Chris's blog

10 Reasons to Come Downtown This Weekend

"The life of our city is rich in poetic and marvelous subjects. We are enveloped and steeped as though in an atmosphere of the marvelous; but we do not notice it." -- Charles Baudelaire

​Downtown Denver offers up fantastic art, good eats, great music, free films, and some eccentric crafting for the urban adventurer. Here's a short list of 10 things to do at the library or mere steps away.

10. Hear French Metro-inspired accordion music played by a real live Frenchman. (Sunday, 2p, Central Library) ('Frenchman' is an exaggeration as accordionist is actually from New Zealand)

9. Find a rare first edition of The DaVinci Code or an ABBA cd amongst the treasures at the Denver Public Library Used Book Sale. (Thursday-Sunday, hours and info, Central Library) (The DaVinci Code not rare)

Paris on the Platte: A Mayor's Vision for Denver: In Glitter

Denver at dusk -- our Paris on the Platte.

One of Denver's most controversial Mayors, Robert Speer, had big plans for Denver. He envisioned Denver as a grand European city. Fresh City Life celebrates our City of Lights with a memorable party. Please come if you Can-Can-Can.

The dream of Mayor Robert Speer (1855-1918) to make civic Denver into a world-class city is all around us. The City Auditorium, which housed the historic 1908 Democratic National Convention, still stands as a testament to Speer's endeavors. As does the beautiful Civic Center Park. Even Speer Blvd is a tease of what might have been -- a spectacular street for an American Paris.

Oklahoma has a state meal. For real.

Sure, Colorado has its state bird: the Lark Bunting; and its state insect: the Colorado Hairstreak; flower: Columbine. Colorado also claims a state flag, gemstone, fossil, tree, reptile and even a state song or two. But we haven't got a state meal. Only Oklahoma has a state-sanctioned, legislature-approved meal. And it sounds pretty good.

I know that knowing that Oklahoma has a state meal is teetering on the edge of Cliff Clavin'ism: "It's a little known fact that Oklahoma's state meal is..." But the truth is even stranger -- that there really is an Oklahoma state meal. And here's how I found out:

All Doris, All Day: A Film Tribute

An early studio portrait of Doris Day.

Doris Day, the reluctant movie star, stopped making films in 1968, and yet she remains one of the most popular film actresses in the world. Not bad for little Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff of Cincinnati.

Hers is a life worthy of a Hollywood movie. Doris longed for a simple life of marriage and kids, but a mother with aspirations toward dancing and singing pushed Doris into performing. By the time she was 17, she was singing on a local radio station and was discovered by bandleader Barney Rapp, who changed her last name to Day.

The Subtleties of Hyperbole

Hyperbolic crochet sculpture created by Chris Loffelmacher

This blog about Fresh City Life's newest  obsession, hyperbolic crochet, is genius and will likely be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize! Is this an example of hyperbole or overweening ego? Yes.

It seems fitting that a fibers technique so extravagant and exaggerated as this would carry the name hyperbolic crochet. The name is based not only on the over-the-top quality of these sculptures, but also the hyperbolic geometry that informs the shapes and designs of this craft.

It hasn't been a Norman Rockwell painting, but it's been a fun trip

Norman Rockwell's Family Vacation

I often looked at Norman Rockwell paintings and felt a twinge of jealousy -- wishing that those perfect scenes had been a part of my life story. Then I found out that even Norman Rockwell wished that the scenes he painted had been a part of his real life.

In truth, Rockwell was born in New York City in 1894 and lived a hard-scrabble childhood on the wrong side of the tracks. So his paintings of scrubbed up Americana are really just his own yearnings for a life he never had. The life he did have was exciting and full of creativity and he left a lasting artistic legacy in the hundreds of paintings he did for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, Life and other magazines.

Georgia On My Mind

O'Keeffe missed her goal by about 18 months. She was 98 when she died in 1986.

Her outsized paintings of flowers have kept the art world buzzing for decades. But here are some details of Georgia O'Keeffe's life and art that you might not know. Click on the artworks to see the hidden facts.

1. Georgia O'Keeffe wanted to live to be 100 years old. When she died in 1986, how old was she?

 

 

2. Though she eventually made New Mexico her permanent home, where was O'Keeffe born.

 

 

 

3. What well-known photographer first exhibited O'Keeffe's work in the 1920s? (He also went on to marry O'Keeffe and take over 700 photo portraits of her.)

 

 

 

Hi Ms. Streep. Have I got a script for you!

Meryl Streep

Just like EVERYONE else, I've got a screenplay in me. A friend and I have been dreaming about writing a perfect film script for Meryl Streep. Dreaming, not doing. But maybe 2012 is our year.

Okay, I won't give you our elevator pitch on our film idea -- because we don't have one. I also won't tell you that we have any connections to Meryl Streep -- except that my friend and co-dreamer, Mary, and I both regard her as the epitome of an actor -- and we both think she'd like to have a beer with us.

Dear Mondo: Could you save me a seat in your lifeboat?

Mondo Guerra

You made it into a lifeboat. Check. But now you're seated just a few feet away from Denver's fashion impresario Mondo Guerra. Quick -- what kinda small talk are you going to make with Mondo? Especially since you know the answer to, "So, how are you enjoying the trip so far?"  Here are some clever conversation starters for you.

Jot these down; you might need them if you bump into Project Runway All Stars champion Mondo Guerra at Frock Out -- Fresh City Life's Titanic-inspired fashion show extravaganza where Mondo will reprise his role as our Special Guest Judge.

1. "Hi Mondo. So....ice we've got. Vodka we need." - only use if iceberg is still in visual range.

2. "Do you find that wearing shorts during a transatlantic crossing is warm enough?"

3. "Just between you and me, I never liked Gretchen."

The Cat That Heard an S.O.S.

Sometimes, when you need a helping hand, a helping paw presents itself.

The Fresh City Life office is buzzing with preparations for our big 2012 fashion event -- Frock Out. Our friend Ann Myhre, who teaches fibers workshops at Fresh City Life, and owns the cool yarn and fabric store Knitty Cat in Centennial, has been helping with many aspects of the runway show. Most importantly, Ann has been consulting with all of our designers -- as our Tim Gunn -- making design suggestions and cheering our designers on.

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