I dont know what my life would look like had I never met Tami Graham, but at the very least I know I wouldnt be writing this.
For better or worse, it was Graham who in 1996 gave a foul-mouthed 28-year-old Fort Lewis College freshman his big break into the world of Durangos mass media where I can now share my madness with anywhere from 14 to 25 people at a time.
It was the golden era when Graham ruled Durango as the Underground Mayor, and she gave me my first real job in this town as operations manager at KDUR, although in retrospect, I shouldnt be too flattered at having been chosen over a handful of stoners who took the class only so they could play half-hour sets of Sublime. I had no idea at the time what a cool job that would turn out to be, but it opened a lot of doors for me, and Ive never forgotten who handed me the key.
Im guessing that Im one of several thousand people around here who could tell a similar story about how Graham has had a positive impact on his or herlife. Few cool things happen around here without Graham having a hand or say in it.
It might be something fun, such as bringing Michael Franti to town or something a bit more serious.Theres no better ally to have in support of any cause. As many as 25 local nonprofitorganization can thank her for her part in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, through the last two decades.
Now its time for all of us who owe some debt to Graham to start paying back. Last fall, she was diagnosed with uterine cancer and underwent successful surgery in December. The good news, modern medicine seems to be working, and shes well on the mend with a promising outlook. The bad news,modern medicine costs a lot of money.
It would be surprising if none of her minions stepped up, and so they have. The Mancos Opera House will host Steers, Queers and Everything in Between, a fundraising extravaganza that Id usually guess was a Tami Graham production if I didnt know she was actually the guest of honor. The idea is to negate about $10,000 in doctors bills, and I, for one, will be shocked if it doesnt happen.
The list of performers includes ASA Fire Tribe, The Lindells, the John Thomas Band, Salt Fire Circus, Diabolical Sound Platoon with Dub Rock, Afrobeat Minions (see? Minions) and DJ Dr. Doom. All are close friends of Grahams, and shes performed with more than one of the groups. Tellurides resident author, poet and sage, Art Goodtimes, will emcee the event, which includes a celebrity roast of Graham. Oh, the stories that will be told.
Also on the bill is a silent auction to end all silent auctions. Id love to meet the business owner who said no to this one as well as food (Kennebec Cafe, the Palace and Absolute Bakery by last count) beer and wine. No real Tami Graham party would ever be confused with a kids event, but if theyre a dealbreaker for your attendance, buy your tickets and leave the younguns in the car. In fact, whether you can make it or not, buy a ticket anyway. This is an event that cant possibly sell out, and you dont have to be there to help out.