Slurp some slippery suckers during tonight's sixth annual Oyster Eating Competition at the Boulder Jax Fish House, where competitors with stomachs of steel will down as many raw oysters on the half shell as possible in ninety seconds. "We've seen people pack oysters into a pint glass and try to drink them down," says Dawn Kurtz, who is in charge of marketing and events for the restaurant. "But the favored technique by far is the power-slurp, where you use both your left and right hands to shove the oysters into your mouth as fast as you can."
Last year's winning number: 124 oysters in 120 seconds. "That's over an oyster a second, which is pretty disgusting," says Kurtz. "It's insane to watch. The competition is so stiff, you can cut the tension with a knife."
Proceeds benefit Boulder's Imagine! Foundation; competitors must register in advance and collect a minimum of $250 in pledges. The contest, which is free for the watching, will also feature drink specials and live music. "Last year we had so many spectators, they were packed in here like sardines in a can," says Kurtz. "But it's all in good fun. I think you have to have an iron will and an iron stomach to be in this competition."
The gauntlet gets thrown down at 7 p.m. at Jax, 928 Pearl Street in Boulder. Call 303-444-1811.
And get ready, Denver seafood lovers: The Jax Fish House in LoDo will hold its second annual oyster-eating competition on March 25. Call 303-292-5767 for more info. -- Julie Dunn
Give a Hoot
Swallow Hill marks its 25th birthday
Swallow Hill is like an old guitar: It's been lovingly polished, had its strings changed a zillion times and taken a few dings and scratches along the way -- and yet the place, the thing, still fits its core constituency of acoustic musicians and fans. After 25 years, you've just gotta figure it's here to stay. Current director Jim Williams hasn't been along for the entire ride, but he's as appreciative of Swallow Hill's history as the next folk-music buff. He also looks forward to the future at Denver's most cohesive venue/music school, which will head down a bright new road after it receives the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District's Tier 2 designation. "That puts us into what's nationally known as an institutional nonprofit; we're not a fly-by-night nonprofit anymore," Williams notes. "That gives us a chance to do some long-range planning instead of always living from one crisis to another."
So let the celebration begin: Today and tomorrow, Swallow Hill, 71 East Yale Avenue, gives back to the community with a schedule of concerts big and small, jam sessions and hootenannies, special workshops, a songwriters' circle and an oral-history presentation. For a complete schedule, call 303-777-1003 or log on to www.swallowhill.com. -- Susan Froyd
Mayor of Denver Walks Into a Bar...
Before John Hickenlooper took the stage to celebrate his campaign victory last summer, he was introduced by then-mayor Wellington Webb. "Denver's a strange city," Webb mused. "First we elected some guy named Peña, and then we elected some guy out walking all over town. Now you've elected the brew man!"
Tonight, Webb and a few others will get to take more shots at the rookie mayor at a good-natured roast to benefit the I Have a Dream Foundation. Reggie Rivers will emcee, and speakers will include, among others, Westwordeditor Patricia Calhoun, Hick's sister Betsy Hollins -- with a slide show of embarrassing photos -- plus Federico Peña and Webb reading the "Top Ten Things We Forgot to Tell the Mayor." Hickenlooper gets ten minutes of rebuttal time to close. The Adam's Mark Hotel, 1550 Court Place, will host the event, which costs $250 a plate, $2,500 per table. Cocktails start at 6 p.m., and dinner is served at 7. For reservations, call 303-861-5005, ext. 102. -- Adam Cayton-Holland