Memorial Day weekend

This year’s in-person Mountainfilm Festival schedule runs through Memorial Day Monday. (Courtesy photo)

Memorial Day, the annual observance of those who have lost their lives in performance of their military duties, is a time when many get together and honor the fallen in their own personal ways. 

Here in Telluride, the local Austin Hiett American Legion Post #12 hosts a flag raising ceremony in Lone Tree Cemetery each May 31. This year it takes place at 11 a.m., and a barbecue will immediately follow. Veterans interested in participating in the ceremony or joining the American Legion should contact post commander Brian Ahern at 970-708-1596. The ceremony and cookout are free to attend, and everyone is welcome. 

Another holiday happening that is unique to Telluride is the Mountainfilm Festival, which expanded its in-person offerings after local capacity limits were dropped recently, and there’s still a lot going on over the next two days. 

On Sunday and Monday, there is a full lineup of free and ticketed film screenings and events across the Palm Theater, Transfer Warehouse, Lawson Hill fields, High Camp at Mountain Village’s Telluride Conference Center and Base Camp in Telluride Town Park. Tickets must be reserved in advance online at mountainfilm.org for screenings at The Palm, High Camp and Transfer Warehouse. The festival shifts to an online format after Memorial Day, ending June 6. 

One such Sunday event, a discussion titled “The Evolution of Epic Adventure” at the Transfer Warehouse, will bring together world-class explorers in examining how “adventure” has changed over the years. 

“A lot has changed since the 1980s — even in the world of adventure. Back then, the subjects of ‘Godspeed, Los Polacos!’ cleverly navigated the Soviet system to go on an adventure of a lifetime — a daring kayaking expedition in the Americas with homemade equipment and little to no whitewater skills. Fast forward to today, with expedition kayaker Scott Lindgren’s 20-year quest to become the first person to paddle the four great rivers that flow from Tibet's sacred Mt. Kailash — a journey that’s documented in ‘The River Runner.’ These subjects will be joined by filmmaker and adventurer, Renan Ozturk, and the subject of After Antarctica, renowned Arctic explorer and conservationist, Will Steger,” according to the Mountainfilm website. “While decades apart, the subjects of these films all share a love of adventure and a certain level of resilience and determination. But how, exactly, has the meaning of ‘adventure’ changed over the years?”

If you’re up for an adventure of your own Sunday, Hilaree Nelson, the festival’s guest director this year and a Telluride local, is hosting a hike from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The free event does have a capacity limit, and guests will be able to participate on a first come, first served basis. And not only do you get to hang out and hike around with one of the best big mountain athletes in the world right now, but Colorado singer-songwriter will also be performing an intimate show. The hike starts at Elks Park. 

As of press time Friday afternoon, there were a handful of to-be-announced screenings on the Monday schedule, so check the website for the latest, but there is another speakers event Monday morning at the Transfer Warehouse, “Learning to Coexist.”

There will be two presentations. The morning segment will feature Dr. Mark Nelson, who was one of eight people originally selected to live and sustain life inside the fully enclosed Biosphere 2, an undertaking that was featured in the film “Spaceship Earth,” which was shown at Mountainfilm this year. Nelson leans on his areas of expertise — closed ecological system research, bioregenerative space life support, ecological engineering, restoration of damaged ecosystems, desert agriculture and wastewater recycling — while sharing lessons learned from Biosphere 2 that are relevant to the challenges the Earth faces today.

In addition, Nelson, who is the chairman of the Institute of Ecotechnics and head of Wastewater Gardens International, will share findings from the second edition of his book “Life Under Glass: Crucial Lessons in Planetary Stewardship.” A book signing will follow. 

The second presentation, “Couples Therapy with The Rivals,” features music group The Rivals, which is Dr. Julie Holland and Jeremy Wolff, a married couple who uses music and performance to hold their relationship together. Holland is a psychiatrist specializing in psychopharmacology, while Wolff is a travel writer and photographer. Each bring their own perspective to the relationship — scientific and artistic, yin and yang — resulting in both division and cohesion.

“The duo investigates the complexities of relationships in this workshop for couples, partners, friends and family that uses The Rivals’ unique infotainment approach. Music and performance becomes the meeting place for Holland and Wolff to explore and confront core differences and provides the audience with an idea-inducing therapeutic experience that's grounded by music,” according to the website. 

On Monday night, the Best Documentary Feature and Charlie Fowler Best Adventure Film winners will be announced at 7:30 p.m. at The Palm. 

For a full list of events, visit mountainfilm.org. COVID-19 protocols, including wearing face coverings in certain instances, can also be found online.

While it’s nice to go out and do something, it’s also just as nice to get together with some good friends and family and enjoy each other’s company, especially if everyone is fully vaccinated. It’s been a long 15 months. Enjoy the holiday responsibly.