Kristine Edwards on Culture Jam, Intercambio and teaching English as a second language

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Courtesy of Ozomatli
Grammy Award-winning band Ozomatli headlines this year's Culture Jam.
Mundane things like ordering from a menu, talking to a doctor, applying for a job or navigating traffic signs can be hard for people who don't know a country's language. When non-English speaking people migrate into the United States, one of the biggest obstacles they face is figuring out how to communicate. The Longmont-based nonprofit Intercambio has been offering affordable English classes to recent immigrants since 2001. And on Saturday, June 21, the Left Hand Brewing Company is throwing Culture Jam, an intercultural party to help raise funds for Intercambio's work. In advance of the festivities, Westword spoke with Kristine Edwards about the organization.

See also: Ozomatli's Raul Pacheco on collaboration, creativity and Dreaming Sin Fronteras

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The Denver Eye's Tom Lundin talks mid-century modern and Lakeside's Masonic roots

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thedenvereye.com
One of architect Richard Crowther's many designs.
Tom Lundin is an accidental historian: Through blog and The Denver Eye, his Facebook page, he shares images of the Mile High City's fascinating past. Lundin's collection is a curated mix of images that tell the story of a great city, with everything from hundred-year old photos of Lakeside Amusement Park to snapshots of Colfax legend Sid King flanked by beautiful women to newspaper ads for the first King Soopers, which opened in the '40s.

Many of the photos, magazine clippings and postcards he shares are from his own collection; some are from his journeys through the archives at the Denver Public Library (which he is meticulous about crediting). Westword recently spoke with Lundin about his keen eye for Colorado-centric imagery, how he goes about sourcing the photographs and paper artifacts he displays, and what he's learned about Lakeside Amusement Park's not-so secret historical link to Freemasonry.

See also: Mary Voelz Chandler on Denver's demolition history and her updated architectural guide

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Paul Reiser on his Sundance film and returning to standup after twenty years

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To anyone who grew up watching too much basic cable in the '80s and '90s, the sight of Paul Reiser cracking wise is comfortingly familiar. Whether on contemporary classics like Aliens and Diner or the long-running and widely syndicated sitcom Mad About You, chances are good that Reiser's face is on a television somewhere at this exact moment.

Not one to rest on his considerable laurels, however, Reiser is currently in the midst of a mid-career renaissance, appearing in several upcoming movies and honing his standup act in clubs across the country. In town this weekend to headline Comedy Works' South club, Reiser talked with Westword about his role in the Sundance Film Festival smash Whiplash, the lasting influence of Aliens, and his experience returning to the stage after a twenty-year hiatus from standup.

See also: Bobby Lee on Hollywood's lack of Asian roles, sobriety and an ambush from a naked fan

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The Smithsonian Institution's Richard Kurin on studying history through objects

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Courtesy of The Smithsonian Institution
History can build and destroy nations, create and end wars and help society wrangle with ethical obligations and failures. But when teachers reduce it to an endless scroll of names and dates that have been stripped of context, history loses its power.

The Smithsonian Institution's Richard Kurin is on a mission to change the public's relationship to the past. Working with his colleagues, the academic historian has distilled his museum's 137,000,000 historical and cultural artifacts into 101 iconic pieces he discusses in The Smithsonian's History of America in 101 Objects. In advance of his Tuesday night reading at History Colorado, Westword spoke with Kurin about his book.

See also: Phil Goodstein on Five Points, real estate and the future of Denver

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Local filmmaker Scout Wise talks about her CPT12 film debut tonight

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Comic Nathan Lund plays Stan in Scout Wise's Stan Needs a Maid.
Though it has been a few years since filmmaker Scout Wise produced her silent film Stan Needs a Maid, the Denver native is proudly part of a group of once-student filmmakers who will be showcasing their work tonight on CPT 12. Now working in the Bay Area as an associate producer on documentary films, Wise credits the UC Denver's film program for giving her the skills and real-life experience she needed to start her career in movie-making.

In advance of Stan Needs a Maid's local television debut tonight, Wise talked with Westword about what it takes to make a movie on a student budget and how she landed local comedian Nathan Lund as the lead role in a story loosely based on the filmmaker's own dad.

See also: Q&A with Denver Silent Film Fest Coordinator Howie Movshovitz

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Béla Fleck visits Denver to talk about his new documentary, How to Write a Banjo Concerto

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Courtesy of Argot Pictures.
When world-renowned banjo player Béla Fleck was commissioned to write his first banjo concerto, he knew it would be a long, deep and challenging experience. The master musician decided to film the yearlong journey, and the result is Béla Fleck: How to Write a Banjo Concerto, a very personal look at the artist and his process.

He will be performing the finished piece, "The Impostor," at this year's Telluride Bluegrass Festival with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. But Fleck will also be in Denver at the Sie FilmCenter tomorrow night, June 17, for a Q&A after a one-time screening of the film. In advance of his visit, Westword caught up with Fleck to learn more about how the documentary came to be.

See also: Telluride Bluegrass Festival's longtime MC reflects on Colorado's most storied music fest

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Tom Edwards on Wallyware, the unofficial O.J. trial pottery, and a year of free ice cream

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Me with my dad and sister in 1991, painting pottery-shipping boxes.
Ever since I could speak, I've always been proud to tell people about my dad's job. He makes pottery for a living, running a business out of a converted garage studio connected to my parents' Evergreen home. From here he throws, decorates, fires in a kiln, and ships out his handmade plates, bowls and mugs to art galleries around the country. Though he started out creating fine art pottery with colorful glazes, my dad really built his business around Wallyware, pottery decorated with one-panel comic strips that range from political humor to pop culture references, many centered on a fictional dog named Wally.

In honor of Father's Day and the guy who taught me that you really can make a living doing what you love (in addition to teaching me how to walk), I interviewed my dad, Tom Edwards, about his pottery business, how he came to be the official potter for the O.J. Simpson trial, and the time his art won our family a year's supply of ice cream.

See also: Artist and writer: An interview with my brother, painter Evan Kutz

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Anthony J. Garcia on the 1974 murders of six Chicano activists and his play Cuarenta y Ocho

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Courtesy of Su Teatro
Anthony J. Garcia's play Cuarenta y Ocho explores the deaths of six Chicano activists in 1974.
Forty years ago, bombs exploded in Boulder, killing six Chicano activists. Their deaths are still shrouded in mystery: Who killed them and why? Were they plotting a bombing? Did the police and FBI entrap them? Were they murdered? Su Teatro's Tony Garcia has written Cuarenta y Ocho, a play that explores these questions and more. In advance of tonight's opening, Westword spoke with Garcia about his fictional work and the actual events of forty years ago.

See also: Anthony J. Garcia on
Ludlow: El Grito de Las Minas

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Bobby Lee on Hollywood's lack of Asian roles, sobriety and an ambush from a naked fan

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Bobby Lee is a comedian and actor who gained notoriety in San Diego comedy clubs before moving on to a featured role on Mad TV for eight seasons. Lately he's been known for his numerous Chelsea Lately appearances and landing parts in films like The Dictator and the Harold and Kumar go to White Castle series. Lee is in town to headline Denver's esteemed Comedy Works Larimer Square all weekend; in advance of that run, Westword caught up with Lee to discuss Hollywood's lack of roles for Asian actors, getting sober with comedians' support, and an ambush from a naked fan in his dressing room.

See also: Andy Kindler on hack comics, his new CD and criticizing comedy from within

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Famous Artist Phil Bender will start his moving sale tomorrow

Categories: Events, Interviews

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All photos by Mauricio O. Rocha
After creating art there for 22 years, Phil Bender has to move out of his space at the Grant Street Art Studios, since the building has been sold, as do all the other resident artists. So starting Saturday, June 7, and continuing every Saturday through June, Bender and four other artists will be at their studios, selling off the contents.

See also: Will the real Phill Bender please stand up? Phil Bender on Facebook: real or performance art?

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