Graham benefit comes to Mancos Opera House

Tami Graham spins poi at an ASA Fire Tribe performance in the summer of 2011 at the Mancos Renaissance Fair.Fire poi use wicks for the weighted ends (often made using kevlar); the wicks are soaked in fuel, set on fire, and then spun for dramatic effect. Enlargephoto

Courtesy Photo

Tami Graham spins poi at an ASA Fire Tribe performance in the summer of 2011 at the Mancos Renaissance Fair.Fire poi use wicks for the weighted ends (often made using kevlar); the wicks are soaked in fuel, set on fire, and then spun for dramatic effect.

A benefit for Tami Graham will take place on Saturday, March 24, 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., at the Mancos Opera House, called “Steers, Queers and Everything Inbetween.”

In September of 2011, Graham was diagnosed with uterine cancer. In mid-December, she had surgery. The cancer was found in the early stages; therefore, her prognosis is excellent! However, despite managing to get insured, she still is personally incurring medical expenses in excess of $10,000.

“I’m feeling really good now,” said Graham. “I’ve never felt really bad, even after the surgery. But it took me about a month to recover.”

Despite the fact that organizing these kinds of events is what she does, Graham is trying to take more of a backseat on this one.

“When I got home from the hospital last December, Ryan, a good friend of mine, just told me that they were planning a fundraiser,” she said. “He already had the place and time and many of the acts.”

In an effort to give back to Graham in a way that she has given to our community during more than 25 years of living in Southwest Colorado, a group of friends are coordinating a benefit for her. Art Goodtimes will emcee the event. A roast of Graham, including favorite stories of her escapades, will occur throughout the evening. A silent auction will include original art pieces from numerous friends of Graham’s, dinners, concerts, hotel stays, massages, a $200 pack from Osprey Packs, and much more. Donated appetizers from Kennebec Cafe, the Palace and Absolute Bakery, as well as donated beer and wine will be available.

The cost is $25 for general admission, and the VIP tickets are $75. They are available at Animas Trading Company in Durango, at Kaleidoscope Wellness in Mancos and at the door.

“It’s been tough for me, but it’s been a good exercise in receiving,” Graham said. “It’s so much fun to get into the event mode.”

The title of this event, “Steers, Queers and Everything Inbetween,” was chosen because it’s one of Graham’s slogans for Mancos, her current town of residence.

“It’s been my joke for Mancos, but when you look at the line-up of the acts, it’s very diverse,” she said.

The ASA Fire Tribe will perform outside at 7 p.m., so everyone will be able to watch it, according to Graham.

“I might spin with them for a while,” she said.

The Salt Fire Circus also is performing some acts that are specific to cancer.

Many of the acts consist of Mancos people, according to Graham. And, she said, the food, the liquor license, and the T-shirts have all been donated by local businesses.

Graham lived in Durango for 17 years before moving to Mancos approximately eight years ago. She was the station manager at KDUR from 1990-1997 and was awarded Woman of the Year at Fort Lewis College in 1996. She has been the executive director of three separate nonprofits and has brought dozens of nationally touring musical acts to Southwest Colorado, including presenting Michael Franti and Spearhead in Durango in the summer of 2010, with a crowd of 3,500 attendees. She is an independent mediator, trainer and facilitator and has worked with more than 25 nonprofit organizations and institutions. She has served on numerous boards in both Durango and Mancos.

“I am so grateful to everyone in town who has been a help to me over the years,” Graham said.

The performance schedule follows:

7-7:30 — ASA Fire Tribe

7:45-8:15 — The Lindells

8:30-9 — John Thomas band

9:15-9:45 — Salt Fire Circus

10-11:00 — Diabolic Sound Platoon w/Dub Rock

11:15-12:15 — Afrobeat Minions

12:30-1:45 — DJ Dr. Doom

For more information on this event, contact Ryan Dennis at 394-9077 or wolfofnight22@hotmail.com.

Juggler Erin Stephens, right, is shown with Tami Graham at Ska for the Salt Fire Circus fundraiser April 1 of last year. Erin Stephens will perform at the benefit for Tami on Saturday, March 24 at the Mancos Opera House. Enlargephoto

photo by illuminarts photography

Juggler Erin Stephens, right, is shown with Tami Graham at Ska for the Salt Fire Circus fundraiser April 1 of last year. Erin Stephens will perform at the benefit for Tami on Saturday, March 24 at the Mancos Opera House.