Category Archives: Culture

Go to a Wonderbound Performance

April 30, 2017

I wasn’t exactly sure what I’d be getting into when I accepted an invitation to Wonderbound from my friend Tanya.  The performance was a pleasant and interesting experience.

Wonderbound is a dance group that performs contemporary dance along with live music while sticking to three fundamental values – community, collaboration, and creation.

This month’s performance took place at DU with the hip-hop band Flobots, from Denver.  The lead singers sang and rapped while dancers moved around the stage in modern ballet style.  For two songs, the group even included the audience which was very entertaining.  The collaboration explored the “struggles between personal identity, community, individual freedom and collective power.”

I didn’t really focus on the deeper meaning, but simply enjoyed the music, dance and atmosphere.  The performance was quite good.  I’d recommend seeing them at least once.  If tickets aren’t in the budget, go see them at an open door rehearsal.  https://wonderbound.com/ ETB

WANT TO VACATION SOONER?  IF SO, THIS VACATION CLUB IS FOR YOU!

Get the gist here: http://www.ratpacknation.net/pages/can-i-do-it

Want more details, click here:http://www.ratpacknation.net/pages/featured

To browse experiences or to sign up, click here:http://www.bethbankhead.dreamtrips.com

For notecards, key chains, or photographs, visit Notable Notecards or Niche Notecards on Etsy. A portion of the sales are donated to charity and a travel story is associated with each one.

Take a Tour of LASP at CU Boulder

April 28, 2017

I’m currently taking an enrichment class at DU called, Robotics in the Solar System. It is a fascinating class where we are learning about different space missions to Mars, Pluto, Mercury, and Jupiter. Our instructor, Paul Hemenway, worked on the Hubble telescope for 18 years.

As part of the class, we do a field trip. As such, we visited LASP, Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder on Friday. Public tours are available, though they prefer groups of at least eight. Tom Mason, the Director of Communications and Outreach, is who provides the tour. http://lasp.colorado.edu/home/personnel/tom.mason/

LASP is a full-cycle space research institute and a leader in atmospheric and space research. The institute employs 397 professionals and 150 students. It raises on average $70 million in research money and grants from NASA and other organizations for CU Boulder.

LASP has a mission operations and data systems group that trains and certifies undergraduates to perform mission operations. Currently, LASP operates five different space missions for NASA including AIM, Kepler, SORCE, QuikSCAT, and MinXSS CubaSat. Mission operators monitor and control the spacecraft and their instruments. An example, might be that a camera is turned off to save power, or the solar panel is tilted toward the sun, or the space craft is rotated slightly to ensure the correct orbit around a planet. These missions take years just for the spacecraft to reach its destination.

In addition to operating space missions, LASP designs and builds instruments such as spectrographs that are used on the spacecraft. Currently, LASP operates over 125 different instruments on spacecraft missions. We got to see life size models as well as scaled down versions of some the spacecraft in which they have been involved. In addition, we saw some of their engineering and clean rooms.

Anyone interested in space would enjoy this tour! ETB

For notecards, key chains, or photographs, visit Notable Notecards or Niche Notecards on Etsy. A portion of the sales are donated to charity and a travel story is associated with each one.

Enjoy a Wind Symphony in Denver

April 8, 2017

Saturday some friends and I attended a Colorado Wind Ensemble Concert.  The CWE collaborated with the Rocky Mountain Brassworks to present a unique show.  The two orchestras sat on separate sides.  Directed by their respective conductor, each played their own pieces, while they played the opening and closing piece together.  Each them both played Moorside Suite separately, so the audience could hear the difference.  I really enjoyed listening to the variance.  We were able to sit very close to the front, so we could see the musicians in detail.

symphony

I’ve lived in Colorado just over five years now, I have not heard of the ensemble or the band.  The CWE is in its 35th season!  The ensemble maintains an artistic residency at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and plays a six-concert season at a variety of venues around Denver.  Saturday night’s symphony was performed at the King Center on the Auraria campus.  The Venue was quite nice with good acoustics.  The CWE plays one more symphony this year called Worlds Away on May 20, 2017.  The tickets range from $5-$15. 

The Rocky Mountain Brassworks was formed in 1974 as the Colorado Brass Band and only played a few times a year.  It became the Rocky Mountain Brassworks in 1978.  The band uses instruments from the saxhorn family which produce a mellow tone.  Different instruments are used or excluded.  The tenor horn replaces the french horn and trumpets are excluded.  The Rocky Mountain Brassworks has two upcoming concerts, May the 4th Be With You featuring the music of “Star Wars” on May 4, 2017 and the 6th Rocky Mountain Brass Band Festival on May 20, 2017.  Tickets range from $5-$15 as well.  http://www.rockymountainbrassworks.org

I tend prefer the wind symphony over the regular symphony, so I was excited to find this concert on Saturday night.  It is also a nice way to enjoy the symphony at a reasonable price.  ETB

Don’t Miss the Stars Wars Costume Exhibit!

April 6, 2017

It’s not too late to visit the Star Wars Costume Exhibit at the Denver Art Museum.  It has been extended to April 9th, so there is one more day!  Tickets for adults with audio are $28 and appointment times are available every 15 minutes though many times are sold out.

I was fortunate to go a few days ago when it wasn’t very crowded.  I believe any Star Wars fan will appreciate the exhibit, but an of those who like movies and fashion might like this exhibit.  It probably suits Star Wars and fashion fans the best.

The costume designers, artists and George Lucas went through significant processes to create these costumes.  They started with sketches, then story boards, then small models, and then the final product.  Many of the costumes looked like wool, yet were mostly made of silk because it was a lighter material that could swing around in fighting scenes.

My favorite part of the exhibit was watching the video on C-3PO…poor Anthony Daniels, the actor who has played the droid in every movie.  The costume legs were tight and stiff so that he couldn’t walk well.  “Perfect,” said George Lucas, “it looks like a robot walking.”  In addition, Anthony Daniels couldn’t sit down in the costume, so during the breaks in 115⁰ weather in the desert, he had to stand there while someone helped him drink water!  Sometimes the costume would fall apart and other times he’d just fall down while walking and have to be helped up!

Another actor for whom I felt sorry was Peter Mayhew.  He played Chewbacca, loaded down in 15 pounds of yak hair in the original Star Wars series.  In these movies, there wasn’t a cooling system as there is now.

The exhibit wasn’t too long.  It only took me about an hour to go through after listening to the audio for 13 stations.  There was a large exhibit of Padme’s costumes, and those who like materials and embroideries would really like this.  I tended to like the plastic storm trooper costumes.  Overall, it is worth seeing.  Hurry and get your ticket!  ETB

WANT TO VACATION SOONER?  IF SO, THIS VACATION CLUB IS FOR YOU!

Get the gist here: http://www.ratpacknation.net/pages/can-i-do-it

Want more details, click here:http://www.ratpacknation.net/pages/featured

To browse experiences or to sign up, click here:http://www.bethbankhead.dreamtrips.com

For notecards, key chains, or photographs, visit Notable Notecards or Niche Notecards on Etsy. A portion of the sales are donated to charity and a travel story is associated with each one.

Parade of Lights

Parade of Lights
Location: Downtown near 16th St. Mall
Website: http://www.denverparadeoflights.com/

December 5, 2015

So, since I have lived in Denver and have known about the Parade of Lights, I have wanted to go.  The one time I planned on it, it was -9 degrees Fahrenheit.  I decided frostbite wasn’t worth it.

This year the weather was magnificent.  David and I decided to go downtown early for dinner and then watch the parade.  We stumbled upon a Peruvian place on Champa between 15th and 17th where we found a place to park.  We were surprised to find a meter, but later we realized we were between the parade route, though it wasn’t a problem.

After dinner, we wandered up to 17th and found a spot right on the corner at 6pm.  We lucked out as the street was lined with spectators four people deep and we only had to stand behind one person.  I suppose for a better view, getting there before the parade started would be a plus.  The start of the parade was about 20 minutes from us.  The floats were somewhat spread out which lengthened the parade to about an hour.

 

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enchanted keychain sideview

Museum of Outdoor Arts

November 5, 2015

Museum of Outdoor Arts
Indoor Gallery and Sculpture Garden

1000 Englewood Parkway, Suite 2-230
Englewood, CO 80110
phone: 303-806-0444
email: see http://www.moaonline.org/contactus/
website: http://www.moaonline.org

Hours for Indoor Gallery: Tuesday-Thursday 9-5, Friday 9-4, Saturday 11-4, but check their website for special events and when they are setting up new exhibits

Fees: Free, but $5 donation suggested

Today my friend Tanya and I decided to visit the Museum of Outdoor Arts Indoor Gallery located in the City of Englewood’s Civic Center. We tried visiting about a month ago, but it was closed while staff was setting up the current exhibit, Altered Reality.

We found a few of the exhibits to be rather thought provoking. My favorite piece were 2 dimensional images that were printed by a 3-D printer. Each two dimensional image was rotated 360 degrees on its Y axis for the 3-D object to be created. It was really fascinating to see an image of a small plane look like a spinning top in 3-D. It’s amazing what the human mind deciphers when compared to a computer that only copies an image.

IMG_2784

We also enjoyed the exhibits the displayed images of deconstructed boxes used in everyday products like toothpaste and deconstructed envelopes shown before they are folded.

Many of the other exhibits were a play on words, images, and letters.

IMG_2785

The outdoor museum has an indoor space because the City provides the space for free. The museum also displays several sculptures around the city center streets as well as nearby Fiddler’s Green. Each has an audio tour associated with it.

The museum doesn’t take long to visit, so it would be best to have something else planned in the area if traveling any distance. Overall, it was fun to check out. ETB

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snowy falls website copy

Deborah Butterfield Exhibit at Denver Botanic Gardens

September 26, 2015

Denver Botanic Gardens
10007 York Street
Denver, CO 80207
720-865-3500, press 0
email: see contact us on website
http://www.botanicgardens.org/

Hours: 9am-8pm

Fees: Members/Free, Adults/$15, Students and Seniors/$12, Kids (3-15)/$9, Kids under 3/Free

David and I went to the Denver Botanic Gardens to check out the Deborah Butterfield: The Nature of Horses exhibit. We were prepared to pay, but it ended up being a free day at the gardens, so we were pleasantly surprised, especially given that it wasn’t crowded on a gorgeous September afternoon.

We were thoroughly impressed with the horse sculptures which were made of wood, then bronzed, and then painted to look like drift wood. I would have never guessed that the sculptures were bronzed and painted. The horses looked just like they were made of drift wood. They were quite amazing.

The gardens were nice as well. We enjoyed a light snack at the outdoor restaurant and admired a variety of beautiful flowers. What a pleasant Saturday afternoon in Denver! ETB

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Blue Columbine website

Play at PalletFest

August 30, 2015

PalletFest
Sculpture Park (Denver Performing Arts Complex)
Website: http://www.palletfest.com/

Fees: Free or $35 VIP tickets
Hours: Yearly, Saturday 10am-10pm, Sunday 10am-5pm

PalletFest is Colorado’s first Upcycling Festival. This yearly event took place at Denver Performing Arts Complex’s Sculpture Park the last weekend of August. While VIP tickets are available for $35, the festival may also be entered for FREE which is what I would recommend unless you would like several alcoholic beverages.

Vendors displayed all their products using materials that are sometimes considered trash like bottle caps and pallets. Bands played as festival goers walked on stilts, walked through a pallet maze, played cornhole and connect four with “upcycled products”, hula-hooped and burned initials in pallets.

It was fun to stop by for a few hours to try something new. ETB

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fall colors website

The Big Wonderful

August 29, 2015

The Big Wonderful
26th and Lawrence
Website: http://thebigwonderful.com/

Fees: $5 donation
Hours: Saturday 12:30-7:30

The Big Wonderful, located at 26th and Lawrence, is an outdoor market and beer garden in Denver, Colorado. It takes place every Saturday from 12:30 to 7:30 and features a variety of vendors and food trucks along with live music.

I rode my bike to the Big Wonderful and met some friends to peruse the venue. It was a warm day and toward the end of summer, so it wasn’t too crowded. In fact, it would probably be more fun on its opening day, as I don’t believe it runs all winter.

Regardless, we were able to get a snack and a drink and “window shop”. Pampaw offered tastings of their hot sauce which was quite good, and Pickett’s let us taste their ginger beer which can also be used for cooking. We only stayed a few hours as it was a quiet day, but for a $5 donation, it wasn’t a bad place to try something new. ETB

Celebrate fall…for notecards, key chains or photos on canvas, visit http://www.notablenotecards.com or http://www.etsy.com/shop/nichenotecards

maple leaf website

Cripple Creek and Manitou Springs with Hikes in Between

May 2-3, 2015

Garden of the Gods
Location: 5 miles northwest of Colorado Springs
Fees: None

Cripple Creek
Location: 45 miles west of Colorado Springs

Horsethief Falls and Pancake Rock Trailhead
Location:
9.4 miles north of Cripple Creek
Elevation: 9,760-11,000
Roundtrip: 7.6 miles
Fees: None

Manitou Springs
Location: 6.5 miles west of Colorado Springs

Just sixty miles south of Denver a national natural landmark, Garden of the Gods is a unique, free park to visit. David and I stopped in the visitor center to find out the best trails to follow for cool views of the rock formations, but also to get in at least a four mile hike.

Upon the instruction of the ranger, we walked from the visitor center under the road to Gateway Trail which we connected to all or portions of three more trails; Chambers/Bretag/Palmer Trail, Siamese Twins Trail, and Perkins Central Garden Trail. The trails led us along the dusty path past twisted trees and small shrubs, between a variety of rock formations, and beneath many climbers enjoying a sunny day.

After completing the four mile loop, we drove to Cripple Creek, an old gold mining town. In its heyday, over 10,000 prospectors lived in the now sleepy town of 1,100. Now the main street is lined with casinos. The casino just on the outskirts of town has the cheapest craps table in the state (only $1), and from what I understand, good odds. We spent a few hours learning how to play. It only cost us $20 each. It was a fun time filler while we waited to watch the Kentucky Derby.

Cripple Creek is also home to a few museums and a theatre. I wouldn’t mind coming back for a theatre production, as I’m told actors come in from all over. Only a movie was showing, Three Amigos, while we were there. For a small $5 contribution, we visited the Cripple Creek District Museum operated by an enthusiastic married couple. We mostly wanted to take our picture in the cut-out board, but then enjoyed seeing all the old pictures and maps of the town and gold mines. It was worth a visit!

The weather put a bit of a damper on walking around the town, but we got a glimpse before we left the next morning to hike Horsethief Falls and Pancake Rocks. The trailhead is located at the closed Little Ike Tunnel. If hiking to both Horsethief Falls and Pancake Rocks, the overall distance is 7.6 miles. It is also possible to just hike one or the other for a shorter distance, 2.2 miles or 6.6 miles respectively. The trail also offers a detour to the left on Ring the Peak Trail that goes into the nearby meadow and towards Pikes Peak (this is actually the first trail junction).

While the weather was rather crappy the last few weeks of April, we were surprised to see how much snow was still on the trail. I expected some, but much of the path was snowpacked. Micro-spikes would have been a nice addition for the hike that began at 9,700 feet of elevation and gained another 1,200 along the way to Pancake Rocks.

The hike to Horsethief Falls was relatively simple though most of the falls were covered in snow, so I was a little bummed to only see a trickle of water. The hike to Pancake Rocks was a bit more challenging. Our poles helped us climb up the icy switchbacks to some neat rock formations. I’m uncertain if we made it all the way as the path somewhat ended into a mass of snow shortly after we stopped to admire some of the rocks. As the day warmed up, we alternated between post holing and sliding down the path on our return.

On our way back to Denver, we stopped for lunch in Manitou Springs and to wander around the town. I would have liked to wander around the town a bit longer, but we made a poor lunch choice by visiting BooDad’s. We saw our waiter twice over 1.5 hours…to bring us a beer and to bring us the bill. We had to order our meal from the young girl cleaning tables, our beer from the waitress handling the table next to us, and then ask for our bill from the person seating people as our waiter was no-where to be found on the balcony or inside the restaurant! I would not recommend, though Manitou Springs is worth a visit. ETB