Browsing Tag

socialiting

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

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

Goldfish Entertainment’s “Vaudeville Bizarre!”

By
on
02.11.2019


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 …