Archive for February, 2012

Weekend Forecast?

Saturday Scene in Downtown Denver. Photo: Diane Huntress. Abientot!

Slow News Has Its Day…and A Fine Window Display!

If you wander by the Oxford Hotel in LoDo on a regular basis, you may not always notice the large decorated window just east of the entrance. You should. That window features changing installations relevant to holidays, events, historical themes or just spontaneous art.

If you wander by there now, be sure to notice. The set designers from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts have installed a tribute to a new play that will have its world premier in Denver on March 16. Why at the Oxford? Well, that’s where the story all began. Truly.

Courtesy Denver Center for the Performing Arts

One of the great hoaxes of newspaperdom had its birth at the Oxford one June afternoon in 1899. Four reporters, one from each of Denver’s daily papers, got together to invent a tale to write about…because there just wasn’t any other news that day. The concocted story had American businessmen bidding on the destruction of the Great Wall of China, at the behest of the Chinese, of course. The story held forth that the Chinese rulers wanted to tear the wall down, build a road and open trade with the West.

Within a few drinks, the four reporters even registered phony engineers in local hotels claiming they were on their way to the west coast by train for meetings with the Chinese. Soon the story had run throughout the country and even made its way to Europe. Nowadays, of course, such hoaxes travel much faster and further to the willing ears and minds of people who think that anything on the internet must be true. In 1899 it took weeks and months.

You’ll have to visit the window at the Oxford. It’s a spectacular assemblage of news, newspaper and old typewriters. It’s no hoax. It commemorates the play commemorating the newspaper folly. And, the play by Lloyd Suh runs at the DCPA from March 16 to April 22.

The Great Wall Hoax ranks its own play, window and WikiPedia entry. It’s even prominently featured in the Museum of Hoaxes. Researching this item for Denver by the Slice, we found that to be an intriguing institution. The Museum says it is located in San Diego, but they don’t really say where even though there are photographs of the alleged building. So, here’s an idea. Why don’t we in Downtown lobby to move that museum here? To Downtown Denver. In Colorado. Where plenty of hoaxes have hatched.

And, the Museum could secure office and exhibit space in an actual RTD bus…on the move…and nobody would ever know where it was. What do you think?

So, How Did that “City Plowing the Streets This Time” Work Out for You?

Well for those well-meaning residences and businesses that diligently got after the snow and cleared their narrow walks…not always so well.

Snow Parking, Photo: Diane Huntress

On early Saturday morning, this residence had a fully cleaned and clear walkway for pedestrians and residents. Never mind that they cleaned the walk with noisy plastic shovels at 4:30 in the morning. Clean, nonetheless.

By the end of the day, the city had come by with one of their smaller plow trucks and cleared the parking spaces in front of the building. How? Simply by plowing all the snow and ice right up there on the clear sidewalk, where, obviously, there was plenty of room for it. Businesses and residential buildings pay extra for snow removal services, of course. And, extra again to have the same snow removed a second or third time.

Couldn’t the city, when the snows are heavy, move the snow to reasonable piling or draining areas at the ends of streets? Instead of just throwing it back onto our walks? They used to do that. And, it made sense. There are better ways to be plowed.

Great Divide Ranked as 14th Best Brewery in the World!

Heady Stuff for Local Brewery!

That’s quite an accomplishment. We were sitting here watching the snow fall in Downtown Denver trying to decide whether to continue to do that…or think about a beer. Beer won.

RateBeer is an international website that goes through hundreds of thousands of articles, comments, ratings, competitions and festival news about beer all over the world. So, when they came out with their rankings of the 100 best breweries, there’s Denver’s own Great Divide very near the top of the list. RateBeer describes itself as “an independent world site for craft beer enthusiasts and is dedicated to serving the entire craft beer community through beer education, promotion and outreach.” (Here’s the list.)

At number 14, Great Divide was the top-ranked Colorado brewer. Also making the list were Avery in Boulder (22), Oscar Blues in Lyons (65), and New Belgium in Fort Collins (72).

Ivar Zeile proudly serves Great Divide’s “Hades” at his Plus Gallery openings. Their “Yeti” or “Hibernation Ale” sound right for a day like this, too. Check out all of their beers here. And, by the way, a chilled “Snow Day” from New Belgium would work today, also.

But, Great Divide is the big winner on this list. They’re at 2201 Arapahoe. Open and pouring. In all weather! Congratulations!

With “6 More Weeks of Winter” Set to Begin This Afternoon…It’s Time to Plan Dinner!

It’s Groundhog Day. And, we know our fate. Today’s soundbite came not from a politician, but from a rodent prognosticator from Pennsylvania. And, we invite comparisons.

At any rate, this furry fatty emerged from a hole, surveyed his surroundings at Gobblers’ Nob and, upon noticing that the sun was out, declared, through his publicist, the seasonal extension. Then he went back to sleep.

We, meanwhile, are left with lots to do whether it snows or not. This is that tricky time of year. Football is almost over and it has not been super. It’s too early for baseball. And, this year the Rockies will return some of the same old guys and some new old guys, including a 49-year old pitcher! We need something to fill our time until Spring or March Madness, whichever comes first.

A Meal Without Wine is Like a Day without Sunshine, Like this Friday. Photo: Diane Huntress

So, now it’s fair to ask, “What’s for dinner?” Well, Denver Restaurant Week is upon us again! And, if you live in Downtown Denver, this year you can choose from 73 restaurants right in Downtown. That’s out of the 300 or so that participate around the area. 73 Downtown gives you a pretty good choice. If you have the time and the credit line, you could fill your nights with 14 different locations. That’s because DRW is really two weeks, this year from February 25 to March 9. Whew!

You know the deal. Dinner for two is $52.80. Or, for one, just $26.40. Plus tax and gratuity, of course. Try places you’ve wanted to go. The menus at many are very special and represent 3-course meals you would not usually find. Find the restaurants and the menus here and don’t forget to make reservations.

The restaurant people work hard at this 2-week rush. Then, they collapse and hope you’ll come back. Eat well and watch out for rodents, or politicians, on the street!

Cowboys to Culinary…LoDoNA Celebrates the Rise to a Dining Destination!

On Wednesday, February 8, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the Lower Downtown Neighborhood Association will hold its Annual Meeting. And, this one’s special!

With a backdrop of the refurbished and ready-to-go Saddlery Building, 15th and Wynkoop and the future site of the Squeaky Bean, neighbors will gather for good refreshment and good cooking. Four top LoDo chefs will help explain what has happened…and will happen…to put LoDo on the culinary destination map of the world. Hear and taste the offerings from some of LoDo’s best places and chefs.

Additionally, LoDoNa will be presenting a special award to Jeff Shoemaker of the Greenway Foundation for his contributions to the quality of life in the neighborhood. This is a special evening and a fun annual gathering. Reserve now by clicking here. You don’t want to miss it!