Soul Food Sell-Out at Five Points in Denver

If you’re wondering where to see this classy background mural, you’ll have to go to the Blair-Caldwell African-American Research Library. It’s a perfect backdrop to a jazz quartet featuring local pianist Purnell Steen. You may want to sign up for their emails, so you won’t miss out on other Five Points happenings. Tonight the library promoted a book by Adrian Miller called Soul Food, The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine. It was a soul food sell-out. Each floor of the library catered the evolution of soul food along with accompanying musical variety signifying gospel, straight ahead jazz and funky, can’t-sit-still music. The gathering was a victim of its own success–too many folks, long food lines and not enough space to get in to hear the author. I only got through one food line and spent my time enjoying the music and the library’s quilt exhibit called Common Threads. The author did two presentations to standing room only crowds. I thumbed through the book via a photographer, who was kind enough to let me see one, but didn’t crowd into the room. I started in on the history display featuring prominent African-American settlers in the State of Colorado. The library has much to offer, and I’m sure it wishes every event was as well-attended.

Texting vs Conversation

One–on-one conversations when you are out at a restaurant can be focused until the wait staff comes up asking, “Is everything all right?” Well, it was until I was interrupted. But you can’t say that, of course. Interruptions, whether caused by another person, background Muzak, someone jostling your chair or the chime of a cell phone, can make focused conversations tough. Add another couple of people, and someone just has to sit back and listen. Hopefully, during the course of the evening, everyone gets to contribute.

Should people (mostly older) be resentful of the bowed heads and rapidly twirling fingers of people on phones (mostly younger)? Is it really all that bad? I recently texted someone to find out more about his life experiences for a resume rewrite. I was paying him back for helping me put a stop to the meltdown I was having trying to put my Dreamweaver website together. Texting made it less intimidating, and it made the information that much more accessible. I could refer back to his descriptions and know that I didn’t have to try and remember it word for word. Likewise, texting is not quite as immediate as talking, so it allows you to think and reread what you are saying before sending it. Once something is spoken it is difficult to unspeak it. Texting can be just as hurtful as verbal communication, but there is an opportunity to pick your words more carefully than if you were speaking face to face.

So even though texting may appear to be rude, it is quiet and does let the person texting be seen and not heard. Isn’t that how older generations were told to behave by their parents? The only caution is that the texter come up for air occasionally and acknowledge the presence of others, just in case your parents want to include you in their old-fashioned verbal conversation.

Bluegrass at Four Mile House

Bluegrass at Four Mile HouseA nice crowd showed up at Shady Grove to enjoy some bluegrass at Four Mile House with a little Southern Exposure. This in spite of an early sprinkling of rain. For those of you who don’t know, concerts put on by the Swallow Hill Music Association take place at the historic 4-Mile House in Denver during the summer and are an affordable and entertaining way to expose yourself to local musical talent. Ask about a senior or young child discount. The focus is on roots music, that is, blues, bluegrass and folk performers. While several music venues in town offer a bring-your-own picnic setting like this, many have become costly. At Shady Grove the music ends at dusk and that makes it an attractive outlet for older folks, who appreciate the music and can afford the tickets, but don’t like driving in the dark. It is also attractive to parents with children, who want to treat their young ones to music and musicians and get out during the week after work. The lyrics can be provocative, so be forewarned.

Southern Exposure consists of 5 men playing stringed instruments. They are fiddler Gordon Burt, bass guitarist Ryland Percy and his banjo-playing father, lead singer and comic Hereford Percy, fine guitarist and deep thinker Jerry Magnetti and excellent mandolin player Jerry Mills. The band has been together since 1981, as you can tell by their tight sound and fast-paced arrangements. Look for them somewhere along the Front Range with an occasional singer for accompaniment. You will be pleasantly surprised, whether you are a fan of bluegrass at Four Mile House or not. If you didn’t catch them this year, there is always next summer or go to their website to see where they are playing next. If you like bluegrass, check out what other local and national bands that are playing in the area via the Swallow Hill site.