Vincent Van Gogh’s image is cemented in our cultural memory. His letters complicate the view ~ The Washington Post

“Wheatfield with Crows,” by Vincent van Gogh, 1890. “I’ve painted another three large canvases,” van Gogh wrote to Theo van Gogh and Theo’s wife, Jo van Gogh-Bonger, in 1890. “They’re immense stretches of wheatfields under turbulent skies, and I made a point of trying to express sadness, extreme loneliness. You’ll see this soon, I hope – for I hope to bring them to you in Paris as soon as possible, since I’d almost believe that these canvases will tell you what I can’t say in words, what I consider healthy and fortifying about the countryside.” (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation))
September 17, 2020


From “The Agony and the Ecstasy,” with Charlton Heston as Michelangelo, to “Pollock,” starring Ed Harris, Hollywood films on the lives of tortured artists have been catnip to the general public, and no artist has gained a larger share of attention than Vincent van Gogh.

Kirk Douglas, in 1956’s “Lust for Life,” cemented the prevailing image of the Dutch artist: a tortured genius, helpless in the grip of a vision that no one else could see. Douglas’s resemblance to van Gogh fixed the artist’s appearance in popular culture, and it is safe to say that today people with only a general knowledge of art can identify van Gogh from one of his self-portraits, thinking of him as the madman who cut off his ear.

The real man was much more complex, the son of a respectable pastor, well-read, fluent in three languages, who began his artistic career as an art dealer. His personality shines through in his letters, portions of which were being published within a couple years of his death in July 1890, widely believed to have been a suicide.

Compelling though he may have been, van Gogh was a difficult character to live with, and his appearance mirrored the turmoil within. “He had a facial tic, and his hands seemed to be in constant motion,” the editors write. “People were often afraid of him, because of his wild and unkempt appearance and his intense manner of speaking.” Some of that wild and unkempt appearance may simply have been a result of poverty, but there is no doubt that van Gogh’s conviction that he was always right could make him as tiresome as a half-inebriated and wholly opinionated cousin at a Thanksgiving table. His younger brother Theo performed miracles to support him and undoubtedly, upon dying, ascended to a well-deserved place at the right hand of God for resisting the temptation to strangle the painter on numerous occasions.

“The correspondence of the great artists and idealists in the history of Western Man is mostly about money,” wrote Kenneth Rexroth, including van Gogh in that number. Even in this brief selection of his letters, money, or the lack thereof, is a constant concern. “Oh, Theo,” he writes in 1883 from The Hague, “I could make much more progress if I was a little better off.” A recurring dream throughout the correspondence is a move to the country or, if he’s already in the country, to some other country setting where a studio will be much less expensive and the food nourishing and cheap.

Statement from Steve Schmidt  Upon the Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Steve Schmidt, former Republican, John McCain’s Campaign Manager
Do Not Be Afraid. Do Not Tremble. Do Not Waiver.  Do not doubt either the goodness of our people or the possibilities for our future. Do not let small men with tyranny and malice in their heart
(@realDonaldTrump) or hypocrites with no core (@VP) make you afraid for our future or of your countrymen and women. Do not let the fascists, racists and conspiracy theorists make you afraid of your neighbors or the strangers who could be your friend.  We should all be grateful that we have been chosen by this rancid and dangerous hour to stand up and fight.
What we do now matters. Our Capitol is occupied by a cabal of small and low men and women who have betrayed all of us, the American experiment, their oaths and basic decency in service of a corrupt and malignant cult of personality that is vandalizing our principles, ideals, inheritance, future and fundamental goodness. 200,000 of our country men and women are dead. At least 150,000 of them could be alive but for Trump’s lethal lying and the immoral, supine complicity of his collaborators and enablers. 
Let us resolve to rise up and strike down Trumpism.  Let us put it down with righteous anger and fury. Let us resolve to never let this happen again. Let us do our duty as American citizens. Let us be conscious that we are called to safe action when we consider the blood, sacrifice and courage of ordinary people who stood their ground on a field in Lexington and Gettysburg.  The men who stormed the beaches of Normandy and dropped from the skies over France to crush fascism are smiling at our cause. The men and women who taught the world the meaning of the words “human dignity” as they protested segregation, absorbed the beatings and marched across the Edmund Pettus bridge are watching and judging us. 
We are in the right and for the right. We are fighting for the good. Trumpism is UNAMERICAN. It is illiberal, demagogic, dishonest, cruel, corrupt and disgusting.
We will. Vote. 
Have joy in this fight. RBG is with her husband again. She is arguing with Scalia and meeting Washington and Lincoln. Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas are there. Susan B. Anthony is there and so is Elise Wiesel. A great champion of freedom has arrived in heaven. Her work is done. Her burden is now our’s. Let us honor her legacy by doing our duty.
FIGHT, REGISTER, VOTE.  “I DISSENT” are the most American of words. Thank you Madame Justice. May your memory be a blessing. We all know that it is.

I Have Seen Them Before











I have seen them before,
while driving home at night
up the river road.
Wet paw prints
That have climbed
up the bank
out of the river.
Walking along the road
until they dry
and disappear.
Why do you cross at the same spot ?
Where are you going ?
Are you hungry this autumn ?
No need to apologize.

b.w. arndt

Art Goodtimes honored with Karen Chamberlain Award

Goodtimes honored with Karen Chamberlain Award

GUNNISON … Art Goodtimes was awarded the 2020 Karen Chamberlain Award for lifetime achievement for his contribution to Colorado poetry at the Mountain Words Literary Festival at the Center for the Arts in Crested Butte on Aug. 29th.

“I’m deeply honored,” said Goodtimes. “We have a wonderful community of poets on the Western Slope, and I’m proud to be among them.”
Previous winners include Reg Saner of Boulder, the late Jack Mueller of Log Hill Village outside Ridgway, Bruce Berger of Aspen, Mark Todd of Gunnison, Veronica Patterson of Loveland, and the late Chris Ransick—
former Denver Poet Laureate who had moved to Oregon.As part of the virtual program at this year’s literary festival, Crested Butte’s David J. Rothman presented the award to Goodtimes, and the two of them engaged in an hour-long dialogue about poetry.

Goodtimes has recovered from his throat cancer after six months of treatment at St. Mary’s Cancer Center in Grand Junction. He has taken back the reins of the Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds programming.
The deadline for the Fischer/Cantor Prize has closed, and initial judging of the 200+ entries has begun.Final winners will be announced in October, although no award service is scheduled for this year, due to Covid-19.

The MycoLicious MycoLuscious MycoLogical Poetry Show, produced by Art Goodtimes and John Michelotti with assistance from Sarah Schwab, was a great success and is available as part of this year’s virtual Telluride Mushroom Festival on-line.


Inspired by the late Way of the Mountain climber, skier, and deep ecologist Dolores LaChapelle, Talking Gourds is a poetry program sponsored by the Telluride Institute<>. Art Goodtimes of Wrights Mesa and Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer of Placerville are co-directors, and Galaxy Dancer is our administrative assistant. Brooke Shifrin is our poster artist.

The Talking Gourds poetry program includes a number of projects where it acts as lead sponsor or as collaborative partner with Between the Covers Bookstore, the Wilkinson Public Library, Ah Haa School for the Arts, the Telluride Arts District, the Telluride Mushroom Festival, Lithic Bookstore & Gallery, the Gunnison Literary Arts Festival, the Telluride Mountain School, and others.

Our projects include:
A national Fischer Prize and a state Cantor Award in poetry.

Talking Gourds is indebted to generous contributions past and present from the Cantor Family of North Carolina, the late Elaine Cantor Fischer and her many friends Peter Waldor, Audrey Marnoy, Joan Shapiro, Eduardo Brummel, Terry Tice, Daiva Chesonis, Elissa Dickson, Laura Colbert, Jess Newens, Judy Kohin, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Danny Rosen, Kyle Harvey, Kate Jones, Molly Daniel, Elodie Jacobson, Brooke Einbender, Elle Metrick, John & Maggie Metrick, Mar Boyd, Buff Hooper, Kyra Kopestonsky, Lee & Billi Taylor, Allyson Snyder, Kathy Green, Amy Levek, David Oyster, Michael Olschewsky & Ruth Duffy, Rick & Marty Hollinbeck, Vicki Phelps, Dean Rolley, Brooke Harless MacMillan, David J. Rothman, Chris Zieve and our many friends and members.


John Prine Tribute Show to Re-Air on Prine’s Birthday ~ RollingStone

Online salute featuring Jason Isbell, Margo Price, Bill Murray will repeat on October 10th

John Prine

A popular online tribute to John Prine will re-air on October 10th, what would have been the songwriter’s 74th birthday.

Jay Blakesberg / MediaPunch/Medi



Last June, Picture Show: A Tribute Celebrating John Prine assembled an eclectic roster of artists and friends to remember the late songwriter in music and words. In honor of what would have been Prine’s 74th birthday, the special will repeat — with added footage — on October 10th.

Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, Kacey Musgraves, Bonnie Raitt, Margo Price, Sturgill Simpson, and Bill Murrary all make appearances. Picture Show airs at 7 p.m. CT on Prine’s YouTube channel and will be available to stream through midnight, October 11th.

Along with the tribute news, Prine’s label Oh Boy Records has announced that Prine’s 2000 album Souvenirs will be released on vinyl for the first time on September 25th. The LP, which was originally intended to be released only in Germany, features Prine and his band performing fresh versions of staples like “Hello in There,” “Angel From Montgomery,” and “Six O’Clock News.”

A Prine compilation will also kick off the new season of Austin City Limits. Premiering October 3rd, “The Very Best of John Prine” compiles choice performances from the singer’s eight ACL appearances, including a previously unaired take on “Sam Stone” from 1987. The episode begins with a recollection from Prine’s friend Jason Isbell.

‘Shameless Propaganda’ from Ouray County republicans ~ rŌbert

Have you have seen this ridiculous 1/2-page ad run today by a group of republicans in the Plaindealer smearing Lynn Padgett’s good name? It resurrects the lies of a certain realtor/ developer/ Republican group that were exposed 8-9 years ago during the discussions about Section 9 – Visual Impacts.

The lies that were put forth then and discredited then were repeated in today’s ad by an outfit calling itself the Ouray County Integrity Project, which on the SOS website states its only purpose is to “Oppose Election of Lynn Padget” (selected as Commissioner of the Year in 2011).  A misnomer, the so-called Integrity Project has nothing to do with integrity.

It is  the republicans effort to smear Lynn Padgett and get John Peters / Ned Bosworth elected as county commissioners.

The Warning:

This is only the first of their smear campaign and we need to respond swiftly and directly with one or more ads of our own.  While Lynn will continue running her own ad campaign focusing on her attributes, our ad can confront the lies head-on.  

The Appeal:

To do this, we need your help. 

Please send a contribution to the:
Ouray County Democratic Party
3219 Pleasant Point Dr.
Ridgway, CO 81432
‘The Shameless republican propaganda’