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The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Denver re-earns AAA Five-Diamond ranking

October 23, 2013

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Denver has achieved what no other Denver hotel has earned, and it did it four years in a row.

Hotel general manager Steven Janicek announced Tuesday that the ritzy hotel has been awarded the coveted AAA Five-Diamond designation for 2013, the only Denver hotel in history to be awarded this rating.

The property located at 1881 Curtis St. downtown is among fewer than one-half percent of the 30,000 properties approved by AAA’s professional inspectors to be of Five-Diamond caliber. The Ritz-Carlton Denver boasts the largest guest rooms in the city starting at 540 square feet, Elway’s Downtown steak house, an urban oasis at The Ritz-Carlton Spa and the intimate Ritz-Carlton Club Level.

“I am extremely proud of our hotel’s achievement which could not happen without the genuine, personalized care our ladies and gentlemen provide to our guests every single day,” Janicek said. “By enlivening The Ritz-Carlton service philosophy at every interaction, maintaining this coveted rating was possible.”

The AAA Diamond rating process is considered to be North America’s premier hotel rating program. Only .3 percent of all hotels AAA inspects meet industry standards to achieve Five Diamonds. The association annually evaluates more than 54 million lodging establishments and restaurants, and rates them on a scale of one to five Diamonds.

“Five Diamonds for four years from AAA adds up to some very nice numbers for Denver and a great honor for the city’s hospitality industry,” said Visit Denver spokesmodel Rich Grant.

The Ritz first earned the distinguished distinction four years ago under the helm of then-GM Andrew Rogers, who transferred with the hotel chain to China.

(Ritz-Carlton Hotel Denver photos)

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Denver offers great views of downtown and Elway’s Downtown (below) provides premier dining options at the hotel at 1881 Curtis St. THe hotel earned its fourth consecutive AAA Five-Diamond rating. (Ritz-Carlton Hotel Denver photos)Ritz_Denver_Elways


Hot hotels

Colorado hotels nearly swept Conde Nast Traveler’s 26th annual Readers’ Choice Poll this year. With the exception of two picks in Utah, Colorado’s homes away from home took the rest of the top 10 spots.

Nearly 80,000 readers participated in the 26th annual Readers’ Choice survey, which ranks the world’s best cities, islands, cruise lines, airlines, hotels and resorts and is featured in the November issue of the magazine.

Here are the rankings:

  • 1. Beaumont Hotel & Spa, Ouray
  • 2. Oxford Hotel, Denver
  • 3. Hotel Teatro, Denver
  • 4. St. Julien Hotel & Spa, Boulder
  • 5. Grand America Hotel, Salt Lake City
  • 6. Four Seasons Hotel Denver
  • 7. Brown Palace Hotel and Spa, Denver
  • 8. Ritz-Carlton, Denver
  • 9. Hotel Monaco Denver
  • 10. Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City

See the whole story at http://www.cntraveler.com/readers-choice-awards/united-states/best-hotels-west.

Boulder’s Best Western wins best

The Best Western Plus Boulder Inn received the Champion Best Western Rewards Award and the Best Western Green Award at Best Western International’s Convention held recently in San Antonio, Texas.  The awards were presented in front of more than 4,000 industry peers.

The Champion Best Western Rewards Award is bestowed upon those member properties that demonstrate extraordinary support of Best Western Rewards, Best Western’s guest loyalty program. The Best Western Green Award is given to properties that demonstrate a commitment to sustaining resources and reducing their carbon footprint. Hotels must also meet design and customer care standards, as well as other membership requirements, to qualify.

The Best Western Plus Boulder Inn is one of only five hotels out of more than 2,400 properties in the U.S. and Canada to receive both of these awards.

“The Best Western Champion Awards recognize those Best Western hotels that demonstrate the highest levels of service, design and commitment to our loyalty program,” said Julie Montmaneix, Chairman of Best Western International’s board of directors. “The staff of the Best Western Plus Boulder Inn has a strong commitment to growing and strengthening our loyalty program, a critical guest engagement tool. And their dedication to environmentally-friendly practices is truly admirable. We’re proud of their success.”

Located directly across from the University of Colorado, the newly remodeled Best Western Plus Boulder Inn features 98 rooms, conference facilities, a large outdoor pool and complimentary bicycles. More information: http://www.hotels.com/ho176607/best-western-plus-boulder-inn-boulder-united-states/?gclid=COrR88ykq7oCFclDMgodLlMAYQ.

Best Western Plus Boulder Inn was named the top Best Western in the U.S. (Best Western photo)

Best Western Plus Boulder Inn won two awards during a recent convention of the hotel chain in San Antonio, Texas. (Best Western photo)


Clothing connection at ConneXions

The collection of ConneXions stores in the Southwest Plaza Mall at 8501 W. Bowles Ave. in Littleton, is holding a clothing swap party from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday.

Time to dig out those fall fashions from the back of your closet and swap them for some new pieces. ConneXions will accept clothing, accessories, shoes and jewelry to swap with other thrifty fashionistas.

Each participant should bring five to 10 items to swap, and will receive a ticket for each item they add to the pile. Then, the stores will let you swap till you drop. All items (from any season) should be clean and in good condition.

Drop off your fashions all day on Thursday or between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Friday. All remaining clothing and accessories will be donated to Dress for Success Denver whose mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

Flood relief funds 

AEG Live Rocky Mountains and Live Nation are bringing Colorado’s music community coming together for “Colorado Rising” a night of music to benefit flood relief through www.LiveUnitedColorado.org.  Presented by 97.3 KBCO and CBS4 Denver, the benefit concert takes place beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday at 1stBank Center, 11450 Broomfield Lane, Broomfield, featuring Dave Matthews, The Fray, Big Head Todd and The Monsters, members of The Lumineers, DeVotchKa, Nathaniel Rateliff and more.

“Coloradans unite during crisis – so does the music community,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said. “We are thrilled so many musicians are coming together for this flood relief benefit concert. This is a great way to highlight recovery efforts and raise money at the same time. We are grateful AEG Live, Live Nation and other community partners are stepping up to help Colorado communities impacted by the historic flooding.”

“The fans, musicians and members of Colorado’s music community are always willing to help those in need.  My staff and I are humbled to be a part of this event helping those affected by the floods” said Chuck Morris, President and CEO of AEG Live Rocky Mountains.

All proceeds from the concert will go directly to the United Ways of Colorado Flood Recovery Fund, which  will distribute funds to the United Ways in communities across Colorado affected by the recent flooding. Each community will build collaborations to identify their needs and funds will be used to support their long-term recovery.

Tickets at www.TicketHorse.com, or order at 866-461-6556. TicketHorse also has kiosks located at all Colorado Dick’s Sporting Goods Stores (credit cards only). Reserved tickets are $65-$125 plus applicable service charges.  All ages are welcome.

With the recent floods impacting communities across Colorado, the law firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck launched a firm-wide fundraiser to support the victims of the recent disaster with both financial contributions and in-kind goods.

The firm matched employee contributions with more than $15,000 going to the American Red Cross and the Foothills Flood Relief Fund. The in-kind items were donated to the Community Food Share, ensuring that people in Boulder and Broomfield counties have food, and House of Neighborly Service is providing assistance to individuals and families in need in southern Larimer County.

“As a member of this community, there was no question that we were going to help support flood relief efforts,” said Kristin Stork, director of community relations for Brownstein. “Financial and in-kind contributions came in from not only those attorneys and staff in the Denver office, but from our offices across the country.”

Brownstein also plans on organizing a Karma Project (the firm’s employee volunteer program) in 2014 to further assist in rebuilding efforts.

Eavesdropping on a woman to a man: “You drink tequila? What do you drink with your tequila?”


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: penny@blacktie-llc.com. Want to advertise your business here? Contact Trisha at trilind@hotmail.com.

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Penny Parker On The Town: Plenty of Broncos banter precedes Sunday’s win over Jacksonville

October 16, 2013

Because of a technical glitch, Monday’s column went out to subscribers with only a few lines from the first item.

What was supposed to happen was the launch of a new format that would give subscribers the top item, then direct them to click on the link to the Blacktie-Colorado website in order to drive more traffic there. Let’s hope it works today…

So, here’s what you missed on Monday:

Let’s rewind the clock to a few days before the Broncos victory over the Jaguars, who though winless, were certainly no pushovers in Sunday’s game.

Former Broncos tight end turned CBS Sports commentator Shannon Sharpe, in Denver Sunday to cover the Broncos-Jaguars game, was spotted at his former quarterback, John Elway‘s Cherry Creek steak house Saturday night.

But while he warmly greeted Elway and his wife, Paige, in the restaurant, was he also picking Elway’s pocket? During the “NFL Today” broadcast, Sharpe told fellow football prognosticators James Brown and Dan Marino that he had dined at Elway’s establishment Saturday night.

“I put dinner on John Elway’s tab,” Sharpe said, most likely joking. I can only confirm that Sharpe, joined by fellow former teammate Rod Smith, were there, but who paid is not known.

Meanwhile, back at “The Late Show With David Letterman” last week, lead guest Michael Strahan, star of “Live! With Kelly and Michael” and former New York Giants defensive end, and Letterman discussed Broncos QB Peyton Manning. Although Letterman will always favor his hometown Indianapolis Colts, he can’t “quit” Manning after all his years as the Colts QB.

Here’s the transcript from CBS.com:

Dave asks (Strahan) about Manning: “What’s all that barking he does at the line of scrimmage?  Peyton points and shouts and prances up and down the line yelling instructions to his linemen and backs. What’s he doing?”

Strahan: “It’s a lot of B.S.  Peyton Manning may be smart enough to understand all that yakking he’s doing, but the guys he’s yelling to? The linemen? The other guys on the team? They aren’t that smart. He’s doing it for show. The defense bark, ‘Just snap the ball!!'”



Que bueno!

I took a neighbor to see “Just Like Us,” the play adapted from the book by Helen Thorpe, the estranged wife of Gov. John Hickenlooper, at the Stage Theatre last week.

We were the two mature women sitting in the first few rows with tears streaming down our faces. The story follows the plight of four young Latina women — two who are U.S. citizens and two who are illegal immigrants — as they struggle with their high school, college and post-college years.

At the urging of Kent Thompson, Denver Center Theatre Company’s producing artistic director, Thorpe agreed to let playwright Karen Zacarias transform her words onto the stage.

The result is a riveting performance, which no matter where you stand on immigration, will at least make you think. The cast is simply marvelous and the sets move around almost as fast as the teacup ride at Disneyland.

If you can go, go. “Just Like Us” plays at the Stage until Nov. 3. Tickets: 303-893-4100 or at www.denvercenter.org.

Helen Thorpe wrote 'Just Like Us," which was transformed into a stage play for the Denver Center for the Perming Arts. (Blacktie-Colorado photo)

Helen Thorpe wrote ‘Just Like Us,” which was transformed into a stage play for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. (Blacktie-Colorado photo)


Diamonds are this girl’s best friend

Call it the fickle finger of fate. Call it divine intervention. Or call it just plain luck.

But on Saturday during the annual Champagne and Diamonds gala to benefit Sense of Security, the evening’s last act was a random drawing from a glass bowl full of names who had purchased a chance to win a $12,000 diamond necklace donated by Hadley’s House of Diamonds.

Drum roll, please. The winner was Vicki Tosher, and the crowd gathered at the downtown Grand Hyatt went wild. Tosher founded the breast cancer patient financial support charity 13 years ago after a dear friend had been diagnosed. Tosher is a two-time survivor.

When her name was called, Tosher wobbled toward the dance floor and her prize in sheer shock. Then she fell to her knees.

“I’ve won two other things in my life,” she said after being helped to her feet. “One was a calculator.”

Congratulations, Vicki. There is no one more deserving. Sparkle on, girl!

Playing dress-up

It may be a bit premature for Halloween, but nevertheless, some of Denver’s fiercest supporters of The Denver Center for the Performing Arts will be modeling costumes from the Denver Center Theatre Company’s closet during Theatre Threads from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 23 in the Seawell Ballroom. Proceeds will benefit DCTC and its education programs.

From the looks of the get-ups modeled in the past, this event will upstage a Vegas floor show. This years models are Jeremy Anderson, Jamie Angelich, Fiona Baldwin, Murri Bishop, Keri Christiansen, Sharon Cooper, BJ Dyer, Terri Fisher, Adrienne Ruston Fitzgibbons, Alice Foster, Roger Hutson, Carmel Koeltzow, Gayle Novak, Stacy Ohlsson, Loretta Robinson, Jackie Rotole, Robyn Taylor and (dame) Judi Wolf.

But a would-be thespian also hinted that DCPA chairman and CEO Daniel Ritchie is expected to get into a get-up.

The event features the aforementioned fashion show and luncheon hosted by the Denver Center Alliance.

“I will always remember as a child going to the theatre and being swept away into this magical world filled with lively characters dressed in beautiful costumes,” said event chair Denise Bellucci. “It’s because of fundraising events like Theatre Threads that, not only can the Denver Center for the Performing Arts give a child this wonderful experience and love of the theatre, but they also help support the creation of it.”

Tickets are $100 per person. Reservations: 303-446-4815 or visit www.denvercenter.org/threads.

Judi Wolf will be one of many of Denver's finest citizen's

Judi Wolf will be one of many of Denver’s charitable citizens modeling Denver Center Theatre Company’s costumes at the Oct. 23 event, Theatre Threads, at the Seawell Ballroom. (Denver Center photo)


Wise wine guy

If you haven’t heard Marczyk Fine Foods and Fine Wines owner Pete Marczyk wax poetic about the perfection of wine and food pairings, you’ve missed seeing a showman at his grapey best.

Now’s your chance. Marczyk, along with colleague Maxine DiJulio, will present a selection of some of their favorite Italian holiday wines representing styles you may know but varietals you likely don’t during an event sponsored by The Denver Chapter of the American Wine Society, beginning at 6:30 p.m. today (Oct. 16) at Panzano, inside the Hotel Monaco at 909 17th St.

Each course, prepared by exceptional executive chef Elise Wiggins and her team, will be paired with two wines of similar styles but at different price points. Attendees will compare and contrast these wines and then pick a favorite. After the votes are counted (barring any hanging chads), the price of each will be revealed.

The event is $65 for AWS members and $75 for non-members and guests. Registration is online only by visiting https://www.blacktie-colorado.com/calendar/event-detail.cfm?id=26189.

Eavesdropping on a woman at a recent charity event: “I am growing out my bangs, it’s cheaper than Botox.”

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: penny@blacktie-llc.com. Want to advertise your business here? Contact Trisha at trilind@hotmail.com.

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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 Rebecca@concertsforkids.org.

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 www.concertsforkids.org.

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: http://workoptionsforwomen.wordpress.com/

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 www.facebook.com/galagrantdenver 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 www.blacktie-colorado.com/pennyparker. 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: penny@blacktie-llc.com. Want to advertise your business here? Contact Trisha at trilind@hotmail.com.

High-res images

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Penny Parker On The Town: Amelia Earhart spreads her wings on ‘Today Show’

August 5, 2013

9News traffic and weather reporter Amelia Earhart went national, appearing on the “Today Show” Friday.

Earhart appeared on the NBC morning show, “Today,” to talk about her planned plane flight around the world to re-create her namesake’s deadly trip taken in 1937.

Earhart appeared on “The Today Show” with Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie, Natalie Morales and guest host Carson Daly.

She is taking a two-week trip with Patrick Carter, starting in Oakland, Calif., with stops in Miami, Brazil, Africa, India, Australia and the southern Pacific islands (including Holland Island) before returning to Oakland.

“I’ve been having this conversation by entire life,” Earhart said of the round-the-world flight. “It always comes up. When I think about the best way to honor being a namesake of Amelia it’s about adventure. There’s not a lot of things we’re entitled to, but we’re entitled to developing our own adventure. This is my version of adventure and the best way to keep Amelia ‘s spirit alive.”

See the entire interview at  http://www.today.com/video/today/52651327/#52651327.


I am so sad to report that Lew Cady,  former advertising man and publisher/owner of “Little Kingdom Come,” the tongue-in-cheek newspaper about Central City and Blackhawk, died Sunday morning after a long illness.

I have written about Cady’s antics for years because the “kindly curmudgeon,” as I called him, had a thing about being first at new restaurants and other various establishments. It was his obsession and he kept a journal chronicling his accomplishments. Who’s on first? Lew Cady.

With the exception of this year, I would follow our fearless leader through our routine tour of the National Western Stock Show — with a precise route — that ended (always) in the Cowboy Bar. We’d eat peanuts in the shell that you throw on the floor, and Cady and company would drink Coors original.

I’ll never forget the year that the iconic Cowboy bar added cosmopolitans to the bar menu. I thought Cady would blow a gasket. Another tradition: Cady would smuggle in a beef stick or smoked sausage and cheese to share with his posse.

My heart is breaking for his wonderful wife, Leslie, and his children. The last time I saw Cady was at the Governor’s Mansion during a meeting of the Central City Press Club, a motley crew who just used the gatherings as an excuse to imbibe in adult beverages.

Cady and Gov. John Hickenlooper were the best of friends having attended a number of baseball games away and at home.

The good guv had this statement about Cady’s death: “Life today is not quite today what it was yesterday. In my wallet I carry a couple of yellow post-it notes. They are printed. At the bottom is the Railyard Ale logo, and above it, spread over six lines, is: Coming out,/ all beer is pretty/much/the same./ But going in,/ there is a difference. The whole post-it is double-boxed, and very elegant. Lew created a hundred such pads that he referred to as ‘restroom reminders,’ and we had our wait staff and bartenders “post them” in the rest rooms of our various LoDo competitors. I’ve been carrying them in one wallet or another for almost 20 years. They are pure Lew Cady. We will all miss him tremendously!”

I loved Lew and will miss him terribly. Funeral and/or memorial services are pending.

railyard sticky

This sticky note is one that Lew Cady made for John Hickenlooper when he was a brewpub owner. Hickenlooper would leave the sticky notes advertising his Wynkoop Brewery at his rival restaurants. (Photo courtesy of Devany McNeill)


McIntosh makes it

Mark McIntosh, a long-time media personality and motivational speaker in Denver (see his talents at www.seekvictory.com) and one of the nicest guys you could ever meet, posted and boasted (and rightly so) about an honor he’s been bestowed by his Missouri hometown school system on his Facebook page last week. Here’s the post:

“To all my Raytown South High School Alumni, the weekend of October 11-12 a new class of Hall of Fame members will be inducted into the Raytown Schools Alumni Hall of Fame. I’m honored to be one of the six inductees. Part of the festivities include attending the Ray-South/Raytown game on Friday October 11. I invite all of you to join me and cheer on the Cardinals as they kick the Blue Jays’ butts on the gridiron!”

Congrats, Mark!

Mark MacIntosh will be inducted into the Raytown South High School Hall of Fame in October. (Photo courtesy of seekvictory.com)

Mark McIntosh will be inducted into the Raytown Schools Alumni Hall of Fame in October. (Photo courtesy of seekvictory.com)


Block party

Uptown, the hip neighborhood east of downtown Denver, will host its fourth annual Block Party from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the park at Marion and Park Avenue.

The event is open to the public, and will feature food and live music, and it’s part of Denver Days, during which time Mayor Michael Hancock’s office is asking Denver neighborhoods to get involved with the communities by hosting block parties, organizing service projects and organizing neighborhood activities.

Proceeds from the Uptown Block Party will benefit MetroCareRing, an Uptown food bank.

Entertainment will be provided by Marty Jones and the Great Unknowns and Colfax Dub Allstars. Tom “Dr. Colorado” Noel also will be making a special whiskey keg presentation. Food will be served by Steuben’s, Billy’s Gourmet Hot Dogs, Tony P’s Pizzeria, Taita Peruvian Café and Sweet Cow MooMobile.

For more information, go to www.uptownblockparty.org.

Fashion first

The first annual Urban Nights fashion show on Aug. 23 at Mile High Station is a benefit for Urban Peak, a non-profit organization that provides a full convergence of services for youths ages 15 to 25 who are homeless or at immediate risk of becoming homeless.

The fundraiser will feature a fashion show along Colorado’s longest urban runway showcasing the latest trends from local designers, entertainment by Grammy-nominated Deborah Cox, a silent auction and an after party with a headliner DJ.

The VIP party and silent auction begin at 6 p.m. and doors open for general admission at 7 p.m. The fashion show starts at 8:15 p.m. and the after party begins at 11 p.m.

For more information, go to www.urbannightsdenver.org.

Sign of the times

Sent in by a reader: “I can still remember a sign I saw on a large ranch in Texas. It said: “Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be prosecuted.”

“YIKES! Needless to say, we didn’t enter the property!”

Eavesdropping on a driver and a passenger passing the Denver Dumb Friends League on Quebec Street:

Driver: “I see they’re advertising where you can buy two cats for $15.”

Passenger: “Must be having a sale where every cat must go! Last week, they were selling cats at one for $10 and before that it was one for $17. They keep marking ‘em down; pretty soon they’ll be paying you to take a cat!”

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: penny@blacktie-llc.com. Want to advertise your business here? Contact Trisha at trilind@hotmail.com.

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Penny Parker’s On The Town: Rescue Me cast member bringing band to Denver today

August 3, 2012

As a probie in the New York City Fire Department, Mike Silletti endured countless ribbings from the senior members of 62 Truck, close encounters with a transvestite, a three-way with a stalker and his girlfriend, instances of rushing into burning buildings and personal revelations on the hit FX series Rescue Me during the seven years that actor Michael Lombardi worked on the show.

During a phone interview from New York last week, Lombardi, who will perform with his band Blood Moon Therapy at 10 tonight at the Hard Rock Cafe on Denver’s 16th Street Mall, spoke about his Rescue Me match supreme prem experiences and about putting together the new band post TV series. Part of the proceeds from Friday’s performance will go to support a firefighters’ charity.

“Basically, I have a brand new band,” Lombardi said. “I grew up playing drums and playing in bands. I had a lot of songs and a book of poems written. I filmed Rescue Me in New York for a full seven years. Finally I was able to afford a rehearsal space in New York City.”

In the show, Lombardi and pals play in a bar that he and other firefighters owned to great success. His character, Silletti, considers leaving the crew to be a full-time musician, but changes his mind after a fallen colleague leaves a note imploring the team to stay together.

Lombardi said he got the Rescue Me gig after previously working with series founder Denis Leary. “I worked on a show called The Job with Denis Leary,” he said. “I played the cabana boy. Denis’ character got sunburned, and I ended up hanging with him and his girlfriend the whole episode. About a year after than, I did a show on Comedy Central called Contest Searchlight where I played a young wide-eyed director who won a contest to have a TV show on Comedy Central. A year after that I went for the pilot of Rescue Me.”

Lombardi says the firefighter experience on the show led him to finding a passion to help firefighters’ charities. “Through my relationship with Denis Leary and my experience on Rescue Me, I like to support firefighters as much as I can.” Tickets to the concert are $10 at ticketweb.com.

Celebrating cinco

Five is five. Four of the current group of Colorado chefs – Hosea Rosenberg, Jenna Johansen, Jessica Scott and Jonathan Greschler – will be on hand to celebrate Five’s fifth anniversary from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Fuel Cafe, 3455 Ringsby Court, Denver.

The event is a lobster boil with wine, beer, music and a chefs’ dunk tank. Tickets are $40 at www.fueldinner.eventbrite.com.

Classy Cathey

Cathey McClain Finlon, former advertising agency owner, has retired after a three-year run as president off the Denver Art Museum.

Finlon, who had been a board member before stepping into the president’s role, will return as a member of the board of trustees. Finlon’s mission was to “lighten the DAM’s business operations – attendance, shop sales, fundraising and more – so we could function efficiently with more resources for the fabulous programming the museum is known for, including collections, educational programming and special exhibitions like Yves Saint Laurent, and this fall’s blockbuster, Becoming Van Gogh. Mission accomplished.”

The museum has created a new structure to replace Finlon as president. Curtis Woitte has been promoted to the role of deputy director, chief financial officer, and Andrea Fulton, previously the director of communication, now serves as deputy director, chief marketing officer.

Build a burger

Greenwood Village-based Red Robin will open its third Red Robin’s Burger Works location in Colorado at 11 a.m. Monday at 2700 Arapahoe Ave., on 28th Street and Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder.

Burger Works features some classic Red Robin burgers, but also match supreme txt femmes gives guests a build-your-own-burger option with a variety of toppings including sautéed portabella mushrooms, beer mustard onions or Thai chili ketchup.

The seen

Real Housewife of Beverly Hills cast member Taylor Armstrong at Second Home Kitchen + Bar inside the JW Marriott last week. But why?

Eavesdropping on a woman talking about the separation of Gov. John Hickenlooper and Helen Thorpe: “Marriage is just the countdown to divorce.”

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Penny Parker’s On The Town: Eight-year run of Caplis and Silverman ends

June 25, 2012

Caplis and Silverman, KHOW  radio’s legal Bickersons, ended their eight-year-long show after the broadcast Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. on 630-AM.

Craig Silverman and his talk show partner and foil Dan Caplis will concentrate their efforts on their first profession as lawyers after their radio contract was not renewed, according to Silverman.

“It was a great run for eight years, and I had a lot of fun,” Silverman said Friday. “I’m sure I will be involved in the public sphere for decades to come. I’m going back to my first love, which is law.”

Pat Connor, president and market manager of KHOW owner Clear Channel said, “We sincerely thank Dan and Craig for their eight years here at KHOW and wish them the very best….as for programming it will be a live and local show beginning in the very near future.”

“The future” begins on July 16 — according to the KHOW website.

I was a Friday afternoon contributor for several years where I discussed my week’s worth of columns at The Rocky Mountain News and subsequently at The Denver Post.

While at The Rocky, air jordan 9 I broke the story about my fairly famous fight with then-Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer who lambasted me over the phone after I wrote about his Broncos cheerleader girlfriend (who he later married), even though he had introduced her to media during a public event.

I will miss their banter on the radio, and wish both of them the best.

Fabulous Fourth

Like most Fourth of July celebrating folks, you probably have your favorite spot to take in the light show, but if you’re looking to venture outside of your norm, here are three alternative venues to celebrate the good ol’ US of A.

The really big “shoe” is Independence Eve presented by Anadarko, a free concert by The Colorado Symphony and fireworks display beginning at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 3 (not the Fourth) at Civic Center Park.

Lawn seating is on a first come basis, so early arrival is highly encouraged. Blankets or low-rise beach chairs are allowed.

At the eastern Denver city limits, there will be a free July 4th community concert by the band The Julius Show and fireworks presented by Oakwood Homes at Green Valley Ranch Amphitheater.

The concert takes place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. followed by a fireworks show choreographed to music.

The summer concert series continues on Wednesdays July 11 through Aug. 1. For a schedule and directions to the Amphitheater, visit www.skylineusa.com/oakwood.htm.

Aurora’s fireworks show is spectacular especially when you’re watching from a seat on the grounds of Aurora Hills Golf Course.

Tin Cup owner Cindy Jones puts on a heck of a party air jordan 10 where you bring your own meat to grill, pay a small fee for Jones’ homemade sides, and enjoy the free light show that starts at dark.

Eavesdropping on former Gov. Bill Owens talking about a bit in Denver Stories where he and Gov. John Hickenlooper are playing catch: “He may be a better governor, but I’m a better pitcher.”

Did you hear that I have a new column, “Mile High Life,” debuting 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: penny@blacktie-llc.com.

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Gov. Hickenlooper lauded and lampooned in play about life

June 22, 2012

Gov. John Hickenlooper, Colorado’s 42nd state leader, good-naturedly guffawed his way through this year’s Denver Stories, Curious Theatre Company’s homage to local movers and shakers, staged one-night only Wednesday.

Attendees, who coughed up $1,000 a ticket – a new fundraising strategy this year – dined on buffets by Occasions Caterers, sipped cocktails (including the signature sip The Looper made of tequila, mint, lime, simple syrup and soda) prior to curtain.

Before the world premiere of the play “Riding on a River of Beer: The Life and Times of the Hon. John Hickenlooper”, Curious artistic director and co-founder Chip Walton told the tony air jordan 12 crowd that the theater company had just finished a record-breaking 14th season for ticket sales.

“Writing a play about the governor was quite an experience,” Walton said. “It could have been a six-hour four-act play, but fortunately for you it’s not.”

The plot followed hizzoner’s journey to Colorado as a geologist who ended up a microbrewery pioneer when he was laid off from his geo job.

Throughout the story, high-profile locals and would-be thespians played cameo parts, including drama’s grand dame Judi Wolf, power broker Steve Farber, Hick’s chief of staff Roxane White, money man Blair Richardson, jobs guru Andrew Hudson and Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries.

They all offered sage advice that would land Hickenlooper in the mayor’s office and eventually to the governor’s seat with several jabs along the way about his famously frumpy attire.

After the governor wowed the crowd with a little ditty on the banjo, the Curious cast closed the show with its rendition of the OneRepublic hit “Good Life.” OneRepublic, a national act with roots in Colorado Springs, held a concert at Hickenlooper’s inauguration party.

“Thank you all, this was so much better than I thought it was going to be,” The good guv told the audience.

Morris makes the line-up

During the after-play-party, it was revealed that music man Chuck Morris, President-CEO of the Rocky Mountain Region AEG will be the 2013 Denver Stories subject.

The play will celebrate the concert promoter’s 42 years in the band biz.

“I will have no rules,” Morris told me. “There are not going to be any secrets.”

Bling’s the thing

Fred Meyer Jewelers, the nation’s third largest jewelry retailer, will open a 1,300-square-foot store Wednesday inside the new King Soopers at 15051 E. 104th Ave. in Commerce City.

On opening day, the first 100 Fred Meyer Jewelers customers will receive a free six-piece freshwater pearl bracelet gift set valued at $65. The bracelet set features six different colored cultured freshwater pearls set on a stretch cord.

Customers can also enter to win a Sitara diamond pendant valued at $2,395. Also, there will be special grand opening savings on jewelry, free watch batteries, air jordan 13 complimentary jewelry cleaning and double King Soopers fuel points.

Vesta on TV

Denver’s Vesta Dipping Grill will be featured on The Cooking Channel’s “Unique Eats” Global episode, beginning at 8 p.m. our time on Sunday.

“Crazy to think that we shot this episode nearly a year ago, still we are very excited, and can’t wait to hear what you think,” said executive chef Matt Selby.

Eavesdropping on a woman to a man at Denver Stories:Helen Thorpe, (Hickenlooper’s wife) isn’t here because they couldn’t get a babysitter (for Teddy).”

“Two words: State Patrol.”

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: penny@blacktie-llc.com.

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History Center opens with a bang

April 27, 2012

Wednesday’s grand opening celebration of the History Colorado Center was filled with all the theatrical elements an event could muster: drama, comedy, tragedy, melodrama and denouement.

The evening’s plot opened with a welcome speech by the Center’s CEO Ed Nichols, who addressed the VIP crowd that was invited an hour prior to the party for regular ticket holders.

Nichols acknowledged the companies that were pivotal in the making of History Colorado: Tryba Architects, Trammell Crow developers and Hensel Phelps Construction, Air Jordan Femme whose work force spent more than 700 man years building the building.

“Our aim is not to teach history here but to create excitement about history,” Nichols said. “It’s time to celebrate with you who invest in Colorado’s future every day.”

The History Center opens to the public at 10 a.m. Saturday. Two more phases are to open in 2013 and 2014.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, never one to shy away from a microphone, delivered the message that “Colorado state is more defined by its future than its past. That doesn’t mean that our past isn’t incredibly important.”

He inadvertently provided comic relief for the evening by saying, “Let me introduce our state governor Joe Garcia.”

Lt. Gov. Garcia quipped, “Thank you Lt. Gov. Hickenlooper. I will be brief because the governor wasn’t.”

Mayor Michael Hancock was next up in the batting order. “This has been the longest soft opening I have ever seen,” he said “I have been here for at least 20 events since January. … Congratulations, and let’s get this damn thing open!”

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The plot thickens

Attendees of the History Colorado Center grand opening celebration noshed on bountiful bites provided by K-M Concessions, the center’s exclusive caterer and food vendor.

Passed appetizers included skewered strawberries with prosciutto, mascarpone and fig puree and braised pork belly bites.

The saloon set on the second floor housed a real saloon along with buffets ladened with charred asparagus shooters with lemon caper burre blanc, caprese stack on mini baguettes, bison sliders on brioche, lamb chops with vegetable risotto and mini chicken osso buco with green chili grits.


Denver proprietors of competing houses of ill repute took their differences to a duel during the History Colorado Center grand opening festivities.

The two ladies of the night, in a dispute over the affections (and financial support) of gambler Cort Thompson, decided to put to rest their differences through a duel with pistols at 10 paces.

Thompson, ever the gentleman, “loaded” the wooden guns with rubberband ammo. The ladies, back to back, paced off 10 steps and turned, pistols pointed at each other. But in a dramatic twist, working girls Kate Fulton and Mattie Silks aimed straight at Cort. “It’s all your fault!” they shrieked as they fired the rubberbands.


The first food truck party Rollin’ Against Hunger, a fundraiser for Food Bank of the Rockies, rolls out from 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday at 2920 Larimer St.

Master chef Jake Gandolfo and his wife, Erin, are on a “culinary crusade” traveling the U.S. in a 32-foot RV while cooking and rallying to stamp out hunger.

Mile High Spirits is hosting the mini food truck party along with Crock Spot, Street Eats, NZ Smoking Guns, Mestizo’s, Aiko Pops and United We Feed.

Disco Inferno

Burn baby, burn. Got disco fever? Cherry nightclub at 231 Milwaukee has the cure with a disco tribute to the infamous New York hot spot Studio 54 to celebrate the long-gone club’s 35th anniversary.

So put on your boogie shoes and get your groove on from 6 this evening to 2 a.m. Saturday. More information: cherrydenver.com.

Good eats

Here’s a recap of places where I’ve nibbled and noshed recently:

* The Wooden Table, 2500 E. Orchard Road, Greenwood Village. Chef Brett Shaheen, formerly with Sambuca, Luca d’ Italia and Osteria Marco, and business partner Jane Duncan met at Sambuca and always knew they would open an eatery together.

They’ve created a culinary oasis in the middle of Greenwood Village in the shopping center that shares space with TJ Maxx Home Goods.

Shaheen insists on making all the pastas by hand, and the entrees including the bass and rabbit two ways are outstanding. Duncan is a pastry whiz whipping out housemade limoncello cheesecake and tres dulces cake; woodentablerestaurant.com.

* EDGE in the Four Seasons Denver Hotel, 14th and Arapahoe. Executive chef Simon Purvis and his team have created a spring/summer lunch menu at EDGE that’s filled with fresh ingredients indicative of the season.

Try the spring pea soup, frisee and arugula salad with strawberries and housemade ricotta, heirloom tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella, make your own burger from the burger bar, air jordan 1 and top it off with a Nutella marshmallow shake.

The EDGE “business quickie” menu includes a cup of roasted tomato soup, choice of sesame chicken salad, tamari glazed salmon or kobe slider, and chocolate brownie for $18. More at fourseasons.com/denver.

* Ambria, 16th Street Mall and Larimer St. I’ve loved this restaurant since it opened with chef Jeremy Kittleson, who’s since moved on. New chef Gabe Balenzuela from The Oceanaire Seafood Room is now putting his own stamp on the menu by bringing in more fish and shellfish dishes. Plus, the restaurant hired new marketing man Jim Guttau who threw a killer party Monday to show off Balenzuela’s kitchen skills.

The menu is eclectic new American with an outstanding halibut and granola-encrusted lambchops. Lunch and dinner Monday through Friday, brunch Saturday and small plates Sunday. Happy hour 2:30 to 6:30 Monday through Saturday with $5 glasses from a choice of 10 wines. Parking validated after 4 p.m. in the Tabor Center; ambriadenver.com.

* Margs Taco Bistro, two locations: 1519 Wynkoop and 200 Fillmore. Margs is part of the street taco craze, along with Pinche Tacos, El Diablo and the up and coming T|ACO from Troy Guard and the H Burger boys.

Margs goes beyond the Mexican borders to translate taco technology into global cuisine. Tacos include Italian caprese, asian chicken and slaw with peanut sauce, bietnamese banh mi, Korean portk, Caribbean jerk and Indian chicken vindaloo; margstacobistro.com.

Eavesdropping on a wife to her husband: “Honey, the Today show says you’re supposed to ask me how I’m doing and say that you love me three, four or five times a day.”

“Good gawd!”

My Facebook page has moved. Be sure to like it! Also, here’s where you go to get my column emailed to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.



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Madame Kate Fulton, gambler Cort Thompson and Gov. Hickenlooper

April 25, 2012


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