ELEVATED
Stage,  Screen and the Steaming Bean
by Leslie Vreeland
Aug 31, 2012 | 1881 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A REALLY BIG SHOW  – Dan Hanley, Mitch Mishky, Thrax and Borg will emcee the second annual Telluride Arts 24-hour telethon, Sept. 7-Sept.8, beginning at 9 p.m. at the Steaming Bean. (Courtesy photo)
A REALLY BIG SHOW  – Dan Hanley, Mitch Mishky, Thrax and Borg will emcee the second annual Telluride Arts 24-hour telethon, Sept. 7-Sept.8, beginning at 9 p.m. at the Steaming Bean. (Courtesy photo)
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“Talent is all over the place in this community,” says San Miguel County Commissioner Elaine Fischer. Fischer herself is a good example: in addition to her work as a public servant, she produces artistic work as a painter at Stronghouse Studios, an arm of the cultural institution Telluride Arts. There’ll soon be a chance to see the many surprising sorts of talent Fischer is talking about, in a Telethon beginning next Friday, Sept. 7 at the Steaming Bean. The Telethon, now in its second year, benefits Telluride Arts, one of (if not the) most prolific, wide-ranging artistic institutions in a town with more than its share.

Expect to see a Jerry-Lewis-style 24-hour smorgasbord of highly-caffeinated creativity and local talent. This year, there’ll be a special emphasis on, and celebration of, Telluride’s appointment as a Colorado Creative District. Like last year, Dan Hanley will host, with the help of Mitch Mishky, Thrax and Borg. Hanley agreed to return on one condition: the Telethon, he insisted, must continue to run for 24 hours. Naturally, there will be musicians, comedy, and perhaps a magic show or two; as well as children’s acts (on Saturday morning), and a “bromantic” Newlyweds-style game, in which guy-best-friends compete against other guys. The event proved so popular last year, it will get a reprise with the same host: Colin Sullivan. Much of the wackiness comes not only from the lateness of the hour and copious amounts of java, but from walk-ins. “Last year, people would wander in to The Bean and have no idea what was going on,” says TA’s Programs Manager Sasha Cucciniello, who is talent recruiting for the show. “They’d end up getting really into it and spending the night watching.” The audience got so involved, Cucciniello says, the evening began to resemble performance art.



The Telethon will be a swan song of sorts for Cucciniello, who is leaving her post at TA in late September to work as artistic director for Telluride Theatre, a position she ascended to in late 2011. Since then, Cucciniello had been holding down both jobs, more-or-less full time. “It’s been a great four years, and I love this organization,” Cucciniello says of TA. “But the healthy thing was to choose one role or the other.” You could say Cucciniello, who directs, writes plays and also acts, gave up her role at TA for many different roles. Theatre, she says, “is my passion.” The telethon will be broadcast live on Telluride TV Channel 12 and at telluridearts.org if you can’t make it to the Bean. If you’d like to appear in the Telethon, email  HYPERLINK "mailto:sasha@telluridearts.org" sasha@telluridearts.org.



New Music at the Wright



On Friday night, the summer’s new singer-songwriter series at the Wright Opera House will end on a high note. Cult favorite David Wilcox makes an appearance; his warm voice, intimate style and well-crafted folk-pop tunes remind some people a little of James Taylor (this according to the online music database AllMusic.com). Wilcox takes the stage at 8 p.m. He’s been making records for years, and you’d think with 17 solo albums and hundreds (maybe thousands) of concerts in his past, he might also have a few favorite musicians to accompany him. Yet his musical style remains restrained. His favorite instruments are just two: his guitar and his voice, and two out of three of his most recent albums are acoustic.  But “with songs as strong as these, he doesn’t need anything else to make a lasting impact,” All Music’s critic J. Poet says. “Why he hasn’t got a higher profile is one of the unfathomable mysteries of the music business in the 21st Century.” On Saturday, Wilcox will hang around Ouray just a little longer, to teach a songwriting tutorial at the Wright. To purchase tickets for the show or the class, visit thewrightoperahouse.org.



The next musician to play the Wright couldn’t be more different. In contrast to David Wilcox and his lone guitar, Jeff Solon and his Big Band arrives bearing not only a guitar, but a 6-piece horn section, piano, bass and drums to boot. Solon appears Sunday, Sept. 9 at 2 p.m. to kick off the Opera House’s new Wrighteous Jazz series; the series is slated to feature several different styles of jazz – from a jazz trio, to “California bebop,” to jazz-and-blues – between now and next Spring. Two local aficionados, Anthony Gegauff and Jorg Angelhrn, made a point of attending jazz concerts, festivals and clubs over the past eight months to select acts that would be just the fit for the Opera House’s rejuvenated acoustics, says the Wright’s Joyce Linn. It will take about $1.6 million in grants and donations to complete the grand old building’s overhaul, Linn explains. The jazz series “is one way to show people the potential this venue has for the next Century. We hope it will inspire dreams.” For a complete list of Wrighteous events and to purchase tickets, visit thewrightoperahouse.org.



Also in Ouray County…Weehawken Arts will offer a three-day pastels class with Denver artist Bruce Gomez the weekend of Sept. 28-30. The last time this class was offered, “Several students flew in from out of state to work with him,” says Weehawken’s Stephanie Wallin. This go-round, Gomez can acccommodate up to 10; he’s back by popular demand. To see samples of his work, visit brucegomezart.com. 

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