By Isa Jones
By Mary Willson
By Brian Turk
By Drew AIles
By Taylor Boylston
By Bree Davies
By Emerald O'Brien
Reprise. A decade ago, Denver had dueling dueling piano bars: Sing Sing, which is still going strong at 1735 19th Street (with the slogan "LoDo doesn't get any lower"); and, over at 1949 Market Street, the Tavern Downtown was once the piano-pushing Soiled Dove. But now Denver's about to get two more dueling piano bars, starting with Chez Cirque Dueling Pianos (7600 Landmark Way, Suite A101), in the Landmark project in Greenwood Village.
Chez Cirque is the brainchild of Jimmy Calanni, who's spent the past few years playing in bars across the country and touring with the dueling-piano act known as the Big Ivory Ticklers. Along the way, he's helped open a couple of dueling piano bars: Michael Murphy's in Oklahoma City and Howl at the Moon in Kansas City, where he met Dave Mancuso, his partner in this project. With its circus/carnival theme, private bar on the mezzanine and VIP bottle-service area, Calanni promises that Chez Cirque will be a step above other local piano bars. "We spent a lot of dough and time to make this venue a classy, comfortable place to hear some decent music," he explains.
Chez Cirque will bring in some of the best dueling piano performers in the world, Calanni says, and a typical night will feature at least two pianists (and possibly two more pianists who may double on other instruments) playing requests from the audience, everything from Hank Williams to Bon Jovi and Elvis to Lady Gaga. The performers may delve into comedy, as well. "We'll still have an 'adult' show," Calanni says, "but we'll keep it PG until later in the night, focusing more on innuendo and physical comedy than too much vulgarity. It's not going to be a show for the kids."
Chez Cirque is slated to celebrate its grand opening on Friday, April 30, and Saturday, May 1. Which means that it will beat Wild Ivories, a dueling piano spot going into the former Buca di Beppo space at 1400 Market Street, by more than a month. That club is slated to open on June 4, and in addition to dueling pianos will have all-request dueling DJs at the downstairs Juke.
Club scout: Thursdays just got funkier at Funky Buddha (776 Lincoln Street), which has launched Hip-Hop and Beat the Clock with DJs Cash Money and the Almighty I.Z. on Thursday nights. And on Friday, April 23, Suite Two Hundred (1427 Larimer Street) will host BAM: Beauty, Art & Music, which will include a live photo shoot with Bogdan, an art performance by Jay Paul Apodaca and Henry Daniel Bell, and a Spring Bling-inspired hair show; the party starts at 9 p.m.