Noel Black

The Big Something, Producer

Noel Black is a Colorado Springs native. He has worked as a print journalist, blogger and radio producer everywhere from San Francisco and New York City, but has always considered the Pikes Peak region home.  Along with Jake Brownell, he is the co-producer of Wish We Were Here, a monthly documentary series from KRCC that features stories and investigations that complicate the city's reputation as one of America's most conservative cities. He is also the author of many chapbooks and two full-length books of poems, including La Goon, (Furniture Press Books, 2014), and Uselysses, (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011).

Ways to Connect

by Marina Eckler

A tectonic shift occurs with aging. After walking and running and snoozing and gunning through six decades, out here in the middle distance I notice that I finally know how I feel when I’m feeling it.

Those of you self-aware beings who’ve been raising your consciousness since the ‘60s might chuckle at this insight. Where have you been all your life, you might ask, besides in your own skin?

Radiolab Producer and MacArthur Genius Award Winner Jad Abumrad will give a live presentation at Armstrong Hall on the Colorado College campus this coming Monday, October 13 at 7:30 p.m. KRCC’s Noel Black spoke with Abumrad about how he produces Radiolab and what to expect on Monday night.

For more information and tickets, click HERE.

The Middle Distance 10.3.14: Goodnight Garden

Oct 2, 2014
by Benjamin Vierling,

Goodnight garden.

Goodnight tomato vines, gnarly and black, pulled and piled to rot. Goodnight mutilated squash, shriveled eggplant and peppers and beans. It was great while it lasted.

Goodnight lonely beds, stripped and turned, tossed and raked. Quiet now, isn’t it, after all that nourishing? Just relax and let me feed you. I promise a feast of manure and leaves and compost. Your work is done. For now.

The first annual Creek Week begins tomorrow with Colorado Springs Sustainability Conference. The Big Something’s Noel Black spoke with Allison Plute, Fountain Creek Watershed Project Manager, and Larry Small, Executive Director of the Fountain Creek  Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District about the weeklong cleanup and its many related events.

Click HERE for a complete list of Creek Week events.

When my son died in the summer of 2007, his brother was scheduled to head off to Budapest, Hungary that fall to study math. The idea of him, so far away and on his own in a foreign place so shortly after this family trauma, caused both of his parents enough anxiety that, even though we had been divorced for many years, we decided to make a family visit to Budapest that October.

The most memorable exchange in the movie Sling Blade is between Karl, a mentally challenged man just released from the state mental hospital, and Frank, a young boy who’s his new friend.

Frank says: “I like the way you talk.”

“I like the way you talk,” says Karl.

It’s not unusual out here in the Middle Distance to begin wondering what we will leave behind when we’re gone. I’m not planning on going anywhere any time soon, but if middle age has taught me anything it’s that lives can end gracefully and naturally with time for reflection, or they can end suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving black holes in their wake.

It’s not unusual out here in the Middle Distance to begin wondering what we will leave behind when we’re gone. I’m not planning on going anywhere any time soon, but if middle age has taught me anything it’s that lives can end gracefully and naturally with time for reflection, or they can end suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving black holes in their wake.

When we were kids, the long, slow crawl of baseball colored our summer afternoons. Red clay dirt. Freshly drawn baselines of powdered white chalk. Little League Cardinals in red and white; Orioles in orange Pirates in green. Fingers stained by Pixi-Stix from the concession stand.

If aging is letting go of adulthood and entering a whole new phase of life, a visit from an adult child can bring that reality into focus. Last week my daughter and her husband visited, and I experienced another in a long series of identity tweaks out here in the middle distance. I hadn’t yet let go of the mothering role I served with my kids for nearly 40 years, organizing their days and meals together, deciding what we would eat and when. As I watched my daughter, her brother and their significant others arrange their days and their meals, I felt part of myself quietly floating away.


Why is this day unlike any other?  

I get up, as usual, brew one strong cup of coffee, grab a bucket and scissors and walk through the half-lighted dawn, down the alley to the garden where I cut flowers, pick herbs, weed a little and check the progress of the squash and tomatoes. Cool nights and wet days have slowed the development of their fruits. Their leaves and vines reach skyward for the sun they crave.

Colorado Springs native, and Marketplace Education Correspondent Amy Scott is in the process of finishing her first documentary called Oyler

The Big Something’s Noel Black spoke with her about the story.

Click HERE to check out Scott's Marketplace multi-media pieces on Oyler.

Watch the trailer below:

The 4th International Journal of Motorcycle Studies Conference will take place beginning tomorrow, July 17 through Saturday. Conference organizer and UCCS Professor Alex Ilysova spoke with The Big Something’s Noel Black about the kinds of films and lectures the average motorcycle enthusiast can expect.

Click HERE for more information and to register.

Greggory Dikes

Local poetry slam team from Hear, Here! will head to the national slam competition from August 5th. We spoke with curator Susan Peiffer and Mallary McHenry about slam poetry, the Colorado Springs style and their campaign to raise money to get to nationals.

Click HERE to buy a limited edition t-shirt that will contribute Hear, Here!'s travel and expenses.

In the summer of 1972, my big adventure was a trip to Nashville for the Rolling Stones concert. I had just graduated high school in Memphis, and my best friend David had bought tickets as a combination birthday/graduation gift. We had waited with rapt anticipation, following the media storm that accompanied the Stones’ decadent romp across America.  Finally, June 29 had arrived.



KRCC, Radio Colorado College, an NPR member station, will broadcast the pilot episode of its new hour-long radio show and podcast, Wish We Were Here, on Saturday July 5 at 3 p.m.; and Friday, July 11 at 7 p.m. on KRCC 91.5 FM and

Congratulations to the following artists whose work was selected for the 36 Views of Pikes Peak Post Card Exhibition (and keep in mind that Hokusai actually produced 46 images). The opening and reception will be at the new PPLD  Library 21c on Friday, July 11 from 4 to 6 p.m. with plenty of time to make it to the curated exhibition at GOCA from 5 to 9 p.m. the same evening.

Once upon a June Saturday there was a yard sale, a very big neighborhood yard sale with over 100 households selling the things they didn’t want or need any more. For weeks families dug through their basements and garages and closets, pulling out furniture and lamps, coats and boots, garden hoses, bicycles, buckets and books for the sale. Then, when Saturday arrived, they got up early in the morning and set their things out, marked with price tags, in their front yards, awaiting the first buyers to arrive.

The Middle Distance 6.20.14: The Way We Fall

Jun 20, 2014

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down! God, how we loved falling down when we were short and close to the ground. Remember the crash, the exaggerated poses of collapse, legs overhead, torso twisted crazily? Falling down the least gracefully, most dramatically, was the whole point.

Even when a fall was a surprise, when it caused minor injury, a scrape or a cut, the Band-aid was a badge of honor, the scabbed over abrasion a battle scar to be proud of.

The Colorado Springs Conservatory is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in the Colorado Springs Community. The Big Something’s Noel Black sat down with executive director Linda Weise to talk about how far they’ve come.

Beginning tonight and running through the weekend, the Conservatory will present the musical Oklahoma at Colorado College’s Armstrong Theater. Click HERE for details and tickets.

Kathryn Eastburn

I wasn’t a tea party kind of girl, back before the term was appropriated by right-wing politicos. When we played house as kids in the early 1960s, I portrayed the husband, pecking the wife on the cheek and jetting off to work or adventure as I imagined men did. A beautifully set table with dainty cups and manners to match held little charm for this tomboy.

Colorado Springs-based artist, educator and activist Senga Nengudi hasn’t had much in the way of local recognition despite the fact she’s been collected by The Museum of Modern Art in New York and The Brooklyn Museum. Denver has just given Nengudi her due with two openings at both the Museum of Contemporary Art and The Redline Gallery. We spoke with her about her career and the success she’s now enjoying.

Watch RSVP:

This Saturday at The Greenwood Cemetery in Canon City at 11 a.m., a memorial service will be held for Joe Arridy , a developmentally disabled man who was executed for murder in 1936, and posthumously pardoned in 2011. We spoke with Craig Severa, Advocacy Specialist from the ARC of the Pikes Peak Region, about Arridy’s legacy.

For complete information about the Joe Arridy memorial service this Saturday, click HERE.

My heroes haven’t always been cowboys, but after moving to Colorado and getting to know a choice few, that changed. I was lucky as a journalist to spend time with Duke Phillips of Chico Basin Ranch, south of Colorado Springs, and witness his dedication to responsible land management and conservation. And I was privileged as a reporter back in the 1990s to hear Kirk Hanna explain to a room full of environmentalists how ranchers like him could help them achieve their goals if they’d just put aside their stereotypes and prejudices.

She wakes up swimming. The ambient noise machine next to the bed is set on Rushing Stream. She surfaces to the sound of its loud electronic burble and, for a minute, can’t remember where she is.

It’s that kind of morning. The coffee maker sputters and spumes, the waiting pot barely askew on its fitted stand but just enough for a steady stream of brown liquid to miss its mouth and inch across the kitchen counter. She wipes the dark water and spilled grounds with a stained dishcloth that needs to be retired to the trash.

Photo by Kathryn Eastburn

Every Monday night I drive home from Denver after an evening of teaching. Strangely, it is a highlight of the week. Once I’ve gotten far enough south of the blue lights of Ikea, I can finally see the sky about half way to Castle Rock. The road opens up in gentle curves with just a few cars cruising at the leisurely pace of 9 p.m. The radio drones on, a TED talk that makes me weary about all I don’t know and the irritating sputter of the jittery host, so I switch it off. By now I’ve reached the other side of Castle Rock and a window of near darkness above Larkspur.

Playground Dinosaurs

May 15, 2014
Courtesy of Goodwin Fine Art

Manitou Springs-based photographer Brenda Biondo has just released a new book of photographs of antique and vintage playground equipment. We spoke with Biondo about the project and her book, Once Upon a Playground.  You can catch her exhibition of photographs from the book through Saturday at the Manitou Art Center.

Click HERE for more info on the exhibition.

Click HERE to buy the book.

Here’s what I remember: My sisters and I are still small enough to fit on our grandfather’s lap as a threesome, one on each of his outstretched thighs, the smallest tucked in the middle between his legs, her back pressed against his broad belly. My grandfather’s body is soft and he wears loose pants worn shiny and thin, as smooth as bed sheets. Those of us propped on a leg lean back against his broad shoulders and together we focus eight eyes on a small cardboard book nestled in his rough hands.

Good news from the FAC and for our locality:

Tunson’s Son of Pop Traveling

To Albuquerque and Billings

Gazette Reporter and Colorado Springs native Dave Philipps won the Pulitzer Prize yesterday for his investigative report “Other Than Honorable,” published last May. KRCC’s Noel Black spoke with Philipps about the award, the story and how it affected him.

Click HERE to read "Other Than Honorable".