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MONDAY | 8.12

ISLAND IN THE SKY

From the many indigenous tribes that call the mountain home to the 1944 B-24 bomber crash site to Arizona Snowbowl, the human history of the San Francisco Peaks is one of innovation, controversy, tragedy and triumph. But what about its natural history? In her new book, The Natural History of the San Francisco Peaks, artist, writer and ecologist Gwendolyn L. Waring tells the first ever natural history of the northern Arizona volcano. Starting with the geologic formation of western North America more than a billion years ago, Waring details the 2.8 million years of lava flows that created the San Francisco Peaks, as well as the life zones, communities, plants and diverse habitat that make up the vast sky island in Flagstaff’s backyard. With its charts, graphs and scientific data, Waring’s book about the San Francisco Peaks seems rather academic at first glance. But delve deeper, and it reveals itself as part love story. “I have tasted the magic of the Peaks,” Waring writes in the introduction to The Natural History of the San Francisco Peaks, the story of the making of Flagstaff’s massive volcanic feature and of its flora, fauna, climate and human impact. “Its whole story is incredible,” Waring told the Arizona Daily Sun earlier this year. “There are wonderful mysteries up there. My hope is people see how much I love the Peaks, and that they enjoy the book and it inspires them.” Also the author of A Natural History of the Intermountain West, Waring’s focus as a writer is on the ecological works of systems and their evolutionary stories. This Monday, Waring will present a talk on her book at the Riordan Mansion State Historic Park, 409 W. Riordan Rd., Aug. 12, from 12:15-1 p.m. This event is free. The book is available at bookstores in Flagstaff and at www.sanfranciscopeaksnaturalhistory.com

FRIDAY | 8.9

EXPLORING THE SILENCE

How do we describe ourselves without words, without the symbols we’ve created to determine meaning and purpose? Without words, the world is full of empty sounds, the vastness of noise without rhyme or reason. But in that hollow expanse lies something beautiful, something the Sedona-based post-rock outfit Koya is hoping to explore. Recently they took their experimental instrumental prowess to Flagstaff’s Mudshark Recording Studios where they recorded their new album Lost Futures. Through nine wordless, emotional and cinematic songs, Lost Futures takes its listeners to the furthest reaches of space and the deepest parts of human consciousness. Lost Futures is a light in the dark. Catch Koya tomorrow night, Aug. 9, at Firecreek Coffee Co., 22 E. Route 66. Openers: Minivan and Pelvic Trust. Doors at 7:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $6. See the event page on Facebook for more information.

FRIDAY | 8.9

BEAR OF A PARTY

Do you remember screaming at the top of your tiny child lungs whenever Smokey Bear entered a room? Maybe you even shed a few tears, because we know we did. The guy’s a celebrity. A big, fluffy, hat-wearing, forest-fire preventing quadruped full of love and wisdom, and it’s time to celebrate his birthday. Smokey Bear turns 75 this Friday, marking nearly a century of single-handedly protecting our forests (*Cough* we love you firefighters, hot shots, ecologists and foresters). Mountain Sports will be hosting a Birthday bash for Smokey this Friday, complete with Smokey tattoos, stickers and crafts for the kids as well as Smokey the Bear merchandise, cupcakes and refreshments for the whole family. Cross your fingers for a visit from the bear himself because it’s looking very likely and, remember kids, only YOU can prevent forest fires. The b-day will be from 5:30-7 p.m. at 24 N. San Francisco St.

SATURDAY | 8.10

MUSIC LIKE SUGAR

Sugar and the Mint is coming to Flagstaff again, and it’s a joyous occasion. Having shared bills with Emmylou Harris, Punch Brothers and the Sam Bush Band, among others, the folk ensemble tends to draw large crowds eager to hear their melodies. Sugar and the Mint is a delicious mixture of bluegrass, blues and folk. The band has participated in the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, the Ogden Music Festival and Flagstaff’s Pickin’ in the Pines in 2017. Foot-tapping arrangements of violin, mandolin, guitar and vocal harmonies make listening to Sugar and the Mint a lush and almost meditative experience couched in the ancient tradition that is American folk music. Early on, the band put its own spin on songs from blues legend Robert Johnson, the father of bluegrass Bill Monroe, folk music icons The Kingston Trio, and rock ‘n’ roll's Allman Brothers Band. Today, unique arrangements of 20th century favorites still make it to the set list for live shows. The Arcadian Wild will open for Sugar in the Mint at the show. The former formed out of a few choir students at Nashville’s Lipscomb University, later adding guitar, mandolin and fiddle that explore a unique acoustic sound. This weekend's show will be held at the Orpheum Theater, 15 W. Aspen Ave. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., show  at 8:30 p.m. 

SUNDAY | 8.11

BARMAN WAITING IN THE SKY

We all know the trope of the writer who drinks. In fact, Irish poet and playwright Brendan Behan has a quote about it. He says, “I am a drinker with writing problems.” But what of the person who sits behind the bar? Whose heavy hand pours the drinks for those to imbibe and perhaps by whom to be inspired enough to scribble a poem on a napkin or receipt. In his new poetry collection, Barman, James Jay, owner of Uptown Pubhouse, explores the role of the bartender. In the introduction of the collection, “The Barman’s Box,” he equates literature to a lost and found box in a bar. He writes, “So much is lost and we look to Literature to find the lost: the intoxicatingly fearful-joy of dancing with those beautiful girls at the Bobcat Junior High gymnasium, the smell of tulip as the frost melted from its petal, the last words you spoke before you died in your hospital bed.” In 100 nimble pages, Jay captures the pain, joy, heartache, love, despair and beauty in moments as honest as a drink or two might make you. Join others this Sunday, Aug. 11, for Barman Book Signing and Reading at Uptown Pubhouse, 114 N. Leroux St., beginning at noon. The reading will also feature local author and Flag Live! contributor Stacy Murison. Books will be available for purchase at the reading and are available for pre-order online at www.jamesjay.org.

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