You can get everything you want except "Alice's Restaurant." That's been songsmith Arlo Guthrie's refrain for the past ten years or so. For one thing, the silver-haired folkie royal felt the autobiographical, anti-war, marathon story-song that was his signature for decades was simply too long to remember or to fit into a modern-day concert's time allowance. And, too, maybe the times just weren't right.
I, for one, have heard it live twice: Once from the bleachers at the Regis Fieldhouse in Denver, and once at a free Central Park concert in New York City. Back then, it was a peaceful anthem that poked fun at just about everybody, without actually hurting any feelings. It was a different animal. Most music these days, after all, has to have a digital sheen and a time limit.
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But the times, they may be a- changing. For the song's fortieth anniversary, Guthrie has reinstated it on live-set lists, believing that maybe there's a whole new generation ripe for its gentle message. "Alice," in her entirety, will be just one of the many highlights at this year's Rocky Mountain Folks Fest, the annual three-day Planet Bluegrass acoustic singer-songwriter bash on the St. Vrain River. Also on the docket are such luminaries as Joan Armatrading, Steve Earle, Kasey Chambers, Taj Mahal and Loudon Wainwright III, along with a few newcomers who are catching some buzz. The music begins today and continues through Sunday at Planet Bluegrass Ranch, 500 West Main Street in Lyons.
For tickets, $40 to $45 daily or $105 for a festival pass, call 303-823-0848 or go to www.bluegrass.com. -- Susan Froyd
Crazy for Cows
Where tykes and tainted meat meet.
In the carnivore-unfriendly town of Boulder, you wouldn't expect something as touchy-feely as a family arts festival to be named after diseased beef, but the Dairy Center for the Arts is known for doing the unexpected. An alternative to other hoity-toity adult-centric arts events, today's Mad Cow Arts Festival invites kids and their grownups to look, touch and experience the arts. The little ones can make "mad" cow hats, paint crazy bovine faces or learn to juggle while Mom and Dad get in touch with their "inner intuitive processes," sit back and watch belly-dancing in the park or listen to a bit of gospel music. Then the whole family can join up to work on the Ecocycle recycled-sculpture project and shop various artist and artisan booths. It's a full day of free art madness, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut Street, and nearby Sinton Park. For a schedule of events and more information, visit www.thedairy.org or call 303-440-7826. -- Michelle Baldwin