At this point, the Solution is well on its way to becoming a Denver institution. But it isn't just our town's longest-running and most revered hip-hop night — it's also a testament to quality and resilience. Despite having moved virtually all over town since it was founded half a dozen years ago by DJs Low Key and Sounds Supreme, the Solution continues to draw a faithful crowd wherever — and however — it goes. Even after the Solution took a hiatus from weekly parties, the Solution crew continued to offer showcases featuring a parade of the best local MCs and producers, along with lauded acts from elsewhere. And last month, when the Solution returned to a weekly format at its new home at the Meadowlark, all was right in the cosmos again.
After debuting Lipgloss as an indie-rock, '80s-underground dance night in 2001, co-founders Michael Trundle (aka boyhollow) and Tyler Jacobson slowly built their once-monthly dance night into an award-winning weekly Denver institution, one of the first to embrace the dance-punk craze of the mid-2000s. More recently, however, Trundle felt the night's original theme was being eclipsed by the dubstep and hard electro sounds of the modern scene, so last spring he moved Lipgloss to Beauty Bar, where it's returned to its original, more rock- and punk-fueled sound.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a dance-club patio in Denver with a better view of the mountains and the skyline than Vinyl's indoor/outdoor rooftop patio. And the view here isn't the only amenity. This patio, one of the biggest in town, has heaters, fire pits and comfortable booths and chairs, making it a great year-round spot to sit and chat, have a smoke or just chill.
If you haven't been to Herman's Hideaway in a while, it's high time that you headed over there to see the renovations that have taken place, from swanky bathroom makeovers to sound upgrades. The most startling change, however, is the addition of a new outdoor smoking area — more like a patio, really — just adjacent to the stage. With floor-to-ceiling windows (and a garage door that will open during the warmer months), you don't have to miss any of the action when you step outside for a quick smoke. And you don't have to freeze when it's cold outside, either, since a massive area heater keeps things relatively comfortable.
Musician and multimedia artist Adam Stone played Ariel as a gray shadow in Buntport's phenomenal play Wake, and provided a haunting and evocative soundscape as well. Stone has composed music and songs for several of the group's best shows. Now Buntport has announced it will be sharing its theater space with Stone's new company, Screw Tooth. Starting in August, the two companies will alternate program slots — and who can predict what the melding of these fertile imaginations will bring?
As any rock historian could tell you, teaming up with an orchestra can sometimes be a thin attempt to disguise a creative lag. But in the case of DeVotchKa and the Colorado Symphony, the pairing has produced an inspired, brilliantly structured melding of two aesthetics that relies less on contrast than it does on similarities. With DeVotchKa's sentimental landscapes and the Symphony's climactic rises and powerful, sweeping descents, performances make for a kind of epic storytelling, supplanted with enough heart to afford the grand housing of so many instruments without sounding bombastic. After offering a preview of the material at Boettcher Concert Hall, the players reconvened at Red Rocks last fall, and the results were captured for a live album, which was released in December.
Argo, the Ben Affleck flick about a real-life CIA scheme to rescue six Americans from Iran by disguising them as a fake movie crew, won big at the Oscars, snagging statuettes for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, among others. But there was one important fact left out of the Hollywood retelling: the daring rescue's Colorado connection. The script that the CIA used to persuade Iranian officials — and the gullible local press — that the Americans marooned in Iran were a film crew for a movie called Lord of Light was actually slated to be filmed at Science Fiction Land, a planned Aurora theme park that was to include a holographic zoo and a 1,000-lane bowling alley attended by robots. But when that project fell apart, the CIA grabbed the script, changed the name to Argo...and rewrote history.
Theater is great. Food is great. Both are forms of artistic expression. So why are the snacks at most theatrical performances so bad — nothing but stale chips and candy bars and a cup of popcorn if you're lucky? At the opening night of the Catamounts' hip tragicomedy Jon, vodka was served in glasses with a rim of blue Kool-Aid and cherry-juice ice cubes. Afterward, a lights-strung cart pulled up in front of the theater to serve sliders and mac and cheese. Directors Amanda Berg Wilson and Lauren Shepard Wilkinson plan to continue exploring Boulder's rich food culture and offer special dinners in which each course is paired with a performance piece and a drink. It's a wonderful thing when passions collide.
Funny with a purpose, however absurd, is the new frontier in comedy and improv, and Arguments & Grievances is a perfect example of the trend. Kevin O'Brien's Sunday comedy night puts two comics on the podium to argue, point/counterpoint, on inconsequential issues, such as Simpsons vs. Family Guy and Poop vs. Pee. Denver's best comedians come out regularly to argue — and the results, exacerbated by mock outrage on either side, will have you rolling on the floor. Now, that's funny!