WELCOME FUNGOPHILES … You’re unlikely to find a more mycophilic community in Colorado than Telluride … We Love Mushrooms! … And we’ve been hunting, eating & celebrating their elusive fruiting bodies for going on 32 years now. What started out as a conference on wild mushrooms has evolved into a full-on festival. But one theme has remained the same. In Telluride all aspects of the fungal kin-dom [sic] are explored … While many other myco-gatherings focus on culinary or foraying, toxicity or healing, the Shroomfest examines those areas as well as entheogenic, cultural and remediation aspects that are often overlooked in this country. That was the intent of founders Dr. Emanuel and Joanne Salzman, Dr. Andrew Weil, Paul Stamets, Gary and Irene Lincoff and a bunch of their friends: the Gillmans (I’m not making this up), the Adams, the Corbins, Rita Rosenberg, Paul Klite and others. That concept of not being afraid to take on aspects that explored the edge of legality and scientific thought found fertile ground with local shroomers like John Sir Jesse, Rick and Marty Hollinbeck, Dr. Charles Harter, myself and others. And there have been loyal out-of-town staffers who volunteered their energies to make the event happen: Tammy Davis, Seven Allele, George Osgood, John Townley, Ted Livelli, Lili Reece, Onyx Owens, Chace Haines, Tony and Carla Lang, Kandee DeGraw and a host of others … Some of the greatest names in the fungal world and related fields have been guest lecturers in Telluride, including the late Terence McKenna, Rolf Singer, Dr. Harry Thiers, Joan Halifax, Dr. Ethan Nadelman, Wade Davis, David Arora, Dolores LaChapelle, Dr. Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, Jonathan Ott, Laura Huxley, Judge John Kane, Dr. Peter Furst, Nobel Prize-winner Kary Mullis, Ralph Abraham, Dr. Rick Doblin from the Multi-disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, Kathleen Harrison, K Trout, the late Dr. Lynn Margulis, John Winslow, Ralph Metzner, and dozens more … When the Salzmans were unable to continue the event from their Denver home, Pamela and John Lifton-Zoline stepped in with the Telluride Institute and have sponsored the event for the last half-dozen years. This year Scott Koch has taken over as director, and lots of exciting things have happened, including a Valley Floor myco-remediation project and a new myco-infused healing mushroom brew at Smuggler’s Brewpub … Once again the festival sprawls all over the Telluride map, with the Palm Theater being the central location for tickets and Elks Park in the center of town as the loitering hub, site of the free fungal identification fair and starting point for Saturday afternoon’s Mushroom Parade … It’s a fun-packed weekend with events for everyone from families to scholars, shroomers to mycophobes, remediation experts to first-time forayers. Attend some aspect of the festival and maybe you too will learn to love mushrooms like so many of us in Telluride do.
CLOUD ACRE … Thanks to Steve McHugh, I’ve finally realized that one of the common mushrooms that grows all over my property in Norwood is a choice edible. Well, kind of choice. They taste good, are pretty easy to recognize and are literally underfoot in my garden grasses – Marasmius oreades (or at least something close to that species, most of us joining Lincoff as lumpers more than splitters). What’s commonly known as the Scotch Bonnet mushroom wasn’t on my radar, all these years as a fungophile … But I’m pretty conservative about eating new species. It took Steve walking through the picking, cleaning, cooking and eating to finally accept marasmius as a wonderful edible … That’s why Shroomfest is so valuable to local residents – you actually get to go out and find edibles in the field, bring them back to the ID tent in Elks Park for an expert look-see, and then you can cook them up and eat them on the spot. I don’t think there’s a better way to learn about edibles than that.
NIMBLE FINGERS … I picked a great year to reconnect with the Chamber Music Festival, one of my favorites. It’s their 40th anniversary – as old as any festival gets in Telluride. Like most, it started with the passionate energy of local aficionados and has developed into a grand tradition … This year, one of the local founders, Barbara Martin, reprized the very first piece at the first festival which she had played on recorder forty years ago: Naudot’s Concerto in G Major. It was marvelous … My colleague Elaine Fischer was the sponsor for that Sheridan Opera House show last Friday night. And original co-directors, violinist Ray Malan and pianist Robin Sutherland, played dazzling pieces – my favorite being the Mozart Clarinet Quintet with the Colombian wunderkind Carlos Ortega. And singling out stars is not to forget all the chamber players, who were uniformly excellent … Between shrooming, catch a concert at the opera house. As elegant as Telluride gets.
MUDD BUTTS … I couldn’t miss the 27th year of Telluride’s incredible children’s mystery theater, brought to us through the Telluride Academy. Sally Davis, Kim Epifano and Mike Stasiuk’s team have done and continue to do an amazing job mounting outrageous productions and involving young thespians … This year’s Don Quixote dazzled the imagination, from its first young woman acrobat performing a highwire dance on two strands of fabric to the fantastic costumes, choreography and props that made this far more than your usual kids’ play. Kudos to everyone involved.
MANY HANDS … What an auspicious start to a new festival of fiber arts that took over the Telluride High School Gym last weekend. The displays of rugs and quilts and various fiber creations were breathtaking … As a basketmaker who’d forgotten my wallet, I couldn’t help but borrow money to buy yarns from the Mora Valley Spinning Mill, with their vibrant colors and indigenous Churro wool … Let’s hope this becomes an annual event. It was very well organized, brought some great weavers from around the region, and will be a not-to-miss event on my calendar next year.
THE TALKING GOURD
Chamber Mushroom Music
Chanterelles fry in the pan
with zucchini garlic
I stand by the stove
Remembering the Mozart
of her morning strings
sizzling beneath me
& the hot sighs
of our mingled oils