Talking Shop

Five Green Boxes was an anomaly in the local retail world when it opened five years ago on South Pearl Street -- part eclectic design emporium, part craft store, part boutique, all stretching out across a vast, color-flooded floor. It was so fun and homey, you half expected customers to bring bedrolls and spend the night. But it was hard to keep up such a big space, and the store eventually moved a block away, to a smaller spot.

Partners Elich and Carrie Vadas soon grew homesick for the boundless space standing unused in the old building, which Elich owns. "We began to feel like the initial focus of Five Green Boxes was not happening," Elich says. So they kept the little boutique and opened an annex, called Five Green Boxes...Unpacked, in the original space, with the attention back on what they call "rescued" furniture -- primarily, chairs and ottomans that the Vadases strip to the frame and rebuild. They replace and repair the inner padding and springwork, then reupholster the pieces in a kind of fiber collage using hand-dyed and -knit boiled wool. It's labor-intensive, but the results are unique, colorful, durable and endearing.

Says Elich: "We hope to be known for trying to create stuff that's not out in the world already."

The annex is at 1705 South Pearl Street; call 303-777-2331. -- Susan Froyd

Stepping Out
MON, 1/17

If all of the parades and breakfasts and lunches commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. are too much pontificating for you, then honor his legacy with a more creative outing: Many Blessings, a Tribute to Dr. King. Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, 119 Park Avenue West, is hosting the free celebration, which features a fusion of dance, spoken word and vocal music. Local dancer/filmmaker Joey Lorraine and DanceVision, poets of the Colorado Hip Hop Coalition and a flock of homegrown singers will take the stage twice -- once at 7:30 p.m. and again at 8:30. For more information, call 303-295-1759. -- Susan Froyd

Strange but True
Nelson DeMille's latest thriller isn't all make-believe.
TUES, 1/18

"Truth is stranger than fiction," says Nelson DeMille, uttering what would be a cliche coming from anyone other than the author of a dozen thrillers filled with plots that are strange indeed. But in his thirteenth book, Night Fall, which focuses on the downing of TWA Flight 800 in July 1996, DeMille sticks close to the truth. While doing research for earlier books with the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the topic of the doomed 747 had come up, but he didn't decide to write about it until after 9/11. "I approached it with some hesitation," DeMille admits. "I didn't want to do one of those Œwhat if' books. I stayed really close to the facts."

True, he did invent the adulterous couple at the beginning of the book, videotaping steamy sex on the beach when their camera captures what looks like a missile streaking toward the plane. But while neither the couple nor the video exist, the FBI did interview 200 witnesses -- among them a friend of DeMille's -- who saw that streak. The end of the book is even more spectacular than its start, but you can hear about that from DeMille himself when he reads at 7:30 p.m. this evening at the Tattered Cover in Cherry Creek, his seventh appearance at a store he calls "one of the three best independent bookstores in the country." The TC is at 2955 East First Avenue; for details, call 303-322-7727. -- Patricia Calhoun

Blog, Blog, Blog
At this camp, you can make news, not moccasins.
SAT, 1/15

"Blog" was the word of the year, according to Merriam-Webster OnLine -- a pretty good performance for a noun that wasn't invented until 1999. And blogs are just going to get bigger in 2005, with more than 10,000 new additions glogging up the blogosphere each day.

If none of those are yours, it's time to sign up for Blogger Boot Camp, a one-day crash course guaranteed to get you cruising down the information superhighway, as it was once so quaintly called. "Blogging is simply a way of sharing your thoughts and opinions, and things you find interesting, with the rest of the world," says Greg Reinacker, founder of NewsGator. "But it ends up being much more than that."

Blogging has become so critical to the public discussion that bloggers were accorded their own press areas at last year's two political conventions. Within minutes of the tsunami tragedy, bloggers were beginning to deliver the news. "Blogs today are rapidly transforming," says Thomas Frey, executive director of the DaVinci Institute, the Louisville-based futurist think tank that's putting on the camp. "We have recruited some of the top experts in Colorado to help us teach the fine art of blogging."

In addition to Reinacker, those experts include Bill French, co-founder of MyST Technology partners, and Jock Mirow, chief strategist for BroadbandVideo. The camp runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at DeVry University, 1870 West 122nd Avenue in Westminster; registration is $195 (with a $50 discount for DaVinci members). Need more information? It's on the web, of course, at www.bloggerbootcamp.com. -- Patricia Calhoun

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun
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

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