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I lost a friend, and Denver has lost a great community leader

August 31, 2015

It grieves me to my very soul to have to report the death of Michael “Mike” Gaughan, chairman and co-founder of MGA Communications, one of the primo PR firms in Denver. He died Tuesday from complications from surgery. He was 77.

Mike, who has been with his life and business partner Jeff Julin forever, was a beloved friend of mine. Mike, Jeff and a guest and I would go to dinner quarterly at Barolo Grill, and have such a great time eating numerous courses and drinking vodka.

He had had some health scares, but always roared back. This time he lost the battle. I am so sad.

From his official obituary:

Mike has worked in the public relations and marketing field since the late 1970s. He has more than 40 years of experience developing public and community engagement programs based on a mutual-gains approach.

Mike will tell you his career really began when he was hired at the age of 15 as a marquee boy for the Dundee Theatre in Omaha. From that humble beginning, Mike rose in the ranks of the theater chain until he was promoted and became responsible for all advertising and marketing for the circuit. In the mid-’80s Mike founded his own public relations firm which has morphed into MGA Communications.

Mike is a recognized leader in program design with a talent for melding communications tools into unique programs for an extensive list of clients.
Since 1985, Mike has served as MGA’s team leader directing Shell Oil’s outreach program at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal while providing assistance to the U.S. Army and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The site is now a premier, urban national wildlife refuge attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. In 2010, the international public relations publication The Holmes Report called the outreach program at RMA one of the top five of the decade.

Mike also led MGA’s community engagement program for the Regional Transportation District’s West Line, 12.1 miles running from Denver’s Union Station to Golden in Jefferson County. MGA’s successful program engaged citizens and elected officials from a broad number of differing government jurisdictions, business districts and ethnic neighborhoods.

What a lovely man, and I am so lucky to have had him in my life. Rest in peace, my friend.


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Queerbots improv group lampoons Presidential hopefuls

August 31, 2015

The award winning comedy of “The Queerbots” is back. And this time, there’s gonna be Hell Toupee! On Sept. 12, the Comedy Improv troupe will tackle Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, the Presidential primary, gay marriage and more.  Using only audience suggestions, The Queerbots will improvise a wild night of unscripted comedy, almost as funny as Ted Cruz.

The performance will also include celebrity guest improviser, radio personality Larry Ulibarri, of the No. 1 rated KS107.5 morning radio show.  Anything could happen, and it’s entirely up to the audience.

The Queerbots will play Hamburger Mary’s “Club M” at 8 p.m. Sept. 12.  Tickets are $10 and available for purchase at www.queerbots.com

The Queerbots are Denver’s first and only GLBTQ Improv Troupe.  The group was founded by six performers who have been entertaining Denver audiences for years:  Sarah Kirwin, Michelle Marlowe, Britt Swenson, Jon Jon Lannen, Ashley Scroggins and Chris Parente.  Together, they bring more than 100 collective years of Improv experience, and their full biographies can be found at their website:  www.queerbots.com.


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Denver Biscuit Co. will join Stanley Marketplace development in Aurora

August 31, 2015

Denver Biscuit Co. is the sixth restaurant in as many weeks to announce it will join Stanley Marketplace, which will open its doors within the former Stanley Aviation headquarters at 2501 Dallas St. in Aurora next year.

Its first single-concept store (not connected to sister restaurants Fat Sully’s or The Atomic Cowboy), Denver Biscuit Co. at Stanley will serve gourmet sandwich and biscuit entrees for breakfast and lunch, as well as beer and craft cocktails in a casual full-service environment. The company’s mobile Biscuit Bus has had a presence at the Stapleton Farmer’s Market for the past five years, which prompted Denver Biscuit Co. to consider adding a brick-and-mortar location nearby.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that we feel so honored to be a part of,” said Drew Shader, owner of Denver Biscuit Company. “We just couldn’t pass up a project with this many talented and passionate people working together in one space.”

Comprised of more than 100,000 square feet on 22 acres, Stanley Marketplace aims to become the community’s new centerpiece, and will be home to a spacious community park, indoor/outdoor event venue, office space and a wide array of dining, shopping and recreational options.

Flightline Ventures, a Stapleton-based firm comprised of longtime neighborhood residents who saw a need for a community-based marketplace and sought to fulfill it, is behind the development of Stanley. Partners Mark Shaker, Lorin Ting and Megan Von Wald teamed with the City of Aurora to make the vision a reality. Aurora also recognized the need for a gathering place in the neighborhood, and made the group aware of the building, which had previously been vacant for several years. The marketplace will represent the first stage of redevelopment activity along Westerly Creek, part of Aurora’s long-term plan for urban revitalization.

“Denver Biscuit Co. helps to round out what we think is a stellar lineup of restaurant offerings at Stanley,” Shaker said. “We can’t wait to serve the community.”

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Tour de Fat rolling into Denver Sept. 12

August 31, 2015

Dust off the costume, shine up the bike and get ready for the annual Tour de Fat when it rolls into Denver Sept. 12 at City Park. The daylong event is free, yet all donations and proceeds from beer and merchandise sales go to Denver-area non-profits.

“Maybe you already bike all over town, or you’re a weekend warrior, or just a little bike curious,” said Matt Kowal, New Belgium Brewing’s Tour de Fat impresario. “If so, this is for you. It’s a summer stew of sorts where we all come together, let our alter egos shine with no inhibitions. You’ll find dancing, contests, bike swapping, music making and a tiny tent where anything can happen. It’s one carnival you’ll actually regret missing.”

Some of the eclectic entertainment includes co-headliners Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds – who recently performed on “The Today Show“– and The Suffers, a 10-piece band from Houston recently featured on the “Late Show with David Letterman“, who will bring the redefined sound of Gulf Coast Soul to the Mile High City.

Brewing education, a bicycle revival, rideable art bikes, a “Thousand Person Dance Contest” to win a New Belgium cruiser bike, yo-yo performers, vaudeville acts and a fashion show are also in the mix. In addition, Tour de Fat’s Le Tigre Grande variety tent ups the ante, adding more entertainment options from past years.

Everyone 21 and older can sample new and classic favorites from New Belgium, including the brewery’s flagship brew, Fat Tire, New Belgium’s latest year-round offering, Slow Ride Session IPA, and selections from the acclaimed Lips of Faith series.

As for the fundraising, the entire 2014 season raised more than $625,000, with the Denver stop bringing in a record-breaking $101,003. This year, all funds raised in Denver will go to BikeDenver and The Denver Cruisers.

Every year, New Belgium gets one brave role model to step on stage to trade in his or her car keys for a bike, pledging to live car-free for one year. Each swapper is awarded a stipend to buy his or her own commuter bike. Car-for-Bike swappers are chosen after submitting an application describing why they are ready to give up their vehicle for the gift of two wheels. This year, the Car-for-Bike swapper in Denver will be New Belgium’s 100th bicycling hero. The beer brewers would love to hear from interested swappers. Apply at NewBelgium.com/Events/Tour-de-Fat/CarTrader.

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Dunkin’ Donuts salutes firefighters with free coffee

August 31, 2015

Dunkin’ Donuts is fighting fire with coffee during Colorado’s annual Firefighter Appreciation Week Sept. 12-18. As the official coffee sponsor of Firefighter Appreciation Week in Denver, Dunkin’ Donuts (Denver metro area only) will provide a free medium iced or hot coffee to all firefighters in recognition of their brave contribution to the Denver metro community.

Participating Denver-area Dunkin’ Donut Locations are:

* 2001 Sheridan Blvd. Edgewater

* 366 Broadway Denver

* 16611 E Smoky Hill Rd. Aurora

* 8775 Washington St. Thornton

* 7615 W 88th Ave. Westminster

* 3235 28th St. Boulder

* 2801 S College Ave. Ft. Collins

* 2323 S Havana St. Aurora

* 4761 Tower Rd. Denver

* 9595 E Arapahoe Rd. Greenwood Village

* 4760 W Mineral Ave. Littleton

* 1530 Main St. Windsor

* 102 E 29th St. Loveland

Dunkin’ Donuts in Denver is a supporter and sponsor of this year’s Firefighter Appreciation Week. Firefighter Appreciation Week has been celebrated annually in Colorado since 2011. Across Colorado, businesses and communities join together to say, “Thank you,” to the brave men and women who play an important role in keeping our communities safe. For more information about Firefighter Appreciation Week, go to www.firefighterappreciationweek.org.

Founded in 1950, Dunkin’ Donuts is America’s favorite all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods. Dunkin’ Donuts is a market leader in the hot regular/decaf/flavored coffee, iced coffee, donut, bagel and muffin categories. Dunkin’ Donuts has earned the No. 1 ranking for customer loyalty in the coffee category by Brand Keys for eight years running. The company has nearly 11,000 restaurants in 33 countries worldwide. Based in Canton, Mass., Dunkin’ Donuts is part of the Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: DNKN) family of companies. For more information, visit www.DunkinDonuts.com.

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Laugh line: Today’s eavesdropping

August 31, 2015

Eavesdropping on Facebook: “My bank just called to ask if I had, indeed, spent $36 on Rockies’ tickets last week. I guess they couldn’t believe someone would pay for them, either.”

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Neiman Marcus Denver introduces Truly NM collection of designer duds

August 28, 2015

Neiman Marcus Denver is introducing Truly NM, a curated collection of exclusive items developed specifically for Neiman Marcus in partnership with more than 50 of the world’s top design houses. Participating vendors include, but are not limited to, Christian Louboutin, Gucci, Givenchy, Prada, Valentino, Tom Ford, Donna Karan, rag & bone, Moncler and Shinola. This ongoing initiative brings exclusive products spanning all categories including men’s and women’s apparel and accessories, beauty and fragrance, children’s, home and pet.

In an effort to highlight Neiman Marcus’ outstanding vendor relationships, Neiman Marcus is bringing Truly NM to all 41 stores and online. “We have incredible vendor partners with some of the greatest brands in the world.” said Jim Gold, Neiman Marcus president and chief merchandising officer. “We developed Truly NM to present these exclusive products in a comprehensible and compelling way.”

There are several themes addressed throughout the Truly NM collection. J Brand Jeans, Current/Elliott, AG Adriano Goldschmied, FRAME, rag & bone, and 7 For All Mankind each created distressed or embellished denim. A range of poncho styles, on-trend for fall, are offered from Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry Prorsum, Alexander McQueen, Escada, Derek Lam, Etro, and Brunello Cucinelli. Others took cues from Neiman Marcus’ iconic butterfly, working the inspiration into designs. Prada created a whimsical satchel and clutch with a print of a woman with a butterfly atop her head and Manolo Blahnik covered its Hangisi pump and flat shoes in a butterfly-print satin.

In-store signage and displays highlight the Truly NM product, which begins delivering to stores this month. Items are easily recognizable to customers with a designated yellow Truly NM hangtag or sticker. Die cut yellow butterflies adorn Truly NM mannequins. Online shoppers may visit www.neimanmarcus.com/trulynm.

rag & bone Alexander McQueen 4 Judith Leiber

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Biennial of the Americas closes this weekend with special events

August 28, 2015

The Biennial of the Americas celebrates the closing weekend of the 2015 festival with events and exhibitions taking place Friday through Sunday.

A team of inspiring artists, innovators and experts explored the theme “NOW!,” examining today’s exceptional times in the Western Hemisphere. This year’s Biennial hosted more than 100 events throughout the summer with more than 25,000 participants attending the six-day opening week program of events, bringing together nearly 60 artists, speakers and international leaders representing more than 25 countries.

“The 2015 Biennial exceeded our expectations for audience engagement and network building,” said Erin Trapp, Biennial CEO and executive director. “We are clearly building positive and productive relationships in countries across the hemisphere, as well as increasing cultural understanding of our shared opportunities and challenges.   Our 2016 summit in Brazil will extend this work in an important and promising country with close ties to Colorado.”

As the 2015 Biennial opening week comes to a close, patrons can still enjoy various art exhibits and performances.

  • Through Sunday: Now? NOW! – the main exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. A group exhibition with works by a number of artists including Robert Longo, André Komatsu, Karl Haendel, Adam Pendleton, Kari Altmann and more.
  • Through Sunday: Implant – Installation at Commons Park by Marcela Armas which is sited in both Denver and Mexico City, creating a visual dialogue between the two cities. Special event from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday: What is the Status of Public Space featuring Gordon Robertson of Denver Parks and Recreation and Jeff Shoemaker of the Greenway Foundation
  • Through Sunday: I Am The Future – An abstract video work by Mexican artist Erick Meyenberg at the Denver International Airport, featuring students from the Montbello high school drill team.
  • Through Sunday: Oíd el Sueño de una Palabra / Listen to the Dream of a Word at the Biennial Pavilion is a collaboration between Mexico City curatorial collective de_sitio and Museo Comunutario de Valle de Xico, a museum in Mexico City created to protect the city’s artifacts.
  • Saturday and Sunday: Transdisciplinary Design Workshop at the Biennial Pavilion. This workshop experience is focused on the theme of collaboration and technology that enables an incredible network of geographic, human skill diversity and local resources to collectively take action on matters ‘Now’ for the human good.
  • Saturday and Sunday: BMoCA’s Poetry and Performance Café: line break/disrupting rhythms at the Biennial Pavilion (1550 Wewatta St.) featuring Poetry NOW! & Tomorrow events.

For additional information on the exhibitions, images and hours, please visit www.biennialoftheamericas.org. 


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PalletFest Upcycling Festival makes trash into treasure

August 28, 2015

PalletFest is Colorado’s first major Upcycling Festival. What most people think of as waste, PalletFest organizers turn find new and amazing uses for all types of trash including the humble wood pallet. Free to the public, this event is open to all ages.

Attendees choosing to splurge on the VIP ticket ($35 on Saturday, and $30 on Sunday) will get all-you-can-drink spirits from locally produced Yolo Rum and Peach Street Distillers, an exclusive PalletFest koozie by Green Guru, a baked goodie from The Cupcake Cabin, a swag bag from The Green Solution and primo seats for live music and fashion show. Unlimited beer will be provided by Oskar Blues and Broken Compass Brewery.

Event hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Sculpture Park at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. VIP tickets available at https://www.palletfest.com/vip.html.

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