James LaRue, author of “On Censorship,” joins the Bookworm of Edwards on Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is annually celebrated by bookstores, schools, and libraries across the country to bring awareness to the books that are most banned and challenged at those institutions, to highlight the value of free and open access to information, and to support the freedom to express ideas.

This year Banned Books Week is October 1-7, and to celebrate, James LaRue will be at the Bookworm on Oct. 3 to present his book, “On Censorship,” that uses humor, reason, and intelligence, to build a case against censorship as he recounts stories from his experience as a librarian confronting book banning, while also casting a wider net to encompass larger issues of censorship. Librarians and educators get into this event for free, to recognize the effort it takes to be on the front lines of book banning and censorship in this current moment.

Combating book banning fueled LaRue’s long public librarian career, and inspired his research into censorship. “I got interested in censorship for the same reason Banned Books Week displays are so interesting: who doesn’t want me to read this and why?” LaRue said. “Then I dealt with 1500 challenges in my career as a public librarian–and they’re surging now. Ultimately, I have always felt called to librarianship. It seems to me that the institution is more important now than it’s ever been, both to continue to advocate for the sheer liberating power of literacy, and to fight the growing authoritarianism in our country and the world.”

‘On Censorship’ uses humor, reason, and intelligence to build a case against censorship.
On Censorship Cover

“It’s important to remember that libraries serve many people, check out many books, offer many programs and exhibits,” LaRue said. “That’s our real story. By contrast, the number of challenges, and successful bans, is a tiny fraction of that. But the folks who do the challenging are getting bolder, and rely more and more on the techniques of intimidation. Philosophy, words, institutions, have meaning and power. We need to stand up for the things that matter to us personally, as a community, and as a nation.”

During his career, LaRue saw censorship efforts come from both political extremes. “Censorship comes from the far left and the far right; they are more like each other than the majority of folks in the middle,” LaRue said. “By far, the majority of challenges come from the right, and they seek to silence roughly 3% of voices in libraries that reflect previously marginalized groups, mostly LGBTQ and people of color. From the left, some folks call for the great expansion of those new voices, but also want to remove or replace those older works and their less inclusive perspectives. At both extremes, the attempt is not only to suppress the views of the other side, but to push their own.”

If you go…


  • What: On Censorship with James LaRue

  • When: Tuesday, Oct. 3, 6 p.m.

  • Where: The Bookworm of Edwards (295 Main Street C101, Edwards, CO 81632)

  • Cost: $10 (Librarians & Educators for free)

  • More Info: Call 970-926-READ or visit BookwormOfEdwards.com/events

In his book, LaRue breaks down four basic reasons that people challenge materials. “Personal prejudice, often based on childhood trauma; parental panic, ‘oh my god, my children are growing up;’ demographic panic, ‘you mean I’m not the most important person in the national narrative anymore?’; and will for power,” LaRue said. “I think a relatively small group of partisan operators now push a message of fear and bigotry to rile up the base, keep the campaign contributions flowing, and tear down public infrastructure. We live in a tricky time. The combination of deliberate misinformation and naked greed, for money and power, may tilt the world, as it did in 1938, into tragedy. Or, it may result in a rebirth of commitment to telling the human story. For now, all of us need to defend the freedom to read.”

The freedom to read is just as important to LaRue as the freedom of speech, and he has several suggestions on how to defend both. “We wouldn’t have had a constitution without the promise of a bill of rights,” LaRue said. “And there’s a reason the amendment establishing free speech is the first. Whether our aims are to find truth, to express ourselves, to live by our own conscience, to hold those in power accountable, or to advocate for social change, the right to speak freely — and access the speech of others — is essential. How do we do it? Engage, speak up, read, support your local bookstores and newspapers. Have meaningful conversations.”

5 reasons to attend the Underground Sound concert series in Beaver Creek

The goal of the Underground Sound series is simple: to introduce Eagle County locals to amazing, emerging artists across a plethora of musical styles. It’s basically how the Vilar Performing Arts Center expresses its love for the community each fall season. Where else could you possibly see seven shows for $150? Here are five reasons to attend.

Madeline Hawthorne takes the Underground Sound stage Oct. 12.
Dan Bradner/Courtesy photo
  1. It’s your chance to “see them first.”

Underground Sound is the perfect series if you love to have the inside track on which bands are going to make it big so you too can say, “I saw them for next to nothing way back when.” And it will be easy to tell who is on track for sell-out shows in the future, according to the VPAC’s executive director, Owen Hutchinson. “You can often tell by the audience’s reaction who will go on to play major stages and continue to develop their audience,” Hutchinson said. “The energy is palpable.”

For example, be sure and catch Foy Vance on Sept. 15. This beguiling Irishman has toured with Ed Sheeran, Bonnie Raitt, Snow Patrol, Sir Elton John and more.

2. Buy the pass for an opportunity to “pay it forward.”

Worried you’re not available for every show on the pass? No need for concern. The pass is transferable, which means you can gift a concert to a friend, co-worker or family member of your choosing and make their week.

The Bros Landreth bring their harmony-heavy soul to Underground Sound Sept. 28.
Kendra Hope Photography/Courtesy photo

Additionally, since the VPAC is a non-profit theater, just by attending the series and buying a pass, you are supporting not only the artists but the Vail Valley’s only true community theater. Through the VPAC’s Support The Arts Reaching Students (STARS) program, local students get to experience free matinee performances a handful of times each year. Your support makes this program possible.

3. Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month right.

National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15-Oct. 15. To kick off both the month and the entire Underground Sound series, Mariachi Los Camperos takes the stage on Sept. 15. Considered the finest mariachi ensemble in the world with multiple Grammy awards under their belt, the band comes from humble roots but puts on a show the represents the heart and soul of traditional Mexican music.

4. See seven shows and enjoy a drink for less than $22 per show.

How often can one see a live concert at one of the most luxurious and intimate theaters in the state for under $50 or even $100? The average ticket price at the Pepsi Center in Denver is over $170 on average, according to SeatGeek.com. That doesn’t even factor in gas or parking fees. Save some dough and opt to see seven shows for the price of one Denver concert. Even better, you get a free drink ticket for every show.

5. The sound at the VPAC is better than ever.

If it’s been a while since you saw a VPAC show, you’re in for a treat. Each seat features its own custom immersive sound experience thanks to a state-of-the-art half-million-dollar upgrade completed in late 2022. The acoustically built seats absorb sound like a human body, and looking ahead, new acoustic banners will be installed this fall to further deepen the dynamic sound of each show while adding to the theater’s clean, contemporary look.

If you go …


  • What: Underground Sound Concert Series

  • When: Seven performances, Sept. 15-Oct. 21

Remaining lineup:

Sept. 28: The Bros. Landreth

Sept. 30: Miles Miller with Cousin Curtiss

Oct. 12: Madeline Hawthorne

Oct. 14: Alfredo Rodriguez & Richard Bona Trio

Oct. 21: Darlingside with opener Field Guide

  • Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek

  • Cost: $150 for the Underground Sound Pass that includes tickets to all seven shows and one complimentary drink at each; $250 for the VIP Access Pass

  • More information: Vilarpac.org/underground-sound

For more information about the Underground Sound series or the VPAC winter schedule, visit Vilarpac.org or call 970-845-8497.

El Segundo offers creative tacos, craft margaritas and a terrific deck in both Vail and Eagle

The tacos are tasty, the tequila plentiful and the ambience lively. But what defines El Segundo in the summertime? That’s an easy one.

“Best deck in Vail,” said Dimitri Souvorin, chef-partner at the restaurant.

It’s hard to disagree. Overlooking Gore Creek and the Vail Whitewater Park, the lawn below might be filled with kids playing creekside, paddlers putting in and any number of people soaking up the sunshine and mountain air. Steps away is the Children’s Fountain —  “probably the best water feature for kids in the whole area,” said Souvorin. “We get parents on the deck enjoying a margarita, watching their kids playing in the fountain.”

The deck has a prime view overlooking Gore Creek.
Barry Eckhaus/EAT Magazine

Heading into its fourth year, El Segundo has hit its stride. The globally inspired taqueria and tequila bar serves a wide array of fresh, made-from-scratch food and cocktails that are big on flavors and fun. The menu swings from shareable starters like ceviche and nachos to heaping rice bowls and smothered burritos.

“But the taco list is the heart and soul of our restaurant,” explained the chef. “We love the theme, we love being a taqueria. We love the variation.”

The tacos are large — order two, maybe split an app and you can call it a day. Cruise the list and you’ll see non-traditional offerings such as the Hot Korean, with wagyu beef, Korean barbecue sauce and spicy kimchi, or the Seared Ahi with sesame sticky rice, cashew-ginger relish and tamari slaw. For the Grateful Veg, guajillo-roasted cauliflower and black beans are topped with corn-poblano relish and avocado. But there are also more classic Mexican flavors, like ancho-braised short ribs, citrus-brined pork carnitas and several fish options, from crispy cod to grilled mahi mahi. What they all have in common is Chef Souvorin’s approach to food.

“Fresh, light and from scratch — that’s really the big difference of how we do it,” he said.

And that same philosophy goes for the bar program.

“All of our syrups, all of our mixes, all of our juices are squeezed fresh,” he said. “Herradura Silver is our well tequila. Last I heard, El Segundo sold the second most Herradura Silver in the country.”

With more than 100 tequilas and mezcals, the list is daunting. But Souvorin encourages people to spend a little time with the bartenders, who are happy to put a tequila flight together. While the margaritas are the most popular — try Souvorin’s favorite, the house margarita, or get spicy with a Friend of the Devil — the other cocktails are fun, too. The restaurant puts its own spin on sangria, palomas and other Mexi-style options.

Ceviche with scallops, shrimp, fish and veggies, served with crispy corn tortilla chips.
Barry Eckhaus/EAT Magazine

“We’ve got a big restaurant and a great crew of locals here,” he said. “It’s energetic, upbeat —this place is absolutely a fun bar-style restaurant. When Cameron Douglas and I opened El Segundo it was important to us, that it be a fun, approachable, family-style restaurant.” In fact, the duo did such a good job with it they opened a second location down in Eagle. Perfect after a day of mountain biking down-valley, El Segundo Eagle’s back deck looks over Brush Creek Park and serves the same menu, down to the fresh-squeezed margaritas and creative tacos. 

Sesame Sticky Bowl with grilled shrimp, toasted sesame sticky rice, tamari-garlic slaw, red radish, kimchi, pickled red onion, cucumbers and toasted peanuts.
Barry Eckhaus/EAT Magazine

Foodie events, charity walks, Wild West Day, jazz, art and more: Tricia’s Weekend Picks 9/22/23

Epicurean Adventure

Beaver Creek has always been known as giving guests a world-class experience on the slopes, but it also strives to be known for its offerings in the culinary world and for years has hosted food, wine and spirits events during the winter and summer. Its warm-weather foodie event had been held in August but was moved to September this year and renamed Epicurean Adventure.

Epicurean Adventure invites those with an adventurous palate to come and enjoy what the mountain has to offer followed by delicious dishes and refreshing drinks. From Farm-to-Table offerings to the Grand Tasting, there’s something for everyone’s taste.

On Friday, take your pick from different modes of transportation to get you to the flavors during the Choose Your Own Adventure Gourmet Buffet Lunch. Hike on a 3-mile or 5-mile trail, horseback ride, or take a Jeep 4×4 tour or a shuttle to Beano’s Cabin.

Later on Friday, head to Beaver Creek Village and enjoy music by the Bowmanville Swing while restaurants offer happy hour specials and a little retail therapy at the shops and galleries from 2 to 4 p.m. Stop by Paderewski and C. Anthony Galleries for a little champagne.

On Saturday, the event heads up to Spruce Saddle for the Grand Tasting. In all of the years that Beaver Creek has been doing food and wine festivals, the Grand Tasting has never been held up on the mountain. Ticket holders will go up in gondola cars on the Centennial Express (No. 6) to this mid-mountain location and will enjoy eats from area restaurants and caterers and hand-crafted cocktails and view cocktail demos and other libations while listening to the sounds of the Royal Street Ramblers. This event takes place from 6 to 9 p.m.

A few events, like the Harvest Dinner on Friday night at Grouse Mountain Grill and the Wild Luxury: 4×4 Tour and Gourmet Luncheon in an aspen grove near the top of Bachelor Gulch on Saturday are already sold out, so take a look at the schedule of events and get your tickets for the other offerings at BeaverCreek.com/SignatureEvents.

As a reminder, this is the last weekend of operations for Beaver Creek’s Centennial Express (No. 6). Come out Saturday and Sunday and take the lift up or down to witness the colors starting to change on the aspen trees. The lift is open from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. After that, it will remain closed until Beaver Creek opens for the 2023-2024 season the day before Thanksgiving.

Walk & Hike for a cause

The Rocky Mountain Walk to End Alzheimer’s is on Saturday at Brush Creek Park in Eagle Ranch. Registration and entertainment and activities start at 9 a.m. and the walk begins at 10 a.m.
Tricia Swenson/Courtesy photo

Rocky Mountain Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Head down to the Brush Creek Park and Pavilion for the Rocky Mountain Walk to End Alzheimer’s this Saturday. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and get there early for coffee and breakfast goodies as well as entertainment by Helmut and Charlotte Fricker, Don Watson, Mountain Harmony, kids activities including face painting and performances by the Battle Mountain High School Dance Team.

This Saturday’s walk is one of the many walks happening across the nation right now for the Alzheimer’s Association. The Alzheimer’s Association’s mission is to have a world without Alzheimer’s disease and all other dementia. Now is an especially great time to show your support for the Alzheimer’s Association, given the recent advancements in treatments and the increasing public visibility of its cause.

The walk will be held on the recreation path throughout Eagle Ranch and is about 2 miles in length, perfect for any age and strollers, wheelchairs, wagons and dogs are welcome. It’s free to participate and you can register to walk and make donations by going to Act.Alz.org/RMWalk.

Climb It for Climate

Also on Saturday is Climb It for Climate, a benefit for Walking Mountains Science Center. Live, work and play in a more sustainable way – that’s the idea behind the second annual event. Walking Mountains aims to gather people and celebrate sustainability while educating and entertaining them.

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Walking Mountain’s goal is to help reduce local emissions 50% by 2030 and by 80% by 2050. To do that, they need your help and they need you to understand and become educated on how you can help so look for plenty of educational stations and interactive activities at Basecamp (base of Eagle Bahn Gondola, No. 19) and along the Berry Picker Trail and at Eagle’s Nest once you’ve reached the top.

Participants will hike up the Berry Picker Trail (about 4 miles and 2,200 vertical feet in elevation gain) to Eagle’s Nest. Along the way there will be education stations, interactive challenges and even musicians playing for you. It’s not a race, you can go at your own pace, but just know that there is food, wine, beer and spectacular views at the mountaintop party. There will also be live music from the Runaway Grooms.

New this year, Walking Mountains has partnered up with Shift E-bikes to offer you a coupon code to get a free ride from as far west as Edwards and as far east at East Vail to the Lionshead station, so use CIFC23 in the “Coupons & Credits” tab and ride into town.

The event goes from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and tickets are $100 per person for ages 13 and up and $50 per person for ages 12 and under. For a full schedule of events, check out ClimbItForClimate.Earth.

Wild West Day

Wild West Day is Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 4 Eagle Ranch and is a benefit for the elementary schools in Eagle County.
Education Foundation of Eagle County/Courtesy photo

For 33 years, parents have been helping Eagle County public schools raise funds by putting on the wildly popular Wild West Day at 4 Eagle Ranch near Wolcott. This one-day event singlehandedly raises money for Eagle County public elementary schools, therefore streamlining the efforts for asking for donations and businesses and people can give once to help all the public schools. Pre-K facilities are also a part of this effort and EFEC, the Education Foundation of Eagle County is leading the charge.

Check out the family fun at 4 Eagle Ranch from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. which includes games like potato sack races, pie eating contests and more. 4 Eagle Ranch provides the perfect setting for this western-themed event, so don your cowboy hat and boots to look the part. There is also a raffle and you can purchase tickets – $5 for one or $20 for five tickets. Admission is $8 per person and can be purchased at the gate. For more information about this year’s schools, sponsors and more, go to EFEC.org/Wild_West_Day.

Art & Jazz Reception

Joann Carhart Levy’s “Mount of the Holy Cross” is one of over 160 artworks that will be featured by local Vail Valley Art Guild artists and Colorado Mountain College students at the 10th annual Vail Valley Fine Art Show and Art & Jazz reception this Friday from 5-8 p.m. at Colorado Mountain College Vail Valley at Edwards.
Vail Valley Fine Art Show/Courtesy photo

What goes with art? How about a little live music and throw in a party for good measure? The Vail Valley Art Guild and Colorado Mountain College are teaming up once again to host the 10th annual Vail Valley Fine Art Show and Art & Jazz Reception on Friday at the CMC campus in Edwards.

Over 160 pieces of artwork will be featured. The art was created by nearly 40 CMC students and staff and members of the Vail Valley Art Guild with artwork being offered for sale at Friday’s reception. The event kicks off a six-week long exhibition that includes sculptures, drawings, paintings, ceramics and photography.

The nonprofit Vail Valley Art Guild works with CMC Vail Valley to provide arts education while building awareness of the visual arts in Eagle County. The Vail Valley Art Guild was formed in 2014 to fill a need in the Vail Valley for an organization created by and for visual artists and now has nearly 150 members.

Music will be provided by local jazz pianist and vocalist Kathy Morrow and the band “3 for All” with Larry Dutmer on drums and special guest star Sean Flanigan on trombone. Food and spirits will include south Indian fare by Mukund Gopalakrishnan and a generous donation of a case of Italian white wine by Riverwalk Wine & Spirits. The event is free and open to the public and runs from 5 to 8 p.m.

Even though it is free, organizers are asking those who are attending to register in advance. Search for the event on EventBrite.com or visit VVAGCO.org for more information.

Rod Slifer Book Signing

The new book, “Rod Slifer & the Spirit of Vail,” by David O. Williams, will be released on Friday at 4 p.m. at an event at the Colorado Snowsports Museum.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

The story of Vail pioneer Rod Slifer is being told in a new book that is just being released and there is a book signing this weekend at Colorado Snowsports Museum.

The biography, entitled “Rod Slifer & the Spirit of Vail,” follows Slifer through his time in Vail, the summer before the ski area opened until present day. From shaping Vail Ski School, to being the mayor of Vail, to the Vail Renaissance, an era when $1 billion was infused into funding public and private investments such as the Arrabelle at Vail Square, Slifer has been synonymous with the town.

The octogenarian has seen a lot since Vail Mountain opened in December of 1962. He’s worked with Pete Seibert, one of the founders of Vail. He befriended President Gerald. R. Ford, who helped bring the attention to the world to the fledgling ski town and he started Vail’s first real estate company, Slifer, Smith and Frampton with Mark Smith and Harry Frampton.

Meet the man behind the stories and get a piece of history at the book signing at the Colorado Snowsports Museum located in the Vail Village parking structure on Friday from 4 to 6 p.m.

Hike, Jeep or horseback ride to your Epicurean Adventure at Beaver Creek

Do you like to earn your calories before lunch by doing a hike? Love horses and want that as your mode of transportation, or how about taking in a Jeep 4×4 Tour and view some sights you’ve never seen? By foot, hoof or Jeep, all routes lead to the same place and that is Beano’s Cabin, which plays host to Choose Your Own Adventure, a gourmet buffet lunch on Friday that is part of the new Epicurean Adventure at Beaver Creek.

Epicurean Adventure is a multi-day food and drink event that showcases the talented chefs of Beaver Creek and the beautiful venues in the village and up on the mountain. Beano’s Cabin has been a signature on-mountain dining experience that is private during the day and open to the public in the evenings during the winter and summer seasons and has been around for decades. Catch this venue in the fall and you’ll be treated to a feast for the eyes with the foliage turning to gold in the aspen groves that surround the cabin.

“You can never go wrong with a meal at Beano’s Cabin from Chef Mackenzie Nicholson, and an adventure to get there adds an amazing element to the whole experience,” said Rachel Levitsky, communications manager for Beaver Creek Resort.

Beano’s Cabin is a private ski-in, ski-out cabin for lunch in the winter and is open to the public in the evenings during the winter and summer seasons. It is nestled between Grouse Mountain and Larkspur Bowl.
Beaver Creek Resort/Courtesy photo

Mackenzie Nicholson is the executive chef at Beano’s Cabin and she and sous chef, Paul Cunningham, have come up with a buffet menu that is sure to please all.

“The menu for this event was created with a mix of some of my favorite dishes I’ve done in the past, some new ideas my sous chef and I collaborated on, and what we thought represented the cabin best,” Nicholson said.

Look for carving stations with pork crown roasts, bison brisket and smoked turkeys. There will also be a variety of house breads and desserts plus a seafood display.

“I always have assorted pickled things and fermented honeys that usually make their way home with guests,” Nicholson said, so bring a backpack in case you get to take some goodies with you.

Executive Chef Mackenzie Nicholson enjoys events like this because she gets to create an experience for the guests by telling them a story through food.
Beaver Creek Resort/Courtesy photo

Nicholson likes doing events like this because it allows her and the staff to get more creative with the menu. She is working with a local distillery to create something special for the guests to enjoy.

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“This is a good way to showcase Beano’s because we aren’t limited to a daily menu. We are featuring seasonal ingredients that we believe represent our vision at Beano’s. What I like to call “Colorado cuisine,” Nicholson said. “We get to create an experience for our guests by telling them a story through our food.”

Even though the food on the table is the star of this show, the modes of transportation to get to that table are great supporting actors in this story. Sign up for the 3-mile or 5-mile hike and see the leaves close up and stop and take photos along the way. The Jeep 4×4 Tour is a wonderful way to let the vehicle get you up to far-reaching places and learn some historical and environmental points about Beaver Creek. If you love horseback riding or even if you’ve never tried it before, it is certainly a different way to get to lunch.

Beaver Creek offers Jeep 4×4 Tours throughout the summer. The Jeeps will take seven guests per vehicle up to Beano’s Cabin on Friday for the Choose Your Own Adventure outing.
Beaver Creek Resort/Courtesy photo

“This Choose Your Own Adventure event at Epicurean Adventure is such a unique way to experience all that Beaver Creek Resort has to offer. It highlights the best of summer on the mountain and showcases that we really have something for any type of guest to experience,” Levitsky said.

“That scenery at the cabin this time of year is insanely beautiful and being in the middle of the mountain is such a great backdrop,” Nicholson said. “We’re excited to bring everyone up so they can see it.” 

Start times and ticket prices will depend on what mode of transportation and distance you choose:

  • 9 a.m. – Intermediate Hike: 5 miles – $180
  • 10 a.m. – Beginner Hike: 3 miles – $180
  • 10:30 a.m. – Horseback riding – $225
  • 10:45 a.m.  – 4×4 Tour – $225
  • 11:30 a.m. – Lunch only shuttle pick up – $100

Hiking and the 4×4 Tour will start at the Summer Adventure Center which is on the same level as Vail Mountain Coffee and Tea Company, down the escalators from the Centennial Lift (No. 6). Horseback rides will begin at Beaver Creek Stables, which you can get to by taking Village Transportation. For more information and to get tickets go to BeaverCreek.com/SignatureEvents.

High achievements: Vail Symposium hosts Michael Wirth and his short film about completing Colorado’s 55-mile Elks Traverse in 22.5 hours  

Last year, mountaineer, ultrarunner and Glenwood Springs resident Michael Wirth broke the fastest record on the Elks Traverse, beating Ricky Gates’ 2015 time with his 22.5 hour run. Friday, he screens his short film, “Elks Traverse FKT” at the Vail Symposium at Eagle River Presbyterian Church. The event includes a discussion of Wirth’s adventures — which include climbing and skiing from the summits of all 52 13,000-foot mountains and seven 14ers in the Elk Range in 61 days and much more — as well as insights about the art of creating films. 

Award-winning documentary filmmaker and part-time Vail resident Jim Butterworth will moderate the conversation. Since everyone carries a 4K video camera in their pocket these days, the filmmaking portion will focus not just on technique but also on storytelling — something Wirth nails in “Elks Traverse FKT.” 

“Anybody can be a filmmaker today, but at the end of the day, it’s: Tell me a story. That’s the only thing that matters,” Butterworth said. 

Despite the fact that two other Roaring Fork Valley athletes broke Wirth’s record at the beginning of this month by taking different routes, which cut off about 4.5 miles of the terrain Wirth navigated, Wirth’s story still stands out. (A few days after Chris Hopkins clocked in at 21 hours 54 minutes, three-time Olympic Nordic skier Siri Hamilton finished Elks Traverse in 16 hours and 46 minutes on Sept. 6.) 

Wirth introduces audiences to Elks Traverse through its emotional history: Neal Beidleman was the first known to navigate it (in 34 hours) as a way of clearing his mind after being a guide during the Everest tragedy on May 10, 1996.  

The traverse encompasses seven 14ers within its rugged 55-mile stretch. Only about 20% of Wirth’s route included trails. The rest of the terrain demanded boulder hopping and class 3 to 5 mountaineering, the latter of which requires rock climbing skills. 

“It’s a voyage to go experience them all at one time,” Beidleman said in the film. “It’s a huge day in the mountains. It’s definitely a challenge.” 

The film begins at 3 a.m., with Wirth facing what he estimated as an approximate 24-hour run. As it charts his progress through self-captured video, Wirth narrates, enriching the story through interviews with Beidleman and the history of Elks Traverse. Along the way, he gets dehydrated and faces mental challenges, but friends at the Maroon Bells parking lot bolster his spirits as he challenges himself more than he ever has. 

The harrowing footage brings audiences up close and personal with seemingly razor-edge ridges, where literally one misstep can mean the difference between life and death. 

“It’s an extremely, extremely dangerous thing,” Butterworth said. “These people are out in the middle of nowhere on very dangerous class 4 and class 5 terrain, and they’re not taking it easy. They’re crushing it, so it is extraordinarily easy to get hurt. Even twisting an ankle could be deadly because if you’re not able to get out and weather comes in … you’re not coming back, and they won’t even be able to find your body.” 

But Wirth’s love of the mountains compels him to push the limits. 

“As an athlete, I find the most reward in stepping off the beaten path and finding lines that are rarely traveled or never have seen foot or ski prints,” Wirth stated on his website. “Additionally, I also prioritize efficient movement in the mountains. For me, this means traveling light and quick going for technical FKTs and linking up multiple ski descents in longer efforts. Ultimately, it all stems from a desire to be amongst the mountains day in and day out.” 

As an up-and-coming filmmaker, Wirth has learned the art of, as Butterworth describes it, not doing more with the film than the story offers. The just under 25-minute film “flows really well at that length … so it keeps the story moving,” Butterworth said. 

Friday’s Vail Symposium was developed in cooperation with Walking Mountains’ Climb It for Climate on Saturday. The second annual event includes education stations about sustainability, live musicians and interactive challenges on the hikes, which offer varying levels for just about any ability. Tickets include a mountaintop party with a buffet lunch and bar. Proceeds benefit Walking Mountains Science Center, which supports environmental education and climate action in Eagle County.  

Bravo! Vail and Vail Health celebrate music education month with community events throughout October 

The Bravo! Vail Music Festival (Bravo! Vail) announces the second annual Music Education Month in partnership with Vail Health, presenting free concerts and collaborative learning opportunities during the month of October. Following last year’s successful launch of Music Education Month, Bravo! Vail will offer even more public and private events throughout Eagle County, as well as expanded partnerships with local businesses.

This year’s events will include a special music workshop with Bravo! Vail Artistic Director Anne-Marie McDermott and cellist and pedagogue Maureen McDermott; a residency by the Lírios Quartet, the Graduate String Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Colorado Boulder; interdisciplinary arts workshops, talks, and a film screening; and additional learning and performance opportunities for Bravo! Vail’s Music Makers Haciendo Música students. 

“This month-long celebration not only showcases Bravo! Vail’s extensive music education programming throughout the year, but it also enhances these offerings to include new music experiences in the Valley, including interdisciplinary arts events,” said Caitlin Murray, executive director of the Bravo! Vail Music Festival. “We are excited to expand our partnership with Vail Health and other local businesses, giving members of our community more ways to connect with Bravo! Vail through music.” 

Bravo! Vail’s 2023 Music Education Month events include the following: 

  • Music Workshop with Anne-Marie and Maureen McDermott: Oct. 2 at 5 p.m. (Edwards Interfaith Chapel) — Bravo! Vail Artistic Director Anne-Marie McDermott and cellist and sought-after pedagogue Maureen McDermott (also Anne-Marie’s sister) present a special workshop for Music Makers Haciendo Música teachers, students, and their families. This program is by invitation only. 
  • Vail Health & Bravo! Vail, Music & Art Appreciation: Oct. 5 and 6 at 10 a.m. (Edwards Interfaith Chapel) — Led by Bravo! Vail educator Hannah Terrell, these programs guide Vail Health employees through interactive music education activities, including the creation of a unique art piece while listening to classical music. These events are open to Vail Health employees only
  • Bravo! Vail Book Club- Mozart’s Starling: Oct. 11 at 5 p.m. (The Bookworm of Edwards) —This music-themed book club led by a Bravo! Vail staff explores the book Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt, which features the unlikely and remarkable bond between one of history’s most cherished composers and one of the world’s most common birds. Admission is free, but reservations are required through BravoVail.org. Reception to follow and attendees receive a discount on the book. 
  • Vail Health Lobby Concert with Lírios Quartet: October 17 at 11 a.m. (Vail Health) — The Lírios Quartet, the University of Colorado Boulder’s Graduate String Quartet-in-Residence, performs a concert in the lobby of Vail Health. This free performance is open to the public, and reservations are not required. 
  • Community Concert- Lírios Quartet: October 19 at 6 p.m. (Edwards Interfaith Chapel) — The Lírios Quartet — comprised of violinists Benjamin Goldstein and Maggie Brady, violist Yuri Santos, and cellist Chas Barnard — presents a special evening of chamber music by Haydn, Beethoven, and Debussy. Admission is free, but reservations are required through BravoVail.org. 
  • Cocktails & Canvas- La vie bohème: October 20 at 5:30 p.m. (Alpine Arts Center) — In celebration of Bravo! Vail’s La bohème presentation in 2024 with The Philadelphia Orchestra, this adult-friendly event provides materials for participants to make French-inspired art centered around the storied opera, while listening to musical excerpts from the beloved piece. Admission is $30, and reservations are required through alpineartscenter.org. Cocktails are available for purchase. 
  • Alive Inside” Documentary Screening: Oct. 22 at 3:30 p.m. (Riverwalk Theater, Edwards) — Bravo! Vail partners with Riverwalk Theater to present a special screening of Alive Inside, a stirring documentary chronicling the astonishing experiences of individuals around the country with memory loss who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music. Admission is free, but registration is required at riverwalktheater.com. 
  • Mexican Ofrendas (Altars) & Music: Oct. 24 at 4:30 p.m. (Alpine Arts Center) — Ofrendas, or altars, are an essential part of Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. This family-friendly workshop gives participants an opportunity to create their own ofrendas while listening to and learning about the music from Bravo! Vail’s 2024 featured international chamber orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería. Admission is free, but reservations are required through alpineartscenter.org. 
  • Bravo! Vail Story Hour- Gustavo the Shy Ghost: Oct. 28 at 10 a.m. (The Bookworm of Edwards) — This spooktacular bilingual story hour features readings  of #1 New York Times bestseller “Gustavo the Shy Ghost” by Flavia Z. Drago, with special musical performances by Bravo! Vail’s Music Makers Haciendo Música students. Admission is free, but reservations are required through BravoVail.org. 
  • Spooky Concerts with Bravo! Vail: Oct. 28 at 1-4 PM. (Walking Mountains Science Center, Avon Campus) — Bravo! Vail Music Makers Haciendo Música students and staff present the sounds of the season with spooky concerts and nature music instruments in partnership with Walking Mountains Science Center staff. Participants can connect the eerie sounds heard in nature to those made by musical instruments in these family-friendly, interactive events. Admission is free, and no reservations are required. Visit walkingmountains.org for further information. 
  • The Sound of Rain with Bravo! Vail and Eagle River Watershed Council: Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. (Edwards Field House) — Bravo! Vail partners with Eagle River Watershed Council to decorate rain barrels, create rain stick instruments, and enjoy a special performance by the Bravo! Vail Teen Chamber Ensemble highlighting sounds of the season. Admission is free, but reservations are required through BravoVail.org. 

For more information on Bravo! Vail’s Music Education Month events, visit BravoVail.org.

New York City comedian Katie Hannigan headlines Vail Comedy Show Wednesday

Vail Comedy Show is back Wednesday in Eagle at Moe’s Original BBQ and on Thursday in Vail Village at Shakedown Bar. New York City comedian Katie Hannigan from “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “The Late Late Show with James Corden” will be headlining. 

Hannigan has a podcast with Sarah Tollemache called “Lady Journey” and will be performing at High Plains Comedy Festival in Denver this weekend. Below are some of her responses from a recent Q&A.

Have you ever performed in the Vail Valley?

No! I’m looking forward to it. I usually get altitude symptoms, so I’m going to use this as a big excuse to self-medicate with carbs. I’m not sure if this works, but I did read that it helps with altitude. 

Do you have a favorite Colorado comedy memory? 

I love Colorado and love performing here! I always have a great time. One when I was performing in 2019, I landed during that insane mid-March blizzard and was stuck on the runway for about three hours. Everyone was freaking out, a couple of people barfed. Total societal breakdown. I finally got an Uber to the place I was staying, and the blizzard was so intense we almost went off the road! It was some real Donner Party stuff. The next day the snow had completely melted. 

You have a popular podcast can you tell us about it?

I host a podcast called “Lady Journey” with fellow comedian Sarah Tollemache. We discuss our private lives as touring comics and whatever lifestyle fads we’re into at the time. We have had guests from all over TV and TikTok including Nikki Glaser, Katie Nolan, and Dan Rosen. 

Any major events coming up?

I’ll be on the road for the rest of the fall. I’m going to be releasing some new sketches on my Instagram as well! I’m also going to be getting back to work with acting auditions after the strike ends. 

You live in New York City but tour nationally, how does Colorado compare to other markets?

Colorado is an amazing city to perform comedy. The crowds are knowledgeable, smart and fun! 

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How would you describe your comedy?

Millennial Joan Rivers. I enjoy classic joke writing and I try to apply it to my life in an organic way. I split my time between clubs and alternative venues, so I’m kind of like the comedy you’d find in a club, but with some more nuanced topics. 

What is next for Katie Hannigan?

I’ll be recording my second album in summer 2024!

Courtesy image

Vail Comedy Show will be back in October with Orion Levine from San Francisco who has appeared on The Late Late Show with James Corden and was part of the prestigious Just For Laughs comedy festival with 2022 Vail Comedy Festival headliner Caitlin Peluffo. He will be performing in Eagle and Vail.  

Tickets for all shows are available at VailComedyShow.com.

Foy Vance’s ‘Regarding the Joy of Nothing Tour 2023’ comes to Beaver Creek

Foy Vance has a deep-rooted sound based in the Southern U.S., even though he’s from Northern Ireland. Thursday, he performs at Vilar Performing Arts Center’s second Underground Sound Series concert as part of his ‘Regarding the Joy of Nothing Tour 2023.’

Vance originally recorded “Joy of Nothing” in 2003 on Ireland’s west coast. He describes his Irish influence as a creative outlet that naturally imprinted itself upon him. As his second album, “Joy of Nothing” gained critical acclaim, winning the Northern Ireland Music Prize. It features Ed Sheeran on the track “Guiding Light,” as well as Bonnie Raitt on “You And I.”

“Making ‘Joy of Nothing’ marked a turning point in my life both personally and creatively. It was a freeing record to create, and I was experiencing newfound freedom in my personal life,” Vance said. “Everything about that time redefined my route forward, and a decade later that felt worth celebrating and releasing some previously unreleased songs from that period.”

The album’s anniversary edition includes three songs he didn’t originally include —  but says he probably should have: “Tigers,” “Concerning the Horizon” and “Aberfeldy.”

“I liked them enough at the time, and now I realize they are relevant to the lifespan of the album, but perhaps I didn’t know where to place them at the time. In fact, I’m still not sure where they would go, other than at the end, as they are now. ‘Concerning the Horizon’ is a nod to my past. ‘Aberfeldy’ is a nod to the present, and ‘Tigers’ regards a look into the future,” he said.

The album contrasts his debut record, “Hope,” which resulted in him losing all but hope.

“I was failing to see the point in releasing another album. I figured I would just play live until I couldn’t anymore. Nothing felt worth talking about. Then a penny dropped, and ‘(Joy of) Nothing’ actually did feel worth talking about and singing about and writing about and figuring out. Nothing went from being the absence of something to being pregnant with everything,” he said.

In this vein, Vance’s songwriting seems to come about by not thinking about it, while still remaining open to inspiration.

“Everything and anything but appears to inspire thoughts, ideas, melodies, couplets or cadence or whatever. I suppose it is fair to say nature is the most inspiring. It has a glorious lack of human intent and feels so rich with unmined wisdoms, like when you hear people speaking a language you don’t understand but can’t help but feel an influence of some kind,” he said.

Though other musicians he has worked or toured with, including Alicia Keys, Keith Urban, Snow Patrol and even Elton John, may influence him subconsciously, he said he tries not to think about that, either.

“I try to influence that process as little as humanly possible myself, so thinking about how anyone else would approach it is the furthest thing from my mind. When songs are coming, I try to keep out of the way and just listen as best I can,” adding that, for the record, whomever he’s playing with — and working with on production — do influence the sound.

That comes through in the form of Sheeran, who signed Vance as his second artist to Gingerbread Man Records, a label division within Atlantic Records. Elton John was the executive producer on Vance’s first album with the label, “The Wild Swan,” released in 2016.

“Ed is a force of nature. The only thing I have come to expect from working with him is good energy —always pressing forward and always with an aim to do the right thing,” he said.

This year, Vance was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics alongside co-writer Sheeran and producer Max Martin for Sheeran’s “A Beautiful Game,” featured on the hit Apple TV+ series “Ted Lasso.” Sheeran was a fan of the show, and Vance had heard rave reviews about it from friends. 

“We knew we had to write something as universal as football itself and something that drew on the highs and lows of being passionate. The song came naturally. No cesarean section was required,” he said.

In 2019, he released two companion albums, “From Muscle Shoals” and “To Memphis.” Additionally, he has co-written songs for Sheeran’s 2017 album, “Divide,” and Sam Smith’s title track on “Gloria,” and collaborated with other well-known musicians. His latest album, aside from the anniversary release of “Joy of Nothing,” in 2021 (“Signs of Life”) showcases his talent as a songwriter.

His VPAC show will feature songs from “Joy of Nothing,” as well as other albums, but he’s never sure where shows will go: “I plan to be as surprised as (the audience is),” he said. “I am looking forward to it. It is never lost on me that people make so many plans, booking hotels, making flights, organizing babysitters, long drives, etc., all so I can stand there and lose myself in music with them for a couple of hours. I have arguably the best job in the world.”

Vail Symposium hosts Col. John Alexander to talk UFOs and other unexplained phenomenon

It’s one thing when television shows assert that aliens exist, but listening to research from military officials who have gathered data related to unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs) but can’t completely explain it adds a whole other level of credibility. Wednesday, retired U.S. Army Col. John Alexander joins investigative journalist George Knapp at the Vail Symposium’s “Anything That Does Happen Can Happen.”

Alexander opens his book, “Reality Denied: Firsthand Experiences with Things That Can’t Happen — But Did,” by saying: “UFOS are real.” He ends the book by stating, “Whatever this is, is more complex that we can ever imagine.” In other words, even after decades of research, no simple answers exist.

Throughout the years, various forms of multisensory data have provided external validation that something beyond our understanding continues to take place both in the sky and, apparently, between mediums, like the ocean.

“We’re not just talking about things flying around,” Alexander said, mentioning subsurface “widgets not just flying but seemingly communicating with something below the surface. These are not really new. What’s new is the actual acceptance within the military and, somewhat, the scientific community that some of these things are real … I used to run the UFO program 35 or 40 years ago, and everything that was found in the program, we already knew in the 1980s … We saw cases of Mach 500 in 1957 — we now talk about Mach 5 being really fast. All those things had been observed decades before.”

In addition to working on international security for 50 years, Alexander researched a range of phenomena, including remote viewing and psychokinesis, and headed an interagency group exploring UFOs. But in the 1980s, political support for UFOs often meant a 20-point hit in the polls.

“Now, it’s become kind of OK to address these things,” Alexander said, pointing out that some politicians openly support what’s now termed UAP research. “It’s one of the few topics that has bipartisan support.” 

In 2021, the Pentagon released the “tic tac” video captured by U.S. Navy pilots. It revealed an aircraft reaching unfathomable speeds and defying the laws of physics. It was one of the few times the government publicly acknowledged unexplainable events credible witnesses presented evidence of, and it led to the creation of the Defense Department’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), a multidisciplinary agency that now seeks to find answers to unexplained phenomenon and assess any potential threats to the nation. Currently, the organization is investigating 650 UAPs.

During Wednesday’s symposium, Alexander will discuss topics ranging from the history of UFOs to current phenomenon, particularly at Skinwalker Ranch in Utah, as well as Congressional hearings about UAPs.

“What will emerge, I don’t know,” he said about the congressional hearings, which have heard what he classifies as straightforward witnesses backed by a body of evidence to more controversial ones.

Alexander was one of the first to spend the night at Skinwalker Ranch, which holds centuries of “unusual activity that are just mind-boggling,” he said.

“There seems to be a control mechanism that presents events to folks who are there, and it seems to know how the researchers are going to respond even before the event occurs. And then it morphs, and says, ‘Oh, you like that? Try this,’ and gives them (another experience).”

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He tells stories of the original owner, who saw a large wolf try to pull a 600-pound cattle out from fencing. When he hit the wolf at point blank range with a .357 magnum, the wolf kept walking, so he grabbed his elk rifle and shot it. Material flew off the still-ambulatory wolf, whose tracks mysteriously disappeared. When the owner picked up a chunk of material the wolf shed, it was putrefied, or decomposed, Alexander said.

“The things we get into are so strange, they’re almost in the unbelievable realm,” Alexander said.

He tells another story of the former owner tagging a newborn calf, only to return about 45 minutes later to find that same calf eviscerated, with no blood in sight.

“There are just any number of incidents, and they’re all different,” he said. “It’s hard to explain, but intention seems to generate or respond to this phenomenon.”

The fact that Alexander completed his doctorate under Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and became president of the International Association of Near-Death Studies tends to color his perspective of the unexplainable phenomenon. For example, after one researcher spent time on Skinwalker Ranch, the orbs of light he experienced there followed him home to North Carolina. Now, he interacts with them on a nightly basis, with the intention of doing so, Alexander said.

All Alexander can say is: “It is very, very bizarre, with lots and lots of highly credible witnesses.”

He also tends to think that much of the phenomenon are communicating with us, “but what this is and how it fits together is beyond us at the moment,” he said.

Knapp, who has investigated Area 51 — the secretive government research facility in the Nevada desert — and is a Peabody and Emmy award-winning investigative reporter, has also researched a variety of mysterious phenomenon, including Skinwalker Ranch. He will bring his knowledge to the symposium, as well.

“There’s a potential (to discuss) a wide range of phenomenology,” Alexander said. “It is as strange as you can believe, and just as real.”