Mountain News: 

Nothing Festival has become a draw

TELLURIDE, Colo. — Some years ago, as Telluride’s summer season steadily thickened with this festival and that, a local man named Dennis Wrestler called for a halt. Going before the town council, he proposed a Nothing Festival, reserving one weekend each summer – in mid-July – when Telluride would host no films, no banjo pickers, not any old thing.

Well, it wasn’t quite nothing. There was a parade – with a flat-bed truck with nothing on it. There were T-shirts with "Nothing" on it. But otherwise, there was nothing scheduled other than the normal spectacular summer weather and scenery.

But times change. In recent years, reports The Telluride Watch, there’s been less talk of too much of a good thing in Telluride, and more talk of a need to support a fragile economy. "Is Nothing an idea whose time has come and gone?" asks the paper.

No, says Wrestler, as long as Nothing is acceptable to the public. In fact, Nothing has become a draw of its own, with people visiting Telluride specifically because nothing special is going on.

All this leads The Telluride Watch to a paradox that it says is worthy of a lengthy town council debate: how is it that in Telluride the more things change, the more Nothing changes?

Park City wants commitment

PARK CITY, Utah — Although Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival is named after his ski resort, Sundance, it is actually held in another ski resort, Park City, while the festival offices are in yet another location in Salt Lake City.

But the festival headquarters may move to Park City and, if that happens, organizers will commit to staging the festival in Park City for 10 to 20 years. The festival is currently committed to remaining in Park City through 2008. The festival, which has been described as America’s premier showcase of independent films, last year generated an estimated $36.5 million in economic activity in Park City and surrounding Summit County.

One question is whether Park City will need to come up with a subsidy. The film festival currently gets $480,000 in arts funding because of its headquarters in Salt Lake City, which is located about 25 miles away.

Gonzo idea not so good

ASPEN, Colo. — Aspen hosted an Ideas Festival last week, and several dozen intellectual heavy-weights – among them potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her husband, Bill – stopped by to share observations, land a few tautological punches, and otherwise reminisce about what could have been.

Meanwhile, The Aspen Times had got festive with some ideas of its own – reporting what it thought were the really, really bad ideas visited upon Aspen through the years. Chief among the thoughts gone wrong, says The Times, is the idea of shooting the ashes of Hunter S. Thompson, the author who committed suicide in February, out of a cannon. "The hero worship is out of hand," said the newspaper. "It’s a bad idea, it sets a precedent that celebrities can do any hare-brained idea that suits their large egos."


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