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A conversation with La Veta School of Arts President and Board Director Peggy Zehring

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Browsing through the art galleries on La Veta’s Main Street you’ll occasionally hear, “We’re Colorado’s mini Taos.” The Southwest art is seemingly just as prevalent, and almost everybody you run into has some kind of background in art. Even Hwy. 12 from La Veta to Cuchara feels very similar to the High Road to Taos between the tiny art mecca and Santa Fe.

Peggy Zehring and her husband David founded the La Veta School of Arts, which seems to now be the center of the art community, in 2000. “We have been offering creative art experiences for people of all ages ever since,” Peggy said. Workshops at the school range from traditional painting to art welding.  Peggy received a fine arts degree from the University of Illinois-Chicago and has been an art teacher since 1977. The following is a conversation with her about “Colorado’s mini Taos.”

PULP: When did the art scene in La Veta really start growing?

Peggy Zehring: Huerfano County has a long artistic tradition.  In the 60s many artists moved to communes here from New York City.  La Veta has had the Spanish Peaks Arts Council (SPACe) since the 80s, but the scene here really started taking off around 2000 with The La Veta School of the Arts, the expansion of SPACe and many Public Artworks Projects.

PULP: What do you think the big draw is here for artists?

Zehring: Anyone who comes to La Veta is immediately struck by its beautiful setting at the foot of the Spanish Peaks. La Veta itself also has a long and fascinating history.

PULP: Right now there’s a big community project in front of the La Veta School of the Arts. How did that get started?

Zehring: The artists of La Veta claimed what was left of a healthy 100-year-old cottonwood tree after if was taken down in 2013. This spring, the La Veta School of the Arts and the Spanish Peaks Arts Council decided to collaborate making it a  Public Artworks Project. A committee was formed which  solicited woodcarvers to submit proposals. Dale Gillan’s proposal was selected. Our committee is thrilled with Dale’s work so far and expect to see it finished by fall.  

PULP: Are community projects pretty regular and do a lot of people get involved? It seems like almost everybody in La Veta is involved with some aspect of art.

Zehring: You are right. LVSA has sponsored 14 public artworks project banners which have hung on Main Street since 2005 and were originally created by high school students in a collaboration between LVSA and La Veta High School. Now, everyone in La Veta is encouraged to create a banner.  In 2007, two local sculptors created two wind-propelled public artworks which hang at both ends of Main Street. Two public works park benches were created by teenagers for the town park in 2001 and 2006.  In 2005, 12 grade-school aged children were given nine prepared oil drums to paint for trash collection in La Veta.  

Between 2000 and 2008, teenagers painted four outdoor murals, two of which are featured in “The Murals of Colorado: Walls that Speak” by Mary Motian-Meadows and Georgia Garnsey.  La Veta also has two bronze sculptures created by a local artist.  I believe there is a “walking tour” of La Veta in the making through the chamber of commerce.

Dales Gillan, wood carver, works on the community project in front of the La Veta School of Arts. The project is dedicated to saving a 100-year-old cottonwood tree off Ryus Ave. Photo by Kara Mason

Dales Gillan, wood carver, works on the community project in front of the La Veta School of Arts. The project is dedicated to saving a 100-year-old cottonwood tree off Ryus Ave. Photo by Kara Mason

PULP: That’s a lot of art. What role does La Veta’s culture play into the economy and tourism?

Zehring: Near the 4th of July every year, SPACe sponsors “Art in the Park” which brings many artists and art-lovers to La Veta.  In fact, all spring, summer and fall La Veta has many tourists and art lovers who come to visit  the many galleries and see all the public artworks.

PULP: So, do things slow down in the winter?  

Zehring: Traditionally, La Veta has a beautiful winter with lots of snow.  The artists are happy to be snowed into their studios where they create works for the next tourist season.

PULP: What is the number one thing visitors should know about La Veta’s culture?

Zehring: La Veta loves and welcomes its summer visitors–many of whom have summer cabins here.  There are many art classes to take, galleries to visit and even theatrical performances held at the Francisco Theater for the Performing Arts.

PULP: Are there any must-stops you recommend when traveling through La Veta?

Zehring: La Veta’s Main Street should be seen featuring Charlie’s Cash and Carry since the early 1900s with its original ice cream counter and ice cream cones to go.  Anyone coming to La Veta should walk Main Street, see the banners, visit the galleries, get an LVSA class schedule and “walking tour guide” from our award-winning library. Also, visit our art-filled public park on Ryus Street.

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Denver’s Wes Watkins dynamic new future-funk EP is from another planet

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Future-Funk Party Starter | Wes Watkins

Dreams Out from Denver’s best kept secret Wes Watkins wears so many musical hats it needs a rack; downtempo G-Funk homage and sweltering nee-Soul / Rn’B are all over this release, all covered with a thicc pop glaze and a penchant for electronic-sonic experimentation that keep every song fascinatingly adventurous while maintaining a danceability and groove that easily, easily warrants multiple listens. Don’t sleep on this one.


Lo-Fuzz Folkie | Hoi Ann

The beauty of Hoi Ann’s Tangenier lies in both what you can hear and what it may want you to not hear. Lo-fi folk and bedroom-pop are easily tangible on its surface, but the buzzy electronic tones that sparingly flourish the 5 songs of this release lie low and create a unique aural atmosphere for listeners, like hidden secrets for your ears only.


Indie-Punk Sweeties | Gestalt

The pop-punk shred-bois in Gestalt are back at it again; The irresistible combo of the Get Up Kids earnest midwestern-emo and smart pop-punk wit of the Wonder Years is strong on the tracks that encompass LongBoix, as is an acute fondness and growing appreciation for the finer indie rock of yesteryear. Well I guess this is growing up.


Psych-Rock Screamcore | Gone Full Heathen

On their criminally good self titled EP, Fort Collins heavies Gone Full Heathen friggin dare you to try and trap them in a single genre. Nice try, but they’ll just chew right through your puny ropes using a gnashing blend of crushing stoner-rock laced hardcore punk and overdriven psych-rock / post-metal induced bite like the righteous rock and roll wolves that they are.


All releases available for purchase now thru Bandcamp. Go Local!

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The Haze Craze for Lazy Days

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There are many different styles of beer. Ranging from light lagers (think Bud Light) and ales to sours, stouts, and IPAs.

Within those styles, however, are varying styles.

For example, one would think a sour beer is a sour beer, right? Wrong. According to the Beer Judge Certification Program, which defines every style of beer, there are six recognized European sour styles.

For IPAs, there are seven. American beers have four; stouts have three… You get the point.

Even with viewing the list of recognized styles, it’s not a complete list.

Take New England IPAs (NE IPA), as a prime example. Many breweries are currently mass producing this style of beer, and it’s selling like crazy.

You may have heard one of your annoying beer loving friends talk about drinking a “juice bomb,” or a requesting a “hazy IPA” at the pub, and shrugged it off. It turns out, they (sometimes) know what they are talking about.

What makes NE IPAs so popular when compared to a more traditional, West Coast IPA? NE IPAs have all of the hop flavors, without an overabundance of bitterness.

Instead of constantly adding hops throughout the boil to achieve a fruity flavor balanced by bitterness, the NE IPA has a small hop addition at the begging, and then nothing else until after the boil has finished.

That translates into a beer with very little bitterness, and plenty of hop aroma and flavor. Hops like Citra, Mosaic, Mosaic, Galaxy, and El Dorado are most common in NE IPAs, according to the Homebrewers Association. Those hops tend to impart a fruity, and dare I say, juicy flavor profile.

Between the juicy flavor and the seemingly natural haziness to NE IPAs, it’s not far fetched for an NE IPA to look like a tall glass of orange or grapefruit juice, only carbonated and full of alcohol.

NE IPAs are starting to gain momentum here in Colorado, with breweries turning their focus to the haze craze. Specifically, Odd13, WeldWerks, and Epic Brewing coming to mind.

Odd13 is based in Lafayette, Colo. and has a long list of NE-inspired IPAs constantly rotating through the tap room and distributed throughout the state. Codename: Super fan and Noob are two beers that are found in cans, and both offer a different approach to the haze craze.

WeldWerks is based in Greeley, Colo. and has accumulated a cult-like following in just a few short years for its Juicy Bits NE IPA. The brewery just started self-distributing locally, so you’ll have to make the trip to the brewery and pick up a crowler or four. Be sure to check the WeldWerks Facebook page for availability and limits. Yes, they have to place per person limits on how much you can purchase.

Epic Brewing recently announced its NE IPA, which will rotate between four different flavor profiles throughout the year. The cans will look the same but will be different colors as a quick way to tell identify which version you have.

So the next time you walk into a brewery or liquor store, it’s OK to ask for a hazy or juicy IPA. It’s a thing, and, frankly, they are damn good.

On Tap: By the time this hits newsstands, ThunderZone Pizza & Taphouse will have opened on the CSU-P campus. Located at 2270 Rawlings Blvd., the ThunderZone features 32 taps, a carefully curated tap list, and is locally owned.

At the opening, the tap list includes tasty brews from the likes of Florence Brewing and Lost Highway.

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Senators upend GOP health care bill in true Trump style… Twitter

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WASHINGTON — When Sens. Mike Lee and Jerry Moran decided they were in ready to disrupt the GOP rewrite of the health care law, they chose President Donald Trump’s favorite medium.

They could not support Senate Republicans’ plan, the somewhat unlikely pair of conservatives tweeted at 8:30 p.m. Monday night, giving no heads up to the White House or Senate leaders before pressing send.

The story behind the statement reveals two senators willing to be branded as bill killers and seemingly unconcerned with trying to soften the blow with party leaders.

The announcement, coming after some 10 days of conversations between the men, stunned official Washington and left Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at least two votes short in the closely divided Senate from being able to move forward with the GOP bill, effectively sinking the measure. It landed shortly after Trump dined with a group of senators to discuss strategy – unwittingly plotting a plan that would immediately become outdated.

Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican leader, found out about Lee’s defection after the White House dinner of rosemary-grilled rib eye and summer vegetable succotash. He “had no idea it was coming,” Cornyn said.

Another Republican, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, found out from TV news.

Moran, a second-term lawmaker from Kansas who isn’t known for making waves, and Lee, a two-term senator from Utah who has clashed with Trump, have been talking over the past 10 days about the health care legislation and agreed the GOP bill did not go far enough to repeal Obamacare or address rising health-care costs. They decided to announce their position to make the bill’s fate clear and allow senators to move on, Moran said.

“It could have been prolonged for days or weeks while no one said anything,” Moran said in an interview.

Moran, who oversaw the Senate Republicans’ 2014 election campaigns, concluded last week he wouldn’t vote for the latest version of the bill but “gave myself a weekend in Kansas to think about it,” he said.

Lee had helped draft an amendment, along with fellow conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that would allow insurers to sell skimpy plans alongside more robust ones to lower costs. Cruz agreed to some changes in wording by GOP leaders, but Lee thought the new language allowed too many Obama-era regulations to remain in place.

After talking again, Moran and Lee agreed Monday night on a statement drafted earlier in the day. They issued their statement shortly after a White House dinner attended by seven GOP senators – all likely yes votes on the health care bill. Neither Lee nor Moran attended.

A Lee spokesman said the statement – and its timing – “had nothing to do with the White House dinner. It was not a reaction in any way.”

The statement was made public as soon as it was ready, the spokesman said.

Neither Trump nor McConnell received advance warning about the statement, although it’s likely that neither the president nor the Senate leader was completely surprised.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spent the weekend calling lawmakers, including Lee and at least seven other GOP senators, according to the administration. Trump talked politics, while Pence discussed policy.

Trump called Lee on Saturday, and Lee told the president he was leaning against the bill, for the reasons he later made public.

Lee told Utah’s KSL Newsradio that he had a great conversation with Trump, when he told the president his “consumer freedom” amendment had been weakened and that he wasn’t sure that he could support the bill.

“He was encouraging to me and said, you know, ‘Just see what changes you can make to it,’ ” Lee said.

Lee and McConnell did not talk over the weekend, but Lee spoke twice to Cornyn, R-Texas, the majority whip.

Trump, who frequently takes to Twitter to announce proposals or denounce opponents, was blindsided by, of all things, a tweet.

He told reporters Tuesday he was “very surprised when the two folks came out last night, because we thought they were in fairly good shape. But they did. And, you know, everybody has their own reason.”

Moran said while he remained committed to repealing the health care law, Congress needs to make a “fresh start” on writing a replacement bill in an “open legislative process.”

“We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy,” he said, in a statement that followed the tweet.

In his own statement, Lee said the GOP bill does not repeal all the Obamacare tax increases and “doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.”

Both explanations were issued on social media.

“Twitter is a nice medium to get your message out,” Lee’s spokesman said.

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