The 15th annual Durango Independent Film Festival starts Wednesday and runs through March 8. This year, Durango Film features more than 115 films, plus panels, workshops, special guests, parties and more. The festival kick-off & sponsor party takes place from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday at Animas Chocolate Co. and is open to first-tier pass holders only (except All-Film pass holders), sponsors, grantors and donors. A limited number of features and shorts will be screened at the Gaslight 1 and 2 and Animas City Theatre on Wednesday night. These are free films, with seating on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Durango Film is a fun, funky festival that highlights the local entertainment calendar each year, staffed by an exuberant board and volunteers. It’s also the event my wife covets tickets to the most.
Want to win a pair of All-Film passes? Pledge now at KSUT.org and be entered into all drawings during the Spring Membership Drive. The on-air portion of the drive takes place March 9-13, but an earlybird drawing for the Durango Film passes takes place at noon this Friday. As always, the grand prize (drawn at 6 p.m. March 13) is a round trip for two to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Additionally, there will be morning and day prizes each of the five days. An early donation ensures entry into all of the drawings.
The Expendables enjoyed a laid-back lifestyle growing up in Santa Cruz, Calif., surfing, skating, partying and playing music. Since 1997, they’ve staked their claim in the California surf rock genre, headlining venues from coast to coast. Blending reggae, punk and ’80s-style guitars, the Expendables have made heads turn and floors shake for years. They’ll play the Animas City Theatre at 9 p.m. tonight (Thurs., Feb. 27). Authority Zero opens.
The Donny McCaslin Trio brings jazz to the Community Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. McCaslin began playing the saxophone during his early childhood years. While perhaps best recognized for his contributions to David Bowie’s final album, “Blackstar,” McCaslin’s comprehensive approach to jazz as a popular American music genre is vast and mesmerizing. He has integrated a full range of sounds to his playing, from funky fusion to mainstream modern to laid-back ballads.
All hail the newly expanded Lawn Chair Kings! Justin Richert makes his debut with the band on lap steel, guitar and drums at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Sunflower Theatre in Cortez. Patrick Dressen will play acoustic guitar in addition to drums and vocals. Dan Leek (bass, vocals) and Erik Nordstrom (guitar, vocals) have been playing variations of Americana, cowpunk, folk and western garage music in Southwest Colorado since forming LCK in 2000. Special guest Dale X Allen of Genuine Cowhide and Moetones fame will join the party. Best of all, there will be a live recording of this performance that will be released later in 2020.
G. Love & Special Sauce brings a dance vibe to the Sheridan Opera House in Telluride at 8 p.m. Tuesday, with an opening set by Jontavious Willis. G. Love & Special Sauce formed in 1993 and within a year had their self-titled debut album getting spins on MTV. They landed a spot on the coveted H.O.R.D.E. Tour, exposing their brand of alternative hip-hop, blues and R&B to thousands upon thousands of jam band fans. Over the course of the next two decades-plus, they dropped nine studio albums (and three G. Love solo projects), including their latest, “The Juice.” Opener Willis is a multi-instrument-playing bluesman who has quickly made a name for himself for his interpretation of Delta, Piedmont and Texas blues and gospel music. His guitar skills cover fingerpicking, flatpicking and slide playing. Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ were among the producers tapped for his latest record, “Spectacular Class.”
The Southwest Civic Winds perform a “Winds of the World” concert at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Community Concert Hall. Under the baton of FLC’s Dr. Christopher Huls, the Civic Winds will take the audience on an exploration of the best in symphonic band literature from around the world, including stops in Russia, Japan, Mexico, Australia and beyond.
The Met: Live in HD will screen a new production of Handel’s “Agrippina” at 10:55 a.m. Saturday in the FLC Student Union. Handel’s tale of intrigue and impropriety in ancient Rome stars Joyce DiDonato as the controlling, power-hungry Agrippina with Harry Bicket conducting.
Fenceline Ciders hosts its second anniversary party at 6 p.m. Saturday at the cidery in Mancos. In addition to tasty hard ciders, there will be live music from the Afrobeatniks, a band that released its debut album, “Wontanara,” last summer. Nearly a year later, it remains one of my favorite local recordings of all time. The band makes sense to play the anniversary gig – with membership in Montezuma and La Plata counties, the Beatniks have deep Mancos ties.
Although it doesn’t technically happen until next week, KDUR’s Furniture as Art auction takes place at 7 p.m. Thurs., March 5, at the Durango Arts Center. The $30 ticket includes three drinks and heavy apps from Good on the Bun, plus the chance to bid on artwork from more than 20 local artists in the live auction, and more in the silent. KDUR’s Bryant Liggett and Meryl Ramsey serve as emcees, with music by Aiden Hall and auctioneering by Calvin and Pat Story of Treasure Auction. The event is a blast and KDUR’s signature fundraising event of the year.
Elsewhere: The Great Contention brings American to Ska Brewing at 5 p.m. tonight; Crooked Measures bring music to Durango Craft Spirits from 6-8 p.m. Friday; Six Dollar String Band brings old-time string band music to Ernie’s at 11th Street Station at 7 p.m. Friday; and Black Velvet Trio plays the Derailed Pour House at 7 p.m. Friday.
Finally, the Durango VFW hosts “Doing it for Dave” at 3 p.m. Saturday. The event is a fundraiser for Dave Kulak, who is battling ALS. There will be live music from Sunny & the Whiskey Machine, Red Eyed Djinn and Murderous Chanteuse, plus food and a silent auction. A $10 donation is suggested.
Don’t step on Greta Garbo as you walk down the boulevard? Email me at chrisa@gob rainstorm.net.