Listening in on Boulder: an arts and culture beatbox on University Hill

by Lauren Maslen

I used to feel accustomed to Boulder’s student scene, but as a busy graduate student today, venturing into the student-dominated University Hill is a different experience. One recent Saturday on the Hill afforded me the opportunity to get to know my fellow Boulderites in a way I typically wouldn’t bother.

Aerospace Engineering master’s student Eric Threet, 23, was eating lunch outside the new trend-friendly restaurant, the Corner.

In between bites of salad, Threet rehashed the topic of his class today: annoyances of living in a space station. “Space is loud.” Threet said. “You can go crazy up there! Someone brought their guitar up with them one time, though.”

So what on Earth did engineers find enjoyable besides spaceships?

“Arts and culture includes music, right? I’d want to read interviews with musicians.”

Threet and I discussed music coming to Colorado this fall. Rock and electronic dance music dominate Denver while Boulder has an appetite for indie rock and jam bands. “And street performers,” Threet mentioned.

I didn’t realize how far that remark would take me as I continued across the Hill.

“Hey, you wanna save the environment?”

No, I didn’t, but I did want to hear what this clipboard-toting Green Peace worker cared about.

“I really think Boulder has a lot of great street performers, and I think they go extremely unnoticed by the press.” Cameron Marsh, 25, was going to work in Samoa with the Peace Corps in a few weeks. “Street performers have very interesting stories . . . they have a lot to contribute to Boulder’s culture.”

I wondered if the caffeine mongers at Buchanan’s Coffee Pub on the opposite end of the Hill would offer up the same opinion.

Kylie and Nick were two baristas working that afternoon. “I don’t really care what a writer’s opinion is,” said Nick, 28, a writer. “I’d like a listing of events that I can go to. “Yeah, I like to know when events are, too,” Kylie, 24, said.

Burt Johnson, 27, tapped away at his computer on the Coffee Pub’s porch. Long haired, plaid, and sporting a lopsided beanie, he was an archetypal Boulderite.

Burt and I spoke about local, live music and restaurants. Reviews or event listings, I questioned? I was still questioning whether or not people like to read reviews? “There are some bands I’d want to read about and some I just don’t care about.”

Fair enough.


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