George Saunders on Dream Images and Steering Toward the Rapids

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George Saunders is one of America's most celebrated short-story writers, winner of both the Folio prize and a National Book Award finalist, as well as a MacArthur fellowship. Since 1996, he's been a professor at Syracuse, itself an incubator for some of the best authors of his generation. Saunders returns to town this week (he went to the Colorado School of Mines) for the Writer's Studio at Lighthouse Writers Workshop, both to participate in a reading and signing event for fans and to conduct a more focused writers' studio.

Westword caught up with Saunders in advance of his trip to Denver, to talk about finding out which literature is bullshit, writing stories based on dream images, and how, creatively, it's always best to steer toward the rapids.

See also: Comedian Andrew Orvedahl on JG Ballard, George Saunders and airport books

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Artist Jon Zahourek's anatomy lessons find a home in south Denver

Categories: Art, Classes

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Emerald O'Brien
One of Zahourek's hand models for the Anatomy in Clay Center workshop.
Artist Jon Zahourek teaches anatomy from the inside out, creating model skeletons from clay. And with the Studios at Overland Crossing, just off Santa Fe and Evans, he's also built a community center from the inside out, taking a former pottery factory and turning it into a space for art classes, events and his own studio.

See also: Urban Campfire connects women from all walks of life by sharing a meal and stories

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Writing Dates: Writing With Friends motivates writers at The Cartel Studios tomorrow

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Photo courtesy of Norah Charles
Since April, every month Norah Charles has picked a location in Boulder or Denver to host people who want to share in the writing process. She invites writers of all genres to show up with their laptops, journals or tablets, and then write together. Keep reading to learn more about this way of connecting with other local writers -- while getting a few words on the page at the same time.

See also: Writing Life

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Arts Street pays teens to go to class -- and learn real-life skills

Categories: Classes, Media

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Caleb Williams
Student-made mural outside the Arts Street entrance.
Arts Street has implemented the dream plan of generations of public school students: getting paid to go to class. Thanks to the Adolph Coors Foundation, NOFA and Xcel Energy, the educational nonprofit has received new funding to not just offer local teenagers classe instruction in real-life skills, but a stipend for their time in the weekend classes.

See also: Moxie U offers eclectic classes for art enthusiasts

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Metro professor offers free course on psychedelics and liberalism at Deer Pile

Categories: Books, Classes, DIY

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Richard Peterson
Denver musician and Metro professor Roger Green.
Known in the Denver music scene as a former guitarist of The Czars and record producer for Joe Sampson and Esme Patterson, Metro State University of Denver professor Roger Green will be teaching "Psychedelic Aesthetics, Literature, and the Crisis in Liberalism," a donation-based, seven-week course at Deer Pile beginning Sunday, June 8. The class is derived from Green's doctoral dissertation, "Beware of Mad John: Psychedelic Aesthetics, Political Theology and Literature," which inspired his 2013 presentation at Oxford University titled "Pacifism as Practical Mysticism in Aldous Huxley's Eyeless in Gaza"; the sessions will offer an eclectic mix of religion, economics, politics, mythology, literature and psychedelic drugs united by a common theme. Westword recently spoke with Green about the long, strange trip of this high-brow adventure.

See also:
Metropolitan State University of Denver lives up to its name

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DEAD Academy announces winners of first high school art contest at school celebration

Categories: Art, Classes

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Caleb Williams
A 3D illustration done by several of the DEAD Academy's students.
Zak Hennessey stood on a dusty stage that would not look out of place at an underground punk show. A collection of multipurpose spotlights illuminated his excitement as he ran through the story of Denver Entertainment Art and Design Academy -- for at least the third time that day.

This Hennessey's brainchild, born after he returned to Colorado from art school in Los Angeles and was disappointed with the lack of educational opportunities for thinkers and creators here. He started the school to create such opportunities, including the first annual high school art contest whose winners were announced Friday.

See also: The art, food and faces of First Friday in the Art District on Santa Fe


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Celebrate "Colorado Craftsy Day" with free classes on craftsy.com today

Categories: Classes, Crafts

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A look inside the Craftsy studio.
In the social network age, it's easier than ever to take on new hobbies, thanks in part to online communities like Colorado-based Craftsy.com, which offers streamlined instructions on the web. To celebrate its third anniversary, today the website is giving away all the lessons it typically charges for today.

See also: The Anschutz Collection of Western art will add expanded viewing opportunities in June

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St. Francis Healing Works provides music, art and wellness programs for the community

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St. Francis Healing works provides programs and classes for all ages.
Musician, artist and former social worker Diana Rose Frances founded St. Francis Healing Works to extend access to the healing arts through Spacecraft, a creative re-use store; Forte Expressive Works, a music program, and more. "I consider the creative healing arts anything that connects people to their own human nature," Frances explains. "Like, in our human nature, we want to make music and sound, we want to move our bodies and dance, we have an instinct to have healthy food and we all feel rejuvenated after we're around nature and animals."

See also: Spacecraft, the creative-reuse store, holding a Photo Ball fundraiser Saturday

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WordLove Tour: Brandi Shigley and Sahar Pazirandeh take empowerment on the road

Categories: Benefits, Classes

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Denver entrepreneur, MasterMind and fashionista Brandi Shigley has teamed up with transformational speaker and coach Sahar Pazirandeh to take the WordLove Tour from Denver to California this month. For this transformational and inspirational program, the two women are joining their passions and voices to encourage other people to find and do what they love.

See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Sahar Pazirandeh

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Moxie U offers eclectic classes for art enthusiasts

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Photos courtesy of Moxie U
Students paint from a distance at a Moxie U class.
From unconventional drawing workshops to lectures on what is real, Moxie U is redefining school. Founded by Rebecca Vaughan and Susan Stites, two former employees of the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, the new organization offers a variety of classes for people who want to learn something new without enrolling in a degree-geared program. "We want to provide something that people are able to access that they've never had access to before," Vaughan says.

See also: Photos: Clark Richert on display at Gildar Gallery

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