For years the Sie FilmCenter has been a place that brings people together with the best that cinema has to offer; its many awards, including numerous Best of Denver honors from Westword, are a testament to that. But recently the Sie (and just to be clear, the name is pronounced like “see” in “I’ll see you at the movies”) has been experimenting with entertainment that doesn't rely on just its big screens.
Since 2013 the Sie has hosted the free Movie & Music Trivia Night every Monday in Henderson’s Lounge; the film center unites with neighbor Twist & Shout to offer a locally written trivia game using the brains within the Lowenstein complex. And now the Sie has added the aural joy of Alley Cat Karaoke to its roster of fun that keeps people coming long after the movie credits have rolled.
A bustling crowd gets ready to have their brains scrambled with a little Music & Movie Trivia.
“The Sie FilmCenter gives a different, unique setting for bar faves such as trivia or karaoke,” says Gina Cuomo, the general manager of the arthouse who often slings drinks when things get busy. “You get the nice bar atmosphere without sports ball being on the TV or pool balls clanking around. Basically, there's no balls to get in the way of a good time.” Henderson’s Lounge, named after Denver Film Society founder Ron Henderson and featuring comfy couches and a full bar, has always been a cool place to hang out and grab a drink,
Alley Cat Karaoke, offered free every Sunday starting at 9 p.m. with drink specials until close, utilizes the lounge’s televisions and a large projection screen to deliver lyrics to you and the rest of the crowd. The line-up is broad, but there are plenty of songs from movies; Alley Cat host Allison Young has her own sweet, golden throat ready to kick things off and keep them moving along. “She's been running karaoke for years at different spots in Denver and has found a new home at the Sie," says Cuomo. "She's built her own following with her amazing pipes and incredible song catalog.“
Sie General Manager Gina Cuomo (right) sings a duet with this writer (left) at Alley Cat Karaoke.
Running the free Monday night trivia game, which starts at 7:30 p.m, is Twist & Shout General Manager Patrick Brown, who really gets into stumping an audience. "It's different because it focuses strictly on movies and music - -my two favorite things, and the two favorite things of a lot of people I know as well," says Brown. "We go deeper into those subjects than any other trivia night I've been to, but still keep things general enough that anybody can have a good time there.”
The trivia set-up is simple: four rounds — two music-based, two movie-based — with a final big question and prizes ranging from gift certificates to the FilmCenter and Twist & Shout all the way to random tchotchkes for last-place winners that have washed up on the beaches of both businesses. The lounge TVs sport classic films instead of sports, and with Brown and a revolving door of hosts to keep things fresh, the free night is a fun way to kick off the week, win or lose. “My favorite thing has to be that the writers, almost exclusively staff from Twist & Shout and the Sie, come up with really clever stuff that's entertaining for me to read every week,” says Brown. “It's also fun to see the other hosts in action — we've got several newbies hosting now, and they're doing a great job with it. I love to see the different styles each of them brings to the table, both in the writing and the hosting. And I like being on a mic with a bunch of people who laugh at my dry humor. That's definitely gratifying.”
Twist & Shout GM Parick Brown (right) leads a toast to trivia shenanigans.
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So come see a film at the Sie and then stick around on Sundays and Mondays for some fun that just may introduce you to a devoted and cool new community. But come early: Seating has been scarce for trivia (though staff will always scramble to find chairs for you and your team) and karaoke is starting to pick up now that the secret’s out.
Catch Music & Movie Trivia at 7:30 p.m. every Monday and Alley Cat Karaoke at 9 p.m. every Sunday at Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax. Admission is free and drink specials are on tap until close each night. Find more information here.