2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Let me entertain you

    Fri, March 28, 2014 by Jen Mulson with no comments

    Theater has filled my cultural appetite lately, and I am sated. For the moment.

    Last weekend, I saw Theatre ‘d Art’s production of “A Clockwork Orange,” and last night I went to the Millibo Art Theatre for “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Apparently, a lot of people had the same idea — it was a packed house.

    Christian O’Shaughnessy was a convincing Alex in the TAD show, which was staged in the belly of the Subterranean Nightclub, known as The Underground to long-time residents (like me!). Director Michael Lee moved us from room to room, following the action of the cast. Fight scenes were mostly staged on the dance floor, where the audience could stand above on the catwalk and watch.

    I’ve never been to a show like that before, though TAD has done this type of moving play before. I enjoyed it, though will say it was a bit long (clocking in at three hours) to be standing and watching, even though there was some scattered seating available.

    Over at The MAT, there was both a cozy chair waiting for me in the brand new theater and an excellent show directed by Kelly Walters. A few people I talked with at intermission concurred. Jude Bishop played Atticus Finch in the warm, unassuming way I imagined the character to be when I read the book in high school. Sara Barad and the actor who played Scout, whose name I can’t make out on the flyer on Facebook, convinced me they were little kids. And I thought they had a nice chemistry with their “father.”

    broadwayI mulled over my love for the theater as I sat waiting for the show to open. Where did it come from? And does each individual have one particular art form he or she is drawn to from a young age? 

    This is definitely mine. It’s magical, taking you away from the mundaneness of every day life, transporting you out of your mind and into unknown lives and places. And I’m sure that can happen to those who love going to the movies or to a symphony or a live concert at Red Rocks.

    From the vaults of my faulty memory, I remember my first role in second grade. I do remember there was a singing portion to the part, and the teacher suggested that the rest of the cast sing along with me. I’m not sure why — if it was because I appeared terrified to sing in front of people or if my voice was a tragedy.

    Nevertheless, the love for the stage persisted all the way through college and into my adult life. And then life got busy, as it’s wont to do, and I didn’t have the time required to adhere to a rehearsal schedule. My hobby fell away, unfortunately, and other creative endeavors surfaced. But I do miss it, all the time, and especially when I go to a show and watch friends inhabit their roles with such grace.


  • Movie night with “I Am”

    Wed, March 19, 2014 by Jen Mulson with no comments

    The “Life, Meaning & Videotape” program is showing a movie Thursday night that caught my attention: “I Am.”

    Tom Shadyac

    Tom Shadyac

    It’s by Tom Shadyac, Hollywood director, writer and actor. He experienced a traumatic bike accident in 2007 that left him with post-concussion syndrome. He felt so terrible, he thought death would be an excellent alternative.

    “This syndrome leaves you with a concussion that doesn’t go away. It can take months or years to recover, and some never do. As one might expect, it sent Shadyac into a deep depression. While he wasn’t suicidal like many who experience post-concussion syndrome, he had the profound insight that “the world he was living in was a lie.” — From Huffingtonpost.com.

    Eventually he recovered, and decided to make a documentary exploring the question of his existence. He talked to Desmond Tutu, Thom Hartmann, Noam Chomsky, Lynne McTaggart (The Field), Daniel Quinn (Ishmael), Howard Zinn and others, and “I Am” is the final product.
    See you at the movies!
    When: 7 p.m. Thursday, March 20
    Where: Tim Gill Center, 315 E. Costilla St.
    Tickets: Free, donations accepted; LMandVT@commonbridges.org
  • Garrison Keillor on writing and his face

    Mon, March 17, 2014 by Jen Mulson with no comments

    Garrison Keillor

    Garrison Keillor

    Sometimes interviews make me nervous, and sometimes, eh, not so much. The one I had with Garrison Keillor last week gave me a few butterflies, probably because I’ve been listening to the man for 15 years on “A Prairie Home Companion.”

    It was surreal to pick up the phone and hear him say, “This is Garrison Keillor from ‘A Prairie Home Companion,’ calling for Jennifer.” Eeee! I silently squealed to myself, then pretended I was a professional and managed to not get fan girl on him.

    I asked him about his writing routine, and felt a teeny bit smug when he mentioned his “stretching exercises.” I daresay, I bet those exercises look a little bit like yoga poses.

    On writing:

    “I start every morning when I get up, and am the first up in the house. It’s usually around 5 a.m., sometimes 6 a.m., and it’s dark and I come downstairs. I put on coffee and do some stretching exercises, and then I light a fire in the fireplace. I sit down at a laptop in the dark and work until people get up. Usually that’s two or three hours.  I have breakfast with the family, and then work until noon. I have about six hours until I knock off, and then go to the office and work there.”

    I also found the way he thinks of himself interesting:

    Keillor: “If they have listened to the show for years, they can expect to be surprised. I don’t look like what I sound like. I think I sound sort of chipper and cheerful, and I look gloomy and dark.”

    Me: “You really think so?”

    Keillor: “I know so. I sometimes walk down the street, and see this gloomy person standing in the store window and realize it’s my reflection and I’m taken aback. I feel cheerful, and I have no reason to feel bad, but I think one picks it (looking gloomy) up when you’re in the radio business — where smiling gets you nothing.”

  • MeadowGrass Music Festival lineup announced

    Wed, March 12, 2014 by Jen Mulson with no comments

    And it’s in – the lineup for the 6th Annual MeadowGrass Music Festival!

    The Duhks

    The Duhks

    Headliners include The Duhks (pronounced like ducks), Elephant Revival and The Mother Hips. I’m familiar with and enjoy The Duhks. You might be especially familiar with Elephant Revival, a band straight out of Nederland who has played in the Springs numerous times. I’m not familiar with The Mother Hips.

    Other acts include Chadwick Stokes, Steve Poltz, Grass it Up, Birds of Chicago, Caitlin Rose, Cary Hudson and Willis Alan Ramsey.

    The festival is held over Memorial Day weekend at La Foret Conference and Retreat Center in Black Forest. Pre-sale tickets are available now, $30-$40 one day, $60 three-day pass, $200 family four-pack weekend pass; at ticketfly.com and various local retailers including the Dry Goods Store at Ivywild School and Moondog Music Shop; meadowgrass.org.

  • My first opera

    Tue, March 4, 2014 by Jen Mulson with no comments

    "Lakme" by Opera Theatre of the Rockies

    “Lakme” by Opera Theatre of the Rockies

    That’s right. I attended my first opera Saturday night: “Lakme” by Opera Theatre of the Rockies at Armstrong Theatre at Colorado College.

    First things first – have you been to a full-length opera before? Or am I way behind the curve here? To be upfront, I’ve never been all that interested in going to one. That all changed on New Year’s Eve, when I went to the Colorado Springs Philharmonic’s concert at the Pikes Peak Center. It featured three local female singers, one of who was an opera singer. I wrote an earlier blog post about Jennifer DeDominici and how she captivated me. She changed my already made up mind about opera.

    That’s how I ended up sitting in the audience of “Lakme.”

    The opera’s setting was right up my alley. It took place in British India, and featured Hindu statues and practices. As a practicing yogi, you sometimes see and encounter Hindu beliefs in a yoga practice, depending on the studio or teacher, of course. So that was fun to see on stage. The character Lakme was a Brahman priestess.

    I’m so glad I went, though I hesitate to offer any sort of review, as I have nothing to compare it to. I ran into a coworker at the show, and admitted I had no idea if the performance was good or not. She astutely said, “If you’re having a good time, then it’s fabulous.”

    In a synchronous interview Friday afternoon, I talked to Jake Heggie, the San Francisco composer who wrote the music to the opera “Dead Man Walking.” I told him I was going to my first opera, and asked if he had any advice for me. He told me to familiarize myself with the story beforehand so I would know what was going on. Good advice. It was also helpful that the opera offered a bit of closed captioning, if you will, during the show. Text was projected on a screen directly above the stage.

    Here’s another tidbit I learned: operas are long. Next time I attend one, I might select an afternoon matinee. I am not a night owl these days, and when the second act ended at 9:30 p.m., I knew that after a second intermission and third act, I’d be home around 11 p.m. I was exhausted, readers, and, I admit it – I left.

    I do plan to attend another opera, and my editor recommended one at Central City Opera. Maybe even Heggie’s “Dead Man Walking,” though I’ll have to wait until July.

    What about you? Have you been to an opera? Are you an opera fanatic? Why or why not? Drop me a line or post a comment here: jen.mulson@gazette.com.