Telluride Culture and Nightlife

Startup Weekend Coming to Telluride July 12-14

indexIt’s an event that occurs all over the world throughout the year but Telluride’s first ever Startup Weekend is coming July 12-14, so get your entrepreneurial ideas ready.
The nonprofit, community-building event brings together entrepreneurs of different backgrounds, including software developers, marketers, designers, and other enthusiasts. They will gather to pitch ideas, form teams and start companies in just 54 hours. Participants have 60 seconds to make a pitch (optional), the pitches are whittled down to the top ideas, and then teams form around those ideas to come out with several developed companies or projects.  Finally, the weekend culminates with demonstrations in front of an audience of judges and potential investors.
According to event organizer Dennis Lankes, people from all over the region will come together for Startup Weekend in Telluride and build amazing teams that stick. The event will be held in the Hotel Madeline in Mountain Village.  “We have tools, prizes and sponsors to support remote teams working together even after Startup Weekend,” Lankes said. “We have tickets that include lodging at the event location, and we have a great grassroots movement of energetic and entrepreneurial people.”

Telluride: While Skiing is King, Adventures Abound in This Mountain Town

I’m seated at a white-linen covered table in the middle of a meadow at 10,000 feet altitude.

The Rocky Mountains of Telluride serve as the scenic backdrop. I’m among 20 guests about to indulge in a special “foraging dinner,” orchestrated by Telluride’s luxurious Hotel Madeline. An hour earlier, our group had been roaming the lightly wooded forests, searching out mushroom delicacies with our guide, John SirJesse.

With our baskets brimming, we returned to the meadow and delivered the delicacies to our chefs who began incorporating the finds into a delectable, six-course tasting menu. The sun began to lower on the horizon as our sommelier held up a glass of fine wine in a toast: “Many of us live in concrete jungles,” he announced. “Not today.”

Welcome to the wild luxuries of Telluride.

Telluride has long been a favored respite for those drawn to scenic mountain bliss but prefer a laid-back atmosphere rather than one of pretentious airs. Granted, the area draws its fair share of star power — Ralph Lauren’s 29,000-acre ranch is nearby as are the mountain retreats of Tom Cruise, Jerry Seinfeld, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf and others.

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Pot Votes in CO Raise Specter of Weed Tourism

Hit the slopes — and then a bong?

Marijuana legalization votes this week in Colorado and Washington state don’t just set up an epic state-federal showdown on drug laws for residents. The measures also open the door for marijuana tourism.

Both marijuana measures make marijuana possession in small amounts OK for all adults over 21 — not just state residents but visitors, too. Tourists may not be able to pack their bowls along with their bags, but as long as out-of-state tourists purchase and use the drug while in Colorado or Washington, they wouldn’t violate the marijuana measures.

Of course, that’s assuming the recreational marijuana measures take effect at all. That was very much in doubt Friday as the states awaited word on possible lawsuits from the U.S. Department of Justice asserting federal supremacy over drug law.

So the future of marijuana tourism in Colorado and Washington is hazy. But that hasn’t stopped rampant speculation, especially in Colorado, where tourism is the No. 2 industry thanks to the Rocky Mountains and a vibrant ski industry.

The day after Colorado approved recreational marijuana by a wide margin, the headline in the Aspen Times asked, “Aspendam?” referring to Amsterdam’s marijuana cafes.

Colorado’s tourism director, Al White, tried to downplay the prospect of a new marijuana tourism boom. “It won’t be as big a deal as either side hopes or fears,” White said. Maybe not. But many are asking about marijuana tourism.

Ski resorts are “certainly watching it closely,” said Jennifer Rudolph of Colorado Ski Country USA, a trade association that represents 21 Colorado resorts.

The Colorado counties where big ski resorts are located seem to have made up their minds. The marijuana measure passed by overwhelming margins, with more support than in less visited areas.

The home county of Aspen approved the marijuana measure more than 3-to-1. More than two-thirds approved marijuana in the home county of Colorado’s largest ski resort, Vail. The home county of Telluride ski resort gave marijuana legalization its most lopsided victory, nearly 8 in 10 favoring the measure.

“Some folks might come to Colorado to enjoy some marijuana as will be their right. So what?” said Betty Aldworth, advocacy director for the Colorado marijuana campaign.

Marijuana backers downplayed the impact on tourism. Aldworth pointed out that pot-smoking tourists wouldn’t exactly be new. Colorado ski slopes already are dotted with “smoke shacks,” old mining cabins that have been illicitly repurposed as places to smoke pot out of the cold. And the ski resort town of Breckenridge dropped criminal penalties for marijuana use two years ago.


Telluride Film Festival 2012

At the press conference kicking off this year’s Telluride Film Festival one of our fellow reporters kindly suggested some sort of ban on people talking on or texting with cell phones while in line for movies. The reason being that the lines are a great place to socialize and hear about movies. When the other half of the room, who were busy texting at the time, had this proposal re-told to them the uproar was overwhelming, definitive and final. No ban.

Actually the lines seemed fine, there is still plenty of socializing to be had. Besides the lines there is also the gondola which is the only way to get to the Chuck Jones Theater. This year I heard of a bus losing its brakes on the way down from the airport after a private party. Had there been an actual crash you would have heard about it too as Laura Linney was on the bus.

As usual passes were sold out a short time before the festival started. There did not seem to be any major upsets with large numbers of people getting shut out of a particular movie. Perhaps this was because George Clooney was not at the festival. Bill Murray was however, in support of his new film with Laura Linney, Hyde Park on Hudson. I did not see the film but I did inadvertently attempt to create shorter lines at the movies I was seeing by simply suggesting that Bill Murray might be at another theater. Me (to a friend): “We should start a rumor that Bill Murray is at the Galaxy”. Person three rows back: “What’s that rumor about Bill Murray!?”.. you get the picture.

Click here to read the entire article about Telluride Film Festival.

The State of the Race: Telluride and Venice Will Launch Oscar Season

Telluride-2012-featThe Telluride Film Festival sent out its official credentials today and will begin August 28th. In recent years the festival has become a vital launching pad for Oscar hopefuls. “I went to Telluride before it was cool,” is a common refrain. We Oscar bloggers have glommed onto the mountainous fest like hipsters appropriating the latest Asian-fusion taco truck in Silverlake. And there’s no turning back. Telluride is to Oscar as the primaries are to politics; you find the contenders who can win and you run with them.

Argo and Slumdog Millionaire are two recent Best Picture winners that got their early boost in Telluride. The Descendants and Up in the Air are two films entered the Oscar race as formidable contenders after a great head start in Telluride. Part of the appeal is that the pool of journalists is smaller; many film critics who hit the major fests often skip Telluride because of the cost, so there’s less likely the chance that something gets outright panned. The selection committee is very smart and they tend to pick good films to service their paying clientele, many who return to Telluride every year for that singular experience of great films in a small town. The same can’t be said for the bigger fests, which bring international journalists in by the hundreds.

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Top NYE Ski Towns, Telluride Ranks!

The torch light parade is one of the hallmarks of New Year’s in the quaint, yet tony, southwestern ski town. Dozens of skiers set off in the dark, cruising down the steep night skiing combo of Coonskin and Telluride Trail—with lights in hand, creating a beautiful snake-like line of light heading down the mountain. Later in the evening, the clock tower atop the courthouse draws crowds in the hundreds, and in between, the town’s classic bars such as the Last Dollar Saloon (just ask for the “Buck”) and the New Sheridan are packed with libated locals. The Sheridan Opera House, a historic and outstanding music venue, will host The Wailers this year for a reggae-inspired party, too.

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TELLURIDE TEDxTellurideLive Returning to Town

imagesOver two days last February, the screen of the Michael D. Palm Theatre played host to writers and entrepreneurs, beatboxers, artists, neuroscientists and gospel singers with one thing in common — they all had ideas worth spreading.  The inaugural TEDxTellurideLive featured a simulcast of parts of the 2012 TED Conference — a four-day gathering of thinkers and innovators in Long Beach, Calif. that focuses on groundbreaking, luminous or inspiring ideas.

Despite being held in the middle of the week, TEDxTellurideLive drew a healthy crowd of people: an estimated 344 people participated on Wednesday, while roughly 209 people took part in the bonus day of talks on Thursday. Adults and students filed into the Palm Theatre to take in 18-minute talks by clawhammer banjo player Abigail Washburn, secret keeper Frank Warren and high-wire artist Phillipe Petit, among others.

“Last year it was a tremendous success,” said TEDxTellurideLive organizer Katrine Formby, who brought the event to town along with her husband, Bill.  On the heels of that success, the Formbys are bringing another round of TEDxTellurideLive to the Palm and the Telluride community. The 2013 event will take place on Feb. 27, a Wednesday. Last year a bonus day was added — the same thing could happen in 2013.

Registration for the 2013 event is open now. People can visit to sign up, learn more about TEDx events and receive instructions for the event. Although TEDxTellurideLive is free, registration is required and will be taken on a first come, first served basis.

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Telluride Bluegrass Festival Makes First Lineup Announcement

The 2013 Telluride Bluegrass Festival broke records for its ticket sales, selling out its 4-day passes in just hours — all before a single act had been announced. Now weeks later, the first wave of acts have been announced, which includes the Sam Bush Band, Jackson Browne and Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell.

The biggest surprise comes in five little letters tucked near the bottom of the first third of the bill: Feist.  With the likes of Jerry Douglas, Trampled by Turtles, Steep Canyon Rangers and so many other top-notch string bands (including those fellas from Yonder Mountain), the 2013 Telluride Bluegrass Festival looks to outdo its reputation as the best weekend in bluegrass. If you want a piece of the action and haven’t locked a ticket down yet, single day passes are still available for Thursday and Sunday over at Planet Bluegrass, but act fast: tickets will be out the door lickety split.

Click here for the entire initial lineup.

Historic Sell-Out For Bluegrass Four-Day Passes

Four-day passes to the 2013 Telluride Bluegrass Festival sold out in a record-shattering three and a half hours on Wednesday when they were released to the public.  The staff at Planet Bluegrass had braced for high demand for tickets to its upcoming 40th anniversary festival, but they were still shocked at just how quickly the passes vanished.  “We thought last year was a big deal,” said Brian Eyster, director of communications for Planet Bluegrass. “And then last year was nothing compared to this.”

Wednesday’s unheard-of sell-out — which happened before a single act was announced — reflects a demand for Bluegrass tickets that has exploded in the last couple years.

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The ‘Local’s Favorite” Festival Starts Friday

Renowned as of the most scenic and intimate music festivals in the country, Telluride Blues & Brews is located within the world-famous resort town of Telluride, Colorado, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Blues & Brews is known in Telluride as the ‘locals’ festival, and is a three-day celebration of music and microbrews held in Telluride Town Park, an outdoor music venue with breathtaking 13,000 foot mountains as a backdrop. The festival offers an eclectic mix of live blues, funk, rock, jam band, gospel and soul performances, and some of the best microbreweries in the country, with a wide variety of food and craft vendors, children’s activities, late night jams, and much more.The Telluride Blues & Brews Festival takes place in Telluride Town Park, a renowned outdoor music venue with breath-taking mountain vistas for a backdrop. At the heart of our venue is the Fred Shellman Memorial Stage, a small, humble wooden stage that has held the weight of legends over the years.

When B.B. King performed here in 2004, he sat on the stage, looked out at the mountains before him, and told the crowd, “Out of the 90 different countries I’ve been to, I’ve never seen anything more beautiful than what you have here.” It’s not the altitude tha will take your breath away. It’s the views.

Click here to see this years awesome lineup.