June 2019


The Denver Party Scene and THOU ART on HIGH: A Cap Hill Neighborhood Art Night



I quite enjoy parties. I grew up in an area known colloquially as “South Florida” – an area along the southern east coast of Florida which spans three tri-county areas and houses cities such as West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Ft. Lauderdale, and Miami. You’ve probably heard of at least one of these cities, and you would expect them to be filled with sunshine, tanned bikini bodies, and all-day and all-night beach drinking. You would be right to imagine it this way– in South Florida, the weather is warm year-round, the people have money to spend, the location is prime for any-drug-you-want access, and there’s no good reason not to party. There are clothing-optional rooftop pool parties, international four-day-long fetish events that take over entire hotels, every concert you want to attend, and five separate downtown club scenes in a 3-hour north-south radius. The party scene is expensive; it has a dress code; and you can bet that professionals are running it.


While known as a party destination to much of the world, South Florida lacks a certain intimacy and community connection. Although it has so much to offer, it does so with a shallow and half-hearted nature. There is no meaning to the party, no value; it’s just another day in the life.


Denver is different: It encourages the genres of art, sex, circus, and theatre to unite like great poets, writers, painters, and philosophers of the 1920’s once gathered. No one is wasted; not in their intoxication nor in their humanity. Everyone desires to show up as themselves and to enjoy others as they are. The party scene wakens my soul to a glorified time when eccentricity, glee and rebellion both escaped the center of culture and eventually defined the culture for an entire decade. Life will be seized and consequences will be damned.


I first recognized the 1920’s atmosphere back when I attended Natalia Kvalem’s first-ever production, a variety show held at the Diebolt Brewery. With interwoven acts of burlesque, aerial arts, and stand-up comedy, Natalia produced and hosted a show full of enjoyment, enthusiasm, and a “fuck-the-system” attitude reminiscent of the greats of that magical jazz era. Imaginations stretch, races mingle with honesty, notions of gender and sexuality dismantle, and folks disregard class as trade for the opportunity to laugh, dance, drink, dress, love and behave as they want. A hundred years …