Down and Out in Denver

Design After Dark: Get Your Tickets!

Posted in bars, denver, design, fashion, food, gays, parties, wine by Blake on January 29, 2011

Ever since Alastair and I moved here we’ve gone to the Denver Art Museum Design Council’s annual fundraiser — and all-around great party — Design After Dark.  And this year will be no exception. It’s next Friday night, the 4th of February, and if previous years are any basis for judgment, it’s sure to be a great time. You don’t have to know anything about design to attend this thing: while Alastair fancies himself a design buff, I know absolutely nothing except that I like mid-century modern (but what self-respecting homo doesn’t?).  It’s fun no matter what you know. Yes, there are architects and designers competing for the best interpretation of the year’s theme — this year it’s “Light” — and yes, there is a silent auction of various designery accessories and pieces of art.  But the price of a ticket also includes some booze and a whole lot of food and lots of good conversation with, wait for it, stylish people in Denver.  I know you thought such people did not exist — aside from your DOD boys, of course — but if you’re going to find them anywhere, this is the place.  Plus, there’s an after party this year at Beauty Bar beginning at 11.  Gay, anyone?!

So head on over to their website and buy yourself some tickets (click on the ticket button on the bottom right corner).  We’ll see you there!

Warhol In Colorado

Posted in art, denver, food, parties, wine by Alastair on January 21, 2011

Last night, Blake and I had the opportunity to help celebrate the opening of “Warhol In  Colorado,” an exhibition at the University of Denver. A little background: Beginning in 2007, the Andy Warhol Foundation dispersed more than 28,000 of the celebrated artist’s Polaroid portraits and other photographs to 183 university galleries across the United States. Among the three recipients in Colorado was the University of Denver, which has mounted an exhibition centered on the gift. “Warhol in Colorado” opened last night and runs through March 13 in DU’s Victoria H. Myhren Gallery.

John Bonath: Andy Warhol, Ft. Collins, CO, 1981.

Blake and I attended the VIP preview with other Warhol admirers, art afficonados, and dedicated partygoers of all ages. Before exploring the show, Blake and I immediately order drinks from the bar. I went for a scotch and soda, while Blake had a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, which he was not so thrilled about… it was free. During the preview we snacked on some tasty hors d’œuvres, including lamb chops, Beef Wellington pockets (not to be confused with Hot Pockets, but more about that later), and mini crab cakes topped with shrimp.

The exhibition was fun, though the gallery left a lot to be desired. Let’s hope the funds raised from this event will go towards modernization of the Myhren. Setting aside, Warhol’s time in Colorado seemed like a good theme. And just as Warhol’s visits pulled the Colorado art community together three decades ago, the new exhibit,  draws from the University of Denver, the Denver Art Museum, Colorado State University in Fort Collins, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Arts.

Revel in the perfect fusion of art, fashion and design at the WARHOL HAPPENING, and let your inner hipster out!!!

Next, Blake and I jumped on the shuttle to the gala, or “Happening” over at the Cable Center– a building program I have not entirely figured out. There was video, music, photo booth opportunities, and specialty fare, all to be had. Thankfully, Blake and I found some familiar and new faces to pass the time, along with mini corn dogs, tater tots, paper cones filled with sweet potato fries, mac and cheese, and tomato bisque shooters with mini grilled cheese sandwiches.  Among those spotted in the crowd, philanthropist Laura Merage. Her husband, David Merage and his brother Paul founded Chef America, maker of Hot Pockets. Nestle paid $2.6 billion for Chef America in 2002. Blake was rather excited by this news… as he is a real big Hot Pocket lover.

A sign of what's to come?

Just as the night was coming to a close, and we were debating on whether to jump ship, chaos ensued! A rather frantic cater waiter collided with a party patron and a tray of tomato bisque shooters and grilled cheese sandwiches flew onto the floor… and onto Blake! The collision also caused Blake to dump his glass of Cab Sav down the sleeve of his fitted Theory shirt. The Ted Baker jacket was hit by the bisque, while his  Nudie jeans suffered a minor hit. Oh, it was terrible. I awoke this morning, thinking I had escaped unscathed, to find small amounts of bisque spread over my very own pants. Andy never wanted it this way!!!

Gay Ornament Party!

Posted in food, gays, parties, wine by Blake on December 5, 2010

Alastair’s out of town for the weekend so I was hanging out with my gal pals Tony and Tina.  We headed to LoHi SteakBar for a lateish supper.  After a couple glasses of Malbec we were seated and proceeded to order.  Tony had the Highlander Burger (mushrooms, swiss, and Bearnaise); Tina the Rock Shrimp Po’Boy, which our waiter helpfully informed him was not the traditional southern po’boy; and I had the SteakBar Steak with the blue cheese butter.  Satisfaction all around.  LoHi was actually the very first restaurant that Alastair and I reviewed on DOD a whole year ago.  And I ordered exactly the same thing.  I should probably branch out a little, but at a SteakBar, one feels obligated to order a steak.  Well, this one feels obligated.  The fries were as good as I remembered, and quite plentiful.  The steak was tender and juicy.  The only downside was that the blue cheese butter didn’t really taste much like blue cheese.  Same deal last year.  Tony ‘n’ Tina were also impressed with the generous burger and po’boy.  Bravo, LoHi.

We were then on to the evening’s final destination: a gay Christmas ornament exchange party.  Yes, you read correctly.  A party hosted by gays where the activity would be an organized Christmas ornament exchange.  Each partygoer was requested to bring a wrapped Christmas present.  I was deeply skeptical and Tina clearly was having none of it, so Tony bought and wrapped our ornaments. Part of our dinner discussion revolved around activities at parties.  Attitudes at the table ranged from tolerance to disdain.  You can probably guess where I stood.  I am of the opinion that all a party really needs is interesting people, food, and alcohol.  Activities not necessary.

Thoroughly Revolting

As it turns out, the party was actually a lot of fun, largely because the ornament exchange only took up about 10 minutes and was not a big public spectacle.  Each attendee was given a sticker upon arrival.  Your job was then to find the person who had the matching sticker and exchange ornaments with him or her.  But it all happened simultaneously so we didn’t have to unwrap before an audience and oooh and ahhh about what was revealed.  It was quick and dirty and got you to talk to someone you probably didn’t know.  And you got a new ornament.  (I gave mine to Tony because he had shopped for mine.  And because Tina had broken Tony’s accidentally.  Oops.)

Ceviche!

Among the highlights of the party was the food!  Chilled shrimp cocktail, a variety of cheese and crackers, a whole ham, chips with salsa and guacamole.  Best of all: homemade ceviche.  I kid you not. An enormous bowl of it.  And it was really delicious. You’d think that my steak frites would have filled me up. You would be wrong. I ate and drank enough to leave me feeling not only full but a wee bit hung over this morning.  Recovery has involved watching episodes of House Hunters at Alastair’s house.  I call it housesitting.

Modernism and Beyond

Posted in architecture, bars, denver, design, entertainment, food, gays, parties by Alastair on August 28, 2010

Friday evening was quite the experience for your DOD boys. They did indeed go to the Denver Modernism Show, but they did so much else last night as well.

Free drinks, entertainment, and special guests were the rule of thumb at the Denver Modernism Show Early VIP Gala… and they use the term gala very loosely. Black Tie it was not. Blake and I had the pleasure of being some of the first to shop the show, alongside our fellow modernism enthusiasts: Mr. and Ms. B, and the fashionable, Ginger Snap. We were kindly greeted, on multiple occasions, by Charles Phoenix, the self-proclaimed “King of Retro.” Our VIP tickets got us two free cocktails: Your choice of Mai Tai, Blue Hawaiian, or some other rum cocktail at the fabulously decorated Tiki Bar. Blake don’t care for rum, but I’ll drink just about anything, especially if it comes free with admission and an umbrella. We were also treated to live music, heavily tattooed hula girls, and some unmemorable entertainment. Yours truly fell in love with some serious chartreuse colored champagne/sherbet cocktail glasses (see below) by the versatile Russel Wright, designed to complement his recently reissued American Modern dinnerware. At twenty dollars a piece, I had to painfully pass, but they would have been a spectacular addition to a mid-century modern themed New Year’s Eve party.

Keeping in line with the mid-century theme, Ms. B suggested dinner and drinks at Bastien’s Restaurant and Steakhouse, located on East Colfax Avenue, near the Bluebird Theater. Blake has visited Bastien’s before, but this was Alastair’s first visit. Let’s say my expectations were not high, but I was tremendously pleased with my entire experience.

Bastien’s is an old school steakhouse and bar with an interesting architectural design. Started by William Bastien in 1937 when he bought out the Moon Drive Inn, the present twelve-sided building was constructed in 1958 and has a sort of subtle Googie flair—an exaggerated modern architectural style seen in the coffee shops, bowling alleys, and motels of the 1950s and 1960s. After a drink at the bar lounge, Blake and I, alongside Mr. and Ms. B and Ginger Snap sat down for a wonderful dining experience. Now, Bastien’s is not inexpensive, but compared to the prices we pay at Potager, this was a bargain and we were well fed! We all started with salads. I had the Caesar, while everyone else had the Ice Berg wedge with Blue cheese dressing and bacon crumbles. My salad came with grilled romaine, a very nice touch, and plenty of shaved parmesan cheese and croutons, along with a tasty balsamic reduction and a DOD favorite, anchovies! Ms. B received something that looked more like half a head of lettuce, rather than a wedge. But who’s complaining!

Moving onto dinner, Blake ordered LaLa’s Steak, a ten ounce New York steak grilled with fresh lime and cracked pepper, served with fresh peppers and pico de gallo. Mr. and Ms. B went with a German theme. Mr. B enjoyed his Beef Liver sautéed with onions, “just like mom made,” and seasoned mashed potatoes. Ms. B seemed very pleased with her wiener schnitzel. Ginger had the pork chop special and I chose the ten ounce New York with Deep Fried Shrimp. It came with a reasonably sized baked potato with sour cream, butter, cheese, and chives, and the steak was perfectly cooked to a true medium rare. Delicious! We ended our meal with some apple pie sizzling skillet dessert with vanilla ice cream. The perfect ending to a perfect meal.

After going our separate ways, Blake and I enjoyed a brisk walk down Colfax to grab ourselves a night-cap at HER BAR located at Colfax and Washington. According to the website Fridays at HER BAR are FemmeBar with DJ Love, who seemed to be spinning an eclectic mix of 80s new wave and current hits by Usher, Gaga, and others. We grabbed ourselves a seat at the bar and a drink. Blake was intrigued by reruns of The Nanny projected onto an interior wall. Is Fran Drescher a lesbian?  Is there some lesbian connection that we DOD boys are unaware of? Clearly, the Nanny was a gay icon… I mean look at those highlight clips on YouTube. Just saying.

In any case, the DOD boys seemed to be a magnet for the more interesting ladies enjoying themselves last night. My friend, whose name I did not catch, was clearly a fan of the drink. Tired of waiting for a refill and patience running thin, she decided to continually stand then sit until finally waving her hands in the air as though she was directing a 747 from its final approach to the gate. Blake’s lady friend, Nila, was much cuter than mine… but perhaps just as drunk. I don’t know much about Nila, but the girl liked to dance… and apparently found the two of us very interesting. We later met her gal pal Fay, who had no idea “what was going on.” As the night went on, Nila became even more friendly. I think she may have slightly molested Blake as Fay and I chatted offline. I hope that Nila understood that she wasn’t going to get very far. In any case, we found HER (or HER, or HER, or HER) BAR lots of fun and an amusing way to end the evening. We’ll be back Nila, don’t you worry your pretty little big pocket shorts! And the DOD boys will have their dancing shoes with them next time!

Happy Birthday Canada!

Posted in parties by Blake on July 1, 2010

Today is Canada Day and our neighbors to the north will be celebrating the anniversary of Confederation on July 1, 1867.  On this day in 1867, the British North America Act united two British colonies (Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) and the British Province of Canada (later divided into two provinces: Ontario and Québec) into a federation and a country.  They were later joined by the other six provinces.

Let’s pause for a moment and wish our neighbors a very happy birthday just as we prepare to observe our own anniversary this Sunday.  Happy Birthday Canada!

Gay (Pride) by the Bay

Posted in bars, fashion, food, gays, parties, travel, Uncategorized by Blake on June 30, 2010

This weekend was a wild one for the DOD boys, both of us in San Francisco to see friends and my Gentleman Friend, and to celebrate the wonders of Gay Pride.  Alastair did more of the latter; I go more for “Gay Acceptance” than “Pride.”  It’s not like I had anything to do with it, after all.  As my brother is fond of saying, nature or nurture, it’s on my parents either way.  So, on to the weekend…

We started off with a Thursday night trip with gal pals of Alastair’s to Tubesteak Connection (vile name, huh?), the weekly party at Aunt Charlie’s Lounge in the Tenderloin.  The space is tiny and crowded with hipsters.  The drinks are strong and the disco tunes kept coming. Aunt Charlie also forbids the use of cell phones (even for texting!); Blake approves.  Your DOD boys danced the night away and then headed somewhere-or-other (memory gets fuzzy at this point) for an after-party.  Way to start the weekend off with a bang!

Chow on Church below Market

The next day started with a little recovery.  Alastair and I brunched at Chow, just below the corner of Church and Market.  We began with a couple salads; Alastair had his perennial Chow favorite, the Shrimp Louie, and I went for the iceberg wedge.  Mine wasn’t so great.  They throw in just about everything imaginable: carrots, cucumbers, radishes, olives, even a beet!  (Alastair’s was served with the same accompaniments, though he didn’t seem to mind as much).  We finished things off with a smaller portion of the fusilli with sausage and mushrooms (me) and a cheese pizza with arugula (Alastair).  Deelish!  But even more tasty from Alastair’s point of view was that we were served by DJ Jason Kendig.  Cause that’s the way things are in San Francisco: your afternoon waiter will be spinning at that night’s club.  The afternoon was a lazy preparation for a friend’s party that night: running in Golden Gate Park (lovely for a jog if it’s not too windy) and a little happy hour cocktailing at DOD favorite Blackbird.

The rest of the weekend was a blur of cocktails and recovery (I was heavier on the latter than the former).  Alastair, of course, attended the Goldfrapp concert in Oakland on Saturday night as well as Juanita Moore’s Pride Party on Sunday afternoon and evening.  I admit it: I skipped the Pink Party on Saturday night, where a good chunk of Market and Castro is closed off for pedestrians (probably for the best as I also avoided the tragic  shooting death), and I skipped the parade on Sunday.  Bad gay!  I did, however, dine with my Gentleman Friend at Memphis Minnie’s, a barbecue joint on Haight Street (their phone number is 415.864.PORK; they’re serious about their meat).  We split the Minnie’s Taster: any three meats and two sides for $17.95. Combine that with an order of their very tasty BBQ-dusted shoestring fries and I was totally stuffed.

On Monday we regrouped, stopped at Bean There at Steiner and Waller for a coffee, and headed downtown for a little shopping. I picked up a discounted blazer at H&M that will be perfect for a summer wedding I’ll be attending in August.  Alas, and despite all the sales, Alastair’s shopping ambitions were somehow stymied and he returned to Denver empty-handed.  We then had a gossipy lunch with some of Alastair’s gal pals at Stacks in Hayes Valley.  Their slogan is “Comfortable Food.”  Really.  It’s basically a diner with enormous (and very dusty) fake flower arrangements in gigantic urns, but in a very nice location right at the corner of Hayes and Octavia.

All in all, a very fun weekend was had by both of your DOD boys!

Fancy Tiger

Posted in denver, fashion, parties, Uncategorized by Blake on May 5, 2010

About two months ago, Alastair and some of our gal pals and I hit the town.  Among our stops was Fancy Tiger, which was having one of its monthly trunk shows: DJs, beer, and various wares on sale.  I told myself that I would return to shop when I wasn’t heading out on the town and I’ve finally done so.

Fancy Tiger is located at 14 South Broadway, between Archer and Ellsworth, right near some other DOD faves: Sputnik and Beatrice and Woodsley.  They feature handmade jewelry, bags, and lots of men’s and women’s clothes for the arty and hipster crowd.  It was the clothing that brought me back. I picked up a cute striped V-neck T-shirt (perfect for the coming summer) and a necktie. The tie — my first skinny tie! — has diagonal stripes in two shades of blue, allowing me to combine a trendy look with my Brooks Brothers roots.  I’m easing my way into hipster formalwear.

This Friday Fancy Tiger once again hosts “Denver Made,” featuring DJs and great shopping from 7 to 10 pm.  The event is sponsored by Great Divide Brewery, so you know what  that means.  Stop on by!

Denver Made at Fancy Tiger

Oscar Feast!

Posted in denver, entertainment, fashion, food, movies, parties by Blake on March 8, 2010

My friend Nancy is visiting from out of town for the weekend and so on Saturday night Alastair and I decided to take her to our very favorite Denver restaurant, Potager (see Alastair’s very favorable review here).  It was, and it pains me to say this, a little disappointing. The appetizers — wilted savory greens, spinach and mushroom toast — were both fantastic.  The main courses, however, not so much.  The shellfish stew was more broth with scallops and mussels than it was stew as I understand the term, all topped off with a saffron aioli, which proceeded to disintegrate into unappetizing floating clumps in the broth.  I like mayonnaise in pretty much any form but this was distinctly unappetizing.  Nancy and Alastair both got the roast chicken and while the bird itself was well cooked, the jumble of accompaniments just didn’t work that well, and seemed to be different from what usually comes with the chicken.  This time: arugula, dried apples(?), pine nuts, olives, and about fifteen other things. One got the impression that Potager might have been trying to clean out its fridge.  The flourless chocolate cake, however, was divine.  And the service, as always, was fantastic.

Alastair's Sardine Toast with my Canadian Flag Cocktail Napkins and Grandmother's Monogram Plates

But after a disappointing dinner Alastair and I felt duty-bound  to prepare something pretty fantastic for the out-of-towner, especially as we were going to be settling in for a long night of Oscar-watching chez moi. And a veritable feast it was!  We began with Alastair’s signature sardine toast: sardines, lemon, mustard, minced onion, oil, and butter, all combined and then toasted on a baguette. Delicious.

Caesar Salad with PLENTY of Anchovies

Loyal DOD readers may recall that Alastair and I have ordered a number of disappointing Caesar salads of late, so I decided it was time to make it right.  I used my grandmother’s recipe for the dressing (as well as her bowl), fried my own croutons (pictured below) and Alastair brought over plenty of anchovies.  It was all topped off by some grated parmesan, and I have to say it was pretty amazing.  Tangy and salty and crunchy and thoroughly unhealthy, the croutons particularly.  I think it was seeing the amount of butter and oil I used that might have given Nancy a heart attack, not the croutons themselves.

Homemade Croutons cooked in a gallon of oil and pound of butter

English Cucumber

We finished the meal with a delicious pasta salad prepared by Alastair: shrimp, dill, and English cucumbers, all tossed with perfectly cooked shell pasta and a tangy lemony dressing.  Unfortunately my pictures of this scrumptious concoction all came out blurry.  Maybe a consequence of all the wine we had consumed by that point?

On to the Oscars:  We began eating and drinking and watching at 4:00 as E! began its red carpet coverage.  I always find these things a little bit painful as the hosts bend over backwards to ingratiate themselves with the celebrities.  Though we were grateful it wasn’t Joan and Melissa Rivers, Ryan Seacrest wasn’t much of an improvement.  I just felt embarrassed for him.  That said, he was leagues better than the horrendous Kathy Ireland, Sherri Shepherd, and Jess Cagle, who were hosting ABC’s half-hour coverage before the show actually began.  Ireland, looking far too skinny, was, in a word, wooden.  And yet absurdly peppy at the same time!!!!  All inflection seemed to be thoroughly rehearsed. Please take her away and never let her do this again!

The awards went to the predicted winners.  There weren’t really any surprises.  We all cheered for Kathryn Bigelow as much for the fact that she beat out her ex-husband, James Cameron as for her being the first woman to win an Oscar for directing.  Suck it, Jimmy!  And I loved Sandra Bullock’s remarkably gracious acceptance speech, as she wittily acknowledged the other actresses in her category, gave a shout-out to mothers, and spoke about her own mother’s influence, particularly her insistence that no person, regardless of race, religion, color, class, or sexual orientation, is better than anyone else.  I am also very much a fan of the format where each best actor/actress nominee gets a little speech delivered by someone who knows them.  Many were quite touching.

As for dress, the real reason to watch, it was the general consensus of the room that the following looked horrible: Vera Farmiga (even though we love her); SJP (who fiddled with her neckline the whole night and seemed to have bathed in bronzer); Charlize Theron (who has to really work to look bad); Zoe Saldana (were those ornamental cabbages on her dress?); Kate Winslet (great from the waist up but otherwise seemed to be wearing separates, not a dress; maybe a twinset?); and Miley Cyrus.  We were fans of the sartorial choices of Sandra Bullock, Rachel McAdams (Canadian!), Queen Latifah (all hail the Queen!), Carey Mulligan (hair, not dress), Julianne Moore, Helen Mirren, and Oprah Winfrey. George Clooney’s hair was horrendous and his attitude even worse.  And finally, James Cameron’s wife needs to investigate the power of food; not only is it tasty, it also covers up your jutting collar bone!

CultureHaus Saturday Night at DAM

Posted in bars, denver, design, fashion, food, gays, parties by Blake on February 8, 2010

On Saturday night the DOD boys (and a very good lady friend of ours) attended CultureHaus’s big event at the Denver Art Museum: a celebration of the current DAM exhibit, Embrace, a multi-media show in which 17 artists have taken over the Libeskind-designed Hamilton Wing with their installations.

CultureHaus bills itself as the DAM-affiliated educational and social organization for the “young at heart” to appreciate art.  They sponsor talks and social functions for their members, and for anyone else willing to buy a ticket.  This particular event was probably attended by between 200 and 300 people and it was a relatively young crowd.   It was also a badly dressed crowd.  Or, at the very least, it was a crowd that had taken this opportunity – oh so rare in Denver – to dress up!  Now in many ways we applaud this as there is far too little dressing up done in the relentlessly casual Mile High City, but sometimes people get a little carried away.  There were a number of young and not-so-young women who had worn skin-tight or skin-baring clothing that seemed more appropriate to wearing out to “the club.”  It was just a little too well lit at the DAM for this sort of attire: lots of strappy, slinky dresses and what one friend of mine calls “novelty tops”: minimalist blouses of somewhat complicated construction that do not really resemble blouses in the traditional sense.  The men tended toward a uniform of jeans, blazer, and button-down shirt, the DOD boys among them.  Some paired this with ties; most did not.  One intrepid fashion innovator even paired his with a small mink stole (more on this below).  One trend I have been noting of late is the blazer with deconstructed or unfinished edges that almost look fringe-like with threads hanging from every edge.  I’m not yet sure what I think about this.  On the other hand, I do know what I think about blazers with all kinds of graphics all over the back, including words and phrases and images (eagles and falcons tend to predominate).  I saw one last weekend in SF with the word “Arrogant” in huge letters across the shoulders.  Horrible.  Unsightly. Unfortunate.

I could go on about the art – and indeed we took a stroll through the exhibits, one of which, “The Bathers” by John McEnroe, is featured above – but I’m just not very good at talking about art.  That’s Alastair’s department but he seems to be silent of late.  Instead let me discuss the food.  The passed appetizers (how I love a passed appetizer!) were quite tasty: mini crabcakes, barely seared tuna with wasabi on salty chips, and mini cheeseburgers.  Very nice.  But the stationary appetizer stations were a disappointment: the customary vegetable and cheese plates, pita and hummus (really!?), and great big chafing dishes of meatballs in sauce.  Snore.  My great complaint of the evening, however, has to be the fact that while the event ended at 10, the bars closed at 9:30.  Employees were literally packing up even as the party continued on, and some of us wanted a refill!

Post party many headed over to the Living Room, a spacious bar on Broadway, for cocktails.  It was crowded and sometimes difficult to get the bartenders’ attention, but otherwise quite fun.  The highlight, however, occurred at the end of the evening.  Mink-stole boy (MSB) had also migrated to the Living Room and ‘round about midnight seemed to have gotten into something of a scuffle with another patron who had either made fun of – or actually interfered with; I wasn’t sure – the stole.  MSB was not going to take this lying down.  I had a front row seat as he got up in the face of the mink anti-fan: “You don’t mess with the mink stole!  This was my grandmother’s mink stole!  You want to take this outside?  Come on buddy, let’s take this outside.”   A puffy-haired, white-loafer-sporting, mink-stole-wearing aesthete screaming about his grandmother’s fur and threatening to take out another bar patron is not something I expect to see again soon.  In short, it was fantastic. Who knew this was possible in Denver?

Design After Dark

Posted in architecture, denver, design, fashion, food, parties by Blake on January 27, 2010

So much fun did Alastair and I have on Friday night at Design After Dark that it’s taken us till today to report on it.  DAD is the big fundraiser for the Denver Art Museum’s Department of Architecture, Design, and Graphics, and this is the third year in a row that Alastair and I have attended.  And aren’t we glad we did!

The event was packed, filled with the art and design crowd of Denver (yes, such a thing exists!  we promise): architects, fashion designers, graphic designers, furniture designers, artists, and all kinds of admirers and fans.  One of the things this means is that some of the people were actually well dressed!  I know, I know, difficult to believe; this is Denver, after all.  But when you get this many design-conscious people in a room you actually get some decent outfits as well.  People’s clothes fit! (Including men’s pants and jeans; on this issue, see Alastair’s recent post here.)  And some might even be called fashion forward.  Alastair and I don’t flatter ourselves that we necessarily fit into that category — we dress ourselves in the well-fitted grays and blacks of the sophisticated urban homo; tasteful and understated without pushing the envelope too much — but we recognize interesting fashion when we see it.  And it was there to be seen this past Friday!  Of course because there are so few chances to dress up in Denver, some people took this as an opportunity to go a little overboard.  Word to the wise, ladies: prom dresses are for one occasion only.  And some of the boys suffered from the opposite problem, natch: jeans and sloppy shirts untucked.  This is Denver.

DAD winner by Semple Brown Design and Cataform

But enough of dress.  This years’s DAD theme was SKIN and so all contributing designers fashioned a composition with skin as its theme.  These pieces were offered up in a silent auction, as were many other items (at least twice as many as last year) donated by local businesses and individuals: artwork, furniture, gift certificates, accessories, you name it.  The auction process could have been a little more streamlined, it must be said.  There was some confusion about when it actually closed, meaning that some people bid within the allotted time but had their bids discounted by overzealous auction-closers with red markers. Yours truly lost out on a truly bizarre looking lamp that I thought was a lock.  Alas…

The drink — wine, beer, and vodka cocktails — was included in the price of entrance, doing away with the complicated drink-ticket system of years past.  Wise move, planners!  And while the food was just as tasty as last year, there was definitely less of it.  Some of us need to buffer that open bar with a little sustenance!  That said, it was all tasty, especially the Asian-themed table complete with any number of dumplings, won tons, crab rangoon, and spring rolls.  All in all, the DOD boys had a fantastic evening.

We wish all DOD readers a great weekend as we jet off to opposite coasts for some more fun and excitement away from the surprisingly design-conscious state of Colorado!