My friends over at the Copper Nickel (a literary journal published by the students and faculty at the University of Colorado Denver) have recently launched Coin. Coin is an off-shoot site where you will find samples of work that have been published in Copper Nickel. These samples are accompanied by interviews, conversations, book-reviews, and audio and video presentations and documents that don’t fit well into the format developed for Copper Nickel.

The first issue includes poems from Dan Albergotti, Sandy Florian, Ed Pavlic, and Ginny Hoyle, Snezana Zabic’s essay “Meet Satan,” and a portfolio of work by and about Michael Copperman, specifically interesting are his comments in “Race, Authenticity, Culpability” accompanying his unconventional “It“.




I get to check another goal off the old life list.

Having missed out on a couple opportunities in the past I finally had my chance to see Slayer at Magness arena. It was the loudest show I have ever seen (by far). Forget amps that go to 11, Slayer’s go all the way to 666. It was a full-on sonic assault on my ears and I loved it. They started off with two songs and then pummeled there way through the entire Seasons In The Abyss album. The encore whipped the crowd into a frenzy with “South Of Heaven”, “Raining Blood,” “Aggressive Perfector” and show closer, 1986’s brutal and harrowing “Angel of Death”. I can’t wait to see them again.

Quimby The Mouse

A couple of weeks ago (April 23rd) my girlfriend and I went to see the live broadcast of This American Life at the United Artists Denver Pavilions. I’m a huge fan of This American Life but this show was a failure. Mostly the theater was a failure.

First off tickets prices were $20. Way too steep for anything on a movie screen. Technical difficulties abound and the entire audience missed the entire first segment of the show. Since it was a live telecast there was nothing the theater could do. Every paying customer was given a free movie voucher at the end of the show, but with a value of about $7 this was only a third of the actual ticket price paid.

What we did see was great though. And if you missed it you can download the episode online or go see the encore event on May 7th. Unfortunately I would recommend against spending your hard earned dough in this way, donate it to your local public radio instead.

One of the highlights of the live episode was this video called “Quimby The Mouse” put together by Chris Ware (with music by Andrew Bird, Animation by John Kuramoto).

Chris Ware just makes you want to kill yourself. The more you hurt from his art the better he feels – and that’s what I like about him.

Cirque Du Soleil – Corteo

Cirque Du Soleil’s show Corteo was gravity defying amazingness – completely brimming over with incredible acrobatics requiring superhuman coordination.

I have never been to a Cirque show before but I had a bit of an idea of what I was in for and it didn’t let me down, it fact it far exceeded my expectations. This was nice. Basically the show is a rumpus of gymnastics, costumes, emotion, live music, and humor.

Tickets are pretty expensive but worth it and there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. I’m really excited to see love in vegas sometime in the not-too-near future. There are a few youtube clips of favorite acts after the jump.

How To Get The Gifts You Want

The holidays are over and you’re already tired of all the crap that was given to you that you didn’t really want in the first place. It doesn’t have to be that way. This year, although I didn’t get everything I wanted, I wanted everything I got; without having to return anything. So while your stuck with the Doom 3 Board Game I’m opening up gifts I actually wanted.

How did I do it? Well the first step is to be easy to shop for. Have lots of hobbies and interests and then talk about them. But also start a wishlist. Do it now so that there is plenty to choose from by the time your next birthday rolls around. Then when your uncle Guido asks you what you want for your birthday you can say “This Stuff”, then shoot him an email of your wishlist. I’ve been keeping a wishlist for a couple of years now and it’s worked like a charm. I suggest not sending your wish list to people who doen’t actually ask you what you want or you’ll come of as a greedy little ingrate. Below are a bunch of webapps, a short review, to help you get your wishlist started. Remember, the easier you make buying the gifts you want, the better your chances of receiving them are.

Star Crossed Lovers

When I made the reservation for eight of us at Cafe Star, it sounded like they might have trouble tabling that many people on a Friday, they took the reservation anyway. When I arrived with only two others they seated us immediately not once asking when the rest of the party will arrive. They quickly took our drink orders and we had full glasses of delicious Cheapskate Cabernet and a bottle of bubbling Vino Verde (not Prosecco) waiting for everyone when they showed. When the other six people arrived, they accommodated our extra arrival without rancor and quickly had another place set before she even reached the table. Our waitress, the dear Andrea, whom I had already fell head over heels for, answered all of our questions patiently and knowledgably. And trust me, we bombarded her with questions about everything on the menu! My wine glass was never empty, nobody attempted to take my plate before I was done (a common occurrence with a slow eater like me), we were rarely bothered during our meals, and wholly taken care of. On top of all that, Andrea didn’t include gratuity in the bill, she knew full well that her performance would do the correct math. Amazing! Was there really this kind of service in a Denver restaurant? How completely refreshing. If this meal were based solely on service it would have been incredible.

Instead, Rebecca Weitzman, made Cafe Star top itself with menu that continues to amaze me. The menu changes to evolve with the season’s freshest produce and meats. Our table started off our meal with three flatbread pizzettas appetizers, all of which were unique and flavorful. We worked the kitchen over by each ordering a unique dish (doubling up on only one plate) and every one of them was delicious. Portions seem small at first glance but are rich and intense with unique flavors. Our buffalo steak was returned because it was a little undercooked, but it came out three minutes later seared to perfection and was promptly devoured. I ordered the lamb which was heaven on a plate and a perfectly sized portion for such a rich cut of meat. There was no problem finding dishes for the vegetarians in our party (and not just pasta with vegetables) though the pressed eggplant was probably the only dish not to my liking. In my opinion the best dish on the table was the lobster-and-rock-shrimp pot pie riddled with tarragon, as comforting as comfort food gets, yet as luxurious as anything. My girlfriend ordered the crisp gnocchi with truffle oil and escargot, which I finished without question. Don’t miss the soft-sweet beets with pistachio-crusted goat cheese or the crab-filled potato ravioli with white truffle sauce. The desserts were good too, though no match for the entrees. You won’t be disappointed with the Chocolate and Chili Pot d’Creme.

Cafe Star is hip, without attitude. Somehow, the entire room feels like both a trendy hot spot and low-key neighborhood hangout. It’s colorful and creative. Flavored and textured.

Now if there were only more restaurants in this town on the same level of excellence as Cafe Star. Have any ideas?

Caterpillar Power

We were driving up to Boulder to see Cat Power last Friday. On the way was a phone call offering us tickets to Cirque de Soleil. We opted to see Chan Marshall in all her glory and pass on the circus tickets. What we got was a circus of our own.

I had never seen Chan Marshall live before but I have read enough reviews to understand that she has incredible stage fright and is prone to mini-breakdowns, rantings & ravings, false starts, rambling, and occasionally straight-up abandoning her audience. So, when she arrived on stage forty minutes late, I was just glad that she decided to show up. She sat down with her guitar and immediately tore through three great songs. Soon her mic started making a low rumbling sound… and then the wheels fell off.

Chan wondered if the rumbling that was coming through the speakers was buffalo or thunder, and quipped it must be buffalunder, and then stated that she wished that was a word someone would use to describe her ass. It was moments like these that made the audience laugh. However, much of the night the audience was unprepared or unwilling to accept Chan’s blunt personality and stretched-beyond-limits character and ended up wincing, shifting uncomfortably and often simply leaving because of how uncomfortable they felt.

Chan then proceeded to stumble through a half-dozen songs unable to actually complete any of them.

She continually complained about the sound but complimented the theatre. She said that, had she still been drinking, this show would probably prompt her to commit suicide. She wished for a “psychedelic sound button” on her piano and across the elementary classrooms of America. She talked of having her period, picking her crack, butt-crack, and “all her cracks”. She talked about getting sober and the vices picked up from becoming straight, all the while ashing her cigarette into her shirt pocket. She talked about old friends, and her childhood, and politics (feebly). She slammed her hands on the piano in frustration, left the stage for a little bit fuming with dissatisfaction, asking for the magic to return. She sat in silence for extended periods, and had the audience in silence , wondering if any sort of shouting or clapping would send her shattering into pieces. When the audience did scream, it was usually words of encouragement to, “keep on going!”, “it sounds great”, and “don’t worry Chan, we love you”.

Having no back up band to push her though finishing any songs Chan was free to stop in middle of songs, start in the middle of songs and just mash up a bunch of songs together –and she did.

She eventually finished her two-and-a-half hour set by singing an a capella version of “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life”, tinkling on the piano trying to decide what to play, then announcing to the audience thanks for listening and that she is going to leave us alone now. She then walked off the stage while pretending to moon the audience.

G described the show as though she were watching a train wreck and couldn’t pull her eyes off craziness on stage. I loved it. I thought it was raw and real, and yes – crazy. But it was so fucking honest that I couldn’t help but root for her every painful minute of the way.

This is not to say every minute was painful. Chan sang beautifully and her piano and guitar playing were superb – when she’d give herself a chance to play them. I loved hearing “Good Women” (Otis Redding cover), “Satisfaction” (Rolling Stones cover), “The Colors And The Kids” and “I Don’t Blame You”. This is a show I thoroughly enjoyed but judging from what others have said, and how many people left the theatre mid-show, my opinion is not a popular one.

Did anyone esle go to this? Does anyone have a set list (somehow I think that may be impossible)?

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