Category Archives: Entertainment

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

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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

The Denver Zoo by Day and Frasca and Hotel Boulderado by Night

February 14-15, 2016

Denver Zoo
Address: City Park
Website: http://www.denverzoo.org
Hours of Operation: Winter Hours, 10-4 daily
Fees: Adults $13, Seniors $11, Children 3-11 $9, Children Under 2 – Free

Frasca
Address: 1738 Pearl St., Boulder, CO
Website: http://www.frascafoodandwine.com
Phone: 303-442-6966
Hours of Operation: Dinner Only, Closed Sunday

Hotel Boulderado
Address: 2115 13th St., Boulder, CO
Website: http://www.boulderado.com
Phone: 303-442-4344

For Valentine’s Day, we decided to do something different. After playing tennis at City Park, we stopped in at the zoo. We thought it would be nice to visit on an unseasonably warm day this winter. Loads of other folks thought the same thing, though with the sun behind the clouds, our 1.5 hour visit wasn’t as warm as we expected.

Neither David nor I are big zoo fans, but given it’s less than a mile from our house, and I haven’t been for the four years I lived nearby, I thought it was time. I believe the Denver Zoo focuses heavily on rescue animals like the rhinos without horns which is good. Having said that, I’d prefer animals to have a larger more natural habitat.

Our first stop was at the cafe for lunch. After that, we made a quick loop passing by mountain goats, lions, tigers, giraffes, monkeys, polar bears, grizzlies, peacocks, elephants, and more. Occasionally, we go indoors and enjoy the heat, and then we’d keep strolling.

After visiting the zoo, we headed to Boulder and checked into Hotel Boulderado which opened on New Year’s Day in 1909 and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Little did I know, my distant cousin, Erin, was working at the front desk! It was fun to see her.

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We had an early dinner reservation at Frasca and enjoyed a lovely meal…scallops, lobster pasta, halibut, steak, and chocolate dessert. After dinner we stopped at the hotel bar for a night cap. It was a nice evening!

I thought I would have more pictures on Monday as we planned to enjoy the holiday snowshoeing near Nederland, but the snow was coming down sideways! Since I don’t like the cold, we skipped that and took a leisurely drive home. ETB

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Sunflowers website

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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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

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The Nutcracker Ballet

December 12, 2014

The Nutcracker Ballet
Colorado Ballet
Ellie Caulkins Opera House
950 13th St.
Denver, CO 80204
Phone: 303-837-8888
Website: http://coloradoballet.org/performances/the-nutcracker-2014

Fees: $25-$155 depending on date and section.
Hours: 1pm, 6:30pm, and 7:30pm on select days

Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet is one of the most famous in the world. It is based on the “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” written by ETA Hoffman. I found a synopsis of the story at the following link which is better than what I could say about it: http://classicalmusic.about.com/od/balletsynopses/a/thenutcracker.htm.

nutcracker

Why not make going to the Nutcracker an annual tradition? The Colorado Ballet produces the show each year. This year productions can be seen from November 29, 2014 to December 27, 2014. I went Friday night with a few friends, and we thoroughly enjoyed the show from the dancing to the costumes. Something I’ve never seen before at a venue are teleprompters on the seatbacks. While the neon blue words that flashed on the seatbacks were a little distracting, it was helpful for following the story. If I wanted, I could have turned it off.

We sat on stage left and had a very nice view of the show. It was a perfect way to get into the holiday spirit. ETB

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mountain goat keychain sideview

The Brown Palace Champagne Cascade

November 23, 2014

The Brown Palace
321 17th St.
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: 800-321-2599
Website: http://www.brownpalace.com

Fees: Free for floors 4-7, check website for VIP

I’ve been remiss in posting about The Brown Palace Champagne Cascade, a Denver tradition. It was my first time to attend, and I was excited to see a cascade of Champagne tumble down a Christmas tree of glasses. The event wasn’t quite what I expected, but it was good to experience the start to the holidays with 27 year tradition.

The Christmas tree of 6,000 glasses stands in the lobby of the Brown Palace. Hotel guests, VIPs and other Denver elite enjoy a close up view from seating in the lobby to the first three floors of the hotel. The rest of us could watch the event from the 4th-7th floors. Despite a champagne bar being available on the 5th floor, I suggest arriving at least an hour before the event viewing from the closest floor possible.

It is difficult to see the champagne being poured into the four or five glasses that top the pyramid from a high level. The ceremony begins with a video highlighting a charity with whom the Brown Palace teams. After the presentation, gentlemen wielding sabres swing at the tops of the Champagne bottles releasing the corks and spewing Champagne in celebration.

Soon thereafter, a few gentleman are raised via an electronic platform to the top of the glass tree where Champagne is carefully poured into the balancing glasses. All 6,000 glasses are not filled as that would take over 1,000 bottles. The entire ceremony lasted less than 30 minutes.

A few bits of trivia as it relates to stacked Champagne glass and sabre swinging gentlemen are as follows:

1. Madame de Pompadour, a French socialite, is thought to be the first person to have stacked glasses at parties at Versailles.
2. When Napoleon Bonaparte’s armies scored victories on the battlefield that required celebration and a sommelier wasn’t available to prepare wine, Champagne was opened with the swing of a sabre.

Overall, while I enjoyed the experience and it was worth going once, I’m not sure I would make it to the Brown Palace annually unless I were a VIP. Having said that, the hotel and it’s magnificent chandelier are lovely, and I can appreciate the holiday tradition. ETB

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The Haunted Corn Maze at the Botanic Gardens

October 17, 2014

Denver Botanic Gardens
Corn Maze and Dead Zone Haunted Maze

8500 W Deer Creek Canyon Road
Littleton, CO 80128

http://www.botanicgardens.org/corn-maze/about

HOURS: Fridays 4-9, Saturdays 12-9, Sundays 12-6 through November 1

FEES: $12 non-members/$10 members for corn maze, $22 non-members/$20 members

I would have never guessed the place to be on Friday night would be the haunted corn maze at the Denver Botanic Gardens’ Chatfield location, but it was!

I had never been to a corn maze and it didn’t take much convincing to get a few of my friends (Brian, Harlow, and Erin) to join me. They had never been to a corn maze either. While none of knew what to expect, I don’t think any of us thought there would be a 15 minute line for tickets at 6:30 on a Friday night!

Upon reaching the ticket window, we had the option to purchase the $12 ticket for the regular maze or the $22 ticket for the haunted maze. Since we were there and it was dark, we figured why not go for haunted. And as members, we got a $2 discount.

After a quick stop for a corn dog and armed with our glow sticks as part of our ticket price, we stepped into the maze which from an aerial view is shaped like a butterfly. We should have snapped a photo of the map so we weren’t wandering around the maze aimlessly while we were dodging children and highschoolers. We didn’t find the aimless wandering through the regular maze to be terribly amusing, but eventually we arrived at the haunted part whose entry was marked by a skull.

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In the haunted maze, we walked through decorated props and followed the path while actors jumped out at us. Given our eyes were able to adjust to the light and the haunted parts were spread out a bit we were more entertained than frightened on the lovely Friday evening. We felt fortunate when we ran for safety through the exit, as the line to enter the haunted maze had quadrupled in length during the 15 minutes we spent inside. We didn’t have to wait very long, but the line looked to take an hour (and there aren’t any refunds).

We meandered back to the start, which wasn’t exactly what we were supposed to do. There was a way to an exit near the start on the left-hand side of the maze, but we thought we were supposed to cross all the way to the right-hand side. After a few failed attempts, we resorted to going to the start. At the start, we found the maze has two parts (left and right) with two entrances and two exits, so set out to explore the right-hand side next.

This side was much quieter and much easier to navigate now that we had a picture of the maze to refer to occasionally. The right side of the butterfly had a glow tunnel. We called it the Chihuly Hallway, though the glowing lights didn’t compare to the Chihuly exhibit.

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I’m not sure we spent more than 1.5 hours at the corn maze, and I’m not sure I’d go back on a Friday night again, but I’m glad I visited once. I think it would be fun to go during a nice day and have picnic, enjoy the entire Chatfield location, and stroll through the maze. It’s a little bit of a trek from Denver to Chatfield for 1.5 hours, so we went out for a drink later. I must say, it was a unique experience, and I look forward to many more while I check out things to do in Denver! ETB

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Hooked on Haunted Houses

October 15, 2014

The 13th Door
Curse of Slaughterhouse Gulch

3184 South Parker Road
Aurora, Colorado 80014
(303) HAUNTED
http://denverhauntedhouseguide.com/

HOURS: Sun-Thurs 7pm-10pm, Fri/Sat 7pm-12am

FEES: $25, VIP (skip the lines) $35

With a nondescript exterior and shopping center location in Aurora, my first impression of The 13th Door and Curse of Slaughterhouse Gulch haunted houses was will this experience be worth the $25 price of admission. Let me just coin the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

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I can’t even remember the last time I visited a haunted house, but I didn’t find the lines, price, or the fear factor to be worth it in the past. This experience, with Erin and Moria, was quite the opposite.

We purchased our tickets online which automatically upgraded us to VIP “skip the lines” priority. For a Wednesday night, this didn’t make much of a difference, though we did get to cut in front of a few people.

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We chose to go through The 13th Door first. The legend of The 13th Door stems from a riff between a wealthy Denver millionaire, John Barrington and his nephew Andrew. John Barrington was holding his annual Hallows Eve party in his hotel’s penthouse suite when his nephew pleaded for his help. Andrew had run up large gambling debts with unsavory individuals. When Andrew’s uncle refused him, he went into a fury, blocked all exits to the hotel, and set it on fire. Only one person survived to tell the story, the one who found the unlocked 13th door.

We slowly crept through the dark hallways, pushed back black drapes and cautiously entered into each room. As expected, actors jumped out at us from multiple corners and sometimes followed us down the hallways which was very creepy and sped up our very slow pace as we huddled together at every turn. Luckily, they have a rule not to touch the guests. And of course, we knew they would leap out at us, so I don’t know why we felt so scared. With strobe lights, fog, and pitch black hallways, it was very hard to see during our fifteen minutes in the dark. When we did stop and look around the rooms, I have to give props to the detail of the decor. It was well done! By the time we finished, our adrenaline was pumping and we’d broken into a sweat. Our alternating screams and giggles, I’m certain could be heard from a distance.

After The 13th Door, we were greeted by a bloodied face host at the entrance of The Curse of the Slaughterhouse Gulch who had nothing to say, but still creeped us out. So much so that Erin bowed out. This haunted house was like a theme house of scary movies…Scream, Halloween, Friday the 13th (just to name a few). Moria and I walked through or should I say jumped, skipped and ran through with locked elbows. It was scary! There was one room where neither one of us wanted to walk through the hanging corpses so naturally we looked for a nearby exit, and the actor grunted “wrong way” as he followed us through the manikins…YIKES! And we were chased to a speedy exit. The folks that worked at the haunted houses did a great job. We had a ball and the experience was well worth our money. We were laughing all the way home.

Two more weeks until Halloween…try one out for yourselves! ETB

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36th Annual Park Hill Home Tour

September 28, 2014

website: http://greaterparkhill.org/
Ticket Price: $15/adults in advance, $20/adult on the day, lower pricing for seniors and children

Well, you will have to wait a year, but going on the annual Park Hill Home Tour is worth $20! The event is held annually and is the biggest fundraiser for the Park Hill Community. I volunteered to work the event for three hours (2-5). As such, I earned a free ticket and three hours to use it (11-2).

I started out 2334 Grape Street. From the sketch of the home, I wasn’t sure I’d like it as the low point of the roof is in the center of the house. But in the end, I think it was my favorite. It was simple, sleek, modern, and zen all at the same time. I’m not exactly sure how all those adjectives can be used in the same sentence, but they can. Personally, if it were my home, I wouldn’t need a meditation room or sauna, but I had to admire the thought and planning that went into the home. It was obvious that the owners knew exactly what they wanted from the placement of the windows to the rain chains to the finish out, and I had to appreciate their thoughtfulness.

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From 2334 Grape, I crossed the street to visit 2351 which is a very modern home. The white kitchen cabinets with the stainless steel appliance were quite nice, but the coolest part of the house was the staircase. The maple steps are suspended by thin steel cables which creates a very airy appearance. The stairs looked like they were floating!

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I continued south down Grape to 2050. This home was built in the late 1800’s so that alone earns some kudos. While I could mention indoor features, these have been written up on all the houses in several papers like this one http://www.parkhillhometour.org/home-tour/, so I’m focusing on a few things I like from each house. I think it is cool to have a carriage house, but would I loved the most about this house was the yard. The double lot included a large grassy area, a garden, a small little bridge, a large chess board with pieces and a large Scrabble Board! Who knew you could play Scrabble outside on the ground with letters so big grandma can see them!!

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By now, it was lunch time, so meandered over to Forest and Montview to check out the street fair which included two long blocks of vendors, a block of food tents, a block of old cars, and a band. The grassy median included tables and seating and there was even an alcohol tent requesting a suggested donation. I grabbed half a gyro from Nicky’s Quickies and enjoyed the sunny day before I strolled by the furniture, jewelry, clothes, and other vendors.

1932 Hudson Street was pretty close to the street fair, so I stopped at that home next. These owners did some significant renovations on this 1925 home. Before pictures were hung near the doorways of many rooms, just the paint, furniture, and window dressings made a big difference in most rooms. But they added on to the back of the home enlarging the upstairs master bedroom which added a gas fireplace and lovely patio. This expansion also changed a tiny kitchen into a large one. The old one almost looks like a hallway as it functions like a bar area.

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When I began the tour, I wasn’t certain if I would be able to make enough time for the Monaco house given I was walking and it was a bit out of the way relative to the rest of the houses on the tour. Had I chosen to drive or ride my bike, I certainly would not have faced an issue, and I fortunately did not run into a time issue walking either. What a nice way to get in some exercise and enjoy this beautiful fall day!

2315 Monaco Parkway was interesting. It was a more traditional home like the last two. The kitchen and the powder bath off the kitchen appeared recently updated and were very nice. I liked the paint colors as well and found the wide band of paint by the molding worked well. The tile window sills were cool and the rooftop patio was fantastic. Some of the other bathrooms still had the old time which I loved though they could have used new sinks! The home owner is an avid gardener, and I loved how the vegetables were intermingled with the flower garden so that the vegetables were almost camouflaged.

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The final stop was Smiley Campus which opened in 1928. Now it is the new home for McAuliffe International School and Venture Prep. It was just on my way home, which was perfect as I took a quick break before I returned to 2334 Grape St. to sell tickets for the afternoon.

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I really enjoyed the tour and street fair. Next year I’m torn. I’m not sure if I will volunteer and do the tour, or get a booth and sell my cards, key chains, and photos as I have a good walk up business at fairs. Regardless, if the weather is good, and it was perfect until 4:45, the Park Hill Home Tour is a nice event for a fall day, especially when the Broncos aren’t playing. The only thing that could have made it better is if photos were allowed indoors. ETB

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