Well, kids, this is it. It has now been two whole years of me writing this thang, and it's "high time" for a little retrospectification, so to speak. Having been born, raised and educated in this town, I knew from the moment I grew my short-and-curlies that I would eventually have to abandon it, to set out into the world and meet exciting people, and do exciting things. There was no way I could survive in this sterile, conservative environment — what my friend and former Toons co-worker, Delaney Utterback, would often call a "cultural vacuum." A true "existential threat," it was the same feeling of boredom, angst and impatience that drives away many of our most talented and creative teens.

But, as the saying goes, "life is what happens while you're busy making other plans," and, without revealing too many details, circumstances conspired to keep me here. It was then that I set out to convince myself — and everyone else, I suppose — that Colorado Springs really could be a top-tier city for music, art and, dare I say, culture? Well, I believe that now more than I ever have.

Forgive me my ramblings, but as I was telling my friend John, aka "Avi" from the fab synth-pop faux-lover duo Avi & Maria, while we chatted over some La'au'sy tacos outside the Cornerstone Arts Center (which was hosting two substantial events simultaneously — Nezabudka, a wonderful, locally produced, art/music/dance collaboration, and the Vocal Arts Symposium, an intense training and performance program directed by internationally acclaimed operatic soprano Martile Rowland) — this town is truly alive!

Even outsiders are taking notice. As I am sure you heard, Outside magazine recently named the Springs the No. 1 city in the nation to live in, based in part on our, get this, "cultural resurgence!"

Well, I knew we could place, but to take first?! Hell yeah! And it's all thanks to countless people, like Delaney, who is now head of 91.5 KRCC-FM, and with the help of one of the greatest staffs in public broadcasting, has spearheaded a new wave of world-class concerts (Johnny Winter on Wednesday, Aug. 12, at Armstrong Hall, for instance). Or my boy Shitty at Manitou Music Farm, and Kinfolks' Josh VonLoh, who have made Manitou the place to be to see some of the best Americana acts, hands down, in the country.

Or the Triple Nickel Tavern, which recently brought two nights of insane Supersuckers rock 'n roll action. Or the Rocket Room, which finally provided us with a legitimate, dank 'n dirty, big-city rock 'n roll bar. Or Union Station, which has booked thousands of local and national hard rock and metal bands for more than a decade. Or the Black Sheep, which has successfully courted some of the top names in mainstream alternative rock, pop and metal. Or Sunshine Studios, which is providing easy access to world-class facilities so local bands can cut their teeth on some real gear. Or A Music Company Inc., which has promoted exceptional R&B, jazz and blues shows at venues throughout the region. Or Don Goede, who has brought us intimate evenings with Daniel Johnston and Kimya Dawson. Or ... Or ...

I am sure I didn't hit the half of it, and my time's up for the week, but do you see what I am getting at? Have we really come this far? Any thoughts? I'd love to hear them!

Until then, smell you later!

Send all your news tips, hi-res pix and homages to Shitty care of adam@csindy.com.

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