Entertainment and peace collide at Carbondale’s Peace Jam! | PostIndependent.com

Entertainment and peace collide at Carbondale’s Peace Jam!

Stina Sieg
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Courtesy photo by Jane Bacharach

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” “Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.” ” John F. Kennedy

“I’m fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.” ” George McGovern

“You can’t say civilization don’t advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way.” ” Will Rogers

No matter how important it is, no matter who you are, it seems that talking about war is no fun. Tonight, instead of talking war, the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition is throwing a party instead.

For its sixth straight year, the group is hosting Peace Jam!, a fundraiser full of music and comedy. While everyone involved had a slightly different take on the night, they all agreed on one thing. This is a place to come and let your hair down.

Who couldn’t use a little of that?

“It’s one of our most positive events,” said Sue Gray, event coordinator. “It gives us a chance to look at the lighter side of things.”

Most of the year, she said, her group’s activities include showing videos and inviting guests to talk on peace and war. All that, obviously, appeals to a specific segment of the population. Peace Jam! however, is more of a party with a purpose.

“We can laugh at ourselves,” she said, of her group. “We can be lighthearted.”

Karen Tafejiah, keyboardist for The Sirens explained that her band supports “world peace.” Still, her reggae, classic rock and funk rifts is the stuff of dances, not rallies.

“We are playing to provide music as common ground to bring people together in a way that is upbeat and positive,” she said.

“The bottom line is laughter,” explained stand-up comic Mark Thomas, “Enjoy.”

Usually, the local comedian has guidelines: No “F bombs” and not much politics.

As he jokes with the crowd between music acts, however, he plans on bending his shtick, if ever so slightly, for the new audience.

“Maybe I’ll make people think a little bit more,” he said, and then dubbed his work “fresh underwear observational.”

As he put it, “mostly clean, but just a layer away from the naughty bits.”

While the night is about joy and community and giving back for Steve Skinner, the Natives member couldn’t deny the party’s social aspect, either. He didn’t want to. Working to end war is a large part of who he is.

“I’m so supportive of any kind of peace effort,” he said.

Listen to his songs, he went on, and you’ll see that every note, every word has a purpose, a message. He just wears his beliefs on his sleeve.

“You start digging in and you’re going to find we’re against the war,” he said. “We’re for peace.”

He’s been “banging that drum” a long time, he continued, long enough to be a realist about it. He called himself cautiously optimistic, hoping for a cultural shift.

“If there is a change in the air, I’m ready,” he said.

He also sounded set to party. Like everyone else involved, he had no idea how many Peace Jams! it might take before the war in question comes to an end.

That feels like all the more reason to enjoy yourself tonight.

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