Tuesday, August 22, 2017

More About Golden...

As I mentioned in yesterday's Blog, I drove up to Golden, Colorado Sunday afternoon to attend the Golden Arts Festival, and afterwards walked around town a bit.  Golden has a small town atmosphere, even though it is only 17 miles west of downtown Denver.  This is mainly due to the large butte seen in the upper left photo in the above collage, which separates the town from the rest of the metropolitan area and prevents the suburban hell that is Lakewood.  Golden has a number of historic districts within it's borders, which helps to preserve the many houses (such as the one in the upper right photo) and businesses that date from as early as the 1860s.  Clear Creek runs through the heart of town, and in the summer is very popular with tubers, as seen in the bottom left photograph.  This is not as safe an activity as it appears, however - at least two people have drowned this summer on the river.  The bottom right photograph was taken at Golden's Clear Creek History Park, and is a one room school house that served Golden Gate Canyon (just to the west of Golden) until 1951.  All in all, I wouldn't mind living in Golden myself.  It has beautiful neighborhoods and even a neighborhood beer garden - Golden City Brewery - that a fellow operates in the back yard and carriage house of his 19th century home.  Talk about an understanding wife.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Golden Arts Festival

I went to the Golden Arts Festival yesterday afternoon after working a few hours at the local Denver bookstore where I am the bookkeeper.  It is one of my favorite art festivals of the year, and takes place along Clear Creek, that famous body of water that is used to produce Coors Beer, just a few blocks down river.  There was a wide variety of art on display, including a lot photography.  As usual, I was a looker, not a buyer, but nothing new there.  Cheapskates do not usually buy much art.

Right behind the booths is the Clear Creek History Park, which features a number of building moved there from the old Pearce Ranch in nearby Golden Gate Canyon.  In the background in the photograph on the right can be seen the Pearce/Helper cabin, built in 1878 and occupied through the 1920s and 30s by members of the Pearce family.  If you ask me, it must have been pretty damn nippy in there in the winter.  If it was me, I would have sold the ranch and bought a place in Denver with actual heat.  I guess I would not have been a very good pioneer, but so what?

There was also music at the festival.  A country/western band played on a stage at the front of the festival, and further down the street the fellow on the left played music on a big thing-a-ma-jig (to use the technical name).  He was also at the festival last year, too, and I still haven't figured out what the hell he is playing.  All I know is that it must be dam hard transporting it from gig to gig.  Hopefully he doesn't have to take a bus to get there.  Especially the Colfax bus.  I's like to see how that would play out.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Going To Another Rapids Game With Mark

I went with my friend Mark (seen in the photograph above) to see the Colorado Rapids play DU United yesterday evening.  As usual, it looked like it was going to pour, but never did wind up raining,  The Rapids have their own soccer stadium in beautiful Commerce City, just to the northeast of Denver, next door to Denver's main postal facility, where I underwent training for being a rural postal carrier, a job out of hell that makes me shudder whenever I pass something that reminds me of it.  But I digress - back to soccer.   I was especially happy to go to the game because Mark had free tickets, and the seats were pretty good.  Last time the ticket cost $52, which put me into a state of shock for a while, but if I went to this game, the net cost of the two games would be $26, a much more reasonable amount.  I could not afford to not go.  The Colorado Rapids and DC United are the two worst teams in the league, by the way, and the Rapids wound up losing 1 to nil, as they say.  No problem - I am after all a Chicago White Sox fan.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

A Few More Words About DU

As I mentioned in yesterday's Blog post, I went back to the University of Denver to attend the quarterly Good Neighbors meeting Wednesday night, and afterwards took a walk around campus.  I must say, it is still very beautiful, and walking around it - along with the fact DU does not intend to tear down my condo building to put up a new light rail station - made me feel a little less bitter about the university outsourcing the DU Bookstore, where I worked for almost 30 years.  But just a little.  The university is planning a number of new buildings on campus, including a new freshman dorm right around the corner from the campus green.  They are also going to replace the Driscoll Center, where the bookstore and cafeterias are located. I am sure it will cause a lot of pain and disruption for the now Follett operated DU Bookstore. Good.  As for the architecture,  I myself prefer the older university buildings, like Evans Memorial Chapel, built in 1878 and seen at sunset in the photograph on the left.

The university has a number of reflecting ponds running through it's campus, and the photograph on the right shows the reflection of Evans Chapel in one of those ponds.  My photographic high point, by the way, was when one of my photographs of a DU building in front of one of these ponds was put on the cover of the Alumni Calendar one year.  And let me tell you right now, fame is fleeting.  In any case, the university has just hired the firm of Ayers Saint Gross (ASG) to put together a master plan for the campus and its surrounding neighborhood. Neighborhood liaison Allan Wilson mentioned that they are looking for input from the neighbors during this process, and I have every intention of giving them my two cents worth, with a special eye on the corner where my condo building is located.  I will certainly point out the status of the building as a prime example of "Soviet style" architecture, and as such,  is absolutely untouchable.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Good News From The Good Neighbors Meeting

This past Wednesday evening I attended the quarterly Good Neighbors meeting at the University of Denver - seen in the photograph on the left - to hopefully find out what the university is up to these days. The new neighborhood liaison is Allan Wilson, who manages DU's real estate portfolio, and has been in that position for many years.  And he recognized me immediately, thanks to my 30 years at the DU Bookstore.  So much for going incognito.  In any case, the meeting covered current construction at the university and it's plans for the future.  Also discussed was the upgrade of the University of Denver Light Rail Station, which was the main reason I was there, since the university has stated that it's number one goal is to move the station to the corner of University and Buchtel Boulevards, which is exactly where my condo building is located.

When I had the chance, I asked if moving the light rail station was an idea that was still being considered.  Diana Helper, a reporter from the Washington Park Profile, and a representative from the City of Denver both shook their heads no, the lady from the city quite vigorously, explaining that it would cost a fortune to move the station half a block. Wilson told us that a new campus master plan was being developed, and since DU's upper level administrators favored it, moving the station was probably still going to be a part of it, but that it was unlikely to happen.  In other words, the top administrators of the university never let reality interfere with their plans for the campus.  But happily, I learned that the site for the proposed new station is an electrical substation on the other side of the street, and so my building (once described as a prime example of "Soviet style" architecture and seen in the photo on the right) will not be demolished.  For now.  And if the new station is indeed built, I can wave to all the commuters from my bedroom window while still in my underwear.  Talk about reality.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

More Nostalgia? This Soon?

Yes - just deal with it, because going through the photographs in my computer looking for Blog material, I ran across the photograph on the left. As far as I can remember (which these days is not much), this is the first photograph I ever took of my father Nelson.  The location was at our house in the Brainerd neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago.  I took it in my bedroom, the same one that I inherited from my sister Susan when she went off to college. When she returned, of course, she found herself sleeping on the enclosed back porch from that point forward, for which she forgave approximately a year or so ago.

Looking at the previous photograph, it reminded me of the last photograph I took of my father,  in front of his Camero back in August of 1983, three months before he passed away.  My then wife Lisa and I had gone down to Stuart, Florida to visit my parents at their condo the summer after we were married, and had a really nice time. We had spent part of the day at the beach, and were driving back across the causeway to the mainland when we stopped to take a photograph of the sunset, or some pelicans, or perhaps both.  As Lisa and I walked back to the car, I snapped this final portrait of my father.  He and my mother had been living in Stuart and enjoying live down there for the past 7 years.. My father might have only had 7 years of retirement before he passed away, but at least he was able to enjoy that  And I am very happy to still have both of these photographs.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Remembering Our Annual Vacations In Ontario

Every August our family used to drive up to Ontario to spend two weeks at a lakeside resort.  We would drive from Chicago, and my Uncle Bill (my mother's brother) and his family would drive up from Cleveland. My father Nelson and Uncle Bill would play golf every day, and the rest of us would enjoy whatever the resort had to offer.  For many years, the families stayed at a place called Britannia, located on the Lake of Bays, about 100 miles or so north of Toronto.  This was before I was born, but I am told it was a very nice place.  In the photograph on the left everyone is posing for the camera.  In the front row, from left to right, are my cousin Linda and cousin Judy (my Uncle Bill and Aunt Elsie's children), my sister Susan, my Grandmother Louise, and Grandfather Bill (my mother's parents).  In the back row , again from left to right, are my Aunt Elsie, Uncle Bill, mother Mary, and father Nelson.

Eventually the son took over Britannia, and raised the prices to the point where the families could no longer afford the place.  A few years later, however, we started going to a resort called Torpitt Lodge, so named because most of the guests came from Toronto and Pittsburgh.  This place I remember, and will forever remember the smell of the woods at night walking back to our cabin from the main lodge.  I have never smelled anything like it before or since, and when I retire I want to go back there to see if it is the same as I remember.  The cabin we stayed at, by the way, is the one where my Uncle Bill famously fell asleep after eating peanuts, and woke up to find a chipmunk looking in his mouth, trying to get at those peanuts.  In the photo on the left are, from left to right, my father Nelson, mother Mary, Aunt Elsie, and Uncle Bill.  And the photograph was taken by me, appropriately enough by the first hole of the golf course, with Sparrow Lake in the background.

And here I am, in the photograph on the left (standing on the left), with two of my pals, a brother and sister from Toronto.  All was not sugar and cream at Torpitt Lodge, however.  The cabin we stayed at was very damp and probably filled with mold.  I wound up developing asthma in that cabin, and was hospitalized in the town of Orilla, Ontario for a number of days.  I was definitely not a happy camper, and found myself in a large ward with a lot of other people.  Everyone there was very friendly and tried to cheer me up, but being in the hospital when you are a kid is always a drag. Sadly, that was the last year we spent our vacations up in Canada. In any case, my asthma is long gone, and I am ready to head back to the great northland.  Of course, those type of resorts have gone out of fashion these days, and have been torn down in favor of condos and timeshares.  And why am I not surprised?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Common Ground

This past Saturday afternoon I went to the Denver Art Museum's member preview of Common Ground, a new exhibit featuring documentary photographer Fazal Sheikh's photographs of what the curator calls "displaced and marginalized communities throughout the world."  I had never heard of Sheikh, and wasn't expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised to find that the photos were very good and very powerful. And the stories attached to these photographs were both moving and shocking - life in the Third World can be very harsh indeed.. The photos are mostly of refugees and oppressed people in Africa and Asia, and his work reminds me a lot of photographer Sebastiao Salgado.  Like Salgado, the New York born and raised Sheikh spends a lot of time with his subjects, getting to know them and the reality of their lives. His portraits are great, and I advise anyone who can to see this exhibit.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Visiting Doug At The Wizard's Chest

I stopped by the Wizard's Chest, a well known costume and magic store here in Denver, to visit my friend and former University of Denver Bookstore co-worker Doug.  Doug was the textbook buyer at the DU Bookstore.  After Follett Higher Education Group took over the store, he soon found himself doing the work of three people, and decided to take a hiatus from the corporate world to find a little time for himself.  Doug is also a magician, now works at the Wizard's Chest three days a week, and enjoys the job thoroughly.  A lot of former DU Bookstore employees often stop by to see him.  Doug mentioned that Dave B., the marketing coordinator at the store before the Follett takeover and a fellow juggler, stopped by the Wizard's Chest and says he is still running his own little wholesale confections business.  Good to hear!  The photograph above shows Doug (on the left) and Dave B. (on the right) " taking a juggling break at the old DU Bookstore.  Always remember - practice makes perfect!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Annual (Or So) Sky Sox Game

My friend Mark and I drove down to Colorado Springs last night to see the Colorado Springs AAA baseball team play the New Orleans Baby Cakes (Yes!  The Baby Cakes!).  The Baby Cakes used to be the Denver Zephyrs before the major league Colorado Rockies came to town and forced them to move, so I thought it would be a good game to see.  Minor league baseball is a lot of fun - the players all want to get to the major leagues, and therefore give it their all, and they have lots of fun promotions every half inning.  Plus, you can usually sit in the front few rows at a fraction of the price of major league baseball.  However, last night was Harry Potter Fireworks Night, and so we had to sit in the last row of the infield, but they were still good seats.  It poured like crazy on the drive down from Denver, and I was worried it would be a washout like last year, when we spent the evening at the local On The Border Mexican restaurant instead.  However, the skies cleared by the time we arrived, and it turned out to be a really nice evening.  In the collage above, going clockwise, are myself and Mark at the park, a photograph of a wizard (many of them seemed to be wandering the stands that night), a view of the baseball action, and some kids interacting with the mascot, the Sky Sox Fox.  Sadly, the Sky Sox will be moving to San Antonio in a couple of years, a city of over 2 million people, which is building them a new stadium.  The current stadium seems pretty good to me, but I guess with a larger population base the Sky Sox can probably draw larger crowds.  The organization plans to move one of their Single A teams to Colorado Springs to replace the Sox, and so hopefully things won't change too much.  We'll still always have the Sky Sox Fox and those crazy wizards who seem to infest Colorado Springs.  When are they going to do something about that?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Bourbon Chicken Is Gone - But Not Far...

I took the photograph on the left of the bourbon chicken place as I was driving down Colfax Avenue the other night. Usually, the sidewalk is packed with people waiting for their order, but not that day.  As I looked closer, I saw that the place was closed for good, which was strange, since it was so popular.  You actually had to walk in the street to get around the people there.  It wasn't until yesterday that I spotted their new location further down Colfax Avenue, in a brand new building.  Denver's Bourbon Grill has gone upscale.  Will it ever be the same?  As for their old location, the photograph on the right shows how years ago in Denver, when a residential neighborhood goes commercial and people move to different neighborhoods, ambitious entrepreneurs would build shops in front of the house and open up a store.  There are a number of these structures on Colfax, as well as South Broadway. Looking at the photograph, I have to wonder who lives in those houses?  I assume it was once the owner of the shop, but these days I suspect they are divided up into apartments.  But who knows?

I remember one time walking around the area with my friend Darrel, checking out some of the local color on Colfax, and being offered free samples when we passed by the Bourbon Grill. I must say, it was damn good. In any case, as long as I was doing the bourbon chicken photo, I decided to include a photograph of Darrel that I took the day we got  free samples.  I scanned it from a copy of a Blurb book called Denver People and Places that I made for a photography class I was taking at the time.  In it, Darrel is standing in front of a local Colfax icon called Pete's Kitchen, where we had breakfast that morning.  Darrel at the time was sporting a short-lived beard, but rest assured that it is the same Darrel that appears on other pages of this Blog.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Vicious Circle

I just finished reading Vicious Circle, the latest Joe Pickett novel by Wyoming author C.J. Box.  Box always writes a good story, and this one was especially exciting.  A man with a grudge against Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett targets Joe and his family, and the action never lets up until the final page.  I requested the book from the Denver Public Library, and it took so long to get that I had forgotten I ordered it.  I'm glad I did, and I strongly recommend it.  Pick up a copy at your local bookstore or request it from your library.  Now!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Summer At The Zoo - Part II

Summer at the Denver Zoo can be pretty disappointing to visitors - all the animals seem to want to do is eat and sleep, and the lions in the photograph on the left seem to be deep into the sleeping part of their day.  I took the photo when I first got to the zoo.  I came back later to try and get an "action shot," but they were still sleeping, this time with their backs (by which I mean their rear ends) to us.  The child in the photograph on the left didn't seem to mind, however.  As far as he was concerned, a lion is a lion, asleep or not.  Hey kid - if you were trying to take an interesting photograph you would think differently.

I was glad to see that the orangutan still felt lively, putting on a show for the trio of young boys in the photograph on the right.  I have found that the orangutans are pretty friendly animals, often coming right up to the window of their cage to interact with zoo patrons.  I bet they would make great pets, too, although I am sure the City of Denver probably has some sort of ordinance banning you from keeping them in your apartment.  Rules - got to hate 'em.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Summer At The Zoo

I went to the Denver Zoo Sunday afternoon to take a few Blog photographs, but had to work for a few hours first, and so did not get there until late afternoon.  The weather seemed pretty threatening, and so I hurried to take the photographs before the rains started.  In any case, most of the animals were either inside or sleeping, and  so it was tough to get any good photographs.  The animals I did photograph  seemed pretty depressed, like the monkey in the photo on the left.  Being in prison for life is indeed depressing, and the poor thing in the photo seems to know it.  Sorry about that, guy.

By the time I got to the giraffe compound, all the animals were inside, and I snapped the photo on the right of the baby giraffe looking bereft.  He is just a baby, but seems to realize that he is in jail for life.  I would love to spring him, and the monkey in the photograph above, but would need to put together a team to do it, kind of like Frank Sinatra in the movie Oceans 11.  Since most of the people I know are retired or close to it, it would be a complete geezer operation.  On second thought...

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Catching A Live Soccer Game With Mark!

I went to the Colorado Rapids - Vancouver Whitecaps soccer game Saturday night with my friend Mark, who works at the University of Denver's Anderson Academic Commons (the library).  Mark called me up the other day and said he had free tickets to the game, which is my favorite price, and so I readily said yes. When I got to his house to pick him up for the game, he said the free ticket deal fell through, but he was able to buy two tickets for $52 each.  I don't. think I fainted, but certainly felt a little comatose for a while.  However, after a dinner at Chick-fil-A I felt much better.

The price aside, I really did enjoy the soccer game.  It was fast paced and exciting, and the fans were really into the game.  In the seats in front of us was a large group of grade school girls, no doubt members of a youth soccer league.  And behind us were a bunch of teenage girls who were members of the Las Vegas Soccer Club.  One of them seemed to have a crush on the Rapids Irish soccer player Kevin Doyle, and when he scored a goal, she went wild, to the dismay of us sitting directly in front of her.  Mark could have bought $42 seats in the end zone, but since it rained much of the game and those seats were uncovered, I am glad he didn't - we would have been soaked to the core.  It was worth the extra $10 bucks to be dry all night.  In any case, I will be happy to go to another game, as long as the price is a little bit more reasonable.  Do they have bleacher seats in this place?

Monday, August 7, 2017

A Final Word On First Friday

The First Friday Art Walk held each month on Santa Fe Boulevard here in Denver is always a lot of fun.  It a great place to people watch, and believe me, there are a LOT of interesting characters to see - probably mostly from California.  There was an especially large crowd at the Center for Visual Arts, run by Metropolitan State University of Denver.  This past Friday night there was actually a line to get in, with security guards only letting people in as others left.  The theme of the exhibit was Water Line: A Creative Exchange, although with many of the pieces I could not equate the theme with the work I was looking at.  The piece in the photograph on the left is an  example - I don't know what it is, or what it has to do with water, but I have to ask - is it for sale?

And if it is for sale, do people see it and say to themselves "this will be perfect for the living room?"  They are building a lot of mcmansions here in Denver these days, and in places like Greenwood Village and Cherry Hills, just south of the city , they are building a lot of full blown, Downton Abbey style mansions.  I have often wondered what they do with that space.  Now I know.  The one percenters probably put pieces like the wolf work and the string art in the photo on the right in their living rooms and then have big cocktail parties to show them off.  Of course, I don't know for sure since I am not a one percenter,  but why else could they create these pieces, unless they hope to get some modern art museum curator to pay an outrageous price for them.  That would be my plan - and perhaps an idea for retirement.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Musical Performance Or Child Labor?

As I mentioned yesterday, I attended the First Friday Art Walk Friday evening on Santa Fe Drive here in Denver.  The street was closed for the evening, and some people took advantage of it, like the little girl on the left giving a performance for the crowd. But I have to ask the question - is this a musical performance or is it child labor?  A lot of people were walking up to the open guitar case and throwing in bills.  Does the little girl get to keep this money or do her parents keep it? Are there musically inclined couples only having children so they can put them out on the streets to perform for money, just as farm families used to have lots of kids back in the last century (I guess the century before that one, now) so they could be put to work on the farm?  Does Donald Trump intend to do anything about this?

Just down the street there was another performance going on in front of the Spark Gallery.  The proud mother was standing just to the left of me watching her daughter perform while her two sisters sat patiently on the sill of the Spark Gallery's window.  I hate to bring up this question, but just how long will the daughter perform?  If she is under 18, will she quite by 10 P.M.? I remember when I worked part-time at Walgreen's, the store would hire employees under 18 who would have to leave by 10:00, which is why I always had to work until midnight every night (most often closer to 1:00, although I am not bitter about it - much).  If she does perform after 10:00, will the police come and throw the lot of them in jail?  Unfortunately, I did not stay to find out - I had Taco Bell tacos calling to me. Yo quiera Taco Bell.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The First Friday Of August

Yesterday was the first Friday of August, and as usual, I went to the big First Friday Art Walk on Santa Fe Drive here in Denver last night to take in the art and the action.  I cannot believe that it is August already - time seems to be moving at hyper-speed these days.  It is only 5 months until I have to decide whether to file for social security at 65 instead of 66, and now practical questions are starting to pop up instead of retirement dreams - can I afford supplemental insurance if I retire?  Can I keep the condo in Florida without renting it out? Etc.etc.  But I digress - big time.  I am, after all, writing about First Friday.

Santa Fe Drive was closed off for the evening to accommodate the large crowds, and a line of food trucks was parked end to end on the north end of the street, with long lines of people waiting to buy food.  I was very tempted to try some, especially at the trucks with the longest lines, but decided to settle for a gourmet dinner of Taco bell tacos later on.  And as usual, there was some good art, and some really off the wall stuff, too.  I am very sad to report that the John Fielder Photo Gallery had closed for good. The landscapes there were OK, but quite often they displayed the work of photographers showing people and places of other lands, which I will miss.  For now I will just have to enjoy the weird stuff, like the entrance to the gallery on the right.  I don't know what the work represents, but I like it.  It would look great at the entrance to my condo.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Catching The Mets Game With Mark

I went to the Colorado Rockies - New York Mets game at Coors Field Wednesday night with my friend Mark, who - as regular Blog readers know - works at the University of Denver's Anderson Academic Commons (the library).  Mark was able to get a pair of complementary tickets from a friend of his who used to work for the Rockies organization, and they were great seats, as you can see from the above photograph of Mark.  The Rockies started out pretty good, going up 5 to 0, but then after a 20 minute delay in the game (after an umpire got hit by a ball), the starting pitcher fell apart, and Colorado lost 10 to 5.  And I hate to complain after going to a Rockies game for free, but the "Coors Field experience" is not nearly as nice as it used to be.  The Rockies constantly play very loud, very obnoxious music - I assume to attract the younger crowd.  It actually hurts your ears, and I had a very hard time hearing what Mark was saying.  No doubt it was about soccer - Mark's obsession in life - but I missed a lot of the details.  I say tone it down, Rockies, or the club will lose all its fans over the age of 19.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Late Show

I just finished reading an advance reading copy of The Late Show, Michael Connelly's new mystery novel. Randy, the Hachette Book Rep here in Colorado, was kind enough to drop off a copy when he came by for an appointment with one of the buyers at the bookstore where I work.  It is a stand alone novel about a female police detective in Los Angeles named Renee Ballard, who runs afoul of her supervisor and winds up working the 11:00 P.M. until 6:00 P.M. shift, called The Late Show by the detectives.  The book focuses on two cases Ballard is investigating, one of them on her own, against direct orders from her supervisors.  Like Connelly's popular Harry Bosch character, Ballard is  a rebel and a loner, and the story is quite good.  I have yet to read a bad novel by Connelly, and I recommend picking up a copy of The Late Show at your local bookstore or library.  Now!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Late Summer Baseball!

I received an e-mail from MLB.com advertising a price of $39.95 to receive their service until the end of the season.  That was an offer I couldn't resist - it means that I can watch all the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs games through the end of September.  What a deal!  And although I am still spending a lot of time catching up on things after working 7 days a week for the first half of the summer, I was able to catch several White Sox broadcasts last week.  And none other than Steve Stone, Harry Caray's old partner from the days he broadcast Chicago Cubs games, was doing the broadcasts.  Talk about nostalgia!  Of course, the White Sox really stink this year, but that is also part of the nostalgia.  The last summer I lived in Chicago and went to the games at old Comiskey Park, back in 1980, the team also stunk, but announcers Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersal, as well as owner Bill Veeck, did their best to make things interesting.  And so I hope Steve Stone can do the same with the White Sox broadcasts this year.  Holy Cow! What a way to wind up summer.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Weekend Full Of Festivals

This past weekend, in addition to the Cheesman Park Art Fest, the city of Golden - just to the west of Denver - held Buffalo Bill Days.  In addition, the annual Dragon Boat Festival was held at Denver's Sloans Lake.  I decided to take advantage of all three, and after spending Saturday afternoon at Cheesman Park, I decided to attend the other two festivals on Sunday.  I started the afternoon at Buffalo Bill Days, and was surprised to find that Buffalo Bill was still alive and kicking, mixing with the crowd at his festival. He is supposed to be buried on nearby Lookout Mountain, but perhaps they bring him back each year just for this festival.

My next stop was the Dragon Boat Festival, but as I approached Sloan's Lake, it started to rain, and I decided to just drive around the neighborhood until the rain let up.  It finally did, and I arrived just in time to see the grand finale, which consisted of all four dragon boats racing around the lake several times.  The boats are pretty far off, so you don't feel very close to the action, but there was still a big crowd watching.  There were also plenty of food booths serving every type of Asian food.  As far as I could tell, nothing still alive, thank goodness.

I have attended this festival a number of times, and have never taken very good photographs there.  The area where it is set up is treeless, a large field with booths strung out across it, and various food carts set up in the parking areas.  The best part of the festival are the dragon boats themselves, one of which can be seen in the photograph on the left.  After the final race, the boat crews wasted no time in removing the drums and dragon heads from the boats, so I had to take that photograph quickly.   And while there did I sample some of the food, since Asian food is one of my favorites?  Hell no! They were charging money for it, and you know how I feel about that.

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Cheesman Park Art Fest - Part II

As I mentioned in yesterday's Blog, I went to the annual Cheesman Park Art Fest Saturday afternoon to check out the art, and was happy to find that there was a lot of photography on display.  In one booth, I noticed a really nice photograph of Haystack Rock, off the coast of Cannon Beach, Oregon, taken from almost exactly the same spot where I spent the 4th of July weekend.  I got to talking with the photographer, Kathi Jensen (seen in the photograph above) about Oregon and what we liked and didn't like about the place.  Kathi had some great photographs on display, especially the ones from Oregon.  She and her husband Gary live in Idaho, but made the trek here to Denver to exhibit her work.  Thanks for the chat, Kathi! Be sure to check out Kathi's photographs at http://natureartgallery54.photoshelter.com/index.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Cheesman Park Art Fest

I drove over to Denver's Cheesman Park yesterday afternoon to check out the annual Cheesman Park Art Fest.  It is only a few years old, but is becoming very popular, with artists from all over the country displaying their work.  I especially like it because there is a lot of photography on display, and their work gives me on ideas that I can incorporate (i.e.steal) for my own work.  Cheesman, by the way, along with nearby Congress Park, were Denver's first parks.  They were originally cemeteries, and the city paid a contractor to move all the graves to cemeteries on the outskirts of the city.  He made a mess of the job, desecrating many of the bodies and leaving many of them still on the grounds,  which is why it is reputed to be haunted, and why it is a good thing the art fest ends before dark.

In any case, I enjoyed looking at all the art work, and ran into Joe Higgins, my friend and former University of Denver Bookstore colleague, and a full time artist and teacher at the Art Students League of Denver.  Joe was not displaying his work at this festival, but was visiting some of his art students, who did have booths there.  Joe is still working 2 days a week at the DU Bookstore, teaching 2 days a week, and spending the rest of the week working on his own artwork.  Joe is pretty happy with that schedule, and I must say it sounds like a great routine. Good to see you, Joe! Be sure to check out Joe's artwork and website at  http://www.joehigginsmonotypes.com .

As I was talking to a photographer from Idaho displaying  her work, none other than my friend Darrel, another  former DU Bookstore colleague, called out my name and said hello. Darrel and his wife Linda,  who are now both retired, decided a year or so ago that spending the weekends doing yard work and upkeep on their house was getting a bit old, and so sold their house and moved to an apartment right next door to the Denver Botanic Gardens.  Talk about a great location.  They can now take daily walks through some of the nicest areas of Denver, and are only a car or bike ride from downtown, not to mention just a short walk from the bookstore where I work.  And just for fun I decided to take a photograph of Darrel with his apartment building (the tall white structure) in the background.  As you can see, Darrel and Linda are also very close to Cheesman Park.  Just don't walk around there after sunset, guys.  Good to see you, Darrel!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Summer Is Going DAM Fast...

I went to the Final Friday event at the Denver Art Museum (the DAM) yesterday evening.  It seems like I was just at the previous event, and proves that time is accelerating at an ever increasing rate, something I have suspected ever since I turned 50.  It was not as fun an event as in the past - the 7th floor of the North Building (where the photograph gallery is located)  is still closed, and the big Fazal Sheikh photography exhibition will not start until next month.  The Degas exhibition doesn't start until February. Even the guided tours last night were a bit on the thin side.  There was a tour of the European gallery given by two girl scout leaders, allegedly linking the landscapes of Monet with girl scout activities, but the link was tenuous at best. The rest of the museum had the same work that has been on display for months.  I am beginning to think the museum blows off the summer months in preparation for the fall, perhaps because they think many people are gone on vacation and won't show up anyway.  Oh well, now that time is accelerating, fall and winter will be here before you know it.  Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Wash Park Kind Of Sunset

Yes - I am back to posting sunset photographs, this time ones I took in Denver's Washington Park this past weekend.  I know they are cliches, but as I have said before, I don't care.  They are pretty and I like them.  Washington Park is a great place to hang out, and is located just a few blocks away from my condo. Granted, the Wash Park neighborhood is north of Interstate 25, and my building is south of this imposing barrier, but like I said, time-wise it is very close.  As you might have guessed, Wash Park is a very affluent neighborhood, and like other desirable neighborhoods these days, the wealthy buy older, very lovely homes, tear them down, and put up huge mansions.

I know I am getting off the theme of beautiful sunsets, but once again, I don't care.  What do people do with all that space?  Rent rooms to University of Denver co-eds?  That is what I would do, but I don't think that is what is happening.  It must be some sort of statement about their place in this world, a class thing.  Who knows?  All I know is that I think the sunset photograph on the right is pretty darned good, and cliches be damned.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

My Parent's Anniversary

If they were still alive, today would have been my parent's (Nelson and Mary's) 77th wedding anniversary.  And in honor of this day, I am posting a photograph I found in a family album taken of them at the Indiana Dunes back in July of 1937, three years before they were married.  They look so young there, much younger than the parents I knew growing up.  That they seemed much older to me as a child I attribute to having to deal with my sister Susan, who was born 11 years before me.  I think she gave them all they could handle.  Miss Collins, one of Susan's teachers at Fort Dearborn Grammar School, in the South Side Brainerd neighborhood of Chicago, referred to her as " a piece of work," and when she was a child, she used to go around the tables at a local beer garden, while everyone was dancing, and kill off their beer bottles.  I don't mean any of this in a negative way. I understand completely.  I'm just sayin'.  Happy Anniversary Mother and Dad!  And keep on keeping on, Susan!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

One Likable Cheetah...

As regular Blog readers know, I have taken many photographs of the cheetah in the photograph above. Every time I go to the Denver Zoo, it is there, observing everyone and everything.  As you can see from the above portrait, it looks you right in the eye, never flinching.  The cheetah is supposed to be a very fast animal, traveling up to 75 miles per hour in short bursts.  It definitely can't attain that speed in it's current environment, which begs the question - is it better to have these animals in zoos to preserve their existence, or should they be left in the wild to either survive or disappear?  I am hopelessly divided on this question, and so am no help at all.  Hopefully wiser minds than I can answer this important - and critical - question.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sorry Kids - There Is No Escape...

I went to the Denver Zoo Saturday afternoon to take a few photographs, and as usual, I tried to get some good photographs of the zoo babies.  I took the photograph on the left of the baby giraffe, looking out at the wide open spaces of City Park beyond, dreaming of life on the outside. The older giraffes know they are there for life, but the baby still doesn't know that it will be in a cage forever. Eventually it will learn.

As will the gorilla baby in the photograph on the right.  Gorillas are very similar to humans, and so their babies grow up in stages very similar to us.  The little guy on the right has no conception of where he is, or what his future will be.  Like the giraffe baby, he will find out.  As you can tell, I have mixed feelings about the zoo. Going there gives you the chance to see animals you would never otherwise see, and the zoo's mission is to make sure these animals do not go extinct. However, they are indeed serving a life sentence, and will never live as nature intended.  What is the answer?  Damned if I know.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Pool/Pizza Party With The Old DU Bookstore Gang!

I had a pool/pizza party with some of the old University of Denver Bookstore gang last night in the club room of my condo building.  Several of the gang wanted to know if the pool was clothing optional, which probably explains why nobody went near the water the entire evening.  In any case, we all had a good time catching up on what everyone has been up to lately, and what everyone has planned for the rest of the summer.  In the photograph above (from left to right) are Jake (Valarie's husband), Valarie, the former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore,  Linda (Wally's wife), Bill, the former Operations Coordinator of the store, Wally, also a former Operations Coordinator of the store; Darrel, the former Accounts Payable Supervisor for the store, his wife Linda, Chris, the former Accounts Payable Assistant, and Jim, Chris's husband.  Jake, Bill, and Darrel and his wife Linda are all retired, with one more planning to retire in September.  The rest of us are dreaming about it, but still had to get up this morning to go to work.  Bummer.