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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Up Bear Creek / 25aug50011

Good talks, good shrooms, good times

SHROOMFEST31 … The Palm Theatre hosted this year’s Telluride Mushroom Festival. A bigger venue to fit a bigger crowd. And the monsoon rains, although spotty, brought enough moisture to fill the free display tables at Elks Park with hundreds of varieties, and a few choice edibles … The annual parade was bigger and wilder than ever before, with the Amanitamobile leading the assemblage of costumed fungophiles. A costume contest, sponsored by Fungi magazine out of Wisconsin, added to the excitement (with returning locals Charris and Dulce Ford winning one of three prize categories and Rolley White and family dressing up like yours truly – even the three kids) … There are many mushroom gatherings around the country, some older than Telluride’s. But none is as celebratory as Shroomfest. In Telluride mushrooms aren’t just studied and displayed, but turned out and celebrated … Visionary myco-wizard Paul Stamets won standing ovations for both of his Friday talks – one about his discovery of pre-sporulating mycelia of some shrooms species that can be used as natural, non-toxic pesticides (he’s just won several patents that have the capacity to change the face of insect control all over the world), as well as his dazzling Life Box invention to turn packaging into carbon sequestration, and the other talk focused on the medicinal and anti-viral properties of other fungi that have been shown effective against many human diseases … As one young woman expressed, “Paul is so wonderful. In the face of so much environmental destruction, his talks give you hope” … Not only were there reputable mycologist types lecturing – Dr. Michael Beug, professor emeritus at Evergreen College, and Gary Lincoff of the New York Botanical Garden – but budding scientists like teenager Devon Enke talking about soil health and young idealist myco-remediationists like Danny Newman and Lindsay Ofrias-Terranova alerting us to the ecological Texaco/Chevron oil disaster in Ecuador and current attempts to clean up what American corporations have done to the rainforest there … The Wilkinson Library partnered with the Telluride Institute to sponsor several culinary events – including a Thursday Chef Mushroom Cook-Off that saw a Mushroom Ice Cream (made with Candy Caps) win first prize (still available at Cocina de Luz’s outdoor juice bar) … Valerie Mojeiko wound things up on Sunday with a run-down of the work MAPS (the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) has been doing to highlight and prove the therapeutic value of entheogenic mushrooms and drugs like MDMA, LSD and Ibogaine. Their goal, said Mojeiko, is to get these substances delisted as dangerous drugs and made available for healing use by prescription … The moderate-sized festival brought several hundred folks into town for lodging and restaurants and complemented the Telluride Chamber Music Festival and Shakespeare in the Park also taking place. An economic boon in a niche market, as well as a rollicking good time.

DAN EARNSHAW … As a lover of local theater, it was hard to lose one of our local community stars whose performances have delighted me for years. Shroomfest got in the way of my making his memorial this past weekend, but Dan was on my mind. I could see his smiling face taking us along some theatrical journey into another time, another place ... It is a great gift to give one’s community artistic energy. Dan did so unstintingly. He will be missed.

WEEKLY QUOTA … “To make living itself an art, that is the goal.” –Henry Miller

NIGHTLIFE … What a wild street scene has developed in Telluride. Living in Norwood, I’m rarely up in town on the weekends, and never after hours. But hanging out late with Shroomfest, I got to sample the dancing energy at the Bean with DJ Apoc. No cover, the doors open, people waltz in from the street and hop onto the dance floor. And then they drift off to the Oxygen Bar or Llama’s – where there’s more great music, live bands (thank you Hubert), and a free-form bar-hopping energy that reminded me of Montreal … Even the hot dog cart was alive with customers at 1:30 a.m. – as lively a late-night scene as cities twice Telluride’s size.


The Bones of Words

I bury words
in my garden,
like a dog his bones.
Words like "deciduous"
I bury deep in the mud.

deep in the ground,
sprouting orchards of words.

I bury the word Mother
and grow a forest.

I bury the word Fire
in my garden,
and I can feel it
my naked feet.

I bury words
in my garden
all day long
and wait...
'til they are good
and ripe and ready
to harvest.

-Valerie Haugen
Glenwood Springs

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