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

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Arise Online Gathering. 6:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Saturday, May 2, facebook.com/arisemusicfestival.

Arise Music Festival overcomes the distance in social distancing by announcing its first-ever virtual gathering. Arise presents a lineup of singer-songwriters, electronic artists and live painters with special segments of yoga and sound healing via Facebook online stream. Where available, donation links will be incorporated for viewers to thank Arise performers with virtual tips. 

ARISE LINEUP:

YOGA by MADDY MURPHY: Maddy Murphy’s classes focus on moving energy through your body through breath work, innovative flows and mindfulness. 6:50-7:20 p.m. Donations can be accepted at PayPal, @mads-murphy. 

KIND HEARTED STRANGERS: With rich harmonies and colorful songwriting, Kind Hearted Strangers bring back a taste of American roots into the world of rock ‘n’ roll. 7:25-7:55 p.m. Donations can be accepted through Venmo, @kindheartedstrangers. 

Courtesy MarkOblinger.com Mark Oblinger

MARK OBLINGER: Mark Oblinger is a Grammy-nominated, five-time Emmy winning composer, performer and singer-songwriter with national touring experience as a member of both Pure Prairie League and Firefall. Mark has sung with legendary jazz great Al Jarreau, Garth Brooks, John Oates and Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield, Poco). Mark released his first solo album High Water Line in July 2019 to a slew of great reviews. 8-8:30 p.m. Donations can be accepted through Venmo,
@Mark-Oblinger-1. 

Sara Niemietz at SAE Institute

SARA NIEMIETZ: Known for her work on Broadway and in Postmodern Jukebox, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Sara Niemietz has had success after success over the past 10 years, from appearing on Ellen DeGeneres’ TV show and touring in more than 30 countries and 30 states. 8:35-9:05 p.m. Donations can be accepted through Venmo, @SaraNiemietz. 

FUNKSTATIK + AJ DAVIS: With a proclivity for sultry synths, penetrating vocals and up-tempo drum beats, FunkStatik is known to move every single body in a packed-out room. Joining FunkStatik is live painter AJ Davis, a multifaceted artist and founder of Project Street Gold, who works in the realms of casting and metal fabrication, mural production and fine-art painting. 9:10-9:55 p.m. Donations for Funkstatik can be accepted through Venmo, @matthewjrygol. Donations for AJ Davis can be accepted through Venmo, @ProjectStreetGold. 

HOMEMADE SPACESHIP + AMANDA WOLF: Homemade Spaceship (HS) is the genre-mashing electronic bass music project from multi-instrumentalist Rob Levere of Denver. Combining his perspective of genres with the energy of low-end bass drops of dubstep, half-time, future bass, DnB, trap, house, etc., HS performs with live instruments to captivate audiences at his high-energy performances. Joining Homemade Spaceship is live painter Amanda Wolf, a multidisciplinary artist, painter and digital artist. Wolf’s painting style is a mix between traditional portraiture, abstract expression and fantastical and vibrant color application. 10–10:45 p.m. Donations for Homemade Spaceship can be accepted through Venmo,
@homemadespaceship. Donations for Amanda Wolf can be accepted through PayPal, amandawolfcreates@gmail.com. 

BLOSSOMN + MUNCHKIN CREATIONS: Cameron Stull, composing and performing under the moniker ‘Blossomn,’ mixes sonic textures from recorded instruments, vinyl and field recordings to create stark soundscapes with unique juxtapositions. Rooted in beat music, world music, progressive jazz, hip hop and downtempo, Blossomn creates eclectic music for the eclectic era. Joining Blossomn is live painter Shannon Dillon, aka Munchkin Creations, an enthusiastic artist and art educator, spending her nights teaching acrylic and watercolor classes at MBodied Art Studio. 10:50-11:35 p.m. Donations for Blossomn can be accepted through Venmo, @cameron-stull. Donations for Munchkin Creations can be accepted through Venmo, @Shannon-Dillon-3.

TEMPLE RADIANCEMATRIX: Internationally-acclaimed musician Paul Temple creates mystical transmissions of peace and beauty with Tibetan bowls, flutes and mantras. 11:40 p.m.-12:10 a.m. Donations for Paul Temple RadianceMatrix can be accepted through PayPal, PWTemple1@gmail.com.

TV

‘Divided We Fall: Unity Without Tragedy.’ 7 p.m. MT, Thursday, April 30. Rocky Mountain PBD and RMPBS.org. The episode airs nationally on American Public Television on May 20. 

by Caitlin Rockett

Right after the 2016 election, Tom Cosgrove knew he wanted to show people they had more in common than they thought. 

Working through his Boulder-based nonprofit New Voice Strategies over the last three years, Cosgrove helped develop a new docu-series called Divided We Fall: Unity Without Tragedy, bringing 24 millennials and Gen Xers with different political and economic backgrounds together to talk about the issues that polarize the United States and what it means to be an American. The first episode will air on Thursday, April 30 at 7 p.m. on Rocky Mountain PBS and at RMPBS.org. The episode airs nationally on American Public Television on May 20. 

Courtesy New Voice Strategies

“We live in an age where we have big media systems that are designed to keep us in conflict,” Cosgrove says. “Fear is the easiest emotion to tap. It’s how we’ve evolved. But because we hunger for connection with each other and we look for models to do that, I’m hoping that these 24 people are our models for people to try something different, which is listening with curiosity.”

The hour-long episode is culled from more than 60 hours of footage. Cosgrove and his team brought millennials from Chicago and Gen Xers from Massachusetts together for 48 hours to talk about their backgrounds; the moments that made them proud to be an American; the moments that made them ashamed; the values they found most important; the issues that divide us; and how we can bridge the gap. 

Cosgrove found inspiration for the project in the work of late historian Vincent Harding, who long argued that in a nation made up of many people, democratic conversations are the only way to build a more perfect union.

“I think the pursuit of the more perfect union is when we recognize the humanity in each of us and we choose unity,” Cosgrove says. “So much of the culture, social media, cable ecosystems all thrive on contempt, all thrive on trying to keep us apart. And you can’t be a democracy if you have to treat people who have a different approach to solving a problem as a lesser being.”

Cosgrove is quick to point out that civil discussion doesn’t excuse misogyny, racism or discrimination of any kind, but he feels that there’s less of that present in the country than social media exploits it. 

There are moments in Divided We Fall that are difficult to watch, but that’s the point: We can’t shy away from difficult conversations. But if you push past the difficult moments, you’re rewarded with a glimpse of humanity at its best.

A moderated audience conversation with four cast members will take place immediately following the RMPBS broadcast at dividedwefalltv.org.

Heavy Rotation: We miss concerts

The lights, the sounds, the movements. The palpable energy radiating through a crowd. A deeply personal experience transcending the self, becoming a collective one, as we connect with the musicians on stage and they connect with us. There’s nothing quite like a live show. 

In the midst of the current pandemic, however, tours have been outright canceled, others tentatively rescheduled, most indefinitely postponed. It’s hard to predict when we will be able to gather in our beloved venues, listening to our favorite bands, discovering new musicians. In the meantime, this week’s Heavy Rotation comes to you inspired by the concerts we were looking forward to along the Front Range this spring. Check out the Spotify playlist here.

“Marigolds” — Kishi Bashi, The Fox Theatre, Boulder, rescheduled to Oct. 4.  

Experimental violinist and indie singer-songwriter Kishi Bashi combines textured layering and intricate compositions to create airy pop songs that serve as a mechanism for healing, like this one that explores Japanese American internment during World War II. 

“Impossible Knots” — Thom Yorke, Mission Ballroom, Denver, rescheduled to Oct. 18.  

Exposing existential dread lurking right below the surface, this track builds and builds and builds until it can no longer be contained, then bursts forth into the ether, freeing us all from its bondage. 

“everything i wanted” — Billie Eilish, Pepsi Center, Denver, postponed. 

Eilish may be young, but her indelible pop digs deep into the human experience, revealing its darkest corners and its most powerful connections, reminding us that in the end it’s all worth it. 

“A Genuine Gentleman (Featuring Aceyalone)” — RJD2, Boulder Theater, rescheduled to June 19.   

Comprised of mostly instrumental tracks, the latest release from Midwesterner RJD2, ‘The Fun Ones,’ mixes elements of soul, funk, disco, hip-hop and more into a sprawling dissertation about the state of making music in the modern age. The producer pairs up with freestyler Aceyalone to create this retro, beat-infused, danceable track. 

“Lottery” — Jade Bird, Bluebird Music Festival, Boulder, cancelled. 

This Londoner’s emotive and angsty vocals capture the bittersweet process of dissecting the past in hopes of gaining clarity about the here and now. 

“Summertime” — Orville Peck, Ogden Theater, Denver, postponed.

Dubbed the “queer masked crooner” by NPR, Peck’s rich, sultry baritone draws us in and holds us there. Like any good country singer, Peck ruminates about a hopeful future even as we linger in the current unknown. 

“I Guess the Lord Must be in New York City” — Valley Queen, Larimer Lounge, Denver, postponed.

Led by Natalie Carol’s alluring vocals, the California country outfit Valley Queen gives voice to the restlessness that comes when dreams call us beyond our current situation in this Harry Nilsson cover.

“I’m not Afraid” — Charley Crockett, Moxi Theater, Greeley, still scheduled, May 20.

This toe-tapping number harkens back to the golden age of country while employing Crockett’s roots in blues, swing and Americana, exploring the mythos that helped make his distant relative, Davy, a folk hero.  

“Dancing in the Moonlight” — Adam Aijala & Ben Kaufmann of Yonder Mountain String Band and friends, eTown Hall, Boulder, cancelled.  

This lighthearted and fun track from local favorites reminds us of summer nights and simpler times, all set to the tune of the jammy bluegrass the group is known for. 

“Mariposa De Coalcomán” — Y La Bamba, Bluebird Theater, Boulder, postponed.  

Lo-fi folk beats fuse with Latin influences and experimental bridges in this recent single from Portland-based indie-pop outfit Y La Bamba, helmed by Mexican American singer-songwriter Luz Elena Mendoza. 

“Summer of my Discontentment” — Geographer, Globe Hall, Denver, postponed. 

Sweeping piano melodies introduce us to haunting memories of love, silence and ultimately loss, as Geographer’s other worldly synth pop/indie rock sound reminds us that desperate attempts to preserve the past are futile. 

“Microclimate” — Stereolab, Boulder Theater, cancelled 

We’re all caught up in our own world sometimes, unaware of the going-ons around us: other people living, breathing, even dying. With their signature avant-garde pop, Stereolab knows how to make an entire party sway and smile, even when they’re singing about heartbreak. 

 “The Slow Descent Has Begun” — A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Boulder Theater, cancelled.  

Mysterious and mystical, the ambient work of Dustin O’Halloran and Adam Wiltzie helps us communicate with the unknown as it seeks to calm the anxieties of our modern world, even if it can’t ignore our own downfall. 

Slow cinema for slow days

by Michael J. Casey

The story of cinema is the story of excitement. One of the first movies projected was of a train pulling into a station. The directors placed the camera on the edge of the platform, making it look like the train was coming right for the audience. It worked and viewers dove out of their chairs to avoid being run over.

Ever since, filmmakers have been hurtling cameras up, down and across every possible directional axis in an attempt to recreate that primal reaction. 

Slow cinema does the exact opposite — it subverts expectations by withholding dramatics and embracing stasis. 

The Hungarian FilmLab

Sátántangóreviewed in this week’s Film section — is one of the exemplary work of slow cinema (if not the exemplary work.) It’s 450 minutes of long takes and repetitive action. Sounds boring, doesn’t it? It is, but by design. When you watch a dynamic image bursting with energy and excitement, you think about that image, and only that image. But what do you think about when you watch an image with nothing happening? Does your attention remain on the screen, or does it turn inward — searching the nooks and crannies of your consciousness? 

Maybe a better word would be “meditative.” Twenty-first-century viewers have been so accustomed to images that they gobble them up in fractions of a second. Slow cinema retards that consumption, expands it and forces viewers to reconsider what they are seeing and the speed they see it. It’s like reciting a mantra: The words take on a different meaning after you’ve uttered them 100 times.

These movies require patience, but they also reward it. If the world seems too chaotic and hectic, even while your sitting still, give one of these a stream and see if they don’t slow things down.

‘Twin Peaks: The return’ The first two seasons of ‘Twin Peaks’ were the oddest things on network television. But, as time passed, oddity became quirk, deadpan humor became meme, and FBI Agent Dale Cooper’s unflappable honesty became comforting. Twenty-five years after the show was canceled, David Lynch and Mark Frost reteamed for a third season, and the result was less a TV show and more an 18-hour movie. Using stillness, repetition and experimental techniques, ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ is about as commercial as slow cinema gets. Streaming at Showtime Anytime, Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube TV and Sling TV.

‘Solaris’ Critic and filmmaker Paul Schrader calls Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky “the tipping point in the movement toward slow cinema.” His nearly three-hour psychological science fiction film ‘Solaris’ is among the greatest movies ever made, and changes every time you see it. What appears to be hubris to an 18-year-old viewer’s eyes fossilizes into understandable loneliness 30 years later. It’s as if the film is a living, thinking thing: A reflection of what you want when you need it. Streaming at The Criterion Channel and Kanopy. 

‘Once Upon a Time in Anatolia’A prosecutor, a police commissioner, a doctor and a murderer are searching for a body. The murderer is trying to cooperate, but he can’t remember where he dug the grave. Car headlights carve away the darkness surrounding the Anatolian town of Keskin while seconds turn into minutes, minutes into hours. Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s ‘Once Upon a Time’ is as meditative as it is methodical, stunningly photographed, and as existentially provocative as anything Albert Camus ever wrote. Streaming at Kanopy.

‘Manakamana’Running a (relatively) brisk 118 minutes, ‘Manakamana’ documents worshipers on the gondola ride up the Nepalese mountains to the Manakamana temple. As the people go up, the camera goes with them. When the people go down, so does the camera. And in a twist of beautiful contradiction, the camera stays perfectly still inside a moving vehicle. Slow cinema doesn’t get much slower than this. Streaming at Kanopy.

BOOKS

Who better to suggest your next book than a librarian? This week we explore a few recommendations from the librarians at Boulder Public Library. 

Monnie recommends: ‘City of Girls,’ by Elizabeth Gilbert

“Elizabeth Gilbert (author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and ‘The Signature of All Things’) is masterful at bringing a wide variety of characters alive. This book is no different. It introduces us to a young woman in the 1940s, and I found the sense of time and place is remarkably relatable. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot — I just suggest you read it!”

Jan recommends: ‘I Miss You When I Blink: Essays,’ by Mary Laura Philpott

“During this interesting stay-at-home time, I have discovered a unique stay-at-home book tour. I just listened to the author talk by Mary Laura Philpott as she introduces and reads from her book ‘I Miss You When I Blink: Essays.’ Her writing is humorous and touching and absolutely perfect for what we are going through right now. Her voice is wonderful as she reads what she wrote, and I don’t want her to stop. If you have a chance to listen to this book, I think you would enjoy it.”

Maria recommends: ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott

“This heartwarming tale follows the journey of the March sisters during the Civil War as they transition from carefree childhood into the roles and responsibilities that adult life offers. Join beautiful Meg, headstrong Jo, timid Beth, and proud Amy in their quest for love, independence, and finding their place in a changing world. This lovely classic transcends time and is sure to be enjoyed by every generation.” 

Julianne recommends: ‘Native Country of the Heart,’ by Cherríe Moraga

“This concise memoir tells the story of Cherríe L. Moraga and her mother, Elvira. It’s sprinkled with Spanish throughout, thoughtfully placing the reader in a setting that feels so intimate. I enjoyed the stories of Elvira’s young adult life as told to Cherríe when she was a little girl. As Cherríe grows up, the memories get harder to read, as she is faced with difficult familial decisions regarding her mother in her state of mental decline.”

Melissa recommends: ‘A Curious Beginning,’ by Deanna Raybourn

“Veronica Speedwell is a character I want to know. It’s 1887 and she has plans for her life -— plans that do not include marriage to a farmer with six children. Veronica’s plans include world travel, lepidopterology (butterflies, not moths), and speaking her mind. She is smart and sassy and so much fun.”

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