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GM retiring from lap of Neiman Marcus luxury

February 27, 2015

Christel Dikeman, vice president and general manager of Neiman Marcus Denver, has announced that she will retire from her 29-year stint with the luxury retailer on March 6.

Dikeman has spent 23 of her her 29 NM years at the Denver store. Dikeman began her career with Neiman Marcus in 1986 as the merchandise manager at the Prestonwood store in Dallas, Texas. In 1991, she moved to Denver for a sister position, which she held until 1995. That September she was promoted to vice president/general manager, a position she has held for 20 years.

During her retirement, Dikeman said she plans to pursue personal interests.

“After 40 years in the retail community, deciding to retire was a very thoughtful decision,” Dikeman said. “The decision was a culmination of several factors, but the main reason was the flexibility to travel and to spend time with my family – especially with my dad – which is now more important to me than ever before. This is also a great time to pass the torch to someone new – someone who will continue to take the Denver store to the next level of success. This is not the next chapter in my life, I’m writing a new book!”

What Dikeman said she will miss most about the job is the daily interactions with associates and customers.

Her fondest NM memory?

“The memories of our store and community events from the last 25 years are incredible,” she said. “From appearances by key fashion designers, to special fashion shows like Western Fantasy, to hosting Sarah, the Duchess of York, or Stanley Marcus himself – those are experiences you don’t often have. How do you forget those things? They’re imbedded in my memory.”

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DCPA names new chief

February 27, 2015

The Board of Trustees of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts has named Scott Shiller as its new president and chief executive officer. Daniel Ritchie, who has served as both CEO and chairman of the board of trustees since 2007, will continue as chairman.

Shiller comes to the DCPA from the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami where he served as executive vice president since 2007. At the Arsht Center, he oversaw major programming and marketing initiatives, which in his first year, led to a $3.3 million turnaround with a growth in average ticket sales from 43 to 70 percent and a 76 percent increase in attendance. Under his leadership, the Center’s programming continued to experience broad growth and now includes more than 500 public performances, nearly 900 ancillary events and more than 500,000 guests each year. He is committed to the creation of new work and has presented 12 world premiere plays and musicals at the Arsht Center.

As CEO of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Shiller will work collaboratively to achieve the DCPA’s mission — to be the most engaging theater organization in the nation. At the core of this goal is a renewed focus on all of the DCPA’s audiences. “The community’s appetite for and support of theater makes Denver audiences among the best in the country,” Shiller said. “I am extremely excited to be a part of, learn from and contribute to the DCPA’s next evolution as it connects artists and audiences together.

“I’m excited to join such a robust arts community. The NEA recently ranked Colorado first in the nation in theater, concert hall and museum attendance, and the DCPA plays a major part in that success. Its reputation as one of the nation’s preeminent arts organizations coupled with its commitment to new works and national tour launches makes Denver and Colorado the envy of writers, directors and artists around the country. I’m excited to add fuel to the engine as the DCPA cements its position as a national leader.”

“Scott joins us at a pivotal time in the DCPA’s history,” Ritchie said. “Following an extensive analysis of our priorities, our emphasis will be on deepening and enriching relationships with our entire community. Scott’s leadership will enable me to focus on board matters and reauthorization of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District in 2016.”

Prior to the Arsht Center, Shiller presented and produced shows in major cities across the country, serving as vice president of programming at The Chicago Theatre and LA’s Kodak Theatre, director of programming and engagement manager at Boston’s On the Line Company, and as theater and Marketing manager for Broadway in Boston. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Emerson College in 1997 and was named to the prestigious 40 Under 40 by the South Florida Business Journal. His civic involvement has been considerable: he’s served as chairman of The Carbonell Awards and The Rosie Herrera Committee; served as an active member of The Broadway League, Tony Awards, Sylvester Cancer Gala and Edinburgh Fringe Festival and supported a number of local and national charities.

“The DCPA leadership has created a strong foundation for continued artistic success,” Shiller said. “I can’t wait to get started.”

A complete biography may be found at www.denvercenter.org/scott-shiller.

Scott Shiller_Photo

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Pagliacci’s scraped space makes way for mixed-use development

February 27, 2015

The 33rd Avenue and Navajo Street piece of land that used to house Pagliacci’s, a longtime Denver eatery, will be redeveloped as Lumina, a 70,000-square-foot mixed-use development in the Lower Highlands neighborhood, according to a story in The Denver Business Journal.

The first occupants will take up residence on March 1.

Lumina, a 70,000-square-foot mixed-use development in Denver’s Lower Highlands neighborhood, will get its first occupants March 1 on a site well-known to longtime Denverites.

The site used to be home to Pagliacci’s, which closed in 2012 after 66 years in business. The building was sold and torn down to make way for the Lumina project.

“Lumina includes 6,000 square feet of retail space and 61 apartments that range in size from 550 to 1,250 square feet,” The Business Journal story said. “Base Coat Nail Salon and There Bar, both Colorado-owned businesses, will open in the retail space, with a third tenant being considered.

“The project was built by Treehouse Brokerage & Development and Cavaliere Enterprises, both based in Denver.

“The namesake Pagliacci’s sign has been converted into a garden box inside the lobby of the Lumina project, according to Denver’based Tres Birds Workshop, the architect on the project. Lumina also reuses neon lights that used to hang at Pagliacci’s.”

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Tavern Group opens new whiskey concept

February 27, 2015

Last month, The Tavern Hospitality Group quietly unveiled a new concept, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, at 2907 Huron St., a stone’s throw away from Coors Field.

With a nod to the area’s history, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot embraces the character of the historical industrial district that was centralized around a major railroad intersection. In keeping with the essence of the former bag factory, industrial materials such as concrete, steel and wood are incorporated into the building design. Nostalgic black and white photos of Denver in the 1930s pay homage to the Prohibition era. In addition to a street-side patio, a rooftop patio with community tables made from repurposed wood provides an expansive view of the city.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot features more than 90 whiskeys including Pappy Van Winkle, a whiskey that has a small production and can be hard to find. Cameron Rogers, regional manager, was able to collect the full Pappy Van Winkle line up; however, with its rarity, it will only be available for a limited amount of time. Rogers handpicked a Knob Creek 12-year single barrel whiskey on a visit to the Jim Beam distillery in Kentucky. It will be bottled exclusively for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and be available in the next few months. Cocktails that are barrel-aged in-house will rotate seasonally. Beer lovers have many options with 30 rotating taps and a large selection of craft beers.

Tavern Hospitality Group owner, Frank Schultz, relished the opportunity to develop a new concept. “I wanted a whiskey-focused concept with engaging bartenders who were very educated about whiskeys and talented at handcrafting cocktails. At the same time, I didn’t want the experience to be intimidating to guests who aren’t whiskey connoisseurs. It was important to me to create a welcoming unpretentious environment that allowed the bartenders to share their passion. Offering a small but exceptional menu was a priority as well.”

The menu features home-style classics with a modern twist. Shareables such as pork wings, seared tuna tacos and glazed Brussels sprouts are great for the table. For entrees, try the signature Foxtrot fried chicken or tender braised pot roast on a baguette. Dessert specialties include the ice cream sammy (made with frozen cookie dough), fried apple rings with bourbon anglaise and house made milkshakes.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Valet parking is available from 4 to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

For more information, go to www.whiskeytf.com or call 303-226-1540.

The Tavern's new concept, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, serves Asian salad with seared tuna, fried chicken and pork wings in its varied menu. (Tavern Hospitality Group photos)

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Roll the dice to help needy families at HOPE Center fundraiser

February 27, 2015

In celebration of 50 years of service to the Denver community , the HOPE Center will host its 10th Annual Vintage Vegas Casino Night, “As We Are Chosen, We Remain Golden,” from 7:30 p.m. to midnight March 7 at Sherman Event Center, 1770 Sherman St.

The evening’s festivities will include casino games, food, live and silent auctions and dancing to the sounds of Mary Louise Lee and her band.  Tickets for this event ($75 general admission/$125 VIP admission) may be purchased at www.blacktie-colorado.com (event code: HC3715) or by contacting HOPE Center at 303-388-4801.

Since its founding, HOPE Center has provided education services to more than 50,000 children and their families at its inner-city locations.  At the 3400 Elizabeth St. site, the 501(c)3 community-based nonprofit agency offers nationally accredited, top-rated early childhood education programs for toddlers and preschoolers (HOPE Center has a contract with Denver Public Schools and is a community preschool program site), and the HOPE Academy Gifted Program (preschool and kindergarten).  HOPE’s vocational program delivers supervision, assessment, training and placement, employment and community activities to adults (16 and older) who have been diagnosed with developmental or secondary disabilities, is at 3475 Holly St.

Funds raised from Vintage Vegas Casino Night event will be used for tuition assistance, school supplies, parent education, staff development and to support children who live below federal poverty guidelines.

For more information about HOPE Center and its programs, visit http://hopecenterinc.org/.

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Laugh line: Today’s eavesdropping

February 27, 2015

Eavesdropping on Facebook posted by a self-employed man from his Greenwood Village home:

“I can’t believe my boss didn’t shut down the office today because of the snow. What a grinch!”


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Fort Collins’ resident actor Ashton’s film to debut at South by Southwest

February 25, 2015

John Ashton, Fort Collins’ most notable resident, returned to the big screen to play the title role in “Uncle John,” and indie film set in rural Wisconsin and Chicago.

The movie, which marks the silver screen comeback for the actor who famously played Det. Sgt. John Taggart in the Eddie Murphy vehicles “Beverly Hills Cop” and “Beverly Hills Cop II,” is having its world premiere at the SXSW (South by Southwest) festival in Austin, Texas, next month.

“Uncle John” is an intimately told story that revolves around the struggle to keep a mysterious disappearance unsolved.

“Well gang. What can I say?,” Ashton said in a Facebook post. “‘Uncle John’ will be in the one of 10 finalists in the SXSW film festival in Austin in March. I am so proud of this film! Not only for myself, but for the incredible young filmmakers involved. It was so refreshing to get back to my ‘roots’ and work with some very young filmmakers who share the ‘dream.’ As Stanislavski once said, ‘Love the Art in yourself, not yourself in the Art’. My fellow artists have achieved that goal. Thank you all. See you in Austin!”

Ashton plays the title character who is a level-headed guy who helps out his neighbors with fix-it jobs in rural Wisconsin.

“He’s Uncle John,” Ashton said. “Everybody loves him. He fixes people’s water pipes and cabinet doors. The honesty of the character I loved.”

For more information, go to www.unclejohnfilm.com/.

(Courtesy of Uncle John Facebook page)

(Courtesy of Uncle John Facebook page)

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Music man Daniels pays tribute to cancer diagnosis five years ago

February 25, 2015

Chris Daniels, the local vocal lead of Chris Daniels and The Kings, is a survivor. Monday marked five years since he was diagnosed with leukemia.

To show his gratefulness, Daniels posted this on his Facebook page:

“A little letter of thanks. Five years ago tonight I went into the hospital because my heart was fluttering. Turned out that 40 percent of my blood was mud. I had Leukemia, AML-M4 with an flt3 chromosome mutation to be exact. I’m alive today because of the care of great doctors and nurses, the love of my family, my girl and friends plus a remarkable gift – a bone marrow transplant from my amazing sister Jane. All that and the love and prayers of so many of you all. The orange letter behind my ‘tree’ was a letter of encouragement from my family and friends. Thank you all.

“My actual five-year anniversary for my transplant is not until July 5 – so no celebration for another few months. This day is always a strange one for me. I think anybody who goes through loss or trauma feels a little off on the anniversary of the event. But this Feb 23, today, was beautiful. Cold, crisp winter sun. With the blessings of the good lord and the kindness of so many I will get to my anniversary and beyond. But this Feb 23, I’m sending thanks to all and big hugs. CD.”

Daniels and his band are a gift to Denver’s ever-growing music scene. Thanks for fighting and winning the battle, Chris.


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One night only: “Bee Gees Show” serenades The Buell

February 25, 2015

“The Australian Bee Gees Show” plays The Buell Theatre one night only at 8 p.m. March 5. Tickets are on sale now at Denvercenter.org or by calling 303-893-4100.

Annerin Productions, the company that brought you “RAIN – A Tribute to The Beatles”; the internationally acclaimed Broadway show “Let It Be”; direct from London’s West End and Broadway, Jason Bonham’s “Led Zeppelin Experience” and “PFX – The Pink Floyd Experience” have now partnered up with SPI Entertainment to present “The Australian Bee Gees Show”, a celebration of one of the most influential and famous musical groups of all time.

Get ready for the new “The Australian Bee Gees Show”, a multimedia theatrical concert experience that takes a nostalgic trip through the legacy the Bee Gees left behind while celebrating more than four decades of the infectious music written by the Gibb brothers.

The Australian Bee Gees Show captures state of the art sound, live camera images and vivid graphics.  From early hits (“Massachusetts,” “New York Mining Disaster 1941,” “To Love Somebody”) to later classics (“Stayin’ Alive” and “You Should Be Dancin’”) this show will have you reliving your favorite Bee Gees moments. Audiences are invited to bust out their best disco moves before the show with special guest DJ Jimmy Z, a Las Vegas entertainer and emcee who packs the house with funky beats to get the party started.

Single tickets for The Australian Bee Gees Show start at $35. To charge by phone, call Denver Center Ticketing Services at 303-893-4100 (TTY: 303-893-9582). Groups of 10 or more: 303-446-4829. Purchase in person at The Denver Center Ticket Office, located at the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby. Buy and print online at www.DenverCenter.org.

For more information on “The Australian Bee Gees Show” visit: ABGSHOW.com.

(ABGshow.com photo)

(ABGshow.com photo)

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