Penny Parker On The Town: Oh no, Walter Isenberg’s mustache must go … for a good cause

September 4, 2013

Hotel honcho Walter Isenberg is known for his mustachioed face as much as he is known for turning Denver dirt into high-end hotels.

Behind every deal – the JW Marriott, The Oxford Hotel, The Courtyard by Marriott and the upcoming Union Station Hotel – there’s been Isenberg’s iconic moustache.

But there’s not much he won’t do for charity – especially when it’s his wife, Christie Isenberg‘s pet charity, Concerts for Kids, an organization that raises funds for children’s charities.

In an attempt to raise $100,000 for the Concerts for Kids’ Celebrity Waiter event on Saturday at Ocean Prime on Larimer Square, Isenberg will (reluctantly) submit his lip fuzz to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock‘s razor during the event.

“I’ve done many a crazy thing in my day, but this is a first,” Isenberg wrote in his pledge plea e-mail. “I’m hoping I can convince 100 people to kick in a grand each to see this happen. Now I know for a fact none of you have (including my wife) has ever seen me without a mustache. Why? Because from the moment I could actually grow one, I did and it’s been floating above my upper lip ever since.”

A few local notables weighed in on Isenberg’s facial hairlessness decision. (I can’t vouch for the authenticity of these quotes, however):

“It’s about time one of Denver’s longest running mysteries will be solved — and no DNA will have to be tested this time,” said Denver DA Mitch Morrissey.

“I can’t wait to put that straight edge to work and slice off that little caterpillar … revealing the real Walter. I’m not even going to practice … hope my hand is steady,” Mayor Hancock said.

“I wish he had done this 25 years ago. That mustache has always made him look sketchy and it certainly didn’t help me attract a better clientele,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper referring to his early days at the Wynkoop Brewing Co.

To help Isenberg reach his fundraising goal (he’s raised $35,000 so far), e-mail a pledge to

For tickets to the celebrity waiter dinner (reservations are being accepted from 5 to 9:30 p.m.), call Ocean Prime restaurant at 303-825-3663. Check out the celebrity waiter lineup at

Sage Hospitality CEO Walter Isenberg will have his trademark moustache shaved off, if $100,000 can be raised for his wife, Christie's charity, Concerts for Kids.

Sage Hospitality CEO Walter Isenberg will have his trademark mustache shaved off if $100,000 can be raised for his wife Christie’s charity, Concerts for Kids.


Light show

The Denver City and County Building in Civic Center Park changes colors from time to time throughout the year. For September, the lighting color is teal in observance of Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.

One in 71 women will get ovarian cancer in her lifetime, and there is no screening test. The most frequent symptoms are two weeks or more worth of bloating, pain in the abdomen, urinary urgency or frequency and feeling full quickly when eating. Getting diagnosed early can save your life.

Next up: The City and County Building will be bathed in pink lights in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

The Denver City and County Building will be lit up in teal

The Denver City and County Building will be lit up in teal to observe Ovarian Cancer Awareness month in September. (Denver City and County photo)


Dining for a cause

Work Options for Women is Parallel Seventeen’s Dining for a Cause partner for the month of September. All month, mention Work Options for Women and 10 percent of your food purchase will go toward WOW’s mission of helping impoverished women gain skills to get out of poverty and to gain employment in the food service industry.

Kick off Happy Hour from 4 to 7 p.m. this afternoon at Parallel Seventeen, 1600 E. 17th Avenue. More information:

Let go my logo!

When Colorado’s new logo and tagline were unveiled Thursday at The Colorado Innovation Network Summit, Facebook comments lit up the Internet like the City and County building during the holidays.

I asked readers of this column to weigh in on their opinions of the state’s new marketing symbol.

New Colorado Logo

Some said our state’s new symbol reminded them of a hazmat warning. No one who contacted me supported the decision to deviate from the time-honored version of our state flag.

Candice Pulliam wrote, “In my opinion, the new logo design is 1. a waste of money;  2. not very artful;  3.  doesn’t say ‘Colorado’ to me; 4. doesn’t make a strong enough visual to be used in large format … I could go on.

“But mostly, to my knowledge, Denver people weren’t given a choice … To me, this is not an image that identifies Colorado in an interesting or recognizable way. I can, however see it as a tattoo.”

From reader Jules Dworak: “This is an atrocity! Pretty sure the biohazard bag is where they dumped the only logo Colorado should ever have!”

Claire Walter weighed in, “Like the (other) naysayer, it reminded me of Sugarloaf’s long-time logo all in a blah monotone. Bring back this one.”

Gala Grant

One nonprofit will be awarded the first Gala Grant Denver worth an estimated $121,000 in in-kind donations from local industry experts and proceeds to be acquired at the special event through ticket sales and auction items.

Application deadline is Thursday. A major fundraising event will be held to benefit the winner of the Gala Grant Denver award in February, which will tap the resources of some of Denver’s best event specialists.

“The Gala Grant Denver is made possible by a group of presenting partners who decided that giving back to their community together was more powerful than giving individually,” said Shelly St. John, lead auctioneer with The Auction Divas.

These Denver event specialists have come together to offer nonprofits a change at bolstering their fundraising efforts. The Gala Grant presenting partners are:

* The Auction Divas

* Blacktie Colorado

* Bolder Events

* The Hazel Miller Band

* John Tobey Events

* Relish Catering

* The McNichols Building

* Up and Up Creative

Applicants can go to for more information and to apply.

Root Down takes off

Root Down, the lower Highland favorite fresh eatery, opened Monday (Labor Day) in Concourse C of Denver International Airport. The restaurant is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and features a brunch and dinner menu in addition to cocktails, Colorado beers and wine.


Do you know folks who aren’t subscribing to my Blacktie-Colorado column? Say what?

How ’bout if we give them some incentive to sign up. This evening, one lucky subscriber will win two VIP tickets to Denver Food and Wine, the most fun you can have under a tent, from 11 a.m. (VIPs get early admission) till 4 p.m. Saturday on the grounds of the Metropolitan State University of Denver campus.

Here’s the catch: To be eligible to win the tickets, you MUST be a subscriber. This evening, Blacktie’s accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCooper (see, just like the Academy Awards … hee hee), will draw the name of the winner, who will be notified and announced in my Friday column.

To subscribe, go to Click on my icon, then click on “subscribe.” VIPs at Denver Food and Wine get a respite from the heat with umbrella-clad tables, fancy fare from The Brown Palace and fine wines in a private area. Ticket value: $500.

The seen

Pop star and teen heartthrob Justin Bieber and entourage was spotted by Facebook posters on Monday who said they saw him at Beta nightclub, 1909 Blake St., and at Chloe Discotheque on 14th and Market.

Spotted on the snowless slopes, “Today Show” fourth-hour host Hoda Kotb with a “new (male) friend” hiking in Colorado’s mountains during Labor Day weekend.

“We did a 2-mile hike straight up a mountain,” Kotb told co-host Kathie Lee Gifford during Tuesday’s show. “You can’t breathe and your chest is about to explode because of the (lack of) air.”

“He has the nicest smile,” Gifford interjected. “What does he see in you?”

On Kotb’s return flight to NYC, she chatted and posed for pictures with singer Aaron Neville who performed during Denver’s Taste of Colorado at Civic Center Park.

Eavesdropping on one male golfer commenting on another man’s watch on the deck enjoying a beer after golf at Fossil Trace: “That’s a nice watch … is it a Rolodex?”

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. My email: Want to advertise your business here? Contact Trisha at

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