March 2019

Leisure

Community Support, Panic Attacks, and A Visit to the Mercury Cafe for Drunken “History of the West”

By
on
03.28.2019

 

First, it’s Friday night and I’ve spent the day fighting a panic attack. I left work early, laid down on the floor of my bedroom and cried. In a private local women’s group on Facebook, I posted to express my current anxiety and my unease with how to deal. I’m 35. I can’t bang my head into a wall so hard I see stars; though it would certainly shake me out of the madness, it wouldn’t help halt my mounting list of concussions. What can I do during a panic attack that doesn’t require harming myself? As I submitted the post for approval, I heard back from Embur with her address to come see her.

 

I met Embur back when I first moved here when I had attended an event thrown by the local circus community. If friendship-at-first-sight is a thing, I felt it for her. We’ve crossed paths in smaller settings since that time and shared brief moments of acceptance and admiration for each other. Somehow, I knew I could turn to her. As I made my way toward her place in a few layers including my winter coat and fleece-lined leggings, I was greeted by her on the steps outside her apartment building wearing a hoodie, short shorts, knee-high leg warmers and the barest feet. She took me in and asked me to tell her what was going on with me; she looked me in the eyes and remarked on how beautiful she thought I was; and she talked to me about me moving into a downstairs apartment like I was her best friend and she wanted me near.

 

She shared what was going on in her life, too. She cried and I laid down against her leg and held her just so slightly that she would know she was safe to keep talking. We didn’t speak too much about our community or about our shared passions with circus even though that’s how we came together. Our sharing of interests in shared space, our sense of community toward one another, developed a foundation for friendship. It made us not strangers in a world of strangers.

 

 

Then, it’s Saturday night at the Mercury Café – inside the entrance, I’m greeted with choices: ahead of me is a staircase and on the door to my left is a sign about “the show outside and …

HR for the Employee Leisure

What Can We Learn from Ulmer? The Bomb Cyclone of 2019

By
on
03.22.2019

 

A week ago, all of Colorado was hit with a Category-2 cyclone named Ulmer only later in the evening after several tragic events already occurred. For those of you unfamiliar with weather terms, a cyclone is a hurricane that forms in the Pacific Ocean rather than the Atlantic. They were calling it a “bomb cyclone” here – a reference that a lot of folks considered to be a dramatic description for what seemed to be a normal snow storm for the Denver area. In fact, the term was generated from the technical term “bombogenesis”: a weather condition known to cause significant damage due to extreme and quick barometric pressure drops.

 

Ulmer was no joke. Unfortunately, too many people thought this storm wasn’t even worth knowing about it or considering. I followed the storm progression for the two days prior with an unexpected familiarity with the weather tracking I’ve done elsewhere. Having spent about two-thirds of my life all over the state of Florida, I’m used to the almost year-round hurricane season that stresses out populations across a massive expanse of land. There, hurricanes usually form far off the eastern coast in the Atlantic Ocean. Due to conflicting pressure systems and temperature changes in the water, we never quite know where the hurricane is going to land. Speaking of land, once a hurricane hits the coast, we can’t predict its path of destruction nor whether it will strengthen or weaken as it moves. We’ve seen hurricanes pass us by in southeast Florida, cross the entire state, and then decimate South Carolina. We’ve experienced hurricanes that zig-zag across the state, hit one area before strengthening again to damage another area ten hours away. Tropical storms because Category 1…2…3…4…5 hurricanes in a matter of hours. Because we experience this for the majority of the year – year after year – we know to at least pay attention to the news.

 

 

 

I can’t say the same for the people of Colorado. As proud as you are to be natives, or to have spent decades settled in this state, y’all don’t seem to know much about the weather systems that affect your local experience. Too many of you have concluded that meteorologists can’t be trusted. Ignorance plays a disappointing role – as weather here can be impacted by a multitude of factors none which have anything to do with trusting …

Leisure

The Spotlight’s On Me (Another Goldfish Production)

By
on
03.14.2019

I returned to the Goldfish Garage last Saturday night for the bi-weekly Garage Show by Goldfish Entertainment. Intimacy distinguishes this and any underground world – if you wanted a macro focus on the Denver comedy circuit, this is where you would venture. I’m standing next to Lauren Dafault while she looks over and edits her notes before her set. I’m a few feet away from comedians Kona Morris and Stylo Marx, each of whom selectively laughs at jokes that leverage their professional approval.

 

There are layers upon layers of passion, commitment, and camaraderie that subsist for performers, especially comedians, and you can’t often see it when watching someone on a massive stage in a packed auditorium. I grew up watching some of the greatest comedians receive their first HBO specials in just such a space, and even now feel intense excitement over the Netflix, Hulu, and Prime generation of comedy special releases with comics who catch their breaks. But the world inside this garage engages more than just laughs.

 

Unlike the polished comics we all know by name, these folks are still seasoning the pot of their comedic soup. They are learning how to deliver with timing and tone, how to feel confident in a joke even when the audience is silent or distracted, and they are reworking jokes until they get them right. It’s one thing to be impressed by someone who has practiced to the point of perfecting their art; it’s another entirely to be invited on the journey to that perfection. I’m honored to be here, to have the opportunity to watch local artists grow – and I’m certain I will see many of these folks find success if they keep at it. More so, I’m certain I will see myself find success – in part because I’m surrounded by people who inspire me to keep chipping away at my own goals.

 

Harrison Garcia took to the stage, thanking us for “being here in this garage” and describing his look with rubrics such as “if an owl had a drinking problem” or “resting diabetic cat face”. In his black rimmed glasses, bearded face, and flannelled chest, Harrison is the epitome of a Denver guy. As he narrates to us in sing-song The Backstreet Boys’ musical number, “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” so we can all re-familiarize ourselves with lyrics about a return from a …

Leisure

Denver Underground: Drunken History New Orleans at the Diebolt Brewery

By
on
03.03.2019

 

On Thursday evening, I visited the Sunnyside neighborhood of Denver for the Goldfish Entertainment production, Drunk Historians Mardi Gras: History of New Orleans! Two blocks down Mariposa Street, past a laundry mat and some warehouse space, Diebolt Brewing Company is a locally-owned small business that hosts events such as comedy and variety shows, beer unveilings, drunken science lessons, wedding receptions, and hipster adult-thrown children’s parties. (Doesn’t everyone want a certain level of intoxication to bare ten to thirty children screaming and running around; or, is it just me?)

 

 

In the back room separate from the bar area, wooden storage barrels second as standing bar tables scattered around the room. Folding chairs line about eight rows, prepared to seat an audience in front of a small, low stage. Set with professional lighting, the dichotomic stage setup also consists of the industrial garage door of the warehouse space as the backdrop. We are in the Diebolt brewery, where Diebolt brews seasonal beers such as the “Reunion Island Gose beer” made with pink peppercorns, French grey sea salt, and then kettle-soured with Lactobacillus or the “Polynesian Biere de Garde” brewed with toasted coconut, cacao nibs, and vanilla bean, along with their year-round IPA, double IPA, and Porter. Behind a retractable belt divider like you would find in a theatre for crowd control, my eyes scan large silver fermenters, shelving housing large bags of starter grains, and other miscellaneous equipment to make beer. I feel like I’m in the underground Denver, a backroom unknown to tourists and visitors.

 

 

After enjoying the open, industrial space early in the evening by practicing a few one-handed ball juggles and some plate balancing, I turned my view to the stage for the first act. Comedian Cory Stevens started off this New Orleans’ version of Drunk History with beads braided around his arms and head to the point of entrapping him in Mardi Gras’ reality. Although he didn’t quite educate me on the history of New Orleans other than by touching upon how the laws around nudity have become restricted during the infamous yearly Mardi Gras celebrations, Cory still knew how to make an audience laugh. He fabricated a common theme throughout his act in which he brags about being a “great tourist”. He begins with an example of how, when arriving in Denver, he immediately consumed copious amounts of drugs – a reality …