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Gov. Hickenlooper lauded and lampooned in play about life

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 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, 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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Penny Parker’s On The Town: Elephant waltzes into downtown Denver

Hey, there’s an elephant on my street; how he got there I’ll never know.

If you’re in the vicinity of Curtis and 18th streets on Saturday, don’t be surprised to see an elephant lumbering toward The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Denver.

The elephant entry signifies the third and final wedding ceremony between an East Indian doctor and his American wife. Three ceremonies are planned with the last being an Indian tradition of having the bride arrive at the reception location aboard an elephant being trucked in from California for the occasion.

I’ve been told that there will be street closures and off-duty police officers along the route. “I understand they’ve taken out tons of (city) permits,” said a source. Representatives from the mayor’s office could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Get your grill on

It’ll be a hot time in the old town when a slew of chefs fire up their grills and serve up sliders during the fourth annual Hot Rocks Griller Challenge, a fundraiser for the Denver Health Foundation’s men’s health programs, from 6 to 9 p.m. June 13 at Elway’s Cherry Creek.

Roughly 16 of the top local chefs will get their grill on to compete for top honors in the slider competition where the winner is determined by popular vote. Attendees can purchase chips (votes) from $5 to $100, and flip chips into the receptacles on their favorite chefs’ tables. Each chef will concoct a creative slider plus a side dish that will be paired with a wine.

The heated competition represents some of Denver’s best culinary talent including: Steve Ballas (Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs), Robert Bogart (Elway’s Downtown), Michael Bortz (City Bakery), Jamey Fader (Lola, Big Red F Restaurant Group), Troy Guard (TAG, TAG Raw Bar, Madison Grill), Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja, Bistro Vendome, Euclid Hall), Simon Purvis (EDGE Restaurant), Paul Reilly (formerly of Encore), Matt Selby and Brandon Biederman (Vesta Dipping Grill, Steuben’s), Goose Sorensen (Solera), Darrel Truett (Barolo Grill), Tyler Wiard and Aniedra Nichols (Elway’s Cherry Creek), Elise Wiggins (Panzano) and Sean Yontz (El Diablo).

Denver’s own Chris Daniels and the Kings will provide musical entertainment. Guests can also “pay to play” the Hyde Park Jewelers High Striker test of skills game. Event chairs Michael Pollak (Hyde Park) and John Elway (Broncos, Hall of Fame) will fan the fun.

Tickets are $100 apiece or $250 for early admission and entrance to the VIP Lounge. Purchase them at denverhealthfoundation.org.

In memoriam

Hank Dire, owner of the iconic Bonnie Brae Tavern, died Monday at age 84. Hank had worked at the family restaurant since he was 5 years old.

Most Precious Blood Catholic Church, 3959 E. Iliff Ave., will be the location for a memorial service at 10 a.m. Monday.

Another long-time Colorado restaurateur Timothy Lee Galloway died last November, but the current issue of  issue of Golf Digest tells the touching story of how his son, Winn, took his dad for a round of golf at Pebble Beach where Tim scored a hole in one.

Tim worked at Boulder restaurants including Flagstaff House, Red Lion Inn, Potter’s, the restaurants at the Boulderado Hotel and Cork n’ Cleaver.

Check out the Golf Digest story (have your hanky nearby) here.

Dad’s day

Four local men may be captains of industry and pillars in the community, but they are most proud of being a dad.

Walt DeHaven, vice president and general manager of CBS4; Steve Erkenbrack, president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Health Plans; Greg Feasel, executive vice president and COO of the Colorado Rockies and Jeff Jones, co-president and CFO of Vail Resorts, were lauded Wednesday night during the Father of the Year Awards, a fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association.

The ballroom at the Grand Hyatt was packed with supporters who were treated to touching video tributes from children of the honored fathers.

Evening emcee CBS4 anchor Jim Benemann warmed up the crowd with some of his own “dad-isms”.

“I remember my dad fondly for the things he taught me such as, ‘Oh, I’ll give you something to cry about.’ Or, ‘Because I said so, that’s why.’”

Speaking of dear old dad

Are you tardy to the dad’s day party? There’s still time to make Father’s Day brunch or dinner reservations. Go to opentable.com to see a list of special Father’s Day feasts.

Eavesdropping on a man watching The View: “They should just call this,’ We All Talk at the Same Time.’”

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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Penny Parker’s On The Town: Dylan wears his wild (West) side to the White House

What does an iconic musician wear to receive the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama? If you’re Bob Dylan, you don a Rockmount Ranch Wear solid white Pima cotton shirt with black diamond snaps under your tuxedo.

Third-generation Rockmount boss Steve Weil spotted the shirt in photos showing the President putting the purple ribbon around Dylan’s neck during the May 29 ceremony where 12 other folks were also given the nation’s  highest civilian honor. Click here to see a photo of Dylan, the shirt and the president.

“There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music,” Obama said during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House. Dylan, who turned 71 last week, has been making musical statements and entertaining for 50 years.

Big bite

Mark your calendars for LoDo Bites: Sip, Sample, Stroll, a night of sipping and snacking at more than 15 participating restaurants from 5 to 9 p.m. Aug. 21.

At each stop along the route, restaurants will serve tastes of their cuisine, with some offering wine and drink specials and desserts.

Participating eateries so far include Bistro Vendome, Celtic Tavern, Coohills, District Tavern, Euclid Hall, The Tavern Downtown, Vesta Dipping Grill, Wynkoop Brewing Co. and Zydeco. Check out the facebook.com/lododistrict page for added eateries.

Tickets: $40 in advance; $45 after Aug. 17 at 303-628-5428 or at lodo.org.

Ballgame bash

The Colorado Restaurant Association Mile High Chapter’s annual Tailgate Party with the Colorado Rockies is a rousing pre-game pep rally with beer and burgers starting at 3 p.m. June 12 under the tent at Coors Field Lot B before the Rockies take on the Oakland A’s.

Enter the festivities on the north side of Coors Field. There’s parking next to the party site for $12. The baseball game begins at 6:40 pm.

Ticket prices: $25 for the party and game ticket; $15 for tailgate only; $75 for the party, swankier seating section and a $10 ticket toward food and drink at the stadium. E-mail tickets orders to cratailgate@hotmail.com by Friday.

Project props

Roughly 800 posh people donned their black tie duds and gathered at the Hyatt Regency Colorado Convention Center May 30 for the 51st annual Downtown Denver Awards Dinner where six projects were lauded for their impact on downtown.

The winners, selected by a jury, were:

* Clyfford Still Museum for contributing to the cultural vibrancy and international recognition of downtown.

* 14th Street Project Downtown’s Ambassador Street for completing an extensive streetscape and enhancing the pedestrian environment.

* 1099 Osage for maintaining economic and cultural diversity of the La Alma by completing the first building in the mixed-income development.

* History Colorado Center for building a state-of-the-art museum and helping preserve Colorado’s history.

* Denver Pavilions for bringing the first H&M store to Colorado.

*USA Pro Cycling Challenge for attracting more than 250 spectators to downtown and bolstering the local economy.

Eavesdropping on a wife to her husband during a barbecue: “I was a mail-order bride.”

“Yeah, I’ve been looking everywhere for the receipt to get a  refund!.”

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Top toques snag Delaware charity event invite

Nine of Denver’s top chefs made their way to Delaware today to join other international names at Meals From the Masters, a foodie fest to benefit Meals on Wheels Delaware.

The local top toques will cook culinary creations for roughly 1,200 guests during Sunday’s 15th Annual Celebrity Chefs’ Brunch. The chefs are: Tyler Wiard of Elway’s Cherry Creek, Shawn Cubberley from Elway’s Vail, Alex Seidel of Fruition, Matt Selby and Brandon Foster from Vesta Dipping Grill, Lon Symensa of ChoLon, Jeff Osaka of Twelve, personal chef Kurt Boucher (formerly with Satchel’s) and Duane Walker from Lola.

Read more about the weekend event at mealsfromthemasters.com.

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