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Jessie O’Brien’s articles

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Meet the men who outdo the drag ladies in style and sex appeal

Instead of adding extensions to their lids for full, thick lashes, Jen Powell takes their time applying tiny, individual blonde hairs with precision to their upper lip. A bow-tie and a pair lens-less knock-off Ray Bans completes the transformation of Jen into Adam All, Powell’s drag king persona. Powell has developed Adam All...

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Bisexual backlash

The B sits right in the middle of the LGBTQ acronym, and like middle children, bisexuality is often ignored and misunderstood. Soon-to-be Fort Lewis College senior Brandon Castle knows this all too well. After telling a close friend he was bisexual, they responded, “Well, that’s just ridiculous. You have to choose one or the...

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Breaking Traditions

The handle of executive chef Ray Srisamer’s 18-year-old sushi knife is centimeters smaller than his newer, $1,000 custom knife. After years of use, he’s worn down the wood, but keeps both in his toolkit as he works behind the bar at Pop Sushi, making swift, fluid movements as he prepares the amberjack, tuna, yellowtail, and...

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Check your privilege

When Daniel Sullivan was hired right out of college to teach in the Watts district of South Central Los Angeles, he knew he wasn’t hired because of his abilities.

‘“(The principal) wanted to give me a leg-up to get me into the teaching profession. I was aware that it unfairly benefited me,” Sullivan said. “I was hired...

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Hitchin’ a ride

U.S. Highway 550 between Durango and Hermosa is one of the few places in America where it’s still normal to see hitchhikers. For the past two months, I’ve driven that stretch of highway to and from work, and at least once a week I’ll see someone with a large pack, sun-kissed cheeks, and uncombed hair under a sweat-stained hat...

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Three paletas that are worth a brain freeze

Lupe Torres, co-owner of Michoacana El Oasis, has childhood memories of buying strawberry popsicles from the paletero man. She was born in Mexico but raised in California, where both American-style ice cream trucks and paleta carts coerced kids out of their homes with bells and tinny music. Kids may disagree, but to the adult...

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Denver comic Christie Buchele isn’t afraid of an awkward laugh

Up-and-coming Denver comic Christie Buchele will make you feel uncomfortable with her wry, self-deprecating jokes about cerebral palsy.

“That’s how I classify my comedy,” she jokes, “Funny, but sad.”

It’s awkward at first for those who don’t know who she is, but she makes her disability work to her...

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The natural sets of Colorado that made movie magic

Driving through the awe-inspiring mountainsides of Durango and the old-timey towns nearby, it often feels like moving through a movie set. It’s no wonder the Southwest has been selected as the backdrop for some of Hollywood’s greatest Westerns, strange sci-fi films, and action adventures. Take a look behind the scenes of a...

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Surrogate partners’ healing touch

Among American taboos, sex work has remained one of the most morally contested, despite our hypersexual culture. Surrogate partner therapy is the process of treating clients who struggle with emotional and sexual intimacy through sessions that, at times, include sexual acts. “But that,” said surrogate partner pioneer Dr....

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Tiny house territory

Some people have enough space in their living rooms for a circa-1992 Dominique Dawes to perform a floor routine, with cartwheels, spins, and triple backflips from corner to corner. On the other hand, Greg Parham, tiny house builder and owner of his own 16-by-7.5 foot wooden palace, has to use his foam roller at a friend’s...

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Iron Horse director Gaige Sippy, the man behind Durango’s race of the year

Every year on Memorial Day weekend, athletes peddle up daunting mountain inclines from Durango to Silverton to take part in the tradition of the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, now in its 47th year. The road to Silverton hasn’t changed, but after participating in a dozen races and spending over 11 years running the event,...

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Homeless community shares stories about their meaningful possessions

Many of us carry a memento that is personal to us – a picture of someone we care about, a piece of jewelry, or maybe a Twain quote folded up in our wallets. Possessions tell us a lot about a person – what they value and who they love. But if all you own is what you can carry – as is the case with the homeless in Durango – the...

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