What to do when there’s ‘nothing’ to do…

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Clandestine Amigo
Alan Damkoehler

VIRTUAL EVENTS

Longmont Museum Virtual Summer Concert: Clandestine Amigo. 7:30 p.m.Thursday, July 2.

Live from Stewart Auditorium direct to your phone or computer, Clandestine Amigo brings a smooth and sultry sound to the stage. Jessica Carson creates a mix of darkly poetic, R&B-inspired rock backed by Colorado Music Hall of Famer Michael Wooten on drums, Chris Brunhaver’s steady bass, and Giselle Collazo’s dynamic vocals. To enjoy this free concert, visit the museum’s Facebook page at 7:30 p.m. on the night of the concert and click on “videos” to join. Learn more at longmontmuseum.org, or call 303-651-8374.

Alan Damkoehler Clandestine Amigo

‘Work’s Untapped Resource,’ a documentary on employing people with disabilities. 8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 2 on Rocky Mountain PBS. 

In Colorado, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is more than 70% despite research that shows people with disabilities often are more reliable, show up on time and have an incredible work ethic. The Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media (COFTM), in partnership with several other state agencies, created a half-hour documentary that captures the challenges, successes and passion of Coloradans across the state working with disabilities. The inspirational stories come to life through Brady’s work on a northeast Colorado farm; Serina’s counseling Colorado Springs’ youth; Tom’s indispensable leadership at BlueStar Recycling; and Molly’s passion for her work in Durango. A Q&A with the filmmaker and the stars of the film, as well as a trailer, is available on the COFTM YouTube page.  

Erie Community Library presents: Unicorn Yoga. 8 a.m. Monday, July 6, via High Plains Library District YouTube.

If you and the kids are in need of some fun physical movement, prepare to take an adventure through the Magical Unicorn Forest and act out forest animals through yoga poses with this Unicorn Yoga class, presented by Erie Community Library. For more info contact Peter Derk, pderk@highplains.us, 888-861-7323.

Longmont Museum Virtual Summer Camps. Through July.

Does your child want to learn about sculpture and 3D art this summer? Or maybe they’ve recently taken a shine to charcoal drawing, or they’ve got a real passion for physics experiments. The Longmont Museum is offering a wide variety of virtual summer camp experiences through July. Register online or at
303-651-8374. Registration for all camps will close one and a half weeks before camp begins to allow time to create the supply kits and schedule pick ups. Each camp will be held online in a secure meeting room during the camp time listed. The cost of all camps includes a specialized supply kit to use and keep for the guided hands-on activities from home. These kits will be available for drive-by, curbside pick-up at the museum before camp begins. Need-based scholarships are available.

Rocky Mountain Chapter of Credit Unions and Louisville Public Library presents: Money Matters: Financial Survival Skills. 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 8. 

Life happens, and when setbacks occur, it can have a big impact on your finances. This free workshop will discuss actions you can take to financially prepare for (and get through) job loss, divorce, medical emergency or other challenges that arise. Webinar details will be emailed two hours prior to the start time. Seminars held on the second Wednesday of each month. Register online or call 303-335-4820.

THEATER

A still from ‘Work Ethic,’ by Theater Company of Lafayette

Theater Company of Lafayette presents: A Socially Distanced Play Festival. 7 p.m. July 3, 10 and 17, via Facebook, YouTube or Instagram. 

Head over to the Theater Company of Lafayette’s Facebook, YouTube channel, or Instagram to enjoy new plays each week through July 17. The company kicked off the virtual festival on June 26 with “Work Ethic,” a humorous vignette about taming our worst impulses. Plays are presented in a Zoom-like style, with actors delivering parts from their homes. Once plays are posted, you can watch them whenever you want. Donate to Theater Company of Lafayette, with 60% going to the Anti Racism Fund (antiracismfund.org), by visiting: paypal.me/TCLStage

Festival schedule:

• ‘Dead-X,’ by Deborah Finkelstein. 7 p.m. July 3. 

• ‘Life on The Internet,’ by Katherine Dubouis. 7 p.m. Friday July 10. 

• ‘You Know What’s Really Handy,’ by C.P. Stancich. 7 p.m. Friday, July 17. 

‘The Dissertation Defenders: Episode One’ — presented by Theater 29, Cinema Sound Theatre and the Lulubird Project. 7 p.m. Thursday, July 9, theater29denver.com.

Anoitos University — a flailing online school struggling to remain relevant — enrolls Ph.D. students who have been rejected by multiple doctoral programs. Prior to March 2020, every student was guaranteed a full-time online teaching job at adjunct wages upon graduation. But since COVID-19 hit, the number of positions have been cut in half. To deal with the issue, the university has asked graduating students to compete for full-time employment in the Dissertation Defense Debates. 

Lisa Wagner Erickson (Theater 29) and Veronica Straight-Lingo (KGNU) came up with the concept and characters for playwrights Sean Michael Cummings and Rebecca Gorman O’Neill to develop. Viewers are invited to support the local arts community by donating to the Denver Actors Fund Emergency Relief Fund for Colorado theatre artists and the Denver Metro Area Artist COVID-19 Relief Fund.  

HEAVY ROTATION

Five tracks to hear now

by Caitlin Rockett  

“Your Hero Is Not Dead,” by Westerman

Will Westerman’s debut solo album, Your Hero Is Not Dead, pays homage to idols living and lost. Mark Hollis, the late frontman of British new wave band Talk Talk, is the hero referenced in the title, but Westerman’s delicate guitar work and accessible lyrics indicate a reverence for folk troubadours like Joni Mitchell. The title track hews closer to folk than any other on the album, but some subtle work in post-production by Nathan Jenkins (aka Bullion) calls back to the synth pop of fellow Brits Tears for Fears. 

“No,” by Billy Nomates

“There’s a punk in me that likes anyone that takes things the way they should be and says no,” Billy Nomates told Music Glue ahead of the release of her debut album. “You just see so many artists seeking approval, like they have to please everybody and be marketable. I like rawness.” An artist who knows her brand, Nomates steps out swinging on “No,” a swaggering, bare-faced takedown of outmoded ideals and paper-plate-deep pop culture: “No is the greatest resistance / No to your nothing existence … No to your ivory towers / No’s gonna start a war / So die if you think it’s worth fighting for.” Her bedroom-produced sound — blending minimalist punk rock with the funky attitude of Northern soul — grabbed the attention of fellow purveyors of raw Sleaford Mods, who’ve championed Nomates’ music, and Geoffrey Barrow (instrumentalist for Portishead), whose Invada Records imprint is releasing Nomates’ debut record (though the release has been delayed because 2020 takes no prisoners).

“Can’t Fight,” by Lianne La Havas

In this single off her upcoming self-titled album, Lianne La Havas digs in just a little deeper to save a relationship on the brink of collapse. “A little peace, a little love / A little bit, is that enough?” she asks in the chorus, finally admitting, “I can’t fight away this love.” La Havas (a stage name derived from a play on her Greek father’s last name, Vlahavas) has been steadily building a solo career since being discovered on MySpace in 2008. She provided backing vocals for soul singer Paloma Faith and folktronica outfit alt-j, which just about sums up the intersection of music La Havas creates. With cheekbones that could cut glass and a velvety coo that could melt the pieces right back together, it’s no wonder Prince took her under his wing several years before his death. 

“I’m Getting Tired,” by Jacknife Lee, Earl St. Clair, Beth Ditto

Irish producer Garret “Jacknife” Lee teamed up with Earl St. Clair and Beth Ditto to produce this ode to the inner turmoil of life in 2020. Lee — an in-demand producer who has worked with the Cars, U2, Taylor Swift, Blockparty, Regina Spektor and more — finds a way to fuse noise-rock, jazz and funk in “I’m Getting Tired,” while leaving ample room for St. Clair’s straightforward lyrics: “I’m getting tired of feeling run down now / Anxiety’s high as buildings downtown / I want to hide until the sun goes down / Turning the tide / I hope I don’t drown.” This is Lee’s first release as a solo artist, and a solid reminder of why so many artists clamor to work with him. 

“Flores No Mar,” by Populous, Emmanuelle 

Brazilian singer Emmanuelle lends her slinky vocals to this smooth dance-floor track by Italian producer Populous. More slow burn than sweaty booty shaker, “Flores No Mar” is an offering to the Candomblé (an Afro-Brazilian religion) deity Lemanja, goddess of the sea and of all things feminine. If you’re looking to warm up a socially distant backyard party, “Flores No Mar” should create some humidity, even in the high plains. 

HOME VIEWING: ‘Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations’

by Michael J. Casey

Both born at the end of the 19th century, Arthur Stanley Jefferson (Stan Laurel) and Oliver Norvell Hardy (“Babe” to friends and family), found their way to the silver screen by different means. Laurel came of a theatrical family, first stepping on to the stage at the age of 16, while Hardy tentatively studied law until he helped open a small theater in 1910. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to give Hardy the bug. 

The two found their way to Hollywood, and then to Hal Roach Studios. Laurel was hired to write and direct, Hardy was hired to act. But when Hardy injured himself and had to sit out production on 1926’s Get ‘Em Young, Laurel stepped in front of the camera to fill in. When Hardy returned, he joined Laurel on-screen, and sparks flew. Their chemistry was undeniable, and a year later, Hal Roach launched a whole series of Laurel & Hardy shorts. The rest, as they say, is history.

But history has a habit of eroding over the years. Some movies gain in popularity while others diminish. Availability is a key, as is quality, and Laurel & Hardy’s impressive library of shorts and features has intermittently been lost, found, restored, repeat over the past seven-plus decades.

That’s all starting to change, and the newly minted Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations from Kit Parker Films have the boys sparkling like never before. It’s a hefty set: four discs, two features, 17 shorts and over eight hours of interviews, commentaries and still galleries to peruse. For Laurel & Hardy enthusiasts, it’s manna from the Blu-ray gods. For the newly inducted, it’s a full day of cinematic comedy that is just as funny now as it was then.

It’s also an excellent resource for historians of comic cinema. The interviews come courtesy Randy Skretvedt (a die-hard if there ever was one), who filmed them with Laurel & Hardy coworkers in the early 1980s, and the commentaries are from Skredtvedt and Richard W. Bann. Both are well versed in these films, their production schedules, and the various tweaks the scripts underwent.

Don’t give a lick about production? No worries, the movies are funny enough. Particularly The Battle of the Century, the Holy Grail of lost silent comedy. Up until a few years ago, only three minutes of this short remained — three minutes of the zaniest pie fight ever captured on camera (an estimated 3,000 pies were tossed.) Then, a stroke of luck: a 16mm copy of the film was discovered in the Museum of Modern Art’s archives. The Battle of the Century lives again, and what a battle it was.

The Battle of the Century is reason enough to pick up a copy of Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations. Theatrical moviegoing in 2020 may be dead, but home video releases keep getting better. Available wherever Blu-rays and DVDs are sold.