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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 …


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



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 …