStoned Fruit Crisp, taking us back to Saturday morning cartoons—minus the spoon. We were impressed with how well the crunch held up in the rice cereal, as it’s held together with a chewy layer of medicated marshmallow, combining two great textures in one sweet treat. The fluff actually helps mellow out the cereal’s sugariness. Patient warning: This crisp will turn your milk into one cool rainbow. The use of cannabutter is nice as well, and is almost completely disguised—none of that astringent-like aftertaste that hash oil medicated products can have. At 50mg a piece, our reviewers felt comfortable splitting one in half, feeling the effects for several hours after an initial lull for digestion. Those with higher tolerance found that a whole crisp wasn’t overwhelming, being pleasantly surprised with the effect vs. milligrams. Almost like finding a toy in the bottom of the box.

Purple Diesel You have to be pretty medicated to sit through a re-run of Barney, but then again, he was purple, green and always in a great mood. Look at his eyes, for crying out loud! There’s no doubt he has back problems picking up things with those tiny arms. We found a dead ringer, Purple Diesel, at RiNo Supply Company in Denver, even if RiNo stands for the River North neighborhood and not his distant relative. If you thought that dude was sweet, this Diesel cross is like a bag of all-purple Skittles in the bottom of a glass of grape Kool-Aid. Much darker than the dino, the purple flakes smattered across the bud range from regal to nearly black, with a fair mix of bright orange hairs. We only truly found the Diesel upon inhalation, when we were ready to get out of the office and hit the playground. Mentally active and creative, we could have gone for craft time if it wasn’t for the great physical energy that came along for the ride. Reviewers loved this strain early in the day, and it lead to particularly large lunch for some dealing with nausea and gastrointestinal issues. We love you, Purple Diesel, and you clearly love us.

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Comedy may have saved Mike Epps’ life. Sure, many performers believe comedy rescued them from the wrong path, but Epps’ tale is not about some abstract future danger. A group of armed men robbed him and ordered him into the trunk of their car. With the stereo cranked to drown out any calls for help, they started to drive around town, possibly looking for a place to shoot him and dump the body. Epps had to think fast. “They were blasting the music the whole time, but the moment they cut the music, I started kicking on the seat,” Epps recalls. “They asked what my problem was, and I said I wanted them to play that song again. They started laughing and let me go. Without my sense of humor, there is no way to know which way this would have went. When it looks like your ass is not going to make it, you better use everything you got.” The Hoosier State native first made a name for himself with the Def Comedy Jam tour and broadcast, but he caught a huge break when Ice Cube cast him as Day-Day Jones in the two Friday sequels. As happened with Chris Tucker after appearing in the original Friday, Epps quickly became a hot commodity, and he racked up several big screen credits with major releases like The Hangover, Hancock, The Fighting Temptations, Soul Men, The Honeymooners and a pair of Resident Evil films. The self-professed “hip-hop comic” also hosted the last four BET Hip-Hop Awards and appeared in movies alongside rap royalty like Cee Lo Green, Method Man, Mos Def, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa. Fittingly, one of Epps’ routines is even sampled in the Eminem and Royce da 5’9” track “I’m on Everything.” Epps, who reprised his Black Doug character for this summer’s The Hangover Part III, is currently on a stand-up comedy tour entitled Mike Epps Live. As befits a hip-hop comic, Epps recruited iconic rapper and beat boxer Doug E. Fresh to join him on select dates. Comedians like Bill Cosby and Eddie Murphy were far edgier in their stand-up routines than they were on the screen. How are your shows different? I am one of those spontaneous comedians who works off emotional content. Whatever my day was like, whatever I’ve seen, you might 42 CULTURE • february 2013

get 30 minutes of that first. For example, I saw a pimp with a few of his hos, and they all had Christmas spirit, and I told him, “Merry Christmas to you and your hos.” I talked about that at the show. Wow, I never saw that watching Happy Days. As a performer,

you have a lot of crossover with hip-hop. How does hip-hop music and Mike Epps’ comedy fit together? The era that I grew up in is hiphop. Back in the day, Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor were doing comedy in a funk era. People were playing funky music and

wearing bell-bottoms and afros. That is [why] Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy were compared to comedians like Dave Chappelle and myself. We are products of hip-hop as the music influences our comedy and our comedy influences the music. On my way to a comedy show, I’m listening V I S I T U S AT i R e a d C u l t u r e . c o m

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to 2Pac or 2 Chainz. You could call me a hip-hop comic. That is why Richard Pryor was saying, “jive turkey” and “you dig” while the comics now are saying “Word up” and all kinds of slang like that. Everything that we do outside comedy influences our art. There are all kinds of rumors that the N.W.A. movie might soon be underway. Ice Cube was a controversial figure when the group came out in the ’80s, and a lot of people probably forgot that. Do you think an N.W.A. biopic would help or hurt Ice Cube in trying to get Last Friday made? I don’t know anything about the politics right there, sir. I cannot answer them questions right there. I just play my part in the movie and keep it pushing. I am not married to none of that shit. It’s a role that I played in a movie. If people like to see me play in Friday movies, I just come and do my job. Last Friday would be the final movie in the Friday series. Do you have any new information on the status of the movie or on what Day-Day Jones might be doing? I don’t know if they are going to do the movie. I don’t want to lie to my fans or hype them up to think they’re going to do another Friday. That Friday series, I keep saying it, but it’s like Dr. Dre putting out his [Detox] album. You have become a mainstay with the BET Hip-Hop Awards. How is it hosting an awards show compared to a regular stand-up performance? That goes back to your question about hip-hop. That is a perfect example of why they both benefit and service each other. There is nothing in the world like someone cracking a good joke in between songs. It is a perfect segue and hook. That is why they keep using me for the awards show. You opened the 2012 BET Hip-Hop Awards in character as President Obama. What is it like to portray the President knowing that he might actually see it? It was really fun. To play Obama is fun because you get the chance to say some shit that you would like 44 CULTURE • february 2013

to hear him say. You know what I mean? I know he’s not going to say this, but let me say it for him. Speaking of Obama, after the results came in on election night showing that Washington and Colorado legalized cannabis, you tweeted, “It feel like I can sell [cannabis] in the middle of the street!” Can I assume you were in favor of these propositions? Yes, you can assume. It is real. Do you believe in the medical use of cannabis? I do believe in medical use because so many of us Americans have a lot of mind-altering problems, and we all know that the pill world is really big and makes a whole lot of money. Not everybody can take pills. Some people’s stomachs cannot handle the pills or they cannot handle them mentally. Marijuana is an alternative. If you do not want to take pills, you


Star If you think you’ve seen all Mike Epps has to offer, you haven’t seen him shine in his most recently released movie, 2012’s Sparkle, a remake (the original was released in 1976) starring Whitney Houston that told the story of The Supremes during the Motown era. For the role, the comedian adopted a new persona that’s crude, lewd and abusive. The role was also noteworthy as it happened to be the last film with the legendary Houston before her passing.

You could call me a hip-hop comic.

can smoke something and calm down or dig deep into something. When it comes to comedy, do you think there is something inherently funny about smoking cannabis? Yes, it is very funny. When I smoke [cannabis], I get a chance to have some options on my thoughts. When you smoke, you sometimes makes decisions that are not exactly the ones you really wanted to make, but they can be the best decisions. It ends up being the best move for you versus the move you wanted to make. It just turned out all good. You portray Richard Pryor in the upcoming Nina biopic about soul legend and activist Nina Simone. Is it difficult to play such a comedic legend? It was definitely not easy to capture a guy like that because he was so complex and a crazy motherf@#ker. For a minute, I thought I had to be crazy to play him. Then I thought about it and realized if I go crazy to play Richard Pryor, it defeats the art. I really don’t do that kind of acting where I become something for weeks at a time before it’s time to shoot some shit. I like to challenge my art by not becoming that until it is time. That’s what I think. You tackled a dramatic role in The Supremes-inspired remake of Sparkle, which came out last August. Do you see yourself pursing more dramas? I have many shades of myself, and

I really love doing drama. I think comedians can make some of the best dramatic actors. I do want to do more dramatic parts, but I want to be selective and do the right dramatic parts. I don’t want to do them just because they are in my face and I want to prove myself. It just has to be something that I love. Anything you can tell us about Black Doug’s role in the new Hangover movie? Yeah, I’m playing another black guy in the movie again. I’m playing Black Doug. I think the third installment is really going to be good. To be brought back into a large comedy, the biggest comedy movie ever, is impossible for me to top. That is the biggest shit I might ever do unless they want to cast me in the next Avengers movie. It was an honor to come back and work with those guys. Do you have anything else coming up? At the end of the year, I plan to put out Still Can’t Catch Me. It is a documentary of my journey to become a comedian. I’m going to show Hollywood who I really am because they don’t know who the f@#k I am. They just cast me and deal with me face front. I have been keeping it a secret as to who I really am, but I am getting to that point where I want to show them where I come from and how I did it. I think it will be out in winter 2013. c V I S I T U S AT i R e a d C u l t u r e . c o m

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Michael Elliot Epps is born into a family with eight siblings. No wonder appealing for attention came so natural to him.

Late 1980s

After dropping out of high school and spending 18 months behind bars, Epps vows to pursue a career in entertainment after hearing his comedic idol, Richard Pryor.


Jim Jones & Skull Gang Present: A Tribute to Bad Santa, Starring Mike Epps is dropped. That has to be the longest name for a Christmas-themed rap album ever!


Epps releases comedy album, Funny Bidness, which includes an ode to women who love food: “Fat Girls.”


Epps’ career begins on the Def Comedy Jam Tour.


Mike Epps plays the lottery-winning, lovable yet wimpy wannabe gangsta Day-Day Jones in Next Friday.


The comic begins hosting the BET Awards (Nicki Minaj gets the New Artist nod). Let’s hope he leaves the roller skates and Puffy’s metallic jacket at home for this year’s show.



Epps co-executive produces All About the Benjamins with fellow costar Ice Cube.


Epps is the voice of Moe “Mo Gunz” Jackson on the “Wingman” episode of The Boondocks.

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Epps and Tupac Shakur’s mother celebrate the deceased rapper’s 40th birthday party. Epps regularly supports the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation for the Arts in Atlanta.


The Indianapolis native becomes the official ambassador for Super Bowl XLVI. V I S I T U S AT i R e a d C u l t u r e . c o m

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legal corner

By Ann Toney

Put to Task

As the Amendment 64 Task Force marches on, here are some details and tips to keep in mind

Colorado made history in making it legal for adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce (1 oz.) of cannabis and to grow up to six plants for personal use. The devil, though, is in the details. As I reported in my last column, Gov. John Hickenlooper set up a Task Force to help flesh out the important issues and provide recommendations to the 2013 state Legislature as it will be enacting laws to put Amendment 64 in practice. The final recommendations will be forwarded to the legislature to help it implement working laws. To get more information on the above, go to: Satellite/Revenue-Main/XRM/1251633708470.

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This page includes dates, times, lists of members and links for you to find out more. Questions about what we can and cannot do under Amendment 64 won’t all be answered until the legislature enacts laws governing where we can purchase this legal cannabis or what guidelines we must follow in growing our plants. There are a few important points to remember: • Consume and grow out-of-sight (non-public view). It seems anytime someone grows outside they are subject to a neighbor or law enforcement seeing something and you getting charged. • Stay inside with that grow for now. • Right now there is no place to legally pur-

chase marijuana except if you are a medical marijuana patient. • As always, don’t smoke in the car or carry in a car. If law enforcement smells or sees cannabis, you are susceptible to a Driving under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) charge. • If pulled over, after you produce your driver’s license, registration and insurance, you can politely respond to questions, “Officer, I have nothing to say.” c Ann Toney, P.C. is a Denver-based law firm that focuses on medical marijuana business law and marijuana defense; and defending people charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs (DUI/DUID). Ann Toney can be contacted via phone or web at (303) 399-5556 and

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healthy living

By Alan Shackelford, M.D.


Cannabis Can Help


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which most people develop by age 60. Weakened discs can also bulge or herniate and press on adjacent nerves, causing severe pain due to nerve compression. Diabetes also affects older people more frequently, and can cause neuropathic pain, a kind of nerve pain that can be very difficult to treat. All of these symptoms respond extremely well to medical marijuana, and most people who use it for pain are able to significantly decrease and in many cases to stop their non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and narcotic pain medicines. We have seen many instances of older people again being able to become active again, working in their gardens, taking walks—in short, to become much more functional using medical marijuana instead of multiple prescription medications. Various forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease affect mostly older people as well. The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not known, but oxidative damage due to free radicals may play an important role in its development. And while there is no effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, excellent research conducted in the late 1990s showed that certain substances found in marijuana are such powerful antioxidants that they might

Say What?

The United States has always had something of a youth culture. Advertisers frequently target consumers under 30 and—with the possible exception of pharmaceutical companies—largely ignore the largest demographic group in the country: the Baby Boomers, the 76 million people born between in the United States between 1946 and 1964. Older Americans are one of the fastest growing demographic groups. By 2012 100 million Americans will be over the age of 50. Aging brings with it not only wisdom and experience, but for many people illness and pain. The average 75-year-old suffers from three chronic medical conditions and takes five or more different medications. Some medication side effects can be serious, such as bleeding caused by aspirin, abnormal heart rhythms that can result from some non-steroidal antiinflammatory medications or even death from prescription narcotic medications. Adverse reactions to medications may cause as many as 100,000 deaths in the United States every year. It is important to note that no deaths from the use of marijuana have ever been reported in the more than 4,000 years of recorded history of its use. Recent estimates are that 60 percent of all adult Americans have some form of chronic or recurring pain, with 88 percent of seniors suffering some form of chronic pain. Joint pain due to osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is common, as is neck and back pain caused by degenerative disc (DDD) and joint disease (DJD),

There “are some benefits to marijuana, and this is more than just anecdotal evidence now.” —Dr. Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent for CNN

prevent Alzheimer’s disease. The research was so compelling that a patent was issued to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the use of those cannabinoids to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and to protect the central nervous system form damage from strokes and trauma. Every treatment has some side effect. In the case of cannabis, the side effects are few and mild. These include euphoria soon after its use, interference with short-term memory (though this is short-lived, and some research suggests that memory may be enhanced overall), interference with REM sleep and nausea at high doses and bronchitis if smoked. Someone once said that getting old isn’t for sissies. That’s true. Aging brings with it certain physical problems that can make life difficult. Medical cannabis can make many of those problems much more bearable for many people, and enhance rather than diminish their quality of life with little risk, and potentially tremendous benefit. c Alan Shackelford, M.D., graduated from the University of Heidelberg School of Medicine and trained at major teaching hospitals of Harvard Medical School in internal medicine, nutritional medicine and hyperalimentation and behavioral medicine. V I S I T U S AT i R e a d C u l t u r e . c o m

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cool stuff Save-a-Bowl The Save-a-Bowl is a must for any patient on the go, allowing you to pre-pack a bowl in your pipe and keep it safe below any number of designs (peace signs, yin-yang symbols, etc.). The heat resistant plastic is flexible enough to handle the biggest of needs while not slipping off in a busy pocket. (MSRP: $3.50) (orders under 100),

GravityLight Designed as an alternative to kerosene lamps in Third World countries, the bleeding-edge GravityLight utilizes the universal power of attraction between objects to illuminate the future. A bag filled with rocks and dirt and suspended by a cord below the light provides weight that is then converted into energy—about 30 minutes worth. Truly “green” technology. (MSRP: $5)

Barracuda Cone Filler Isn’t it about time you made life a little easier? How about taking the work out of filling your pre-roll cones by hand? Enter the Barracuda Cone Filler. Slide on the cone, scoop up some herbs, pack it in, twist it and—voila!—time to medicate. (MSRP $5.99)

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By Aunt Sandy

Just a couple of weeks ago, we celebrated President Obama and the 57th Presidential Inauguration. With this timely event in mind— plus the fact that Steven Spielberg’s historical drama Lincoln made it on quite a few bestmovie-of-the-year lists, we bring you a dinner menu drawn from The Great Emancipator’s 1865 inauguration.


Oyster Stew Broiled Venison Steak Pot Roast Charlotte Russe Cake Lemon Ice

Sandy Moriarty is the author of Aunt’ Sandy’s Medical Marijuana Cookbook: Comfort Food for Body & Mind and a Professor of Culinary Arts at Oaksterdam University. She is also the co-founder of Oaksterdam’s Bakery.

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Pot Roast

1 beef roast (about 6 lbs.) Water 1 onion, chopped 2 tablespoons Canna Butter* 1/4 cup flour for dredging Place beef roast in a pot with just enough water to cover it. Set the roast over a slow fire and allow it to stew for an hour. Add salt and pepper to taste and continue to stew it slowly until the meat becomes tender. Add onions. Do not replenish the water as it boils away. Once the meat reaches desired tenderness, remove the meat from the pot and pour the remaining gravy into a bowl. Add the Canna Butter to the empty pot and dredge your meat with flour. Return the meat to the pot to brown, turning it often to prevent it from burning. Take the gravy in the bowl and skim off the fat. Then pour the gravy in with the meat and stir in a spoonful of flour that’s been moistened with a little water. Let the gravy boil with the meat for 15 minutes and then pour the gravy into a gravy dish. Serve the meat hot on a platter.

Oyster Stew Broiled Venison Steak 4 4-oz. venison steaks Salt and pepper 2 tablespoons currant jelly 2 tablespoons Canna Butter* Broil venison steaks, turning often. When steaks are cooked thoroughly, season with salt and pepper. Mix melted Canna Butter with currant jelly and pour the mixture over the steaks. Serve hot.

2 quarts of oysters Hot water (about 1/2 cup) Salt and pepper 2 tablespoons Canna Butter* 1 pint of milk Oyster crackers Drain the liquid from the oysters. In a saucepan, add the hot water and salt and pepper. Once it comes to a boil, add the oysters. Let it come to a boil again, add the Canna Butter. Once the butter melts, stir in the milk. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Serve hot with oyster crackers. Hint: If you need to thicken up the stew, add more crackers. february 2012 • CULTURE 55

Lemon Ice

6 lemons 1 large sweet orange 1 pint Cannabis-Infused Simple Syrup** Juice the orange and all the lemons. Grate the rind of three lemons and the orange. Steep the juice in the lemon and orange rind for a couple hours. Strain the juice through a towel and add a pint of Cannabis Infused Simple Syrup. Stir in the syrup until it is dissolved and put it in the freezer for three hours. Scrape the ice with a spoon until it is finely crushed and serve.

Canna Butter*

Charlotte Russe Cake

1 cup unsalted butter 1 ounce low to average quality dried leaf marijuana or 1/2 ounce average dried bud 4 cups water Bring water and butter to boil in a small pot, lower heat to simmer. Simmer gently for about 1 1/2 hours. Mash and stir frequently to extract all THC from the plant material. After cooking, use cheesecloth to strain the butter/water mixture. Pour about 2 cups clean boiling water over the leaves in the strainer to extract every last drop of butter. Squeeze plant material well to remove as much liquid as possible. Chill the butter/water mixture in the refrigerator until the butter has solidified (1 to 2 hours). Separate butter from water and keep butter in the refrigerator (or freezer for longer storage) until needed.

Cannabis Simple Syrup** 1/2 oz cannabis buds 1 cup sugar 1 cup water In a saucepan, sauté the buds in sugar and water over medium heat for 20 minutes. Strain the buds. Pour the remaining green-colored syrup into a glass container. Let it cool and refrigerate. Pour over fruit or fruit salad and let the syrup fully absorb.

2 tablespoons gelatin Cold milk 2 cups rich cream 1 cup milk Whipped cream 1 tablespoon powdered sugar 1/2 tablespoon Canna Butter* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract Lady fingers or sponge cake 4 eggs 4 tablespoons sugar Lemon or vanilla flavoring Whip the cream until stiff in a large bowl or dish and set on ice. Soak the gelatin in a little cold milk for two hours. Boil the milk and pour it gradually over the gelatin until it is dissolved and strain. Once the cream is cold, add the whipped cream one spoonful at a time. Sweeten the cream with powdered sugar and vanilla extract and add the Canna Butter. Line a dish with lady fingers or sponge cake. Pour in the cream and set it in a cool place to harden. To make the meringue for the top, beat egg whites with sugar and lemon or vanilla flavoring. Spread mixture over the top and brown slightly in the oven.

Legal Disclaimer

Publishers of this publication are not making any representations with respect to the safety or legality of the use of medical marijuana. The recipes listed here are for general entertainment purposes only, and are intended for use only where medical marijuana is not a violation of state law. Edibles can vary in potency while a consumers’ weight, metabolism and eating habits may affect effectiveness and safety. Ingredient management is important when cooking with cannabis for proper dosage. Please consume responsibly and check with your doctor before consumption to make sure that it is safe to do so.

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Shooting Gallery GET YOUR HITS HERE

Cannapages Birthday Spectacular (Photos by Michael Gifford)

Glassblowing Gathering (Photos by Ryan Mazrim)

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entertainment reviews La Costa Perdida Camper Van Beethoven 429 Records In the recent movie This Is 40, actor Paul Rudd rocks a vintage Camper Van Beethoven shirt he dug up from his own collection. For CVB, this is actually 30, and Rudd is one of many Generation Xers giving the indie rockers their due on their 30th anniversary. The pioneering Northern California group recently released its first new album in nine years, La Costa Perdida, and the name certainly fits. The album conjures up images of a hippie Brian Wilson trying to make a Pet Sounds-sized leap with Hunter S. Thompson producing. The harmony-packed “Northern California Girls” is the lead single, but “Too High For the Love-In” is arguably the best song with a psychedelia-teased riff and crazy-ass lyrics, including a “make me a sandwich” chant. The title track also stands out with a quirky, upbeat folk narrative that epitomizes CBV’s trademark depth and diversity. (David Jenison)

Hempology 101: The History and Uses of Cannabis Sativa 4th Edition By Ted Smith The International Hempology 101 Society To bring us up to date on the history of cannabis, author Ted Smith takes us waaaaay back in time when ancient civilizations (not surprisingly) revered the plant’s psychological, physiological and spiritual properties just as much as we do today. And while Smith does a great job detailing how cannabis figured prominently in Vedic, Mesopotamian and Hellenistic traditions, Hempology 101 is no dry, imposing academic tome suited for clinical scholarship. Rather, it’s a coherent plainspeak examination of virtually every facet of the plant’s existence: from the “Hemp For Victory” era, the many uses, products and materials (“hempcrete?”) that can be derived from the plant, its links to counterculture and—surprise, surprise—its medical benefits. Well-researched and with informative flair, Hempology 101 does an intensely readable job of boiling down the ins and outs of cannabis sativa clearly and intelligently. (Matt Tapia)

Thrive: What on Earth Will it Take? Clear Compass Media Dir. By Foster Gamble Ever wondered what it would be like to be part of a movement that aims to improve humanity’s lot in life? Then feel free to look into what the Thrive Movement has to say about human history, forgotten secrets and ways to liberate ourselves through knowledge. In the documentary, director Foster Gamble narrates about how we humans are destroying our own world before leaping headlong into a voyage of discovery that is familiar to those steeped in The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, Raiders of the Lost Ark and “ancient astronauts” theories. While the computer graphics could use an uptick in production values, Gamble charges ahead and makes connections between something called the “Vector Equilibrium”—a pattern showing the primal structure of space—and the I Ching, the Hebrew alphabet, Kabbalistic thought and the Cheops Pyramid, among others. It is the secret of the “Vector” that can help us access the “life force” and transform our society . . . and our minds. (Matt Tapia)

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EVOLve Expo: New Beginnings

Darwin may have been the first to create the idea of evolution, but there is always room for improvement . . . so lets evolve! Our world is not a ball of everlasting energy and we all need to learn how to use the resources we have more effectively. That’s the message of EVOLve Expo: New Beginnings, scheduled for the end of this month in Denver. Touted as a “springboard for conscious change” (full disclosure: CULTURE is a sponsor for this event), this multidisciplinary event promotes free energy, alternative health care, conscious living and wealth building. The event aims to free minds, open hearts and create empowering experiences for everyone so we can try and build a community of people that promotes acceptance of every living person; no matter what race, color or size they are. Listen to world class speakers, see live energy demonstrations and relax to the music of Barry Goldstein, Crystal Bowls, Didgeridoo and more.


What: Evolve Expo. When/Where: Feb. 23-24 at the National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt St., Denver. Info: Tickets $10-$20. Go to or call (303) 731-6695.

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liner notes Good news for anyone that was young enough or sensitive enough to be moved by the Garden State trailer (or, yeah, the film itself) back in 2003: The Postal Service is reuniting. The band’s official website reads “Postal Service 2013.” The duo, featuring Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello (a.ka. Dntel), famously got its name from the way in which they would send their song ideas back and forth between, you guessed it, the mail. The band will be getting back together to play at Coachella, the festival famous for bringing bands back together and putting them onstage in 115-degree heat in front of unwashed, dehydrated campers. TPS might also be extending the performance into an actual tour; but the extent of that tour has not yet been discussed, nor has the possibility of a new LP. All of this coincides with the 10th anniversary edition special release of their hit debut Give Up. Hearing the news that The Postal Service would reunite, twentysomethings from across the country, from reformed emos to high school jocks with unrevealed depth and sensitivity, jumped around like their collective hair was on fire. Speaking of hair on fire, tiny lord of YouTube dubstep Skrillex got into some trouble recently when trying to blow out candles on his birthday cake. As the faux-bespectacled Corey Feldman look-alike leaned over to ring in another year of life, his hair sparked and began to burn. Sources close to the Skrillex say that his famous mop was too close to the flame and, probably, too full of flammable product. He may often drop basses, but he did not drop the ball: Skrillex quickly patted out the brushfire and any hope that people had that he would throw a fit. He handled it well, with a laugh, and then brought his swift breathy vengeance down upon the offending candle and its entire kin. For those interested parties that would think me a fabricator of the highest degree, one who would mislead you with such asides, I tell you this: take to the Internet and look for video evidence. It exists. It can be Googled. Just like The Postal Service, this is a year of reunions and restarts. Justin Timberlake, who many people feared had abandoned his musical roots, released a new song called “Suit and Tie” featuring Jay-Z. It is currently

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By Kevin Longrie on track to outsell “Sexyback”. Following this tease, he announced on his website that he will be putting a new album out this year: The 20/20 Experience. No word yet on whether it will feature Barbara Walters. Additionally, Beyoncé has been busy, reuniting with those other people that were in Destiny’s Child. They’ve released a new, boring single and there is a rumor they may play at the Super Bowl halftime show. The song, “Nuclear,” features such compelling scientific moments as when the trio points out what happens “when two become one on a quantum level.” Professors at MIT and CalTech have been eager, since the release of the song, to get in touch with the group about their new findings in the field of quantum mechanics; but so far, the academics have gotten no further than Destiny’s publicist. Beyoncé is also releasing an autobiographical documentary through HBO in which the star of Carmen: A Hip-Hopera videotapes herself through her tough times and her victories. The trailer might

be more compelling to someone who wants to see sonogram footage of the unfortunately named Blue Ivy; but to this writer it seemed like something you might find on a lonely YouTube channel: lots of close up shots of her face and meditations we’ve heard before from other hard working pop stars. Beyoncé did direct it, though, which from the look of it seems to mean that she carried around a digital video camera all by herself. Public service announcement: anyone that does not want their face melted off by blistering guitar solos and gut-bursting comedy, steer clear of Tenacious D’s new Festival Supreme, a comedy/rock line-up that will bring rock fans to their knees. c

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Let’s Do This Our picks for the coolest things to do around town GalaxyFest 2013, Feb. 7-10

If you host it, they will come! GalaxyFest is a literary genre blend of sci-fi (SF to the real fans), fantasy, anime and more. It promises to launch with a “Zombie Crawl” that caters to both younger and older participants. However, don’t be fooled. The evening is for adults and you can learn some tricks to avoid the z-pocalypse. Antlers Hilton, Colorado Springs

Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam, Feb. 8-10

When you hear names like “Grave Digger,” “Raminator” and “Incinerator,” the first thought in your head might not be “family fun,” but that’s only because you’re looking at it the wrong way. For years, monster truck series like Monster Jam have been allowing kids and adults to enjoy themselves without the risk of dad falling asleep. Do yourself a favor—skip the usual Chuck E. Cheese’s this year. Pepsi Center, Denver

Freedom Fund Gala, Feb. 9

If you’re interested in supporting equality for all, then this event— subtitled “Civil Rights! Changing the Game for 2013”— is for you. At $75 a seat, the Colorado Springs NAACP branch is offering an elegant dinner with keynote speaker retired U.S. Air Force Col. Will Gunn.

Chinese New Year Kung Fu Demonstration, Feb. 9

In a world now dominated by meathead purveyors of MMA, this venue is allowing attendees to see where it all started. Promising displays of self-defense and weapon use, the event is sure to be something that’ll make Steven Seagal look like a wuss. Golden Lotus, Boulder  

Chocolate Lover’s Fling, Feb. 9

This event is for the sweethearts and sweet toothed. With Valentine’s Day coming up, don’t settle for a box of chocolates—ask for a whole freaking day! And if doing the whole couples thing isn’t your intention, that’s fine, too, because there is also wine, beer and port tasting. If anyone asks, it was just a fling. UCAR Event Center, Boulder

The Who: Quadrophenia, Feb. 12

The Who is to instruments what Gallagher is to watermelons. And seeing is how they will be performing one of the greatest rock operas of all time, expectations are high for the band that invented the art of smashing guitars and toppling over

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speakers. Don’t worry, though. No sheets will be needed for the front row. Pepsi Center, Denver

Carrie Underwood, Feb. 13

Serving as an extension of her “Blown Away” tour, Carrie Underwood chose Colorado Springs as the first stop for her 2013 campaign. The highest earning American Idol to date, Underwood has blossomed into a full-fledged country superstar. Blown Away isn’t just the name of the album and tour, folks—she’s just that awesome. World Arena, Colorado Springs

Valentine’s Weekend with Tom Papa, Feb. 14-16

Nothing against you new lovers, but this might be an event where you can learn a thing or two. Tom Papa has capitalized upon this image that never seems to creep out of the mid-life crisis and the result is hilarity. Tom Papa can be your marriage ref for the night. Comedy Works, Denver

Easy Star All Stars Dub Side of the Moon 10th Anniversary Show w/ Special Guests, Feb. 14

Known for turning songs by bands such as The Beatles and Pink

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Floyd into sweet echo-laden instrumentals, the Easy Star All Stars is a band that bridges the gap between genres and countries. It’s played around the world, and now after its highest-selling tribute album has hit the 10-year mark, they will find themselves returning to their roots . . . rock, reggae. Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom, Denver

Festivus Film Festival, Feb. 20-24

Run by a non-profit organization, the Festivus Film Festival promises great entertainment in hopes of supporting independent films and people who love them. Now, in its sixth year, the event is becoming a staple. The five-day gathering of filmmakers and moviegoers alike will ensure that you leave a cinematic hipster. The Oriental Theater, The Bug Theatre, Denver

Denver Restaurant Week, Feb. 23-March 8

A city known for outdoor pleasures and physical activities also has a weakness for the gastronomical. Enter Denver Restaurant Week. For a flat fee ($26.40 for one, $52.80 for two), participating restaurants will offer offering multiple course meals that will leave you feeling just a little guilty. Various Denver restaurants

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The popular talk show host is not shy about his love of the green, if recent media reports are to be believed. While hosting the White House Press Correspondents’ Dinner last year, he quipped, “What’s with the marijuana crackdown? We will deplete the nation’s Funyun supply?” He later added, “Pot smokers vote, too. Sometimes a week after the election, but they vote.” More recently, in a Rolling Stone interview, Kimmel offered the writer some of his smoke, proceeded to obtain his stash and later partook with his wife and the interviewer in the room. Kimmel’s only concern was whether or not his kids would read the article. c

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Every medical cannabis patient is apprehensive at hearing that their dispensary has been raided by the Drug Enforcement Administration—unfortunately, it’s not an uncommon sight. Once the feds show up, arrests and confiscations usually follow and people suffering from chronic pain, diseases or other ailments are left stuck in a lurch. Here are a few things to keep in mind, according to several MMJ and cannabis advocates:

If you are at a dispensary during a raid, be polite to officers, carry your paperwork and ID on you and tell the authorities you wish to remain silent and speak to an attorney. For the most part, the feds are going after dispensaries/access points and operators—not patients. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects your MMJ information.

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Chuck Shepherd

News of the


; The usual 20,000 or so visitors every year to Belgium’s Verbeke Foundation art park have the option (365 of them, anyway) to spend the night inside the feature attraction: a 20-foot-long, 6-foothigh polyester replica of a human colon created by Dutch designer Joep Van Lieshout. At one end, of course, another body part is replicated (and gives the installation its formal name, the Hotel CasAnus). The facility, though “cramped,” according to one prominent review, features heating, shower and double bed, and rents for the equivalent of about $150 a night. The 30-acre art park is regarded as one of Europe’s “edgiest” art destinations.


; Updating “The Smell of Napalm in the Morning”: A cosmetics company in Gaza recently began selling a fragrance dedicated to victory over Israel and named after the signature M-75 missile that Hamas has been firing across the border. “The fragrance is pleasant and attractive,” said the company owner, “like the missiles of the Palestinian resistance,” and comes in masculine and feminine varieties, at premium prices (over, presumably, the prices of ordinary Gazan fragrances). Sympathizers can splash on victory, he said, from anywhere in the world.


; Giuseppe Tedesco took the witness stand in Newton, N.J., in December and swore that all six shots that hit his girlfriend, Alyssa Ruggieri (one of them fatal), were “self-defense” “accidents.” After she

discovered his .25-caliber handgun in sofa cushions, he said he reached for it and in the struggle was shot in the hand, but he still managed to grip the gun tightly, and the pair tumbled down some stairs. During the struggle, “both” hands shot Ruggieri twice. Despite their injuries, they both maintained their vice-like grips on the gun, he said, and “they” shot Ruggieri twice more. The final shot, he said, came with Ruggieri holding the gun point-blank at his face, and when he pushed it away, “they” fired another shot that hit Ruggieri in the temple. (At press time, the trial was continuing.) ; The issues director of the fundamentalist American Family Association told his radio audience in November that God’s feelings will be hurt if America stops using fossil fuels for energy. “God has buried those treasures there because he loves to see us find them,” said Bryan Fischer, who described Americans’ campaigns against fossil fuels as similar to the time when Fischer, at age 6, told a birthday-present donor that he didn’t like his gift. “And it just crushed that person.” ; Retrials and appeals are sometimes granted if a convicted criminal demonstrates that he received “ineffective assistance of counsel.” Among the reasons that the lawyer for convicted Joliet, Ill., quadruplemurderer Christopher Vaughn offered in his November motion was the ineptness of other lawyers (but not himself). Specifically, he argued, the lawyers for the convicted wife-killing police officer Drew Peterson put on such a disgusting case that they gave all defense lawyers a bad name. (The website pointed out february 2012 • CULTURE 71

that Vaughn lawyer George Lenard himself violated a lawyers’“kitchen sink” standard by overlisting 51 separate reasons why his client deserved a new trial.)


; Mauricio Fierro gained instant fame in December in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as the reported victim of a car theft (captured on surveillance video) when he dashed into a pharmacy. He went to a police station to file a report, but encountered the pharmacy owner making his own report—that Fierro was actually robbing him at the moment the car was taken. More surveillance video revealed that while Fierro was standing outside the pharmacy, wondering where his car was, a man ran by and stole the stolen cash. Fierro then immoderately complained to the police even more about Sao Paulo’s crime rate and lack of security. Afterward, Fierro admitted to a local news website that in fact he had stolen the very car that he was reporting stolen.


; Former undercover cop Mark Kennedy filed for damages in October against the London Metropolitan police, claiming posttraumatic stress syndrome based on the department’s “negligence” in allowing him to have such a robust sex life on the job that he fell in love with a woman whose organization he had infiltrated. Kennedy’s wife has filed for divorce and is also suing the department, and 10 other women (including three of Kennedy’s former lovers) have also filed claims. ; Sarah Childs won a restraining order in Denham Springs, La., in December, forbidding the town from shutting down her “Christmas” lights decoration. The large outdoor display (in a neighborhood with traditional Christmas displays) was the image of two hands with middle fingers extended. ; In a 3-2 decision, the Board of Adjustment in the Seattle suburb of Clyde Hill ruled that a homeowner must chop down two large, elegant trees on his 72 CULTURE • february 2013

property because they obstruct a neighbor’s scenic view of Seattle’s skyline. The board’s majority reasoned that the complaining neighbor (who happens to be former baseball all-star John Olerud) would otherwise suffer a $255,000 devaluation of his $4 million estate. (Olerud was ordered to pay for the tree removal and to plant the neighbor two smaller trees in place of the majestic ones).


; (1) New York’s highest court ruled in November that subway “grinders” (men who masturbate by rubbing up against women on trains) cannot be charged with felonies as long as they don’t use force to restrain their victims (but only commit misdemeanors that usually result in no jail time). (2) Police in Phuket, Thailand, announced that their all-points search for a public masturbator who harassed a restaurant’s staff had produced no suspects—although a spokesman said they did find “a few people (nearby) who were masturbating in their vehicles, but none of them were the man we are looking for.”


; (1)Update: Four months have passed since News of the Weird mentioned that at least 60 North Carolina prisoners have been improperly incarcerated—legally innocent based on a 2011 federal appeals court decision. (Still others are at least owed sentence reduction because they had been convicted of offenses in addition to the incorrect one.) A June USA Today story revealed the injustice, and the federal government took until August to release holds on the inmates, but since then, only 44 of the estimated 175 affected prisoners have been correctly adjudicated. USA Today reported in December that the recent delay has been because of the obstinacy of some North Carolina federal judges, including cases involving citizens by now wrongfully locked up for more than 18 months. ; (2) Human rights activists have for years deplored the preferences for male offspring in India and other nations—ranging from V I S I T U S AT i R e a d C u l t u r e . c o m

cultures that marginalize female babies to some that practice discreet infanticide of girls. Increasingly, though, because of “advances” in science, Westerners can buy expensive in vitro fertilization procedures that use a laser to breach a fertilized embryo to determine whether it contains XY chromosome pairs (i.e., males) or larger XX ones so that only the desired-gender embryos are chosen. Noted in September, such procedures are illegal in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom (except for bona fide medical reasons), but legal in the United States. ; (3) “Fulton Jail Will Get Working Cell Locks,” read the Dec. 19 Atlanta Journal-Constitution headline. The county commission serving Atlanta had finally voted to break a longstanding 3-3 tie that prevented buying new jailhouse locks—even while knowing that inmates could jimmy the old ones at will and roam the facilities, threatening and assaulting suspects and guards. The three recalcitrant commissioners were being spiteful because a federal judge had ordered various improvements to the jail, costing $140 million so far, and the three vowed to spend no more. The 1,300 replacement locks will cost about $5 million—but will not be installed right away.


; (1) The week before Christmas, a Nottingham, England, officer wrote parking tickets to drivers of two ambulances that were taking too long to board wheelchair-using schoolchildren who had just sung carols for an hour downtown to raise money for the homeless shelter Emmanuel House. (Following an outpouring of complaints, the Nottingham City Council revoked the tickets.) (2) An ambulance on call, with lights and siren, pulled into the parking lot of Quicky’s convenience store in New Orleans in November to treat a customer, but one employee nonetheless obeyed what he believed to be his employer’s no-parking rule and applied an immobilizing “boot” to

the ambulance. The man, Ahmed Sidi Aleywa, was later fired. A co-worker said Aleywa was an immigrant who had said he was not familiar with “ambulances.”


; Recurring Themes: (1) Marquis Diggs, 29, entering the county administration building in Jersey City, N.J., in December for a hearing in family court over his mother’s restraining order against him, became the most recent drug possessor not to have realized that he might be subjected to a search. Police confiscated 32 baggies of “suspected marijuana.” (2) Cleland Ayison, 32, got a sentencing break in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in December when federal judge William Dimitrouleas pitied him. Ayison got only house arrest and community service because his crime—trying to pass a U.S. Federal Reserve note with a face value of $500 million—was so “silly.”


; Ironies: (1) A 20-year-old man’s life ended when he was shot to death in an altercation in San Bernardino, Calif., on Friday, Dec. 21, while attending a Mayan-inspired “End of the World” party. (2) The next night, in Fort Worth, Texas, a 47-year-old drummer collapsed of a seizure and died onstage. He had played with several bands, including Rigor Mortis. ; (2) Unlucky Gary Haines, 59, was arrested in December in Charlotte County, Fla., after he was spotted stealing a trailer by hitching it to his own truck and driving off with it. The “spotter” was the trailer’s owner, David Zehntner, who was out flying in his private plane and happened to be passing over his property at the moment Haines was hitching up. He easily followed Haines from the air and called in Haines’ destination to police. (2) Jason DeJesus, 36, and Chanelle Troedson, 33, who share an upscale 4,600 square-foot home (with pool and courts for playing tennis and beach volleyball) in Morgan Hill, Calif., were arrested in December and charged with luring a 50-year-old handyman to their home, forcibly detaining him, february 2012 • CULTURE 73

and requiring him to make various repairs for them over a six-hour period (before he managed to escape and notify police.)


; The Philadelphia Traffic Court has been so infused with ticket-fixing since its founding in 1938 that a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court report on the practice seemed resigned to it, according to a November Philadelphia Inquirer account. One court employee was quoted as defending the favoritism as fair (as long as no money changed hands) on the grounds that anyone could get local politicians to call a judge for him. Thus, said the employee, “It was the (traffic) violator’s own fault if he or she didn’t know enough” to get help from a political connection. Traffic Judge Christine Solomon, elected in November 2011 after a career as a favor-dispensing “ward healer,” said the ticket-fixing was “just politics, that’s all.”

; More than 200 school districts in California have covered current expenses with “capital appreciation bonds,” which allow borrowers to forgo payments for years—but at some point require enormous balloon payments. A Los Angeles Times investigation revealed that districts have borrowed about $3 billion and thus are on the hook for more than $16 billion. “It’s the school district equivalent of a payday loan,” said California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, a former school board member who said he’d fire anyone who sought such loans. (Some defenders of the loans pointed to schools’ occasional need for immediate money so they could qualify for federal matching grants—which, to the districts, would be “free” money.) ; One of the principal recommendations following the Sept. 11 attacks was that emergency and rescue personnel have one secure radio frequency on which all agencies that were merged into the Department of Homeland Security could communicate.

In November, the department’s inspector general revealed that, despite $430 million allotted to build and operate the frequency in the last nine years, it remains almost useless to DHS’ 123,000 employees. The report surveyed 479 workers, but found only one who knew how to find the frequency, and 72 percent did not even know one existed (and half the department’s radios couldn’t have accessed it even if employees knew where to look). ; Remember Alaska’s “Bridge to Nowhere”?: In November, the Anchorage Daily News reported the Army Corps of Engineers is building a harbor on the Aleutian native community’s island of Akutan, even though there is no road away from it. Thus, reported KUCB Radio, the only way to get into or out of the harbor is by boat. Any connector road to the only town on the island is “likely years in the future,” according to the Daily News. As well, there is no assurance that the largest business in the area, Trident Seafoods, would ever use the harbor.


; In October, Austrian artist Alexander Riegler installed a one-way mirror in the ladies’ room at a cafe in Vienna to allow men’s room users to peer inside (in the name of “art,” of course). Riegler said he wanted to start a “discussion of voyeurism and surveillance.” Men could see only the faces of women standing at the lavatories, and he said then that in January, he would reverse the process and allow women to peer into the men’s rooms. (The cafe had posted a sign advising restroom users that they would be part of an “art” project.)


; Anthony Johnson, 49, was convicted in October in Hartford, Conn., of stealing an improbably large amount of money—as much as $70,000 a weekend, off and on for five years—by crawling on the floor of darkened theaters and lifting credit cards from purses that movie-watching women had set down. The FBI said Johnson was careful to pick films likely to engross female viewers so that he could operate freely. He was 74 CULTURE • february 2013

often able to finish up, leave the theater and make cash-advance withdrawals from ATMs before the movie had ended. ; Things That Almost Never Happen: In October, a 34-year-old man being detained by Port St. Lucie, Fla., police on an indecent-exposure complaint convinced the officer to free him based on showing the officer his testicles. (A woman had complained that the man was masturbating in public, but the man apparently demonstrated an impressively severe rash that he said he could not avoid scratching.) ; Niles Gammons of Urbana, Ill., apparently did some partying on Saturday night, Nov. 3, because he managed a rare DUI daily double. He was first cited for DUI at 1:08 a.m. Sunday and then, 60 minutes later, he was again cited for DUI at 1:08 a.m. (The first was during daylight saving time; the second was after the changeover.


; Justin Jedlica, 32, of New York City, bills himself as the “human Ken doll” after a 10-year odyssey of cosmetic surgery (90 procedures) to achieve the “perfect” body. “I love to metamorphosize myself, and the stranger the surgery, the better,” he told ABC News in October, even though the amount of silicone in his body, say doctors (when told of Jedlica’s various implants), has reached a dangerous level. He dismisses actually “earning” the body, through gym workouts, as just “not exciting, not glamorous.” (Of course, the “perfect” body is never perfect, Jedlica acknowledged, as illustrated by his recollection of his first surgery—to get a perfect nose—which is still not done after three follow-ups. “Just got to get that nose up a few more millimeters,” he said.


; Emerging democracies have experienced brawls and fisticuffs in their legislatures as they learn self-government, with Ukraine perhaps the most volatile. When some legislators rose to change party affiliations in December, a fracas broke out and, according to V I S I T U S AT i R e a d C u l t u r e . c o m

Yahoo News, “Images . . . showed a scene that resembled a WWE payper-view event, with parliament members using full nelsons, choke holds and other moves familiar to American wrestling fans.” In fact, a man with the same name as a WWE heavyweight (“Rybak”) had just been elected speaker, and the country’s well-known boxing champion Vitali Klitschko was in attendance (as a member of a minority party called “Punch”). (One 2010 brawl in the Ukrainian legislature sent six deputies to the hospital with concussions.)


; Challenging Business Plans: (1) British “medical illustrator” Emily Evans recently created eight pricy, bone china dinner plates emblazoned with the microscope images of tissue slides of the human liver, thyroid, esophagus and testicles ($60 per plate, $200 for a set of four). (2) In October, a shop in London’s St. Bart’s Pathology Museum ran a special sale of cupcakes as part of a sexually transmitted disease awareness campaign. Each pastry’s icing was crafted to resemble the lesions, boils and warts of gonorrhea and other maladies. ; Leading a “jerky renaissance” is Krave, a Sonoma, Calif., company creating nontraditional flavors such as turkey jerky and jerky flavored with basil citrus or lemon garlic. Actually, Krave points out, jerky is rich in protein, with low calories and fat (but with, admittedly, sky-high sodium) and could be reasonably pitched as a healthy snack. However, jerky’s main obstacle (a Krave competitor’s CEO told The Wall Street Journal in September) is “jerky shame,” in which some male consumers remain mortified that their girlfriends might see them enjoying the snack.


; Behold, the McGyver Spider: Biologist Phil Torres, working from the Tambopata national park in Peru, revealed in December that he had witnessed a tiny Cyclosa spider construct a replica of an eight-legged spider in a web

made of leaves, debris and dead insects. Since the real spider was found nearby, Torres hypothesized that the wily arachnid had built a decoy to confuse predators. ; Artist Maria Fernanda Cardoso, already known for her “circus” of performing fleas at Australia’s Sydney Festival 10 years ago, has since become a legitimate academic expert on the sex organs of fleas and other insects. She debuted the Museum of Copulatory Organs last year near Sydney, teaching visitors such esoterica as: In many insect species, females are promiscuous; snails are hermaphrodites in which one shoots sperm “darts” that form rigid chastity-belt-like blockages on his mate; and a male flea copulates for eight hours straight (but only mates three times in his life).


; A team of French researchers writing recently in the journal PLOS ONE described a species of European catfish, growing to a length of five feet, that feeds itself pigeons by lunging out of the water (“cat”-like) and snatching them, even if the leap carries it to shore. Like Argentinian killer whales, the catfish are able to remain on land for a few seconds while wriggling back into the water where they can enjoy their meal. The lead researcher said he filmed 54 catfish attacks, of which 15 were successful.


; Another “Airline-Pricing” Model: The Jiangdu District kindergarten recognizes that providing a quality education requires supporting the child emotionally as well as helping develop reading and other skills, and toward that end, it now requires teachers to hug each pupil twice a day —provided that the parent has paid the monthly “hugging fee” of the equivalent of about $12.80. An education agency investigation is under way, according to a December Shanghai Daily report, but one teacher defended the trial program as boosting a child’s confidence and establishing a “good mood” for learning. february 2012 • CULTURE 75

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