Conspiracy theories used to be something the American people might laugh about or just write off, but increasingly they’ve become a disturbing facet of modern discourse. The roots of conspiracy theories go way back in our country’s history, but mass communication like radio made it easier to spread the message.
An early adopter was California resident Mae Brussell, who had a popular radio show in the 1970s and 1980s. She used her platform to make spurious claims such as linking the two Kennedy assassinations with the Watergate scandal. And people listened.
“What was so fascinating and a little scary was how relevant some of the predictions she was making are to today,” said Josh Hartwell, who wrote a play about Brussell. “She had this dedication, maybe even obsession, with research and connecting all these dots she saw.”
“Queen of Conspiracy” makes its world premiere through June 23 at Miners Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington Ave. in Golden. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays.
Directed by Len Matheo, the show features Abby Apple Boes as Brussell, as well as Chloe McLeod, Sinjin Jones, Bill Hahn, Erica Borrillo and Damon Guerrasio. It is set in present-day Denver and imagines the family that inherits Brussell’s legacy. It also takes audiences on a historical trip to Brussell’s heyday to see how conspiracy theories have changed over the years.
MORE: Believe me when I tell you about this new play
“She did hundreds of hours on her radio program, and I was able to listen to some,” Hartwell said. “The tapes were the most helpful for me in writing the piece.”
Hartwell said he wrote the play in about two weeks in January and has remained a part of the process as it’s come to life on the stage.
“I helped Len cast the play and have been to a handful of rehearsals.
“I’ve also done a couple rewrites during the process,” he said. “It’s been exciting and intimidating, especially since I happen to be really judgmental of my own stuff.”
The show delves deep into the murky world of conspiracy theories, and Hartwell hopes audiences are willing to listen.
“I hope people come with an open mind, watch it and leave with an open mind as well,” he said. “Hopefully, afterwards, people will be more open to asking questions and not just thinking one thing is the answer.”
For information and tickets, call 303-935-3044 or visit www.minersalley.com.
Colorado Railroad Museum turns 60
Golden’s Colorado Railroad Museum turns 60 years old this July, and the museum is marking the occasion with a look back at the past six decades of exhibits, events and adventure.
The 60th anniversary exhibit will be on display at the museum, 17155 W. 44th Ave., through October. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The exhibit makes use of archival materials from the museum’s permanent collection and takes visitors on a trip through the past, not only of the museum, but of the railroads.
The mode of transport played a key role in the state’s history and several events during the summer will dive into the history.
For more information, visit www.coloradorailroadmuseum.org.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Jorja Smith and Kali Uchis at the Fillmore Auditorium
Soul and R&B music is such a vibrant genre that even when it wanes in popularity (as it does from time to time), there’s never any real danger of it disappearing completely. And thanks to artists like Jorja Smith and Kali Uchis, fans like me can sleep soundly knowing its future is safe.
The pair will be performing at the Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson in Denver, at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 25.
Both artists released their debut albums last year, and both reflect their thrilling, personal takes on R&B music. If we’re very, very lucky, they’re just getting started reshaping the genre.
For tickets to see two of the best contemporary voices, visit www.livenation.com.
Rock out with fellow Denverites
Denver doesn’t have much in the way of music festivals these days, but Denver Day of Rock brings a bevy of artists to one of the city’s busiest stretches of real estate.
The one-day music festival that supports the work of Amp the Cause, a nonprofit that improves the livelihood of children by bringing communities to work together for their betterment. The free event features five stages of live music along Denver’s 16th Street Mall beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 25.
This year’s lineup includes the Eli Young Band, Barns Courtney, LUTHI and more than 20 others. For more information, visit www.denverdayofrock.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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