Best approximation of a turn-of-the-century strip show

Burlesque As It Was

Sisters Michelle and Andrea Baldwin are the driving -- and gyrating, wiggling and titillating -- force behind Burlesque As It Was, a performance group that revisits an era when stripping and erotic dance was an art form. Students of vaudeville and burlesque greats like Gypsy Rose Lee, the sisters and their sequined crew hosted a pair of performances this year: a Parisian-style cabaret and a saucy Valentine's Day fete. They've also been seen shakin' their saucy stuff at shows by bands like the Down-N-Outs. Forget Disco -- Burlesque As It Was takes retro to an entirely new level. Just don't try to shove a dollar bill down the side of the dancers' costumes, please.

Best approximation of a turn-of-the-century strip show

Burlesque As It Was

Sisters Michelle and Andrea Baldwin are the driving -- and gyrating, wiggling and titillating -- force behind Burlesque As It Was, a performance group that revisits an era when stripping and erotic dance was an art form. Students of vaudeville and burlesque greats like Gypsy Rose Lee, the sisters and their sequined crew hosted a pair of performances this year: a Parisian-style cabaret and a saucy Valentine's Day fete. They've also been seen shakin' their saucy stuff at shows by bands like the Down-N-Outs. Forget Disco -- Burlesque As It Was takes retro to an entirely new level. Just don't try to shove a dollar bill down the side of the dancers' costumes, please.
The Partridge Family? Not. The Jackson Five? Please. But cross Selena with the Brady Bunch and you'd be pretty damn close. Mariachi Vasquez is a certified mom-and-dad-and-all-the-kiddies mariachi group: Daddy plays bass, Mama sings tenor, and the three sisters and two brothers join right in there. The group, which hails from Tucson, has been shaking its maracas since the kids wore Pampers. While other children scribbled multiplication tables, these youngsters perfected their chops on violin, trumpet and guitar. Last year the group cut its first CD, Como la Ves, and is compiling its second. Mariachis usually are content to cover the classics, but Mariachi Vasquez spices its playlist with original material and south-of-the-border tributes to Patsy Cline and Elvis. Although the Vasquez kids are still learning their way around a recording studio -- let them make it through puberty first -- they can still put a little rumba into a conga line. And the Mr. Microphone tribute to the King -- as sung by ten-year-old Vincente -- is enough to put a swivel in your hips. If not a black-velvet Elvis painting in your living room.

John Potter can belt 'em out with such force and grace that if you close your eyes and squint just right, you might think it was ol' blue eyes himself swaying between the tables at Patsy's Inn Italian Restaurant, at 3651 Navajo Street. Ask him right, and he'll play your favorite song while you slurp on spaghetti and gulp a glass of vino. Potter doesn't just do Sinatra, though; Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Tom Jones and even Lou Rawls fill his repertoire. "I do a little bit of everybody," he says. "To do a four-hour show, you've got to come up with more than just Sinatra." Potter is also a part of the sixteen-piece Stephen Paul Orchestra, but he'll be doing it Frank's way at Patsy's on Friday and Saturday nights over the summer. He'll make you feel there are songs to be sung!

John Potter can belt 'em out with such force and grace that if you close your eyes and squint just right, you might think it was ol' blue eyes himself swaying between the tables at Patsy's Inn Italian Restaurant, at 3651 Navajo Street. Ask him right, and he'll play your favorite song while you slurp on spaghetti and gulp a glass of vino. Potter doesn't just do Sinatra, though; Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Tom Jones and even Lou Rawls fill his repertoire. "I do a little bit of everybody," he says. "To do a four-hour show, you've got to come up with more than just Sinatra." Potter is also a part of the sixteen-piece Stephen Paul Orchestra, but he'll be doing it Frank's way at Patsy's on Friday and Saturday nights over the summer. He'll make you feel there are songs to be sung!

As a child, New Jersey-raised vocalist Mary Ann Moore listened to the great jazz singers -- Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Chris Conner -- and she listened to romantic, melodically based piano masters like Bill Evans. You can hear their influence in her lush intonation and impeccable phrasing, but Moore has been very much her own woman since she began singing Denver-area clubs in 1990. Catch her Tuesday nights at Manhattan Grill, Thursdays at Trios in Boulder, Fridays and Saturdays at Ruth's Chris steakhouse in LoDo. The schedule is subject to change; Moore's high art is not.

As a child, New Jersey-raised vocalist Mary Ann Moore listened to the great jazz singers -- Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Chris Conner -- and she listened to romantic, melodically based piano masters like Bill Evans. You can hear their influence in her lush intonation and impeccable phrasing, but Moore has been very much her own woman since she began singing Denver-area clubs in 1990. Catch her Tuesday nights at Manhattan Grill, Thursdays at Trios in Boulder, Fridays and Saturdays at Ruth's Chris steakhouse in LoDo. The schedule is subject to change; Moore's high art is not.

A fixture in the '80s on the Denver jazz scene, soprano saxophonist Vic Cionetti chucked it all ten years ago. Burned out by life in nightclubs and frustrated that his original music couldn't find a wider audience, he stuck his horn case under a bed in the guest room and began earning a living as a real-estate man and a salesman for the Better Business Bureau. Now he's back. Cionetti's new, self-produced CD, Simpatico, a vivid selection of Latin-inflected originals, is available at Denver record stores and through his Web site (www.viccionetti.com) -- the existence of which is one of the main reasons he came out of retirement. "Because of the Internet, there's more chance for exposure now," he says, "even though there are fewer 'listening rooms.' It's exciting to be playing again."
A fixture in the '80s on the Denver jazz scene, soprano saxophonist Vic Cionetti chucked it all ten years ago. Burned out by life in nightclubs and frustrated that his original music couldn't find a wider audience, he stuck his horn case under a bed in the guest room and began earning a living as a real-estate man and a salesman for the Better Business Bureau. Now he's back. Cionetti's new, self-produced CD, Simpatico, a vivid selection of Latin-inflected originals, is available at Denver record stores and through his Web site (www.viccionetti.com) -- the existence of which is one of the main reasons he came out of retirement. "Because of the Internet, there's more chance for exposure now," he says, "even though there are fewer 'listening rooms.' It's exciting to be playing again."
There were no women on the faculty when Helen Redman went to the University of Colorado in the early '70s as a graduate student in art. Virginia Maitland, who was living with an art instructor, found herself assigned the invisible ranking of "faculty wife." Other women artists were struggling to sculpt or paint while taking care of their families and raising children. Amid the heady politics of the time, these women gave birth to Front Range Women in the Arts in 1974. Their exhibits leavened serious purpose with humorous iconoclasm, such as 1978's Portrait of the Woman as a Young Artist, which was promoted by a poster showing a naked man holding a baby. In 1979 they helped organize Colorado Women in the Arts month; they also toured their work through Colorado and other states and created exchange programs with women artists around the country. The structure was loose, meetings were often suffused with wine and sometimes tears, members came and went. Yet the group helped change the status of women in art. Three years ago, several members were celebrating the sixtieth birthday of one of the founders, Sally Elliott. The millennium was approaching, and Front Range Women in the Arts members were coming up on 25 years of art-making and activism. It was time for a reunion. Elbows and Tea Leaves: Front Range Women in the Visual Arts (1974-2000) will show at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art through August 28. "What we did was against the current," Redman says, "against traditional training. And there's a woman heading the CU art department now."

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