Browsing Tag

house parties


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 …


Goldfish Entertainment’s “Vaudeville Bizarre!”


I don’t know about you, but I cherish surprises that seem to emerge from something bigger and more significant. Though it may all just be happenstance, I often feel struck by what plays out before my eyes in life. My fortunes often seem to be leaning in a particular direction that matches how I feel, almost as if circumstances outside my control are guided by my internal state. Is it merely coincidence to find exactly what I need at just the moment I need it? I don’t know what I’m a believer in exactly – but I believe.


This is how I felt attending the very first “Vaudeville Bizarre!” event this past weekend, thrown by Goldfish Entertainment and the one and only Natalia Kvalem. Like most socialiting decisions I make, I prefer not to worry about what I’m getting into once I decide I’m going to get into it. I didn’t know the venue, I didn’t know Natalia, and I didn’t know what level of production I was walking into Saturday night. All I knew is I was going to something, somewhere, and I was going to bring me. After wasting much of my life suffering in shyness, I’ve challenged myself the last few years to be everything I am and everything I want to be. If I do my part, I’ll realize joy. Anything more, and I feel I’ve stumbled face first into the proverbial Maraschino cherry on top . “Bring it, life!”


I arrived a little late, missing the first act, and I had to wedge myself and my hoops through a small crowd by the door after entering the detached garage behind what I later learned was the home of Josue Flores’ (of Goldfish Entertainment). The space itself, only about 700 square feet, contained an L-shaped design of chairs placed in rows that hugged a well-lit stage in the far corner of the room. I made my way behind the seating, said hello to a friend, and focused on the stage area where the second act was already in play. The moment I started paying attention to the local comedian, Evan Johnson, I felt breathless. This guy is funny. Shit. What did I walk into? I love, love, love stand-up. And house parties. And surprises that seem to be downloaded straight from my dreams.


Across the room, an attractive guy checks me out …