By Tracy Shaffer

Sunday afternoons at the Mercury Café are always an eclectic mix with swing dance, poetry slams and tarot readings on the calendar. But last week the place levitated to a place even the Tibetan meditation class would envy. The occasion was a concert by the brilliant jazz band, Zuri, featuring the angelic voice of Prudence Mabhena, to benefit the Cunningham Foundation.

Hosted by Zuri cellist James Bailey, the event opened with some “world-inspired, improvisational, high-energy jazz”, as vibes playing percussionist Greg Tanner Harris describes the Zuri sound (I’d have gone with “jaw-dropping, eye-popping” myself), while artist Laurie Maves painted the scene on canvas for auction. Soon Prudence rolled in gracefully; the most grounded human being I’ve ever seen, with a soul that emanates from her brown/black eyes. She is pure spirit and a set of pipes that will make you believe in God.

[click "Play", Susan speaks with Mark Meatto and Michael Bohlmann]


How to Grow a Band It takes a lot more than water. To grow a band requires blood, sweat, and tears. Also, you need to find someone to do your laundry. The Western premiere of the show-all, tell-all feature-length documentary, "How To Grow A Band," takes place during Telluride Bluegrass. The FREE screening is scheduled for Saturday, June 18. 2011, 11 a.m. at The Nugget. (Seating is limited, so reserve your ticket in advance at

"This film documents the beginnings of Chris Thile's grand vision for a truly modern stringband and the struggles to realize this vision," explained Brian Eyster of Planet Bluegrass. "Personally I am very excited to see the results of the filmmakers' efforts. They will be on-hand for the screening and the band may join them."

 “…A gripping look at the nature of creativity and performance art," raved The Tennessean.

by Jon Lovekin

Slide chutes Often, the best way to the mountain top is where fierce energy has blown down a path to the bottom. Snow avalanches do this. Where they load and run, decade to decade, is a clear path to the top, avoiding the tree fall and other debris in the deep dark woods that densely cover the hills.

Today was one of those days. I got a late start after checking the gear and carefully arranging the pack. The hike, work at the mine, and walk back out would take me into the early hours of nightfall even on this June day. The climb always cleared the pipes and the mind and today was no different. A cool breeze pulsed up the hillside chilling the sweat drenched clothes. As I topped out, light headed at the ridge I suddenly started as I heard voices. Looking all about there was no-one to be seen. Snatches of a far away conversation brought to me in pieces in the abrupt and now mysterious winds coming up from the valley. I was now well primed for the ghosts from yesterday that haunt these old mine sites.

[click "Play" to listen to Susan's converesation with Charlotte and Xanthe]

Charlotte & Xanthe Thanks to the Strokes of Genius (formerly Benchmark) Fund, managed by the Telluride Foundation, college tuition became a bit more affordable for recent graduates of the Class of 2011. Now in its 18th year, the Strokes of Genius Scholarship is a proud Telluride tradition, the largest and longest running local scholarship program available to seniors, enabling Telluride students with financial need, academic merit, community involvement, and exceptional character to pursue higher education.  

When terrorists took down the Twin Towers, the Telluride High School Class of 2011 were children. America lost its innocence. But these local kids did not lose heart. And the heart, not the brain,is the primary source of all knowledge, explained keynote commencement speaker, director Tom Shadyac, at Friday's graduation.

By Jon Lovekin

(Editor's note: One of the pleasures in publishing Telluride Inside... and Out is getting to know new  [to us] writers. Susan and I independently ran across Jon Lovekin on Twitter. She took the next step, checked out his writing, liked what she saw and asked if he would be interested in contributing to TIO. Herewith, another article from Jon.)

Chelsea Chelsea saved my life.

It was January in Boulder, Colorado and approaching 20 below zero. We lived in an old barn converted into a house sometime in the '30s or '40s. It was on a large plot of land two blocks in from Canyon Boulevard not far from the east end of the then new Boulder Mall. My roommates were in the trades and we had a lively bunch at the house each morning around 7 am discussing the coming day's work and drinking coffee. I was rarely at my best at that hour as I was merely a student at the University and typically got home well after midnight from my geology study group.

 I've spent 12 seasons teaching skiing to people with handicaps, so I really responded to this video by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch and Kennel. Ted's contribution this week of a Labrador Retriever missing a left front leg reminded me how important heart and desire...

By J James McTigue

The Baffin Babes are four rad chics with whom it would be fun to have a beer, go dancing, or ski tour 1200 kilometers in the Canadian Arctic over 80 days. Except you weren’t invited on the ski trip; they chose to do it all on their own.

Babes Swedish sisters Vera and Emma Simonson, along with Norwegian friends Inga Tollefson and Kristin F. Olsen spent 80 days traveling along the eastern coast of Baffin Island, the largest island in Canada and the fifth largest island in the world.

At Mountainfilm in Telluride they will be presenting their trip, the glacial scenery, and remote Inuit villages they visited, as well as the fun they had, in a multimedia presentation at 6:45 Friday night at the Sheridan Opera House and 9:30 a.m. Monday at the Palm. (Palm showing is free to the public).

[click "Play", Dr. Rick Hodestalks about his work, especially about Prudence Mabhena]

 The announcement came at the closing event of Mountainfilm in Telluride, and there was not a dry eye in the Park. But its outcome remained something of cliffhanger until now. Now, at the 33rd annual Mountainfilm Festival, those of us in attendance, rapt fans of the brave young woman, get to learn the fate of Prudence Mabhena, left in the healing hands of Dr. Rick Hodes.

Dr. Rick Hodes has lived Mountainfilm's 2011 theme, Awareness Into Action, every day of his working life.

Rick Hodes is an American doctor who has lived and worked in Ethiopia for over 20 years. He is the Medical Director of Ethiopia for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), a 97-year-old NGO, in charge of all the Ethiopians immigrating to Israel since late-1990. Rick has also worked with refugees in Rwanda, Zaire, Tanzania, Somalia, and Albania.

Brakes On the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, about the time the Gulf oil spill was about to capped, Drew Ludwig decided to take a walk. A long walk. In August 2010, he traveled by foot 120 miles from the Ninth Ward of New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico.

"I went to help. I went to work. I held lofty goals of an activist, and I wanted to use my hands."

And so he did, his hands and his unerring eye, recording images with his camera of people and places encountered along the way. Drew's motivation: break down the idea of "The Other," a complex concept lifted from the social sciences that defines the process by which individuals and groups create distance between themselves and those who do not seem to fit easily and comfortably into their cloistered worlds.

by Jon Lovekin

(Editor's note: One of the pleasures in publishing Telluride Inside... and Out is getting to know new  [to us] writers. Susan and I independently ran across Jon Lovekin on Twitter. She took the next step, checked out his writing, liked what she saw and asked if he would be interested in contributing to TIO. Herewith, another article from Jon.)

Ranchland Clouds built over the plains as they always do each day this time of year.  The wind blew soft and hot keeping the gnats at bay.  Mud was deep around the building we were working on after the record setting 6 inch rain over the weekend.  The sun burned deep into the skin and I thought of that boy working on that ranch 29 years ago and only 30 miles away. I had thought of the Rancher now that I worked in La Junta again and looked up his name in the phone book.

I didn’t recognize him at first when I pulled up to the address in Fowler where the phone book said he lived.  There was an old man in a jump suit sitting in a porch swing connected to an oxygen tank who was staring at me as I looked again at the house number.  I got out, strode around the truck and said, “Hello, does Ken live here?”

“He used to” replied the man who I knew instantly was him.