Archive for the ‘art’ Category

Remember City Spirit? I do.

Monday, January 19th, 2009

— by Tracy Weil, weilworks.com

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In 1988 I graduated from Fort Lewis College in Durango and headed to Denver to try and find a job in the “big city.” Not really ready to start working a regular day job, I happened across an artful place called City Spirit Cafe. I dropped in and fell in love with the vibrant pink walls and playful tile mosaics covering the entire restaurant. I asked if they were hiring wait staff and sure enough they were. This is where I met owners Mickey and Susan.

The cafe was the brain child of local developer Mickey Zeppelin and artist Susan Wick. They opened the award winning cafe & bookstore in 1985 in the up and coming area called LoDo. They also enlisted Michael Fagen to help put together the fabulous Art & Architecture bookstore in the basement of this new venture. City Spirit Cafe served health conscious fare as well as sinful desserts. After 9pm the cafe was the place to be, regularly hosting live musicians like Johnny Long, Lionel Young, Eagle Park Slim & Sympathy F as well as live local djs like DJ Knee.

As an artist I fit right in. This is where I got my start with my first exhibition in the Art Annex next door to the cafe. I waited tables for about 3 years, then started bartending and managing the restaurant. I also booked bands and moved into handling special events and PR for the thriving cafe.

As a community meeting place, City Spirit always hosted interesting things to bring people together; from talks, to seminars, to poetry readings to fashion shows there was always something going on.

Fashionhomemade

One of the most memorable fashion events was “Fashionhomemade,” the 5th annual show and one of the more wilder fashion extravaganzas. The fashion shows were always interesting and this small cafe drew over 1000 people this particular evening.

We took over Blake Street and the back alley, setting up tables for service and a runway right down the middle of the cafe. Le Menu consisted of fresh salads, Brie and roasted garlic, artichokes & the signature salsa and blue corn chips. Other tasty fare included; seafood lasagna & mussels, along with the deluxe tamale plate, Paella and Asian Lo Mein.

Another signature item was the famous and potent City Spirit La La. This “pre-cosmo” was a must have while sitting at the bar, limit of 4. I’ve included the recipe below for those nostalgics that would like to recreate it.

The fashion show started around 9:30pm and included lots of local designer talent including handmade knits and redo clothing by Susan Wick, vintage clothes from Soul Flower & designs made of astro-turf by Alicia Nowicki, Carol Mier sculptural fashions, uncommon & eclectic work by Mona Lucero, and S&M Housewife & tupperwear kink by now NYC designers Uzi (Jose Duran & David Ball). Other designers included Claire Inwood, Heidi Peterson, Shelly Schoeneshoefer, Cleo Ortize Couture, Colorado Institute of Art Students, Cydney Griggs, Chitahka Nsombie, Nur D’afrique, Gayla Coleman, Saohm Hattier & Jerry Whitehead. After the show patrons were invited downstairs to browse and buy all the creative wears in the show and the event ended with dancing at 11pm with music by dj Afro-dytee.

The café was also a great place to meet famous musicians all looking for a heathly place to eat on the road. Over my 10 years at the café I met or crossed paths with Beck, Allison Morissette, Boy George, Lauryn Hill, Digable Planets,The Fugees, Tool, Lenny Kravitz and The Brand New Heavys. The Smashing Pumpkins even made a special unplugged appearance one night after their concert in town.

What a place! City Spirit will always have a special place in my heart; here I learned what community was all about. We’d love to hear your memories of the café please post below.

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City Spirit Café La La: Sold for $4 (limit 4)
1 ½ oz. Absolut Vodka
3 oz. Knudsen’s Cranberry Juice
Splash of Cointreau
Splash of Rose’s Lime Juice or fresh lime juice
Serve chilled in a martini glass with a Twist of Lemon

City Spirit was located at 1434 Blake Street. All the tile-work was torn out but remnants of the space, including parts of the bar, can still be seen at Taxi in RiNo.

Building the Big Blue Bear

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008
http://buckfifty.org/video/big_blue_bear.flv

The “Big Blue Bear”, installed on 14th street in front of the Colorado Convention Center, has become a fixture in downtown Denver. Officially titled “I See What You Mean”, Lawrence Argent’s work offers a playful perspective on public art. This video shows the installation of the work.

Video produced by Just Media and provided courtesy of the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs.

Three Dimensional Man

Monday, December 15th, 2008
YouTube Preview Image

From the creative team at Eyeosaur, this is a segment of Fringe Art of the Front Range featuring artist and collector Jerry Simpson.

This segment is part of a larger film made with a grant from the Mayor’s Office of Art, Culture and Film for the Denver International Airport.

Kim Shively and Chris Bagley of Eyeosaur recently premiered their documentary “Wesley Willis’s Joyrides” at the Denver Film Festival.

thoughts on the retail economy, 2008

Thursday, December 11th, 2008
Store With Sign, by Bill Amundson

Store With Sign, by Bill Amundson

This holiday message brought to you by Bill Amundson. It’s called “Store With Sign,” and is part of his “Hard Times” series.

Bill’s 8th annual Holiday Drawing Sale is this weekend, December 12, 13, and 14, offering hundreds of drawings, many styles, many sizes, at recession holiday prices.

“I’ve got drawings starting at $30…and a lot are in bad taste…”

Email amundart@earthlink.net for information and directions.

Trucker’s Terminal Implosion, Part 2

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Walking past old buildings in Denver I hear whispered voices speaking all at once; trading cattle and dust, mourning lost babes and loves, planning a future for the irreverent, energetic young Denver.

Beside the voices ghost doors bang and creak. Ghost children pound muddy boots on stairs, pencil marks climb door jams like growth rings. Private, quiet, secret walls now share their scars where headboards rubbed, vanished staircases etch zigzag signatures on remnants of walls pocked with fist holes, peep holes, bullet holes.

The only completely silent building I knew was called the “Trucker’s Terminal.” It stood against Denver’s bright, windy sky – a pop-up rectangle that was its own tombstone. Quiet and pale, most folks didn’t even recognize it existed at all, until it didn’t… until its absence let a little more light onto Wazee Street for a few months… until the next monolith arose – a new baseball field was planned.

One Wednesday a demolition rig appeared. Belching and roaring it attacked The Terminal. With each huge swing of the wrecking ball a tiny chip of concrete fell onto the weed-webbed patch of pavement below. Rebar sprang from the wounds in silent, incomplete sentences.

To compensate, explosives were arranged and a celebration planned. History was to be made. At dawn, people filled fields and parking lots surrounding The Terminal. Tables went up. Silver coffee urns and trays of muffins kept the watchers busy for a time.

Late morning arrived and a rumor ringed the crowd, becoming truth; there would be no implosion that day. Refusing spectacle, The Terminal was choosing a more intimate passing.

The eventual destruction was attended by only a few small clusters of admirers. Afterward, as gigantic dust clouds rolled eastward in the implosion’s aftermath, watchers shouted, triumphant. The Terminal’s upper half stood intact, defiant, silent.

– Sharon Feder, sfeder.com

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