Our Journey To A Place Called Tacolandia

 Tacos and lowriders. (Photo Credit: Samantha Bliss)

Tacos and lowriders. (Photo Credit: Samantha Bliss)

As we have mentioned on many occasions we are pretty big fans of tacos here at Ultra5280. From al pastor to carnitas any edible morsel of goodness that can be filled in a warm tortilla we are big fans of. This year we were fortunate enough to cover another edition of Tacolandia presented by our good friends at Westword.

We had pretty large helpings of the vast selection of some of the cities best taco establishments. It is hard to pick a favorite amongst the wide selection so we will just say we enjoyed them all. What is becoming a taco lovers destination event was once again filled with food, music, a car show and an outrageous lucha libre ring.

Mariachi America (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

Music from Mariachi America had everybody dancing to the rhythms of salsa and cumbias, while fellow Denver spanish rock bands such as iZCALLi and Los Mocochetes brought the local flavor. Members of the Saints and Sinner Car Club had their finest whips (it's what the cool kids say instead of cars) on display. With candy coated paint jobs to dizzying chrome wheels. The event is always a favorite of ours and if you have never been we suggest you mark it in your calendar asap for next year.

All the tacos. (Photo Credit: Samantha Bliss)

The proud traditions of the latino culture were on display. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

Photo Gallery 1: Samantha Bliss (Staff Photographer)

Photo Gallery 2: Robert Castro (Editor in Chief)

New this June at Denver's Longest-Running Block Party | People's Fair

People’s Fair Art & Music Festival is Denver’s largest and longest-running block party, which celebrates its 47th year at Civic Center Park, June 1-3, 2018. People’s Fair celebrates the best of the Mile High City, including music; culture; fitness; food and beverage; fine art; and a makers’ marketplace produced in partnership with Denver Flea.

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They are kicking things off Friday, June 1. with a featured concert from MAX, who's current hit, “Lights Down Low,” ft. gnash, hit number one on Billboard’s Emerging Artists and Adult Pop Songs charts earlier this year. A variety of free concerts will follow MAX’s performance throughout the weekend: a full day of bluegrass performances on the festival’s main stage on Saturday, June 2, featuring Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs, Turkeyfoot, Lonesome Days, Kitchen Dwellers, and Trout Steak Revival. Sunday, June 3, Moon Taxi will make their only Colorado appearance this summer at 4:30 pm, with The Other Black  opening for them at 3 pm. Additional live entertainment will showcase an eclectic range of Denver talent, including performances from Dazzling Divas Drag Show, Colorado Mestizo Dancers, and dance groups performing everything from ballet to belly dancing!

The Mural Project is back this year, a live art competition in which teams of young, local artists paint murals onsite during the festival. Many teams return to the Mural Project year after year, allowing attendees to witness transformations in the up-and-coming artists, who develop positive self-expression, time management, critical thinking and more through participating in the project. There is also a fine art show featuring more than 100 artists, beer & wine garden, a variety of fitness vendors, fitness-oriented events, such as free community yoga classes courtesy of CorePower Yoga, hosted at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday on the main stage. New this year, the “Outdoor Adventure Fest” will invite attendees to experience the Colorado outdoors in the heart of the city, with a climbing wall, a kayak pool, goat yoga and more.

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In addition to highlighting the unique communities found in every corner of Denver, People’s Fair raises funds for nonprofit organizations. The event primarily benefits Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods, although all of the beverage booths at the festival are staffed by volunteers from various nonprofit organizations, who raise funds via tips received at their bars. 2018 community partners include Project Angel Heart and Colorado Gay Rodeo Association.


Reserve VIP tickets, your free yoga ticket, or $5 general admission ticket to MAX at  https://peoplesfair.com/tickets/

Photos by Ryan Cox

BRECKENRIDGE BREWERY RELEASES THE 2018 OFFICIAL COMIC CON BEER “RAZZNAROK”

Launch Party to Take Place Thursday, May 17th at Stoney's Bar and Grill

WHO:  Breckenridge Brewery and Denver Comic Con (DCC) will officially launch the 2018 Comic Con Beer, RAZZNAROK, on May 17th at Stoney's Bar and Grill with live music, games, cosplay, and the first of many collectible pint glass giveaways. The beer’s name was the winner of the annual “Name the Denver Comic Con Beer” contest which beat out more than 800 submissions during the online contest. RAZZNAROK was inspired by the widely popular 2017 Marvel Comic book film: Thor: Ragnarok.

The 2018 DCC beer is a Belgian style witbier brewed with fresh raspberry puree. For the seventh straight year, Breck will be releasing the beer along with limited edition DCC beer pint glasses. This year’s Razznarok glass features artwork by local comic artist Morgan Beem.

After the launch party, RAZZNAROK will stay on tap at Stoney's through Denver Comic Con. Other pubs within walking distance to the Colorado Convention Center will serve the beer leading up to and during the event. Follow Breckenridge Brewery on Facebook and Twitter for information on other pint glass giveaway events during Denver Comic Con. This information will also be posted on breckbrew.com in the weeks prior to the DCC.

WHAT: For seven years Breckenridge Brewery has brewed a special beer exclusively for Denver Comic Con (DCC). The first 200 people to this FREE event will receive a limited collector’s series “Razznarok” pint glass featuring custom design by artist Morgan Beem. Colorado's premiere party band, 6 Million Dollar Band will be bringin' the 80s energy to keep the dance floor movin' all night!

WHERE: Stoney's Bar & Grill 1111 Lincoln St. Denver, CO

When:Thursday, May 17th

- Doors 7pm

- Live music by 6 Million Dollar Band 8pm

- DJ 10pm

About “Razznarok!”

Razznarok is a time-honored, Belgian-style ale with a tart pink twist. Brewed with unmalted wheat, orange zest, coriander and fresh raspberry puree, this unfiltered, light-bodied beer has fruity notes of raspberry & citrus, a touch of spice, and a pink blush of color. Refreshing. Surprising. Sprightly. Whimsical.

Past winners of the "Name the Comic Con Beer" contest are The Fantastic Pour, The Caped Brewsader, Brews Wayne, Hulk's Mash, Snape-ricot, and I Am Brewt.

 

5 Upcoming Events In Denver

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5 Upcoming Events in Denver

Denver hosts a plethora of unique events throughout the year. Regardless of the activities you enjoy or the scene you prefer, it's safe to say that you'll be able to find something that fits your interests. Here are some of the top upcoming events in the Denver area spanning from fashion, food, to music! If you're looking for a way to get around without shuffling ride share services or dealing with traffic, be sure to check out this Boulder Party Bus Service.

 

Denver Beer and Music Festival

May 19 at the Vinyl Events Center

This craft beer and music festival is headlined by the rock band Shwayze, but there will also be other live bands and DJ's at the event. There will be local food vendors at the Tasting Village of Food as well as unlimited samples of 50 different varieties of spirits, wine, and beer. Tickets range from $35 to $50 for VIP admission, and it will be worth every penny.

 

ThriftCon

May 20 at INDUSTRY RiNo Station

For those who enjoy a good bargain or rare vintage find, you're not going to want to miss out on ThriftCon. There will be vintage collectibles, clothing, and home goods to consider buying here. With over 40 vendors, the selection is sure to be solid. You won't leave here without a new piece, guaranteed.

 

Trash Fashion Show

June 9 at EXDO

This evening of innovative fashion features clothes made from reclaimed material by local designers. There will be different categories that the designers will compete in such as "Little Black Dress" and "White Trash". General admission will run you $25, while the $150 VIP ticket includes valet parking, a pre show cocktail reception, gift bag, front row seating, and admission to the Tracks nightclub for the after party.

 

Denver Summer Brew Fest

July 27 & 28 at Mile High Station

The Denver Summer Brew Fest boasts over 100 brews and ciders to choose from 40 different breweries. The brew fest benefits the Swallow Hill Music Association, so it's a great event to support. Tickets range from $35 to $60 for their package deal. General admission runs from 7-10 PM, but VIP holders can show up an hour early to enjoy a special beer and cheese sampling.

 

Reggae on the Grass

July 29 @ Levitt Pavilion

This is a free concert series that's open for all ages. Feel good reggae will be playing on multiple stages with bands like Nase Face, Emcee Rasta Stevie, Colorado Binghistra, Ras Marcus Benjamin, and the Denver Vintage Reggae Society. This is the first annual event, and it's sure to be super entertaining.

Ophelia’s Will Tantalize All Your Senses


Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox is a multilevel "gastro-brothel" that surrounds its guests in luxurious furnishing, flattering mood lighting, and blatantly sexy décor, aka it’s a great place for a date. In addition to dining, there’s a stage and lounge in the lower level, also viewable from the upper restaurant level that wraps around it. The name of the place is an intriguing mouthful… and you’ll find the food is as well.

Ophelia’s opened a couple years ago and is part of Chef Justin Cucci’s collection of top-rated restaurants around Denver. Located in the old Airedale building on 20th Street and Larimer, it was formerly a peep-show parlor and clearly inspired the restaurant’s décor. The menu is a tantalizing assortment of American dishes featuring globally inspired ingredients paired in intriguing ways. In addition to its vegetable forward dishes, 75% of the ingredients are organically sourced and the menu has gluten-free and vegan icons to help those with dietary restrictions.

We were delighted to dine at Ophelia’s this Tuesday and were treated to an amazing assortment of dishes that showcased the variety of foods, flavors, and ingenuity the team brings to the tables each night. We began with cocktails of course, the Never Enough gin cocktail and the Hard Eight Rye cocktail, which were both great – one sweet and citrusy the later earthy and zesty.

To start, we selected the Smoked Scallops, 600 Degree Squash and the Crispy Pork Belly. This was already more food than we could finish knowing entrees where ahead, but we are so glad we ordered it all anyway because these three dishes were outstanding. The scallops were petite, soft and smoky, served with lavash crackers, microgreens, and a chive crème fraise and hot sauce, all meant to pile onto the crackers. The creamy crème spread was a perfect balance for the smoky scallops and seed-laden lavash. We also loved the 600 Degree Squash, a collection of caramelized yellow and green zucchini with sweet, creamy goat feta and a sundried tomato sauce. The Crispy Pork Belly was especially outstanding because it was not full of fat like so often happens when we’ve ordered pork belly. It truly was crispy and candied on the outside, and soft and supple on the inside, bursting with so much savory and sweet flavor. Best pork belly we can recall!  

Next, the kitchen surprised us with their Brothel Burger and BBQ Chicken Flatbread. The burger was super succulent Elk, we didn’t even realize this while we ate it, topped with Korean BBQ, Miso candied bacon, Ponzu onions, and pickled vegetables all between a pretzel pun. We loved it. The BBQ Chicken Flatbread was accompanied by bacon, Pepper Jack, mozzarella, charred onion, bell pepper and jicama-radicchio slaw, which was an excellent addition to an overall wonderfully composed sweet, smoky, tangy pizza. All of their flatbreads and burger buns are also available gluten free.

We then made room for two of their Dinner entrees, the Steelhead Trout with Pozole and Chicken & Waffles, which were like yin and yang as far as flavors, textures, ingredients and nutrition. Pozole is a traditional Mexican stew composed of hominy, green chilies, and spices. Their pozole is topped traditionally with fresh radishes, cilantro, tomatillo salsa, and chunks of avocado, but is only mildly spicy. The trout was wonderful, not too fishy, seasoned with black pepper, and a great, local alternative to salmon. An added bonus, all of the warming spices, herbs, root vegetables and omega-3 fish make this an excellent winter dish and flu-fighter!

On the other end of the spectrum, the Chicken & Waffles were decadent, sweet and crunchy. It comes with two pieces of herb and potato laden waffle between three pieces of crispy, fried chicken topped with bacon bits, a flavorful cinnamon apple butter and chili honey – my goodness! On the side, there’s a bit of healthy greenery for you with apple slices and dried cranberries.

Throughout all of this wonderful feasting, live musicians took turns on the stage below for open mic night. Wednesday’s and Sunday’s Ophelia’s has jazz bands, and the rest of the week generally has live music events as well. Ophelia’s is much more than just a delicious restaurant; it’s a happening hangout with plenty of pleasing offerings. The bar and lounge areas provide really nice drinking spots, and the wrap around restaurant is an awesome medley of fabulous food and dynamic entertainment below. We absolutely suggest you go!

https://www.opheliasdenver.com/

Words by Tiffany Candelaria @tcdoesfnb     Photos by Samantha Bliss @redfollowsherbliss

Chicken & Waffles

Immerse Yourself in Theater & A Wild Party

“You’re invited to leave your inhibitions (and Prohibitions) behind for a decadent 360° party in the Roaring Twenties. Indulge your inner flapper as you mingle with an unruly mix of vaudevillians, playboys, divas, and ingénues in a Manhattan apartment lost in time.” From the creators of last year’s immersive, experiential theater performance that we also covered, “Sweet & Lucky” the DCPA’s new Off-Center show “The Wild Party” is a similar experience but different. Confused? That’s good – the creators and two-time True West Award-winning Director Amanda Berg Wilson, want the audience to be surprised, it makes for a more exciting experience. Read on if you would like to know a little bit more of what to expect.

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The audience begins the experience all together in a main room and is free to mingle about, have a seat, and buy drinks. Then the show begins with a fun musical act and the performers weave through the audience dancing, singing, and chatting with the crowd. They playfully ask groups of us to follow them into another room until the entire audience has been transported to the other side. Unlike “Sweet & Lucky” where the different groups of audience members are separated and experience different scenes in different rooms, all of the audience members of “The Wild Party” end up in one room together to watch one big show play out all around them.

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The First Act is one big party, full of fun, flappers, booze and tunes, accompanied by a seven-piece band! You really feel like you’re at the party with the scenery (and almost everyone in attendance dressed up), the music, and the actors interact with the audience, teaching us to dance for example. We saw people of all ages around us, from 21 to 70’s, dressed up and having a fun night out. “Our goal with each audience member is that they are going to experience a kind of release that you only have when you have had a really wild night," Director Wilson said.

Debauchery turns disastrous in the Second Act as the party’s guest’s gin sets in. The plot thickens dramatically as the actors’ songs and actions reveal their feelings bubbling under the surface and themes such as race, gender, and religion are brought to the forefront. Accompanying this we hear adult language, see uncomfortable situations, nudity and violence. The mood gets real serious towards the end and almost makes us loose our buzz too, even after we all just had a complimentary shot of gin. The show’s tagline is, “When the night is over…No matter what happens…Blame it on the gin.” We came away with many different interpretations of the true moral of the story and left wishing the best parts of the party weren’t over. 

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The Wild Party is a musical by Michael John LaChiusa and a book by him and George C. Wolfe. The story is based on the 1928 Joseph Moncure March narrative poem of the same name. The show features all local actors, and runs most nights October 11 - 31, 2017 at The Hangar at Stanley Marketplace. Tickets for Sat, Oct 28 and Tue, Oct 31 include a post-show party with a costume contest, music, and dancing!

Immerse yourself in a sinful good time; hurry tickets are almost sold out.

https://www.wildpartydenver.com/get-tickets/

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By Tiffany Candelaria

2017 Denver People’s Fair Sat 6/3 & Sun 6/4 Civic Center Park

Since its inception in 1972, the People’s Fair has been a staple of Denver arts and culture as the largest community-based festival in Colorado! People’s Fair features an eclectic mix of national and local entertainment, live music, nearly 100 artists and hundreds of local food and craft vendors. A long-running Denver tradition, the 46-year-old event will open its doors in celebration of the local community and the creative instincts that have inspired the city for nearly a half a century.

With musical performances by Guster, Night Riots, and Jeremy Garrett’s Fiddle Science - a supergroup featuring members of Leftover Salmon and The Infamous Stringdusters, and other great bands Gipsy Moon, P O P F I L T E R, Kayla Marque Band, Gasoline Lollipops, and SkyLaw. There will also be over 30 other performances including bands, artists, drag shows and creative community entertainers. Visit https://peoplesfair.com/schedule/ for the full scheduled lineup!

Aside from music, there is a strong focus on community engagement and interactive programming, so the People’s Fair will offer events like free morning yoga hosted by Kindness Yoga and Art In The Park where attendees can enjoy an Infinite Monkey Theorem beverage and art instruction as they create their own painting. There will be countless lawn games, local community dance and theater groups, local food trucks, and a chance to get to know some of the most innovative upcoming local businesses.

This year’s People’s Fair sets the stage for a massive cultural showcase event that is uniquely Denver. The Denver People’s Fair is free to the public, however VIP tickets are on sale now for $20 that includes premium stage viewing, a shaded VIP lounge, two free drinks, a VIP bar, and separate VIP entrance all weekend. Proceeds go to benefit the Capital Hill United Neighborhoods (CHUN).  More info on the event can be found at www.peoplesfair.com

Dazzle Jazz Re-opens in Former Baur's

The new space will feature three unique stages: The Main Stage (to be completed July 2017) will be suited for well-established acts requiring a larger seating capacity. The original Baur’s Stage will continue to be used for acts in an intimate setting while the Gallery Stage will feature music accentuated by unique works from some of Colorado’s finest visual artists. Patrons of the new location will be offered a new menu created by Dazzle’s team of culinary artists led by Chef/Owner Mario Godoy and Chefs Benjamin Erickson and Daron Edgar.

Tuesday, May 23 - Thursday, May 25th Dazzle Jazz is giving its patrons a chance to peek into their much-anticipated re-opening at the historic Baur’s Lounge on 15th and Curtis. Dazzle will embrace the community that it loves, dedicating its first productions to non-profit organizations with missions centered on music education and programming. “We have dedicated our new home to artists and the community that loves and nourishes them," says Owner Donald Rossa.

May 23, 6pm-8pm: Jam Session hosted by Paul Romaine benefiting Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts. 9pm-11pm Jam Session hosted by Todd Reid, Dan Schwindt, and Jean-Luc Davis benefiting the scholarship program for the University of Colorado - Denver's Music & Entertainment Industry Studies.

May 24 Celebrating World Music benefiting the Music Appreciation Society (MAS).
6pm-7pm Purnell Steen & LeJazz Machine. 7pm-9pm Tanner Harris. 10pm-Late “Pain and Art” Wes Watkins Ensemble.

May 25 KUVO Jazz 89.3 Benefit – A Dynamic Evening Featuring Three Unique Sets of Music. 5:45pm-6:45pm Ritmo Jazz Latino. 7pm-8pm Tyler Gilmore’s Candy Shop Ensemble. 8pm-10pm Ritmo Jazz Latino again.

Tickets range from $10 - $30, the later performances being the lower price, and most include a food tasting and premier seating.

"Everyone is invited to listen, taste and feel."

The Secret Garden - Now Playing!

The classic story The Secret Garden, written by Frances Hodgson Burnett in 1911 still finds itself being told to audiences today. Our Denver Center for the Performing Arts has adapted the novel into an all-ages theater musical at the Stage Theater downtown. The show has two Acts totaling 28 original songs by Marsha Norman, composed by Lucy Simon and directed by Brooklyn-based Jenn Thompson who has worked all over the US.

The story follows a child named Mary who is sent to live with her uncle after the death of her parents. She is sent to a big, solitary mansion on the Moors of England where she finds herself in a creepy, old estate left to her Uncle Archibald who lives in a state of grief and fear. Mary slowly learns the stories of the people both living there and deceased and uncovers all kinds of secrets. But when she uncovers the key to her late aunt’s long-lost garden, she becomes determined to turn things around for everyone by reviving the beauty that once flourished. Surrounded by spirits of the past, she uses the magic of hope to help the world around her grow once again.

The cast of 22, orchestra and a stage crew of about 30 people make all the magic happen on and off stage such as smooth backdrop and scene changes, lighting and fog effects, and overall flow and presentation so the story comes to life. The vocal acrobatics and the abnormal amount of contrapuntal pieces in this musical made it a full-sensory experience. The plot line was well developed and the characters, half of who were deceased spirits guiding the living, created a complexity for the adult audience. Most of the play was more adult in tone and plot in our opinion, especially as it was set in a haunted mansion and dealt frequently with death, hardship and loss on multiple levels. Alas, all is not lost and the characters and garden find renewed life.

The show runs approximately 2 hours 10 minutes with one 15-minute intermission. Ticket prices vary by date and availability, and there are both matinee and evening performances on the weekends through May 28th.

https://www.denvercenter.org/shows/specific-series/Get?Id=4652359c-77e8-4812-9917-4b5dd5f9ffcf

Words by Tiffany Candelaria

Party Weekend Roundup | Cinco de Mayo & KY Derby

CENTRO MEXICAN KITCHEN | Cinco de Mayo

What - Cinco de Mayo Pig Roast: Slow-roasted in the caja china, the pork will be doled out in tacos and served alongside borracho beans and fresh grilled street corn. There will also be $5 Suerte Coins and other drink specials!

Where - 950 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO                         When - Friday, May 5, 11 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.

LOLA COASTAL MEXICAN | Picnic of the Pig

What - Annual Celebration of All Things Swine on Cinco de Mayo! Lola’s own Jamey Fader and Sharif Villa Cruz will collaborate with five of Denver’s most talented chefs on an a la carte menu that celebrates all things swine. Gross-A$$ Man Band will perform live from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. and Sixty Minute Men will perform live from 9:00 - 11:00 p.m.

Where - 1575 Boulder Street, Denver, CO             When - Friday, May 5th, doors open at 2:00 p.m.

Illegal Pete’s | Cinco de Mayo

What - All day for happy hour pricing on margaritas and pacificos. May special offering “P.S. I Love You”, a Pacifico and a shot of Sauza Tequila for $5.

When - Friday, May 5th, open - 2am.                                                    Where – All locations

ViewHouse Ballpark | Cinco de Mayo

What - All Day Food & Drink Specials and Features with DJ & dancing all night.

When - Friday, May 5th, open - 2am.                             Where – Downtown Ballpark location.

The Lobby | Annual Derby Party

What – Free entry, lawn games in the Courtyard, killer food and drink specials and lots of chances to win cool stuff!

When – Saturday May 6th, 9am – 5pm.                                        Where - 2191 Arapahoe St.

ViewHouse Eatery | Kentucky Derby Party

What - It’s that time of the year to bust out those BIG hats, summer dresses & seersucker suits. Moses Jones Band will kick things off in the courtyard at 1:00pm. Live Derby Broadcast on the 200” outdoor LED TV & dozens of flat screens at 4:00pm with drink specials and contests all afternoon.

Where - 2015 Market St. Denver CO 80205                            When – Saturday 6th, 1pm – 2am.

The Real Dill | 5th Anniversary Party

What – Cocktail, cider & beer bars, food trucks, live music from The Raritans and 105% of proceeds will benefit The GrowHaus, a nonprofit indoor farm, marketplace, and educational center in Denver.

Where - The Real Dill 33 S Fox St Denver, CO 80223              When – Friday 5th from 5-10pm

The Big Wonderful | Kick-Off Weekend

What - Kicking off over Derby Weekend on May 5-7th, The Big Wonderful has a new location in Globeville and lots of exciting features for the summer. The Big Wonderful 2017 Derby Weekend has a slew of live bluegrass, including headliners Jeff Austin (Formerly of Yonder Mountain String Band) & Friends, The Drew Emmitt Band,  Andy Thorn & Friends, Rob Drabkin, and DeadPhish Orchestra. Saturday 6th, from 3-6pm is BEERFEST featuring over 20 craft breweries and distilleries pouring a handful of their finest flavors into commemorative BEERFEST sampling glasses. Each participating brewery and distillery will offer unlimited tastings of select brews, ciders and spirits, while Pickin' on Beatles (DeadPhish Orchestra) provides the live soundtrack.

"An American In Paris" | A Celebration of Art

The Broadway Theatre is here to dazzle Denver yet again with its multi-award winning musical, "An American In Paris" through Sunday, March 19th at Buell Theatre. The basic story under this title was first a book by Craig Lucas and became a Hollywood movie in 1951 starring Gene Kelly. The musical film was inspired by the 1928 orchestral composition "An American in Paris" by George and Ira Gershwin. The film won a number of Awards including Best Picture at the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. So if you can't make it out to the Denver Performing Arts Theatre in the next week, at least the film sounds like it does the story justice. 

The film was adapted to the stage in the 2000s and again adapted in 2014 and performed in Paris and then New York City's Broadway March of 2015. Thus, this is a new musical with a long past and a legendary soundtrack of unforgettable songs from Gershwin, that along with acclaimed director/choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, has earned it more awards than any other musical in the 2014-2015 season!

The story begins as an American soldier continues to encounter a mysterious French girl and an indomitable French city, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of World War II. The backdrops and projection were one of the first standouts as the musical began. They make the city come to life with projections of Paris being water colored right before our eyes, which plays into the introduction of the lead character Jerry Mulligan, the American soldier and artist who decides to remain in Paris after the war. As he pursues the French girl, he leans her name is Lise and she is a very talented, but sad, ballet dancer. In fact, both of the characters and actors are very talented ballet dancers and the play, as well as the story, both heavily revolve around ballet and dance.

We see some very intimate and intense dances, as well as some big Broadway, spectacular dance numbers complete with tuxedos and feathers. We also see a marvelously composed culminating performance that matches modern art with classical ballet, a performance worthy of awards in and of itself. We watch many interesting characters develop in the story as they try to pursue their dreams and find happiness in the post-war era. These dreams all revolve around some form of artistic pursuit and of course the pursuit of love. Some chase money, some chase fame, some yearn for their authenticity to shine while others choose to hide or put on appearances. While the main theme is the pursuit and celebration of art and its ability to bring joy, there's also an underlying look at gender roles and stereotypes, as well as doing what is right or expected versus following your heart.

When you see past all of the dancing, singing, and vibrant art on stage, you will see a poignant story about the trials and tribulations of figuring out how to pursue a happy and fulfilling life. It's no wonder this story continues to win the hearts of so many.

http://www.denvercenter.org/shows/specific-series/Get?Id=20d44ce2-4382-4b11-b7d9-ed33d6a8ab29

By Tiffany Candelaria  

DCPA's Motown The Musical!

Opening night of "Motown The Musical" hosted by the DCPA at Buell Theater was a delight for people of all ages to enjoy. We know a lot of people say that, but it's true. We were seated next to two older gentlemen getting a kick out of all the references to highlights of their own lives and seeing some of their favorite tunes come to life. Behind us, a girl no older than 10 wiggled around in her seat along with the dance numbers with a smile bigger than her mother’s seated next to her. It was everything we wanted in a musical and would recommend this one to everyone. Hurry over as the show only runs through Sunday the 19th before the magical "Circus 1903" takes the stage on February 21st!

The story of Berry Gordy, creator of Motown, begins in 1938 in Detroit where Gordy feels defeated by the music industry and not getting enough credit for the hits that he is writing. His solution? Start a recording company and compete to your best ability. Gordy ends up launching the careers of Motown legends Diana Ross and the Supremes, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and many more. This musical performs all of their hits arranged alongside their stories acted out onstage.

The show not only covers Gordy’s personal life, but the rise of the young Diana Ross and a very politically charged and racially divided past, specifically through Gordy and his artists' struggles in the music industry. An essential piece to making a story come to life is the characters and the actors that play them. So trust us when we say it came to life with this cast. Allison Semmes as Diana Ross, is a dream, and the whole cast was wonderful when it came to portraying the personas of Motown hotshots on the come up. Seeing characters like Marvin Gaye and Rick James come to life through hilarious mannerisms, angelic singing voices, funky dance moves, and great costumes was a wonderful way to spend a Wednesday night.

Diana Ross’s debut in the song “Reach Out And Touch” was an interactive piece where two audience members joined Semmes (Ross) in singing the song, while the crowd was asked to hold hands and sway. Definitely the cheesiest part, but after experiencing the whole thing, we all felt like a Motown family, haha! Grooving to songs like “Do You Love Me”, “My Girl”, and “Brick House” reminded everyone in the room of not only some of our favorite songs, but also the man behind them and the struggles he endured to make “black music” into popular music. This production also reminded us, as I’m sure it did many others, that our country is in a similar state of social and political disorder, but proved there are ways to remind folks of that while also bringing them together. And that's how Motown was born!

denvercenter.org   Review by Lina Skrzypczak

Winter Wine Festival | Celebrating Colorado's Other Craft

You may not think rolling fields of vineyards when you think of the Colorado landscape, but unbeknownst to most CO residents the precious grapes have been thriving here since before prohibition era. And this past Friday we paid tribute to our boozy grape enthusiast ancestors in true Two Parts fashion. From sweet rose to full and inviting red blends, the Winter Wine Festival covered all of our favorite grapes and was an eye opening introduction to Colorado's second favorite craft to harvest. 

This sold-out event took place in the newly remodeled McNichol’s Building and was spread over two levels. The first hour saw a line of young and old alike waiting out to the street, but once you made it inside the festivities began as you were greeted with a glass of Molly’s Spirits Cider. From there you went upstairs and began wine tasting!

With an open mind and an empty glass, we began to make the rounds to each station. There were of course a few favorites, a few we had to skip because of their long lines, and a couple of go-to tables. #UltraTip: Grab a cup of cider before taking on the long wine lines, they were quite tasty and came with a larger pour - definitely made the wine lines less begrudging to wait in. The ciders and wines were all Colorado-based as promised and showcased the variety of flavors our state can create, from deep reds, to Rose’s, to whites of all types. In fact, one of our favorite white wines wasn’t even made with grapes, but with our famous Palisade Peaches. A sweet treat!

With all that wine you do need/want food no matter how much you already ate for dinner. Luckily there were savory snacks and sweet treats to quell our cravings and without much of a wait, if any! We noshed on breads, cheeses, meats, chocolates, doughnuts and pie while we sipped wine and listened to Fresh Noise play live. 

Wine tasting is an intimate outing, normally accompanied with harrowing tales of the grapes and the winemaker's jigsawed vision of the libation. The long lines and beer festival setting made it a bit difficult to get a clear understanding of the wine or a taste of all their different grapes. But what the festival did accomplish is a broad and captivating view into the expansive wine of Colorado. We had no idea what was being grown on the outskirts of our four-cornered state. We cannot wait to school our dates this Valentine's Day with our newly garnered wine knowledge. 

Cheers to Colorado! A state dedicated to transforming their inhabitant's drinking habits into bonafide hobbies!

Winter Wine Festival Feb 10th

Twenty Colorado wineries will gather for the second annual Winter Wine Festival this February 10th from 6-9pm at The McNichols Civic Center Building. The Festival pairs wine tastings and gourmet bites with local vendors and great music for an approachable and delicious night. Event Company Two Parts has gathered a wide range of Colorado's best wines for the Festival so guests can try everything from big, bold reds to crisp, dry whites and all that's in between! And staff from the wineries will be available to tell you all about their vineyards, grapes, wines, and can even sell you a bottle to take home right then and there.

Tickets are on sale for $50 and includes unlimited pours, small bites, wine tote and commemorative glass. Last year’s event sold out, but this year's location at the McNichols Civic Center Building will provide more room for attendees and vendors, about 700 tickets are available this year! Ticket sales benefit the Colorado Association of Viticulture and Enology (CAVE), Colorado’s only trade non-profit that supports the wine and grape growing industry. This event is also sponsored by the Grand Junction Visitors Bureau, to support wine tourism in Colorado. It's always more rewarding to drink to a good cause, so don't miss out this year on all the great wines, bites, music and fun. 

Fresh Noise, a funky, jazzy collaboration between vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Joseph Lamar and keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Mikey Smith will be performing during the festival. The local restaurants and vendors will be announced as the event gets closer. The Colorado wine scene is growing and this event is a great way to sample everything that Colorado has to offer and grow your own repertoire on the fancy grape drink. Cheers~

Allis Ranch Winery
Augustina's Winery
Avanti Winery
Balistreri Vineyards
Bijou Creek Winery
Black Arts Cellars
Black Forest Meadery
Bookcliff Vineyards
Byerscellars Wines
C Squared Ciders
Carlson Vineyards
Catriona Cellars
Climb Hard Cider
Colorado Cellars/Rocky Mountain Vineyards
Colorado Cider Company
Cottonwood Cellars/The Olathe Winery
Creekside Cellars
DeBeque Canyon Winery
Decadent Saint Winery

https://www.twoparts.com/event/winter-wine-festival-2017/

DCPA's "A Christmas Carol" | A Classic for All Ages

The holiday season is here, the time of year where we celebrate with friends and family, drink champagne and eggnog, and see the city covered in twinkly lights! There are so many delightful things about the holidays, which for some include listening to Christmas music, watching holiday movies, or seeing “The Nutcracker” or “A Christmas Carol” performed for the twentieth time. In fact, this is the 24th season for Charles Dickens’ famous story “A Christmas Carol” at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) Theater Company, that was first published December of 1843. It has managed to really stand the test of time thanks to the Theater Company’s diligent work and because the story’s themes still ring true to both children and adults today.

Over the years the DCPA production has gone through many changes, some big like venue spaces, sets, and script, and many small changes to keep the audience interested and entertained, and they do a great job (watch out for that trap door!). This year marks a couple of noteworthy changes with a new director, Melissa Anderson and a new main actor as Scrooge. Sam Gregory now plays Scrooge after having played six other roles in this production and is 26 years younger than the past years’ Scrooge. This younger Scrooge brings new life into the character and the story’s message can live longer through Scrooge now that he is younger when he learns his lessons. However, despite age, Gregory says, “We want to focus on the fact that this is a really incredible play about redemption and how anyone can be redeemed and can change at any age into a better human being.”

Gregory does a great job in his new role portraying the grumpy, greedy businessman and then slowly shows the audience signs his cold heart is melting as the Ghosts of Christmases past take Scrooge moment by moment through events of his life. By the time the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge his likely future, Scrooge/Gregory has displayed a whole array of emotions on stage. By Christmas morning (spoiler alert) Scrooge is a changed man and he sets out to change the lives of his fellow townspeople for the better as well! Gregory is a dynamic actor who, alongside a fantastic cast of characters dressed in exquisitely crafted classic costumes, makes this show a worthy tradition of Christmases past and Christmases yet to come.

“A Christmas Carol” plays through December 24th at the DCPA’s Stage Theater with multiple show times and is great for all ages. There are a few startling parts, and ghosts, so if you’re bringing young children I don’t recommend sitting too close to the stage. . . you’ll see!

By Charles Dickens. Adapted by Richard Hellesen. Music by David de Berry. Directed by Melissa Anderson. Runs approximately 2 hours, plus a 15 min intermission.

https://www.denvercenter.org/shows/specific-series/Get?Id=de96942d-2f07-401c-8622-ad726f693b4f

Reviewed by Tiffany Candelaria

Our Buddies Breckenridge Brewery are Back at Ultraween 6!

Our good friends over at Breckenridge Brewery are once again the official booze sponsor of our annual Ultraween Halloween Party and we are so stoked to have them on tap again!

Ultra5280 and Breckenridge Brewery have had a long history of working together and share a passion for the Denver music, beer and event scene. Ryan Workman, Brand Manager for Breck Brewery explains, “We have always been involved in the Ultraween event from the beginning six years ago. Breckenridge Brewery brews balanced, sessionable beers that are perfect for the Colorado lifestyle. Ultra5280’s whole mission is to cover that awesome lifestyle we all get to live in, so it has always seemed like a perfect fit for us. We’re so happy to see the event grow to become one of Denver’s most sought out Halloween Parties!”

Ultraween6 will be held this Saturday Oct 29th at the historical and possibly haunted by now, Aztlan Theater on Santa Fe Blvd in Denver. This year we have two large local acts performing live and a DJ playing the party hits. (Ticket link at bottom). Breckenridge Brewery will be having a party of their own the following Saturday Nov 5th to kick off ski season!! Their "Opening Day Party" will celebrate with live music, games, art, free snowboard and ski waxing, and your chance to win the first limited-edition "Artist Series" snowboard of 2016! Don't miss this free event at Punch Bowl Social on S. Broadway from 6-10pm.

Breckenridge Brewery was founded in 1990 in Breckenridge, Colorado. In the past two decades they have grown from a small 3,000-barrels-a-year brewpub to one of the most successful craft beer and restaurant companies in the nation. It now handcrafts more than 62,000 barrels of fresh beer annually and owns and operates six brewpubs and ale houses in the state of Colorado.

Back in the early days, however, we very quickly found that there was more demand for craft beer than we could possibly make in that location. In 1992, they opened a second brewpub in downtown Denver. As luck would have it, in 1995, the Colorado Rockies built their stadium across the street. As much as they enjoyed that home, they inevitably outgrew it, and in 1996 moved production to 471 Kalamath Street several miles away. The Kalamath location served them well for 19 years, but as they approached 60,000 barrels a year they began to run out of space for any more expansions. President Todd and team once again searched for the right home that would accommodate their growing family. They found it in a 12-acre stretch of land in Littleton, Colorado and held their grand opening at last summer’s Hootenanny.

Terry L. Usry, Communications Director states that after 26 years, the focus is still on creating well-balanced, approachable, and interesting beers while also creating memorable visitor experiences. Their farm-inspired campus on Brewery Lane features a new 100-barrel brew house, barrel-aging room, all new packaging, dedicated tour staff, and the Farm House restaurant. “The Farm House is so much more than a tasting room. The wraparound porch and spacious beer garden offer multiple areas to convene, relax, and take in views of the majestic Rocky Mountains. Enjoy a comfortable dining atmosphere indoors or a leisurely, communal experience outdoors around fire pits, playing bocce ball, or challenging friends to corn hole. There’s also a 90-minute guided brewery/sampling tours are offered five days a week,” explains Usry.

What makes Breckenridge Brewery so successful and special you ask? Usry says it’s the many people who’ve been with Breckenridge Brewery for so long. “We have folks in the brew house, the restaurants, marketing, and the admin offices that have been with us for 20+ years. Over the years, we’ve grown as a business and as a family. What makes it special here is the pride in our product, the pride in our company, and the culture that we’ve fostered. It’s not just the ‘old-timers’ who’ve shaped it, either. All of our employees contribute to our success by embracing our mantra to offer a comfortable and welcoming place to hang out and enjoy well-balanced, approachable, interesting beers.”

In addition to their dedication and pride in their craft and their customers, they’re always pushing boundaries and dreaming up new and delicious beer. Their two locations, in Breckenridge and Littleton, are destinations for locals and out-of-towners. They now send beer to thirty-five states and continue to create new and exciting batches such as seasonals, barrel-aged beers, the new Brewery Lane Series, and a newly announced nitrogen-charged canned series. Breckenridge Brewery’s special seasonal crafts are especially popular, particularly the Autumn Ale in fall and the Christmas Ale. Also, their new Nitro Series includes seasonals as well, the first of which was just released, Nitro Pumpkin Spice Latte, with the winter nitro seasonal right around the corner!

Nitro Vanilla Porter –  year round - http://www.breckbrew.com/beers/nitro-vanilla-porter

Nitro Lucky U IPA – year round - http://www.breckbrew.com/beers/nitro-lucky-u-ipa

Nitro Pumpkin Spice Latte – fall Nitro seasonal -   http://www.breckbrew.com/beers/nitro-series-seasonal-pumpkin-spice-latte

Another special series this year is their Brewery Lane Series. The Brewery Lane Series is named after their new location on Brewery Lane in Littleton and aims at capturing the essence of the new brewery – big, bold, and adventurous.

After 26 glorious years of creating craft beers, their top selling are the Avalanche Ale, Vanilla Porter, Agave Wheat, Mango Mosaic, 471 Double IPA, and seasonals like Autumn Ale and Christmas Ale. Ultraween will be serving up a few of the favorites both on draft and by the bottle. Can't wait to see you all there, and btw discount tickets can be purchased today only at Illegal Pete's on S Broadway from 4-8pm!!

Diverse Crowd & Music Made for a Magical Jazz Aspen Snowmass Experience

The first day of the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Experience this past Friday started off rainy with clouds covering the surrounding mountain tops. The JAS Experience didn’t open untill five Friday so we hoped it would clear up and warm up a little by then. At five pm we got to one of the parking lots where shuttles were running back and forth continuously bringing people to and eventually from the festival grounds. The clouds had cleared and the site itself wasn’t too crowded even though the first artist stated in an hour. Friday kicked off with Andy Grammer and Train and was Ultra5280’s very first taste of the JAS Experience.

Some of the people I hung out with all weekend were longtime residents and had seen many a JAS, which meant they knew the layout and where to park and all those helpful things. We came prepared each day with lots of layers of clothing, empty water bottles to fill, sunscreen, a blanket to sit on before the site really fills up, and money for food and drinks. There was a good variety of vendors, I only tried a couple, and Bar tents with Patron cocktails, beer, wine and hard cider. Prices were decent at $6 for beer and cider, but the Patron cocktails were small, full of ice, and $11.

What was nice, was the back area of JAS on the other side of the street that offered a respite from the crowds and lines in the main stage area. This back lot was created for patrons to take a break or eat food from the various vendors (this was the only area selling food) at the long picnic tables or to enjoy your drinks from the large, shaded Patron Bar at small high tops set up in the grass. Even better was you could still hear the music from the main stage and could also see it being played on two large TVs. At the far end of this back lot was a second stage created for talented, yet generally unknown bands to play the “Outside Music Lounge”. This stage offered a steady rotation between the big acts on the main stage and introduced us to some different sounds. One such sound was an Americana band, half Nashville, half New York based JD and the Straight Shot complete with three guitarists and a violin/fiddle (I learned it’s the same instrument but the name depends on the genre being played).

There was one more JAS area to explore, however this area was for the big spenders, the VIP section. Not surprising for this type of music festival, the VIP section spanned the entire left side of the main stage lot, it was huge. Luckily I was with some Patrons who had VIP tickets and they told me all about it each night! As was clear to see from the GA section, there was a long tent lining the entire left side full of food and open bars with linen tables and flower arrangements. Outside of the color-lit tents were more of these elegant tables, some sponsored lounge tents, servers hand passing hors d'oeuvres, heat lamps and those fancy trailer portable potties. Oh to live that VIP life. . . or even just knowing someone who was living it is great (they brought me free drinks)! Thanks to red wine, my puffy jacket and the masses of people around me, I stayed cozy and content through the headlining acts despite my Phoenix roots. It gets cold up in the Rocky Mountains when the sun dips below the tips, especially as signs of Fall have already started up there.

I’m not going to describe all of the individual shows, but rather the diverse lineup we saw, and this was not only between the bands, but also within their set lists of songs! We got to hear so many amazing covers of classic hits over the course of the weekend, every headliner played at least one. Train started things off Friday night with the words, “Dearly beloved, We are gathered here today to get through this thing called life…” When a band opens with a line like that you know you’re in for a ride. They played all the songs we know from the band including ones we didn’t realize are their songs. And holy cow can they play the hits! Not just their own hits, but Classic hits like “Hotel California”, “Under Pressure” and their opener, Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” starting the party of a show. Train held onto the crowd’s attention and captivated us through to the epic end when they belted out “Ground Control to Major Tom”. Wow. Train really took us on a memorable ride that I recommend you take some time.

Saturday’s headliner was the experience I had been looking forward to for months, when I first caught wind that The Killers would play JAS. They haven’t made a new album since 2012, which I’m guess is just one of the reasons The Killers only play occasionally at big shows and festivals now days. I’m pretty sure another is because their music demands a big venue with a large sound system because their sound is so large and their songs are anthems the whole crowd belts out and that make girls’ hearts melt. Especially when Brandon Flowers sung to us Saturday, “I can’t help, falling in love with you” in that Elvis impersonation no less, swoon.

Stevie Wonder was the man most of the Aspen area locals had come to see, being that he is one of the most critically and commercially successful musical performers of the late 20th century. I heard this show was nearly a decade in the making and he was paid top dollar to headline JAS. It was clearly a good choice as Sunday’s tickets sold out and brought in roughly 95,000 people. He came on around 8pm and sang and played the piano while grooving to his sound as he’s known to do. He played crowd favorites like “Superstition”, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”, and “You are the Sunshine of My Life”. After about thirty minutes he had his opener Corinne Ray Bailey come on stage and sing with him. She was in disbelief when he asked her to sing “My Cherie Amour” for him while he played piano, but her voice was stellar. After a couple of duo songs in that fashion, Stevie Wonder turned into a DJ with a stage name I couldn’t really hear but all of the hits we knew. He played oldies like The Beatles and The Temptations, to newer hits like Whitney Houston and MJ’s “Pretty Young Thing”. For the next forty minutes JAS was a giant sing-along, dance party led by Stevie Wonder!!

Our night was complete, heck our whole weekend, maybe even whole month was complete after the incredible music we had heard and performances we’d seen. What made JAS even better in my opinion was at the end of each night you could hop on a shuttle and go to sleep in a warm, soft bed instead of staying in a tent on the ground where you had just partied all day, surrounded by the thousands of people who’ve been surrounding you since the start. At JAS, each day you and those around you were refreshed and renewed (hopefully) for another magical day of music in the mountains.

Words & Photos by Tiffany Candelaria

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