Browsing Tag

Denver

Leisure

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

By
on
06.20.2019

 

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 …

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 …

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 …

Leisure

The Winter Jamboree: You Can and Should Meet Your Idols

By
on
02.26.2019

 

The weekend before last, I just about missed my opportunity to experience the Jam Hoops Winter Jamboree due to a nasty cold that stuck around for a full two weeks. I wanted to be devastated and stomp around about how much I looked forward to the weekend. The Jamboree events are twice-yearly flow arts workshop events that span Friday-Saturday-Sunday and entail jamming, partying, learning, teaching, growing, and connecting with the flow arts’ world. Mainly focused on hoops, the Jamboree events are almost single-handedly created and organized by miss Maggie Brown. I don’t know how she does what she does – but for years, I’ve watched this woman build her Jam Hoops’ business and organize Jamboree events out of a truly authentic love she has for hooping. All I can say is: Fuck Yes, Maggie.

 

I tried my best not to cry over the money spent on the weekend ticket and all the workshops and parties I was missing while in bed trying to remember what breathing through my nose felt like. We’ve all been there, right? I wonder how other people have learned to treat themselves when they get sick. Me, I’ve been attempting to enhance my perspective, find abundance instead of absence, seek kindness toward myself and remain centered even when external forces seem to overwhelm me. Somewhere along the way in my life I realized I was responsible for caring for myself, and dammit, I had to put myself to bed and miss two-thirds of an event I’ve had my sights on for months. Because…guess what? Getting better is more important than getting to have an experience. Uggghhhh, I think I might be an adult now, hi.

 

Since I’m still pretty new at this, I accept any and all reinforcements for my good behavior. When I awoke Sunday with the ability to get out of the house and make it to Melissa Daly’s “tipper tech” hoop workshop, I tossed a confetti pile of thank you’s over every inch of myself until all I knew was gratitude instead of the understandable bitterness about what I had missed. Who cares? I’m here now and I’m going to enjoy every minute I can.

 

 

Better known in the hoop’sphere as albinoplant, Melissa began as a poi flow artist before sinking into some serious technical genius with single and double hoops. In my early days of hooping, …