Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Helicopter pilots injured in hard landing

Posted By on Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 9:25 AM

Fort Carson released a statement today saying an AH-64D Apache Longbow from the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum, N.Y., made a hard landing south of Pikes Peak at about 1:30 a.m.


"Both pilots sustained non life-threatening injuries and have been evacuated to Memorial Hospital," the press release said. "The aircraft was conducting high altitude mountain environment training in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan."

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

The 10th CAB started the training at Fort Carson's Butts Army Airfield earlier this month. The purpose was to train pilots how to operate their aircraft in the unique wind patterns and conditions presented by mountainous terrain, an earlier press release said. The instruction will include maneuvering in and around mountains, performing approaches and landings and takeoffs from mountain terrain.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Buck, Norton spar in local GOP Senate debate

Posted By on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 9:38 PM

Ken Buck had more and louder supporters, Jane Norton fired a few grenades that didn’t really detonate, and about 400 people inside Stargazers Theatre and Event Center probably went home with no apparent change in their outlooks after the two Colorado Republicans running for the U.S. Senate engaged in a 90-minute debate Tuesday night.

Ken Buck
  • Ken Buck

At times the atmosphere felt more like a Tea Party rally, with both candidates doing their best to appeal to the outer edges of the state Republican party. Buck said he would support missile strikes against Iran’s potential nuclear facilities. Norton stated that Social Security and Medicare are on a “glide path that’s unsustainable.” Both said they would support a Constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget and following the guidelines of the Colorado Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

One of the night’s biggest ovations actually went to a non-participant, Tea Party and Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes, who attended solely as a spectator.

Some other moments from the debate, whose moderator was City Councilor Sean Paige:

Jane Norton
  • Jane Norton

Buck said he couldn’t believe the Supreme Court “only voted 5-4” against a Chicago gun law. He also suggested term limits for Supreme Court justices in the range of 20-25 years, so they wouldn’t hang on to retire when someone from their political party was president.

Norton said her military policy would be to “double down in Afghanistan … the surge worked in Iraq, and it could work in Afghanistan. … I would not get out of Afghanistan without doing the total job. … We should not be committed to a timetable. We need to be committed to victory.”

Buck suggested pulling out of Afghanistan at an appropriate time, which Norton criticized as being too soft. Buck’s answer: “We’re foolish if we think we can turn Afghanistan into a Western-style democracy. … We need to give our troops an exit strategy to get back home. … We cannot stand behind a corrupt leader (Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai).”

Norton, while answering a question about defining her leadership qualities, referred to herself as “the third of three children.”

Both said they would work to repeal health care reform, but admitted that probably wouldn’t happen as long as Barack Obama is president. Instead, they would work against funding the programs created by reform.

Buck: “We need to take out Iran’s nuclear capability. We need to act, and we need to act strongly.”

Norton picked on Buck for increasing his budget by 40 percent as the Weld County District Attorney in Greeley, but many in the crowd jeered at Norton for doing so. Buck drew cheers for pointing out that Norton supported the state's Referendum C in 2005 that loosened some of TABOR's spending limits on state government.

Buck would vote to end federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, Amtrak and the Postal Service.

Both said, if they lost in the GOP primary on Aug. 10, they would support the other in the general election.

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Soul Sonic Tuesday

Posted By on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 8:29 PM


This has been an amazing month for R&B/hip-hop heavyweights making triumphant returns. Last Tuesday, it was The Roots' long-awaited How I Got Over as well as a brilliant new album from Macy Gray called The Sellout.

Now it’s time for Big Boi. Although the new album from the hip-hop half of Outkast won’t be released until July 6, he’s streaming all 15 tracks right here, right now.

Titled Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty — your guess is as good as ours — it comes with guest appearances from the likes of Janelle Monae, T.I., Yelawolf, George Clinton, B.o.B. and Jamie Foxx. (Sorry, no Andre 3000 due to contractual difficulties.)

Click below for an interview with Big Boi himself on the new album and the future of Outkast. Then scroll down further to watch the video for the first single, “Shutterbugg,” which pays homage to funky forefathers ranging from The System to Soul II Soul (with a healthy dose of Zapp-style vocoder along the way).

Have fun.

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Man sues Wal-Mart over MMJ use

Posted By on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 7:39 PM

Joseph Casias
  • Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio
  • Joseph Casias

In our last issue of "ReLeaf," we told you about Joseph Casias from Michigan, a former Wal-Mart employee of the year, who was fired for testing positive for marijuana after a workplace injury.

Today, the Associated Press is reporting that Casias, with the help of the Michigan American Civil Liberties Union, is suing Wal-Mart.

Casias, 30, said he didn't use marijuana at work or come to work under the influence. Scott Michelman, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the lawsuit aims to test the extent that Michigan's law protects employees.

"No patient should be forced to choose between adequate pain relief and gainful employment, and no employer should be allowed to intrude upon private medical choices made by employees in consultation with their doctors," Michelman said.

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A review of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Posted By on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 7:37 PM

Since the new Twilight movie opens tonight, reviewer Scott Renshaw has agreed to have his write-up posted early for the Web. It will still appear in Thursday's paper, along with our other film coverage.


Here's Scott's take:

The Twilight Saga producers keep trying; you’ve got to give them that. For 2008’s Twilight, they hired Catherine Hardwicke (thirteen) to direct, suggesting they were aiming for edgy teen drama. Then they signed Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass) for last year’s New Moon, suggesting an epic action vibe. Now they’ve got David Slade (30 Days of Night) for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, bringing a background in genuine horror. They keep tinkering, looking for a fix.

There is, however, a flaw in that logic: It presumes that what’s missing is in the stuff a director can change. To the delight of Twi-hards, Twi-moms and allies — and the befuddlement of those outside the phenomenon — the movies are stuck with Stephenie Meyer’s books as a foundation. And now, with earlier casting decisions. The Twilight movies can keep changing the curtains and painting the walls, but they’re still in a balsa wood house.

For the uninitiated, we join Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) on the verge of graduating from high school and fulfilling her pledge to the vampire-royalty Volturi that she’ll be “turned” by Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) into a vampire herself. But there are distractions. Reports from nearby Seattle suggest that an army of vampire “newborns” is forming, possibly under the guidance of the Cullens’ enemy, Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard). And then there’s Bella’s werewolf pal Jacob (Taylor Lautner), who’s not prepared to give up his feelings for Bella despite her connection with Edward.

That romantic triangle is the cornerstone of the series’ Team Edward-vs.-Team Jacob appeal, and returning screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg gives it plenty of attention. The big moments are pitched at the core fans — Edward’s proposal to Bella; Bella and Jacob’s first romantic moment; a tense truce between Edward and Jacob on a mountaintop — and they do the job. Whatever else one might think about Meyer’s writing, she clearly taps into something primally heart-fluttering.

Yet that story is also fundamentally adolescent melodrama, and melodrama is hard for even the best actors to sell under the best circumstances. Neither is the case here, where key roles are not packed with subtle, refined talent (Billy Burke’s appealing work as Bella’s dad Charlie being the exception). Stewart’s breathy readings continue to be annoyingly one-note, and Pattinson continues to mistake raspy muttering for sultriness. Lautner brought a welcome spark of energy with his performance in New Moon, but he’s still awfully young for the heartfelt speeches he’s asked to deliver. And they’re actually restrained compared to amusingly over-the-top performances like Dakota Fanning’s sneering Volturi Jane, or Peter Facinelli’s tight-lipped, eyebrow-furrowing Carlisle Cullen.

But Eclipse truly tips into unintentional hilarity during a series of flashbacks. A colonial-era conflict between vampires and werewolves, and the “origins” of Cullen clan members Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) and Rosalie (Nikki Reed), show the series at its most absurdly florid — and here Slade’s selection makes little sense. There may be a few vampire attacks and one grand 15-minute battle royale, but there’s nothing remotely horror-focused about Twilight’s approach to mythological beasts. You might be able to take away Meyer’s purple prose, but you can’t take away her vision of a chaste gothic bodice-ripper crossed with young-adult angst.

For next year’s final installment, Breaking Dawn, Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) has already been selected to direct. Maybe this time they’ll look to improve things by turning the Twilight saga into a musical. At this point, anything is worth a try.

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Flash ... crowd hits downtown Denver

Posted By on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 3:36 PM

Whatever your feelings on flash mobs (or flash get-togethers), or Glee, or "The Safety Dance," or wild, yet coordinated cavorting, you have to agree that these folks are dancing on the 16th Street Mall.

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Montel for medical marijuana

Posted By on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 3:08 PM


Montel Williams, of talk show fame, is also a medical marijuana patient for his multiple sclerosis. Today, he urged the New York Legislature to pass an MMJ bill, says Toke of the Town.

"New York needs to act now to make marijuana legally available for medical use. Every day that we delay is another day of needless suffering for patients like me all across the state," Williams says.

"Thousands of New Yorkers suffer from serious medical conditions that could benefit from the medical use of marijuana," said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, Chair of the Assembly Health Committee and sponsor of the Assembly medical marijuana bill.

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Outdoor music schedule change

Posted By on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 3:07 PM

From the listings desk: For those of you planning to hit tomorrow's Wolf Ranch concert, be advised that Redraw the Farm will be performing, not Sofa Killers, who will perform Aug. 25.

These free concerts are held at Gateway Park (at Powers Boulevard and Research Parkway) in the Wolf Ranch subdivision, and they run from 6 to 8 p.m. For more information, visit

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Battle of the presidents: Clinton backs Romanoff, Obama on Bennet's side

Posted By on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 2:27 PM

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet has the endorsement of President Obama, but now his challenger for the Democratic nomination in the Senate race, Andrew Romanoff, has the support of former President Bill Clinton.

In a pitch for campaign donations, Clinton signed a letter that heralds Romanoff's leadership as Speaker of the House and in uniting the Democratic Party.


Who's to say whether Obama's or Clinton's endorsement carries more weight. But consider this:

— Gallup pollsters report Obama's approval rating fell to 44 percent earlier this month. His high mark, 69 percent, came as he took office in January 2009.
— Clinton had an average approval rating of 55 for his two terms, ending in January 2001, and reached a high of 73 percent, according to Gallup pollsters.

Here's what Bill had to say about Andrew:


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Notes from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Posted By on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 12:36 PM

The last time I visited at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, I arrived on a yellow school bus. Wait, not true. A friend and I made a special trip to see BODY WORLDS several years back.

Well anyway, it’s been a long time, and upon my return (as well as that of BODY WORLDS, with a new installment, The Story of the Heart) the place was just as new and incredible and awesome as it was to my elementary school eyes.

For the time I was there I stuck to the permanent exhibits, focusing mainly on the North American wildlife, gems and minerals and Native American cultures displays. I also watched part of a half-hour video about beliefs on death and dying (with an interesting Catholic priest who said he really didn't know what awaits us on the other side, but in the Christian tradition, believes in a "persistence of the soul").

For my fellow writers out there, I learned about "Wampum" the Northeastern Native American tradition of giving shell beads with the meaning, "My words are true and full of power." That's something anyone in the business of language can appreciate.

All of which really is devastatingly cool and superbly interesting. You’d think I was there for short period of time, but I wandered for close to two hours in this small portion of that enormous place.

Here’s some of what I found, from gems and wildlife:

Snowball meets fiber optics
  • Edie Adelstein
  • Snowball meets fiber optics.

A galaxy cluster of geodes
  • Edie Adelstein
  • A galaxy cluster of geodes.

Pronghorns on the run
  • Edie Adelstein
  • Pronghorns on the run.

Dalls sheep, the fancy cousin of the Bighorn
  • Edie Adelstein
  • Dall's sheep, the fancy cousin of the Bighorn.

Take the kids or take yourself — I really recommend a visit. And remember to be on your best behavior, everyone. That means indoor voices, no standing on the displays and general avoidance of being obnoxious.

Also, you may want to take advantage of the museum’s membership push. Adult member tickets to BODY WORLDS are $12. Everyone else pays $25.50. Find out more at

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UPDATE, 7/9: Sheriff's race in full swing

Posted By on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 9:36 AM

UPDATE, 7/9: Originally in this post, we reported that Teller County Sheriff Kevin Dougherty had endorsed El Paso County sheriff candidate Jake Shirk. Dougherty has actually endorsed incumbent Terry Maketa. We have made the change below.

We regret the error. For a full apology related to this and another error in our reporting on the sheriff's race, click here.


Republican candidates for El Paso County sheriff are hitting the streets and meeting groups in their quest for the GOP nomination at the August primary, which essentially will cinch the race for one of them.

Maketa: going door to door.
  • Terry Maketa

Although Independent John "Doc" Holiday will be on the November ballot, it's unlikely he would defeat either Sheriff Terry Maketa, seeking a third term, or Jake Shirk, Monument police chief.

Maketa and his supporters have been walking precincts, and volunteers can sign up here to help.

He's also on tap to appear in a parade in Monument Saturday.

Meantime, Shirk will be the guest speaker at the Canon National Bank's Springs Mastermind Group Presentation on July 8 from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at 518 N. Chelton Road. The event is free and open to the public.

“We are pleased to present Monument Police Chief Jacob Shirk as our special guest speaker,” David Alley, VP of Cañon National Bank, said in a statement. “We are delighted that he will share his message of providing residents with a safe place to live and work where protection of human life and prevention of crime are paramount.”

Shirk: police chiefs like him.
  • Jake Shirk

Among those who have endorsed Shirk are an array of area law enforcement officials, including Teller County Sheriff Kevin Dougherty, who can't vote in the race.

“Since space is limited, please RSVP to 632-3526 to reserve your seat and so we can be sure we have room for everyone,” said Chris Foxen, branch manager of Cañon National Bank. “Everyone is invited and we look forward to seeing you there.”

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Monday, June 28, 2010

New York Times weighs-in on Boulder MMJ

Posted By on Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 5:06 PM

On Friday, the New York Times published this story on medical marijuana in Boulder. Some highlights:

Lots of Colorado patients:

More than 80,000 people here now have medical marijuana certificates, which are essentially prescriptions, and for months new enrollees have signed up at a rate of roughly 1,000 a day.

Lots of money being spent on MMJ nationally:

Americans spend roughly $25 billion a year on marijuana, according to the Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, which gives some idea of the popularity of this drug. Eventually, we might be talking about a sizable sum of tax revenue from its sales as medicine, not to mention private investment and employment. A spokesman for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws says hedge fund investors and an assortment of financial service firms are starting to call around to sniff out opportunities.

Lots of new words:

With a couple of exceptions — Mr. Bellingham among them — interviewing pot sellers is unlike interviewing anyone else in business. Simple yes-or-no questions yield 10-minute soliloquies. Words are coined on the spot, like “refudiate,” and regular words are used in ways that make sense only in context. One guy kept saying “rue” as though it meant “reluctant,” as in “I think the state was rue to act.”

Lots of history:

If there is a historical precedent for what’s now happening in Colorado, it could be the 1920s and the era of Prohibition. During America’s dry age, the federal alcohol ban carved out an exemption for medicinal use, and doctors nationwide suddenly discovered they could bolster their incomes by writing liquor prescriptions.

Pharmacies, which filled those prescriptions, and were one of the few places whiskey could be bought legally, raked it in. Through the 1920s, the number of Walgreens stores soared from 20 to nearly 400.

More money:

The second essential: grow your own. A pound of marijuana can be sold at retail for somewhere between $5,500 and $7,500. To buy that quantity wholesale will cost about $4,000. Grow it yourself and the same pound will cost just $750 to $1,000. ...

Pot sales so far are expected to generate about $2.7 million in license fees, in addition to the more than $681,000 in sales tax collected from July 2009 to February 2010. These figures seem a decent-enough start, but are far less than the $15 million in annual taxes predicted by some of the state’s more optimistic lawmakers.

Lots of rules:

The new rules, many of which will take effect over coming months, treat dispensaries a bit like pharmacies and a bit like casinos. Felons will soon be prohibited from owning dispensaries. Twenty-four-hour webcams will be trained on every growing facility and dispensary in the state. There are restrictions on hours, new rules for licensing, labeling and on and on.

More patients, and even more money:

In one year alone, working just three days a week at Relaxed Clarity, Dr. James Boland has seen 7,000 patients, each paying an average of $150 for a visit. He takes out a calculator and does some quick arithmetic. That’s more than $1 million, grossed in 12 months.

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Your chance to speak out

Posted By on Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Here's a reminder that if you have something to say about city-owned Memorial Health System's future governance and ownership, you should drop in to a public meeting between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, June 29.

The meeting, hosted by the Citizens’ Commission on Ownership and Governance of Memorial Health System, will be held at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, 314 W. Bijou St. A presentation begins at 6.

Members of the commission will hear what residents have to say about how to oversee Memorial or whether to keep it under city ownership.

The commission is listening.
  • The commission is listening.

Brian Newsome, a flak for Memorial, suggests residents keep the following in mind:

Memorial receives no local taxpayer support
Memorial has served the health care needs of our citizens since 1904. It has been under city ownership since 1943 and approved by voters in 1949
Memorial is the largest non-military business in the community, employing more than 4,000 people
Memorial contributes to our economy well beyond the half billion it generates in revenue each year

Under the state's hospital Transfer Act, the city would be restricted in how it spends the money from a sale of Memorial to a for-profit corporation. The sales proceeds would have to be earmarked for health care. If it's sold or merged with a nonprofit, other restricts might apply through IRS rules.

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Tastes of Tut, take two

Posted By on Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 2:55 PM

A continuation of my post on Saturday, in which I discussed some of the food and drink I encountered in Denver this past weekend while previewing the Tutankhamun exhibit at the Denver Art Museum:

Saturday night, we had dinner at a fine Denver restaurant that recently received some national attention — I'm keeping that a secret for now, as we'll be placing a full review in print in the coming weeks.

But after my first glimpse of Root Down, I couldn't pass up returning for another meal, which ended up being brunch, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Even Root Down's art selection is so hip and cool that you want to just, well ... hang out under it.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Even Root Down's art selection is so hip and cool that you want to just, well ... hang out under it.

Root Down's midday menu mixes creative takes on morning classics with extra attention for the gluten-free and vegan crowds. They also cater to the party crowd with bottomless — yes, bottomless — blood-orange mimosas for $11 or classic mimosas for $9. Smart and tempting, but we who needed to drive home opted for French-pressed coffee from Denver's Novo Coffee (the "direct-trade" coffee we told you about in mid-May that's only available at Old Colorado City's Jives Coffee Lounge in the Springs).

Root Down's banana bread French toast knows few rivals.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Root Down's banana bread French toast knows few rivals.

From the organic Eggs Benedict section, we tried the Root Down Benedict ($9), comprised of a quinoa patty in place of an English muffin (for the gluten-free element), topped in an egg, Iberico cheese and oven-dried tomato Hollandaise. Fresh, peppery arugula and perfect, crispy, organic home fries completed the plate, an overall breakfast gem.

The 100 percent wind-powered outfit is located in a former service station — hence the ample light from former bay doors and pleasant summer breeze.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The 100 percent wind-powered outfit is located in a former service station — hence the ample light from former bay doors and pleasant summer breeze.

We also tried the steak and eggs ($12) and Hazel Dell Mushroom Omelette ($9). The former places a Harris Ranch skirt steak with red mole sauce next to organic scrambled eggs and a barley-plantain hash tossed in Chimichurri oil — it's as good as it sounds. The latter mixes goat cheese, sage and Mushroom Duxelle under a thick organic egg fold topped in a delicious caramelized onion creme fraiche . The topping is also lovely over the accompanying home fries.

Dig the reclaimed basketball court flooring; nearly 70 percent of the eatery was built and refurnished with recycled, reused and reclaimed materials.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Dig the reclaimed basketball court flooring; nearly 70 percent of the eatery was built and refurnished with recycled, reused and reclaimed materials.

On the sweeter side, we tried the banana bread French toast ($9; pictured above) made with organic chicory and spiced walnuts and topped in a decorative pattern of creme fraiche and the almond flour buttermilk pancakes ($8) served with maple-agave syrup and a basil-flecked fruit salad. Both were excellent and much more dynamic and interesting than sad, plain pancakes and basic French toast. I seldom go out for breakfast because only a handful of places make food that's better than home (anyone can throw a few ingredients into a pan of scrambled eggs). This food is exemplary of something unique and worth going out for — surprising, fun flavors that spike the norm. And for very reasonable prices considering the quality.

Note the bar made out of recycled bowling alley wood.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Note the bar made out of recycled bowling alley wood.

We have chef/owner Justin Cucci to thank for this interesting space, which the outfit calls "a contemporary and eclectic throwback to the 1950s." Beyond its cool factor and tight flavors, the whole focus on organic, local, sustainability and greenness, from foundation to food sources, is commendable. If more urban blight could be transformed into something so culinarily worthwhile and vibrant to its neighborhood, we'd certainly be looking at our vacant buildings in up-and-coming areas through new lenses.

One last flavor of the weekend: We stopped at MoonDance Botanicals on the way out of town, at my girlfriend's request, to pick up some loose-leaf tea specifically. While patiently waiting (read: breathing loudly and pacing like all men do in girly shops), I took advantage of an "elixir bar" featuring 4-ounce pours of herbal elixirs served with a wedge of organic dark chocolate for $3. A little sneezy after a weekend of rich foods, I went for the immune support tonic with elderberry, echinacea, ginger, cinnamon, licorice and thyme-honey in sparkling water. Considering the dose of herbs that usually taste yucky on their own, the drink was quite good, much much better than a dropper under the tongue chased by water.

The girls tried a "honey root beer" with burdock, dandelion root, cinnamon, ginger root, spearmint oil and honey in sparkling water and the "Be Here Now" drink, comprised of lavender tincture, hydrosol and oil, wild lettuce tincture, kava and an impatiens flower remedy in sparkling water. Never mind that you haven't heard of half that and don't know all the applications; a menu explains each ingredient's benefit to the mind or body. And health impact aside, the drinks are interesting and unique.

Taking medicine is rarely as pleasant as at MoonDance Botanicals. The dark chocolate certainly helps.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Taking medicine is rarely as pleasant as at MoonDance Botanicals. The dark chocolate certainly helps.

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Music Monday: Janelle Monae can't stop, won't stop

Posted By on Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 2:16 PM

As weekends go, this has been a pretty good one for Janelle Monae, the avant-soul sensation who was interviewed in the pages of the Indy a few weeks ago. (Read it here.)

On Friday, Monae accepted ASCAP’s prestigious Vanguard Award — previous winners include the Killers, Santigold, the Strokes, and the Beastie Boys — with some guy named Prince stopping by to pay his respects. After that it was on to Sunday’s BET Awards, where she returned the favor by performing the Purple One’s “Let’s Go Crazy.”

That same night, she was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter.

Monae actually played Colorado twice earlier this month. She opened for Eyrkah Badu at Denver’s Fillmore and also for MGMT — whom she totally blew off the stage — at Red Rocks.

Expect headlining dates next time through.

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