Friday, April 24, 2015

Fight Club 2, an exclusive review

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 11:16 AM

A lot of people have been breaking the first rule of fight club lately, ahead of the release of Fight Club 2, nearly 20 years after the original novel and 16 years since David Fincher's adaptation. 

Comics Alliance featured a six-page preview back in February, and Free Comic Book Day will offer a new adaptation of the novel's conclusion via Dark Horse Comics on Saturday, May 2. 

Fight Club 2 releases on May 27 nationally, and The Atlantic published my exclusive first review this morning. 

I'll have another feature here in the Indy soon, with some expanded content. 

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From left to right: the cover artist, author and illustrator of Fight Club 2. - COURTESY DARK HORSE COMICS
  • Courtesy Dark Horse Comics
  • From left to right: the cover artist, author and illustrator of Fight Club 2.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Riot Fest goes rodeo

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 5:57 PM

PRAMEGA/SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Pramega/Shutterstock
The perennially nomadic Riot Fest today unveiled the location and date of its 2015 festival, which will be held at Denver’s National Western Complex from Aug. 28-30.

While this year’s lineup won’t be announced until May, those who want to take a leap of faith can purchase $69.98 presale tickets starting tomorrow at noon. Given the quality of the two previous years’ acts — including The Replacements, The Cure, Die Antwoord, Wu-Tang Clan, Weezer, Flaming Lips, Rocket From the Crypt, Iggy Pop and Slayer — it should be money well spent.

It’s also a reasonably safe bet that the event won’t have to change locations this year, as it did when the bite-sized town of Byars — which had hosted 2013’s inaugural festival — made an eleventh-hour decision to pull the plug. Promoters managed to save the event with a last-minute relocation to the less-than-ideal parking lots outside Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Although best known as the site for the Denver County Fair, the National Western Complex also plays host to the Great Western Alpaca Show, Tortillas for Tepeyac, Foam Wonderland, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Submission Grappling, and the much-anticipated Rocky Mountain Reptile Expo.

In keeping with its new location, this year’s event has been dubbed Riot Fest & Rodeo, and will feature a host of thematically linked attractions that may or may not include blood and clowns.

Find more information as well as early bird tickets at riotfest.org

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Sen. Bennet knocks Gazette advertisement

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 2:09 PM

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On Sunday, the Gazette ran an advertisement from the Friendship Assembly of God Church titled "DON'T CATER TO THE HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA."

"It's time for common sense Americans to stand up and speak out against the Homosexual Agenda," the advertisement begins. "The recent events in Indiana, Utah, and Arizona have caused most Americans to be in great fear for their personal, academic and religious freedoms."

Because newspapers have discretion in the advertising they accept and run, the Gazette's been getting hammered by commenters on its Facebook page. It's a continuation of its regression from a Pulitzer Prize-winning source of news to a confused uncle shouting in the corner. 

(Check out today's screed against climate change, to go with one from a few days ago, something about how people who smoke cannabis don't have jobs or something. Oof. Ten bucks says the next one is a warning against the evils of dancing to the radio.)

Reader Jim McFarland wrote this to the Gazette: "Between 'Clearing the Haze' and now allowing bigoted hate to be printed as ads in the paper, it is getting harder to justify keeping my print subscription. ... Allowing hate as ads and continuing to give Wayne Laugeson [sic] an outlet to spread his right wing nonsense is something I don't want to support."

Another reader, Clay A. Nash, told the newspaper, "You should be ashamed of yourselves! Allowing blatant hate to circulate throughout this community? get with the times, Gazette!"

The paper responded to all with this statement from publisher Dan Steever: "Gazette managers discussed the option of rejecting this ad, which did not violate basic guidelines. We decided doing so would set a dangerous precedent. ..."

The ad even drew the attention of Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, who yesterday wrote: "A recent ad in the Colorado Springs Gazette used hurtful, venomous words to urge people to stand up against a so-called 'Homosexual Agenda.' Instead, we want to urge you to stand up against this hate speech and end discrimination. ..."

As usual, this led to a whole thread of people talking about what a backwards place Colorado Springs is. Between Rep. K-Schmitt and the smelly stuff being deposited on people's driveways when the newspaper's dropped off, we're getting downright medieval in these parts. Anyone for a little Catholic Inquisition?


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See Floyd Tunson works May 1 during First Friday

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 2:06 PM

"Cream of Wheat: Politics of the 90's" - COURTESY FLOYD TUNSON
  • Courtesy Floyd Tunson
  • "Cream of Wheat: Politics of the 90's"
This upcoming First Friday is shaping up to be a big one, per our recent blog on developments at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, but also because it's a rare chance to see works by Floyd Tunson.

Tunson, who doesn't show often in the Springs, was the man behind the FAC's fantastic 2012 exhibit Son of Pop (read more about that here).  Now you can see some of his works in two lofts during First Friday. Between 5-8 p.m. Tunson works will be on display (and some for sale) at the Daniels and Giddings II buildings. The addresses are 108 N. Tejon St., Unit F and 101 N. Tejon St., Unit 260; greeters will be on hand at both venues to help guide visitors.

From the presser: "According to Tunson’s agent, Wylene Carol, 'There’s no place like home for viewing art. Certainly it’s wonderful to see art you love in a gallery or museum, but to live with a painting, sculpture, or photograph and continue to see new things in it and to be inspired by it every single day is to live an enriched life.'"

Son of Pop, meanwhile, opened last moth at the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, Mont. after having stopped at 516 Arts in Albuquerque, N.M.

Find more information about other First Friday events and exhibits downtown here.


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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Medveds gain honor

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2015 at 4:04 PM

The Medveds: A lifetime worth honoring. - COURTESY OF UCCS
  • Courtesy of UCCS
  • The Medveds: A lifetime worth honoring.
Local business couple Jon and Becky Medved have been chosen to receive the 2015 University of Colorado Colorado Springs College of Business Lifetime Entrepreneurship Award at a May 8 campus luncheon.

The couple has deep roots here and have been involved in a variety of business. Most recently, Jon Medved was named to the Colorado Springs Health Foundation board of trustees. The foundation disperses the proceeds from the city's lease of Memorial Hospital to University of Colorado Health.

From the news release:
Community and campus leaders will fill Gallogly Events Center in celebration of the Medved’s excellence in business and advocacy of several non-profits over the past 30 years.

“Jon and Becky have an inspiring record of transformative leadership both individually and as a couple,” Venkat Reddy, dean, College of Business, said. “We are delighted to select them as joint honorees for ourseventh annual event.”

Jon Medved's career primarily focused on organizational turn-arounds, leading companies such as Current, Walter Drake and CHEFS Catalog. Becky Medved, an MBA alumna of the UCCS College of Business, found her niche with start-ups as a principal in a marketing services company, Saligent, Inc., and a partner in two aging service technology businesses, RSCPros, LLC and Peak Age, Inc., both launched in collaboration with the UCCS Aging Center. The couple first met while working as colleagues at Current in the early 1980’s and today are married with two grown children.

The Medveds are dedicated volunteers and supporters of the Myron Stratton Home, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, UCCS Theatreworks, Discover Goodwill, Colorado Springs Conservatory and others. Becky Medved serves on the boards of the UCCS College of Business Alumni Association and Pikes Peak Community College, and she is also a trustee of both the University of Colorado Foundation and Penrose- St. —Francis Health Services Board. Jon Medved currently serves on board of directors for Woodford Manufacturing, G.E. Johnson, and Nehring Associates.

Jon and Becky Medved follow a list of distinguished past award recipients including Gary Loo (2009), Bruce Shepard (2010), Joe Woodford (2011), Cari Shaffer (2012), Chuck Murphy (2013), and David Jenkins (2014).

The award luncheon is a fundraising event to support the College of Business and its alumni and student initiatives including a newly launched Career Coaching Program. The luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. May 8 in the Gallogly Events Center on the UCCS campus. Tickets are $150 each, $95 for UCCS College of Business alumni, and are available at www.uccs.edu/LEA or by calling (719) 255-5174.

Dean’s Circle sponsors of the award luncheon include Kirkpatrick Bank, Luisa Graff Jewelers, Nunn Construction, Inc., Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, Gray Line Tours of Colorado, Inc., and GE Johnson Construction.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

This just in: left-lane driver offended

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 4:49 PM

Plucked from the letters to the editor stack this week, we have a local citizen saddened by our assertion that many Colorado Springs drivers are clueless. 

That assertion came in our April 1 Insider Guide as part of our Characters of Colorado Springs, where one such character depicted is the left-lane driver. Here's what I wrote:

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And what we received from this letter writer, who shall remain anonymous, was a hand-written defense of left-lane driving and a stern call for safe driving, meaning paying attention and obeying the speed limit. 

You can read it in full here:  
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UPDATE: Makepeace: Remove the lock on the mayor's office

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 2:50 PM

UPDATE: This blog has been updated to reflect that Larry Bagley, representing District 2, also was sworn into office. 

Also, mail ballots in the mayoral runoff election will be mailed starting April 28.

————-ORIGINAL POST 2:50 p.m., TUESDAY, APRIL 21, 2015———————————————————

Today, two new and one returning City Council members took the oath of office at the City Auditorium, and the event drew quite a crowd. Tom Strand and Bill Murray and Larry Bagley were sworn in, along with incumbent Merv Bennett, who will serve as Council president.
Makepeace: Plans a listening tour. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Makepeace: Plans a listening tour.
Spotted in the crowd was John Suthers, who's in a mayoral runoff with former mayor Mary Lou Makepeace. We didn't see Makepeace there, but Suthers made the rounds among the 100-plus people who attended. Even as the food tables were cleared, Suthers remained chatting with city staff.

Meantime, Makepeace held a town hall meeting on Tuesday night at which she discussed details of her vision for Colorado Springs and its future and listed the actions she would take in her first 36 days in office. They are:
1. Remove the lock from the mayor’s office door.
2. Reassign the CSPD officer from “guarding” the mayor to regular duty of fighting crime.
3. Perform an exhaustive review of city finances.
4. Declare Pothole Elimination the top, immediate priority, and mobilize finances, staff, and City
Council to accomplish. Later, develop a plan to finance routine maintenance and more comprehensive road repair.
5. Establish satellite mayor’s office at City Hall to facilitate communication between the mayor and City Council.
6. Attend City Council meeting as an ex-officio member.
7. Meet with individual council members to hear their ideas, concerns, and visions.
8. Meet with senior staff to hear their concerns and ideas for the future, and to share my values of customer service, transparency, and innovation.
9. Conduct a listening tour with city staff.
10. Review all active outsourcing agreements to determine if they’re beneficial to taxpayers.
11. Arrange briefing for the mayor, senior staff, and interested council members on Open Meetings and Open Records Acts, with the goal of ensuring compliance and increased transparency.
12 Attend district meetings, with the council member from that district, to hear from citizens and to demonstrate collaboration between the council and the mayor.
13. Convene a retreat with the mayor and City Council to discuss our working relationship and past points of contention, with a goal of outlining responsibilities.
14. Identify and eliminate barriers to council and mayor collaboration, with the goal of enhanced performance on behalf of the community.
15. Establish a Technology Task Force, to bring the city’s use of technology into the 21st Century, with the goal of better serving the citizens and improving transparency.
16. Meet with business community representatives to develop a coordinated approach to job creation that demonstrates that Colorado Springs is Open for Business.
17. Begin dialogue with small business representatives to determine how the city can help create an environment that promotes local business growth and success.
18. Meet with representatives of groups working on the Legacy Loop, the Pikes Peak Greenway, Ring the Peak, enhanced biking opportunities, trails and open space, and recreational use of water to determine how the mayor’s office can help get these efforts DONE!
19. Attend Utility Board meeting as an ex-officio member.
20. Contact CONO, arts and culture groups, young professionals, minority groups, women and LGBT organizations, transportation organizations, and others to schedule opportunities for future dialogue.
21. Re-establish Take 10 With the Mayor.
For some background on the challenge Makepeace faces in the election, check out this story. For that, we had invited Suthers to provide some details of his vision, but he never got back.

The Independent has endorsed Makepeace in the mayoral race.

Information about how to vote in the all-mail election on May 19 is found here.

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An Indy resolution honoring our local computer killer

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 1:21 PM

COURTESY CSPD
  • Courtesy CSPD

A RESOLUTION OF APPRECIATION AND DEEP EMPATHY TO 37-YEAR-OLD LOCAL CITIZEN LUCAS HINCH. 

WHEREAS, Lucas Hinch fired eight gun shots into his personal computer on Monday night; and

WHEREAS, police spokesman Lt. Jeff Strossner told the Gazette that Hinch "got tired of fighting with his computer for the last several months" and "so he took it out in the back alley and shot it"; and

WHEREAS, computers are a moderately useful spawn of hell used to create projects and destroy psyches; and

WHEREAS, my fully charged keyboard died twice while I was typing this; and

WHEREAS, Lucas Hinch is clearly of sound body and mind, with excellent judgement and no small amount of fortitude; and

WHEREAS, he put the Dell down with an accuracy commensurate with blowing shit away; and

WHEREAS, Hinch was cited for discharging a firearm inside city limits; and

WHEREAS, Hinch was only trying to communicate with the computer in the only language it responds to — brute force — and thus providing a template for future frustrated owners, even though it cost him a ticket.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COLORADO SPRINGS INDEPENDENT:

That Lucas Hinch is a good man, a valuable citizen and a dude who knows how to get it done. All charges should be dismissed, with a new title bestowed upon Hinch: Director of the Bureau for Ctrl-Alt-Delete or Else.

Dated at Colorado Springs, Colorado this 21st day of April, 2015.

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Monday, April 20, 2015

KC water bill on Collins' buildings exceeds $20K

Posted By on Mon, Apr 20, 2015 at 10:20 AM

One of two buildings owned by Collins east of the downtown area in Kansas City. - COURTESY KANSAS CITY CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS
  • Courtesy Kansas City code enforcement officials
  • One of two buildings owned by Collins east of the downtown area in Kansas City.
The Kansas City Star has featured the Helen Collins apartment buildings in a piece that explores the difficulty of getting absentee landlords to keep up their property.

The story, which ran on Friday, has information that ties Collins to Douglas Bruce, who's been cross-wise with officials in Colorado several times over dilapidated properties over the years.

Here's what he told the Star when asked to comment on the Kansas City situation: "“I have no desire to talk to you. You’ve got a bee in your bonnet about something totally stupid. Go bug somebody else.”

The buildings have been vacated by order of the city recently, according to the Star's article:
The buildings were occupied until right after Easter, but they have now been vacated and boarded up because of overdue water bills totaling more than $20,000. The account was in Bruce’s name, but Water Services chief financial officer Sean Hennessy said Collins would also be liable.
Collins survived a recall election April 7 but faces an ethics complaint arising from her dealings with Bruce on a local property.

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Netflix Picks: Don Jon

Posted By on Sun, Apr 19, 2015 at 7:26 AM

SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
Don't date anyone who quotes Love Story. “Love means never having to say you're sorry” says as much about love as lyrics by Cephalic Carnage. Want a real love story? Try Don Jon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's 2013 directorial/writing debut. It's a romantic comedy that cuts through the culturally-imposed crap and gets real about relationships.

Jon Martello (Gordon-Levitt) is a simple man from New Jersey. He lives and loves his standard Jersey Shore lifestyle, from the workouts to the church to the hookups. His parents, Jon Sr. and Angela (Tony Danza and Glenne Headly), know he'll one day get married and raise a family, just like them. His buddies, Bobby (Rob Brown) and Danny (Jeremy Luke) call him Don Jon because he never fails to land a girl who's at least an 8 out of 10. The only thing he likes more than sex is porn, but he's getting a little bored of pulling out his laptop after his date falls asleep.

One night he meets Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johansson), a perfect ten, who brushes him off at the club. Frustrated, Jon plays the long game to bed her. It starts with a little Facebook stalking, then lunch and a crappy romance movie, but she asks for major commitments before she'll sleep with him – just as he's playing from the porno playbook, she's playing from her romance flicks. But he goes through with it; after a stimulating dry hump outside of her door, he's convinced she'll give him porno-grade sex. Their friends meet each other, she meets Jon's parents and he goes back to school. He says they're in love. Almost by accident, they're a serious thing. But the sex is as ikea-manual tab-a-into-slot-b as he's used to, and against her wishes, he keeps watching porn.

As they get further into their weird, plastic relationship, Jon and Barbara disagree more and more over little things. She picks on his little habits, shaping him into the abnegating Ken doll she's always wanted. But she ditches him when she finds out he lied about giving up porn, saying he's just like the other men she's dated. Ultimately, Jon bonds with an oddball classmate, Esther (Julianne Moore), whom he's spoken with a few times in passing. Her frank talk about porn and masturbation throws him for a loop. When they hook up at her place, it's the first time Jon experiences real intimacy in the film, physical or emotional. Jon turns a corner and starts deviating from his routine. In the end, he apologizes to Barbara for lying but has no interest in getting back with her – she wants a person who isn't him.

Don Jon is a clever comedy but not the unapproachable, artsy kind of clever. You don't have to be able to define visual symmetry to laugh when Barbara gets the same glazed-over smile in the theater that Jon gets from Alexis Texas. Jon's shallowness is a given, but we're set up to expect Barbara to be the one that changes Jon from a serial masturbator into a genuine, caring person. But Barbara objectifies Jon just as much as she is objectified.

But it takes more than just a drool-worthy physique to make Jon a likable protagonist. Gordon-Levitt's charm shines through, and his internal monologue keeps us in Jon's head. Jon isn't dumb, thank goodness for that, he’s a man of simple pleasures – a creature of habit, aroused by the sound of his laptop turning on – there's no play on his intelligence or lack thereof. Neither Jon nor Barbara are stupid here, they're just shallow – much shallower than they'd like to think.

As far as the acting goes, this movie is a series of strong performances. Gordon-Levitt is always fun to watch, and here is no exception. Johansson's performance is picture perfect, not once acknowledging the absurdity of her character, and major points to Moore for changing the whole dynamic of the movie by playing the only genuine character.

So what if the film isn't an uproarious festival of misunderstandings and conflict? Big comedies are starved of subtleties. By dialing the whole affair back, the weirdness of the characters' supposedly-normal behavior rings that much clearer. It's a show of personalities just big enough to be ridiculous without crossing into caricature or ham-fisted parable. It's a comedy you have to pay attention to – there aren't many over-the-top laughs, with the exception of Jon's explicit internal monologue.

Don Jon is a great little love story and a scathing take on the media that sells love lookalikes. It exists in the strange space between an automatic life and an enriching life. And the absurd characters are a pleasure to watch while still being relatable. If nothing else, Gordon-Levitt talks about sex and porn with a Jersey accent, and that's deeply funny. For a good time, check out Don Jon.

Congratulations, you're one movie closer to justifying that $8.99 a month.
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A job’s a job

Posted By on Sun, Apr 19, 2015 at 7:20 AM

SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
What does a pimply-faced, teen-aged girl walking across the street in the early evening to babysit the neighbor boys and Richard Sherman getting off a bus, ears couched in Beats By Dre headphones, on his way to play in his second consecutive Super Bowl, have in common?

They’re both just a couple of human beings trying to make a living.

We tend to lose sight of this when we’re deciding whose jersey to buy at the mall, or which dip to get at the supermarket for our playoff parties. The way that major sports athletes are packaged and presented urge us to see them as superheroes worthy of worship or, even worse, the luckiest people on the planet. After all, they get to play a game for a living, right?

Professional athletes are nothing more than individual men and women in a chosen field — pun intended. But, somehow, it’s difficult to see that. Colored perhaps by jealousy of the job, or the desire to see our respective teams win and our favorite athletes remain loyal, we forget that it is in fact possible for a sports star to want to shift careers before they’re physically forced to do so. Just like the uncle that decided to trade in his lucrative career as a computer programmer to open his very own medical marijuana dispensary, sometimes you just need change.

The assumption is made that professional athletes have been given a great gift that must never be altered, squandered or taken for granted, but the truth is that they’ve had to work for most of their lives to be in the top tier at a given skill set, and they must maintain that skill set in order to keep their job. Every decision an athlete makes in life, whether it pertains to health, family or the media’s perception of them, must be heavily weighed in regards to their professional future.

There are many careers that require total dedication, but if a neurosurgeon decides that the pressure has gotten to him and he wants to explore tap-dancing, his fans won’t burn his effigy in the streets while shouting expletives in his name. The neurosurgeon will be allowed to pursue his passions quietly. (Well, as quietly as tap-dancing can be pursued.)

But it’s easy to get caught up in the fanfare of major sports and forget that real drawbacks exist. Never mind the constant hounding by the media, the heavy scrutiny about how you treat your body and the rigorous training schedule, issues of long-term physical, mental and emotional health are driving more and more players from professional sports.

Especially prevalent in today’s NFL, young, promising players are retiring in order to prevent one too many concussions and to improve their post-football quality of life. No matter how much you love your job, if it were brought to your attention that continuing in that particular field could result in brain damage, which could lead to depression and possibly suicide, it would at least produce cause for a pause.

So the next time you’re elbow-deep in a bag of potato chips and cursing a 27-year-old for losing his passion to play the game, remember the jobs you’ve had before, or maybe the one you have now, and how much passion was lost after months and years of the same grinding, perpetual demands. Then add the possibility of life-altering damage to your physical health to your list of duties.

Everyone deserves the right to find their own path in life, and for most of us it’s not the same thing we thought it was when we were nine years old. Why should an athlete be any different?

Nic R. Krause was born a cranky, curmudgeon of a child in a Minnesota suburb. He was plucked from the muggy tundra and relocated to Colorado Springs 22 years ago. From intramural jai-alai, to his complicated relationship with the Minnesota Vikings, Nic, plainly stated, is bonkers for sports. Follow him on Twitter @NicRKrause.
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Saturday, April 18, 2015

A tooth at a time

Posted By on Sat, Apr 18, 2015 at 8:41 AM

SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
For hundreds of years, even smart people have been giving babies beads of fossilized sap to chew on. 50-million-year-old amber deposits near the Baltic Sea contain succinic acid, which can act as a natural pain reliever. It’s said to be good for teething babies, and Baltic traders have found a worldwide market of frazzled parents to sell to. I wonder how many amber deposits around the globe they made babies chew through before they found the right one in the Baltic region.

I’m the world’s most skeptical man when it comes to natural remedies. I only use the ones that work. But when it comes to a teething baby, I will shake as many fossilized beads at the boy as I can get my hands on.

In the beginning it seemed the most important thing about having a baby was to learn how to stay awake for long periods of time without nodding off, and if you did happen to nod off, to make sure that you were at least propped up alertly when people walked by. Newborns sleep over 20 hours a day, but never at the right times. Our baby used to sleep and wake whenever he felt like it, without a single thought given to my wife’s and my schedule.

Back in those newborn days a creaky floorboard would wake him, as would my stumbling through the dark. My wife says I can’t get a drink of water at night without letting the neighbors in on it, but even normal, everyday sounds had a way of surprising the baby. There were many times I had to run to sneeze into a pillow.

Now he’s eight months old and teething. He’s probably excited to finally be biting things, but I’m not so excited about missing sleep again. I read in a book that babies are supposed to be sleeping 12-14 hours a day at this age, but ours seems to get away with no sleep at all as long as he can fight off the drowsiness long enough to catch a second wind.

All the newborn bad habits he managed to break are back due to teething pain. Again, we’re waking up at random times during the night, zombie-walking through a dark house. My wife appears soundlessly in dark doorways with bedhair and no warning. I can never predict her next move. She stands over my bedside as I blink myself awake. It’s like walking through the haunting pages of a horror novel.

It’s not flattering for a grown man, the protector of the house, to yelp in the dark, but I have never before turned around and found Stephen King’s wild-haired mute staring back at me. I‘m more cautious now — I dangle a slipper before entering a room and dart from door to door.

Anyway, our son is cutting his top teeth in this week. They’re spaced out a bit wider than I thought they would be, but after looking at my own smile in the mirror, what did I expect? I suppose everyone’s teeth come in this wide and find their pals eventually. I’m just happy his bottom teeth came in before his top teeth. An under bite is considered cute. Looking at the disproportion between his head and body, I didn’t know whether his teeth would come in the size of Chiclets or as little as fish teeth.

They seem to be coming in fine, though, and just in time for the summer fruits and veggies. The boy will grow up in Colorado Springs, where natives smile the Colorado Brown Stain whether they want to or not. But we’re instilling good dental hygiene practice in him early, giving his teeth a gentle rub to inspire a nightly ritual. Teeth are like children in a way: You take good care of them from the start and they will be with you forever.

Pico spent his childhood years in the Springs. Now, as a father, he's seeing the city (and life) in a different light. Follow him on twitter at @DavidXPico.
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Get out there and photograph some sports

Posted By on Sat, Apr 18, 2015 at 8:28 AM

This time of year is big for sports. Soccer, lacrosse, track and field, baseball; you name it, it’s going on outside right now. 

I'm fortunate because this is my offseason from wedding photography and I get a chance to watch my kids play. If your children are small like mine, there’s something fresh and new to look forward to each year. And the best way I know of to be supportive of my children’s activities is to do what I already love to do. Take pictures. 

It’s a familiar scene: I show up at Discovery Field for my son’s soccer game, or at El Pomar for my daughter’s lacrosse game, with my folding chair in one hand and my long lens in the other.
 
Have you ever photographed children’s sports? If you have, then you know it’s not that easy to take great action pictures. 

Here are some quick tips I’ve found helpful in taking pictures at sporting events: 

Come with the right equipment, if you can. I enjoy photographing with a long lens. It gives that "Sports Illustrated" look to the pictures. When you see a great baseball picture, notice how the background falls out of focus. That is the effect of a long lens: isolating the subject of your picture and eliminating distracting elements in the background. 

Now, new DSLR cameras usually have a longish lens on them, but I really suggest a lens that offers you at least 200 mm or better. If you don't have one,  you can rent one or, of course, there are plenty of local retailers to help you find one that works for you and your camera.

Long lens too expensive, you say? 

If you don’t want to go the long lens route, here’s a second tip for better sports pictures: Get closer. You don’t have to sit in the stands to take pictures at your kids’ games. Walk around the field a little bit, just don’t be a distraction. At a baseball game, for instance, I like to stand near third base and shoot the batter as well as any runner on second. At a soccer game, I like to be in one corner of the field. The ball typically ends up closest to me there. 

What if you sit with the coach and the players and make candid portraits as they come on and off the field? You certainly don’t need a long lens for that. The point is you have options when it comes to getting closer shots without a long lens. 

SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton

My son, Harper, has such a spirit when he plays soccer. He’s seven years old and coming into a time when skills are getting better but the game is still a joy. His intensity is contagious. I want to be just like him.

In the first image, I’ve made a compelling action shot as he passes the ball to his teammates. Below, I caught him goofing around on the sidelines after a goal. 

SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton

When the games begin keep these tips with you, get out there and and capture some great moments.

Colorado Springs wedding photographer Sean Cayton loves remarkable photographs and the stories behind them. You can see his wedding work at caytonphotography.com, his personal work at seancayton.com and his editorial work in the Colorado Springs Independent. Submit your photo and the story behind the image - no more than two a week, please - to sean@caytonphotography.com for consideration in upcoming blogs.
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Friday, April 17, 2015

Another mayoral debate announced

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 at 11:58 AM

vote_box.jpg
From 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5, Colorado Springs mayoral runoff contenders Mary Lou Makepeace and John Suthers will square off at Penrose House Conference Center's Garden Pavilion, 1661 Mesa Ave.

The two candidates got the most votes in a six-way race in the April 7 city election. The mayoral runoff election, being conducted entirely by mail, is May 19.

The event is free and open to the public. It's sponsored by El Pomar Foundation’s Forum for Civic Advancement and KOAA5, and will be moderated by KOAA5 anchor Rob Quirk.

It also will be broadcast live on KOAA5 from 6:15 to 7 p.m. The station is inviting the public to pose questions by emailing them to electionwatch@koaa.com. 

RSVP to Samantha Barlow at sbarlow@elpomar.org or by phone at 719-577-7033.

Two other previously announced forums:

At 6:29 p.m. Monday, April 27, KKTV and the Gazette will host a half-hour live debate streamed on the websites of both.

At 7:30 p.m. that same day, Monday, April 27, at Colorado College's Cornerstone Arts Center (825 N. Cascade Ave.), the candidates will appear at a forum hosted by the Trails and Open Space Coalition, KRCC and the Independent. The public is welcome, and no tickets are necessary.

Both events will accommodate questions submitted via social media.

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FAC to get new museum shop, join First Friday and more news

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 at 9:44 AM

Heather Oelklaus - FAC
  • FAC
  • Heather Oelklaus
The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center has a slew of big changes coming, let's get to it.

First, you can now buy fine art there. It's opening up a new, concerted museum shop run by local artist and curator Holly Parker. The space that held Alice's will lose the counter and beverages, get a new coat of paint and proffer fine art and goods, with an emphasis on local and regional artists.

"I love the things that artists make," Parker says, "I love assembling the things that other people make in one space."

Beyond jewelry and other wearables, Parker will also coordinate the Colorado Originals series: a bank of bins that each have small, medium and large works on paper that customers can easily flip through. Such works will be easy for traveling visitors as well as beginning collectors. Parker aims to make much of the goods in the new museum shop affordable. 

Expect artists like Chris Weed, Karen Fish Fisher and Lance Green to have works in the shop, with more to come. The shop will open mid-May (phase "point five," Parker says), and building up as the months go along.
Holly Parker - FAC
  • FAC
  • Holly Parker
Parker will also oversee a new rotating gallery space in the FAC's Deco Lounge. That space will still operate primarily as a social area, but will have new shows on display every two months. Starting May 1, three local photographers, Heather Oelklaus, Carol Dass and Kay Williams Johnson will have works on display, all culled from their past shows in the FAC's galleries. These too will be available for purchase.

Artists are welcome to apply to show in the shop and Deco Lounge. Parker accepts digital submissions; find guidelines for the Deco Lounge here, Colorado Originals here, and general Museum Shop here

Kay Williams Johnson - FAC
  • FAC
  • Kay Williams Johnson
May 1 will also mark the FAC's formal entree into First Friday-dom. From 5-8 p.m. that night, there will be a reception in which the museum will announce next year's theater and museum schedule. It will also be organizing a shuttle to take patrons downtown and back, with stops along the way.

The FAC is also in the process of revamping its website and finishing off a new app that uses iBeacon technology to act somewhat like audio tours. It's free, currently only on iPhones.

Thanks to a recent grant, the FAC will reinstate its Public Free Days to monthly events, starting May 20. Entry to the museum is free (though special shows like O'Keeffe are not). Starting in June, the third Friday of each month will be a free day.

Lastly, the FAC's going to reopen its restaurant, still under Garden of the Gods Gourmet, called Taste. It opens May 3. Watch for updates on that in our Side Dish column.
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