Archive for July, 2012

This Week: Neighborhood Association Hosts Forum on Homelessness

LoDoNA Forum on Homelessness

July 25, 2012 – 6:00-8:00pm – THIS WEDNESDAY
Oxford Hotel – Sage Room, 1600 17th Street
Have you ever wondered what you can do as a downtown neighbor to make a difference in the fight against homelessness in our city? Join your neighbors and learn from a panel of experts about different ways you can make a positive impact on this issue. Representatives from Denver’s Road Home, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Salvation Army, and Urban Peak will answer your questions and give practical advice on how to help deal with this challenging issue.  Snacks and a cash bar will be provided.

Downtown Loft Tour This Sunday!

The 5th annual LoDo Loft Tour to benefit Family HomeStead takes place this coming Sunday from 2 to 5. It starts at The Wynkoop Banquet Room – 1792 Wynkoop Street – and 5 unique homes will be open for just $20 per person! You can pre-pay online or pay at the start. Other homes on tour are in StreetCar Stables, Hardware Block, 16 Market Square and the Sugar Cube. This is a great annual event in LoDo, benefiting a fine cause.

Family HomeStead is the only Metro Denver agency to provide both emergency and transitional housing in individual units, as well as supportive case management, exclusively to homeless families with children.


This year, Mary Fran and Bob Allen are opening their Waterside penthouse for a VIP Reception from 5 to 7 the same day. $100 includes the day tour and reception. Catered by Osteria Marco, wines and punch from Coohills, dessert from CakeBar, and classical music from the Brown Palace harpist. Space is limited, so reserve your spot now for the after-tour party.

Talking Points: Meet Luke O’Kelley, Author in Residence!

Frequently, we’ll introduce you to someone you may, or may not know who lives in Downtown Denver. And, we’ll ask that person five questions…always the same. But, we’re sure to get a lot of different answers!  Let us know what you think.

Luke O’Kelley is a retired owner of a software firm that provided oil and gas business solutions. Since retiring he has co-chaired a non-profit that provides a citizen voice in the Union Station redevelopment project. Also during retirement, he has authored his first novel, IMMOKALEE, a story of retribution and reconciliation set in south Florida. He recently read from that novel and signed copies, lots of them, at the Tattered Cover, even by candlelight during that night’s power failure! He and his wife, Nina, have lived in their LoDo loft for nearly 20 years.

Off the Roof and Behind the Typewriter! Luke O’Kelley photographed by Diane Huntress

We got him off the roof to answer our Talking Points questions.

What’s the best thing about living in Downtown Denver?

“Of course, it’s the walking and shuttle access to amenities like restaurants, a great bookstore, theater, my athletic club and shopping for most of what we need.”

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the years you’ve lived downtown?

“The sports venues book-ending downtown…the Pepsi Center and Coors Field.”

What don’t we have that we need Downtown?

“We need a grocery store within convenient walking distance.”

Where do you like to go most that’s not Downtown?

“The mountains.”

And, Luke, tell us something most people don’t know about you.

I just had my first novel published, IMMOKALEE, and it’s on sale at the Tattered Cover. There’s more to come!”

You can read more about our friend and neighbor, Luke O’Kelley, and his new book, here, at his website.



“Sir, would you like extra decibels with that ceviche?”

Didn’t that daily special sound good? What? You say you couldn’t hear just what it was? Hmmm.

“Bon Appetit!” “What was that?”

If your ear drums are being assaulted while your taste buds are being massaged, you may be eating in one of the newer Downtown Denver restaurants. They are noisy. Often noisier on the inside than the street is on the outside.

Zagat Survey, covering 15,000 restaurants in 42 major markets across the United States, found that noise is the second most common complaint of restaurant goers, just behind poor service. We’d suggest that in Denver, we have more noise than poor service.

While normal conversation at a distance of 3′ rates about 60-65 decibels, some restaurants approach noise levels as high as a rock concert, 105 decibels. They easily and often reach 95 decibels, the same level of noise as a jackhammer 50′ away.

And, it’s not necessary. Take the old Dixon’s space for instance. A large, but quiet place to dine and talk. Divide it into two new restaurants. Be sure to strip the ceiling and shine the concrete floor. Take it down to the old brick walls.  Dial up the music. Add a bunch of hipster groups chatting loudly and more loudly. Looks great, but it’s noisy. Same goes for the old Gumbo’s space, and many, many others. Want a quiet meal? Eat outside. You only have to compete with the Mall Shuttles next to your table.

Living Downtown includes buying into the concept of “urban noise”. We have trash trucks in the alleys. Sirens. Buses rumbling along and shaking buildings. Pedestrians carrying on late at night. Even dogs barking. But, those are all at acceptable and understandable levels. What we don’t buy into is having a restaurant being so loud that you can’t hear the server and she or he can’t hear you. So loud that you can only communicate with the person across the table by texting. Is that any way to eat?

New restaurants thrive on “buzz”. Noise is not “buzz”.

Tuesday in the Neighborhood!

There’s Tom, on the right in the white shirt! Photo HipsterPix

Close off the historic Wewatta Bridge over Cherry Creek, add a band, four bars, four port-o-lets, a food station from the nearby restaurant, some security guys, and…an ATM machine! You’ve got a new series of summer events, Beats on the Bridge, courtesy of Coohill’s and benefiting the Greenway Foundation.

The first week turnout was solid resulting in a bridge filled with newly minted  hipsters while across the walk in Coohill’s, the bar was packed. And, the restaurant appeared to be doing a particularly strong business for a July Tuesday. All this activity and many of the neighborhood regulars were spotted as well, doing their regular thing.

The bands in coming weeks are bound to be better than the opening act. (They lost me with the first song, a overly long and unnecessary rendition of “Message in a Bottle”) But, music on the creek in a Colorado sunset is here, and this series sounds like a winner!

Reflecting On New Directions…

How Do Things Look from Your View? Photo: Pix by Dave

Cool! In the Mornings At Least.

Tetsunori Kawana, b. Japan 1945: “Always I am listening to the heartbeat of the earth, and my creations echo this pulse of nature.”

Looking for something really cool to do…and see? It’s a fine time to visit Denver’s Botanic Gardens and view the summer-long installation of “Kizuna, West Meets East”.

Stephen Talasnik

Large site-specific bamboo sculptures by internationally known artists Tetsunori Kawana and Stephen Talasnik add new dimension to this city treasure. It’s all good! Link here to the activities at the Botanic Gardens.

(Photos HipsterPix)