Health and wellness aren't words often used to describe the state of the characters (or pets) in Stephen King's 1983 horror novel Pet Sematary: Most of them die, return to life as demons or go insane. But the owners of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park probably don't mind.
After all, they've become masters at turning King's dark work into positive gains. The setting for The Shining is based on the stately hotel (even if the movie version with Jack Nicholson wasn't actually shot there); King wrote the novel after a stint living in Boulder. (That city played a key role in another King classic, The Stand.) He called his hotel the Overlook, and just finished burning it to the ground in his latest book, Doctor Sleep.
King was in town last week to talk about that book at Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder; tickets sold out in a single hour this summer. Also last week, Stanley Hotel owner John Cullen announced that he had partnered with the Anschutz Medical Center in Aurora to build a $15 million Stanley Hotel/Anschutz Medical Center for Wellness near the hotel. The project will include cottages, townhouses, a pool and a training center.
Oh, and by the way, it's being built on the site of a pet cemetery. According to King's people, the pet cemetery that inspired the book of almost the same name was located in Oregon, but this comes creepily close to home. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Stalk radio: Back when David Holthouse was a reporter for Westword, he covered everything from white supremacists to a meth-loving bunch known as the "72 Hour Party People" when he decided it was time to stop telling other people's stories and tell his own. The result was "Stalking the Bogeyman," our May 13, 2004, cover story. In it, Holthouse described being raped in 1978 at the age of seven by a teenager in Anchorage, Alaska, and his discovery years later that he and his attacker now lived in the same town: Denver.
Here's how that story started: "This time last year I was plotting to kill a man. I was going to walk up to him, reintroduce myself and then blow his balls off. I was going to watch him writhe like a poisoned cockroach for a few seconds, then kick him onto his stomach and put three bullets in the back of his head. This time last year I had a gun, and a silencer, and a plan. I had staked out the man's tract home in Broomfield — the gray, two-story one with the maroon trim and the American flag hanging above the doorstep.
"I had followed him to and from his job as an electrical engineer. I was confident I would get away with murder, because there was nothing in recent history to connect me to him. Homicide investigators look for motive, and mine was buried 25 years in the past."
Now that story has been made into a play, which opened in late September in Asheville, North Carolina, where it will run through October 13. The North Carolina Stage Company had "the unique opportunity" to produce Stalking the Bogeyman, which was written and directed by Markus Potter, ahead of its scheduled move to Off Broadway in 2014 at the NewYorkRep, according to the theater company's website.
Why North Carolina? Potter got in touch with NC Stage artistic director Charlie Flynn-McIver "after seeing him on the American Theatre Wing's television program Working in the Theatre, where Flynn-McIver was being interviewed about NC Stage's National Theatre Company grant award," the website says. The two connected because Flynn-McIver, who plays the Bogeyman, had heard the version of Holthouse's story the writer did for NPR's This American Life, in 2011.
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And so far, the play is getting good reviews. Asheville Scene writer Tony Kiss called it a "razor-sharp true story."
"It's an uncomfortable topic, amplified by the small size of the NC Stage Co. space," he continued. "The front rows on the right and left sides are only inches from the actors, making it seem that theater-goers are actually in the show itself. The story plays out over a single act and about 80 minutes, so there is no time to think about this awful scenario or discuss it with someone. It's a matter of hanging on for the ride."
And as Holthouse could tell you, it's been a very wild ride.