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Manitou Indian Center yet Idle No More

MANITOU SPRINGS- Idle No More organizers from Denver and Pueblo woke the sleepy local Native American community with a spirited gathering on Saturday, smack in the middle of Manitou, neath the town clock, only blocks from the CS Indian Center.

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

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

Manitou Carnivale!

I posted some photos from yesterday's Carnivale parade in Manitou on Not My Tribe's Facebook page. Very colorful! Go see!

Manitou Springs tribute to my mother

MANITOU 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

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.

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