SUPREME COURT … What a momentous decision, and how lovely that it was so powerfully decided in Telluride’s favor. Kudos to the Town and its attorneys, kudos to all those who worked their butts off fundraising and keeping the faith (and prodding us doubting Thomases along) and kudos most of all to the citizens of Telluride, for whom half a loaf wasn’t enough, for whom the gateway entrance to this resort will always remain open and wild and free.
ATTORNEY GENERAL … Colorado’s morality police are at it again. The state’s Republican Attorney General John Suthers joined Utah, Idaho and several other bastions of intolerance in calling for the California Supreme Court to prevent same-sex marriages from taking place in the wake of the landmark decision last month. Luckily the California Supremes ignored Suthers and crew. Same-sex weddings are slated to begin June 16 at 5 p.m., and San Francisco and other California municipalities are bracing for an onslaught of pent-up demand … Let’s hope Colorado can revise its backwards stance and allow every American the freedom to enjoy the same rights to live as married couples, regardless of sexual orientation.
THE ZEPHYR … For all the gentrification, one thing about Moab hadn’t changed from its wilder river rat days for the last 20 years, the monthly newspaper called The Canyon Country Zephyr – a one-man operation run by the indefatigable Jim Stiles. As a regular reader and a sometimes contributor, I’ve long admired (as have many others folks) Jim’s willingness to confront issues head on, to speak truth to power and to sometimes be the cutting edge lead on volatile stories. Mix that with his cartoonist skills that bled over into all the advertising and a deep nostalgia for the small Colorado river town before it got “discovered” and you had an editorial policy unlike any other in the Four Corners … It’s been a good run. “But,” as Jim explained in a recent email, “Moab is not the same town that I knew and revered in 1989. And I am not the same man. Life and issues affecting the Colorado Plateau were very black-and-white to me then. As the Millennium approached, Moab became more than just a tourist mecca; it became something else altogether. The amenities economy, favored and encouraged by mainstream environmentalists as a solution to the economic woes of the rural west, almost made me nostalgic for cows again. I became more troubled and conflicted. And I chose to speak openly and frankly about these conflicts, the hypocrisy of my peers and my own contradictions … And so for the last ten years, I have tried to inform my readers of the impacts the amenities economy can create, even when it put me at odds with my own friends and the very advertisers who keep this paper alive … For New Moab and the amenities economy to flourish, it must continue to grow. Ed Abbey compared it to a cancer cell. In any case, New Moab is hardly in a position to support a publication like mine, just because they think an independent and sometimes cranky voice like The Zephyr needs to survive in our society. There aren’t many of us left … I do hold out one hope for The Zephyr’s survival, on some level, and it is an odd one, considering my anachronistic ways. I was, after all, one of the last newspapers in Utah to give up cutting and pasting the layout boards and embrace computer technology. But I think an online version of The Zephyr is feasible and I hope to give it a try” … So, next spring, Stiles will be putting out a “Planet Earth” edition, and he’s looking for advertisers less interested in Return on Investment (ROI) and more into supporting his independent style of intelligent, quirky, iconoclastic journalism (firstname.lastname@example.org).
IMMORAL WAR TOYS … “Absolutely essential” was the way this administration characterized the U.S.’s manufacture and use of cluster bombs. And so once again Bush has maneuvered the U.S. into a position opposite the vast majority of nations in the world – this time by not supporting a treaty ban on munitions famous for killing innocent civilians, especially children, years after hostilities have ceased. Even our ally Britain signed the treaty in Dublin on May 30, as did 110 other nations … But the U.S., a major manufacturer of the controversial ordinance, joined Russia, China, Israel, India, and Pakistan in opposing the measure … To think that this nation was once the moral leader of the free world – how low we have sunk!
SCOTT MCQUADE … I have to laud our community’s tourism marketing director. For years, from my first term of office, when I was on the then marketing organization’s board, I’ve been pushing for a greening of our marketing efforts. It seemed a natural pairing with our environmental strengths. My idea was a Green Map – a national effort that I thought to piggy-back onto. But it never quite jelled. And it wasn’t the real answer … Scott correctly assessed our community when he came on board with the newly formed Marketing Telluride, Inc. (thank you, Dirk), as he explained at the recent Intergovernmental meeting (that I participated in by phone and that Ophir ably facilitated for the first time – thank you Randy Barnes), we need to proceed carefully and by measured steps. And he’s absolutely right … Telluride is moving toward becoming a green eco-destination, and I think Scott is helping us get there in exactly the right way.
NILAJA SUN … I got a brief break from caring for my dad, as he slowly declines in health, and attended the last stop on the national tour of Nilaja Sun’s one-woman theater tour-de-force, No Child…, at the Berkeley Rep a couple weeks ago. Transforming herself into 17 characters with dazzling movements, spirited language, and convincing veracity, Sun showed why this ground-breaking performance last year won her an Obie, a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Solo Performance, the Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best New American Play and for Outstanding Solo Performance, the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival (in Aspen!) Award for Best Solo Show, and the Theater World Award for Best Debut Performance. She was nothing short of phenomenal, eliciting in her audience tears to belly-laughs to everything in between … The show was sold out, she got a standing ovation, and the Rep had to extend the show another week by popular demand … Keep an eye out for this talented writer and performer. You’re sure to hear more from her.
© 2008 Art Goodtimes
THE TALKING GOURD
I have found no better teaching
than May’s ripening apricots,
rose cheeked and hail pocked,
unsellable & sweetening anyway
-Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
San Miguel County Poet Laureate