Missionary Position

The Tango House helps spread dance fever

 SAT, 8/14

Chas Gale took one long, sensuous step into the world of Argentine tango in 1997 and never looked back. "People always say they didn't find the tango, the tango found them," Gale says, and he was no different. "I tried swing dancing and dabbled in salsa, and then I saw people doing this peculiar dance to the slower tunes on Sunday nights at the Mercury Cafe. The dance just spoke to me. I took it up because I had no life, and now I have no life because all I do is tango." If that sounds overly dramatic, keep in mind that it's all part of loving the swashbuckling dance -- a mutation of country steps brought to Buenos Aires by gauchos from the lonely pampas and adapted for the ballroom floor by Italian immigrants. The salacious, body-conscious, endorphin-producing tango, Gale bravely admits, is an addiction: "You become like an Amway salesman -- 'You must buy my product.'" To satisfy his jones, Gale started The Tango House, a northwest Denver dance studio in a converted 1890 grocery that's also his home. "I consider it my charge to increase the tango's role here," he says. "It's that missionary thing that tango dancers have."

What is it that puts the "Oh!" in tango? Gale launches into an outpouring of explanations: "It's more improvisational than other dances," he says. "And there's also a very sensuous quality to the dance. American lives are hug-deprived: When we see it done well, we recognize it as something missing in our lives." Just think of the Tango House as a church and Gale as the preacher, albeit one who slinks, Mr. Natural-style, across the dance floor. "We really just do it for the hugs," he confesses.

 
Rob Ullman
 
 
Rob Ullman
 
The GLBT Music Festival spotlights eight bands.
The GLBT Music Festival spotlights eight bands.
A Rat Pack tribute scurries into the Arvada Center this 
Saturday.
A Rat Pack tribute scurries into the Arvada Center this Saturday.

Gale is quick to note that you don't have to carry a rose between your teeth or dress head to toe in black lace to indulge. Jeans and T-shirts are perfectly acceptable dancing duds at the house, where he and fellow instructors bring newbies into the fold and keep the edge on for more advanced addicts. Still, you might want to dress up and prepare to lock gazes with your honey at tonight's Tango House Milonga (or dance party), from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The Tango House is located at 3617 Osage Street; admission to milongas, every second and fourth Saturday, is $9. Call 303-320-4020 or log on to www.thetangohouse.com. -- Susan Froyd

Cow d'Etat
Buffaloing the hi-dive
THURS, 8/12

Buffalo may roam, but can they rock? To find out, hoof it on down to the hi-dive tonight, where the trendsetting shop kids of Buffalo Exchange will present their best bandmates and beefiest beats as hosts of Local Takeover, a new monthly music showcase sponsored by Radio 1190. Bison boosters will snag $25 gift certificates from the Exchange as prizes for "biggest hair" and "tightest pants," while Nightingale and the Ultra Boys stomp the main stage and DJ Moses spins a mixed bag of the hi-dive hijackers' favorite tunes. "This is an eclectic group of people," says manager Kasha Sowden. "Just like the store, I think we'll have a little something for everyone."

Indeed, the buy-and-sell boutique at 230 East 13th Avenue lassoes a broad spectrum of shoppers -- so who does the staff think will attend its urban usurp? "We're expecting bikers, mostly," chortles Ryan Night of Nightingale. "This is for everyone; we just want it to tear a sonic hole in the sky."

"We're those kids nobody wanted to hang out with," adds Sowden. "Ultimately, we're just a bunch of dorks that like to have a good time."

Local Takeover strikes at 9 p.m. for those 21 and over, and there's no cover charge. The hi-dive is at 7 South Broadway; for information, call 720-570-4500 or go to www.hi-dive.com. -- Kity Ironton

Loud and Proud
SAT, 8/14

The first annual Colorado GLBT Music Festival rolls out today with pride. The all-day gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender-focused showcase, produced by Mod Productions and the Oriental Theatre, features eight bands and will benefit the Colorado AIDS Project. The lineup at the historic venue includes Jeff Weincrot, Nicole Torres, Take Note, Crazed Individuals, Scott Julsen, Jason Hernandez, the Dearly Beloved, Blind Harvest and comedian Debbie Mint. "I don't think anyone else in Denver has done this," says Mod Productions' Michael O'Donnell. "It would be cool to make it a tradition." Although Mod's restoration and revitalization of the Oriental has not been without its own thorny challenges, O'Donnell hopes that his group's support is contagious. "We're just trying to give something back to our community, even though we don't have very much to give," he says.

The all-ages festival rocks from 12:30 p.m. until 11 p.m. (cold beer will be available for the over-21 crowd). The theater is at 4335 West 44th Avenue; tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Call 303-433-3786 or visit www.modproductions.com. -- Kity Ironton

Ring-a-Ding-Ding
Rat Pack Tribute swings into Arvada
SAT, 8/14

They were so cool. Talented, rich, well-dressed, dubiously connected and perpetually living the good life, the Rat Pack of the '60s -- core members Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford, along with a whole constellation of slick, finger-snappin' show-biz cohorts -- symbolized more than anyone else the sheen of Hollywood and the glitz of Las Vegas, with its martinis, Corvettes and glitter-encrusted, teased-haired babes in spike heels and sleek sheath dresses. Life was a game -- a gamble, you might say -- for the Rat Packers, and everyone in their right mind wanted to be just like them. Today's sophisticated, martini-swilling, club-hopping culture can still relate, and touring impersonator shows such as A Tribute to the Rat Pack, featuring Garry Corsello, Steve Apple and Lonnie Parlor as Frankie, Dean and Sammy, abound. Whether you're reliving the era or ready for a first encounter, it'll be a blast when the three mimics slide into the Arvada Center's outdoor amphitheater tonight, accompanied by the "Direct From Vegas" orchestra. Now, that's amore!

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show are $15 to $32; call 720-898-7200 or go to www.arvadacenter.org. --Susan Froyd

 
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