Oriental Theater

The venerable Northwest Denver venue gets busy.

At the beginning of True Romance, there's a scene in which Clarence Worley (played by Christian Slater) is in a movie theater, eating popcorn and watching one of the flicks that's part of a triple feature of Sonny Chiba kung fu movies. He's alone, it's his birthday, and he always watches kung fu movies on his birthday.

Then Alabama Whitman (played by Patricia Arquette) comes in and asks if she can sit by him. After the show, he asks if she wants to get some pie — another one of his rituals. He's convinced she's a fan, and there's that instant connection when a guy thinks someone is as passionate about Chiba as he is.

I was at the Oriental Theater (4335 West 44th Avenue) last week for its Tuesday kung fu movie night, and I thought several guys there could relate to Clarence's character, all dudes clearly obsessive about their martial-arts flicks. The last film of the Lone Wolf and Cub series was playing. See, the Lone Wolf is this guy with a child about three years old, and he wheels the kid around in this cart that has guns mounted inside of it. They sound like machine guns, but I'm pretty sure they weren't around in the days of the samurai. "We, father and son, live at the crossroads of hell," the Lone Wolf says at one point.

Periodically, I'd go get a beer (Great Divide Samurai on special for $3), pop in for more of the flick, then go back out and hang in the lobby, which is looking a lot better these days. A pool table and new furniture have been added, and the lighting has been somewhat toned down. And the Oriental is open a lot more often. It's got the free kung fu flicks on Tuesdays and an open stage on Mondays, which used to be in the lobby but recently moved to the theater's massive stage — and it's definitely cool that pretty much anyone can get his fifteen minutes of rock-star fame there. And even when there's no entertainment on the stage, Meltz, the Oriental's restaurant, serves up some mean sandwiches, including the Famous Danny Vegas.


Club scout: Lipgloss, one of the city's longest-running and best dance nights, will celebrate its seventh anniversary on Friday, June 27, at La Rumba (99 West Ninth Avenue). Having run the night for 350 consecutive weeks, Lipgloss founders Michael Trundle and Tyler Jacobson are throwing a bash featuring internationally recognized producer, DJ and remixer Tommie Sunshine, as well as the New York-based band FIGO. The first fifty people in the door get a Lipgloss VIP card, which gets them free admission and a complimentary cocktail.

Since it was legalized at the start of the year, absinthe has been popping up at more and more clubs, including Sugar House (1395 West Alameda Avenue), one of the first bars in town to serve the stuff, and Meadowlark (2701 Larimer Street). And on Thursday, June 26, 24K (1416 Market Street) will throw an Absinthe Revival, with free Lucid absinthe from 9 to 11 p.m. served by the Lucid fairies.

 
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