Bokeh-licious

Dreaming in Circles?

Have you ever heard of Bokeh? Or Boka? Or the beautiful effect of having a shallow depth of field in your background?

Getting adapters for old glass might be the best bet anyone can do to get this dreamy and beautiful effect in any style of photography. Modern glass that exceed f/2.8 is extremely expensive and usually weigh nearly half a ton.

But way back in the film days there were lenses that were tiny, and could go to f/1.2.

I currently have two vintage lenses that can go below an f/2, an old Nikon Nikkor 50mm lens that is a very nice f/1.4. It is a gorgeous element bigger than a half dollar on the back which enchants my Botanic Garden shoots.

But I also have a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2. This lens has a dizzying effect; and I love it. I cannot wait to get more of this effect with this, but to achieve this digitally is nice.

Having to only pay $20 versus $2000 is a deal I can’t pass up.

Below I have examples of both the Nikon lens and the Voigtlander lens, the later is on a Nikon F3 shot on film while the Voigtlander is with a Sony A7Riii.

Fix Me! Free Me! Saving a Polaroid Spectra SE

There is a problem with the instant film market.

Tiny Photos. Big Problems

I personally hate the tiny Instax Mini photos that you get on today’s market, they are small and hard to see when you could have something bigger. Fujifilm makes a plethora of cameras to rectify this but they are either too bulky or too expensive.

So I thought for a minute, I have an Instax SQ6, it’s fun to take around and mess with because the film is cheap, but it still doesn’t have that feel Polaroid dominated the market with. So I went searching, I previously owned a Polaroid 600, three actually, and a Polaroid SX-70. Sadly, I dropped my Sx-70 and it’s days were immediately numbered due to how fragile that camera is.

That left one very specific option, the Polaroid Spectra System. The cameras were plentiful, the film not so much. Since this is Polaroid’s widest camera format, people buy this film up quickly, and the camera is half the size of Instax’s familiar model.

Now here is the main problem with Polaroid camera shopping… do they work? And why after the first shot the film now doesn’t come out?

First Test, Battery: Cleared

Second Test, Remove the Frog Tongue: Cleared

Third Test, Flash: Cleared

Fourth Test, Clean the Rollers: Cleared

Okay so why now was my newly minted Spectra Camera that I had acquired very easily (as in Free), not spitting out my film after the first few shots. I was now worried, do I have to scrap a perfectly good camera? So I went hunting and realized that the film was jamming in the cartridge, on Polaroid Originals cartridges there is a small insignificant piece of soft plastic that is supposed to hold the film in place. Unfortunately for us users, it causes a “sticky cartridge” issue; thus ruining shot after shot due to the film not ejecting or getting through the rollers.

This tiny miniscule piece of plastic has to be physically ripped off- with a fingernail or any sharp angry object- then you can insert your cartridge. Thus enabling the camera to work perfectly; these cameras are sensitive the gears and film grab mechanism require a subtle touch.

Now I have a very nice Spectra SE, pictures soon to come from this crime scene looking 1980s behemoth.

Traveling without Telephoto, A New York No-No

Wanting wide? Think about where you are going…

So while I was in New York City, I’ve recently discussed how the Fujifilm X-T2 had become my main shooter for the whole trip. It doesn’t mean I didn’t take the Sony A7Riii out to shoot with, I did, however I have to say a few things about the lens I chose.

A 16-35mm focal length is very hard to travel with, and I am a travel style photographer- this means I enjoy having an all around style of lens while I’m walking around. If I need a macro shot I could get it, or a slight telephoto I would get it too. But this focal length was, kryptonite for my camera, and for myself. Whenever I would look through my finder I never truly enjoyed what I saw.

I prefer a 24-70mm range for my Sony, I have a 50mm macro lens and the 70mm is just enough telephoto to really get around and get nice and close for interesting angles. While negatively the 35mm is still considered wide- if I wanted to get a nice shot of a seagull I would have to post process my photo to get a good crop. That isn’t the point of travel photography. Running and gunning is the point.

Now most people I talked to said that the 16-35mm would be great in New York City, and I do agree with them, but as an additional lens to an arsenal. To only bring a 16-35 is not beneficial to anyone, it is a landscape camera in a city with a lot of old fencing. There was a carousel in Bryant Park I was doing long exposures of, unfortunately it had a fence around it. And it’s one of those old iron fences about 3 feet high, but with no tripod available your ability to get that diminishes quickly. The focal length no matter what I did, got the fence unless I went for an artistic approach of composition. Sometimes it seemed too artistic.

The Sony still takes gorgeous images, but it is a very evident camera to be carrying around, it was uncomfortable and I’m not the type to stick gaff tape all over my camera. Plus if I had brought my other lens I would have needed back surgery (the 24-70mm is nearly 3 times the size of the 16-35mm).

But I will say I loved the long exposures I can get with the Sony, needs a tripod but otherwise I should have chosen a different focal length for the trip. Below are my favorite shots from the Sony, not many as I only took roughly 30 photos with the camera. But still some goodies.

A New York Minute

Run for the Train, it’s a quarter to 2

Recently I had the pleasure to go to New York City to attend Photo Plus Expo, and have the fun of a vacation along with it. While packing I had brought with me two digital SLR cameras: The Sony A7Riii with the 16-35 f/4, and my newly acquired Fujifilm X-T2 with the 16-35 f/2.8. 

I chose to bring these two as one was my go to camera, the Sony, and one was brand new that I wanted to give a test run. So first off, I decided the Sony would only come out while I was at the Statue of Liberty, the Sony was recognizable, and significantly heavier than the Fuji. I even though that I would enjoy the focal length I brought and would most likely use the Fuji as a proxy for my film cameras which stayed home.

Yet when we got there I took the Fuji out the very first day, it was light and I wanted to bring the camera with to the Expo. I needed an eyecup and a screen protector, I thought maybe I’d find something. 

Now when I travel I have a significantly hard time getting into the groove of Photography, I’m mainly tired, hungry, and getting my bearings before I’m willing to get creative. When I carried the Fuji, because of it’s familiar manual style dials, it was easy to start shooting. Couple days through the trip, it had become my primary shooter.

The color, the dials, the ease of use, it actually felt like I was using the camera and me not having the camera use me. By that I mean I was actually setting exposures instead of relying on Auto to get me through a trip. Yes that means I had less photos but I at least had ones I was willing to go back and look at time and time again. Some of them I know I will even get printed in large formats. 

Maybe that’s why I loved the Fuji so much in New York, it made me feel creative, cultivate it and aid me in enjoying the experience. When I use the Sony it felt very calculated and the camera at times felt much more technological then I could handle. Doesn’t mean I hate the camera, means that I am still on a journey to learn how to use that camera in my style.

The Fujifilm however, is firmly in the lead, and I truly loved carrying it with me everyday in a city that is always willing to give you a good shot. Below are some examples of what I got with the Fujifilm X-T2 and the 16-55 f/2.8

More photos here

PSA: The Fujifilm is completely water resistant, it went through a full day drizzle with no cover just fine, the lens is one of Fuji’s WR lenses so it is sealed for weather.

Stories on Stage: Dear Elizabeth

You know I sometimes wonder why some performances whether it be a play, or musical only last for such a short amount of time compared to others. Some productions can be so close to pure perfection but last only for a one to two night run. 

Then again, this can also keep a piece fresh and unique while allowing many more stories that sometimes don't always make it to the stage to be told. Maybe that is one trait I love so much about Colorado theatre. There are so many innovative minds working hard to ensure that some voices of a story are told. 

This is where Stories on Stage comes in. Now I have heard of their productions over the past three years of living here in Denver, however I sadly have not been able to make my way over to view their work. Thankfully though that is about to change. 

On Saturday, October 13th, Stories on Stage will be bringing to life a work known as, "Dear Elizabeth," at the Nomad Playhouse in Boulder. Which I thankfully will be attending. 

The play is interesting to say the least, the story focuses on the corresponding letters between poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, and their lives in between. 

Staring Emily Paton Davies and Sam Gregory, I truly believe this is going to an experience and performance that I will be able to talk about for a long time and am looking for to do so. 

  We see Dear Elizabeth at The Nomad Playhouse this Saturday at 7:30 pm 

Educating Rita

The Black Box Season at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities became such a big part of my theatre going experience last year. With plays that were so thought provoking they crafted a certain depth that shifted with each production. So much so that it comes as to no surprise when the talented cast received a Henry Award for their production of Sense and Sensibility. 

Now it is that time of year again, the theatre season breaks ground, so does the beginning of the Black Box, which begins with the play Educating Rita

Now this is a play I don’t know much about but from what I have read it seems rather interesting. The plot surrounding a young woman named Rita, who signs up for an open course in English literature, taught by a professor named Frank. Now…being the lover of literature that I am the play already has my attention. 

But with that aside I am also intrigued when it comes to a small cast taking the stage. Especially when that cast consists of only two people. 

  It creates a bond, a bond that must be strong and command the stage in a way that requires audience members to not only focus on what the two actors are saying and doing but to also be mindfully aware of what is taking place around them. Their personal situations can sometimes be that defining feature that builds the bridge between the two characters and allows the audience to see the bond; despite the current situation that is taking place. 

I honestly could rant and rant about why I love this aspect of theatre and what could possibly take place in this anticipated play, but I would much rather say more once the story is said and done. It will undoubtedly be an interesting night of theatre. 

  We see Educating Rita at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities on Friday, October 5th at 7:30pm. 

Bringing the Past Back.

Recently I had the chance to acquire photographs my great grandparents had from the early 1920s and onward.

Inside I found a old battered photo of a man at a desk; I learned soon that this was my Great Great Grandfather. The photo had seen better days and was basically falling apart in my hands, the paper was thin and the photo certainly wouldn’t last. So I did what I knew best- I restored it.

Now this is a digital restoration, but here are the results! I have more to show in the future but this one still is my favorite.

The Catamounts: Men on Boats!

Not knowing your history can sometimes cause you to overlook a lot of important but smaller details of our countries exploration. Overtime I have come to realize just how relevant these little pieces of time can be. It is even more important to note the air of excellence that is created when these little events or stories are put to stage.

The theatre world of course is starting to take advantage of this with musicals like The Ballad of Little Jo beginning to appear. But the old west and it's explorations aren't put up as much as one could want. So when a production with this atmosphere is produced and put together. It's very hard to ignore.

Which is why Samantha and I will be heading to The Dairy Arts Center, on Saturday to witness the hilarious and ambitious play, Men on Boats! Presented by The Catamounts this witty play follows the tru(ish) story of of John Wesley Powell's 1869 expedition to chart the Colorado River. Now what I find extremely interesting about this comedy is the fact this cast features no…well men. Creating a gender bent story that is sure to keep the audience laughing. With talents such as Jessica Austgen, Edith Weiss and Missy Moore among the cast who knows what great night of theatre is in store!

We will see, The Catamounts: Men On Boats on Saturday, September 22nd at the Dairy Arts Center.

Fun with Fujifilm

I recently had the pleasure of messing around with a Fujifilm X-H1 with their 80mm Macro lens on a 2x teleconverter! Click below to see some results!

Location: Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Colorado

Mary Poppins

There’s a change in the wind. 

  To many this could mean the frightening end to summer, and the brisk coldness of the fall. Yet this isn’t the case at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse as they open their production of Mary Poppins this coming weekend. The story about the magical nanny that arrives to aid the Banks family is my favorite live action Disney movie, period.  I can remember as early as four singing along with Julie Andrews and watching the amazing and lovable story be told time and time again on my tv. 

Which is why I am even more excited to see this production of the musical interpretation that Candlelight opened last night on September 6th. I have never seen the musical version of this story, but have listened to the famous Laura Michelle Kelly sing the unforgettable songs on repeat for some time and can tell this show took a bit more from its original source, the book by P.L. Travers, than the Disney film. Making it even more irresistible for me to want to see this show. 

  Candlelight Dinner Playhouse has a way with its production, as I have said when seeing  my first show with them at the beginning of the summer. I am more than excited to be seeing Mary Poppins there, and to see the chimney sweeps and Mary Poppins herself meeting us for dinner. It will most definitely help with the changing seasons. 

 We see Mary Poppins at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse on Saturday, September 8th at 7pm. 

Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia is one of those musicals that defied a lot of odds when it opened over 13 years ago. The story follows a young woman in search of the identity of her father as her wedding is fast approaching. I have seen the film version of this musical more than I am willing to admit, but sadly have never seen an actual live production. Thankfully, that will quickly be corrected once attending The Arvada Center’s production of this very musical on Friday, September 7th. 

  This will be the Arvada Center’s opening production for its 43rd season, and to say they picked a very big guilty pleasure musical of mine is an understatement. Mama Mia’s musical score consists of nothing but songs from the popular band Abba. A group that I regularly listened to and sung (rather badly) as a kid. 

With the buzz of the film’s sequel having just released over a month ago, I am very curious to see the “original” production that lead to the creation of both films. I am also curious to see how the audience members are going to react. I have heard that Mama Mia, creates a sir within people when they see it live. Which leaves me to question how many people at the end of the night will be unable to stay in their seats by the end of the show, or if they will at all? We will just have to wait and see. 

  We see Mama Mia this Friday, at The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities at 7:30. 

An Evening Under The Stars: The Colorado Ballet.

As we reach the end of summer, and the cold weather begins to break through accompanying with it the colors of fall, the many summer concert series within the Denver Metro Area are coming to a close. Which can be very disheartening to say the least as for many the concert series provides many activities to do within the warm months of the year.  

There is of course still a few performances left just before August ends. One in particular being a performance that is a perfect way to end this season. That being The Colorado Ballet: An Evening Under the Stars at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 

Having attended many of the Summer at the Center Concerts I have to say this upcoming performance is one I have been looking forward to since it was announced. The first time I ever saw the Colorado Ballet perform was actually almost a year ago with their performance of Dracula last October. And to say they blew my expectations out of the water is an understatement. The companies talent alone is worth purchasing a ticket for this performance that will be taking place on August 25th. 

The Arvada Center has continuously impressed with this concert series and ending it with the Colorado Ballet; one of Colorado’s best of the best in the artistic community, is providing something special for the citizens of Arvada. The performance features excerpts from both classical and contemporary favorites; with a performance of Brief Fling by choreographer Twyla Tharp. This performance incorporates a traditional Scottish dance and a short lived romance. Accompanied by Isaac Mizrahi’s tartan costumes that divide the dancers into clans of blue, red, green and off-white, one can only imagine what will be in store for audience members who will attend this event that is sure to leave some jaws on the ground. I am still feeling the slight looseness of my own jaw after seeing the Ballet last year. With a score by Michel Colombier intersperses Percy Grainger’s sunny interpretations of traditional melodies from the United Kingdom with an ominous electronic score,  the idea of sitting on the lawn at the Arvada Center while watching this performance is almost irrespirable. It also gives a sense of wonder to the lineup of this series. The Colorado Ballet’s work is something that one needs to see at least once in their lifetime. And for those that wish to see the ballet in a more casual setting have been given an amazing opportunity to see it at the Arvada Center. 

This performance also provides a view of the feet that the Summer at the Center Concert Series has achieved over the 2018 season. With performances ranging from Bluegrass, Jazz, Broadway, Rock, Country, and finally traditional and classical music, it has proven time and time again why spending many evenings within the amphitheater can provide a more global musical experience. With that being said I see this series becoming  a summer tradition for years to come for those who attend. 

The series of course still has another performance prior to the Colorado Ballet. Poco, Orleans, and Pure Prairie League plays on August 23rd at 7:30. 

Gates for food and drinks vendors open at 6pm with doors opening to the Amphitheater at 6:30pm prior to performance. For tickets and information please visit https://arvadacenter.org/summer-at-the-center-concert-series-2018 or call the box office at 720-898-7200

Meet Me In St. Louis

Recently I had the pleasure -or pain- to travel to St Louis Missouri and spend some time in this old city over the 4th of July. The pain part of this, well 110 degrees and two destroyed rolls of film later I would recommend visiting in the fall. Still, the history that the state had to offer gave me some wonderful photography. Here are a few that I loved from the trip.

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo

There are times where you might come across a song, or a multitude of songs in your life that stick out to you while you are out in about. Your brain somehow, though you still don’t know how exactly,  knows every word without having to think. You aren’t sure where you have heard the familiar tunes, but one thing is for sure. 

The songs will be stuck in your head for a while. This has often been the case with the music of the famous duo  Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo. As some of their most popular anthems consist of, “Love is Battlefield,” “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” and who could forget “We Belong,”?  The list of course could go on and on.  And whose to say many of their songs will not be sung by the guests that will be attending their one night only concert at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities on Tuesday July 31st. The Summer at the Center Concert Series has been heating up with some great performances as of late, and to have Pat Benatar accompanied by her long time  collaborator and husband Neil Giraldo takes the cake.

Benatar has become a household name over the years and one cannot think of her without Giraldo. Both have proven time and time again how their music has redefined the rock genre. Their long lasting partnership has spanned four decades, winning them many awards within the music industry such as multiple grammy’s and American Music Awards. 

It is unbelievable to see what talent the Arvada Center is drawing in. Benatar and Giraldo will be a feast for the ears and the soul. Both are known of course for the many award winning hits that hold such a memorable feel and sound. Anyone who has listened or heard their music can be a witness to this. 

  Myself included.

 These two performers are timeless, it doesn’t matter what age you may be, their music has s sound that can be understood and enjoy by so many. It is no wonder that they have continued to tour, produce and sing music. Throughout their successful careers the duo have always managed to find something new to say, adding their own flare of how they say it within both their music and lyrics. This being one of the key traits as to why they are so well known and how their music can withstand the test of time. It too is able to adapt  its meaning to current events and personal stories. This of course only adheres to both Benatar and Giraldo’s talent. 

  With the end of July coming to a close on a very high note, the concert will be taking place on July 31st at 7:30. Do not miss seeing these amazing legends as they share some of the best rock music, spanning decades for all to find stuck in their heads long after the lights go down. 

  Coming up next in the Concert Series are other great acts such as: 

 

 Sleep At the Wheel: August 2nd at 7:30 

 

Air Supply: August 5th at 7:30 

 

Poco, Orleans, and Pure Prairie League: August 23rd at 7:30 

 

And the Colorado Ballet: August 25th at 7:30 

 

Gates for food and drinks vendors open at 6pm with doors opening to the Amphitheater at 6:30pm prior to performance. For tickets and information please visit https://arvadacenter.org/summer-at-the-center-concert-series-2018 or call the box office at 720-898-7200

Wicked Divas with your Colorado Symphony


    With it now feeling like the summer season is truly at its peak, leaving many with the need for a retreat from the suns powerful rays, and humid weather. It is nice to know that many concerts going on in the Denver Metro area are providing such escapes that allow us to take in the cooler temperatures of the summer evenings and bask in the wonderful sound of it's stars voices. The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities provides such escapes in its Summer at the Center Concert Series with it’s upcoming Wicked Divas concert with the Colorado Symphony. This evening provides an experience that will do more than provide an escape from the dreaded heat. 
     With the talents of Broadway actresses Nicole Parker and Alli Mauzey accompanied by the symphony, the potential for a nonstop night of wonderful performances is a guarantee for anyone that attends. Both actresses not only have major Broadway credits to their name, but the chemistry between the two while performing in the hit musical Wicked as both Elphaba and Glinda respectively has gathered much attention. Both women performed together both in the Broadway and National Touring companies of the show and have given so much to what can be considered two of the most iconic female characters for women at this time. Their work with one another started a better part of eight years ago through their journey down the yellow brick road.  
    Parker’s other credits include: Broadway:  Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me  and  The People in the Picture  with Donna Murphy.  Regionally: Juliet in  The Second City's Romeo and Juliet Musical  at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, for which she received a Jeff Award nomination, Rosemary in  How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying  at Reprise Theater, and Pamina in  The Magic Flute  at the Falcon Theater. 
    With an amazing resume up her sleeve, one cannot doubt that Miss Parker’s experience alone will bring in crowds to hear her amazing voice; that will bring life to the summer evening in such a powerful way. Her experience at Second City makes one think that the audience will also be bending over with laughter at her quick wit that comes so naturally to her bright and enduring performances. That wit balanced with Mauzey's own hilarity will add a certain spice that some may not have been expecting. 
     Mauzey's recent credits include: notably being apart of the 10th anniversary company of Wicked, Lenora in the musical  Cry-Baby, for which she won a Theatre World Award and was nominated for a Drama League Award, and Brenda in  Hairspray  (both on Broadway and in the original company of the First National Tour). Other New York Credits include, New York City Center Encores in the role of Minerva in The Golden Apple as well as Sydney in  It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman , and the Off-Broadway production of  Red Eye of Love.   Regionally, she has appeared as Mallory in  City of Angels  for Reprise!, Snookie in 110 in the Shade at the Pasadena Playhouse, and Audrey in  Little Shop of Horrors  at The Muny for which she was nominated for a Kevin Kline Award.  
    Mazuey is a flat out powerhouse with her classically trained voice. Her spunky attitude only adds to the amazing charisma that she carries with her at every performance. Personally I saw Miss Mauzey in her coveted run as Glinda in Wicked just shy of the 10th anniversary. To say this brunette Glinda did not make me laugh at every turn or cry in more serious moments would be a flat out lie. Her attention to detail within the characters she portrays is a rare quality that one can not simply learn over time. The attention comes only with those performers who truly take time and energy in order to provide their audience members with a believable and enduring performance that will leave with him as they exit the theatre. The same could be said with me while leaving the Gershwin almost five years ago. 
    Playing the roles that these women have taken on time and time again is not a walk in the park. It takes discipline, hours of vocal rest and training in order to perform it eight times a week whether on tour or on The Great White Way. Their years of experience and talent is something I wish the entire city of Arvada would be able to witness. The praise also must go to The Arvada Center for putting together a night I'm sure it's patrons will not forget. 
     The performance will not only feature the music from the Untold Story of the Witches of Oz. Both Mauzey and Parker will also be singing songs from famous and beloved shows such as Titanic, Ragtime, The Music Man, Phantom and so much more that will cause many to wonder how they will put their own spin on such iconic songs. 
    With addition to these talents, one can not ignore the raw beautiful sound that The Colorado Symphony is known for. The orchestration will be conducted Christopher Dragon with music from Broadway's finest. 
    This one night only concert is something not to missed, especially if you wish to escape the smothering heat of summer. The Colorado Symphony along with its Wicked Divas are ready to take you on an unexpected journey down Broadway's own yellow brick road. 

There is still more Summer Concerts to see! Including:

Los Lonely Boys with Lisa Morales: July 29th at 7:30 

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo: July 31st at 7:30 

An Evening Under the Stars: The Colorado Ballet: August 25th at 7:30  

Wicked Divas with your Colorado Symphony takes place on July 28th starting at 7:30  For tickets please visit https://arvadacenter.org/colorado-symphony-wicked-divas-with-your-colorado-symphony or call the box office at 720-898-7200

Newsies The Musical

One cannot describe what a surprise hit of the season, Newsies was when it hit Broadway in 2012. Fans roared in support of the struggling newsies of New York, as they rally around their leader Jack Kelly in order to strike against the rising fees put on by their boss. The show won a few Tony’s during its time on Broadway, including best score and best choreography. All of which were rightfully deserved. 

Back in 2013 as I was visiting New York, I did manage to see the theatre where Newsies run took place. Unfortunately I did not have the time to be able to see the show that was quickly gaining many, many fans throughout its run. Which is why I am all the more excited to be able to see who is the King of New York at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse’s production of Newsies on Thursday night. 

This will be my first show at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse. I have heard about their unique style of dinner theatre that many of my close friends have found to be an amazing experience. With being praised countless times I can not wait to see what is in store for me. 

  I will be seeing Newsies the musical, at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse on Thursday, June 28th at 7:30.

Summer at the Center: Squirrel Nut Zippers

In the city of Arvada, there are many things that appear when the summer season rolls in. The days are longer, the cravings for ice cream grows and there always seems to be a tune traveling along with the warm breeze. But where is the source of such a tune? 

The source is none other than The Summer at the Center concert series at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. With performances beginning June 7th, this series brings musicians and performers alike to its outdoor amphitheater. With both covered and lawn seating, locals can take in the great weather and enjoy the talent both at local and national levels.

Opening for the main event is a Denver based band known as La Pompe Jazz. Their exploration of gypsy jazz is tasteful and immersive, giving the Summer Concert Series a taste of its local music scene as well as impart on its audience members what kind of intricate music they will be hearing throughout the night. For those who aren’t aware and wish to have a better idea of the genre. Gypsy Jazz or gypsy swing is swing music of the 1930’s era, with the use of instruments such as the guitar and violin. Unlike American Jazz, Gypsy Jazz has European roots, resulting in the lack of the familiar beat of the drums. 

La Pompe Jazz’s roots as one of the most popular swing bands in the area make them a perfect fit to open the series. Their appreciation for the area and local audience adds a more close to home feel before giving way to the band next in the lineup. 

The first band that will take the stage is none other than Squirrel Nut Zippers, (I know! What a name!) This American jazz band has toured the nation on and off since its formation in 1993. With their toe-tapping delta blues, gypsy jazz and 1930s era swing, who knows how many people will be unable to resist the urge to start dancing along. 

The band formed in the town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina as a means of escape during the 90s modern rock era. Their music holding elements of both old and new, classic and modern, developing a relatable and heartfelt sound to many.

What this group brings to the Arvada Center is an energy that breathes life into the freedom of summer. While traveling the last two years, this group has worked on their music by feeding off of the very audiences they play for. Which in turn pays off and draws in people of all backgrounds and ways of life. Squirrel Nut Zippers is a band that I am very excited to see. Upon hearing their music, such as their hit single, “Hell” and their latest album that came about once the band had been revived, “Beasts Of Burgundy” They seem to cast a spell over its listeners, igniting an infection sound that is pleasing to the ear. 

With two amazing bands kicking off this series, the Arvada Center's atmosphere will carry a tune with such diversity and swing that it will not be ignored. As Squirrel Nut Zipper’s founder, Jimbo states, “Let the Music Lead,” 

Squirrel Nut Zippers launch of the Summer at the Center Concert Series. Other concerts include: 3rd Law Dance/Theater presenting Lost in Space on June 9th

 Denver Brass with 17th Avenue Allstars on July 15th,

Wicked Divas with the Colorado Symphony on July 28th 

For other performances and schedule for the Summer at the Center series please visit http://arvadacenter.org/summer-at-the-center-concert-series-2018

For Tickets visit https://arvadacenter.org/squirrel-nut-zippers or contact the box office at 720-898-7200. 

The Who's Tommy

The Who’s Tommy is one of those musicals that has made its way under my radar. Even though I have spent large amounts of time in front of my computer reading countless details about different musicals, The Who’s Tommy never appeared strangely enough. Yet now it has found its way to me as the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, is previewing their production tomorrow. 

Not really knowing much about the premise, I find myself very thrilled to see this show. A few of my friends have been in a production of this musical and have refused to tell me little to any details about it because they feel it should be experienced first hand. With that being said I am holding them to their word, and we will see if it holds up. 

With that being said I have read about the profound talent that has come together for this production, leaving me to wonder what is in store for Samantha and I come tomorrow and what songs will more than likely be stuck in our heads after the last chord is played. 

We see The Who’s Tommy tomorrow, Friday April 27th at The Stage Theatre at 7:30. 

 

 

Sunday In The Park with George

Throughout this week while at school I asked many of my classmates in the theatre department what do they think of Sunday In The Park with George. Their response is undeniably a reaction of pure artistry. One of my friends went to the extent to say I will be crying for days after I mentioned I will be seeing it April 17th at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. 

What I didn’t realize was that it was the inspiration for this musical that brought Sondheim back into musical theatre after he wished to leave the industry. This gives this musical a bit more connection to its creator and its lead character who is struggling with inspiration to paint the famous painting we all know as, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 

Rod. A Lansberry directs this production, as it will be the last musical of the 2017-2018 theatre season at the Arvada Center. I have to say throughly enjoyed attending the previous two musicals they have put on, and like A Chorus Line, this will be my first interaction with this musical, which I’m starting to see is a recurring habit that I have with classic musicals. Nevertheless, I am very excited to see if my classmate’s word holds up. I will be ready to be taken in by the artistry that I’m sure Lansberry and his cast will deliver; tissues in hand. 

  We see Sunday In The Park with George Tuesday, April 17th, at 7:30 at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. 

Queen City Architectural Salvage


4750 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO 80216

Finding this little gem is easy to do, straight off a main highway this junk yard is a photographers dream. However be warned, its only open for short hours and only part of the week; not to mention the construction surrounding the entire place. 

The best way to get there currently is to still get off at Brighton Blvd, just know parking is scarce and the neighborhood can be a bit rough. But with this salvage junk yard gem of a place it is well worth whatever walk you might have to do. When I went the sun was just peaking out and the place was packed (there was a photography meet-up) so walking room was tight. I would not recommend bringing a tripod as the aisle ways are small, uneven, and to be courteous to other patrons it would be best to leave it be. 

There are plenty of things there, around 4 old cars, an old diner, toilets, and so much texture some people might overload. The owner is super polite and loves that photographers come to see the place, he is also a Denver Historian. If there is anything you want to know about Denver- ask him. I would say this is definitely a place you could go if you wanted some fun stuff to take pictures of, or if you need a good restoration project for a house. The old doors would make good picture frames, or if you need some fun lighting some of the older buildings are also stocked. 

I might head back in awhile as the place is small, but still enjoyed my time there, and I do believe you will too.