Talking Shop

Couple rules with an Iron Feather

What do 'zines, pirate radio and hacking all have in common? For one thing, they all have subversive underpinnings, and for another, the folks who are into such things tend to like trading information: in cyberspace, by snail mail and under the table, in print and blogs. So when you first meet Highland residents Stevyn and Kelly Prothero, it's difficult to believe the bright, shiny couple from Lansing, Michigan, are firmly ensconced in such underground doings. But, as with anything subversive, the immediate picture stands atop basement after basement of concealed information. And for the Protheros, who prowled Boulder for years, returned to Lansing and then found themselves back in Denver with a broken-down van, the storefront -- their closet-sized Iron Feather Book and 'Zine Shop, at 3206 Tejon Street -- is indeed just a front for otherwise kaleidoscopic underground involvement. The versatile pair -- Kelly works for the Denver Public Library; Stevyn minds the store, sells stuff on the Internet, dumpster dives and publishes his own 'zine, the Iron Feather Journal; both are accomplished DJs -- make the most of what they've got, and they see Denver as a great place to do that. "We love it here," Kelly says. "There's so much going on: the punk scene and the techno scene, pirate stations, First Friday."

They've got their thumbs in so many subcultural pies that it doesn't really matter if they've set up shop on a less-than-lively block in northwest Denver. "It's like the 'other' 32nd Avenue," Kelly says of the sleepy location, but also notes that there are signs of life all around them: A used music store, Big Mike's, and a boutique, Atenti, both opened up recently, and a coffee house is going in next door, on the corner. Although both acknowledge that Kelly's job is what keeps them afloat, they manage to stock the store with donated books and bought and traded 'zines, and furnish it with Stevyn's dumpster finds.

They're popular, then, with an odd mixture of fellow 'zine-sters and scenesters, curious book lovers, neighborhood kids seeking horror and sci-fi, and the non-English-speaking. "We know the used-book niche is going out, so people are trying to find the old classics before they're all gone," says Kelly, adding that DVDs and videos are a prime draw at the DPL these days. That, she adds, is good enough reason for Iron Feather to have a physical presence.

Iron Feather is stuffed with subversive stuff such as 
Iron Feather is stuffed with subversive stuff such as 'zines.
Rob Ullman

For information, call 720-366-9293 or log on to -- Susan Froyd

Festival celebrates the wisdom of women
SUN, 7/25

Back in those swinging Greek days of yore, nobody got around like head honcho Zeus. Flossing his trademark cock-sure strut, Zeus would descend from Mount Olympus like it was Saturday night on a Tuesday, in search of Athens's finest. But his confidence was all a front; in reality, Zeus was an insecure mess. So concerned was he that one of his progeny would overthrow him, Zeus once swallowed his pregnant lover Metis (meaning "thought") to avoid such a fate. The meal had a strange effect on the deity: shooting pains in his head so severe that a midwife was forced to strike him with an ax to relieve the pressure. And out leapt the fully grown and armor-clad Athena, confident and strong, ready for battle.

It's no wonder Athena became the champion of warriors and heroes, and the goddess of wisdom. It's even less of a wonder that a festival celebrating the wisdom of women would adopt her as a sponsor. Taking place today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Embassy Suites, 7525 East Hampden Avenue, the Athena Festival emphasizes creativity, spiritual sciences, women's issues and healing arts, among other things, through lectures and interactive workshops. Vendors will peddle wares from around the country at the Athena market, and keynote speaker and author "Mama" Donna Henes will speak on the often-misunderstood third stage of women's lives. Admission to the festival is $7, children under twelve free. And men are welcome, by Zeus. For more information, log on to -- Adam Cayton-Holland

Arty Seat
THURS, 7/22

If the city of Aurora has its way, East Colfax Avenue will soon promote a different definition of "nude" than the strip currently brings to mind. The Downtown Original Aurora Arts District, located between Clinton and Geneva streets, is adding fine art to the thoroughfare's mix of cheap eats and hourly rate motels, both by encouraging artists to set up shop there and also by putting art along the stretch. The notorious expanse of asphalt "conjures up a lot of perspective," observes Aurora spokesman Jeff Martinez.

Today's Original Aurora Chair Affair Gala & Auction wants the public to sit down and take notice of the culmination of a multi-year community-arts campaign. At a benefit silent auction, supporters can bid on mini- and full-sized chairs decorated by more than fifty local artists and luminaries ranging from Mayor John Hickenlooper to Colorado first lady Frances Owens. Proceeds from the auction will go toward a piece of permanent art for the new district.

Along with plenty of seating, the event features entertainment -- a chair juggler, for example -- as well as enough food to make a La-Z-Boy collapse.

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