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Archive for the ‘ Backstage ’ Category

 

Lookout Mountain

September 10th, 2020

Lookout Mountain is benignly described as a “7,377-foot (2,249 m) peak located in Lookout Mountain Park, 1.7 miles (2.7 km) west-southwest (bearing 245°) of downtown Golden.” This seems like an understatement because over the last few years, this “7,377-foot peak” has turned into a beacon for me that outshines even the antennae farm on its crown that beams out signal to my countless screens. My first memory of Lookout is a bland mental snapshot from a family vacation—my dad has a thing for the romanticized history of America and our family vacations in the ol’ Toyota Camry were to... Read More

Gnome Away From Home

August 6th, 2020

If we ever needed a blithe fairy tale about gnomes and knaves and wolves and witches, this is the time. I can’t tell you how many months we’ve all been sealed off into our little isolation chambers because time has become meaningless. Performing artists have struggled to find new formats to connect just as audiences have struggled to find connections on new platforms. Or rather, we’ve struggled to stay safely apart while feeling like we’re still in this together. Rainbow Militia, a Denver-based immersive-theater/circus troupe, has taken the occasion to create something that feels specific... Read More

Postcard Foods

July 8th, 2020

My New Year’s Resolution for 2019 was “Stick to a Meal-Planning Regimen.” If you Google this idea, you get all the kitchen-blogger schtick about how preparing meals in advance saves you time and money, helps you lose weight, yadda yadda yadda. These things are both completely true and exceptionally boring. I wasn’t trying to save time or lose weight. I was going through a deeply difficult period and I was struggling to do things as basic as feed myself. I would make meals ahead of time and then I would require myself to actually sit down to eat them and say the out loud the words, “Someone... Read More

Protests in the Park

June 5th, 2020

Usually, I write this column about theater and performance. Well, we are all performing now, in the public theater of this nation—the world’s last, best hope of democracy. I try to keep things lighthearted and positive, but sometimes you have to just tell your story as it is. In this moment where the violence and horror that never ended have once again come into focus with the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many more, I feel the overwhelming need to do something, *anything* to help.  And so, on several nights this week, I marched my shiny, fragile, privileged, white ass down... Read More

Rainbow Ruckus

May 1st, 2020

I’ve read that it takes four to six weeks to develop a new habit, which is to say, it takes four to six weeks to normalize a new behavior. We’ve all been under stay-at-home lockdown orders for…a solid five weeks and counting. Our personal interactions have been shrunk down to pixelated screens and a desperate faith in the power and consistency of our Wi-Fi. I even went on a first date, that ultimate personal trial, via Zoom. (Pro tip: please, don’t eat a plate of raw cauliflower during the date. Please.) I’ve also been reviewing live theater as it’s now performed: over video. This... Read More

Performing Arts in a Time of Plague: Part I

April 13th, 2020

As you may have heard, there’s something going around these days. Cough, fever, general malaise. You know the drill by now. As a person who makes a living at the edge of the performing arts community, these past few weeks have been…unusual. I’m happy to report that Colorado artists have continued on, creating beautiful things for all of us to enjoy, from a safe social distance. Here’s a few that may interest you. Amber’s Online Tarot: Denver circus artist and aerialist Amber Blais (one of the masterminds behind Zabiti Circus and the Rainbow Militia) has stepped into a new role: Tarot... Read More

The Digital Decameron

March 27th, 2020

Ten writers. Ten days. One hundred stories.   And so, at last, it has come to this: The world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper, not a bomb, but a bug. We don’t ride out in a blaze of glory in a nuclear explosion, but it all ends in the pestilential isolation of our screens. We have been ever-further socially distant for years, but now that it’s a mandate, we seek ever more connection through our last remaining (fiber optic cable) lines. It would serve us well to remember that in this, as in all things, nothing is new. We are only as we ever have been and will always be, in times of... Read More

Faces of Denver: Mark Acito

March 10th, 2020

Marc Acito is a playwright and librettist best known for his novel How I Paid for College and his collaboration with George Takei on the Broadway musical Allegiance, which addresses the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. His latest work, “Secrets of the Universe and Other Songs,” will have its world premiere at the Aurora Fox Arts Center, under the direction of Helen R. Murray. The play portrays the friendship of African American vocalist Marian Anderson (Mary Louise Lee) and Jewish physicist Albert Einstein (Jordan Leigh). While Acito currently resides in New York City,... Read More

Stories on Stage

March 10th, 2020

I’m a sucker for storytelling: I have to be as I’m a theater reviewer, although I suppose that all of us humans are to some extent. Stories on Stage is to theater as rap is to music. The ongoing storytelling series happening in Denver and Boulder takes short stories or segments of longform works, puts them into the hands of charismatic actors, and brings them to the stage with no accoutrement of movement or props—just as rap takes the bones of rhythm and word and presents them without the trimmings of instrumental music. The effect for both is addictive. I recently attended the performance... Read More

Secrets of the Universe

February 26th, 2020

There’s a deep vein of eroticism that ties together Marc Acito’s new play that’s running at the Aurora Fox Arts Center. None of the characters actually have sex during the (inter)course of the play, but if you define “eroticism” as “the energy of creativity and connection,” then all of the characters are neck-deep in it. The story told on stage is the true-but-little-known episode of 1930’s American history where Albert Einstein (yes, *the* Einstein) hosts famed vocalist Marian Anderson in his home because hotels were unwilling to offer lodging to African-Americans. Supporting the... Read More