Arts and Culture

Monkey Town 4: The future is here, and it's lovely

One month into its three-month stay in Denver, Monkey Town 4 -- the fine-dining experience in a video cube brought here by returning hometown kid Montgomery Knott, who fine-tuned the concept for several years in Brooklyn -- is generating a buzz as more and more people suspend reality for two hours in the stylish attraction, snapping pictures and tweeting their sheer delight throughout the evening.

See also: Monkey Town 4 at Exdo Hall

Knott's biggest question mark before taking the show on the road (Denver is the touring version's embarkation point) was whether or not it would work outside of New York City. Would people in Colorado embrace the Monkey Town mystique and happily shell out big bucks to attend? At a show in the first week of Monkey Town's run here, Knott told the audience that even his own sister doubted he could pull it off (she was there that night), to big laughs. Why the laughs? Because the answer is yes. In deference to our possibly provincial views, Knott has added a $65, four-course echelon to the original choices of $50 for three and $80 for five, but really, we Denverites like good food and the price -- which not only includes paired wines with every course, but also a world-class video-art program and a mid-evening live performance -- isn't that far out of line for artsy urban foodies looking for a night on the town. Besides, the food is just that good. Designed by chefs from trendy local eateries City, O' City/WaterCourse, the Populist and Noble Swine Supper Club, each course is a sublime mixture of subtle textures and flavors, and the wines are well-matched. There's also that unannounced optional appetizer -- a savory cannabis edible -- that's offered along with champagne as the audience files into the building. Should you choose to pop one, just sit back and wait for the buzz to kick in. The first thing you see is the cube, all four sides aglow with imagery of the four seasons in the darkened hall; once you lift the curtain and slip inside, you take your seats at tables set up around the perimeter of the cube's massive screens. A full house is 32 diners, and you'll all be staring at each other throughout the night -- but in a nice way. It's people-watching, cafe style, with a backdrop of the ever-changing and smartly curated video imagery. Monkey Town continues Tuesdays through Sundays at 6 and 8:30 p.m. nightly, through June 1 at Exdo Hall. This weekend, local artist Nikki Pike is performing at the half; live acts, which range from cell-phone composers and avant-garde dancers to opera singers and performance artists, change every one or two weeks throughout the run. Learn more about the many elements of Monkey Town 4 and reserve tickets online; tickets for April are now available, and May dates will go on sale in mid-April. Need more convincing? Check out our full slide show for more Monkey Town images by photographer Marissa Shevins.

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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