Tag Archives: Denver

Tracy Stuckey’s Satirical Western Paintings

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My article from December-January Colorado Expression  magazine profiling Tracy Stuckey

Tracy Stuckey’s satirical Western paintings might lead one to believe that the Old West is heading south. Stuckey kicks the dust off the Western icons and pours on satire. For the December-January issue of Colorado Expression magazine, I profiled the artist — who’s an adjunct faculty member at Colorado State University — and found his paintings both amusing and thought-provoking.
An excerpt from my article:

“Stuckey’s oil paintings suggest quirky narratives that both amuse and disturb. He presents human figures in ironic scenarios. Contemporary cowboys wield plastic squirt guns or ride toy horses. Intriguingly attractive young Anglo hipsters wear Levi jeans and chic sunglasses, cowboy boots and mini-skirts, fur coats and feathery Native American headdresses.

“Or they wear just their birthday suits. A robust sexual tension underlies many of Stuckey’s paintings. He peoples his canvases with nudes or figures in various stages of undress: a Vegas showgirl, a cowboy with his jeans down, and bikini-clad, nubile young women near desert swimming pools or teepees.

“Stuckey says, ‘I’m interested in our ideas about the American west and its history, and how it continues to find itself within our mainstream culture, the interaction with the real past and the romanticized.’ “

To see more of Stuckey’s paintings, check out his website.

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Expert tips for setting a memorable table

Thanksgiving table setting ideas

Photo by John Leyba of The Denver Post

 

Thanksgiving has come and gone, but these tips apply to any table for any special occasion. My article published in The Denver Post includes tips from a Sur la Table chef and two design experts from an events company celebrating their 70-year-old anniversary this year. Whether rustic or elegant, there’s something for everyone.

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Celebrate autumn with fall container gardens

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The end of summer doesn’t necessarily mean the end of container gardens. You can swap out leggy, tired plants and pop in a few fresh plantings or replant fall containers entirely for a fresh autumnal look that will last. If you live in a climate with cold winters, many plants will even tolerate a frost.

My article published by The Denver Post includes lots of tips from landscape designers who specialize in fall container gardens. You may read my article at this link.

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Cottage foods industry: adult “lemonade stands”

Cottage foods are a steadily growing trend. Are you an avid gardener with a surplus yield? Would you like to make a little profit from your homegrown produce? Or are you a baker who’d be sweet on selling your breads and cookies and other sugarplums — kind of the way you did at your childhood lemonade stands?
If you live in Denver, join the growing cottage foods industry. I reported on this win-win ordinance for The Denver Post. Here’s the link.
If you don’t live in Denver, check to see whether your town allows you to set up a stand to sell your garden produce, baked goods and other products. The cottage food trend is growing because people recognize this old-fashioned mercantile as a sensible wave for our future.

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Will Write For Music

“I got the music in me.” The year before I was born, Buddy Holly died when his plane crashed in a field not far from my family’s home.

Born and raised in Mason City, Iowa—portrayed as River City in Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man”—I always took note of music. My great-grandfather was an amateur Irish fiddler who played at wakes and weddings, in parlors and barns.

My childhood household had an eclectic soundtrack: Peter, Paul & Mary; Simon & Garfunkel; Petula Clark; Gene Autry, the Chipmunks. We listened to records and the radio. We sang in the car, my mother on lead vocals for “This Old Man” and “On Top of Old Smokey” and “Kumbaya.”

I started buying records while in elementary school, but even earlier, I was a pop music fan. My family’s lore includes a tale about the time when a little older than a toddler, I asked to stay in the car so I could listen to the end of “Georgie Girl” on the radio. My mother agreed, but warned me not to touch anything. Evidently, I put the car into gear, and my mom’s car rolled down our steep driveway, toward the street. Fortunately, my big brother Danny had left his big metal truck out, and the toy truck stopped the car from crashing into the street.

Each summer, Band Festival Day celebrated my small town’s big connection to the Music Man with parades of marching bands. The Presentation Sisters at my grade school emphasized musical education, too. They allowed us to sing songs of the times from Jesus Christ Superstar or John Denver. They taught us a long list of songs celebrating our Irish heritage. I sang in school choir and a small choir that sang at funerals in our parish. But even then, I felt more comfortable in the audience than performing on stage or from a choir loft in our church.

I never had music lessons and learned only the basics of reading music. I was a fan, and something of a fanatic, but I was on the receiving end of the musical spectrum. As a teenager, I started attending concerts. One of my first concert venues was the Surf Ballroom, the Clear Lake, Iowa, venue Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson played the night of their deadly plane crash.

I instinctively loved the music scene as well as the live music. I loved some musicians, too. I invested in the best stereo equipment I could afford, and played my music relentlessly. Just ask any of my college roommates.

My adulthood moved from vinyl records to 8-track tapes to cassettes to Walkmans to CDs to iPods to iTunes. I’ve kept music close along the way. Now a middle-aged adult, I find myself writing regularly about music. A longtime freelancer for newspapers and magazines, I’ve interviewed a number of musicians, published a number of features on musical festivals; in addition to several multiple choice musical quizzes.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band quiz

70s Rock quiz

The Eagles rock quiz

Sweet Strains of Outdoor Music Fests

Jackson Browne Red Rocks Date

As a member of The Denver Post’s heyreverb.com staff, I’ve covered dozens of concerts ranging from Jackson Browne to Maroon 5 to Denver Brass to Train to The Fray to Los Lobos to Trace Adkins to Sheryl Crow to Carrie Underwood.

• Here’s a link to my concert reviews on heyreverb.com

Reporting on rock and other genres is a sweet note. Some of the happiest times of my life have been at concerts where music transported me above and beyond the cares of my everyday life and into another realm of harmony and good vibrations, dancing or singing or just listening my cares away. I’ve always respected musicians as magicians, of sort, with instruments as their magical wands. Music continues to sustain me. As I’ve grown older, and as I’ve reported on music, I’ve learned a lot more about different genres: Classical, reggae, roots rock, Blues, and more. I still obsess about songs, playing tracks over and over until somehow I’ve absorbed every note, every lick, every lyric.

One of my goals in life was to learn to play the piano, but at this stage, I’m willing to admit it’s a goal I may never accomplish. I’ll settle, though, for playing out my musical interests on my computer keyboard: Will write for music.

Colleen Smith’s gift book “Laid-Back Skier” celebrates alpine skiing and life.

Colleen Smith’s first novel, “Glass Halo”— a finalist for the 2010 Santa Fe Literary Prize — is available in hardcover or e-book.

To learn more:

• FridayJonesPublishing.com

• GlassHaloNovel.com

• Become a friend on Facebook, or follow FridayPublisher on Twitter.

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