Best Theatrical Gamble 2007 | Urinetown | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Producer-director (and marketer) Dan Wiley bet he could stage this edgy, contemporary musical about a city suffering a drought so bad its inhabitants are forced to pay to pee -- and executed for freelance urination -- in the Denver Department of Public Works' Wastewater Management Building. He rigged up a stage, cast a group of talented actors, tinkered with the continuing sound problems of his venue, and came up a winner. Urinetown was one of the brightest and most appealing musicals of the year, and it attracted the kind of alert young audience many local theaters would kill for.
William Hahn is one of those actors who always make an impact; you often find your eyes straying toward him, even when there's significant action somewhere else on the stage. In King Lear, sporting a gentle, soul-shrinking little smile, he brought an element of truly original creepiness to a rather staid and predictable production.
Bill Christ played Amadeus's Emperor Joseph II, usually a tiny and forgettable role, to hilarious effect, listening to Mozart's music as puzzlement and a determination to appear cultured chased each other all over his face. The brilliance of Christ's bumbling buffoons -- he knows just how far to take them -- stems in part from his genuine power and heft as an actor.
There's something magically Christmasy about standing out in the snow and pushing your nose against the glass of a ritzy hotel to see satin-clad girls crooning retro Irving Berlin classics by the fire. In this wonderland setting, former Cabaret Diosa dancing girl Kim Franco and her crack troupe of old compadres performed live in the lobby of the boutique-y St. Julien on Sunday evenings during last year's holiday season. The '40s-era extravaganza was inspired, and admission was free. It is a wonderful life.
Colorado might have lost the Crispy Family Carnival, but we still have Ukulele Loki, aka Aaron Johnson. A true vaudeville performer, Loki served as music director/ composer/on-stage musician for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival's 2006 production of As You Like It, led the "indie acoustic chamber pop" sounds of the Gadabout Orchestra and acted as ringleader for his vaudeville burlesque circus, the Folderol Follies. His work as the "Talented Talker" for the Crispy Family Carnival has also qualified him to perform as a radio emcee -- currently on Route 78 West, which airs Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon on KVCU-Radio 1190 in Boulder -- and foil for sideshow performers, bands and burlesque legends such as Dita Von Teese. Loki's love of all things sideshow ensures that vaudeville will never die in Denver.
What do Zen and cabaret have in common? Nothing, unless you're Nina Rolle. The artist describes Zen Cabaret as "a traveling medicine show that pitches a tent in whatever town it's in, and then these rogues show up and put on a production." Most recently, Rolle pitched her Zen tent in Boulder for Zen Cabaret Version 6.5: Play Money, complete with audience-interaction elements, a soundtrack provided by Jayme Stone and absurdist retail therapy. "In a way, the whole thing is a practice of how I like to laugh, the kind of laugh I want to bring to people," Rolle explains. So chuckle it up.
Eric Gruneisen
The reviews are in: Local triple-nippled drag queen and fabulous fundraiser Nuclia Waste has a mushrooming hit on her well-manicured hands with Demented Divas. The hilarious Vegas-style drag show, featuring Portia Potty, Gabbriella Butz'In and Iona Trailer, not only encourages the most embarrassing forms of audience participation, but also pokes catty fun at an endless parade of prime drag-queen targets, from Bette Davis to JonBent. Stop by on Tuesday nights and play dress-up with the big girls.
The bearded man held his wooden cross high and bumped and swayed to the indie rock coming out of the Keystone Resort speakers. The young workers scanning lift tickets and passes all smiled in his direction and bopped with him. Kids giggled. Their parents wondered if the strange man was a beggar or a paid performer. A dancing orthodox Christian monk would seem an unorthodox form of entertainment, even for a ski resort. Turns out he was just a Jesus freak of the highest order -- one without the shouted ramblings of the characters on Denver's 16th Street Mall.
Eric Gruneisen
If you've got friends in low places, bring 'em on down to the Grizzly Rose. It's a country wonderland of a bar, complete with a mechanical bull and a stage where live acts perform weekly. Every day, the shit-kickin' saloon is filled with multiple mullet-man sightings -- but an event several years back set a record for the most mullets in one venue on one night. In a bizarre twist of musical mal-scheduling, Joan Jett was slated to perform at the Grizzly. When the foam started to flow, the motley crew of rednecks, headbangers and dykes threatened to erupt into a violent melee as the steers, queers and gearheads clashed. Then Joan came on, and the crowd forgot to be rude and started to rock. So much for a bad reputation.

Best Place to Find Non- Ironic Mullets on Women

The Denver Detour

In the spirit of mullet mania, we shine the spotlight on the lavender ladies who party hearty in the working-class-queero ambience of the Denver Detour. Sheila Keathley and her sporty staff have been slinging stiff drinks in this humble watering hole for the past 23 years. Fortunately, there's also a kitchen dishing up gut-busting Mexican and American fare for lunch and dinner to help stave off that imminent hangover. Along with the booze and the bartenders, the Detour's other attractions are hotly contested pool tables, dart boards, video games and jukebox. Live bands, DJs and wildly popular karaoke nights rule the weekends. Okay, all together now: "We are family..."

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