Chris's blog

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.

Bring Fresh To Your City Life This Week

Whether it's a seeing a classic film, learning a fibers technique or enjoying a fantastic concert -- Fresh City Life has a little something for everyone this week. 

Tonight is our ongoing celebration for the Denver Public Library's Film Series 10th Anniversary. In the second installment of our Westward the Women collection, we'll be showing Destry Rides Again, a film that marked Marlene Dietrich's Triumpahnt return to the screen after several near career-ending films. The series continues for two more weeks: next films up are The Harvey Girls and Johnny Guitar (with Joan Crawford as the head cowgirl!) Showtime 6p in the B2 Conference Center.

We Won't Get Too Comfortable, David

David Rakoff lost his long battle with cancer on August 9. He was 47. A unique literary voice and humorist, in his writing, Rakoff was a self-effacing, cheerful cynic. 

I fell in love with David Rakoff's writing when my friend, Ron, told me that he thought David and I were alike in our cynicism, pessimism and (I suppose) in utilizing them to get a laugh. Shortly after that, I received all of David's books in the mail; my friend decided I should find out for myself. 

Marlene Dietrich Goes West

Marlene Dietrich made her Hollywood comeback in the film Destry Rides Again starring opposite Jimmy Stewart. And Dietrich rides again this Tuesday at our 10th Anniversary Film Series.

I mentioned to a friend this weekend that Marlene Dietrich's starring role in the popular film Destry Rides Again was a comeback performance for her. My friend asked how Dietrich could have a comeback when her career was strong and steady all the way through. Which is how most movie fans think of Dietrich. 

Every Little Detail Plays A Part

Our booth in its beginning stages, about two hours in.

Today, Trish and I -- and a couple helpers -- put together our Fresh City Life booth for the Denver County Fair. We had a great time, a lot of laughs and built something that will make fair-goers smile.

And the process, since we really only had a general idea of how it would come together, reminded me of the Stephen Sondheim classic, Putting It Together:

Bit by bit, putting it together
Piece by piece, only way to make a work of art
Every moment makes a contribution
Every little detail plays a part
Having just a vision's no solution
Everything depends on execution
Putting it together (That's what counts)

Y'All's Fair -- This Weekend in Denver

Denver County Fair

Fresh City Life is taking a break from making events for you at the Central Library -- and taking the show on the road for a weekend. Get your spurs on, cowboys and cowgirls, and giddyup to the Denver County Fair.

Our craft queen, Trish Tilly, has been hunched over yards of fabric, a sewing machine, hot glue guns, pots of paint and tubs of prizes for a couple weeks. We both decided that if we were going to represent Fresh City Life with a fair booth, it was going to be so flashy, over-the-top and just plain wrong, that it was oh-so-right. The only missing ingredient is you.

Get your licks in at the Denver County Fair

"A fair is a veritable smorgasbord, orgasbord, orgasbord!" -- Templeton the Rat, from Charlotte's Web.

Fresh City Life is doing our part to make your county fair experience as rich and replete with nostalgia as possible. Fun carny games. Check. Cool prizes, booby prizes. Check. Food sampling, nibbling, noshing. Check. Not only are we hosting a variety of great local vendors at our booth (stop by to sample great local fare), but we are producing two cooking demos on Saturday, August 11. Yesterday I wrote about our morning demo on chutneys with Chef Amy Hoyt.

Denver County Fair offers many delights. But first, get pickled.

chutney

We know a good county fair includes a little flash and a little trash, a bit of sweet and a touch of sour. Just like a great chutney.

Fresh City Life is bringing a lot of fun to the Denver County Fair. I'll describe our booth offerings, fun prizes and giveaways, plus -- as always -- the seriousness of frivolity that Fresh City Life specializes in. Here's our first DCF offering:

Country Pickle Meets City Pickle: Putting By and Preserving the Harvest with Chef Amy Hoyt

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.

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