Feasting on History in Telluride and Ouray
Next Thursday, August 16 is the Telluride Historical Museum’s annual fundraiser, Feasting on History. This year’s theme is “Railroads and Roads.” Appropriately, the event will be held at a former railroad depot, also known as the Ah Ha School. The evening consists of several speakers on the subject of Telluride’s past, and, of course, dinner. The museum’s assistant director, Beth Kelly, promises “a fantastic spread” of farm-to-table food and drink. The meal will be prepared by Telluride caterer Josh Klein of Bouillie Table, who catered Kelly’s June 30 wedding at the museum. “I’m extremely excited about the food this year,” she says. “At our wedding, the food was our objective. We wanted it to be memorable and to give people something to talk about, and we accomplished that.” You don’t have to be a member of the museum to attend the dinner and sample Klein’s local fare. Call the museum at 970/728-3344 for details.
One day later and one county over, and another museum – in this case, the Ouray County Historical Society – will also be feasting on history at its 7th annual Vignettes of History. The theme of the evening is “War and Angels,” a tribute to miners, soldiers and numerous other Ouray County residents who made sacrifices during World War II. The program begins with historically accurate canapés (a few of them will be made with Spam) at the Venue Roscoe Fox from 4-5 p.m., followed by a historically accurate dinner in the Grand Ballroom of the Beaumont Hotel from 5-6:30 p.m., where Miner’s Meatloaf, Camp Bird Fried Chicken, and other homespun, All-American fare will be on the menu (as you might expect, the dessert selection will include apple pie). John Ast and Jim Pettengill, a two-man saxophone ensemble, will provide musical accompaniment, “presumably Big Band music,” museum board member Gail Saunders says. Saunders has been interviewing local World War II veterans in preparation for the evening, which she will write up in the program and for the museum’s archives. “It’s one thing to read about World War II vets,” she says. “But to hear personal experiences is very moving.” The evening ends with a tribute by Judy Winnick to Irena Sendler, a Catholic social worker who risked her life to rescue Jewish children from the Nazis during Germany’s occupation of Poland, smuggling them out of the ghetto in all sorts of ingenious ways: sometimes in coffins, other times in potato sacks, and even under the floorboards of ambulances. After the war, Sendler found homes for children whose parents perished in concentration camps. Sendler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, and is credited with saving the lives of 2,500 children. For reservations and information about dinner options, call the Museum at 970/325-4576.
Summer Music Series at the Wright
Nashville musician Griffin House takes the stage at the Wright Opera House Friday night. He headlines the fourth in a series of five concerts – the Wright’s Summer Music Series – comprised of easy-listening, but not unchallenging, music by singer-songwriters including folk super-group Red Horse, which played to a sold-out house last June. The series concludes September 6 with David Wilcox, who combines “poetic lyricism” and an “intimate stage persona” in his “well-crafted folk-pop tunes,” according to the online musical database allmusic.com. Which pretty well describes what a good singer-songwriter does.
Jay Lauderdale, who chose the musicians for this series along with his wife, Jackie, calls the genre Americana. Lauderdale has always been a fan of well-written folk and pop, whatever continent it hails from (three of his favorites are Elton John, John Lennon and the Kinks – all Brits). “You can’t really label it,” he says. “As listeners, we want to put it into categories.” He knows magic when he hears it, though. The mark of a fine storyteller is one who writes “that certain song that gets you. It’s almost like a balm, a healing thing.”
The Lauderdales have been seeking out smaller musical venues – the Rock House in St. Louis, the Mucky Duck in Houston – for years. Occasionally, someone they see “ends up being a hidden gem,” he said. “Griffin House was, and Jude Johnstone [the second act this summer] was the same.” The couple, former full-time residents of Ouray, are part-time residents now. They had no intention of launching a string of musical events, particularly from a distance; the idea came out of a conversation with the Friends of the Wright, and a desire to help stoke “the economic engine.” When they moved away, “a piece of Ouray stayed in our hearts,” she said. The result is this series.
Mudd Butts Rise Again
The Mudd Butt Mystery Theatre Troupe, a group of Telluride 10-to-13 year olds who help write and produce their own plays each summer (with the assistance of theater director Sally Davis and arts educator Kim Epifano), will present their 27th annual production this weekend. Fatima the Spinner, from a story by Idries Shaw, tells the tale of a young girl and her journey through many hardships, who nevertheless manages to “pull a lesson out of every new experience,” says Mudd Butt graduate Emma Anderson, who returned this summer to work with the troupe as its ad coordinator. A lot of people keep returning to Mudd Butts, including Mike Stasiuk, who makes the fantastic, oversized props that populate each production and are auctioned off at the end of the last performance. Students, too, tend to come back each year (Anderson attended for three summers, and also went on three trips with the Butts abroad, to Ireland, Turkey and India). This year’s cast has many new faces, though, and that is a good thing. As she puts it, “The crop is mostly very young, which has turned out to be pretty cool.” Performances are Friday at 6 p.m., and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Historical Feasts, Summer Music and Mudd Butts
Feasting on History in Telluride and Ouray