Friday • May 19 • 10am-5pm • Ah Haa School for the Arts American Bookbinding Academy's Open•Set Exhibition The weekend’s official “opening of the book” is also the last chance viewing of the resident academy's Open•Set Exhibition of handmade books in the Daniel Tucker Gallery at the Ah Haa School for the Arts. Intended to be a recognition of the beauty of the craft and a commitment to the public toward a better understanding of this art form, the exhibition will showcase 50 books, recognizing excellence in craftsmanship and design concept interpretation. Catch it by 5pm before it sets off to travel across the United States!
Friday • May 19 • 2:15pm • Wilkinson Public Library Kids Day! • A Trilogy Theatre Performance of Mo Willems Books The library, in collaboration with Telluride schools, presents "A Trilogy Theatre Performance of Mo Willems Books,” performed by Telluride Theatre. The plays, based on bestselling children’s books by Willems like Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, will be performed for K-4th grades at the library. Open to the public, the trilogy is FREE to attend. If you saw Telluride Theater's production of The Lorax, this is another page-to-stage project that will knock your socks off.
Friday • May 19 • 5:30pm • Telluride Arts World Headquarters (across from the Wilkinson Public Library) 20th Fischer Poetry Prize Friday evening’s programming begins with the awarding of the Fischer Poetry Prize at Telluride Arts world headquarters, across from the library, at 5:30 p.m. Named for Mark and Elaine Fischer—two Colorado creatives and champions of the arts—Mark was a brilliant lawyer poet who died young, and Elaine his artist widow who went on to become Mayor of Telluride and a San Miguel County Commissioner for four terms (2000-2016). She passed away last Memorial Day weekend. Started in 1997, the Fischer Prize began with the Telluride Writers Guild and was sustained for many years by the Telluride Council on the Arts & Humanities (which became Telluride Arts) and Elaine herself in memory of her husband. Most recently, the award was re-energized and expanded by Art Goodtimes and the Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds Poetry Program. What started as a $100 award for local poets moved to a statewide focus, then a regional Southwestern target audience, followed by a Western US scan and has now widened its scope, making the awards available to poets in the entire country. Over 350 submissions were uploaded in 2016. The prize comes with a cash award of $1,000 (plus a $500 travel stipend to cover the journey of the winner to Telluride to read their award-winning poem), plus five finalist awards of $200 each. In the quirky polyglot spirit of Mark, prizes are awarded to entries that best exhibit the qualities of originality, novelty, complex meaning, linguistic skill and wit. The wilder the better. The final judge in 2017 was Chris Ransick, Denver’s Poet Laureate emeritus. On May 6th, the list of winners were released. For the official Press Talking Gourds Press Release, read here.
Friday • May 19 • 8pm • Liberty Bar Gourds Spotlight Poetry Performance: Aaron Abeyta Following a post-awards dinner break, poetry ramps up again at Liberty Bar at 8 p.m. with a performance by former Western Slope Poet Laureate Aaron Abeyta, winner of the Colorado Book Award for his poetry collection Colcha and recipient of a Colorado Council on the Arts fellowship for poetry. He is currently a professor of English at Adams State College and mayor of Antonito, Colorado, remaining close to his family and culture, both of which greatly influence his work. Before Aaron's reading, outgoing Western Slope Poet Laureate Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer will announce the new Laureate, who will present a few poems before it's all Aaron. The Liberty Bar will create a special libation for the evening—The Midnight Cool—a Tennessee inspired whiskey mule, named for this year's Featured Author's latest novel. An open mic will follow so bring yer words!
Saturday • May 20 • 1-3pm • Wilkinson Public Library Writing Workshop with Featured Author Lydia Peelle: The Story in Everyday Objects In this workshop, you will explore how deep contemplation of everyday objects can be a powerful starting place for expanding the imagination and developing character in both fiction and non-fiction. You will practice writing exercises that stretch both the imagination muscles and descriptive prose muscles. Come prepared to do some writing and expansive thinking! Please bring writing materials and a small object that is meaningful to you. This workshop is FREE, however pre-registration is required. Stop by or call the library (970-728-4519).
Saturday • May 20 • Doors at 7pm / Show at 8pm • Ah Haa School for the Arts 4th Annual Literary Burlesque A review of the 2016 show “Oh Sister, Where Art Thou?” by Art Goodtimes noted: “It’s so very good. I was teased, tantalized, thumped and thoroughly rattled. Hysterical with laughter. Close to tears. On the edge of a canyon and deep in the incredible world of the feminine.” Witness this year's stirring performance by the morphing troupe of eight women and one guy who will drop layers, both literal and literary. This year’s show--Geography of Resistance: Body Politic, Body Erotic—is a collective “No!” to the rising forces in the world that seek to strip from bodies of women and bodies of land the legal protections that ensure we run wild and free, as madams of our own ecology. But the theme is also a “Yes!” and a nod to Wallace Stegner's “geography of hope," a phrase that public lands advocates invoke in the ongoing effort to protect our last, best wild places. Meaning we'll caress contours. Tease topographies. We'll erode and expose. And we'll peel away playfully the projections that seek to reduce us to mere resources for the taking. Coincidentally, the troupe will be performing on May 20th, designated in 2016 by Colorado lawmakers as Colorado's Public Lands Day. "At its heart, burlesque has always been a response to socio-political tyranny. And so this year's performance is, in large part, just that: Our collective response to pussy-grabs and land-grabs alike,” says Amy Irvine, Literary Burlesque’s founding director.
Doors open at 7pm with a cash bar opening reception that will feature—wait for it—miniature mules as special guests ... a nod to some of the characters in this year’s Featured Author Lydia Peelle’s new novel The Midnight Cool. Tickets are $15 (available starting on Monday, May 8th, at the Ah Haa School or Between the Covers Bookstore) or at the door, if not sold out in advance.
Performers will include: Kierstin Bridger, Daiva Chesonis, Craig Childs, Erika Moss Gordon, Amy Irvine, Ellen Metrick, Lydia Peelle, Corinne Platt, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, and Samantha Tisdel Wright.
Sunday • May 21 • 11am • Wilkinson Public Library Featured Author Brunch with Lydia Peelle LitFest is thrilled to announce Lydia Peelle as the 2017 Featured Author. Her appearance in Telluride is sponsored by the award-winning Wilkinson Public Library. A light brunch with coffees and teas will be served. Lydia's previous book, Reasons For and Advantages of Breathing, was a New York Times Book Review Critics' Choice book and received an honorable mention for the PEN/Hemingway Award. She is also the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, an O. Henry Prize, and the National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35" Honor. And then there’s the Anahid Award for Armenian-American writers. Peelle lives in Nashville, Tennessee, when not on a tour bus with her two children and husband Ketch, lead singer for the Old Crow Medicine Show. She'll duck out from the band’s tour and steal away to Telluride for this event, joining them again on the road when LitFest bids her adieu.
Lydia's new book, The Midnight Cool, is an historical fiction set in 1916 Tennessee, it's a rich tale of two flawed yet endearing grifters who pursue women, wealth, and a surprisingly valuable commodity for the troops in Europe: mules. (Hence, the book's dedication reads "For the mules.") For more on Lydia and the featured title, read here.