Click photo to enlarge
Andy Schneidkraut has owned Albums on the Hill since 1987.

No matter if you're a newbie in Boulder or someone who's been around for a while but hasn't yet ventured out of your cloistered shell, here are a few Boulderites who help make the community rather, er, communal. And fun!

Andy Schneidkraut, Owner: Albums on the Hill at a wise and wooly 58 years of age knows more about music than anyone you'll ever meet. He's literally Boulder's answer to Lester Bangs, but don't tell him that because he might get pissed and make fun of your hair.

Originally from Queens, Schneidkraut moved to the area in 1976 -- coincidentally around the time that Albums on the Hill started up -- and bought his spot (one of only four record stores in town) from the original owner in 1987. His son Daniel being an award-winning filmmaker in Minneapolis, Schneidkraut has a passion for all things artistic -- both local and abroad -- that can hardly be beaten.

Andy says: "Nowadays we see old-timey things, singer-songwriters for example. It's a high time for singer-songwriters in Boulder. There's loads of music, just a shortage of venues. But, there's still as much good music now as we ever have had."


Pablo Kjolseth, Director: International Film Series might resemble a circa '90s hipster with a predilection for scarecrows, but don't be frightened: he's your friend and one of the most important members of the Boulder film community. Kjolseth, born and bred in Boulder and a grad of CU's film program, was a projectionist and assistant of Stan Brakhage, and has been running the International Film Series since 1997.

IFS is the only permanent film series in the area that presents new independent/arthouse cinema and classics that can't be seen locally anywhere else (or sometimes at all), so forget Netflix and get on over to Muenzinger Auditorium for some cheap, good movies.

Kjloseth's encyclopedic knowledge of all things movies -- both the history and the technicality -- is unparalleled, which might surprise some after watching his student film "Tubes of Fire," shot by classmate Trey Parker and narrated by Brakhage.

Pablo says: "Boulder has seen its share of ebb-and-flow in terms of both film exhibition and active filmmakers in the area. Right now there are a lot of exciting developments on the horizon that signal an uptick on each front, which is exciting."

David Dadone, Executive Director: BmoCA took on the role of running Boulder's Museum of Contemporary Art on February 1, 2010. Hailing from Argentina, Dadone moved to the States nine years ago and came to us directly from the Museum of Latin American Art in Denver where he was the Deputy Director.

Dadone says his main goal working with the museum is to engage his audience in conversation through the exploration of art. He hopes to continue to commission works from local artists that will be instructive and interactive, a particularly exciting development for the young executive director after such installations as Adam Milner's "Another Room" in which the museum replaced its gift shop with the recent CU grad's own bedroom, keeping the facility open for 72 hours of straight interaction with the public and Milner's piece (as well as with Milner himself).

David says: "I think the Boulder art scene is great and is growing a lot. I think the community is very open to the exploration of continuing art."

Robin and Kathy Beeck, Founders of BIFF created and run the Boulder International Film Festival, are both graduates of CU and began their careers as popcorn girls at (what used to be) the many different movie theaters in town before making award-winning films of their own.

Their most famous film is 1998's "Grandpa's in the Tuff Shed"(partially funded by documentary provocateur Michael Moore), which deals with the infamous mascot of Nederland's Frozen Dead Guy Days. The sisters took both this film and 1996's "Dead Last: A Tale of Triumph" on world tours before founding BIFF in 2005, an event named one of the "25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World" by MovieMaker Magazine.

Robin says: "We're just really excited the way the film scene is growing in town. Lots of great filmmakers who live in town. It just seems like there's a lot more cohesion in the film community than there ever has been."

Espresso Roma Staff are the kind of baristas you'll find only in the most secluded areas of Brooklyn or maybe Portland or... well, out here in Boulder. Young and full of vim and vigor, they're on your level, play your music and talk about your movies and books when they're not bumming a cigarette or giving you one in return. It's like Cheers, only without any visible alcohol.

Nestled at the top of the Hill, Espresso Roma has what this writer believes to be the very best Chai in existence along with some tasty pastries and homemade snicker-snacks.

The staff welcomes all who might be coming by -- those who wear deodorant or not, those who change their clothes/shower regularly or not -- and engender a real sense of a protean artistic salon that brings in all manner of cultures and ideas.

There's some confusion among staff over when and how Espresso Roma came into existence, but they do know that their most faithful member, Mary, came with the building and is always there ready to assist customers and clean up when needed as a true devotee to the team.

Emily Owens, a barista at Roma, says: "Roma is a haven for the homeless, the academic, the artist, the middle-age hipster, the social old man, the hippies, the slackers and everyone else under the sun."

Joel Haertling, Cinema Program Coordinator: Boulder Public Library is another born-and-bred Boulderite who claims to have only been gone from our fair city from 1976 to 1980 when he attended school in St. Louis. Coming back to us to acquire his Masters degree in electrical engineering/telecommunications "way before the internet," Haertling became a bona fide film fellow in town, making independent works of his own and also teaming up with Brakhage at one point.

A "gentleman garage saler" -- something he "doesn't do for a living, but lives to do" -- Haertling exhibits films regularly at the Boulder Public Library (Main Branch) for free, sometimes showing obscure silent films with beautiful accompaniment by local classical musicians. (A real treat!)

Having played French horn in local avant-garde noise band Architect's Office back in the late '80s/early '90s, Haertling is easy to spot in the library with his large-lensed glasses, unique mustaches and even more unique attire. You might just be lucky enough to find yourself a visage of Haertling gracing your library card....

Joel says: "'Glamor' is a terrible word, coming from the word 'grammar,' meaning 'black magic spell.' 'Romantic' is a terrible word, too."

Alana Eve Burman, Festival Director for Fringe originally hails from Miami, Fla., and moved to Boulder in 1995 in order to pursue studies at Naropa in theater, music and visual arts. After graduating, she remained in town and helped to found the nonprofit Boulder International Fringe Festival in 2005.

In addition to being the festival director, Burman is also the group's graphic designer, webmaster, tech consultant and guide for Fringe artists looking to get involved in this multifaceted artistic event that has become a Boulder mainstay throughout the cultural community, offering everything from comedy to live music to dance and beyond.

Burman continues to engage in personal artwork exhibitions and, along with her husband, owns JoyLife Therapeutics Inc., which provides both local and nationwide services involving onsite chair and table massages at trade shows and businesses in need for that extra break for their employees.

Alana says: "The more people realize that artists will be supported here, the more artists and art-lovers will want to be a part of it. Boulder has the ability to be renowned as a world-class arts hub, and I think the Fringe plays a huge role in getting us there."

Tom Peters, Owner: beat book shop has owned his store on Pearl Street next to the Laughing Goat -- one of only six independent bookstores and one of only four record stores in town -- for the last 21 years. Moving here from Detroit by way of Los Angeles in order to attend Naropa's writing program sight unseen, Peters has been running the "So, You're a Poet" open mic series for the last 24 years (the longest run of any such open mic in the area).

Peters' beat book shop -- referred to in a past Colorado Daily interview with Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore as "one of the best book shops in the country" -- allegedly retains over 3500 records, 1000 45s, hundreds of 78s and over 20,000 books for sale, some of which you won't find anywhere else.

Also a member of Architect's Office (1986-1992), Peters says he has performed his poetry with such varied acts as A Tribe Called Quest, Sonic Youth and DeVotchKa and once opened for the Flaming Lips. He's also an accomplished writer of published works and an independent filmmaker.

Tom says: On the local arts/literary scene: "It's ever-changing. It's like this wave that continually gets better and worse, better and worse, changing constantly."