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Talking Shop
Rob Ullman

Talking Shop

Valentine's Day is almost here, guys, so what are you gonna do? If you're smart, you'll heed these tips on how to treat your girl like a lady. To start, retail entrepreneur Robin Lohre says she's going all out for the holiday this year at her two eclectic shops. At Talulah Jones, 1122 East 17th Avenue (303-832-1230), Lohre's got unique cards and plenty of appropriate gifts such as velvet chokers ringed with flowers, functional see-through red glassware, and pink ceramic items or tiny felt bags decorated with hearts and pearl buttons. Or peruse the "foot section" at Lohre's Miss Talulah's, 1311 22nd Street (303-293-8436), where you'll find one-of-a-kind handmade slippers and Feet Treat foot-care kits, complete with toe ring. Miss Talulah's also stocks lockets in several styles, hung from silver chains or ribbons.

Flowers? That works. The staff at the Perfect Petal, 3615 West 32nd Avenue (303-480-0966), has dreamed up several adventurous, Valentine-worthy variations for your modern-day paramour, and there's nary a stem of stifling baby's breath among them. Our pick? Nothing could be more romantic than a bottle of champagne laid prettily on a bed of plump red roses. There's probably even room to tuck in one of the Highland shop's ambrosial bath potions, perfect for a cozy bubble bath...for two?

Plain old wine would be nice, too, or some especially seductive bubbly. Dave Moore of Divino Wine & Spirits, 1240 South Broadway (303-778-1800), thinks there's nothing hotter than the Piper-Heidsieck Special Cuvée Dressed by Jean-Paul Gaultier; the bottle is wrapped in Gaultier's own red-vinyl corset tied with black lace. Or, for a smaller statement, Piper also offers sweet champagne mini-bottles dressed in a red wrapper. Moore has red boxes waiting.

And don't forget the stepping-into-something-more-comfortable stage: At SOL, Store of Lingerie, 248 Detroit Street in Cherry Creek North (303-394-1060), scanty underwear sets are always popular for Valentine's Day, as is almost any kind of silk nightwear. And what's the bestseller for romantic occasions? A smooth mesh-and-lace Cosabella camisole-and-bikini set -- it's the one you always see advertised in the business section. Ooh la la! The Dow just rose 100 points!

But the best is yet to come. Baker extraordinaire Gerald Shorey of Devil's Food, 1024 South Gaylord Street (303-733-7448), is clearly up to no good this season: He's promising chocolates made by hand on the premises and filled with liqueur-flavored ganache; heart-shaped pastry puffs cut in half and layered with custard and fresh fruit; and iced shortbread heart cookies that can be personalized. His tour de force, though, is the hard-to-describe Red Velvet Cake, a pillowy traditional Southern confection similar to the one served in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, filled and iced with a special frosting Shorey's grandma used to make. Mmmm, mmm, mmm. -- Susan Froyd

Grape Performances
Wine showcase benefits the DCTC
THURS, 2/5

While tonight's wine-tasting event at the Denver Performing Arts Complex is titled Life Is a Chardonnay, wine aficionados will find plenty of Syrah, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz being poured, as well. A benefit for the Denver Center Theatre Company, the evening will feature more than 75 wines offered by the Napa Valley Vintners Association, which includes such well-respected vintners as Beringer Vineyards, the Robert Mondavi Winery and the Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery along with newer wineries like Barlow Vineyards, the Hess Collection Winery and Beaucanon Estate.

According to spokeswoman Suzanne Blandn, the goal of this event is to attract a young, professional crowd to the center. "We really want to get a younger crowd into our theaters and have them become lifelong supporters of the shows that we put on the stage," she says. "There is something for everyone in our upcoming season; Moving Out and Hairspray should both be big draws."

Life Is a Chardonnay, which will also include a silent auction, will be held in the Donald R. Seawell Grand Ballroom, upstairs at the Bonfils Theatre, tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased at 303-446-4812 or

"It should be a great event," says Blandn. "I think that we're really going to hit the nail on the head." -- Julie Dunn

For the Love of Denver
SAT, 2/7

Looking for something good to do for both the body and the soul tonight? How 'bout heading over to the special-events dining hall at Johnson & Wales University for the ninth annual For the Love of Denver charity dinner? Chefs from all over town will converge on the J&W campus for one night of good eats for a good cause. The party gets started at 6:30 p.m., and $75 at the door gets you hors d'oeuvres, entrees and dessert, all prepped by chef Ruben Herrera from Tamayo; Chris Casson of restaurant Kevin Taylor; the crew from Nectar; and chef Paul Schutz and his sous chef, from the brand-spankin'-new Capital Grille.

Adding to the evening's milieu will be an open bar, live music, both silent and loud auctions (dinner cooked at your house by the Capital Grille gang is just one of many of the goodies up for grabs), and the knowledge that your green will benefit Family HomeStead, a non-profit organization providing emergency and transitional housing for homeless families in the Denver area. So open up those wallets, folks -- it's getting cold outside.

The dining hall is on campus, near 17th Avenue and Quebec Street; for more information, call Sheila Atwell at 303-679-3532. -- Jason Sheehan

Hearty Party
Valentine gala benefits Colorado AIDS Project
WED, 2/11

Love will be in the air at tonight's ninth annual Valentine Extravaganza, a fundraiser for the Colorado AIDS Project. "Valentine's Day is a celebration of love, and it's important to keep in mind that there are thousands of people in our community living with HIV and AIDS who need our support," says CAP spokeswoman Jackie Long. "This is a fun way to call attention to a serious issue."

While there is no cover charge to attend the benefit, raffle tickets will be sold for $5; prizes include a Honda Shadow motorcycle and two round-trip tickets on Frontier Airlines. In addition, a silent auction of celebrity memorabilia, featuring two autographed Hairspray posters and an autographed Elton John CD, will be part of the evening.

Attendees will also want to make a move for one of the fabulous bachelors or bachelorettes on the block in the live Date Auction. "It's always a very spirited auction," says Long. "You just never know who's going to bid on you."

The Valentine Extravaganza takes place tonight at 7 p.m. at Charlie's Denver, 900 East Colfax Avenue. For details or to purchase raffle tickets in advance, call 303-837-0166 or visit www. -- Julie Dunn


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