The Magic of Mushrooms

If you’ve ever been to a mushroom festival — particularly the legendary Telluride Mushroom Festival, which this year runs from August 27-30 — you already know that mycologists (’shroom experts) are in a league of their own. And so is the documentary Know Your Mushrooms.

The flick combines material filmed in Telluride with archival footage (clips from the 1963 Japanese movie Attack of the Mushroom People; an educational mushroom video from the ’50s) and animation (trippy montages and fun facts about fungi accompanied by a cute lil’ ’shroom) and melds the visuals with a soundtrack by the Flaming Lips. The result is the strangest, funniest and, not so incidentally, most educational film about mushrooms you’re ever likely to see.

And, yes, hippie: Know Your Mushrooms does feature several minutes on “magic” mushrooms (psilocybes and otherwise), including a fascinating — and somewhat convincing — diatribe crediting hallucinogenic ’shrooms with the evolution of human consciousness.

The stars of the film, visionary mycologists Gary Lincoff and Larry Evans, share top billing with the Telluride Mushroom Festival itself, including the can’t-miss annual parade (where else can you see a bunch of grownups dressed in fairy and mushroom costumes?), mushroom forays and the healthy, mouth-watering dishes created from fresh-picked ’shrooms. Know Your Mushrooms opens for a week-long run at Starz FilmCenter in the Tivoli on August 28, but you can catch a special preview screening there at 5 p.m. today — with star Lincoff appearing in person! Tickets are $6 to $9.50; visit or call 303-595-3456.
Sun., Aug. 23, 5 p.m., 2009

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Amber Taufen has been writing about people, places and things in Denver since 2005. She works as an editor, writer, and production and process guru out of her home office in the foothills.
Contact: Amber Taufen