Penny Parker On The Town: Sean Duffy’s 50th birthday bash a bipartisan fete

One of my favorite Denver movers and shakers, Sean Duffy, hosted his big 5-0 b-day recently at The Palm restaurant in The Westin Downtown Denver as a fundraiser for Steve Farber‘s American Transplant Foundation.

The party, dubbed $50 for 50, attracted a ton o’ Duffy fans from both sides of the aisle. Duffy is a famous Republican who has supported several liberal political efforts, but this was all about raising money for transplant participants.

“Our ’50 for 50′ event designated every dollar raised to the American Transplant Foundation’s ‘Patient Assistance Program’ at Children’s Hospital,” Duffy said.  “What this program does is give families — mostly from rural areas — assistance with basic living expenses (mortgage, rent, utilities, etc.) while their children are awaiting or recovering from transplant surgery, most often kidney or bone marrow transplants.

“I am on the board of the American Transplant Foundation — along with a ton of the really interesting folks in town — which was founded by Steve Farber, after he received a life-saving kidney donation from his son nine years ago. Farber was one of the first folks who befriended me and really gave me an introduction to Colorado when I came here in 2001 and I admire him and (his law partner) Norm Brownstein immensely.”

The bipartisan group of people you will be interested in who were there: Farber, Barry HirschfeldDan Hopkins, former press secretary to Gov. Bill Owens  (he and Duffy started with Owens on the same day in 2001), PR pros Jeff Julin and Mike Gaughen of MGA communications, David Kenney, The Kenney Group (where Duffy works); Kelly Brough (CEO of the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce); Josh Hanfling; John Zakhem; Jason Dunn, former Deputy AG and now with Brownstein Hyatt and Farber, and David McReynolds.

Duffy opined on his half century mark by saying:

“I’ve pretty much been an old fart my whole life, so my age is catching up to my general demeanor.  And since (his better half) Susan and I have 2-year-old Brendan Duffy at home, my goal has been to get him out of diapers before I get in them.

“When you turn 50, you realize how lucky and blessed you’ve been and how much other people helped along the way.  So this was an opportunity for Susan and me to say thanks and help out some families who are at an incredibly challenging point in their lives.”

Get your drink on, Denver

Esquire magazine loves Denver, or at least two of its bars. Esquire includes Williams & Graham in the Highland neighborhood and downtown’s Ship’s Tavern in the famed Brown Palace Hotel in its top 17 (really, 17?) list of best bars in the U.S.

Esquire writes about Williams & Graham, a unique bar with a 1920s speakeasy feel: “Williams & Graham is a love letter to the old saloon, but one conceived by a third-generation bartender who knows the difference between playing bartender and really tending bar.” Esquire suggest ordering the Unrefined Ruffian at Williams & Graham. See the review at

About Ship’s Tavern, Esquire suggests ordering a Johnny Walker Black Manhattan and writes: “Ship Tavern, tucked away in the historic heap of bricks that is the Brown Palace Hotel, is at that peculiar stage in a fancy joint’s life when it wants to be a dive. It’s not decrepit per se, but you can feel the gravitational pull of decrepitude. Somehow that’s alluring. Maybe it’s because that same black hole is pulling on us every single day. In any case, it is very pleasant to drink your (large) cocktails here (stick to the basics) amid the head-scratching, comprehensive nautical decor (in Denver?), which dates back at least to the 1930s.” See the review at

Denver fifth-fittest city

Denver ranked fifth of the most fit cities in the U.S., according to annual American Fitness Index, a study done by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Minneapolis-St. Paul ranked first for the third year in a row in the study, which is based various health behaviors including smoking, exercise, obesity rates, chronic health problems and access to health care. The ACSM report also considers other factors, such as availability of parks, recreational facilities, walking trails and farmers’ markets. Health and medical experts designed the fitness index which analyzed the 50 most populous metropolitan areas in the U.S.

Washington, D.C. was second, followed by Portland, San Francisco and Denver. See the full list at

Douglas County eighth richest in U.S.

In a Forbes magazine report this week, the money mag lists Colorado’s Douglas County as the eighth-richest county in the U.S. Forbes cites the county “boasts the ritzy enclave of Castle Pines, known for its world-class country club and golf course.” Five Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., highlight the list as do two suburban New York City counties in New Jersey. See the Douglas County listing at

‘Pawn Stars’ boss Harrison coming to Aurora

One of Mr. On The Town’s favorite reality show stars, Rick Harrison of History Channel’s “Pawn Stars,” is coming to Aurora on Friday and Saturday at Ed Bozarth Chevrolet, which is celebrating the expansion and remodel with a grand reopening of its new showroom. Harrison  owns and runs the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas with his son, Corey (“Big Hoss”) and dad, Richard (“Old Man”). Also assisting customers and providing joke material for the Harrisons is Austin “Chumlee” Russell.

“Pawn Stars” first aired in 2009 and quickly became one of cable’s top-rated shows. “Pawn Stars” returned with new episodes Thursday for its fourth season. “Pawn Stars” spawned several spinoffs, including “American Restoration,” “Cajun Pawn Stars” and “Counting Cars.”

You can meet and talk to Rick Harrison from 3-7 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at 2001 S. Havana St. in Aurora.

Rick Harrison of the History Channel hit reality series, "Pawn Stars," i visiting Ed Bozarth Chevrolet in Aurora. (History Channel photo)

Rick Harrison of the History Channel hit reality series, “Pawn Stars,” makes an appearance Friday and Saturday at Ed Bozarth Chevrolet in Aurora. The dealership is celebrating a grand reopening. (History Channel photo)


Funny bones

Denver will welcome its first all-standup comedy festival at locations on South Broadway on Aug. 23-24.

The Denver Post first reported the news on its entertainment blog, “Reverb.”

The High Plains Comedy Festival will be held at rock clubs the Hi-Dive and 3 Kings Tavern, as well as Englewood’s Gothic Theatre. The festival will feature local standups alongside national headliners, including Kyle Kinane, Sean Patton and Nikki Glaser.

Former Westword writer and now Denver comedian Adam Cayton-Holland and producer Andy Juett are running the comedy festival, according to The Post. For more details, see

Eavesdropping on one woman to another during a cocktail party at Trillium: “I’d love another one, but I have a stick shift to drive.”

Did you hear that I have a new column, “Mile High Life,” in Colorado Community Media’s 17 weekly newspapers circling Denver? Be sure to like my Facebook page! Also, here’s where you go to get my column emailed to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I’m now the social-media liaison for the Mile High Chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association, so read my latest restaurant news there. My email:


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