Chris's blog

Craft Services: Don't Get Caught With Your Paints Down

Example of Tracesea Slater's ebullient ceramic painting

The iconic imagery of Dia de los Muertos and the sugar skulls of Mexico are celebrated in our Craft Services workshop on oven-fired ceramic glazing.

Día de las Tazas – Day of the Mugs, Saturday, October 13

Almost Midnight: Camp, Cult SciFi Classics

Michael York, Farrah Fawcett and Jenny Agutter in Logan's Run

Our 10th Anniversary Film Series celebrates five Science Fiction gems. These films have a fan following and those elusive qualities that have moved them into cult status – suitable for a midnight film showing. Well, in our case, almost midnight. 

What is it about these films that draw us back to them again and again? Is it the built in self-effacing humor of these movies – that they seem to be in on the joke? Is it the absurdity of the plot lines, or the over-the-top sets and costumes? Is it the broad, scene-stealing acting? Could it be that underneath their flash there is also substance? We think the answer is yes, all of the above – but join us and our host, film screenwriter and film professor, Darren Foster as he takes us where no man has ever gone before – at least not with a straight face anyway.

Sing Out, Sister!

Peggy Lee recording a song, ca. 1945

Fresh City Life kicks off its Music Series for the fall with two amazing concerts. Entertainer and burlesque emcee Cora Vette hosts our first ever Pie Social. Then Marta Burton brings in a bevy of fantastic women singers for Wink!

First up, this Saturday, September 22:

Cora Vette's Pie Social: Come for the Pie, Stay for the Music!
Showtime 2 p.m.

Painting with Scissors: Matisse and the Papiers Coupes

"You see as I am obliged to remain often in bed because of the state of my health, I have made a little garden all around me where I can walk... There are leaves, fruits, a bird." -- Henry Matisse, writing about his paper cutouts

In 1941, Henri Matisse was diagnosed with cancer and underwent a risky surgery. He wrote letters to his family that were meant to be opened in the event of his death. Matisse was preparing to "shuffle off this mortal coil." 

Fresh City Life stops for Perpetual Motion

Perpetual Motion -- Josie Quick and Tom Carleno. Photo by John Moore

Sometimes it is worth it to stop and enjoy something on your journey, rather than to always be in perpetual motion. This past Saturday we got to do both. Denver locals Josie Quick and Tom Carleno brought Perpetual Motion to Fresh City Life.

Right off, I'll tell you that, if you missed this wonderful concert, we will be bringing Perpetual Motion back for an encore in the new year. They are fantastic!

This sought-after duo blends acoustic world music into a bright fusion of sounds. Mixing international styles, Perpetual Motion moves effortlessly between the traditions of Central and South American folk, progressive jazz, blues and rock. This eclectic approach to music informs their original compositions and cover tunes. 

Johnny Guitar: 10 Reasons to See This Film

Joan Crawford at the climax of Johnny Guitar

McCarthy-era symbolism, great landscapes, amazing TruColor costumes and sets, Joan Crawford's eyebrows -- this movie has something for everybody.

I saw Johnny Guitar about ten years ago and I liked it just fine then. Now it is one of my favorite films of the 1950s. Here's why:

10. Joan Crawford in a Western! WWJD -- What would Joan do? What wouldn't she do?

9. The landscapes, filmed in TruColor, are spectacular and somehow just a bit alien.

8. Johnny Guitar makes a great case against the blacklisting and witch hunts of the McCarthy Era.

Camping with the Stars: Joan Crawford's First Time at the Rodeo

Joan Crawford

Crawford puts down the wire hanger and picks up her six shooters in the Western film that has become a cult and auteur classic.

Toward the end of her life, Joan Crawford was asked to comment on the 1954 film Johnny Guitar. She answered that she thought she was wrong for the part and she wished she hadn't made the film. I'm glad she did -- and so are a lot of fans of Crawford and the Western genre. 

Go West, Judy, Go West!

At the height of her musical powers, Judy Garland brings a Broadway sensibility to the Wild, Wild West in The Harvey Girls.

The Harvey Girls is a Hollywood original, but it feels like a Broadway musical brought to the big screen.

This summer, I lost four bowling balls. And a half.

Eat to Live

The average bowling ball weighs 12-13 pounds. This summer, with the help of Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat To Live, I've lost 57 pounds -- or about four and half bowling balls.

Can you imagine carrying four bowling balls around with you all day -- from the moment you wake up until you get back into bed? I can and I did. I've still got a long way to go, but I'm celebrating those four bowling balls. And a half.

Do you erhu what I erhu?

The erhu is a two-stringed, bowed musical instrument, also called a spike fiddle. Erhoopla Variety Show makes amazing music with this rare instrument. Pop, jazz, American songbook and traditional Chinese -- all get their turn with Erhoopla.

Referred to as the "Chinese violin" or the "Chinese two-stringed fiddle," Western musicians have co-opted the erhu for their music because of its unique, often melancholy sound. Two of our favorite musicians Brian Mullins and Mike Fitzmaurice play the Chinese erhu along with a variety of other Chinese instruments. This lively duo call themselves Erhoopla Variety Show and are back, by popular demand, for an encore performance at the Denver Public Library.

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