Billie+McBride%2C+right%2C+and+Carol+Bloom%2C+center%2C+with+a+resident+of+the+Barth+Hotel.
There couldn't have been a better setting for this textured, nostalgic play than the cozy, elegantly proportioned lobby of the more-than-century-old Barth Hotel, or a script better suited to the environmental approach chosen by director Terry Dodd. The playing area brought out the intertwined passions and emotions of the script and, because it was no brighter than the rest of the room, eliminated the separation you usually feel from the actors. As the title implies, the play is set in a hotel, and occasionally a genuine Barth resident became part of the action, walking through the scene or jumping up and applauding at a resonant moment. The production shimmered with history. Dodd had staged it here seventeen years earlier, and two of the actors from that version were on stage for this one: Judy Phelan-Hill and Patty Mintz Figel. No other local director possesses Dodd's understanding of place and its effect, and his Hot L Baltimore enlarged our sense of what theater is and the subtle, intriguing ways in which it speaks to us.
Director Mitch Dickman and actors Karen Slack, William Hahn and GerRee Hinshaw went out with recording equipment during the Democratic Convention in Denver, asking questions and shooting video. The result was the satiric Mediamockracy, which took on politics, corporate interests and media idiocy in the form of two fictive cable-show hosts: a viperous Fox-style anchor and a talk-show comic in the Stephen Colbert vein. The show got in plenty of jibes, Hinshaw led the incorporated audience discussion, and Hahn and Slack made their characters so vivid and interesting that you almost wished someone, somewhere, would give them shows of their own.
Like chocolate? Then you'll love the Colorado Chocolate Festival, which turns Mother's Day weekend into one long, miasmic cacao high, as hopped-up chocoholics snake from booth to booth tasting chocolate of every ilk, from dark and pure to sweet and milky, gooey to waxy smooth, with wine, with nuts, infused with tea, slathered on cakes, baked into brownies and artfully rolled into rich, melty truffles. Last year, there were chocolate contests, baking demonstrations and a Miss Chocolate crowning, and Willy Wonka strolled the room; there was even a Mother's Day gift market of non-chocolate items.
Denver art takes off Devil horse inspires us to write Mile Haiku Who would imagine that a piece of public art could provide endless hours of entertainment? Back in 1993, New Mexican sculptor Luis Jimnez won a $300,000 commission to create a giant sculpture of a horse for the still-unopened Denver International Airport. From the start, art insiders were betting on what the final price would be and when Jimnez would actually deliver. But all bets were off when the horse killed Jimnez before he could complete it; his estate finally finished the piece in late 2007. It was installed at the entrance to DIA in February 2008 twelve years late, and with a price tag of $650,000 and thats when the fun really began. Armchair critics complained that the horse looked evil; children cowered on car floors as their parents drove by the Devil Horse. And the discussion really took off after realtor Rachel Hultin set up a Facebook page encouraging people to write poems inspired by the horse. She wound up delivering close to 300 poems to the citys arts office and many of those will be read at a special Mile Haiku City poetry slam at the Denver Public Library on April 27. A horse is a horse, and the events free, of course.
William Havu Gallery
Artists have been using recycled materials ever since Marcel Duchamp took a urinal, turned it upside down and dubbed it "Fountain" nearly a hundred years ago. But lately the cause has gained a new urgency. Highlighting this trend was Alchemy, at the William Havu Gallery, in which three artists used non-art materials to create their work. Coloradan Stan Meyer wove roofing tar paper into wall hung constructions. Ann Weber, a California artist who is also into weaving, used old pieces of cardboard cut into strips to make freestanding sculptures, some of them quite large. Finally, Marta Thoma, also from California, strung up old bottles to turn them into suspension sculptures. There's no LEED certification for artwork, as there is for buildings, but if there were, Meyer, Weber and Thoma would obviously qualify.
Singer Gallery
Although he was frail and seriously ill at the time, Dale Chisman was still able to hold court over what would turn out to be the final solo show of his lifetime, Recent Paintings by Dale Chisman. From a comfortable seat in the office, he greeted a throng of well-wishers at the opening reception who had formed a line so that they could talk with him. Even in bad health, Chisman's powers as a painter were still as keen as ever, as evidenced by the work all around him. When Chisman died just a few months after the show closed, Denver lost one of the most accomplished artists it has ever had.
Charlie's Denver
At Charlie's, it's like the (gay) stock show is in town every night. Since 1981 — before some of the studs who frequent the bar were even born — Charlie's has been the place to meet up, boot, scoot and boogie. If you're not into the cowboy way, there's a separate dance floor with plenty of flashing colored lights and Britney Spears. Charlie's also features karaoke two nights a week (half-price for guys in their underwear), Tuesday-night trivia and cheap well drinks for shirtless hunks on the weekends. But the joint is also lesbian-friendly, and not at all intimidating for straight friends who secretly want to dance to Britney and ogle the bare-chested guys drinking $2 Miller Lites.
M Uptown
Keith Garcia
Finally! A straight-friendly safe haven where hamburgers are the only meat that patrons want to eat. At Hamburger Mary's, the intimidating bare-chested bar hunks have been replaced with super-friendly, pot-bellied bears who've been trained to speak without a lisp. And the clientele is a heterosexual man's gay dream come true: just a smattering of preening Cherry Creek hairdressers amid a roomful of gay men and lesbians who dress like cable installers. Yes, Virginia, gay men do wear baseball caps indoors while snarfing down half-pound hamburgers — just like you! This place is so good at welcoming heterosexuals, and their allies, that it has become a regular stop on the campaign trail of every straight male Colorado politician. What other gay bar could Ken Salazar walk into wearing that twenty-gallon white cowboy hat and not have a dollar bill slipped into his jockeys? It could only be Mary's, where everyone's hands are already filled with charbroiled beef.
The games Guitar Hero and Rock Band have made far too many people of all ages think that playing guitar well is easy. Good thing someone as diversely talented at the instrument as Cole Rudy lives in Denver to show us how to do it right. Educated in jazz guitar, Cole is probably best known for his stints as the guitar wizard of Wetlands and Mike Marchant's solo material, but he's also contributed to the indie pop of Chuck Potashner and performs regularly with a jazz ensemble at hotels. The guy can play any style of guitar better than most people can play, period, and our scene is richer for it.
Looking to map your chakras over chai, mix some magick into your mocha or just dabble in a little tea-time tarot? Point your broomstick right at Witches Brew, a charming little cafe overlooking Berkeley Lake that's become a gathering place for area pagans. Whether you want to join in an equinox celebration, stock up on crystals, candles and other ritual supplies or just enjoy a Fair Trade cup of joe, this is a joint that will surely warm your cauldron.

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