Arts & Entertainment – The Pagosa Springs SUN The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Mon, 27 Jan 2020 23:00:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Rapped in the words of grace Tue, 28 Jan 2020 12:00:31 +0000 By Betty Slade
Preview Columnist

“Why are you listening to rap music?” My son questioned. “Are you going to start rapping? Is that your next calling?”
“No! And I’m not rapping. I’m only getting into the words of a song. Believe it or not, they are heartfelt.”
Once again, I found myself defending my actions to my son.
I suppose I could learn to rap by listening to some of today’s biggest artists. But more than anything, I wanted to hear what Kanye West was saying. Yes, he is radical, but I have no doubt that he has made the biggest decision, turning his life over to God.
I understand radical. When God touched me, I became as radical as Kanye, maybe even more so. The religious world didn’t know what to do with me. I probably even seemed like a complete mockery to those who acted differently than I did at the time.
Recently, I attended my Tuesday night prayer group via videoconference. It is a composite of five sets of parents (and one grandmother) whose children are involved with filmmaking in Hollywood, Calif. These young adults are facing some big decisions in the movie business as they learn to stand on their own Christian foundations.
One of the prayer group attendees played Kanye West’s new single, “Jesus is King.” I listened to the musical lyrics with complete attention. Here is an artist who has worked in the world of entertainment, professing to no longer desire the life he had lived to this point.
He has decided to walk a new path and has made Jesus his King. People are questioning his authenticity. While it is not my place to judge, here is an interesting thought: How many people questioned his authenticity before he professed his new-found faith?
Kanye West dropped his ninth album, “Jesus is King,” following a lengthy and confusing rollout that left fans wondering what he was up to. Many have said that his faith-based dramatic decision could cripple his music career. He could lose sales and popularity.
Beyond the message that he now professes, and inside his lyrics, I heard a sadder story. Here is a man who has felt judged by the religious world. A man who doesn’t fit in with his old buddies. Now, he is surrounded by new friends who may be skeptical of him.
It must be an odd state to find oneself pigeonholed by his own decision. Undoubtedly, Kanye has put himself in-between people who he once felt comfortable with, and those who may not be entirely comfortable with him.
His own wife is having trouble embracing his changed lifestyle. Here is someone he committed himself to in sickness and health. She dressed provocatively, wearing on his arm like his best suit. Flash forward and we see Kanye opening up about his before and after, stating that he wants her to “cover up.” It will be interesting to see if thread count wins in the end.
To be fair, I didn’t even know who Kanye was until he came forward as a changed man. His past? Doesn’t seem to be getting him down any. He is visiting prisons and bringing many to their knees as they profess their own decision of faith.
A friend told me that Kanye had been invited to a Houston mega church. He spoke honestly, but clearly lacked biblical knowledge. While it’s not fair to judge where he is or isn’t in his Christian walk, it does make you wonder if this man is being elevated before due time. We are told in the book of Timothy not to promote a novice for he will surely fall. It seems like a long way down for someone positioning himself on such a high pedestal.
I remember when Michael English won two Dove Awards in 1992 for Male Vocalist and New Artist of the Year. Soon after that, God convicted him and he came clean confessing he had an affair outside of marriage. He was brutally crucified and was stripped of everything, the Dove Awards, his recording contract and a promising career.
Many in the religious world turned their backs on English. In fact, it has taken years for him to find his way back to the stage. He went through a divorce and wrestled through many nightmares. Today, Michael has a beautiful family and is standing above his fall.
Final brushstroke: We all have a past. For some, we need to reconcile where we put ourselves. For others, there is an opportunity to reconcile what we have been delivered from. Whether we are walking through a lit door that has been previously darkened, or seeing spotlights fade, requiring a candle to guide our way, it is by grace that we know where and how to stand.
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Thingamajig Theatre Company’s “The Texas Homecoming Revolution of 1995” Mon, 27 Jan 2020 12:00:48 +0000

Photo courtesy Laura Moore

The cast members of Thingamajig Theatre Company’s upcoming production of Jennifer Faletto’s “The Texas Homecoming Revolution of 1995” show off on their new homecoming gowns — little knowing the scandal that is about to unfold at their Texas high school. The comedy, directed by Thingamajig’s Laura Moore, features local actors (from left) Jackie Kleckner, Ericka Vincent, Lisa Jensen, Haleigh Sowerby and Nadia Werby, and opens next week on Friday, Jan. 31, running for two weekends through Feb. 9. Tickets are available at and by calling the box office at 731-7469.

Record number of Thingamajig artists honored in statewide BroadwayWorld awards Sun, 26 Jan 2020 12:00:53 +0000

Photo courtesy Carole Howard
Perry Davis Harper, wife Amelia Davis and son Christian Davis are three of a record 51 members of Thingamajig Theatre Company’s cast and creative team who were nominated for honors in the 2019 statewide contest sponsored by BroadwayWorld Denver. Thingamajig received two wins and more nominations than any other professional theater in the state.

By Carole Howard
Special to The PREVIEW

A record 51 members of Thingamajig Theatre Company’s cast and creative team with exceptional talent were nominated for awards in the 2019 statewide contest sponsored by BroadwayWorld Denver.
Two brought highest honors to Thingamajig, as Laine Wong won best lighting design and Boni McIntyre won best music director, both for the musical “Jekyll and Hyde.” As well, Thingamajig nominees were among the top three vote-getters in most categories.
Thingamajig received more nominations than any other professional theater in the state, with Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre and Denver Center for the Arts in second and third positions.
“Seeing Thingamajig’s name repeated so frequently at the top of the ballot is in itself a win and makes us very proud,” said Tim Moore, producing artistic director and co-founder of the theater with his wife, Laura Moore, executive director. “Unfortunately, having so many of our actors, directors and designers nominated in many categories resulted in the vote being split among them. So, having our artists place in the top three in so many categories is amazing.”
Thingamajig honorees
Here are the cast members and productions that made it to the final ballot in this prestigious competition:
Best musical: “Jekyll and Hyde,” “The Who’s Tommy” and “Ring of Fire.” Best play: “box.”
Best actor in a musical: Perry Davis Harper (“Jekyll and Hyde”), Trevor Brown and Caleb Michael (“The Who’s Tommy”), Steven Sitzman (“Ring of Fire”) and Nick Abbott (“Ring of Fire” and “Momma Mia”). Best actor in a play: Dennis Elkins (“box.”).
Best actress in a musical: Amy Harper and April Willard (“Momma Mia”), Bailey Claffey (“Jekyll and Hyde”), Allie Tamburello (“Ring of Fire”) and Danielle Poznanovic (“The Who’s Tommy”). Best actress in a play: Marion Bienvenu (“A Christmas Carol”).
Best director of a musical: Melissa Firlit (“Jekyll and Hyde”) and Pia Wyatt (“The Who’s Tommy”). Best director of a play: Elkins (“A Christmas Carol”).
Best supporting actor in a musical: Brown and Michael (“The Who’s Tommy”), Abbott (“Jekyll and Hyde”), Asher Van Meter (“Momma Mia” and “The Who’s Tommy”), Tommy Paduano and Rayshaughn Armani (“Ring of Fire”), Sitzman (“Ring of Fire” and “The Who’s Tommy”). Best supporting actress in a musical: Samantha Luck (“Jekyll and Hyde”), Bailey Claffey (“The Who’s Tommy”), Tamburello (“Momma Mia”), Kristina Miranda Sloan (“Momma Mia”).
Best supporting actor in a play: Tyler Price Robinson (“A Christmas Carol”). Best supporting actress in a play: Johannah Laverty (“A Christmas Carol”).
Best choreography of a musical: Wyatt (“Momma Mia” and “The Who’s Tommy”). Best costume design of a musical: Nanette Cheffers (“The Who’s Tommy” and “Ring of Fire”) and Kate Mott (“Jekyll and Hyde”). Best lighting design of a musical: Laine Wong (“The Who’s Tommy”). Best set design of a musical: Matt McCarren (“Momma Mia”). Best small ensemble musical: “Ring of Fire.”
Best young adult in a musical: Christian Gonzales (“The Who’s Tommy”) and Elise Yeager (“Alice in Wonderland Jr.”) Best lighting design of a play: Laine Wong (“A Christmas Carol”). Best small ensemble of a play: “box.”
High-caliber competition
Thingamajig competes in the impressive Denver-area professional theater market, which also includes Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Creede Repertory Theatre, Arvada Center, Evergreen Players, Su Teatro, Merely Players, Town Hall Arts Center and many more.
Said Tim Moore: “The high number of nominations for our performers speaks to their professionalism and the quality of entertainment they bring to Pagosa Springs. Their enthusiasm and Broadway-caliber performances never cease to energize and enrich our highly sophisticated audiences.”
Added Laura Moore: “These awards directly reflect the support and enthusiasm our patrons have for our stellar performers and production staff. We are very proud of them all.”
This year’s awards honored productions that opened in Colorado between Oct. 1, 2018, and Sept. 30, 2019. Regional productions, touring shows and other shows were included in the statewide awards categories. This means that the caliber of the competition is extremely high.
BroadwayWorld is the largest theater site on the Internet, covering Broadway in New York, the West End in London and other key artistic locations worldwide. This year’s awards attracted a record number of nominations and votes in more than 100 cities across the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, and Central and South America.
Winter season underway now
Thingamajig’s exciting winter season is currently underway. “A Very Perry Christmas” and “A Grand Night for Singing” featuring the music of Rogers and Hammerstein opened the season during the holidays.
The next show is “The Texas Homecoming Revolution of 1995,” a comedy by playwright Jennifer Faletto that was workshopped at Thingamajig’s 2018 Playwrights Festival. It takes the audience on a comedic visit to the stalls of the girls’ restroom in a Texas high school, where all the secrets unfold. It opens on Friday, Jan. 31, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 9.
Thingamajig is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit professional theater in residence at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts that produces dramas, comedies and musicals year-round. The company was co-founded in April 2011 by the Moores, both of whom won individual BroadwayWorld awards for their work in 2017.

Cabin Fever Festival Thu, 23 Jan 2020 11:53:45 +0000

SUN photo/Chris Mannara

Basking in the glow of a bonfire, in the greatest sense of the word, Pagosa Springs locals enjoyed music, food, craft beer and other activities at the Cabin Fever Festival on Jan. 18. The bonfire was ceremoniously lit by a local Cub Scout troop and enjoyed by all.

The Americana Project Wed, 22 Jan 2020 12:00:48 +0000

Photo courtesy Bob Hemenger/Americana Project 2019/2020

The Americana Project and Intro to Guitar classes will be performing a concert on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at Pagosa Springs High School. The concert starts at 7 p.m. and is free. It will feature all the students of the Americana Project performing original and cover songs as soloists, duos and full band. The Intro to Guitar Class students will be featured playing four group songs. Please join us in support of these fine young musicians and music in the schools.

That’s the way the cookie crumbles Wed, 22 Jan 2020 12:00:00 +0000 Call it a diet, eating right or just getting healthy. However you label it, it is that time of year. Neither habits nor pounds on the scale have changed since my son moved to Pagosa. His version of family dinner wouldn’t be complete without ample heavy cream and butter.
I have decided that this will be the year to lose the weight. I will have to get tough on myself, but I’m resolved. No more jumping on a diet on Jan. 1, only to slip back to cookies and cakes by Jan. 15.
I read in Proverbs, “Consider carefully what is set before you, if you are given to appetite, it is like putting a knife to your throat.” Well, I fit the bill. But, can it be that drastic? Yes, it can be. I am only a few days in and I already feel like my throat has been cut.
I was jolted into reality on Jan. 1. Day one of my diet was accompanied by frozen water pipes, a dead car battery and a daughter stuck in a ditch. Fortunately, I have lived here long enough to work through the mountain-living hiccups while trying to stay focused on my diet.
Famous last words: “No matter what freezes, dies or sticks, I’m going to drop these extra pounds.”
Recently, while filing through some old Artist’s Lane articles, I found one titled, “A cookie is a quick fix — eat it and you have nothing!” The article was based on a fortune cookie and difficult winter moments in Pagosa.
I wrote the “quick fix” article after receiving a call from my daughter. She said that she had read a Chinese proverb in a fortune cookie that said, “Hungry is the man whose salvation is in a cookie.”
I asked my Sweet Al what he thought the fortune meant. He said, “If your salvation is in a cookie and you eat it, you will have nothing to fill that need when you are hungry again.”
I realized he was right as I stood in my kitchen on day two of my diet. While eyeing a package of cookies on the counter, I had to ask myself. “Can I live without that cookie? What will happen if I eat one, but don’t have a second one?”
The cookie and winter article I wrote 12 years ago was just as insightful then as it is today. Below-freezing winters are all a part of what makes beautiful Pagosa our home. When we reminisce, we have some great stories to tell, maybe even a new outlook or revelation about something as simple as a cookie.
Our family is better for having to tighten up our belts and suck it up to get through another winter. In the end, we have received something far greater than a cookie: understanding, substance.
Long is the saying, “Once on the lips, forever on the hips.” There is probably even some truth to that when you personalize it. It is not the one cookie that puts pounds on the hips, but number two, then three and four. If we put our salvation in a cookie, we will never know anything but hunger. Clearly, what we want and what we need are two different things.
I visited our daughter in California two years ago. I was determined then to lose weight, and did. Our daughter had a great plan. I just needed to follow it. I lost the weight when I determined to push through. Then the pounds were back on over a short period of time. Apparently, I hadn’t learned how to keep my focus off the cookies.
Final brushstroke: Here we are again, another winter, another diet and new hopes for a new year. May I stay determined to keep my eye off the cookie and on the goal of living healthier. After all, “Hungry is the man whose salvation is in a cookie.” I already know how that cookie crumbles.
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J.L.G from San Diego wrote: “Betty, Loved the story on the Master’s Touch and about getting the kids off to school. It’s amazing to think what an important role a bus driver plays in our kids’ lives. I still remember my kids growing up years. Thanks for the memories and yes, we have to make the days special or they are just another day.”

‘The Texas Homecoming Revolution of 1995’ set to open Jan. 31 Tue, 21 Jan 2020 12:00:27 +0000

Photo courtesy Bill Hudson
Ericka Vincent, Nadia Werby and Jackie Kleckner play three of the high school girls dealing with a school scandal in the upcoming Thingamajig Theatre Company production of Jennifer Faletto’s “The Texas Homecoming Revolution of 1995,” opening at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts on Jan. 31 and running through Feb. 9.

By Bill Hudson
Special to The PREVIEW
Act I, scene one:
Setting: The girls’ bathroom at a suburban high school near Houston, 1995. The doors to the stalls are closed and feet can be seen beneath three of the stall doors. One by one, the stall doors fly open and three high school girls emerge.
Sammy: “It’s a dark day in Texas.”
Tammy: “What are you talking about? It’s like Christmas morning …”
Jess: “It’s so good it’s like Christmas and your birthday on the same day.”
Sammy: “Like if you were Jesus.”
Jess: “No, Sammy, it’s not like if you were Jesus.”
Sammy: “Well … if Christmas and your birthday were the same day …?”
So begins the Thingamajig Theatre Company production of “The Texas Homecoming Revolution of 1995” by playwright Jennifer Faletto, currently in rehearsal at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts as the final offering of the 2019-2020 winter season.
Thingamajig just wrapped up its wonderful holiday musical, “A Grand Night for Singing’”on Jan. 12, which followed on the heels of an original and festive Christmas production titled “A Very Perry Christmas.”
For the last several years, Tim and Laura Moore, artistic director and executive director for Thingamajig Theatre Company, have been staging a comedy with local actors as the finale for the winter season, presented as a staged reading. Previous productions have included Eve Enseler’s “The Good Body” and two original comedies by Pagosa Springs playwright Karl Isberg.
This year’s offering by Faletto was workshopped during Thingamajig’s annual Playwrights Festival in 2018, and the Moores have decided to present a more fully produced version this winter as a staged reading. The cast — all local actors — includes Ericka Vincent as Sammy, Jackie Kleckner as Jess, Nadia Werby as Tammy, Lisa Jensen as Abby and Haleigh Sowerby as Crystal.
It’s the Friday before Homecoming and yet another school scandal has emerged. Crystal Andersen has allegedly committed an unspeakable act with the Texas state flag. But all is not lost. In a culture where legacy and tradition often go unquestioned, one student is able to change the consciousness of her community.
“The Texas Homecoming Revolution of 1995” opens on Jan. 31 and runs for two weekends, through Feb. 9. Tickets are available online at and by calling the Pagosa Center for the Arts box office at 731-7469.
Thingamajig Theatre Company is an award-winning professional nonprofit 501(c)(3) theater in residence within the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. Its talented actors, directors and designers come from across the U.S. and around the world to perform and produce musicals, comedies and dramas year-round.

‘Fly Me to the Moon’ mystery box party to benefit Aspire Sun, 19 Jan 2020 12:00:26 +0000 By Marcy Mitchell
Special to The PREVIEW
Aspire Medical Services and Education invites the Pagosa Springs community to fill its Valentine’s Day with romance and mystery.
At 6 p.m. on Feb. 14, Aspire will host its inaugural “Fly Me to the Moon Valentine’s Night Mystery Box Party” at the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association Clubhouse on 230 Port Ave.
Each $75 ticket includes delicious and unique food stations, desserts, a drink ticket, dancing and live music by our own Pagosa crooner, Bob Hemenger. Tickets are on sale at:
As part of the evening fun, Aspire will also sell mystery boxes that contain a prize in each box. One of the boxes contains the ultimate golden ticket and if you are the lucky winner, you will get to choose one out of four paid trip selections which includes airfare, lodging at a luxury resort and more.:
• Punta Cana, Dominican Republic: Four nights at a resort with airfare for two.
• Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada: Three nights at a luxury hotel with airfare for two.
• New York, New York: Three-night stay at a luxury hotel, Broadway tickets and airfare for two.
• Sonoma Coast/Napa Valley, Calif.: Four nights at two luxury retreats including private wine tasting and airfare for two.
Mystery boxes are $25/box or five for $100. In addition, several other amazing prizes will be in the boxes. Everyone will win something.
All proceeds from the event will benefit Aspire’s affordable prenatal care program and parenting classes. Aspire currently provides services to more than 80 percent of all pregnant women in Archuleta County which include pregnancy tests, early ultrasounds, prenatal care, prenatal and parenting education and STI/STD testing and treatment.
Over the past two years, our prenatal clinic has helped lower the preterm birth rate and low birth rate percentage in our area by allowing disadvantaged women to see a quality medical doctor for prenatal care up to 36 weeks. The rate of low birth weight for babies born to our prenatal care clients in the last 12 months is only at 5.8 percent compared to a state average of 8 percent.
In addition, Aspire offers free childbirth, prenatal and parenting education to all parents of children age zero to 3. Aspire’s goal is to help all children zero to 3 years of age thrive physically, emotionally and socially during the most pivotal stage of development.
For more information, visit, or contact Kristi Smith at or call 264-5963.

Cabin Fever festival, bonfire set for Jan. 18 Fri, 17 Jan 2020 12:00:47 +0000 By Michael Whiting
Special to The PREVIEW
On Jan. 18 at 4 p.m. along Hot Springs Boulevard, will be Pagosa’s one and only original bonfire. Year two. Totally free event.
New and improved, there will be a bigger bonfire, multiple food trucks, libations of every sort and good beer. DJ Prophecy is providing the great sound waves.
We have heaters and less mud this year, too.
We are also planning to have disc golf tossing, a fat bike demo and a ski thing.
All proceeds from food, drink and donations go to your local nonprofit bouldering gym.
Bring your retired Christmas tree down with you or before the event.
Hot Springs Boulevard — follow the signs.
Donations are encouraged to support our bouldering gym.
The big burn is coming. Add to the pyre. Don’t forget to drop off your Christmas tree at Pagosa’s official drop-off site on Hot Springs Boulevard, just south of the Bank of the San Juans. Or, bring it to the fest if you want.
For more information, call 946-2422.

Fire and Ice WinterFest promises hot and cool events Fri, 17 Jan 2020 12:00:34 +0000 By Mary Jo Coulehan
Special to The SUN
WinterFest will be held from Jan. 24-26. The theme for this year’s event is Fire and Ice.
We have over 15 hot air balloon pilots contributing to the fire side of the theme.
As for ice, we will again host the Penguin Plunge and heartily support the other “cool” events such as the fat tire bike race, the BB gun biathlon, the Sledz on Rez race and, new this year, the Skis and Saddles Skijoring event. What a weekend it will be.
Start planning now as well to build your sled for the Sledz on Rez race to be held the afternoon of Jan. 25.
If your organization has people plunging in the river for the Penguin Plunge — also to be held on Jan. 25 — plunge forms are online at the Chamber’s website,
Get your bikes tuned to enter the bike race on Saturday or tune up your cross-country skis for the BB Gun Biathlon.
If you are a skier or horse person and want to learn more about how you can participate in the exciting Skis and Saddles Skijoring event, visit This event will take place on Hot Springs Boulevard in the center of all that is happening downtown that weekend.
Remember that on both Saturday and Sunday mornings, the hot air balloon mass ascension will take place on the west side of town in the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association area near the Rec Center. This time of year, with the snow-capped mountains, there are some stunning photos to be taken.
There is something for everyone over WinterFest weekend. To find out more, visit