Category Archives: 2015

Are Glue Guns Legal?

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Photo by Tom Hofmeist

           The 11th Annual Paper Fashion Show was a fabulous debut for Denver’s one and only, one-of-a-kind, spring fashion review. Don’t go looking for linen, poplin, silk or satin. This show is where one finds the hip, authentically underground fashionistas, designers and artists who believe in paper. Each year their talents make Denver a force to be noted.  There’s more than one fashion show in Denver but nothing says chic, Art, original design or high fashion like the Paper Fashion Show.

This year, it was held at the Bindery on Blake Street in lower downtown. It coincided with the first Rockies game and it could have been a nightmare. As fashion folk were coming in, baseball fans were leaving downtown in droves. What we suffer for fashion!

Inside, the bare brick walls and polished concrete floors looked hip & modern.  The large dock doors were opened to the site of the nearby RiNo railroad tracks. Once inside I followed a trail of six-inch stilettos to my seat.

From high couturier elegant dresses to dragon wings and angel IMG_4329wings, e v e r y t h i n g was made of paper. There’s always one or two creations that are so unbelievable you want to take them home and wear. Then there’s always a few that are so off the wall, you just want them to hang on your living room wall.

I’m mad about this event, and every year I leave impressed and bewildered at the improbable yet impeccable clothe’s designs trotting down the runway. It’s hard to believe every shred of the outfits are made of paper. It is mindful. It’s something to see. It is truly one of the most creative events anywhere.

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Probably not one tree in this creation.IMG_4393

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4th Place, Coeur De Cristal, Team Chapparral Fashion Club, Swatch – YUPO Synthetic

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Award: That’s Made of Paper? Team, Flying Pigs, Swatch FiberMark Suedetex

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DAVA’s Choice – Victorian SteamPunk, After the Apocalypse, Team, Triple J Design, Swatch, French Paper Speckletone

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1st Place – Valkyrie – Team – SLYNN, made of Neenah Classic Linen

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3rd Place – Falcon Fancy – Team, Da Ream Team, Made of Mohawk VIA

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2nd Place – Arachnophobia, Team – Carlos Valles, made of Neenah Classic Lai2_Arachnophobia_CarlosVallesd

Andy Warhol RePOPulates

There’s never a dull moment at the Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities.

January kicked off the rePOPulated: Contemporary perspectives on pop art, featuring solo shows by Phil Bender & Sean O’Meallie. Other participating POP artists include Tony Ortega, Louis Recchia, Floyd D. Tunson, Margaret Kasahara.

“Art in America,” by Louis Recchia

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To add ‘original pop art’ to the list of artists, the Center successfully procured original pop art from the CU Art Museum. This addition gives visitors a sprinkling of art by the pioneers of POP: Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Edward Ruscha, Wayne Thiebaud and Andy Warhol.

“Hello Dali,” by Evan ColbertIMG_3746

Walking through the galleries gave me goose bumps. There it was. Pop art 2014-2015, by our artists.  The influence was there. The visual experience had all the essential elements to wow you, whether it was created fifty years ago or months ago.

“Thank You for Your Business,” by Mark Penner-HowellIMG_3735

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Upstairs, the galleries featured the work of Phil Bender and Sean O’Meallie.  Phil and Sean, are well-known Colorado contemporary artists who brought together a combination of colorful whimsey and vintage symbolism.

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The Center was also showing the vintage stage production of “Harvey” by Mary Chase, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Denver native. The beloved author was born & raised in West Denver and was intrigued by the silly, social standards of the city in the 1940’s. Especially as she became more acquainted with central Denver and the Capitol Hill, Quality Hill areas where she lived and worked before her phenomenal success as a playwright.

I always wanted to see “Harvey” on stage and Arvada has created a  delightfully funny and chaotic stage romp with Elwood P. Dowd and his invisible friend Harvey. The audience had a great time with the timeless, clever, Chase dialogue as  Elwood, etc., turned Capitol Hill into an afternoon of drink induced misunderstandings and Keystone Cops frenzy.

There were references to Charley’s Bar, and the Fire House on 1st (Speer).  I left Arvada determined to find 1443 Gaylord Street, Elwood’s house, in my neighborhood. I looked, but found no large potted ferns on the veranda, no sign of Elwood P. Dowd, no sister, nor, was friend Harvey anywhere in sight.

 

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Charlie Burrell knows jazz and a thing or two

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Charles Burrell, Jr. left, Charlie Burrell on right. Photo taken at First Friday Jazz brunch, January, 2015. (Purnell Steen can be seen heading toward the piano for the brunch concert)

You’d think he’d write exclusively about playing the stand up bass or, jazz or, Denver Symphony Orchestra or, Five Points in the 1930-40’s.  He does. Yet Charlie gives that and more to his readers. What you won’t read is the typical WWII musician’s escapades on drugs, jail, or complaints about the situation.  Don’t be fooled though, he was not an unobservant slouch. This musician took it all in, like, it was better to avoid small town America if you’re a black man. He knew, if he were stopped, it was likely he would miss his gig. It wasn’t easy for a black man to get out of jail in those days for just driving through rural America or, East Denver for that matter. Despite a less than perfect childhood, Charlie Burrell went on to share the stage with Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Count Bassie, Charlie Parker, Lionel Hampton.

His book, The Life of Charlie Burrell, Breaking the Color Barrier in Classical Music, is testimony to a fine man and true artist. The book proves without a doubt that Charlie Burrell is a gentleman, a hero, a kind educated man, a talented musician, the no-bull-shit-don’t-you-mess-with-me-or-my-friends-you m-f, kind-of-guy.  Born into the ghettos of Detroit, Charlie Burrell, in my opinion, is in every sense of the word – a hero and a legend.

Burrell had the passion and where-with-all to learn everything he could learn about classical music & instruments, rifts, rhythms, tone, style & music etiquette while dragging a huge-ass instrument all over the world. His set-backs and struggles, he made them interesting. Still, he overcame more than you or I could imagine. Once you read the book, you will wonder as I did. ‘Would I have done what Charlie did for his art?’

At 12 yrs old, Charlie took the only instrument that was offered to him in his school, the huge stand up bass. It became the love his life, his lone mistress, his joy and his road to a well-respected career at the Denver Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and jazz joints around the world.

There’s genuine depth and intellect woven through the book and, there’s much to know about Charlie Burrell, inside & outside.  Not only about his music, memories and anecdotes but about perseverance and pride in giving of oneself.  His niece, Grammy Award winner Dianne Reeves and nephew Purnell Steen (jazz pianist) have much to say about Uncle Charlie. He recognized their talent and encouraged them with the love and knowledge of music and his well-honed skills in ‘becoming a person.’ You have to read the book to understand how this phrase was important in the making of Charlie Burrell.

Charlie Burrell received a Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award in Denver last week. I can not think of a more deserving person.

Rock on, Charlie Burrell.

The Life of Charlie Burrell, Breaking the Color Barrier in Classical Music, by Charlie Burrell and Mitch Handelsan, Foreward by Dianne Reeves. #CharlieBurrell

ISBN: 1502896451

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