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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Up Bear Creek / 18aug50011

Town’s unique Shroomfest revs up
for its biggest myco-production ever

TELLURIDE INSTITUTE … Events have their cycles. The Denver Fungophile folks who ran the non-profit Telluride Mushroom Festival for 25 summers threw in the towel a few years back. Attendance had tapered off. Costs were escalating … Lucky for Telluride, TI stepped in and took over management of the iconic mountain event. But bad economic times and continued low attendance took their toll. The festival was on the verge of going under … Some of us on the TI board couldn’t let that happen, and after several successful rebuilding years, it’s back with a bang … Paul Stamets is one of the true stars of the mycological world – discovering new entheogenic species, revealing the power of oyster mushrooms to clean up oil spills, pioneering mushroom blends for cancer healing and prevention, lecturing on the many ways shrooms can help save the world. His talks on TED and at Bioneers are legend. To have him back speaking on all these topics, as well as his brilliant Life Box invention, is a first-class coup. And already pre-event ticket sales have quadrupled … Last year’s bumper crop of shrooms locally may be unrepeatable, but recent rains have revived hopes of great forays again this year … And the fest has expanded to accommodate a number of simultaneous talks and workshops. Instead of one site for shows, we now have three – the Palm Theatre, the Wilkinson Public Library and the San Miguel County Meeting Room, as well as our free exhibits in Elks Park. We’ve established seven tracks for those interested in particular areas of the fungal world more than others: Identification, Culinary, Cultural, Cultivation, Entheogens, Medicinal, Remediation. And there are numerous speakers holding lectures, powerpoints, workshops and demonstrations in each of those areas … Last week’s Watch had a schedule. More schedules are available at Elks Park, on line, and our three performance venues … Pick and choose what interests you about mushrooms – those ubiquitous natural life forms that can be good to eat (or bad), can heal you (or hurt you), can make cuisine of free food (or a culinary disaster). Lots to learn. Lots of chances to learn it …

TEA PARTY FOLLIES … A local business person and I take pleasure in sending the other emails detailing our personally biased takes on issues. Here’s a recent one from him …  “ObamaCare was the wrong way to solve the health care issue and it’s now determined to be a huge job killer! Thank you Judge Hall and Judge Dubina: if the government can impose this kind of ‘economic mandate,’ if it can force individuals to enter contracts with private companies "from birth to
death,’ there are no longer limits on what it cannot do. Judges Frank Hall and Joel Dubina from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.” … And my response …
“Obamacare" was the compromise Republicans forced on the Dems. It isn't perfect. Compromises rarely are. But it's a step towards universal health care in this country, something that I as a Green support. And honestly, government imposes car insurance on us -- we have to contract with private companies for our entire lives as drivers. So now we have to do that for health care (what the two judges don't like) because Repubs shot down single payer. It's like the Tea Party antics in the house -- refusing to impose the tiniest tax on the wealthy and insisting on all these huge cuts for the poor. and then taking us to the brink of default. Talk about job killers. It's the Repubs who are taking us back into recession.

BURN CANYON… What last week’s excellent story in the Watch on the Tri-County meeting in Ridgway failed to tell you is that San Miguel County’s own Burn Canyon Salvage Logging Community Monitoring Project was one of the local initiatives funded in that large Forest Service grant that the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest received this year … So, in partnership with the New Community Coalition, the Burn Canyon coalition of partners will be hosting a field tour of the Burn Canyon Project site, next Tuesday Aug. 23 starting at 9 a.m. at the Norwood District Ranger District offices. A larger, more public field tour is planned for next year, when we will have the results of the data collected this year by Ridgway’s Peggy Lyon and her Norwood intern, Skyler Hollinbeck …But if you have a burning interest (lol) in this legacy project of Phil and Linda Miller of Telluride, come join us.

DECHRISTOPHER FUND … Thanks to hard work by Carol Bell, the Tim DeChristopher Defense Fund, has a bank account and a post office box (Box 207, Norwood CO 81423). Send in your contributions (no amount too small) to help support Tim in his legal defense costs and our own Chris Myers and Skip Edwards for their legal costs in supporting DeChristopher.


Of Breasts & Mushrooms

A loose jowled, broad shouldered woman in black wanders our camp with large handled basket and pendulous breasts swinging freely beneath peasant blouse above thin legs. She asks in lilting accent, perhaps French, “May I have your mushrooms?” as though they were ours only for camping for a price on a mountain where air hums with RV generator songs. Admiring her trespass of parceled campground boundaries, her astute respect for American habits of possession in a quest for fungal delicacies, and having enough delighted in their frumpy company peeking at my pointing children from tiny mosses and pine duff, I say, “Yes, of course,” and notice her basket nearly full, soil clinging to creamy sponge roots below dozens of burnt red waxen caps, echoing her own robust form. She squats and pulls. Wanders. Squats and pulls some more, looks up at me, around me, as I write. I want to walk with her, watch her cook these mysteries over fire, taste her Rocky Mountain dreams of French cuisine. I imagine, instead, her crossing into other camps, ambassador, visiting my rough brothers-in-law, their blonde wives, leaning against red trucks and silver mini vans, not far from here, through lodge pole pines, her gentle request, their eyes upon her passing swaying breasts, crude comments chuckled beneath beer breath, relieved their own wives’ tits are tucked away, firmly compressed, hiding their age, padded and wired from wandering eyes, mushrooms unable to rise,
no nipples greeting the duff of day.

-Rachel Kellum

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