Childs: Double Duty, Lit Fest & Mountainfilm

Childs: Double Duty, Lit Fest & Mountainfilm

The Telluride Literary Arts Festival or Lit Fest, takes place in town Friday, May 18 – Sunday, May 20. The featured author is Craig Childs, who is scheduled to speak on Sunday, May 20, 7 p.m., at Telluride’s Wilkinson Public Library. The subject is his latest book, “Atlas of a Lost World.”

Lit Fest also includes Literary Burlesque, May 19, 7 p.m., at the Black Box “Bob” Theatre at The Palm. The 5th annual Lit Burl, “Uncorseted: It’s Not What It Seams,” is directed this year by award-winning poet Kierstin Bridger. Tickets, $20 (21+ only) are now on sale May 1 at Between the Covers Bookstore – and the show always sells out. Call 970-728-4504.

And for pre-Burl delights – booze and vittles– the Hotel Telluride plans to open its restaurant early on May 19, 5 p.m. (versus usual 5:30 p.m.), in support of LitBurl. The place plans to roll out its summer menu and feature cocktails from the WWI era. Since the space is small, reservations are recommended. Call 970-369-1188.

On May 25, just days after Lit Fest, Childs appears at the opening event of the 40th annual Mountainfilm. This year, the Moving Mountains Symposium focuses on migration, so Childs’ talk is about the first human migrations into the New World during the Ice Age as described in “Atlas of a Lost World.”

Passes and tickets to Mountainfilm are selling out very fast here.

Telluride author Susan Dalton captures Mountainfilm‘s best memories in “Mountainfilm: 40 Years.” The beautiful coffee table book costs just $49 (tax included) and can be pre-ordered now here.

Scroll down to listen to a podcast featuring Craig Childs and for a full schedule of Lit Fest and more about Lit Burl.

Craig Childs…

His name is heavily freighted with adventure travel and the chrome bright, infectious prose that happens on the other side of his nonstop explorations.

“…I inhabited two worlds at once. One was an occupied continent streaming with freeways and fiber optics. The other was this camel’s land, a kingdom of animals, plants and fungi…(in the Pleistocene era),” from Childs’ latest book, “Atlas of a Lost World,” a dual journey through the geographies of modern and Ice Age America, and a survey by this peripatetic author-adventurer of some of the lands reached by the first voyagers across the Bering Sea Ice Bridge.

Childs is an award-winning writer mostly of the American Southwest, who focuses on natural sciences, archaeology and wildness journeys. An occasional commentator on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” he also now teaches writing at the University of Alaska in Anchorage and the Mountainview MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University. For several years before moving to Norwood, CO., Childs lived in a tipi up on Log Hill Mesa, and then near Dallas Divide. For 18 years, he made his home in Crawford, CO, working as a freelance writer, author, speaker, and writing instructor.

Craig Childs, courtesy Sarah Gilman.

An Arizona native, Childs grew up back and forth between there and Colorado, the son of a mother hooked on outdoor adventure and a father who liked whiskey, guns, and Thoreau.

In addition to writing and teaching, Childs’ resume includes gas station attendant, professional musician, beer bottler, and guide on the Green, Colorado, Yampa, and Gunnison Rivers.

Childs has also led backcountry trips for most of his adult life and became known for following ancient migration routes on foot, pursuing early Puebloan passages across the Southwest and, most recently, the paths of first peoples into the Americas during the Ice Age.

He is a pathfinder who “grew up in motion.”

I have never lived outside the Southwest, yet in my childhood I rarely had the same home or lived in the same state for more than a year or two at a time. Well before adulthood I believed that all was right with the world only when I was standing at the brink of every possibility, a voyage not yet taken unraveling before me,” he wrote in “House of Rain,” adding in a different context: “I travel the interstitial places, cracks in the sidewalk…I look for the places in between whether I have a month, a day, or a minute. Pinacate, Olympic Peninsula, Manhattan, I find wilderness…”

And yet for all the yang in Child’s DNA, there is also a generous helping of yin.

Craig Childs majored in journalism, but he minored in Women’s studies at CU Boulder. And he makes frequent appearances as the one and only “Burl Boy” among a talented group of woman poets who call themselves the “Burl Gurls” of the Telluride Literary Arts Festival’s signature event: Literary Burlesque. This year the happening takes place Saturday, May 19, 8 p.m. at the Black Box “Bob” Theatre at The Palm Complex.

Originally conceptualized by award-winning author Amy Irvine, Literary Burlesque premiered in 2014, bringing together a group of women writers – plus Childs – on stage to perform their most risky work, peeling back layers to reveal tender hearts, tender words, bare souls – and yes, a bit of skin.

This time around, however, it is Childs’ turn to seduce the crowds with his trademark lyrical style, discovery at every turn in the road, at every turn of a page.

This year, due to the demands of his book touring schedule, Childs will not be appearing with his uncorseted friends at Lit Burl. However, he is the featured speaker at Lit Fest 2018, Thursday May 17 – Sunday, May 20, 7 p.m. on May 20, Childs is scheduled at the Telluride Library to talk about and  read from from his latest book “Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America,” released May 1, and dedicated to his mom Sharon, “who whispered in my ear, Go.”

Then, just five days later, on May 25, Childs is featured again, this time on an illustrious panel at Mountainfilm’s opening event, the Moving Mountains Symposium. This year’s theme is migration, so he will be talking about the focus of his book, “Atlas,” the first human migrations into the New World during the Ice Age.

Archaeologists say the first human inhabitants of North America likely crossed a land bridge from Siberia to Alaska some 30,000 years ago. Childs follows their path down the coast of California, across to Texas and Colorado, and as far as south as Florida, using artifacts to tell of their lives and fate.

“Whenever I read Craig Childs I feel as if I am in the presence of a passionate tour guide to exotic places, rare artifacts, and ancient bones. Childs’ ‘Atlas of a Lost World’ is a transcontinental detective story about the arrival of humans in North America. About 20,000 years ago climates changed, humans spread across the globe, and a new era began for life in North America. Childs’ first-hand encounters and vivid prose make his telling of these pivotal events read more like a thriller than a stale account of dusty artifacts,” said Neil Shubin, author of “Your Inner Fish.”

“…a tight weave of professional findings, anecdotes, site visits, and explanations behind ancient artifacts make this book both engaging and indispensable for those with an interest in prehistory,” wrote the Kirkus Reviews about “Atlas.”

More about Lit Fest:

Ester Belin

FRIDAY  •  May 18, 7:30 p.m., Ah Haa School:

Poets Night featuring Diné poet Esther Belin and Colorado Mesa University poet John Nizalowski Open mic to follow!

John Nizalowski

SATURDAY  •  May 19, all day:

9:30 a.m.: Poets Walk up Bear Creek with Art Goodtimes (weather dependent).

Meet at Hight Alpine Coffee Bar (at Between the Covers Bookstore).

10:30 a.m.: Lecture, “Belle Turnbull and the Poets of Early Colorado” with Dr. David J. Rothman.

At the Wilkinson Public Library in the Periodicals Room.

Dr. David Rothman is director of Western’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing.

12-4 p.m.: Kids Afternoon:

Make a book! Write your own story or use as a journal! Also at the Wilkinson Public LIbrary.

2-4 p.m.:

$1000 Fischer Poetry Prize Ceremony & readings by winners.

Plus the awarding of the $500 Cantor Prize for Best Colorado Poem.

Event takes place at Telluride Arts’ HQ across the street from the Library.

7 p.m.: 5th Annual Literary Burlesque: “Uncorseted: It’s Not What It Seams”

A nod to the break from societal strictures of the period between 1914-18, “revealed” by seven women poets plus regional corset designers and a talented group of dancers.

At the Palm Complex’s Black Box “Bob” Theatre. Cost $20. Ages 21+.

Peter Anderson

SUNDAY  •  May 20,10-11:30 a.m.:

Workshop: “A Certain Slant of Light: The Poetry of the Postcard”
with Peter Anderson.

County meeting room on the 2nd floor of the Miramonte Building.

12 p.m.: Gourds Poetry Circle  or Sharing of Poems & Stories.

Event at the Ah Haa School. Bring a pillow.

7p.m.: Featured Author Craig Childs and his NEW book

“Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America”

Lecture takes place at the Telluride Library.

More about Literary Burlesque (from Kierstin Bridger):

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of Armistice. We want to celebrate the occasion by heralding the unsung and innovative women of the World War I era, women who unbound themselves from stuffy strictures and the societal constraints of the 1914-1918 time period.

Our point of inquiry, “Where did the suffragettes go?” leads us to discover women who defied convention and instead employed their voices, their bicycles and their bodies to break the silence, ignore barriers and rewrite societal norms. These are women who drew stories on their skin, who stormed the skies, and faced firing squads in full, mad-glorious brilliance.

This year, for the first time, LitBurl will feature local and nationally known visual artists as the corset designers for the seven regional female poets who will deliver the stories.

The artists collaborating with the Burl Girls to create the astonishing masterpieces of corset splendor include: Ann Dettmer, Lisa Issenberg, Judy Kohin, Kellie Day, Buff Hooper, and Luci Reeve.

The show, told in shed layers, is funny, politically charged, probing, and a bit racy.

Exactly what the audiences love about Literary Burlesque.

“Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations can never effect a reform.” – Susan B. Anthony

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin

More about Craig Childs:

Craig Childs, devilishly smart at Lit Fest & Mountainfilm.

Craig Childs is the author of “Apocalyptic Planet” and other critically praised books. He has been a regular commentator for NPR’s “Morning Edition” and his work has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Men’s Journal, Outside, The Sun, and Orion Magazine.

Childs has received the Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Award; the Rowell Award for “The Art of Adventure”; the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award; and, for his body of work, the 2003 Spirit of the West Award.

“Atlas of a Lost World” chronicles the last millennia of the Ice Age, the violent oscillations and retreat of glaciers, the clues and traces that document the first encounters of early humans, and the animals whose presence governed the humans’ chances for survival.

A blend of science and personal narrative reveals how much has changed since the time of mammoth hunters, and how little. Across unexplored landscapes yet to be peopled, readers of “Atlas” will see the Ice Age, and their own age, in a whole new light.

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