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.


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.


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. 


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.


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 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

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.

Words by Tiffany Candelaria

"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.

By Tiffany Candelaria  

Circus 1903 | The Greatest Show on Earth

What a spectacular show we saw last night at Denver’s Buell Theater! “Circus 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus” thrilled us with its amazing performances, death-defying feats, extraordinary puppet elephants and comical ringleader. We were on the edge of our seats for nearly every act, along with all the kiddos in attendance. So yes, we think this is likely the greatest circus show on Earth right now!

This Broadway play isn’t exactly a play, but rather a re-creation of the vintage-era Circus, showcasing all of the hard work, diverse personalities, odd talents, glitz, danger, and showmanship that the Circus was known for in its heyday.  The show pairs producers of the world’s largest magic show, “The Illusionists” with the award winning puppeteers from “War Horse”, and an incredible cast of people who are top notch performers from all four corners of the world. During the show I wasn’t sure if the ringleader was just saying these performers were from Italy, Germany, France, etc. because it would heighten the thrill, but reading the program after the show these performers are by no means pretending, not even the ringleader. They are all bona fide award-winning performers of their craft from across the globe. A few of the performers have been in Cirque du Soleil, most have been on TV, and nearly all have won numerous awards for their talents. This show and its performances are the real deal and we still can’t believe the incredible things we saw! We also can’t imagine what casting must have been like, but it’s always the best of the best to make it on Broadway and we were truly blown away.

To give you an idea of what you’ll see, and we absolutely encourage you to go see this show, is a blend of comedy, puppetry, and a slew of incredible, unique, death defying performances. The show is nonstop entertainment and had us laughing so hard we had tears at times, holding our breath and looking away for moments, and frequently clapping and shouting at the top of our lungs to show our amazement. As the ringleader reminded us, “A lifetime of dedication goes into these performances that last a few fleeting moments under the big top.” These people are literally risking their lives in front of our eyes, so the least we can do is support them in the craft they’ve pursued. From various acrobatic acts, to out of control contortionists, to aerialists, jugglers, cycling tricks, highwire acts and puppetry, you’ll see it all at “Circus 1903” except clowns, which is fine by us.

The show itself runs two hours with a 20-minute intermission to catch our breath and get some popcorn. Curtain times are 7:30pm Thursday – Sunday with 2pm weekend matinees. Family Four Packs for $99 are available in Level 2 and 3 for all evening performances with promo code SAVE. You can also save 50% on Level 2 seats with promo code CIRCUS17THX.

Review by Tiffany Candelaria | Photos by Mark Turner Images

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!   Review by Lina Skrzypczak

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.

Reviewed by Tiffany Candelaria

"SantaLand Diaries" | A Snarky Holiday Show

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) has a whole slew of shows lined up over the holidays, from Christmas favorites we've known since childhood to very nontraditional shows, and stories you have to see to believe! This December's performances include "A Christmas Carol", "An Act of God", "Finding Neverland", "Hedwig and the Angry Itch", "Rudolf" and "SantaLand Diaries".

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"SantaLand Diaries" is one performance that is difficult to categorize. While the story itself revolves completely around the Christmas holiday, it doesn't quite fit into the cheery and warm Christmas themes because of it's nontraditional, super snarky, offbeat and angsty tone. And that's exactly how the story's main character Crumpet the Elf feels during his time working in SantaLand. The story is based on a job satirical writer David Sedaris took on one winter in a desperate attempt to make some extra money over the holidays.

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This is a one man show is played by Michael Bouchard, who has received multiple honors for his acting here in Denver, and chronicles Sedaris' season as a Macy's Elf in all of it's cringe worthy, agonizing, hilarious glory. He goes from a respectable looking man in the opening scene to a humiliated Elf in fluffy polyester from head to toe, that must go through interviews, tests and training just to get the un-glamorous position. Once elf-ed, his roles vary between getting everyone from families to unexpecting foreigners into line to see Santa, guiding guests along and keeping them entertained once in line, acting as right hand man to Santa filling him in on the child's name about to enter, that half the time Santa is too old to hear correctly, and cleaning up messes and the frequent vomit that happens with kids' excitement or fear that overcomes them when they finally meet Mr. Santa man himself.

Audience members get a good glimpse of how the Holidays can drive people to do crazy things and the capitalism surrounding it all. In the end though, Crumpet learns some valuable lessons about people, life, love and all that warm, fuzzy Christmas stuff this show leaves out until the very last scene. And that's what makes it an awesome alternative to the typical Holiday stories. 

Off-Center Theatre Company
The Jones Theatre
1101 13th St.
Denver, CO 80204
(303) 893-4000

Star Wars And The Power of Costume Exhibit At The Denver Arts Museum Impresses In Many Ways

The Force is wide awake in Denver and will be until April 2, 2017. The Denver Art Museum is currently playing host to amazing exhibit Star Wars and The Power of Costume. The exhibition will give DAM visitors a look behind the scenes into the fantasy, marvel and delight of bringing characters in the Star Wars universe to life through a dramatic presentation of original costumes. Star Wars and the Power of Costume will closely examine the captivating process of costume conception and design for iconic outfits, from Princess Leia’s unforgettable bikini to Darth Vader’s imposing black uniform, featured in all seven films of the Star Wars series. We had a chance to check out the exhibit during press day earlier this week and were captivated by the extraordinary detail and craftsmanship each and every costume goes through. From the conceptual sketches to the costumes being brought to life. 

“The creative process behind crafting the world of Star Wars is part of a pop-culture phenomenon that we are thrilled to bring to the Rocky Mountain region,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. “A vivid exhibition display and behind-the-scenes look will delight creatives, designers and die- hard fans alike.”

The challenges and triumphs of bringing characters and their believable worlds to life will be revealed through thematic exhibition sections, including Jedi vs. Sith and the Galactic Senate.

More than 60 hand-crafted costumes from all seven blockbuster Star Wars films will uncover the connection between character and costume. Star Wars and the Power of Costume also will explore the imagination and artistry of the world’s most recognized cinematic costumes, taking a closer look at the iconic villain Darth Vader, Wookiee Chewbacca, X-Wing pilots and DroidsTM, including C-3PO and R2-D2.

“So many of us have warm memories and a fascination associated with the Star Wars films, and it’s really the characters that maintain this longstanding connection,” said Stefania Van Dyke, interpretive specialist at the DAM. “Characters like Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker have become inseparably associated with their costumes, and our unique presentation will give a look at the inspiration and nuanced creative processes of designers and artisans.”

Visitors will be able to tap into fantasy, quality craftsmanship and character development through immersive experiences that include powerful Star Wars royalty, military and senate imagery, as well as behind-the-scenes videos and testimonials from artists, designers and actors.

Star Wars and the Power of Costume will be on view in the Anschutz and Martin and McCormick galleries on level two of the Hamilton Building. Individual tickets for this specially ticketed exhibition will go on sale on May 4, 2016. Tickets for groups of 10 or more are available now by emailing or calling 720-913-0088. The museum is now taking reservations for private gallery rentals and events, including holiday parties. Spaces book early, call for rates and more information. 

Photo Credits: Robert Castro

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 -

Nitro Lucky U IPA – year round -

Nitro Pumpkin Spice Latte – fall Nitro seasonal -

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



Concept art of Game of Thrones® Live Concert Experience

Enter the world of Westeros with the Game of Thrones® Live Concert Experience -- an immersive music and visual experience that will bring the Seven Kingdoms to life on a scale never seen before.  Using state-of-the-art technology, Game of Thrones® composer Ramin Djawadi, along with a full orchestra and choir, will take fans on a musical journey through the realm - from King's Landing to Winterfell, along the northern stretches of the Kingsroad to The Wall and across the Narrow Sea to Braavos, Meereen and beyond.  Fans of the groundbreaking, critically-acclaimed and Emmy® Award-winning show will finally have an opportunity to immerse themselves in the Game of Thrones® universe through the breathtaking score created by Ramin Djawadi.

As rich as the stories, intrigue and world of Game of Thrones®, Ramin's celebrated music for the show resonated immediately with fans as the meticulously constructed songs underscored the emotional weight of key moments between beloved characters, lent scale to massive battle sequences or brought to life songs referenced in the books.  Ramin's relentlessly popular title track alone has become instantly recognizable as a pop culture phenomenon in its own right.  Fan enthusiasm for the music from Game of Thrones® continues to grow with each season.

The tour, produced and promoted exclusively by Live Nation inpartnership with HBO Global Licensing, will use innovative music tour production and video technology that will recreate the various realms found throughout Westeros and Essos as well as showcase footage from the show in addition to all new imagery created exclusively for the tour.  Beginning its journey on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Mo., the highly-anticipated tour will visit 28 cities across North America with shows scheduled at famed live music venues including Madison Square Garden in New York City and the Forum in Los Angeles as well as arenas in Montreal, Boston, Houston, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Washington DC and more. 

Tickets go on sale starting Saturday, August 13 at American Express® Card Members can purchase tickets before the general public beginning Wednesday, August 10 at 10:00 a.m. through Friday, August 12 at 10:00 p.m.   

Ramin Djawadi's previous credits include the Grammy® nominated score for Marvel's 2008 blockbuster, Iron Man.  Other film credits include Pacific RimClash Of The Titans and Warcraft.  In addition to Game Of Thrones®, Ramin also garnered Emmy® Award nominations for other television projects including Flash Forward (ABC) and Prison Break (FOX).  Among Ramin's upcoming projects is the highly anticipated HBO® series, Westworld.

Based on the bestselling fantasy book series by George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones® is an epic story of treachery and nobility set on the continent of Westeros, where summers and winters can last years, and only the lust for power is eternal.  The Emmy®- and Golden Globe Award-winning series has captured the imagination of fans globally, making it one of the most popular shows on television.

"For the past six seasons of Game of Thrones, I have been tremendously inspired to compose music to David Benioff's and D.B. Weiss' extraordinary adaption of George R.R. Martin's epic 'A Song of Fire and Ice' series," says Ramin Djawadi.  "Now, by combining the music with state of the art technology, we are going to bring the astonishing world of Westeros to fans in a live and unique concert experience."

"For seven years, Ramin has been blowing our mind with his music's force, subtlety, and endless inventiveness," said Game of Thrones® creators/executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.  "The GoT Concert Experience will be unique in the history of concert tours, an eye-popping, ear-splitting, phantasmagoric blend of the show's visuals and Ramin's powerful compositions.  We are more excited for it than anyone."

"Game of Thrones has one of the most engaged audiences in television," said Josh Goodstadt, Vice President, HBO Global Licensing.  "We can't wait to see fans and newcomers alike immerse themselves in Ramin's incredible music and the world of Westeros through this epic concert experience."

"Live Nation is honored to be partners with HBO and Ramin Djawadi in bringing fans of the hit series a spectacular live experience centered around the music of Game of Thrones and performed using cutting edge technology to create a show unlike anything seen before," says Omar Al-Joulani, SVP, North American Touring at Live Nation. 

Foodie Fest Delivered Big Eats with Small Lines

Ultra5280’s Lifestyle staff along with many other devout epicureans (it sold out) got their fill at EatDenver’s foodie fiesta, The Big Eat. It returned for its sixth year to the Denver Center Performing Arts Complex last Thursday with over 50 of Denver’s best restaurants, along with brews, wines, spirits and entertainment.

There were many tasty meat dishes, as one would expect in the Colorado culinary scene, but there was also a surprisingly large assortment of seafood as well. We saw ceviche, sushi, salted cod, a baguette and Lox topped with not capers, but caviar from Rosenberg's Bagels & Delicatessen, and Jax Fish House and Blue Island Oyster Bar were hot stops with their fresh oyster bar. In fact, it seemed about 40 percent of the entrées offered were seafood based, while the other 40 percent were red meat, 5 percent chicken, and 5 percent veggie. We eat all foods, so we enjoyed it all, but there was one vegetarian dish that I thought was as good as any of the other entrees. Vital Root, the newest addition to Cucci’s Edible Beats restaurants, showcased their sunflower seed risotto which was hearty yet fresh and crisp with snap peas, sautéed mushrooms, carrots, chive pesto and pecorino cheese. The texture, taste, and nutrition were all top notch in this dish.

There were a couple surprising standout dishes as well, mainly because of the restaurants who served them. For “most pleasantly surprising” was Appaloosa Grill, you know the place you walk by on the 16th street mall, sometimes stopping in for a cheap happy hour drinks? Well it turns out they make a mean lamb chop, and I mean it came perfectly cooked, topped with toasted nuts and a cherry, peppadew custard, Dijon mustard, all atop a bed of dressed greens. Looking at their website, it appears Appaloosa has a bunch of potentially delectable dishes and makes most with locally sourced ingredients on site! Next time we’ll have to go for cheap drinks and dinner.

Sweet treats were scattered throughout the event, but we’ll finish up this article with them as if that’s what we really did on Thursday. . . Snooze was there with a peach pancake, DBar with a berry and custard trifle, French toast with salted tequila caramel from El Camino, cherry shortcake from Sugarmill, La Loma with churros, and sticky bread from The Lobby. Happy Bakeshop had a full display of sweet treats for every palette and even allergy, such as gluten-free carrot (cup)cakes, French macarons, and Scotcheroos which are peanut butter rice crispy treats with chocolate butterscotch topping. Between the two of us we tried (aka devoured) them all.

The beverage and entertainment categories of the event did not disappoint either and were likewise scattered throughout. We saw La Pompe Jazz playing and some legit swing dancers and on the far end of the event we watched an amazing group of break dancers called Block 1750. We drank local brews such as Great Divide and Call to Arms, sampled wine from The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey, and drank some refreshing craft cocktails from Golden Moon Distillery and Woody Creek Distillers.

What made the event even better was how easy it was to navigate and the lack of lines! Most food/booze events we’ve attended are often so full of lines you don’t get a chance to try everything or even really enjoy what you are sampling because you’re standing in the next line or walking and talking while trying to chew. The Big Eat managed to keep waits to a minimum, even at the hottest restaurant stops and craft cocktail bars. Tables and seating were scarce, which made eating hard to do while juggling your glass and plate(s), but the overall vibe was relaxed and allowed guests to take their time without fear of missing any of the offerings. We feel that The Big Eat was very much worth the ticket price ($50) and was a fun and efficient way to say you’ve eaten at 50 of Denver’s best restaurants! We like to brag.

 Words by Tiffany Candelaria photos by McClain Morris

Lifestyle | The Dawn of Immersive, Experiential Theater in Denver

Ultra5280 was invited to a sneak peek, trial-run performance of the new “360-degree, multi-sensory experience” that is “Sweet & Lucky”. While this article will give you a much better idea than we had, there’s no way we could (or would) describe in words what the “Sweet & Lucky” experience truly was. For starters, everyone’s experience is different. . .

The fact that this immersive theater experience has made it to Denver is a compliment to us Coloradoans. It is a signal to the country that Denver has a palate the size of New York that longs to be satiated. With a bursting food, art and music scene paired with an attitude of possibilities, Denver has been making our tastes known. Zach Morris, co-creational director from the New York company, Third Rail Projects, joined his hometown of Denver to bring our city the experience we have been craving. "We're interested in presenting works in nontraditional contexts, in public spaces," says Morris, "Sweet & Lucky’s" lead director. "As traditional theater is to a novel, our work is to a poem."

Upon our arrival, rather than entering and mingling about in an ordinary lobby, we were instantly transported into the story through an antique store and old timey bar carefully crafted by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' props team. You mingle and explore the various rooms of the antique store until the "show" begins.

You then embark on this journey, literally you’re walking around, exploring all different scenes, environments, people, periods of time, spectrums of emotion, memories, etc. You’re led through a series of performances with a small group of other spectators that occasionally changes throughout, and it seems like they purposefully take you away from who you came with right from the start. At one point you’re completely alone in a scene with an actor, who speaks to you directly, and waits for you to reply. Honestly, it’s a bit nerve-racking. You never know what to expect or when you’ll be called on to step up and be a part of the scene, which definitely happens. The creators and actors are aware of the emotional response that must elicit in someone coming to an unfamiliar experiential show, who is then separated from the one familiar thing (person) they came with, and is led away into all these different scenes and situations.

As you are led from scene to scene, all of the other small groups are revolving around experiencing the same scenes, but in different orders. Thus, the order you see it in will surely alter your perception of the story. The performance is broken into bits and pieces and the viewers are supposed to fit it together to create a cohesive story. Another factor that makes the experience/story unique to each, is all of the props that you are invited to touch and hold; you will inevitably see and read things while other spectators are busy with other props. You will also hear and see slightly different things depending on how closely you’re paying attention, and feel different emotions depending on all of these factors, along with personal context you overlay. This makes for a truly unique storytelling experience. You are living the story, rather than being told or shown... and in that way you are also creating the story. So just as everyone’s version of any experience is unique to each, so too is the experience you have at “Sweet & Lucky”. And that seems to be the whole point.

At the end of the show, the entire audience is brought back into the large theater space where it began, and just as we all saw the same start to the story, we see the same ending. All that was in between are the fragmented and few memories of a long life lived, and the various tangible objects left behind. Just as in real life, our memories are scattered, subjective, and unique to each.

In an era where some of the most prestigious arts are struggling to bring in an audience, Denver Center for the Performing Arts has embarked on innovative avenues to draw in the Millennial generation. Their plan over the next couple years is to expand the use of the Center to include education, new structures and grassroots programming while also taking their audience from under the dome to completely transform their viewing experience. In a time where we are more likely to interact through technology, our generation is in need of these moments out of the ordinary. We are in need of human interaction and testing the boundaries, in a hands-on way. “Sweet & Lucky” gives this to us through an immersive experience where we become a part of the action, not only able to interact with the actors, but able to touch the props, create our own story lines, and feel that we were a crucial component in the storytelling process.

Sweet & Lucky runs May 17 - June 25. The show is for ages 21 and older, and an on-site bar opens 45 minutes before show time. Two performances June 1 and 8 are open to patrons 18 and older. You will be walking or standing for the duration of the show, and purses and backpacks are not permitted.

Tiffany Candelaria & Theresa Dixon