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By Tom Murphy
When I was in middle school, I had a Vision Gator skateboard named after Mark "Gator" Rogowski, a superstar skater in the '80s. The last time I was on that board, I was holding on to the bumper of my friend's car when I hit a patch of Seventh Avenue sand and bailed so hard I broke my left collarbone and scraped the shit out of the back of my head. A few years later, Gator hit his own rough spot: In 1991, he freaked out, killed his ex-girlfriend, stuffed her in a surfboard bag and buried her in the desert.
Although I gave up skateboarding after my crash, I still subscribed to Thrasher and watched Lance Mountain and Steve Caballero in the "Bones Brigade" videos. And when I stepped into Shag Lounge (830 15th Street) last Thursday, I immediately flashed back to those days. It was the second of Shag's new Thursday-night Panty Raid parties, and skate videos were showing on two flat screens while Jesus Franco's early-'70s soft-core flick Vampyros Lesbos played on the screen in the back by the small dance floor and DJ.
While the vampire lesbian film was a nice touch (I'd seen it a few times before, and it has a killer soundtrack), these nights are aimed at the skaters. Every Thursday, the club will bring in reps from various skate and snowboard brands and stores to give away stuff — reportedly $25,000 worth of stuff over the next few months. On October 16, for example, folks from Boulder's Satellite Board Shop and Installation Shoe Gallery will give shoes to the people who create the best custom shoes. The following week, 303 Boards will hand out limited-edition boards.
As I looked around Shag, which was about three-quarters full, I noticed a few guys from Jared Jacang Maher's May cover story on the Wet Boys, Denver's infamous skater crew. Another guy walked by wearing a Skate and Destroy sweatshirt. DJ MADA was spinning some choice cuts while a few people danced in back.
The scene looked similar to that of Shag's Scumbag Sundays, which have been going strong for about a year now. And a few weeks ago, the club also started Bitch Rock, headed up by one of the bartenders who was apparently bitching about how the DJs never spun enough rock in the place. So when the Wednesday slot opened up, the owners let her step in and spin that rock.
Club scout: DJs Hottness (aka Theo Smith from Lord of Word) and Francis Ryan just fired up their Mile High Funk Sessions, Thursdays at Abode (1422 Larimer Street, in the basement off the alley). Across the street, Suite Two Hundred (1427 Larimer Street) brings in Kara Monaco, Playboy's 2006 Playmate of the Year, to host a party on Friday, October 17.
Falling Rock Tap House (1919 Blake Street) will offer its second annual Fresh Hop Celebration from noon to 5 p.m on Saturday, October 18, with beers from Deschutes, Oskar Blues, Full Sail, Ska Brewing and Great Divide. Also on Saturday, Regas Christou's new outdoor amphitheater City Hall (1144 Broadway) will feature Rob Mullins, Joe Andries and Nelson Rangell — three jazz musicians who played regularly at Regas Cafe throughout the '90s. Doors open at 8 p.m.; tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.
And on Monday, October 20, Finlandia Vodka will hold its eleventh annual Finlandia Vodka Cup regional competition at Martini Ranch (1347 14th Street), with Drink of the Week columnist Nancy Levine helping to judge. The best Denver mixologists will then represent Colorado in the U.S. Shake Off next month at the Broadmoor; the winner of that will represent the United States at the finals in Finland in early February.