WASHINGTON | It sounded so simple. Too simple, it turns out.President Barack Obama’s early efforts to boil down an intricate health care law so Americans could understand it are coming back to haunt him, leaving a trail of caveats and provisos in place of the pithy claims he once used to sell the law.In the summer of 2009, Obama laid out his health care agenda in a 55 minute speech to the American Medical Association. It was, his former speech writer Jon Favreau recalls, “one of the longest speeches he ever gave.”Fine as an initial policy speech, Favreau thought, but not a communications strategy.“My lesson from that was, well, he can’t be giving a speech this long and complicated every time he talks about health care,” Favreau said.Indeed, a good sales pitch must be brief, compelling, accurate. But when it comes to a complex product like health insurance, brevity and persuasiveness can take a toll on precision.For example, Obama had promised, “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.”Instead of a period, the statement required an asterisk. It turned out that, yes, some plans would be taken away as an indirect result of the law’s tougher standards.The enrollment experience, Obama said, would be simple: Hop online and comparison-shop “the same way you’d shop for a plane ticket on Kayak or a TV on Amazon.”Instead, as the entire country now knows, October was a website disaster.Then there was the cost. “Through the marketplaces,” Obama said, “you can get health insurance for what may be the equivalent of your cell phone bill or your cable bill, and that’s a good deal.”A good deal, indeed — for those who qualify for federal subsidies to offset the cost. But not for all.By last week, the president had added a new, though little-noticed line to his health care speech: “There’s a fraction of Americans with higher incomes who will pay more on the front end for better insurance with better benefits and protections.”David Cutler, a Harvard economist who advised Obama on health care during the 2008 campaign, warned the White House in a 2010 memo that the administration was not properly prepared to implement the new law. One result, Cutler said Monday, was that new premium rates under the law’s insurance marketplaces were not ready before insurance companies sent some customers notices that their current policies did not meet new federal standards and were being terminated.“That means that many people who will do better – better coverage, lower price – cannot know that,” Cutler said in an email exchange with The Associated Press.It may be that Obama and his allies in Congress overlearned the lessons of 1994, when President Bill Clinton’s push to overhaul health care collapsed. Many Democrats walked away convinced they had fallen victim to a colossal effort to scare Americans out of supporting it, illustrated by the “Harry and Louise” television ads that showed a typical couple at their kitchen table, lamenting how a health plan they’d liked had been yanked out from under them, replaced with bad choices and higher prices.Jonathan Gruber, who played a central role in crafting Obama’s health law, said the moral of that story was that most Americans are happy with their health care and are resistant to change. So rather than cast Obama’s effort as ripping up the health care system and starting from scratch, Gruber said, the administration emphasized that most Americans wouldn’t be affected.“The view was, ‘Look, we’ve got to get this across the finish line.’ To do that, you have to explain to people in a way that they understand,” Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said. “You present the facts in a way that’s ultimately not 100 percent accurate for every person, but tries to get across the gist of what you’re trying to do.”To be sure, Republicans set out to lambast and undermine the law from the beginning. Democrats claim a deliberate campaign to misinform the public about the law made explaining it clearly that much harder. The law’s critics argued it would hurt small businesses and kill jobs, drive up costs, lead to rationing and put health care decisions in the hands of politically-motivated bureaucrats.Each of those allegations could be easily captured in a sound bite. So Obama fought back by being equally straight-to-the-point.“You have to pay attention to what your opponents are saying, and do what you can to correct the record,” said Nick Papas, the White House’s spokesman for health care for the first three years after the law passed. “The Republicans in Washington were lying to people and leaving tens of millions of Americans with the impression they were going to lose their health insurance, that this was going to be an apocalyptic development for the American health care system.”Such differing interpretations of the same set of facts is reflected in polling that suggests the public doesn’t quite know what to think about the law more than three years after Obama signed it. Although the figures have ebbed and flowed, Americans remain relatively split, with 38 percent viewing the law favorably and 44 percent viewing it unfavorably, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s monthly tracking poll.Anna Greenberg, a Democratic pollster who has studied public opinion on health care, said what’s been missing from the White House’s message is how completely dysfunctional the health insurance system was before “Obamacare.”“You need to have a coherent framework for why we’re doing it that allows you to get through the glitches that were inevitable,” Greenberg said.___Reach Jim Kuhnhenn on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jkuhnhenn? and Josh Lederman at https://twitter.com/joshledermanAP
Aurora Symphony Orchestra presents “Arts for a Better Tomorrow,” 3 p.m., Sunday, Gateway High School, 1300 S. Sable Blvd. Tickets start at $15. Information: 303-873-6622 or aurorasymphony.org. Details: The Aurora Symphony Orchestra will wrap up its 2013-14 season with a program featuring plenty of recognizable classics. Led by conductor Norman Gamboa, the orchestra will perform Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 5” and Edvard Grieg’s “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra.” Though the orchestra’s annual youth competition was canceled this year, the spring show will feature a guest performance by Costa Rican piano virtuoso Manuel Matarrita. Gamboa will also use the show as a platform to detail selections from the 2014-15 season, which includes work by Andrew Lloyd Weber, Claude Debussy and Richard Wagner.“Once,” Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Buell Theatre, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, 950 13th St. Tickets start at $35. Information: 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org. Details: Playwright Enda Walsh didn’t stray far from the source material in adapting the 2006 film “once” for the stage. Like the movie, the musical features a simple love story between an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant. What’s more, Walsh incorporated the score by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová that made the movie so memorable. The result is a show that picked up 11 Tony Award nominations after its initial run on Broadway in 2012. Walsh’s respect for the straightforward story and award-winning tunes like “Falling Slowly” made “once” a commercial powerhouse on Broadway. Denver audiences will get a chance to see that magic firsthand during a brief run at the Buell.“Shirley Valentine,” 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St. Tickets start at $20. Information: rmdeaftheatre.com. Details: Rocky Mountain Deaf Theatre company founder Nicki Runge is flexing her creative muscle with the upcoming production of “Shirley Valentine.” The show about a Liverpool woman dissatisfied with her domestic life tests Runge’s skill as a performer in a new way. It’s a one-woman show, and the entire show depends on the success of the actress’ skills with a crowd. Throw in the fact that the show will be performed entirely in American Sign Language with an interpreter for hearing audience members, and the performance seems even more daunting. But Runge is up to the challenge, as she’s proven in past performances. Check out this landmark performance from one of the metro area’s most promising companies.Julie Monley Quartet, 9:30 a.m., Sunday, Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge, 930 Lincoln St., Denver. Tickets start at $18.95. Information: 303-839-5100 or dazzlejazz.com. Details: The annual Mother’s Day brunch at Aurora’s historic Centennial House is nixed for 2014, but that doesn’t mean you can’t show your mom a good time in the metro area. What better way to do that than through jazz? The Julie Monley Quartet’s brunch gig at Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge is the most promising Mother’s Day event in the city, and that has everything to do with Monley’s résumé. The Denver native switched to jazz after studying classical music in college, and her theoretical expertise comes through in her blend of American jazz, bossa nova and the Gypsy French style that made musicians like Django Reinhardt legends.‘Fantasia’ with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, 2:30 and 6 p.m., Saturday, Boettcher Concert Hall, 1000 14th St.. Information: 720-865-4220 or coloradosymphony.com. Details: Walt Disney’s classic that inspired millions of children to listen to classical music transcends time. The 1945 film, remade in 2000, still has relevance today; the first few notes of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is sure to bring a smile to nearly anyone’s face. The Colorado Symphony Orchestra will be playing the classic score along with the film, which will be shown on the big screen. All the familiar favorites are there including Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony” and “The Nutcracker Suite” — yes, even “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” too. Two shows, one at 2:30 p.m. so children can watch, and a 6 p.m. show will be held at Boettcher Concert Hall.
Ready, set, go. Just as soon as you have new amaryllis bulbs, pot them up, and in a few months the spectacular, colorful trumpets will unfold.(Technically, what are commonly called “amaryllis” are really species of hippeastrum.)This undated photo shows an Amaryllis in bloom that is especially flamboyant with the snowy backdrop outside the window, in New Paltz, New York. As soon as you have new amaryllis bulbs, pot them up, and in a few months the spectacular trumpets will unfold. Getting any amaryllis to bloom a little later in winter is easy, but again, get the bulb ready now. (AP Photo/Lee Reich)With luck, or if the bulbs were from South Africa, Brazil or greenhouses in Israel, you’ll have blooms by Christmastime. That’s because it’s spring in the southern hemisphere, and effectively so in Israeli greenhouses.Getting any amaryllis bulb in bloom a little later in winter is easy, but again, get the bulb ready now. And that’s not hard, because most of what’s needed is neglect.KEEP COOLAmaryllis bulbs flower best and most quickly after experiencing a cool period at the end of summer. So find a location where temperatures remain below 60 degrees but above freezing, such as in an unheated basement or garage, perhaps even outside for awhile, depending on your climate. This cool period sets the stage for the flower buds, already formed within the bulbs, to open. New bulbs that come from Holland may have already spent some time in refrigerated storage or transit.During their cool period, the plants won’t need any water at all. Contrary to myth, drying down the foliage by withholding water is not necessary before the plants can flower; withholding water does slow or stop new leaf growth, but those old leaves pretty much hang on, green. If you find the leaves unsightly or in the way, just cut them off.REST PERIOD IS OVERAfter about eight weeks of cool neglect, the bulb is refreshed. When you want flowers, offer warmth, light and water. The plant needs only a bit of water to get started growing, then increasing amounts once growth proceeds in earnest. Blossoms will unfold within four to five weeks at temperatures hovering around 70 degrees, more quickly at warmer temperatures and more slowly at cooler ones.Playing around with the amount of cooling you give a particular variety of amaryllis sometimes influences whether flower stalks appear before or with new foliage. And some amaryllises — most notably the dainty Gracilis types — are especially easy to bring into earlier bloom. These dwarf amaryllises are so forgiving that you might even have to hold them to near-freezing temperatures just to keep them from flowering prematurely.PREPARING FOR NEXT YEARAfter blossoms have come and gone, it’s time again to start preparing an amaryllis for the following winter’s blooms. Those flowers unfold from buds that form deep within the bulbs during spring and summer, so the better the growth during the warm months, the better the flowers the next winter. Your reward is one flower bud for every four to six leaves your bulb grows. Spur leaf growth with plenty of water, warmth, fertilizer and light.Repot the bulb if it’s getting cramped in its pot; tease some of the old soil away from the outside of the root ball, then pack the plant into a larger pot with fresh potting soil. An amaryllis bulb is prone to rotting, so should be set with only its bottom half in the soil, and the potting soil should be well-drained. A bulb can go for three or four years without repotting so long as there is an inch or so of space between the bulb and the rim of the pot.When warm weather reliably settles in come spring, move your amaryllis outdoors to a partially shaded location. You can ease your watering chores by plunging the pot, if it is unglazed clay, up to its rim in the ground to absorb moisture from surrounding soil. Or tip the rootball out of the pot and temporarily plant the bulb outdoors.Each year, let waning summer sun get you thinking again about getting your bulbs primed for the winter show. If you’re in no rush for the flowers, forgo the cool treatment. Any amaryllis bulb will eventually flower with reasonable growing conditions.
LOS ANGELES | The Blues Brothers have found a new mission.Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi’s widow, Judy Belushi, have launched Blues Brothers Records.FILE – In this Dec. 4, 2010 file photo, Dan Aykroyd poses for a photo in Los Angeles. Aykroyd and Judy Belushi, widow of the late John Belushi, have launched Blues Brothers Records. Aykroyd said in a statement Monday, March 16, 2015, that he was excited for the label to find the next generation of blues performers. (AP Photo/Sarah Hummer, Filet)The new record label is dedicated to the development of blues artists. The label’s music will be distributed by Capitol Music Group’s Blue Note Records.Aykroyd and John Belushi originally performed as the sunglass-clad siblings on “Saturday Night Live” and later in the 1980 film “The Blues Brothers.”Aykroyd said in a statement Monday that he’s excited for the label to find the next generation of blues performers.Aykroyd previously co-founded the House of Blues, which will be partnering with the record label for promotional events at House of Blues venues.
Any conversation about geoduck clams really should begin by getting the 12-year-old boy humor out of the way at the start.Because there really is no way around the fact that these very large clams — which are pronounced gooey-duck — profanely resemble a certain male appendage. Yes, there is a classic clam shell involved, but stretching out of that shell is a punchline only a tween boy could love.With that dispensed with, let’s get on to why you’d want to hunt down this West Coast delicacy. Geoducks are meaty, briny and fresh, and they are a delicious alternative to what you’ve come to expect with clams. Think of them as the steak of the clam world. They really are that big, bold and savory (most weight between 1 and 2 pounds).Like all clams, you need to keep a geoduck alive until ready to prepare. Though the seafood counter may pack it on ice for you to bring home, once home you should store it in salt water in the refrigerator. To make the salt water, mix about 1/2 cup of coarse or kosher salt to a gallon of spring water. Don’t use tap water, which can contain fluoride and other additives not good for the clam.When you are ready to prepare the geoduck, start by rinsing it under cool water to remove any sand. Next, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the geoduck (one at a time if preparing multiple clams) and blanch for about 15 to 20 seconds. Use tongs to remove the clam and place it in a large bowl of ice water.Once the clam is cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to cut through the hinge of the shell to allow it to come apart easily. Discard the stomach and gills. Remove the body and appendage (called the siphon) from the shell. Pull off and discard the outer skill on both the body and siphon. Use a knife to slice both the body and siphon in half lengthwise, then rinse to remove any sand. Pat dry with paper towels and proceed with the recipe.The meat of both the body and siphon can be sliced and used as desired. The siphon will be tougher and the body will be more tender.GEODUCK SALAD WITH MANGO AND CHILIStart to finish: 40 minutesServings: 6Juice and zest of 2 limesMeat from a 1 1/2-pound geoduck clam, thinly sliced1 large shallot, finely chopped1 mango, peeled, pitted and finely diced2 celery stalks, thinly sliced1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger1 tablespoon soy sauce1 tablespoon olive oil2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro1/2 habanero chili, thinly slicedCrackers or toasted pita, to serveIn a medium bowl, combine the lime juice and zest with the thinly sliced clam. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, stir in the shallot, mango, celery, ginger, soy sauce, olive oil, cilantro and chili. Serve with crackers or pita for scooping.Nutrition information per serving: 90 calories; 25 calories from fat (28 percent of total calories); 3 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 10 mg cholesterol; 12 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 5 g protein; 370 mg sodium.
AURORA | When it comes to country songs, they just don’t exist unless somebody writes them.There are always fiddle players, steel guitars and wooden beams in the floor of a honky tonk, but the boots don’t give those floors a line-dance-rhythmed beating unless a songwriter starts the process.It’s those special talents in the creative cycle who will be featured Friday, May 7, for a special songwriters show and dinner benefiting Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).Founded in 1994 by Colorado country scene legend Bo Cottrell and wife, Lynne, TAPS has provided assistance to more than 50,000 surviving family members and others after the death of family member in the Armed Forces. The nonprofit provides peer support and grief counseling, as well as regional survivor seminars and the National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief camp.Slated for the Denver Marriott Tech Center, 4900 S. Syracuse St. in Denver, the event will feature Brett Jones, Billy Montana, Frank Myers, Rob Crosby and Keni Thomas. While even diehard country fans may not be familiar with those names, they’re certainly familiar with the songs: Jason Aldean’s “Crazy Town” (Jones), Jo Dee Messina’s “Bring on the Rain” (Montana), John Michael Montgomery’s “I Swear” (Myers) and Andy Griggs’ “She’s More” (Crosby) remain in regular rotation on the country dial.The event, which has open seating for $115 per person or $1,000 for a table of 10, begins at 5:30 p.m. with a reception and silent auction before the show and dinner get going at 7 p.m.Later in summer, TAPS’ Colorado Celebrity Classic — now in its 11th year — will tee off June 26 at the Eisenhower Golf Club at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The Classic has raised more than $3.5 million for TAPS since its launch. The Classic is preceded by TAPS’ Saluting Our Fallen Heroes dinner-concert the night before at Steve Grove’s Ranch at Cherry Creek. The June 25 concert will feature Grammy-winner Suzy Bogguss.Reservations for all of the TAPS events can be made by calling 303-696-0450 or visiting www.TAPS.org/classic.
FESTIVALS AND TOURSMid-Century Garden Design for the Modern Home May 31Author Ethne Clarke will lecture at the Denver Botanic Gardens. During this lecture, she will explore the origins of residential mid-century modern garden design for the home. Clarke is the author of many best-selling books on gardening, design and landscape history. Food tasting will begin at 6 p.m. 6 to 8:30 p.m. May 31, Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St, Denver. $20 non-member, $15 member. Visit botanicgardens.org/bonfils-stanton for information and registration.The People’s Fair festival It’s a block party to end all block parties. The People’s Fair Art and Music Festival observes its 47th year. The festival features live music, local artists, food and a local beer and wine garden. A Friday night concert will kick off the two-day festival. Funds from the fair will go toward non-profit organizations. Friday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 1-3, Civic Center Park, 101 14th Ave., Denver. Admission to People’s Fair is free Saturday and Sunday. The Friday kickoff concert is an enclosed venue at Civic Center Park and the concert ticket is $5. For information call 303-777-6887 or visit www.PeoplesFair.com, or follow @DenverPeoplesFair on Instagram and Facebook. Lowry Beer Garden event offers giveawaysIf the only kind of spring gardening you enjoy is a beer garden, the Lowry Beer Garden sixth-annual Lowry Foundation fundraiser is the event you’re looking for. Prizes and giveways will be offered, 20 percent of all sales go toward the Lowry Foundation. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. June 8, Lowry Beer Garden, 7577 E. Academy Way, Denver. Admission is free. For information, call 303-366-0114 or visit www.LowryBeerGarden.com.Air plant workshop at Botanic GardensWhat is an air plant? You’ll have an opportunity to learn all about what they are, and how to care for them at the “All About Air Plants” workshop. You’ll study the history, needs of the air plant, and do a project with the plants in glass containers that can be taken home after the class. Instructor for the workshop is Scott Preusser, conservatory horticulturist at the Gardens, who has spent more than 20 years working in the horticulture industry.10 to 11:30 or 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. June 8, at Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St, Denver. Price: $52 and $46 for members. For information, call 720-865-3500.Cars and coffeeThe world enjoys doughnuts, coffee, and looking at classic cars. Or the world should. You can do them all at the Cars and Coffee event, held at Gateway Classic Cars of Denver on the last Saturday of every month until Dec. 29.9 a.m. to noon through Dec. 29, Gateway Classic Cars of Denver. 14150 Grasslands Drive, Englewood. Admission is free. For information, visit www.gatewayclassiccars.com/cars-and-coffee.Games and more in Highlands RanchCommunity Builders of Colorado will hold the Highlands Ranch Family Field Day and Picnic with games, activities, sports and food trucks. The event boasts the largest gathering of food trucks in Highlands Ranch, as well as a beer and wine garden. Acoustic music will be performed live. A children’s fair will offer face painting, karate demonstrations and carnival games. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Redstone Park, 3280 Redstone Park Circle, Highlands Ranch. For information, visit hrfd.org or call 720-527-0400.Golf and steel drums at Hilton InvernessThis day is way over par; Hilton Denver Inverness’ Memorial Day Summer Kickoff might be for you. Start the summer with an afternoon of live music by Strings and Steel, a local steel-drum band, games, food and drinks. Win $100 in the Cornhole Tournament at 3:30 p.m. and putt to win a $200 Pro Shop Merchandise gift certificate in the Long Putt Hole-in-One Challenge. Military members will receive 10 percent off with a valid ID.3 p.m. to 6 p.m. May 26, Hilton Denver Inverness, 200 Inverness Dr. West, Englewood. Admission is free. For information, call 303-799-5800.Growers galore at farmers marketThe deals can’t be beet at the Union Station Farmers Market. Because beets are late season crops. But the spring stuff is on at this growers-only farmers market at Denver’s Union Station, run by the Boulder County Farmers Markets nonprofit. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday through Oct. 20, 1701 Wynkoop St., Denver. 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., chef demo, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., live music. For information, call 303-910-2236.Fireworks show at Elitch GardensSummer holidays and fireworks go together. Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park will light up the downtown Denver skyline with some pyrotechnics at park closing time. 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. May 27, Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park, 2000 Elitch Circle, Denver. Admission is free with park admission or a season pass. For information, visit www.elitchgardens.com/entertainment/fireworks or call 303-595-4386.Rock slide at the 16th Street MallRock Colorado style. Five stages of live music will echo through the 16th Street Mall during Denver’s Day of Rock event. The music festival is a presented by Amp the Cause continue to support community non-profits. 2:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. May 26. Admission is free. VIP lounge passes, which include hosted catering and open-bar access at five VIP lounges are $250 each. For information, visit denverdayofrock.com. Big bikes and big beats at BUG runGet out the leather gear and head toward the BUG run in early June. Mile High Harley-Davidson and the Mile High H.O.G. Chapter welcome all to the annual event and after party. Registration will be from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., with the last bike out at 10 a.m. All bikes are welcome. Poker hands are $10 each. Prizes will be award for the best hand, worst hand, and a bug splat closest to the target. There will be live music, food, beer and vendors on site for the after party at noon. Proceeds support the Ronald McDonald House. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 2, Mile High Harley-Davidson, 16565 E. 33rd Drive, Aurora. Register online at milehigh-harley.com/bug-run. For information, call 303-562-1603.SCREEN‘Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day’ at Sie FilmCenterWest German filmmaker, actor, playwright and theatre director, the late Rainer Werner Fassbinder, was commissioned to pen a family drama in the 1970s. The result was “Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day.” The work was a West German television miniseries that was broadcast in five episodes between 1972 and 1973. The series will play at Denver’s Sie Film Center. The story centers around main protagonist, a toolmaker named Jochen. The series also focuses on the eccentric characters around him.Opens May 25 in five installments or one binge watch at Sie FilmCenter, 2510 E. Colfax Ave. Price: $7 to $11.50. For information, call 720-381-0813.Go to ‘Jerusalem’ at the IMAXWith a run time of 44 minutes, IMAX film “Jerusalem” takes you on a tour of one of the world’s most fascinating cities. Discover why this tiny piece of land is sacred to three major religions through the stories of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim families who call Jerusalem home. Follow the path of archaeologists who reveal some of the mysteries of the Old City.Daily: 1 p.m., 4 p.m. through Sept. 6,, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver. Price varies. For information, visit www.dmns.org/imax/current-films/jerusalem-3d. MUSICI like a Gershwin tuneThe livin’ will be easy when the Lamont Opera Theatre presents an evening of music by the unparalleled team of George and Ira Gershwin with “Gershwin: Fascinatin’ Rhythm.” The performances follow their career from “Tin Pan Alley” to the sparkling lights of Broadway and Hollywood.7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. May 25, University of Denver Lamont Opera Theatre Cabaret, 2344 E. Iliff Ave., Denver. Price: $10, complimentary parking. For information, visit du.edu/ahss/lamont/performance-tickets.Music of Dylan at Soiled DoveIt’s positively First Avenue when the International Bob Dylan Tribute Festival plays The Soiled Dove. The songs of Bob Dylan will be celebrated Americana style, featuring an international cast of touring musicians from the United States, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The festival started on May 24, 2006 at Denver’s historic Oriental Theater and successfully continues today.8 p.m. to 11 p.m. May 25, Soiled Dove Underground, 7401 E. First Ave., Denver. Price: $15 to $20. For information, visit www.bobdylantributefestival.com.Take a trip back to the ’90s with tribute bandsGrab your flannel and Doc Martens for the nostalgic “Shades of the ’90s!” with “Rooster,” a tribute to the band Alice in Chains. The performance also features Stone Temple Pilots tribute band “Stone Temples Pirates,” Soundgarden tribute “Blind Dog,” and No Doubt tribute, “Just A Girl.” 7 p.m. May 25, Herman’s Hideaway, 1578 S. Broadway. Cost is $10 Door, and $7 pre-sale. For information, visit www.hermanshideaway.com or call 303-777-5840.Elton John music at Clocktower CabaretYou can tell everybody, these are your songs. Celebrate the music of Sir Elton John with the Chris Kroger Quartet. Popular pianist and composer, Chris Kroger, shows his love of Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s classic ‘70s era songs. With special guest Alicia Baker. 8 p.m. through May 25, The Clocktower Cabaret, 1601 Arapahoe St., Denver. Price: $30 to $40. For information, visit www.clocktowercabaret.com.Berstein, Mahler lauded by Colorado SymphonyColorado Symphony marks the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth with the program “Two Titans: Bernstein and Mahler,” that highlights Bernstein as a composer and conductor. Music Director Brett Mitchell will lead the orchestra through Bernstein’s “Overture from Candide,” then showcases Concertmaster Yumi Hwang-Williams’ artistry in Bernstein’s “Serenade,” a violin concerto. Finally, to honor Bernstein’s lifelong study and reverence of Gustav Mahler, a performance of Mahler’s “Titan” symphony will be performed by the full orchestra.7:30 p.m. May 25, 7:30 p.m. May 26, and 1 p.m. May 27, Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 1400 Curtis St., Denver. Price: Varies. For information, visit tickets.coloradosymphony.org.Get a ticket to ride the tribute waveBeatles music stands the test of time, Beatles tributes do also. The Ultimate Beatles Tribute will be at Levitt Pavilion, performed by The Fab Four tribute band. 5 p.m. May 26, Levitt Pavilion Denver 1380 W. Florida Ave., Denver. Price: $20 to $55. For information, visit www.levittdenver.org.James Taylor will play Fiddler’s Green on May 27. James Taylor’s Facebook pageJames Taylor to perform at Fiddler’s GreenJames Taylor and his All Star Band will play Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre. Get up close and personal, as only Fiddler’s Green allows, with the composer of “Fire and Rain.” 7:30 p.m. May 27, Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre 6350 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., Greenwood VillageNoteAbles to hold tribute concertJoin the NoteAbles Community Chorus for a tribute concert in honor of veterans and first-responders. The concert, “This Is Our Country, Past, Present and Future,” includes narration, dialogue and song. The purpose of Memorial Day is honor veterans, prisoners of war, missing in action and first-responders. Service flags will also be presented and on display. An armed forces salute will be included, and veterans are asked to stand as their service theme is performed. Proceeds benefit the Wounded Warriors Project. Director is Oralene Winchell. 11 a.m. May 28, Heather Gardens Clubhouse in the Sandburg Auditorium, 2888 S. Heather Gardens Way, Aurora. Free admission, a good-will donation is accepted. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.Songs with altitude by Denver Children’s Choir “Children’s Choir Fun Night, An Evening of Song with Altitude and Alumni,” will feature the Denver Children’s Choir. The choir was formed in 1996, and has sought Denver children from all walks of life, cultures, races and religions to be a part of its program. There will be auction items available to bid on at the event, such as vacations in Mexico, Red Rocks tickets, Botanic Gardens Concert tickets and more. A special drawing will be offered for one night of Altitude serenading.The choir will be available for a private show in the winner’s home or accompaniment during a dinner or office party in late November or December. 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 30 at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California St., Denver. For information, visit denverchildrenschoir.org or call 303-300-0470.Paul Simon comes to Denver on leg of ‘Homeward’ tourEven those not in the Baby Boomer set will enjoy the enduring Paul Simon live at Fiddler’s Green. The performance is part of the artist’s Homeward Bound farewell tour. 8 p.m. May 30, Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre, 6350 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., Greenwood Village. Price: $37.50 to $182.50. For information, visit www.fiddlersgreenamp.com.The ‘Fifth Symphony’ with your fifth draftBeethoven isn’t usually associated with beer. But, at Beethoven and Brews, participants can enjoy an exclusive beer tasting, paired with light hors d’oeuvres and the sounds of the Colorado Symphony small ensemble performed in a casual setting. Beethoven and Brews features an ensemble performance and four 4 ounce samples of beer from local breweries. Additional beverages are also available for purchase.6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., May 30, Left Hand Brewing Company, 1265 Boston Ave., Longmont. Price: $40 to $65. For information, visit tickets.coloradosymphony.org.Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky, along with Leonard BernsteinIf you can’t catch Leonard Bernstein on May 25, The Colorado Symphony will also play Bernstein at Red Rocks on May 31, along with Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 2.” Music Director, Brett Mitchell and Natasha Paremski take stage for their Red Rocks debut with the symphony. The evening under the stars includes a nod to Bernstein’s centennial anniversary in “Overture from Candide,” as well as the Rachmaninoff’s piece. The night concludes with Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 4.” Doors open at 6 p.m., concert starts at 7:30 p.m., May 31, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, 18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison. Price: $29.50 to $69.50. For information, visit www.redrocksonline.com.ARTArts festival a big drawMore than 50,000 people expected to attend the Denver Arts Festival, which is a fine art and fine crafts festival that supports Colorado artists while showcasing a select group of national artists. The festival will be held in Stapleton’s Conservatory Green Neighborhood. Offering music, kids’ art zone with Gallery on the Go, and a wine and beer garden. 10 a.m. May 26 and 27, 8304 E. 49th Place, Denver. Admission is free. For information, visit www.downtowndenverartsfestival.com. A cigar box isn’t just a cigar boxAnd you thought cigar boxes were just for cigars. The Cigar Box Guitar Exhibit, featuring four local Colorado artists will begin this week and run through July. The show will feature the works of local Artists Michael Bradshaw, Donald DeNoncourt, Peter Faris and Michael O’Reilly. The cigar box has been used to make musical instruments since the Civil War. Participants will learn why each cigar box has its own unique sound. Guest curator will be Joanne Cole, Host of Blues Legacy KGNU Community Radio.5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. May 25, Bricolage Gallery, located inside Art Parts, 2870 Bluff St. Boulder. Gallery is open during business hours from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, noon to 7 p.m. Thursday and until 8:30 p.m. on opening reception evenings.STAGE‘Little Shop of Horrors’ at Bug Theatre The Broadway musical, with a twist of sci-fi, “Little Shop Of Horrors” runs at the Bug Theatre May 25 through June 16.It is the story of milquetoast flower shop lackey Seymour Krelborn, who discovers a new breed of plant after a total eclipse of the sun.Friday and Saturday curtains at 7:30 p.m. through June 16 at The Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St.. For information, call 303-477-9984.‘Ain’t Misbehavin’’ at Town Hall Arts CenterThe energetic Ain’t Misbehavin,’ a Broadway musical showcases tunes by Thomas “Fats” Waller, who rose to international fame during the Golden Age of the Cotton Club.Curtain times range from 2 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. through June 17, Town Hall Arts Center, 2450 W. Main St., Littleton. Price: Varies. For information, visit www.townhallartscenter.org/tickets/aint-misbehavin.
This cover image released by Crush Music/Atlantic Records shows “Weezer (The Black Album),” a release by Weezer. (Crush Music/Atlantic Records via AP)Weezer, “Weezer (Black Album)” (Crush Music/Atlantic Records)Fashion and decor experts say black and teal are a good combination, so there are ways in which Weezer’s “Black Album” matches the “Teal Album,” their barely-a-month-ago release of largely 1980s cover versions motivated by the surprising success of their take on Toto’s “Africa.”“Black Album,” for example, also harkens back to the ’80s “me decade” with some self-referential moments, makes generous use of kitsch and includes “The Prince Who Wanted Everything,” a song that alludes to paisley and a red corvette but crassly ends up making Prince come across like a second-rate Liberace.Where “Teal” had outliers, like versions of The Turtles’ “Happy Together” and TLC’s “No Scrubs,” ”Black” has opening track “Can’t Knock the Hustle,” which pairs some lines in Spanish with Mexican horns, and “Zombie Bastards,” song No. 2, where “blah, blah, blah” substitutes “yada, yada, yada” and sounds like a prime candidate for the soundtracks of the inevitable remakes of “Adventureland” or “The Way Way Back.”“Teal” was also notable for the bands’ and Rivers Cuomo’s facility of sticking to versions of others’ hits that hardly strayed from the originals but still sounded very much like Weezer. “Black” is also easily identifiable as a Weezer creation, especially through Cuomo’s singing, even if the instrumental backing is occasionally more toy guitar than crunchy power chord.Musically, top tracks include “High as a Kite,” which pairs a soaring piano-led melody with some of the album’s least cynical lyrics, while “Living in L.A.” is paranoid. “I’m Just Being Honest” pays the price of sincerity — or is it tactlessness? — and of being famous, all to a mechanical beat, and “Byzantine” justly mocks Neil Young’s obsession with crystalline sound reproduction while also mentioning Sparks, a band ripe for rediscovery.“Too Many Thoughts in My Head,” with lines like “Stayed up reading Mary Poppins/Overwhelmed by Netflix options,” diagnoses modern dysfunctions and if it doesn’t offer any remedies, some more of that typically Weezer humor could alleviate the symptoms.Weezer look like they’re covered in petroleum on the record cover, but judging by the tone of “Black Album,” the gooey stuff is more likely diet chocolate syrup.
FILE – this Monday, Aug. 27, 2018 file photo, burners surrounded by playa dust climb onto an art installation titled, “Night of the Climb,” at Burning Man, in Gerlach, Nev. Experts say playa dust doesn’t pose any significant health risk to those who inhale it during the annual counter-culture festival in the desert. (Andy Barron/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, File)RENO, Nev. | Breakfast, lunch and dinner at Burning Man is served with a side of playa dust that covers cars and clothing and finds its way into places where the sun doesn’t shine.But experts say it doesn’t appear to pose any significant health risk to those who inhale it during the annual counter-culture festival in the desert 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Reno, according to the Reno Gazette Journal.Masks, bandannas and bedazzled respirators are wrapped around Burners’ faces in an effort to keep the chalk out of their mouths and nostrils, but the fashionable flair is often futile.“Your eyelashes are covered, your clothes are covered – all the clothes you wear, they’re impossible to clean again,” said Wendover Brown, a frequent Burner who co-founded a fashionable protective mask company, Vogmask. “It’s such a fine dust, those microscopic particles, they get into everything.”Since 1990, Burning Man has been held on the Black Rock Desert playa, an ancient lake flat made of alkaline dust. As the event has grown from a few hundred to tens of thousands of attendees, the increased vehicle and foot traffic has led to more frequent dust storms.“Normally, you could see 2 miles (3.22 kilometers) on a clear day on the playa. During a dust storm, you can only see 2 yards (1.83 meters),” Brown said.Air quality studies have found that the air quality at Burning Man during the peak days of the event is atrocious, far exceeding national air quality standards all days during the event and during many of the days leading up to it, when staff, volunteers and artists are on-site.The most recently published air quality data was collected at Burning Man 2017, and the concentration of particulate matter — which can be anything from dust to smoke and ash — was so high that it at times maxed out the monitoring instruments, according to a 2019 environmental report by the Bureau of Land Management.During seven of nine days, the measurement of larger particulate matter exceeded 600 micrograms per cubic meter, which typically warrants a hazard notice — indicating the highest level of danger — from air quality officials. The measurement of smaller particulate matter reached hazard levels as well, exceeding 250 micrograms per cubic meter, on five days of the event.Brendan Schnieder, an air quality specialist with Washoe County, noted that Burning Man coincided with a wildfire in 2017, so levels of larger particulate matter were especially high.“If this is a typical week at Burning Man, it would be a concern … but I think people understand that, and a lot of them stay inside” their RVs or other shelters, he said.Dr. Aleem Surani, a pulmonary medical specialist at the Northern Nevada Medical Group, said short-term exposure to playa dust is unlikely to cause any long-term health effects, even if repeated.“Based on what I can extrapolate from, there’s no significant concern for the average person going to Burning Man,” Surani said.Surani said it’s hard to say with certainty that there are no effects because the research isn’t there. Most research focuses on prolonged, repeated exposure over decades, generally in workplaces such as mines, construction sites and agricultural facilities.Granted, anyone attending Burning Man with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, should use extra caution, he said. Children and elderly people also should attend with caution.“People are going to probably have gunk in their mouth and throat, and hopefully they’re drinking lots of water and taking it easy during the wind,” he said. He said a doctor visit is recommended if any effects of breathing in dust persist beyond a week or two.Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, http://www.rgj.com
This cover image released by New West Records shows “Ghosts of West Virginia” by Steve Earle. (New West Records via AP)Steve Earle & the Dukes, “Ghosts of West Virginia” (New West)Contemplating the treacherous political landscape of West Virginia, Steve Earle decided to build a bridge.The singer-songwriter known for his liberal views undertook a project that would speak for the other side on the issue of coal mining. Earle’s empathetic attempt to address the divide has resulted in one of his best albums: “Ghosts of West Virginia.”The set draws material from the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 men. Earle wrote folk songs for a play about the disaster, and has used them as the foundation of a concept album that considers coal’s role in the life of West Virginians from their perspective.Earle’s grunting, gravelly tenor is perfectly cast as he assesses the state’s mythology and geology. On the song “It’s About Blood,” a fanfare for the common man, Earle lists the victims of the 2010 tragedy, his voice more anguished with each name recited.“Black Lung” offers a nuanced, wrenching look at another aspect of the risky profession. “If I Could See Your Face Again” is a lament from a miner’s widow sung beautifully by Eleanor Whitmore, part of the crack quintet that provides Earle with mostly acoustic support in mono, reinforcing the rootsy vibe.There’s poetry in the simple observations of the songs, which are even more topical than Earle intended as his characters weigh the need to make money versus the risk of not being able to breathe. Sound familiar?