Head banging, Schwayze & beer, not just for breakfast

Head banging, Schwayze & beer, not just for breakfast

West Coast rapper Schwayze plays an all-ages show at the Animas City Theatre at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13.

Chris Aaland - 12/07/2017

Concussions are no fun. I got a doozie last weekend while setting up an iron-and-steel gun safe in my house. It’s a 54-inch cabinet and I’m 77 inches tall. After putting in some shelving and all of my hunting gear, I stood up from my chair. Unfortunately, my head was still inside the cabinet. You do the math. I estimate I’ve had 12 to 15 concussions throughout my life. Some were sports related (strangely, more in basketball than football ... big trees fall hard when taking the charge), others have funny stories associated with them, but most were due to being tall and misjudging the height of cabinets, ceilings and the like. Some of my favorite concussion stories include getting knocked out and sent to the hospital while scoping in an elephant rifle (my eye was too close to the scope); getting KO’d in the mosh pit at a Faith No More concert at the Bottleneck in Lawrence, Kan., by a teen-age kid doing the pogo in ’89; and having a bouncer at the old Party Time Chapter II in Durango beat the daylights out of me by slamming my head repeatedly into the bumper of my’72 Chevy Malibu (years later, he’d go to jail as an organized crime enforcer). 

Where was I going with this story? Yeah, concussions suck. Headaches, blurry vision, sleep deprivation, ear ringing and sun spots. You get the picture. Let’s move along. Nothing to see here.

It’s a Durango holiday tradition! More than 60 local dancers and the San Juan Symphony will join the professionals of the State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara to present the magical holiday ballet “Nutcracker” at the Community Concert Hall this weekend. For the 11th consecutive year, two matinee performances will be staged at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, along with two evening shows at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Artistic director Rodney Gustafson honors the original Tchaikovsky masterpiece by recreating the traditional ballet in Victorian times. “Nutcracker” is based on the book The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffman. In the well-known story, Clara, a young German girl, is presented with a toy nutcracker by her godfather, Drosselmeyer, who is a skilled clock and toy maker. In Clara’s dream, the toy comes to life and escorts her on a journey to a magical land, where a cast of unusual characters entertains her through dance.

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship’s second presentation in its recital series features tenor Erik Gustafson, assisted by pianist Marilyn Garst at 7 p.m. Friday. Highlights include an opening with three selections from “Les nuits d’e?te?” by French composer Hector Berlioz, a complete performance of Robert Schumann’s “Dichterliebe, Op. 48” and four selections from the song-book of Stephen Sondheim to close. Gustafson is a Portland, Ore., native who tours the nation as an soloist and choral artist. He’s collaborated on a pair of Grammy-winning recordings with the Phoenix Chorale.

West Coasts rap returns to the Animas City Theatre at 9 p.m. on Wednesday with Schwayze and special guests. His career got started in 2005 in California, when Schwayze jumped on stage with Whitestarr and freestyled with drummer Alex Orbison. The crowd went crazy. Growing up as one of the few black kids in a trailer park in the less-prosperous side of Malibu, he worked for his grandfather as a handyman. Music provided an escape. A friendship with Whitestarr’s Cisco Adler led to a chance to record some demos and, ultimately, a record deal with Geffen. His first single, “Buzzin,’” made some noise on the Top 100. His second, “Corona and Lime,” climbed to No. 23. He later signed on with MTV to star in the reality show “Buzzin,’” which followed he and Adler in their quest for fame. Schwayze recently released a new studio album, “Let it Beat.”

Weminuche returns to the ACT at 8:30 p.m. Friday to celebrate the end of the semester with sweet, sweet funk. Wild shenanigans and highly bodacious grooves are promised.

El Moro Spirits and Tavern will host the second annual CRAFT, an event that pairs fine food with Ska brews, from 7-9 p.m. tonight (Thurs., Dec. 7). The restaurant will be closed to the public to allow ample space for the dinner. Courses include a sous vide pork belly steam bun BLT, served with True Blonde; mini champagne poached caramel apples with Maldon sea salt, paired with Sour Apple Gose; rosemary spent grain cracker, derby sage cheese and grapefruit jam 

alongside Euphoria; seared turducken batonnet, a savory stuffing waffle and gravy foundation, joined by Buster Nut Brown; mango curry shrimp ceviche and a beet tostada matched with DHPA; and a red chile beef vol au vent teamed with Rye Barrel Aged Stout. CRAFT will feature six stations for the cocktail party-type affair, with guests moving from one station to the next.

El Moro’s executive chef, Sean Clark, is an expert at such events, having been part of the team that paired the first food and beer dinner at the prestigious James Beard House in New York a few years ago. He’s invited each year to work his culinary magic and food and beer pairings at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.

“When chefs and brewers get excited about events, you know you’re in for a treat,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for all of us to get together and have some fun with beer and food pairings and hopefully create some lasting memories. That kind of energy is infectious, and we just want everyone to have a blast.”

KSUT’s annual 12 Hours of Giving takes place from 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. Wednesday. At the top of each hour throughout the day, KSUT will draw for an assortment of prizes, including lift tickets to Wolf Creek, concert & dinner pairings, outdoor gear and more. The day prize is a season pass to Purgatory.

All sustaining members are already entered into the drawing, plus any member who has pledged since the start of October. However, everyone is encouraged to make an additional gift to support public radio in the Four Corners. To make a donation, visit www.ksut.org or call the station at 970-563-0255 on Wednesday. Plus, there will be special guests throughout the day, including a live holiday performance by the Bar D Wranglers.

Bang your head, wake the dead? Email me at chrisa@gobrainstorm.net.

Top Shelf

Long live rock!
Long live rock!
By Chris Aaland
05/21/2020

It’s been nearly two months since “Top Shelf” last graced these pages. In my first 12-plus years of writing this column, I think I only missed two weeks.

Raised on radio
Raised on radio
By Chris Aaland
03/26/2020

Social distancing is driving many of us stir crazy, especially after last week’s big dump. Not only do we crave physical interaction with each other, but we’re also an active community.

The week the music died
The week the music died
By Chris Aaland
03/19/2020

For more than 12 years, I’ve written “Top Shelf” on a weekly basis as a column about the local music scene and nightlife. I also drift into sports, pop culture and political territory from time to time. And, on far too many occasions, I’ve paid homage to a family member or friend who has passed, like my son, brother, mother and festival friend. 

Bogguss' aces, Irish eyes and Salmon splash
Bogguss' aces, Irish eyes and Salmon splash
By Chris Aaland
03/12/2020

Perhaps the biggest and baddest Durango Celtic Festival to date runs tonight (Thurs., March 12) through Sunday, with events alternating between the Henry Strater Theatre and the Irish Embassy Pub. This year’s line up is one of the best in the festival’s history, with five internationally acclaimed artists. 

Read All in Top Shelf

Day in the Life

Soaking it up
Soaking it up
05/21/2020
Local color: Telegraph coloring page winners
Local color: Telegraph coloring page winners
04/30/2020

A look at some (OK, all) of the Telegraph's coloring page submissions

Sole man
Sole man
03/12/2020

At the age of 19, Durango’s Mervin “Merv” Stilson started making shoes and never looked back (except for the time he made a Western-style jacket for Neil Young).

Wonder wall
Wonder wall
By Stephen Eginoire
03/05/2020

Southeastern Utah has no shortage of natural wonders, and perhaps one of the most curious is the 80-mile-long sandstone monocline known as Comb Ridge. 

Read All in Day on the Life