March 2009

Let me go on the record here: I don't like leaving Telluride, even in the off seasons. But if one is to travel, and there are good reasons (new places, family, friends, etc.) to do so, late March and early April seems as good a time as ever to make a move. Susan's parents, Bob and Bernice Levitt, for many years have spent a few months in Palm Springs, to escape the misery of the New Jersey winter. It has become a habit for Sus and me to go to California at the end of her parents' sojourn to spend a few days with them in the desert, then to take them to L.A. to stay with Sus's sister Debby for a few days before they return to Hackensack.

As one listens to the traffic on Highway 111, the asphalt artery linking Palm Springs with the valley communities all the way out to Indio, it's a little difficult to believe that quiet and peace reside a few hundred feet higher in the hills that border the highway to the South.

IMGP0249 Afew days ago, Sus and I were hiking up a popular trail that leads from 111, up past the elegant homes that cap the ridge leading up to the wild high ground above, up past the large modern house that was Bob Hope's home in Palm Springs, and on up to a promontory which overlooks the valley, the manicured lawns of the condo developments, the well-tended greens of the golf courses, watered by the "inexhaustable" resources of the Palm Springs aquifer, up to the beautiful desert landscape of the mountain.

8th graaders w goat by Kris Holstrom

(Editor's note: Tellurider/director/coordinator Kris Holstrom and The New Community Coaltion (TNCC), the change-agent charged with the greening of the Telluride region, are doing more than talking. TNCC is walking its talk, making a difference, only the changes it is affecting are not flashy and often get lost in the many meetings required to sort out details.

To set the record straight, this is the first in a series of posts to explain what the TNCC has accomplished to date. We begin from the ground up, starting with our kids interested in protecting their legacy.)

TNCC helped start the YES Club in the Telluride High School. That's Youth Empowering Sustainability. The YES Club projects have included: recycle your school supplies - a year end effort that resulted in the recycling of over 500 pounds of paper, 120 3 ring binder notebooks, and countless other school supplies. Usable supplies were saved and distributed to students at the start of the school year - saving money and diverting waste!

[Click the "play" button and listen to Telluride Film Fest's education coordinator/local liaison Erika Gordon discussing the importance of "The Real Dirt"]

Farmer.john11x17 The image on the cover of his cookbook, "The Real Dirt on Vegetables," says it all: Farmer John Peterson is posed with a pitchfork like the man in Grant Wood's signature portrait "American Gothic" –  only Farmer John is also wearing a bright red boa.

Farmer John, who, by his own admission, is also Farmer " Elton" John, is a wise and wacky human being working to change the world one seed at a time with Angelic Organics, his Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm in rural Illinois.

Filmmaker Taggert Siegel's award-winning docudrama (over 30 festival honors), "The Real Dirt on Farmer John,"  spans 55 years, beginning with Farmer John's childhood, and then covering the failure of his conventional farming operation, the dark period that followed, and finally the farm's – and farmer's – rebirth.

March 26 to April 2, 2009

Visible Planets: Morning: Mars and Jupiter
Evening: Saturn

Venus kisses the moon-4b Welcome to the primal fire of an Aries lunar month. The Sun and Moon form an exact conjunction aspect of a New Moon on March 26th at 10:06 a.m. MDT and the lunation begins.

New Moons are times when soul and spirit unite. The solar force of the Sun, which in astrology represents essential spirit, conjoins with the reflective light of the Moon, which represents the emotional soul, and we are able to sense, feel and intuit the deeper reaches of both soul and spirit.

Aries is the first sign of the zodiac. It is energy bursting forth; the Mother Earth awakens, birds migrate and animals give birth, grass turns green and the season’s first flowers emerge amidst sporadic rain and snow. Mornings dawn calm and later winds howl. New life abounds and survival is the theme. Aries calls upon us to arm ourselves with courage, enthusiasm and strength and go forth to fight in battles of right action and high integrity. It’s all about desire and will. May yours be pure of motive and divine in nature. Happy New Aries Moon!

Watchmen_200810241502 This week at Telluride's  Nugget Theatre, the new movie is "Watchmen." In an alternate universe 1985 America, with the Cold War still a reality, Superheroes are very much a part of everyday experience. But there appears to be a plot to kill and discredit this band of stalwarts, and one of their number, Rorschach must rally his fellows to thwart the plot.

To read more and to view a preview, see

"Watchmen" plays Friday, March 27 through Thursday, April 2. Movie times are:

37 Allergies? Dust? Something in the air at Telluride's  Palm Theatre was making me tear up while watching Tuesday's dress rehearsal of the Telluride Repertory Theatre/Telluride Choral Society's cosy and warm production of the terminal blockbuster, "The Sound of Music." Surrender. Cry uncle. Guaranteed you, like Clint and I, will succumb to the charm of this Rogers and Hammerstein classic.

True the book is sugar-coated, enough to cause a toothache, but nowadays the blowsy optimism seems to work to the play's advantage: how nice to be able to take a time out from the long shadows cast by today's headlines to bask in the musical's sunshine and light. True the music itself is unapologetically melodic, but that melody creates a structure as solid and reassuring as the convent walls that try – but fail – to contain the moonbeam known as Maria, the novitiate.

Directed by the feisty, focused, uber  talented L.A. import, Cate Caplin – a newbie to town  but with over 100 productions to her credit as director/choreographer and an international dance champion – The Rep's adaptation of the Broadway show is marvel of restraint. She and partner in crime Dr. David Lingle, the equally but quietly gifted artistic director of the Choral Society, clearly made a decision to focus on the business end of the musical: they tell their story of courage and the power of love  – and song – to triumph over evil with few frills. In lock step with the two directors, the producer, Lutz Florczak and crew of about 20 deliver the goods: the sets, costumes/make-up, lighting, sound, are wonderful, but never upstage the actors, the heart of the matter.

[click "Play" button to hear Amy's podcast]

S1132047190_8046  Intermediate School math teacher Amy Van der Bosch is poised to become Telluride's sweetheart. Listen to her describe her path to Telluride and Maria in "The Sound of Music," and talk about her fellow cast members and director, by clicking the "play" button and listening to her podcast.

Did she or didn't she? Historians claim Maria did not fall head over heels for Georg Ritter von Trapp – she loved the children, and later grew fond of the man – but America swallowed the conceit hook, line and sinker, falling head over heels for Maria in the bargain.

"Maria" is the star of Roger and Hammerstein's hit musical, "The Sound of Music," the postulant nun who leaves her abbey to try her hand at being governess to von Trapp's seven motherless children. She sticks around and after the standard digressions becomes their stepmother.

[Click the "play" button to learn more from Barclay Daranyi about Indian Ridge Farm & Bakery and other CSA farms]

IndianRidgeFarm_15 (On March 29, the Telluride Film Festival's Erika Gordon has arranged a screening of "The Real Dirt on Farmer John,"  with special guest Kris Holstrom of The New Community Coalition, to discuss the importance of CSA farms.)

Wright's Mesa in Norwood is home to Tony and Barclay Daranyi's Indian Ridge Farm & Bakery, where the rites of Spring have just begun to bear fruits and vegetables, and their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is gearing up to serve their 60 shareholders, farmers, volunteers and visitors.

37 Based on a sneak peak, Telluride Inside...and Out is prepared to go out on a limb: when the cast of the Telluride Repertory Theatre Company's production of "The Sound of Music" says its final "So long, Farewell, Auf Wiederzehn, Goodbye," the crowd at the Palm will be shouting for more. This is one boffo show, arguably one of the biggest and best in The Rep's 18-year history. When the inevitable occurs, much credit must go to its director, Cate Caplin, and her musical director, Dr. David Lingle, who lead a cast of 50 and a crew of 20.

Their resumes not only establish their street cred, they underscore their respective and complementary strengths.