Guy Walks Into a Bar...

MON, 9/20

"Whether it's good or bad, it's always entertaining," notes Lion's Lair bartender Dermot Carroll about the bar's Monday open-mike comedy nights. Dermot has been serving drinks at the Lair, at 2022 East Colfax Avenue, since the first open-mike event, and he'll serve them again tonight for the Lion's Lair Open Mike Comedy One Year/18-Month Anniversary Show. In that time, he's seen pretty much everything. He once saw a Colfax stripper take the stage and roar through her routine atop a Nascar tire. "The worst nights are when I have to stop people from getting up on stage and beating Troy's ass because he's been ripping on them too much," Dermot explains, referring to the caustic emcee, Troy Baxley. "It passes the time." For the dozen or so regular comics who perform there most weeks, the Lion's Lair passes the time like an insatiable black hole, sucking them in and spewing them out, often aging them several years in a single evening, only to do it again the next week.

Occasional guest emcee Andrew Orvedahl offered this perspective: "When I first started performing, I was there one night and the cord fell out of the microphone. Suddenly, the world slowed down, and as I bent to retrieve the cord, a mantra formed in my mind: say something funny say something funny say something funny. I clicked the cord back into the microphone and -- nothing. Nothing remotely funny came to mind. I stammered a bit and finished up my set. On the drive home, I thought of about 850 funny things to say. It dawned on me that the Lion's Lair isn't about making the crowd roar with laughter; it's about experiencing the unexpected and learning from it. Drunk homeless man threatening your life? Done it. Guy starts playing loud pinball game as you start your first joke? Done it. 'Lady of the night' offers you a chance to see her fifty-year-old breasts during your set? Done it. Pack of rabid tapirs breaks in through the back door and trashes the place? Not yet, but maybe next week."

The Lair can draw local comic luminaries like Chuck Roy and Josh Blue, rising Denver stars like Ben Kronberg and Greg Baumhauer, or nervous first-timers with twenty smiling friends in tow. Tonight you'll probably see it all -- maybe even a pack of rabid tapirs.

The show, which is free, "starts" at 10 p.m., but expect to have a few drinks before the comedy gets going.

And don't forget to tip Dermot. -- Adam Cayton-Holland

Stew Stewards
A City Park potluck brings neighbors together
SUN, 9/19

"Whatever you do," my East High School soccer coach told the team our senior year before sending us on a three-mile run through City Park, "do not throw the freshmen into the lake." It was a cool, late-autumn afternoon, and the new, stern assistant principal was cracking down on so-called hazing. Toward the end of the run, with the handy excuse of "we ran through the sprinklers" agreed upon, we slowed down near the small pond across from Ferril Lake to introduce the new squad to the team. We told them to strip down to their shorts, as we had all done several years back, before watching them jump, one by one, into the brown water, carefully tucking their knees to avoid the assorted broken bottles and needles lining the lake bottom.

"But I thought coach told you guys not to throw us in," stammered one confused, prepubescent tot.

"You don't understand," an elder told him. "This is about bringing the team closer together. This is how we strengthen our community."

There are other ways, too. Today from 12 to 4 p.m., a more conventional community builder hits City Park, 17th Avenue and York Street, with the Denver Community Potluck, an event featuring food and music at the City Park bandshell. The potluck is not just for neighborhood residents; it's an opportunity for people from all over to meet while enjoying the park in a festive atmosphere. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own picnic gear. Call 303-378-9089 for details. -- Adam Cayton-Holland

Material Whirl
THURS, 9/16

Shoppers, don't overlook your LoDo retailers. The reborn neighborhood's eclectic storefronts, a blend of high-end, low-end and everywhere in between, are well worth a look-see. With that in mind, tonight's inaugural Shop in the City event, which borrows from the ambience of a gallery walk, offers downtown partyers an opportunity to learn what's nestled in between the sports bars, restaurants and nightclubs. More than twenty shops -- catering to chic fashion slaves, urban cowboys, audio-book listeners, pet owners, loft dwellers, hipsters, outdoor enthusiasts, holistic health nuts and dedicated winos -- will open their doors to the public from 5 to 9 p.m. And some will offer more than a visual introduction. For instance, at Riverfront Park, 1590 Little Raven Street, home-accessory emporium Chateaux is hosting an Asparagus Studio wrist-wrap trunk show, and the fine wine market Denver Cru will offer discounts and free champagne splits to buyers; drop by Zengo, at 1610 Little Raven Street, from 8 to 10 p.m., and you'll even be treated to free appetizers.

Admission is free (the better to shop till you drop), but participating retailers will donate a percentage of the night's sales to the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. For information, call 303-895-0025 or visit -- Susan Froyd

Foot Ball
Performers hoof it with "The Dancers"
SAT, 9/18

You know what they say about the two guys with big feet? That they cost $1.58 million to construct on the grassy knoll outside the Denver Performing Arts Complex. And although many Denverites turned their backs on Jonathan Borofsky's sculpture called "The Dancers," Deborah Reshotko has choreographed a salute to the six-story duo who appear frozen in mid-boogie. Dance for the Dancers is a 23-minute piece that tumbles underfoot on DPAC's Dancer's Stage today and tomorrow in conjunction with the free Colorado Performing Arts Festival. "The piece is designed with a joyful and playful spirit," says Reshotko, director of the Speaking of Dance troupe. "I mean, we have two gigantic feet in the middle of the dance." The production will feature a ten-person ensemble frolicking to an original score by local composers Jon Stubbs and Mark McCoin. "This performance is about connection and what you do with that connection," says Reshotko.

Let's hope she can help inspire an affinity between the androgynous aliens and the scowling metropolis they tower over. Watch today at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., or tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the performing arts complex, Speer Boulevard and Arapahoe Street. For information, call 303-722-0902 or log on to -- Kity Ironton

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Adam Cayton-Holland
Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd
Kity Ironton