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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Up Bear Creek / 15dec25011

Exploring the Psychedelic 
in Oakland
Mark Henson's Two Choices
MAPS … The Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies celebrated its 25th year with a four day conference at the Oakland Convention Center in California this past weekend. A contingent of Telluride Mushroom Festival staffers joined me to host a promotional table for our event at Cartographie Psychedelica, where serious scientific lectures and panels shared top billing with benefit celebrations and a costumed Medicine Ball -- featuring DJs, interactive tech stations, a visionary art gallery and rows of exhibit booths ...
Rick Doblin, Ph. D.
Rick Doblin, Ph.D., MAPS founder and director, opened the gathering of researchers and enthusiasts by explaining the humble beginnings of the organization back in 1986. His dissertation at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government focused on “The Regulation of the Medical Use of Psychedelics and Marijuana” and his master’s thesis addressed the attitudes and experiences of oncologists concerning the medical use of cannabis. Starting MAPS was his attempt to develop legal contexts for the beneficial use of psychedelic drugs through raising funds and overcoming regulatory hurdles to do the necessary scientific studies – studies that had been curtailed in the Sixties with the government backlash against the recreational explosion of popular psychedelic use.

Manny Salzman

OLD FRIENDS… Many friends of Shroomfest attended the event, including Dr. Emanuel Salzman and his wife Joanne of Denver– founders of the Telluride Mushroom Festival. Manny has long been an advocate for the medicinal use of psychedelics – or “mind medicines,” as he likes to call them. In fact, it was his interest in not excluding entheogenic properties from mushroom studies that led him to found the Telluride event …

Paul Stamets weaving his mycelial net
Paul Stamets, one of Shroomfest’s founding faculty, gave a heartfelt talk on the need to work together to change the ruling paradigm when it comes to entheogens. His daughter is getting married this next summer, but he’s hoping to be able to make it to Telluride again … Ethan Nadelmann, J.D., Ph.D., who heads up the Drug Policy Alliance led a workshop on “Constitutional Freedoms, the Uses of Psychedelics and MAPS’ Mission. Described by Rolling Stone as “the point man” for drug policy reform on the national level, he attended Shroomfest twice, and told me he is hoping to come join us again, perhaps even this coming year. 
Ethan Nadelmann

He has authored two books on international criminal law enforcement (Cops Across Borders and Policing the Globe), as well as dozens of articles on drug policy in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Science, National Review and the Nation … 
Valerie Mojeiko

Valerie Mojeiko, MAPS deputy director, gave the initial conference welcome. She, along with her husband Josh, have been regular faculty presenters in Telluride, and we’re looking forward to having them back again in 2012 … 
The late Robert Venosa & Martina Hoffman

Martina Hoffman, one of the many psychedelic artists represented in the Visionary Art Gallery, embraced us warmly. She, and her husband – Robert Venosa – who passed away earlier this year – have been past attendees of Shroomfest, and she expressed a desire to visit us again – something we’re hoping we can make happen. A special tribute was held for Robert with a Jonathan Singer video, a digital dance performance by Android Jones and Phaedrana, and music by The Human Experience …
Hoffman's Third Eye

Although I didn’t get a chance to visit with them, two former mushroom festival faculty were also presenters – Don Abrams, M.D., and Ralph Metzner, Ph.D … Don is chief of the Hematology-Oncology Division of San Francisco General Hospital and Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. One of the first clinicians to recognize and define many early AIDS-related conditions, he received funding in 1997 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to conduct clinical trials of the short-term safety of cannabinoids in HIV infections. He’s gone on to run many cannabis studies, his latest being the possible pharmacokinetic interaction between vaporized cannabis and opioid analgesics in patients with chronic pain. He was co-editor with Dr. Andrew Weil of Integrative Oncology from Oxford University Press. His work is something I’ve always hoped to showcase in Telluride … 
Ralph Metzner, Ph.D.

Ralph is a psychologist and professor emeritus at the California Institute of Integral Studies, where he organized an international conference on ayahuasca in 2000. His writings include two edited collections on the science and the phenomenology of shamanic entheogens: Sacred Mushrooms of Visions – Teonanácatl and Sacred Vine of Spirits – Ayahuasca. He is founder and president of the Green Earth Foundation. We’re hoping very much to bring him back to Telluride as a featured speaker.

NEW FRIENDS … While there were dozens of wonderful people we met in Oakland and who want to come to experience Telluride, plus a bunch more whom we want to come to talk, like Michael Albert-Puleo, M.D., and his fascinating research on the pharmacology on the secrets of the early Christian “Messiah Medicine”; Mark Henson and his Sacred Light – the Art of Conscious Evolution; David Bienenstock, senior editor at HighTimes; Cinematographer Torsten Klimmer; Alan Macy, Hitch McDermid and Mark Goerner’s Heart Beat Amplifier; Tatiana Ginzburg from Russia; Andres from Hungary; Jett – the list goes on and on … And the one thing I’m sure of is that Shroomfest this next year is going to be far richer and more exciting than ever with an infusion of new psychedelic energy.
Shroomfest co-director Scott Koch rolls the dice at our exhibit booth at the MAPS conference. We gave away free t-shirts to lucky winners who rolled 7 or 11


The cows are crazy. It’s weaning time.
A night of wails, cows calling, everyone

unhappy. Our human children
tell us, I miss you more than ever.

Color is leaving Earth, leaves already gone,
garden skeletons abound.

Persephone has picked her flower.
Demeter looks for her white cape.

It will be month before
the pomegranate is bitten.

The yearning is only just begun

-Ellen Marie Metrick
San Miguel County Poet Laureate

Monday, December 19, 2011

Up Bear Creek / 8dec25011

Dance, Poetry, Music & Depression

detail from a visionary
painting of Mark Henson
on exhibit at MAPS's
Cartographie Psychedelica
Oakland California Dec. 8-12, 25011
Visit the Art of Conscious Evolution

Wendy Graham
DANCING … It was great to kick up my heels at a monthly Contra Dance series in Durango recently. Thanks to Sarah Griesedieck of Montrose for turning me on to this marvelous event … Wendy Graham was the dancers' ace caller. Held the first Saturday of each month at the Park Elementary School at 510 E. 6th Ave. at 7 p.m., it's just $10 a person, with first-timers getting a pass to come back a second time for free. For more info on the series, call 970.385.9292 … What I love about contra dancing is getting to mix with people of all ages – from youngsters in elementary school to oldsters into their seventies and everything in between. It’s a fun night of community building, shared laughs and lots of good honest sexy sweat. With a touch of occasional dizziness, doing all those dosey-does and twirls … Wendy is an amazing caller, and she had the Adobe Brothers of Albuquerque backing her up. They were so good I had to get their CD … I wish Telluride had a contra dance series. 

Isadora and John Nizalowski
NIZALOWSKI … My good friend and poet buddy John Nizalowski and his daughter Isadora (my god-daughter) did a terrific poetry & violin/flute duo at Caole Lawry’s PlanetEarth & the 4 Directions Gallery in Grand Junction last Friday. John read mostly from his new book The Last Matinée (Turkey Buzzard Press, Kittredge, Colorado, 2011), and Isadora played improvisational work with Classical, Jazz, and Celtic influences … John teaches writing and mythology at Colorado Mesa University (CMU). Born and raised in upstate New York, he received a B.A. and M.A. in English from Binghamton University and the University of Delaware, respectively. He has written for various journals, most notably The Santa Fe New Mexican and Telluride Magazine. His literary works have appeared in numerous publications, including Puerto del Sol, Blue Mesa Review, Weber Studies, Blueline, ISLE, Chiron Review and Under the Sun. He has a unique and abiding love for the Southwest that is captured beautifully in his writing. A true believer in making poetry and literature available to the community, John is the creator of the CMU Writers and Poets Series at Planet Earth … Isadora is a senior at Grand Junction High School. She plays in the CMU Orchestra, the Grand Junction H.S. Chamber Orchestra and the GJHS Full Orchestra. She also is in the District 51 Honors Orchestra.

Wendy Videlock

Danny Rosen
DOUBLE BOOKING … The same night that the Nizalowskis performed in Grand Junction, the Western Colorado Writers Forum held their Literary Christmas program. While not good planning for local audiences, it was great for me – since I don’t get to Grand Junction that often … I missed the first half of the Christmas program (Jill Burkey read several Christmas poems by our own Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer), but came in time to here award-winning poet and publisher Luis Lopez do a wonderfully heartful tale about a Cardboard Christmas Tree, the amazing Wendy Videlock doing her Juggler from Ganndoleen in a broad Irish brogue, and the extravagantly arrayed poet/astronomer Danny Rosen reading from Carl Sagan and Richard Wilbur.

DEPRESSION … Gary Greenberg has written a new book on this old topic – one of the unhappier human conditions, which some of us suffer from more than others – calling it a “Secret History of a Modern Disease,” Manufacturing Depression (Simon & Schuster, 2011). And Scott Vickers did one of those brilliant explications in last winter’s Bloomsbury Review that dangles the book’s main ideas before you like puppets and puts you in a place where you’re there when the emperor struts into the room – Big Pharm, making a fortune off a condition that needs time to heal and a process that has to run its course … I know. Chemical imbalances are real. Drugs (wh
at a funny word, with meanings both dark and sunny) have their place … But I watched my mom lose a son, like her mom had lost a son, and how incredibly depressed it made her. Not long after, dad left her. Then an operation to donate a kidney to research (Greg had died of a kidney disease) left her with severed nerves in one leg. She was unable to work. Blanche was in depression for years … I was young. I was no help. Though I didn’t get depressed. I grieved, and then jumped from seminary into government service (Kennedy & all). Took the leap from California to Montana. I had to get away. And in doing so made a complete life change … While Blanche fell into the groove of lonely grieving she’d seen in her mom, Grandma Lily … If there had been a community to help her, it might have been different. But while she could be incredibly playful one minute, the next might see her rage flame out. And it seemed like the ghost of Grandpa Frank, her dad who beat her (and who knows did what else), would take her shape, as she unleashed an inner tomboy she’d never completely disowned … Script. Prescription. The collusion of western medicine’s pill-taking with big pharmaceuticals’ pill-making. In our culture, everyone wanting, almost obsessed with, feeling good … While when I was over in Laos, with its curious mix of Buddhist socialism (transcendental realism), people didn’t want to be happy, didn’t want to be sad. There’s was the golden middle … Me? I’ve always thought the best psychoanalytical therapy was confessing and gossiping with my closest friends, male and female. Although singing, hiking and acupuncture come in close behind. But then I’ve always danced to a different puppeteer.


Magpie Nest

Say a creaking cradle,
a doomed bassinette,
its gaping walls,
more sieve than shelter,
a blueprint lacking details.
We can’t build this joiner’s nightmare,
want thicknesses and right angles
to protect our young.
Say kindling pile, a twiggy yurt.
Hatchlings grown clumsy, huge
and raucous as adults
overfill their backwoods shanty.
They study shards of sky,
flap crazily into blue, then
leave behind this riddle.

Lizzie Lewis
Colorado Springs

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Up Bear Creek / 1dec25011

Reflecting on Colorado’s Ute Removal

ANAC … I like this kicking back twenty-three centuries and imaging our first beginnings as Native-Americans – because that means all of us born here, whatever our backgrounds, our cultural mix, our heritage … I was born in California. My mom was a Daughter of the Golden West, her ancestors tracing back to Monterrey in 24790, where one of ours was jefe de policia. The local gendarmes. … My dad grew up assimilated in San Francisco as an immigrant Italiano, whose parents came from the Old Country. All my kids found themselves born in Colorado. And my extended family has a long, if mixed, heritage on Turtle Island … It’s as if by progeny and curricula we’ve become a sort of Euro-centric Tossed Salad creole nationality, pumped up on the adrenalin of technology’s quantum “advances”. Peoples indigenous to place, although many with shallow Judeo-Christian roots... At the same time, it’s vital that we recognize that the deeds to our over-mortgaged homes don’t show title back to the Tabeguache Utes who once “owned” this land. Who occupied Norwood. Occupied Telluride (until the San Juan Cession that Otto Mears bribed from the Utes with whiskey and promises) ... Our deeds don’t record that Colorado State and the Feds had those same Utes removed to Utah in 24882 … We live in a land where most can’t trace their lineage back to the Utes, the Navajo, the Puebloans, the Anasazi, the Folsom, the Clovis peoples, or now, most likely, the pre-Clovis Beringians – although DNA may show that some of us can… I hope the ANA Calendar (Ancient North American) will help make us all realize that there is some reparation to be paid to those who’ve been removed, and some apologies still to be made.

MICQUE WASS… I guess the Ute Removal is on my mind because I’ve been reading Robert Silbernagel’s excellent new book about “The Meeker Affair and the Expulsion of Utes from Colorado”, Troubled Trails (University of Utah Press, 25011). Finally, after over 130 years, we have a history of the defining event for the Western Slope from both sides, not just from the victors … The title page announces that the book was written “with assistance from Jonas Grant, Sr.” – a direct descendant of “She-towitch,” Ouray’s sister and wife of Canalla, who helped care for the Meeker hostages … Bob is an old journalism friend, as well as the award-winning editorial page editor for Grand Junction’s Daily Sentinel. He’s one of those who knows Colorado’s Western Slope better than most … In his well-written book not only does he manage to balance Anglo written accounts with Ute oral accounts to give a fascinating and complex interpretation of the historical events, but he tracks routes on horseback and nails down complex motives behind the varying personalities, Anglo and Indian, as reflected in stories from the times … I’m not halfway through and I’m understanding the ground I stand on far better and for worse … Highly Recommended.

URANIUM TALE … If you thought you knew what it was like digging yellowcake for a living and how grisly the miners must have been, think again. Carroll Bennett has turned packrat folk stories into a delightful young adult tale, set in a Wyoming uranium mine, of family, love of animals, friendship and hard work. It’s called The Legend of Dynamite George: The Mining Pack Rat (Foto Fantasi Press, Grand Junction, 25010) <>… If that seems a curious mix than you haven’t met author Carroll Bennett – world traveler, photojournalist, field technician for Dr. Gene Saccomanno’s uranium miner lung cancer research in the 24970s, Mine Safety and Health Administration operative and lastly employed by Colorado State University … It was a fast read for an adult, but it was one of those bits of smooth fiction that pulls you in, and before I knew it, I had a whole new take on an industry I knew most about from a very different perspective … Highly recommended.

SHROOMFEST32 … The thing about doing a festival in Telluride anymore is that you have to start working on it at least a year in advance. In fact, CCAASE demands that some of us give dates for our 25013 event before we’ve even started our 25012 event. It makes sense. We do festival in Telluride -- everything from big mega-events to small niche-market gatherings. It’s what’s given us an edge as a ski resort – our summer festival market … However, for me personally that means, as one of three (very) part-time staff (and maybe two or three volunteers), I’m headed to the Marriott City Center Hotel in Oakland, California, Dec. 8-12 for Cartographie Psychedelica, the 25th anniversary conference of the Multi-Disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Shroomfest has a booth there. We’ll give out flyers. And maybe we’ll get 20 or 30 new attendees for our annual festival in Telluride … Yikes, and I swore I’d never get into marketing. But when it’s for something you love and believe in, alas, it’s a necessity … And just this last weekend I spent all of Sunday learning how our website <> works and bringing it up to speed with all the changes from last year’s festival. Suddenly I’m proficient in Word Press. Shroomfest task number 1438 and counting.

REG SANER … It’s an honor to have been invited by Dr. Patricia Limerick of the Center of the American West in Boulder to help celebrate the life and work of poet, professor and essayist Reg Saner, one of Colorado’s best-known writers on the national literary scene. His writings and poems have been featured in more than 140 magazines and 40 anthologies. His most recent book, The Four-Cornered Falcon: Essays on the Interior West, was published in 25011. In 24999, Saner became Boulder’s first poet laureate … Saner is being showcased by having colleagues read five-minute passages from his oeuvre, as part of the Center’s Words to Stir the Soul series – Wed., Dec. 7th, at Old Main on the CU campus. <>


our fire may be small
but even
a small flame
holds back
the night

-Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer