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Archive for the ‘Science Cafe’ tag

Climate and Culture: More correlations than you would think

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This month’s Science Café, Climate Change, Art and Literature, is timely indeed, as we emerge from a week of record-breaking, sub-zero temperatures here in Colorado. The Al Gore jokes were flying around my office like bitter, errant snowflakes. So what do a couple of English professors from CSU – each with several published books and countless articles between them – have to say about global warming and the arts?

Believe it or not, plenty.

SueEllen Campbell

John Calderazzo

Professor John Calderazzo and Dr. SueEllen Campbell – colleagues in education and marriage – have taught English in Northern Colorado for more than twenty years, bringing not only their literary credentials but also a life-long passion for nature, ecology and the world we were gifted.

“We were always interested in the way nature and culture interact,” said Calderazzo of his and Campbell’s career evolution. Campbell’s course studies include nature and environmental literature, while her husband’s focus is non-fiction creative writing. “Climate change came to our attention and it wasn’t that large of a leap,” he went on to explain.

The couple has written articles for such magazines and periodicals as Audubon and Orion, and both have authored books in their field of interest, including Rising Fire: Volcanoes and our Inner Lives by Calderazzo and Even Mountains Vanish: Searching for Solace in an Age of Extinction by Campbell.

Then three years ago, the couple decided to reach out to all the departments at CSU that were involved in the research of climate change. This hotbed subject was and is a source of interest to many disciplines – science, politics, sociology and yes, English.

“The core of the word ‘university’ is universe,” said Calderazzo. A lively series of talks followed the creation of Changing Climates at CSU, and continues today with the professors co-directing.

Global warming: It's not a pretty picture.

This Wednesday’s Science Café promises to be as interesting as the weather in Colorado. The colleagues are popular at the university and enthusiastic about their subject. Rather than a dry dissertation on the perils of melting polar caps, the pair will take a literary and visual look at the effects of changing climates on writing and the arts. They’ll present artwork by children, speculative photography of our changing world and even poetry.

So, get to Avo’s this Wednesday, Feb. 9 at 5:30, order a cold drink and warm up to a thought-provoking topic from a refreshing angle. What about you creative types? Do you find yourself inspired by a change in the weather?

What were you thinking? Leaning about teens through scientific research

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When I look back on when I was in high school, I always think of myself as having been one of the “good” kids. I got great grades, was involved in after school clubs, and never had more than a couple of detentions. Okay, maybe a few detentions… but if you ask any parent, sibling, teacher, or child care professional, we all know now that no one is perfect. Some scientists today are trying to figure out why this is. While you can find all kinds of information on raising infants and young children- on television shows, or in countless books and magazines- not much information exists about the development of adolescents. Dr. Marie Banich helps to shed some light in this subject at Beet Street’s Science Café tonight.

Dr. Banich will discuss the new evidence from neurological studies that maturation of the brain extends much longer through adolescence than scientists previously thought. This pattern of brain development helps to explain the types of decisions and actions taken by teens. Dr. Banich and her colleagues have collected their own data, and their studies provide a clearer picture of what types of thinking abilities adolescents do and don’t have, and the age at which these abilities truly start to reach adult levels. This work gives insights into why teenagers seem to “know” what to do, but yet sometimes don’t seem to follow through on that knowledge. After this talk, you might think of the plea to “apply yourself,” so often given to teenagers, in an entirely different way.

Marie Banich, Ph.D., is a professor of Psychology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she also serves as director of the Institute of Cognitive Science, a multi-disciplinary institute dedicated to exploring the science of the mind. She also holds an appointment in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado at Denver. Her research specializes in using brain imaging techniques to understand the neural systems that allow us to direct our attention and our actions so that we can prioritize, organize, and target our behavior in a goal-oriented manner. Her research helps in understanding individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and adolescents with severe substance and conduct problems, while at the same time helping to explain the development and mental maturation of adolescents. 

We can never know what exactly is going on in someone else’s head. However, we can try to be more understanding of another’s ability to think in certain ways. Dr. Banich’s presentation is likely to be an interesting discussion about how teens relate to the world around them, and how we ultimately relate to each other.

Beet Street’s Science Café  joins the international community of scientists and interested citizens who meet monthly for informal discussions of lively and interesting issues in contemporary science.  We will be meeting at Dempsey’s on 160 W. Oak St. tonight, October 14 at 5:30pm for no-host drinks and food. Dr. Banich’s presentation will begin at 6:00pm. We hope to see you there!

Creativity and Scientific Community

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” all our knowledge has its origin in our perceptions.” Leonardo da Vinci.

Creative people, be they focused in arts, science or both, are grounded in synesthesia or a synergy of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting and sensing things. To create is to extend knowledge, rough up the edges of a form, send practices in new and divergent directions. Creativity, creating minds and creative people remind us to focus on how we relate to each other, carry out our work and contribute as citizens. It’s about the process. Like scientists who conduct many experiments around a single problem, artists often work in series, completing variations around a theme until the artists feels she has exhausted the idea for a while. Revisiting, revising and rethinking are part of an authentic creative experience, as is generating many ideas then choosing among competing priorities.

These processes of revisiting, revising and rethinking are community processes. Like artists who form studios and collectives such as those involved with CoCOA, scientists form research teams and laboratories. The creation of scientific knowledge as laid out by Thoman Kuhn, is dependent on the culture and historical circumstances of groups of scientists rather than on their adherence to a specific, definable method. In describing scientific knowledge this way, Kuhn argued for a blurring of the boundaries between what was considered science and what was not, arguing that there was no such thing as the idealized scientific method. His position was contentious and ignited the scientific community in fierce debates over the nature of their collective enterprise, but also hinted at what a lot of modern and postmodern philosophers now argue, that our creative products like our creative selves, are deeply infused with the contexts and the communities in which we exist.

Over the last few months we have discussed the importance of art in public life, from its ability to communicate place, to its ability to transcend our individual differences and touch the divine human spirit in all of us. Yet it is rare for us to talk about science in the same way. In many ways, ‘art’ and ‘science’ have become separated in our imagination, set against each other as opposite competing poles in ourselves, our minds, our schools, our occupations and our communities. Our capacity to institutionally encapsulate both of them however, (with different intents — one to preserve access and the other to reserve access), lies in common. We create art museums and natural science museums in the interests of educating and serving the public but what if we were to take an ‘art in public places’ approach to science? What would that begin to look like? Moreover, what if we were to recognize the science that lies behind the artist’s ability in terms of technique and the artistry that lies in the scientific life, in terms of creative possibilities? How might our ways of understanding these immensely consequential realms of human activity change?

Here in Colorado, we are lucky enough to have monthly gatherings where we can explore these issues of science, creativity and community process. Science cafés or ‘Cafés Scientifiques’ meet regularly in Colorado Springs, Denver, Boulder and right here in Fort Collins. The first Cafés were held in Leeds, England in 1998. From there, the idea spread to other parts of Europe, North Africa, North and South America, South Asia, Australia, and the Pacific ( In all these places across the globe, diverse audiences regularly gather to join scientists and writers in discussions that are designed as forums for debating science issues, promoting public engagement with science and making science accountable. Participants meet in cafes, bars, restaurants and other public locations to make scientific discussions accessible and lively. If you’re thinking that a science discussion requires an academic science background, that’s not the point. Many questions and ideas are entertained at the Café Scientifique and people who are not specialists often provide thoughtful perspectives and insight. Gatherings take place to foster an atmosphere where “no question is considered stupid” and science is brought out of the lab and into the public arena for deliberation.

It’s about the creative process!

Thanks for the photos fernandoprats, Wid-78 and jvnunag

Deborah Lombard

An Apple a Day: Medicine for the Body and Soul

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An Apple a Day...

An Apple a Day...

Every morning I throw an apple into my bag for a midday snack, and I am always reminded of that old phrase, “An apple a day….,” but in reality I just like the taste of apples. I never really think about the health of my one serving of fruit, its vitamins or its nutrients.  In truth, while I am aware of things that are deemed “healthy,” I never stop to think about what it really means to be healthy, and the amount of work that sometimes goes into the health industry. Health can improve life in many more ways than by generically “being good for you.” In fact when you think about it, so many of the great things in our lives come from staying physically healthy.

Dr. Simon Turner

Dr. Simon Turner

If anyone knows what hard work health can be, it is Dr. Simon Turner. His career is focused on working with sheep to reach the goal of what he calls “benefitting human health and ending suffering.” It sounds far-fetched, but the technology is very real. Because sheep have similar bone structures to human beings, Dr. Turner can use them to test techniques and devises that help with human orthopedic problems. His research has improved treatments for injuries, osteoporosis, and even cancerous bone.

What strikes me most about Dr. Turner and his work is his focus on human suffering. His work helps to ease physical pain, but really it does much more. Imagine what it must feel like to be debilitated by injury, always stuck in bed or on the couch, then finally being able to get up painlessly and enjoy a jog in the fresh summer air. Or what a big step it must be for a patient in a long battle with cancer to learn that their bones are disease free. Wounds are just as mental as they are physical, and the ability of research to battle difficult health issues has wonderful emotional side effects.

Dr. Turner will be explaining how his work serves the health of others, and how that work fits into a long historical relationship between animals and science, at Beet Street’s Science Cafe tonight. His talk will begin at 6:00pm at Stonehouse Grille, but be sure to come at 5:30pm if you would like to grab some food, drink, and a little social time beforehand.

Riverbend Ponds Natural Area- Fort Collins

Riverbend Ponds Natural Area- Fort Collins

Now, we can’t simply rely on doctors and researchers to make all medical miracles happen. There are so many little things that we do in our day to day lives that can nurture our bodies and souls. Just taking a stroll around one of Fort Collins’ gorgeous natural areas will put your mind as ease and get you in tune to the outdoors after working hard all day. Besides being a great physical exercise, walking has been shown to memory and even brighten your mood To double your positive mind/body vibes, take a friend with you. They will enjoy the benefits while you both build a stronger relationship. Locally grown produce gives you many of the the nutrients you need without any chemicals or additives, and when you pick it up at the Farmer’s Market over the weekend you also know that you are supporting your community (and we know that giving has great spiritual benefits as well). You probably do many of these things unconsciously. But I think that being aware of ourselves, of our minds and bodies, gives us more opportunities to take care of them.

As silly as it may seem, taking a bite of that apple really does make me feel better. I may not see the effects, or even think about it every day. But I am sure my body is affected, and so is my soul.

If you are looking for more Fort Collins events that boost your health, check these out:
Six Day Races at the CSU Oval
Nutritional Health Series at the Library
Preserving the Summer Harvest at the Gardens at Spring Creek
Free classes at Old Town Yoga
This week’s classes and festivals at Whole Foods Market
Fort Collins Parks and Trails

Not quite the end of summer….exploring art, music, history and culture in Colorado!

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It’s easy to watch the storms, feel the temperatures cool and think that summer fun is almost done here in Fort Collins. But not so fast! Coming up in August, there are still plenty of cultural events to enjoy around the community as well as around Colorado.

Thursday Night Music and More continues through August 13 in the Civic Center Park providing the community with live music, good food and free fun from 6-8pm. August 6 will see Euforquestra, and Interstate Cowboy will be entertaining everyone August 13. The First Friday Art Walk for August will be held on August 7 as usual, and on Saturday August 8, there is An Herb-a-fair, celebrating all things herbal at the Gardens on Spring Creek from 10am to 3pm. There will be classes, demonstrations, a Garden of Eatin’ and you can buy herbs grown in the Gardens Greenhouse. August 8 also sees the return of the French Nest Market, the vintage, handmade, local, unique craft market, held in the Civic Center Park from 9am to 3 pm. Should be a lot of fun for everyone!

August’s Science Cafe will be held on Wednesday August 12 at Stonehouse Grille and will feature Dr. Simon Turner, Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at CSU. Dr. Turner will be sharing his research and experiences in the ways sheep contribute to the treatment of a variety of human conditions, including osteoporosis, knee injuries and replacing cancerous bone. As always, the Cafe starts at 5:30 for refreshments with the lecture beginning at 6 followed by a discussion period and winds up around 7pm. As always, it is free and we hope to see you there!

That weekend, from August 14 through August 16, the community plays host to Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest 2009 to celebrate Fort Collins’ birthday over 130 years ago. Bohemian Nights kicks off on Friday the 14th in Old Town Square and features Melissa Etheridge and Ozomatli as well as close to 50 other Colorado bands. One particular highlight is the Kids Music Adventure, free and open from 11-5pm on Saturday and Sunday providing an interactive and inspiring experience for young ones. Check out for more information.

The following weekend on August 22, is the annual Annie Walk and Pet Fest, a 1.5 mile loop walk starting at Library Park and going through Old Town. Dogs and their people friends get to celebrate the incredible life of Annie, a stray collie mix adopted by railroad workers in the 1930s who would greet passengers as they disembarked the train in Fort Collins. It is Annie who is immortalized in bronze waiting at the doors of the main Public Library on Peterson Street. There’s all kinds of fun planned for the Annie Walk but you need to register at one of the public libraries. Proceeds go towards materials for the Children’s collections at the libraries! Also that day in Old Town Square, the Northern Colorado Greek Festival takes place starting at 11am, featuring authentic Greek food, pastries, music and dancing. I went to this festival last year and it was great fun!

Finally, if you have an urge to get out of town a little, the Archival Art and the Art of Mining exhibition began last week in Georgetown, celebrating 150 years of mining in Clear Creek County and supporting historic preservation and open lands in the Georgetown-Silver Plume National Historic Landmark District. The exhibition is being held in the Hamill House Museum Stables and is on display through August, finishing with a reception on September 5, 2009. You can find out more details here.

So, just because school is just around the corner, don’t think that the summer fun is done! Take a trip down to Georgetown to see the art of mining, hang out at Bohemian Nights, buy some herbs, enjoy art, walk the dog and check out Greek culture in August!

With thanks to teepole and mungobah for their wonderful images!

The Beet goes on!

Kirsten Broadfoot

All that Jazz!

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“What we play is life. If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.”

Louis Armstrong

Fort Collins Jazz Experience is committed to bringing the highest quality jazz music and celebrating its history right here in Fort Collins. Thanks to The Downtown Business Association, the Bohemian Foundation, and other local businesses, this past week, Fort Collins was the place for “cool”—and total immersion in the experience of jazz.  An amazing list of events provided opportunities for Northern Coloradoans to eat lunch while listening to jazz, enjoy ice cream and jazz, boil crawfish along with jazz, practice Tai Chi with jazz. . .to name just a few!  Multiple stages filled the air with the sounds of local and regional musicians and all over town people breathed in jazz.  Headliners Ramsey Lewis Trio and Al Jarreau also joined the celebrations as “greats” in the genealogy of jazz musicians.

Kirsti reports that last Thursday in Fort Collins she was part of the audience who sat on the edge of their seats in the Lincoln Center.  They were treated to what can “only be described as virtuosity from the Ramsey Lewis Trio.” jjJazz heritage is rooted in African community performance where stage and performer are not separately defined, and the Trio “effortlessly and seamlessly moved through a joyful, evocative, intimate, raucous dance with the audience.  Afficionados tapped their toes,clapped an d shouted in a very particular form of call and response with the music and musicians.”  Kirsti says the Trio created “a never ending showcase of talent, including individually sublime performances on soloinstruments and magical improvisation as instruments and musicians dialogued.”  The audience was, “mesmerized by the performance of what it means tobe music, as they watched musicians meld with their instruments, fingers flashing so fast you could barely see them caress keys, strings or cradle drumsticks.”  For Kirsti, “the composition ‘Exhilaration’ was exactly that, rising and falling in tempo and volume, as sound rippled t

hrough the piece.”  She also talked about the ballad ‘Conversation’ with its “exquisite rendering of the gentle rhythm and ebbs and flows of emotion, along with volume and tone that characterize an entrancing interaction.”  Nobody wanted the evening to end and the Trio played for 90 minutes, which included 3 standing ovations and encores!

On Saturday night the experience continued with over two hours of mostly love songs and a lot of boogieing down, fun, and passion added to the mix.  Al Jarreau captured hearts with his charm, wit, social commentary and ability to find humor in the human condition, including his own life!  Al Jarreau earned a Master’s Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling (here’s a shout out to other University of Iowa alums!), and although he went on to make his name as one of the most critically acclaimed performers of our time, he’s still jamming to get everyone involved!  One of his greatest joys is to get audiences to sing along, and a number of times during his performance, he held out his microphone for a response or a request to finish a sentence.  His infectious energy got the audience singing, clapping and nodding as he performed old favorites and even improvised about skiing in Aspen!  “Talk about a Rocky Mountain high!”

Jarreau was joined by 6 other musicians all acclaimed in their own right, and together they shared the sheer bliss of making and making up jazz together.  While it felt as though the musicians were thrilled to have us there, it also seemed as though they would make music whether they had an audience or not!  Well-known for his scat singing and ability to imitate, Jarreau didn’t need an actual instrument, although he seemed to be playing an instrument for most of theevening.  Sometimes he didn’t even need words, “dum dum dum mmmmmm, ooh, ooh, bam!”

Al Jarreau at Lincoln Center, Fort Collins

Al Jarreau at Lincoln Center, Fort Collins

Whether playing new pieces, reviving old ones, or reinterpreting other contributions, Saturday’s performance was filled with surprises.  I have to admit that I’m not particularly fond of “My Favorite Things,” from the Sound of Music, since I’ve listened to my sister and my children sing it one too many a time.  However, Jarreau managed to make it fresh and as new as a crisp apple struedel—in his version, “wild geese” turned into “old geezers ,” who can still get a jam on!  Jarreau (born in 1940) said he wouldn’t share his chronological age, but he certainly shares the joy of finding your passion and doing what you love to keep feeling alive.  Ooh, ooh, bim, bam, bap!

Speaking of defying age, or rather gravity.. .on July 15, you can meet Dr. Bob Phillips, at Science Café Fort Collins.  His adventures include NASA training as a Payload Specialist, decades of research and teaching, and 130 scientific publications plus 2 patents.  On the second Wednesday of each month, interested scientists and Fort Collins citizens gather to discuss issues in contemporary science.  On July 15 (5:30 p.m. at the Stonehouse Grille) you can hear about how going to space and learning to live there is a great adaptive challenge.  Dr. Phillip’s talk will present some of the changes that occur in space flight and how humans accommodate this new environment. Isn’t it great that everything is constantly changing?

Improvisation is crucial!

Deborah Lombard

Sound + Space = Place

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A few years ago, I attended a conference in Chicago and for part of the morning, a group of us walked in pairs through the streets, one with their eyes closed, and the other, well, making sure they didn’t fall over. We were listening to the sound of the city and after each of our turns, we would write notes about what we so intently ‘heard’, the sounds that make up space and in turn, create place. I will never forget the sound of stilettos on a marble floor inside a large atrium. As we move through space, we fill it with musical notes of our own. Our own little community symphony. Next time you’re sitting still or even walking with someone, try it. Close your eyes and listen to the music of place.

Now, if you were lucky enough to see the Laser Harps at this month’s Imagination Fair, then you have probably already experienced the ways in which our movements in space also interact with waves of light to create particular sounds and forms of music. At the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science, they have a soundSpace, where people can “…’play’ the room as if it were a musical instrument” as Scott Lindroth, Associate Professor of Music at Duke University puts it. The more you move in the space, the more the music comes to life as your movements are captured on web cameras positioned around the installation. Such an interactive installation adds new meaning to composing live performances in an unusual amalgamation of dance and music mutually creating each other. For a wonderful video on how children respond to such a space, see below.

As you’ve probably guessed by reading this far, there is an intimate relationship between sound, space and place, not to mention who we get to be through, in, and with them all.

This month, the place in which we live — here in Fort Collins — will reverberate intensely with many different kinds of sounds and understandings of space and place as we welcome a series of artists and scientists to our community. A few blogs back, we posted a video of Wynton Marsalis, jazz artists extraordinaire performing The Ballad of the American Arts at the 22nd Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts & Public Policy and taking the audience on a historical ride of cultural identity as performed through jazz. Jazz, as a musical form, has proven hard to define and even harder to agree upon in terms of its pedigree. Still most jazz critics and scholars agree on some critical characteristics of the music and the artists that produce it, such as the importance of improvisation, its ability to absorb and transform influences, its special relationship with time (the ‘swing’ rhythm),  its fundamentally democratic creative nature in terms of the freedom given to performers to add their own ‘touch’ to a piece of music, and its grounding in collaborative, group interaction. Jazz spans a wide range of styles and continues to evolve in rhizomatic fashion due to these fundamental characteristics and the influences of those who play it as well as the places from which they come. You could say that jazz as a particular sound creates a space that many from diverse places can share.

From July 9-11, The Fort Collins Jazz Experience, hosted by the Downtown Business Association, welcomes the Ramsey Lewis Trio and Al Jarreau to our community. The Ramsey Lewis Trio will kick off the event at the Lincoln Center Performance Hall on Thursday, July 9 from 7:30pm with Al Jarreau following two nights later on Saturday, July 11 at the same location but starting at 8pm. Ramsey Lewis of course, is known as “The Great Performer” — a jazz icon, composer, pianist and radio personality while Al Jarreau is the only vocalist in history to win Grammys in jazz, pop and R&B. I am looking forward to hearing him use his voice as several diverse instruments!

Speaking of diverse instruments, on July 25, Doc Severinsen and El Ritmo de la Vida roll into town to bring us their own unique compositions featuring Doc on trumpet (he’s a virtuoso trumpeter and for a long time was the musical director of Johnny Carson’s big band on the Tonight Show as well as playing in major orchestras throughout the US and Canada), Gil Gutierrez on guitar and Pedro Cartas on violin. For a taste of what is to come in what has been called an ‘electrifying display of their virtuosity and blending of instruments’, click here. Doc and El Ritmo de la Vida will be at the Lincoln Center Performance Hall on Saturday, July 25 at 7:30pm. This trio got together when Doc visited Mexico thinking about retirement. Instead, he says, “…when I heard them play I knew that I would be playing with them for some time to come. Latino music, along with the blues, has always been among my favorites, and Gil and Pedro do it along with a European style that I love and so do our audiences.” The place of Mexico, opened up a new space for a new sound for all!

In between both these magical musical events, we have an equally enlightening discussion of life in space by Dr. Bob Phillips, Former NASA Space Station Chief Scientist at July’s Science Cafe on July 15 from 5:30pm to 7pm at the Stonehouse Grille. As usual, this event is free and will present some of the changes that occur in space flight and how and why we change form, function and behavior to accommodate this strange new environment. Dr. Phillips trained as a veterinarian and holds a PhD in physiology and nutrition. His life story and how he came to be involved with NASA and become an in-flight researcher on the first dedicated Biomedical Research Space Shuttle flight as well as how these experiences have fueled his work with NASA’s Life Science Education and Outreach program should make for a fascinating evening. We look forward to seeing you there, and please feel free to post a comment with any feedback you have from the evening!

Sound + Space = Place. Here’s to a wonderful July in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado!

Kirsten Broadfoot

Determined. Inspirational. Brave.

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Over the next few weeks here in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado, we will be visited by several inspiring, determined and brave artists and scientists as we explore diverse forms of creativity across many realms of life. Tomorrow, Wednesday May 13, we will be amazed at Science Café to discover new forms of waste management using biogas technologies as Dr. Sybil Sharvelle, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at CSU leads us in a discussion on renewable and renewing energies. Science Café will be held at the Stonehouse Grille from 5:30 to 7pm and is free to attend.

On Monday, May 18 at the Lincoln Center, Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle, her bestselling memoir will share with us her story of struggle, determination and inspiration in a childhood characterized by hunger, love, poverty, beauty and chaos. Her story, as the latest in our series of Thought Leaders highlights the strength of the human spirit and its ever renewing and renewable energy and the power of inspiration to turn adversity to triumph. Once a reporter making her money from celebrity gossip, in The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls turns the spotlight on her own life to show that indeed, truth can be stranger than fiction! Her work is used all over the nation in literature, psychology and child development courses; and Walls demonstrates to her audiences how everyone has a story and we are more alike than we think, suffering the same struggles, inspired by similar dreams and blessed with strong spirits.  The conversation starts at 7pm with tickets available at Check out the audio interview here!

As schools get out and graduation caps get thrown in the air, June and its promise of summer also brings several events to lift our musical spirits and imaginations starting with the Imagination Fair on Friday June 5th, featuring Laser Harps and That 1 Guy. The Laser Harps are immersive installations that replace traditional harp strings with laser strings, using interactive movement, dance and light to trigger sound. The harps are designed to enable large groups to play simultaneously, resulting in a visual and musical performance to remember. That 1 Guy, alias Mike Silverman, is an upright bassist often hired as a one-man-rhythm-section, functioning as a bassist, drummer, and entire mini orchestra simultaneously. All in all, Imagination Fair presents the community with a vision of creation, innovation and imagination that merges science, technology, music and art in a thrilling variety of forms at three venues to enhance the First Friday Gallery Walk in downtown Fort Collins. I can hardly wait for this event – it sounds extraordinary!!!

Imagination Fair is closely followed by Laurie Anderson, one of the world’s premiere performance artists, on Saturday June 6,  at the Lincoln Center. Anderson’s ability to personify innovation will move your heart and your mind. Over the next few weeks we will preview more of what is to come on June 6 but in the meantime, find out more about Laurie here and get ready to get some tickets quickly as she sells out fast!

“Laurie Anderson is a singer-songwriter of crushing poignance – a minimalist painter of melancholy moods who addresses universal themes in the vernacular of the commonplace.” Rolling Stone

Determined. Inspirational. Brave. We look forward to seeing you out and about in our community over the coming creative weeks!

With special thanks to h.koppdelaney for his image!

Kirsten Broadfoot

Creating a Home of Our Own.

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Look at the photo on the left. It is a photo of a mural from the wall of the Guinness factory in Dublin, Ireland. The picture is particularly meaningful when we consider what it means to be ‘at home’ and to find ‘a home’ as we consider our multiple diverse stories in a community.

Last week, we previewed a sample of the Finding Home series and we hope you had an opportunity to enjoy the art on display last Friday on the Gallery Walk  (one of my colleagues exhibited some of his work which we are all very proud of!), the Fort Collins Museum’s presentation of “The Move to Fort Collins: Local History Series of Immigration” in collaboration with OpenStage Theatre, and of course, the inaugural open house of the Museo de las Tres Colonias on Saturday!

As we move through April, the Traveling Heritage Quilt Project continues in our community as does the season of Anon(ymous) at the OpenStage Theatre & Company. On Wednesday, April 8th, Science Café will meet to discuss differences in migration patterns among Latin Americans. If you have not attended the Science Café before, it is an international community of scientists and interested citizens who meet monthly for informal discussions of lively and interesting issues in contemporary science. They host top-notch local and internationally recognized scientists, from academia and industry, in a quest to transform scientific discourse into “polite conversation.” This is no mean feat!

This week, the Science Café will be held at the Stonehouse Grille and the evening begins informally at 5:30 with a chance to order some refreshments and meet other participants. The lecture by Dr. Fernando Riosmena, an Assistant Professor of Geography and Faculty Associate at the Population Program in the Institute of Behavioral Science at UC-Boulder will begin at 6pm, followed by group discussion, and of course, a lively Q&A session! Participation is free of charge and the Café concludes at 7pm. Wednesday’s lecture will specifically explore the different reasons Latin Americans come to the US as well as the challenges they face on arrival. Dr. Riosmena’s research examines the relationship between migration and social mobility, well-being and development in both Latin American societies and immigrant communities of same in the US. As we have discussed in earlier blogs, these issues of social mobility, well-being and development depend heavily on the creative community resources present for immigrant populations as they adjust to life in a new ‘home’.

Our ‘old home’ continues to be celebrated in multiple ways as well over the next week, with the Museo continuing its open house this weekend and on Monday April 13, Poudre Valley Regional Library District will present its panel discussion entitled “Immigration in Colorado: The Historical Diversity in Colorado from it’s Earliest Beginnings”. This discussion on the nature of immigrants, how immigration has impacted Colorado from its earliest settlement and how things are different today will feature a range of voices including professors, lawyers, historians and members of the immigrant community. The event will be start at 6:30pm and will run until 9pm at the Elks Club at 140 East Oak Street in Fort Collins. It will be moderated by Dr. Paul Alexander, Director of the Institute for the Common Good at Regis University with English/Spanish interpretation provided by Irene Romsa. We look forward to learning how our collective past can influence our collective present and future as community members!

As always, you can find out the details for any of these events on our Finding Home Series Calendar. We look forward to seeing you this week at our discussions of new and old homes, as well as new and old communities!

With thanks to johndecember for his wonderful image!

Wherever you go, there you are!

Kirsten Broadfoot