Tag Archives: Helen Thorpe

EPIC Gala at RedLine

Redline Gallery/Art Center/Cultural Center is all of that and more. There’s a community going on there. It’s where artists (professional, students, the homeless) meet and do what comes naturally to them, create their art. The space is open and inviting with wonderful, contemporary and oftentimes edgy art. Always spectacular pieces that evoke wonder, discussion, beauty, curiosity and contemplative thoughts about the world of art.

It opened in 2008, as more than a simple art gallery. Laura Merage, artist, is the founder of RedLine.  The non-profit contemporary art oasis contributes and supports Denver art education within an inspired center for artists and art lovers alike. Last Thursday night the celebration was focused on Laura Merage and her supporters such as Vicki & Harry Sterling, Mickey Zeppelin, Mary Louise Lee, Patricia Barela Rivera, Ed Romero, Vivian Le Courtois, Helen Thorpe, Theresa Anderson, Dillon Scholinski, Kelly Carswell, Bill Havu, Jayne Buck, Greg Carpenter, Afsy Levy, Joanne Davidson, Justin Beard, Julie Lizak.

This night RedLine was transformed into a wonderland of colors, shapes, shadows, light shows, drinks and food. The crowd was so happy to be together it took several pleas for everyone to sit at their tables ‘so the program could get underway.’ No one paid much attention. It was too much fun talking and sharing their input for Laura Merage and her dedicated, driving force behind RedLine. Her simple mission of improving the world has been met.

Located in Five Points, RedLine is an innovative, mixed-use arts space that combines an artist residency program with project-based community engagement in the arts. 

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“Just Like Us” – Compelling Story on Stage

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Helen Thorpe and DCPA John Moore at the Tattered Cover Bookstore, Lodo, September 2013.

 I had the good fortune of being at the Tattered Cover bookstore in September for The John Moore Theater Talk. He had invited Helen Thorpe, author of the book,  Just Like Us, and Karen Zacarias who turned the book into the play, Just Like Us, that is playing at the Stage Theatre at the DCPA as I write.

Thorpe is an accomplished writer (and still the wife of Governor John Hickenlooper). Her endearing journalistic journey took her down a long and interesting road. She spent years documenting the lives of four Denver Latina women who were best friends. She befriended them while they were in high school and continued knowing and observing them through the college years. That in itself was an amazing journalistic feat.

What grips the audience and gringos in the audience is the fact that there is a social status among people of Mexican heritage who live in America. The dividing line is who is legal and who is not. I may have known that, but in this context, no.

Of the four women chronicled, two had papers, two did not. Just Like Us is the story of how that particular status impacts a life, a future, education, career and ultimately the well-being of the off-spring.

Regardless of one’s stand on immigration, this is a story that should be told and heard.  It is real. It is beyond many American’s radar or understanding. And while it publicizes the dire state of living as an illegal in the United States, it is also heartbreaking to know that children are the true victims of the immigration system. The story is an eye-opener about the perils of life without papers.

Just Like Us is potent entertainment. The four women are excellent actors who portray the Denver characters with youthful enthusiasm and skill.  Karen Zacarias did a marvelous job of bringing the book to the stage. Mary Bacon, was Helen Thorpe. She portrayed her with the class and kindness that is emblematic of the First Lady of Colorado.

Helen Thorpe has brought to life a remarkable story that is both  powerful and important. It is this season’s must see.

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