I'm sorry, basketball is on
Steamboat Springs This week, I wrote the OnScene column and several other stories at home, off the clock, on my own time.
I occasionally do this kind of commitment to the job and the arts in Routt County. But honestly, this time, I did it so that at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14, I could be in front of a big TV tuned to ESPN, watching the 2007-08 University of North Carolina men's basketball team take the court for the first time.
This is where my commitment to the arts will falter, and where it always has - I've liked that basketball program for a lot longer than I've been playing or writing about music, cared about art or had any idea what it means to the people who create it.
It's an occupational hurdle that gets harder to explain every year. Inevitably, an event that I should be covering will happen at the same time as a basketball game no one in this part of the country cares about.
And I won't want to cover it, because I would rather watch star power forward Tyler Hansbrough inexplicably barrel through four guys who are taller than him and inexplicably make it to the basket his crazy, crazy eyes have honed in on.
But I'm willing to compromise, by watching highlights or recording games throughout the season, except for the ones on Feb. 6 and March 8.
Carolina plays Duke on those days, and the arts in Routt County or anywhere else will have to wait.
Ridley Scott's true crime epic "American Gangster" is long.
The performances from his leads keep audiences from realizing that.
Denzel Washington is sinister and ultimately likeable as Frank Lucas, the 1970s drug lord who cornered the New York heroin market with a product twice as good for half the price. Russell Crowe is the detestable good-cop Richie Roberts who eventually busts him.
Lucas knew how likeable he was, and so does Washington. It's where the character and the actor portraying him so easily overlap, and where Washington gets to do what he does best: be staggeringly evil in small doses.
That performance is where the outstanding parts of "American Gangster" stop. In every other way, Scott has made one of crime's most intriguing, successful figures the subject of a predictable, too-often-cliched big budget wash.