Tag Archives: Manitou Springs

Reformation unpopular with Catholics

Local progressive agitator Rita Ague takes issue with a scolding homily delivered at Manitou’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help:

I’m sorry, Father Corbley, but I’m unable to attend your sessions.

I’m one of many cafeteria Catholics and former Catholics who find spirituality in avoiding “spiritual masturbation.” Instead, I work as best I can for justice and peace, and don’t worry about what makes me feel spiritual.

Guess this qualifies me as one of those you cited in your sermon as operating “outside the box” I actually call myself a “Cathepis” – sounds a bit vulgar, but actually stands for a Catholic who agrees with the direction the Church of England has gone in allowing priests to marry, women to be ordained, gay priests with partners to come out of the closet and actually become bishops, etc.

No, I’m not gay, but am a strong supporter of civil rights and Christian, humanistic love and respect for all. I attend both Catholic and Episcopal services, but must admit to leaning more toward the Episcopal, insofar as I’m absolutely turned off with the oh so unchristianlike behavior of so many RC’ers, such as the current pope, our local bishop, the blatantly manipulated “good Catholics” who see my “Healthcare not Warfare” button and signs, and scream at me that I’m going to hell because I support health care reform. They yell that health care reform, including the public option and/or single payer approach, is all about abortion. And I develop my own spirituality by refraining from screaming back at them.

Good luck to you, Father, and God be with you in your journey on a less traveled road.

Rita Ague

Artist Stephen Morath eyes Second Base

Manitou artist Steve Morathe- Autumn by the Spanish Peaks, the Wahatoya of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
The painting drew our eyes as we ate in the Eastside Del Taco. Among many gaily colored prints by the same artist was this pop-ish depiction of what could only be the Spanish Peaks. Southwest-scapes are ubiquitous enough to seem completely generic, and Pikes Peak belongs to America the Beautiful, but the Wahatoya are our private purple majesties. Did a stranger conjure these breast-peaks to pair with another iconic fixation, the red pickup truck, or was this uncharacteristic fast-food outlet choosing to showcase a local talent? Neither.

The prints were signed “S. Morath” and sure enough, that’s Steve Morath of Manitou Springs, regular regional Opera chorus member, church music director, and beyond-the-scene fine-artist. He doesn’t exhibit locally, but the mild-mannered Morath doubles as an artist of national distinction. He’s represented by the Leslie Levy Fine Art Gallery in Phoenix, Arizona, and every internet art poster purveyor. There are even online sources for digital downloads if you want to do the reproduction yourself.

If you did not know that the Spanish Peaks of the Sangre de Cristos are called by the Native Americans the Wahatoya, or “Breasts of the Earth,” then my post title may have seemed cryptic. Otherwise, obviously Stephen Morath’s little red truck is going much further. If the connection was obvious, touching a girl’s breasts is getting to “Second Base,” I would have titled this Morath Has Eyes on Home.

Only a classic car buff is looking at the ’48 Ford/Chevy, and your eyes don’t linger long on R. Crumb’s Madonna Nature’s pointy brassiere. The focal point of this composition is the little curve in the road, lying at the intersection of the male and female.

I’ll embarrass myself further to reassure you that I am not lost in the anatomy of this topography, as I was oversimplifying again. The most sensuous curve of a reclining nude is the navel. That’s the apex of this scene, of course. Morath’s little red figure is perched, bending forward with comic virility, deja on the mons veneris, to be perfectly clinical.

Whether the equally soft-curved shiny hard-body is parked, idling, or teetering serendipitously onward, I believe Morath has captured the charm of physical romance with the lights on. His is a loving tribute to the fertile feminine, and a whimsical suggestion of the masculine, as an itinerant, man-made, self-armored, commuter-adventurer feeling his way into the gentle valleys of the she.

It may not be exactly the reason Del Taco chose to hang the piece, but I think a number of Morath’s paintings are similarly sexualized. Or not. I say that because it doesn’t matter really. They’re beautiful and they tell social stories, whichever way you chose to take them, with bold electric color.

And while I’m on a subject about which I know demonstrably little, I’ll say a brief something about Del Taco: the cleanest, brightest fast food restaurant I would ever recommend. The key to their ne-plus-ultra fish tacos may be the lime, or it may be that the fish is lightly deep fried. I hope you try it despite the fact that I will confess the predominant delight is their crisp raw cabbage. Marie and I now plan our eastward treks contingent upon a lunch break at Del Taco. But let’s applaud their patronage of the arts. I don’t know if Del Taco fare is Tex-Mex, or Cali-Mex, but the decor of their eateries in these parts is Old-Mex.

Evidently I predict that as a poster, Autumn by the Spanish Peaks will only grow in popularity. It may turn out that Morath will have defined Las Cumbres Espanolas in the lexicography of American pop images. How many mountains do non-MST-zone dwellers know by name, even by sight? And now with sensual affection?

Manitou Springs tribute to my mother

Lifetime achievement awardMANITOU SPRINGS- (Last night my mother Kathy Verlo was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Open Space activists at the Manitou City Council. I was overcome by their gracious tribute. Here are the notes I prepared in thanks.)
 
I’d like to thank you so much for this recognition of my mother, and assure you that my father very much wanted to be here today. He intended to be here, but inadvertently scheduled a trip, and as an afterthought realized the conflict. He asked me to relay his gratitude and apology.

It is actually fitting that my father is missing this meeting by being away on a trip, because travel was always a bone of contention he shared with my mother. They both liked to maintain their connections around the world, but my mother’s sense of obligation to the local community was very strong, and when she served on the city council, her responsibilities became more regimented. When my father would propose an idea for a trip, my mother would agree, so long as she could be back to Manitou by the next Tuesday City Council meeting. This posed an interesting challenge for their travels. Sometimes Mom would have to return early, often she would not go along at all. So it is hardly a coincidence that after her death, my father has been away with more frequency.

I relate this detail about my mother, not to reflect on her dedication to this city, but to illustrate the determination she showed to make a difference, and the effort she knew it required. I can imagine that all of you serving on the council right now know full well this task. I’m sure a number of you are very reluctant to miss a single meeting, less the interests of opposing parties take advantage of your absence. This was how my mother was able to hold steadfast to the ideals she believed in. This was the strategy required to stand firm against the development of areas now celebrated as open space. She lost plenty of battles, but with a great deal of help from you, won some important ones, and that’s why we are here today.

Now… in Kathy’s spirit, I would like to divert my remarks for a moment. I’ll confess straight off I’m barely brave enough to do it without this preamble, but I’d like to take advantage of this podium to address an important issue, and I hope some of you recognize this as vintage Kathy. No matter the occasion, it was never about my mother, but about what could be accomplished with each given opportunity. You could be discussing last week’s flier, but at the same time, she would be handing you another flier.

I have to rush from this meeting, to another scheduled at the same time, the annual meeting of the ACLU, where we are discussing free speech and the limitations being considered at the State Democratic Convention to be held in Colorado Springs in May. There are plenty of issues to protest, relative to what neither major party is doing, and I hope any or all of you seize this chance to advocate for your particular concerns when the state delegates arrive to put together their party platform.

As well, I’ve passed out fliers to many of you already about an event happening this Sunday at Colorado College, related to KRCC 91.5 on the radio. Amy Goodman, of the news show Democracy Now, is paying a visit, and will speak about the current state of the nation at 3 o’clock on Sunday. Please come. We worked very hard to bring Democracy Now to KRCC, my mother included, but they’ve put the show in a terribly unpopular time-slot, 7pm weekdays. Are you able to listen to Amy Goodman at that time? Undoubtedly not. In fact, she’s on right now, and we are attending a meeting. One of many.

Democracy Now is a wildly popular news program, wherever it’s carried. Many people stream it off the internet, and it keeps everyone so much better informed than the usual corporate media sources, including NPR. Public radio listeners think they are well served by NPR until they hear Amy Goodman, and then they become just sick about how they are being betrayed by corporate spin.

We have to spread that sickness to as many people as possible. If we can convince KRCC to reschedule Democracy Now to the morning drive hour, many more people will, not by accident, become immediately better acquainted with world events. There will be no more uncritical interviews with only government spokesmen or think-tanks to hear “the surge is working” or to keep placing a question mark after “global warming.”

If more of your friends and neighbors get to hear more than the corporate-interest-only news, you won’t have to do as much proselytizing yourself. You will more readily find agreement on issues that benefit our community. Like the environment, and health care, and social inequity, and peace. Instead of the media diverting us with issues like Free-Tibet, more of us will question “hey, is the CIA behind the unrest in Tibet?” Fewer of us might advocate for militarized intervention to Save-Darfur if we are asking “hey, is this about our oil companies fighting with China over who gets their hands on the Sudan?” The list goes on.

The opportunity Democracy Now presents is an urgent one. All of you, I know, have interests in bettering our community and in particular issues you’d like to become better understood. Your biggest hurdle is an uniformed public, and your biggest adversary by far is the media which keeps them that way. We can seize hold of that media, locally, by making it more responsive to the people. Like any enterprise, there will be so much less to do later, if we do more now. Please come on Sunday and lobby KRCC to do this for the community.

I’m going to make this same appeal tonight to the ACLU folk, and other ensuing gatherings this week, so I hope we can bring some real support this weekend.

I impose on you like this with the full confidence that my mother would support this plea, as she was fully supportive of every of my efforts –like any good mother, and so I should add– in particular those that advocated for the benefit of all.

I thank you for this opportunity. I apologize if I’ve taken undue advantage, but in the spirit of my mother I remind you –and you know this– the struggle lives on. Thank you on behalf of my father, and my sisters. As much as my mother would have quickly turned to re-gift this award to the nearest person in the room who she considered more deserving or perhaps someone who she suspected would grow by the encouragement, I accept it on behalf of her family. Your recognition of my mother really does mean a great deal to us.

Coming out at the Manitou Carnivale

My favorite moment at this year’s Carnivale Parade in Manitou was a friend’s gay subversion of the spotlight. Did anyone get a picture?

We were watching the parade beside the flatbed truck upon which two radio jocks were announcing the entries. In between discussing their intentions to drink to excess, they’d describe each parade entry, egg on the participants, and whenever they deemed it appropriate, they’d suggest that ladies bare their breasts. The two seemed to think that the masked girls were supposed to both throw the beads and show their boobs instead of the reciprocal tat for tit.

The two hired jocks got plenty of beads thrown their way, and nothing more –it satisfies me to say– until my friend Larry came parading by.

Larry was not part of the parade, and was in fact walking the other direction along the sidewalk, but was showing off his Mardi Gras finery, a flowing silk cape decorated with a hand painted, life sized nude. It was a fully nude figure, androgynous from the backside, with long locks of hair and facial features in profile. The DJs may be forgiven, since they didn’t know Larry, nor had they maybe fully assessed his parading stride, for having mistaken all that skin for a woman’s. But they went on and on about “that’s what we’re talking about, hubba, hubba” etc, having Larry stop and pose repeatedly the better to acknowledge their construction worker catcalls.

Then one of the DJs thought to ask Larry to bend over, to which Larry obliged, and the bare backside bent with him, which left the DJ really pleased with himself. “I’ll bet you didn’t think of that” he chided Larry, as if the Jock had snuck an indiscretion past him. The crowd was presumed to be laughing along as Larry was being cuckolded by the clever jock’s too easy conquest of the “girl” on the cape. But Larry was eating it up.

Certain they could milk this for a bigger laugh, the DJs asked their mark to repeat his bow in the middle of the street and Larry ceremoniously complied. The figure on his back mooned us all, or beckoned us with its beguiling bare bottom, depending on how you saw it. Larry addressed all sides before standing erect, beaming. Read that as you will, it’s only conjecture. The Manitou crowd clapped and clapped, nothing lost on them. Then Larry gave us a wink before parading back whence he had come, all parties immensely pleased with the encounter.