I don’t know what my life would look like had I never met Tami Graham, but at the very least I know I wouldn’t 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 Durango’s 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 shouldn’t 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 I’ve never forgotten who handed me the key.
I’m guessing that I’m 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.There’s 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 it’s 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 she’s 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 I’d usually guess was a Tami Graham production if I didn’t 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 doesn’t 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 Graham’s, and she’s performed with more than one of the groups. Telluride’s 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. I’d 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 they’re a dealbreaker for your attendance, buy your tickets and leave the young’uns in the car. In fact, whether you can make it or not, buy a ticket anyway. This is an event that can’t possibly sell out, and you don’t have to be there to help out.