Hangman’s Gulch Trail closed for stormwater improvement project

No Comments

Dry weather prompts Town to implement Stage 1 Fire Restrictions

It’s been a very dry winter, and as weather warms, fire dangers will increase. That’s why the Town is implementing Stage 1 Fire Restrictions beginning today.

Acting on authority granted by Town Council, Town Manager David L. Corliss and Fire and Rescue Chief Art Morales implemented the restrictions.

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions prohibit the following:
•Open burning of any kind
•Use of fireworks

Activities that are allowed include:
•Fires within liquid-fueled or gas-fueled stoves, fireplaces within buildings, charcoal grill fires within developed residential or commercial areas, and fires within wood burning stoves within buildings only
•Professional fireworks displays permitted according to section 12-28-103 of the C.R.S.
•Fire suppression or fire department training fires
•Small recreational fires at developed picnic or campground sites contained in fixed permanent metal/steel fire pits (rock fire rings are considered temporary and not permanent) with flame lengths not in excess of four feet or the residential use of charcoal grills, tiki torches, fires in chimineas or other portable fireplaces or patio fire pits, so long as said fires are supervised by a responsible person at least 18 years of age
•Professional fireworks displays

People found to be in violation of the Town’s fire restrictions are subject to punishment of a $1,000 fine, 180 days in jail or both.

The Town will continue to monitor conditions. Stay tuned to CRgov.com/firebans for current information. Inquiries regarding the current status of fire restrictions in Town should be directed to the Fire Chief’s Office, 303-660-1066.

No Comments

Douglas County students leave class to advocate for school safety

In front of the main entrance to Highlands Ranch High School stood about 100 students. Some held up large posters with writing, others chanted, “We want change and we want it now,” and, “Show me what democracy looks like.”

Some students delivered speeches, pleading for action, before declaring a moment of silence for the people killed in the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

“We want something — something is better than nothing,” said Trenten Peacock, a member of the school’s left-leaning group called Falcons for Progress, who helped organize the March 14 walkout. “We can’t keep having this repetitive cycle of death with nothing being done.”

The high school, at 9375 Cresthill Lane, was one of at least 10 schools in Douglas County and thousands of schools across the country that had students participate in the event, called “#Enough National School Walkout.” Douglas County students organized the walkout, which was not sanctioned or organized by the Douglas County School District, through word of mouth and social media.

“It’s about the innocent young lives that are lost constantly and the lack of change that occurs,” said Emily Conway, a senior at Highlands Ranch High.

At 10 a.m., students left class for 17 minutes to honor the 17 victims of the Florida shooting and protest for Congress to take action on gun violence. Patrol cars and school resource officers from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office closely monitored the participating schools.

In clusters of small groups, students at Castle View High School in Castle Rock emerged from in-between campus buildings and gathered on a grassy area in front of the school. Many held signs urging gun control.

At first chants of, “This is what democracy looks like,” broke out. A series of student speakers filled the next 17 minutes, often garnering the cheers and applause of their peers.

Even from a few hundred feet away, sound bites of their impassioned speeches rang out.

“We are not a minority,” one boy said.

“We are the generation of tomorrow,” a girl later added.

Nia Dudgeon, a senior at Legend High School in Parker, joined dozens of other students in the walkout to show her support for students killed in school shootings and raise awareness for gun control. Two years ago, she moved here with her family from Australia, where gun control laws were tightened after a mass shooting in 1996.

“Yes, I’m afraid,” Dudgeon, 17, said. “It happens in the places you think it won’t. For me, people’s right to education is more important than guns.”

She said she would like to see national leaders try a strategy that she saw work in Australia, when the government banned certain types of weapons and offered a buy-back program for gun owners.

“Our leaders need to not be afraid to try what other places have done, that end up working,” she said.

Not all students were protesting for the same cause.

Among the crowd at Highlands Ranch High, a group of less than 10 students carried signs that said, “Do not tread on me,” signifying their opposition to gun control. They chanted during what was meant to be a moment of silence for the 17 victims of the school shooting.

“We wanted to be as inclusive as possible when it came to political differences,” said Peacock. “I wasn’t expecting so much disrespect.”

Noah Parsley, a senior at Highlands Ranch High, wants to support school safety but doesn’t want to limit the rights of Americans, he said. He would like to see stronger school security and more focus on mental health.

“I feel like not enough attention has been on the actual people behind the shootings and taking care of the victims,” said Parsley, who had a free period during the walkout but rode his bike from home to join his classmates. “The people in Parkland aren’t going to be the same.”

Peacock said his main concern is protecting people.

“I want them gone,” Peacock said of assault rifles. “Ban the guns that are meant to kill.”

No Comments

Editorial cartoon for March 15, 2018

Posted 3/14/18

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Don’t have an ID?

Print subscribers

If you’re a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.


Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution of $25 or more in Nov. 2017-2018, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access Includes access to all websites

Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.



No Comments

Young first baseman finding his swing for Rockies

Jose M. Romero, of the Associated Press

Ryan McMahon is moving closer to opening the regular season as the Colorado Rockies’ first baseman.

The 23-year-old was hitting over .380 as of last week.

“The numbers might be OK, but numbers don’t really mean much in spring training,” McMahon said. “You’re just trying to find your swing and get ready for the season. Trying to find the swing that I want and just enjoying it.”

Mark Reynolds, who remains a free agent, was the primary first baseman last season and had 30 homers and 97 RBIs. McMahon made his major league debut Aug. 12 and hit .158 (3 for 19) in 17 games.

“It’s good to see that he’s feeling comfortable,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “This has been a gradual progression for him this year and last year getting to the big leagues, and these are all steps that you take to become a big leaguer. He still has some boxes to check off, but he’s doing very well.”

McMahon has long gotten past the wow factor of being in the same clubhouse with the Rockies’ stars.

“When you’re young and you get exposed to big league camp, you get exposed to the guys that you’ve been looking at for a long time, the Charlies (Blackmon) and the DJs (LeMahieu) and now you’re rubbing shoulders with them, all that sort of wears off,” Black said.  “And that’s where he’s at now.”

McMahon, who could follow shortstop Trevor Story from the amateur draft into the Rockies’ lineup, admits to copying what he sees on and off the field from the veterans, including third baseman Nolan Arenado.

Take aspects of their game, just how they handle their business, go about their job being very professional,” McMahon said. “I can only be myself, but definitely want to take parts of how they go about their day.”

McMahon and Story were roommates two years ago when Story earned a starting job in spring training. McMahon took mental notes.

“He said ‘I’ve put all the work in. I know that I’ve worked my butt off to get here, now it’s just time to go show them,”’ McMahon said. “That’s all I’m trying to do.”

McMahon said Black told him at the outset of spring training to be himself and play loose.

“Having him say that kind of relaxed me a little bit,” McMahon said. “Obviously, I understand what’s at stake, but having the skip tell me to go out and do your thing and play ball the right way, I feel like that lifted a weight off my shoulders and it has led to me playing pretty well so far.’

Black won’t say how close McMahon is to earning the first-base job.

“Now he’s in a position to in the ensuing months or years to seize a position in the big leagues, and that’s what every player wants,” Black said. ”Whether it happens right away, who knows? His long-range hope is to have a long career. The short term challenge is work on balls in the dirt. Work on ground balls at first base. Work on having good at-bats.”

No Comments

Lions finish second at state tourney

There were smiles and a few tears as the Lutheran boys basketball team players accepted the trophy for taking runner-up honors in the March 10 Class 3A state basketball championship game. Bayfield won the game 68-57.

“It was a heck of a game and I am proud of the way we played and what the guys accomplished this season,” Lutheran coach Bill Brandsma said. “This is a great group of guys who practiced hard and played hard all season. I think the worst thing about tonight is I don’t get to coach this group any longer. I hope the guys think about all we achieved this year and not dwell on tonight’s game.”

Lutheran advanced to the title game after defeating defending state champion Sterling, while Bayfield gained a shot at its first boys basketball state title by outscoring Faith Christian.

Bayfield jumped out to an early lead in the championship game, and the Lions battled back but the Wolverines never relinquished the lead.

The Lions got to the championship game by scoring a 48-46 win over defending state champion and heavily-favored 25-0 Sterling. Senior guard Peter Gibas hit a shot that provided the winning margin with seconds left on the clock.

“That was a great win for us as our guys played outstanding basketball,” the coach said about the win over Sterling. “Maybe we were still thinking about that game but we sure got off to a slow start today against Bayfield.”

Bayfield came out pushing the pace against Lutheran. They played aggressive, swarming defense when the Lions had the ball. When they got the ball, the Wolverines had the range from outside, plus they were able to drive to the hoop and score points as they built a 21-5 first-quarter advantage.

Shots began to fall for Lutheran and they were able to move closer on the scoreboard and the score was 34-21 at the end of the third period. Lutheran closed the gap to nine points with just about two minutes remaining. Bayfield adopted a ball-possession style of play so Lutheran quickly fouled the Wolverine player with the ball to send him to the free-throw line in an effort to regain possession by pulling down the rebound of a missed foul shot. But Bayfield hit most of their free throws down the stretch and won the game.

Senior Kole Brandon was the scoring leader for Lutheran in the championship game as he scored 17 points. Teammate Matthew Thompson scored 14 points for the Lions.

“Bayfield is a good team, very physical and they made it hard for us out there tonight,” Brandon, a senior, said. “It was a great last game for us and I give all the glory to God for our team being here tonight in the state championship game. I also thank all my teammates for playing so hard all season and all game and thank all our fans who have cheered for us and supported us all season.”

Lutheran entered the state tournament with an 18-6 overall record and they were seeded 12th in the tournament.

“It was a good season for us,” Brandsma said. “We had six seniors and six juniors on this year’s roster. The seniors will graduate and they will be missed, but we have six guys returning to help anchor next season’s team. I hope these guys work hard all summer and build a strong foundation for a strong, competitive team next season.”

No Comments

‘You can’t fill those shoes’: Teachers, students remember slain teacher

A wooden cross marks the lonely prairie crossroads where Kiowa High School teacher Randy Wilson was found dead in 2010. At the school, 16 miles south, Wilson’s final, stoic yearbook photo hangs in a hallway above the engraved names of students who have received a scholarship in his name.

Mementos of the father of five are everywhere: A mural of the mountains he loved outside his old classroom. A stone monument beside a mini amphitheater outside the school, with benches arrayed toward a lectern, dedicated to him. Around Kiowa, a town of about 740 people in Elbert County, stand bookshelves he built and basements he finished as a carpenter during summer breaks.

But the most poignant legacy Wilson left is the broken hearts of the teachers and students who knew him, who were left with memories of a rock of a man, a father figure of quiet grace and capability who was ripped from their lives.

“We’ve done our best to carry on what he left, but you can’t fill those shoes,” said Karen Carnahan, who was once a student of Wilson’s and now teaches at the same school.

At the age of 52, Wilson was found dead at the intersection of Kiowa-Bennett Road and County Line Road on a cold and rainy June day, with a bag over his head, his own belt around his neck and his hands bound behind his back. No suspects were ever named in the case, and more than seven years passed until the surprise arrest of Daniel Pesch, a longtime Summit County resident, in Littleton in December.

Pesch, charged with first-degree murder, is awaiting trial in the Elbert County Jail, just a few blocks from the school where Wilson’s memory remains so alive. A judge quickly sealed all records in the case after Pesch’s arrest, and few details are available. Pesch’s next scheduled court appearance is a preliminary hearing, where the prosecution will lay out evidence in the case against him, currently set for March 30.

Country home

Kiowa, 50 miles southeast of Denver, feels far from the Front Range megalopolis. It has been largely untouched by the development that has changed nearby towns in recent decades. Today, Elizabeth is home to a Wal-Mart and strip malls. Farther northwest, Parker now teems with office parks and big-box retail. Kiowa, though, remains part of the Great Plains.

Approaching from the west on Highway 86, the subdivisions, then the mansions, then the hobby farms fade away, and ahead stretches an infinite horizon. Kiowa is topped by an old water tower, visible from miles distant, like an inverse anchor rising into the sea of sky.

Tucked along Kiowa Creek, the town feels nestled in, the stately old courthouse bookending one end of Comanche Street, the town’s main drag. Outside the courthouse stands a stone memorial that reads in part, “In Memory of Pioneers Massacred by Indians,” in memory of the Hungates, a young family murdered by Cheyenne warriors on a ranch to the north in 1864.

Kiowa is the Elbert County seat and home to the annual county fair. But there is no stoplight along the town’s two-block main street, with its stretch of false-fronted bars and shops, and a church converted to a library. The town climbs away to the east, where Kiowa’s school — with an enrollment of roughly 250 from kindergarten through high school — crowns the hill.

It was here that Randy Wilson settled in his early 40s, after a career that had seen him teach science at schools around the United States and halfway across the world, to the Colorado town that would later be haunted by his unsolved death.

‘When he spoke, we listened’

Born in Utah and raised in Bozeman, Montana, Wilson majored in science at Montana State University and received his master’s degree in secondary education from Steward University in Georgia, according to his obituary. His first teaching job was in Mount Vernon, Washington, in 1981. He married in 1984, and had five sons with his wife Linda. Wilson’s teaching career took him to schools in California, Montana, Missouri, and Saipan, an island in the western Pacific.

The family came to Kiowa in 2000, and life changed soon after. Court records show Randy and Linda began divorce proceedings the next year, and in 2002 Linda moved out of state. Wilson’s ex-wife and sons declined to comment for this story.

Wilson taught a slew of classes — math, science, computers, architecture and consumer science — at Kiowa’s small K-12 school, which typically has fewer than 100 students in the high school grades. He strove to make lessons relevant, said Sarah McFarland, a former student who knew Wilson well and remains close to his son Weston, who still lives in Kiowa.

“In consumer sciences, he had us plan a budget, balance a checkbook, plan meals for a family, and even budget a wedding,” McFarland said. “We had to account for dresses, tuxedos, flowers — the whole nine yards.”

Wilson’s lessons drew from his life, she recalled.

“He pulled from his own experiences, from childhood, from raising kids to marriage,” McFarland said. “He would tell the story over and over about the day his fourth son was born. They didn’t have time to get to the hospital, so he had to deliver his son himself. He said it was the most humbling experience of his life.”

Wilson had an air that drew respect.

“He was a man of few words, but when he spoke, we listened,” McFarland said. “He could look at me and get me to tell him something I wasn’t going to tell anyone.”

Wilson was devoted to his profession, recalled Liz Morrone, Kiowa’s longtime school counselor.

“He would come early to study with kids, he would stay after school, he would come in on Saturday or whenever they wanted to study,” she said.

Morrone said she was dazzled by the breadth of Wilson’s knowledge.

“He could talk about the physics in a bowl of soup as you stirred it.”

Wilson was a father figure for a lot of kids, said Carnahan, his former student.

“We had a lot of students who didn’t have a great relationship with their dads, and he was that strong male figure in their lives,” she said. “Even the bad kids respected him, because they knew he cared about them, too. He could help with any subject. Kids would even bring him their English papers for editing.”

Wilson was a godsend for a rural district trying to build up its technology programs at the dawn of the internet age, said Greg Kruthaupt, the former superintendent of Kiowa schools who hired Wilson.

“Randy was off the charts intellectually,” Kruthaupt said. “His understanding of technology was in the top 5 percent. His brain was like a sponge.”

Kruthaupt once briefly suspended Wilson from teaching, after an anonymous caller informed police that a student had built an inert bomb-like device for a school science fair, a project supervised by Wilson. The incident was the subject of a New York Times article.

Police confiscated the device, and Kruthaupt put Wilson on leave with pay while the incident was investigated. Wilson was soon reinstated, and neither he nor the student faced charges.

Kruthaupt said it didn’t damage his view of Wilson.

“He just got so close working with students that he didn’t think about the impact,” Kruthaupt said. “It was four months after 9/11 and people were just edgy. A ‘bomb’? Give me a break. It was about the scientific method.”

A man of faith

McFarland remembered the day she heard her sister-in-law was diagnosed with late-stage cancer. She thought of her little niece who would be without a mom.

“I completely lost it,” she said. “I sat on the floor in the hallway rocking back and forth. The halls were empty, nobody in the school. Then here comes Mr. Wilson. He sat there with me while I cried. It meant everything to me. He didn’t ask what was wrong, he just sat there. Teenage girls cry a lot. He figured out something was wrong.”

Wilson was a calming presence in the school.

“There was a student who died a couple years before Randy, in a car wreck,” remembered Polly Ehlers, who teaches fourth and fifth grades. “Something that always struck me: at the student’s memorial, which we held in the school gym, everyone was just a wreck. But there was Randy, in his suit, out front directing traffic and parking. Somehow that helped me keep it together. Of course, only a couple years later, we would hold Randy’s memorial in the same gym.”

Wilson’s suit stands out in another memory. McFarland remembered him coming to a sermon at a newly formed Baptist congregation, which at the time was meeting in the school cafeteria. Wilson was the only parishioner in a suit.

“That was that Montana boy in him,” she said. “To him, that was just how you dress for church.”

Faith played a strong role in Wilson’s life, Ehlers said.

“He could quote Bible passages off the top of his head. He had read the Bible cover to cover — twice.”

After his divorce, Wilson never dated again, according to McFarland.

“He told me that once he was married, he was married,” said McFarland. “He never talked about dating because in his mind he was going to be faithful to his wife even though they were divorced.”

Many roles

One of Wilson’s more low-key but vital roles was as the school’s de facto computer repairman, several people recalled.

“Because he was so quiet, the holes he filled we didn’t even know about became so obvious,” Ehlers said. “He was amazing with computers. If you got yourself into a bind, or a panic that you broke it, he’d calmly come in and fix it. We weren’t sure anyone could do that again.”

He was willing to fill in wherever necessary, remembered Cherie Wyatt, a fellow high school science teacher who taught alongside Wilson.

“I remember we had a teacher who left in April. Randy just stepped in and did substitute lesson plans for her class while still teaching his own.”

Wilson often elevated the level of discourse, Wyatt said.

“Lunches aren’t nearly as fun anymore. We would laugh and talk about deep scholarly things. He was so well read in the arts and classics. I was in heaven.”

Wilson had a dry, sometimes subtle sense of humor.

“He told me during the science fair, when I was whining about it, he said, ‘I found a project even you can do,’” Carnahan said. She recalled it involved potatoes.

Both Carnahan and McFarland remembered him making fun of their cowboy boots.

“I’d wear these wild-colored boots, and he’d say, ‘ugh, they’re making me puke!’ ” Carnahan said.

McFarland said she saw a different side of Wilson on a class trip to Glenwood Springs. The kids rushed to the hot springs pool not long after they got off the train, and close behind them was Wilson.

“Somebody was splashing me like crazy, and I turned around to see it was Mr. Wilson,” she said with a laugh.

McFarland, like Carnahan, went on to become a teacher herself, teaching elementary in Calhan, south of Kiowa.

“I think of him all the time,” she said. “I wonder what he would think. I try to take lessons from what he did. He truly loved us. We were like his surrogate children, and that’s how I try to approach teaching.”

“He would ask me all the time after I graduated, ‘Are you a teacher yet?’ The last time I saw him, I said, ‘Will you stop asking me that? You’ll be my first phone call after that happens.’”

McFarland never got to make that call.

No Comments

Standout Performers: Douglas County

Kyra Prokuski, Douglas County

The junior had three assists in a 4-2 girls soccer victory over Bear Creek on March 8.

Maddie Duren, ThunderRidge

The senior scored the winning goal in overtime in the 2-1 girls soccer win over Columbine on March 8.

Peter Gibas, Lutheran

He hit a jumper with 2.8 seconds remaining in the game to give the Lions a 39-37 semifinal victory over Sterling in the 3A state basketball tournament on March 9.

Anna Barkey, Legend

The senior contributed two assists and five steals in the 5-1 season opening girls soccer win March 8 over Dakota Ridge.

Zach Huff, Mountain Vista

The senior went 3-for-3 to pace the 8-3 baseball victory over Arvada West on March 8.

Justin Petterle, Rock Canyon

The freshman had a double and sacrifice fly to drive in two runs in the 4-1 baseball win over Grand Junction on March 10.

No Comments

Local athlete is giant slalom state champ

As bizarre as it might sound, high school skiing is an overlooked sport on the Front Range in Colorado.

Skiing may connote Colorado between the months of November through March, but any high school skier from Front Range schools has to join mountain schools to compete in the Colorado High School Activities Association’s state championships.

It is a winter sport that doesn’t garner much attention in the Denver area compared to basketball, wrestling, girls swimming and hockey.

Luke Bailey, a senior at Chaparral who was skiing for Platte Canyon High School, was the state giant slalom champ at the CHSAA state meet held Feb. 22-23 at Ski Cooper near Leadville. He was also second in the slalom and was named the co-Alpine Skier of the Year along with Michael Resnick of Vail Mountain.

In the 53-history of the ski program at Platte Canyon, nobody had ever won an individual state championship until Bailey and Alex Cregan captured state titles last month. Cregan won the girls giant slalom.

Bailey will continue his athletic endeavors at St. Cloud State after his graduation from Chaparral but he will be playing baseball. Bailey is an outfielder and captain on the Wolverines baseball team.

“It’s pretty cool to be a state champion,” said Bailey. “I think once school winds down it will sink in. It would be nice to see my name at Chaparral but it’s not a team sport at school.”

Bailey followed his brother Nick, who skied for Platte Canyon six years ago. Nick placed third in the giant slalom in 2013 and sixth in the slalom.

Luke, who was seventh last winter in the giant slalom, had the two fastest runs in the GS and finished with a two-run total of 2:09.09 to beat Resnick. In the slalom, he had a total time of 1:10.23 and was second behind Resnick.

“I skied well in the giant slalom, the course definitely suited me,” said Bailey. “There were a few technical spots that you definitely had to watch out for down at the bottom of the course.

“It was one of my better slalom runs. It was on a new run I had never skied before. It was pretty fun. To perform that well was pretty cool for me because I’m more of a GS specialist kind of guy.”

Bailey has set aside his skis and is roaming the Chatfield outfield which brings up the obvious question of which sport is his favorite.

“Baseball to me is a huge mental game,” he explained. “I really enjoy that. It’s not all about athletic ability. You have to be able to handle failure. In skiing you get two opportunities and if you don’t perform that day, that’s just how it goes.

“It’s hard to say which is my favorite because they are both so different. I really like the individual aspect of ski racing. It can be nerve-wracking especially getting into the starting gate. I really like the team aspect of baseball. And you know that if you succeed only three out of 10 times you are going to be in the Hall of Fame. I like that as well but if I had to pick, I would say baseball.”

Gatorade honors Masten

Rock Canyon’s Sam Masten, who is one of the Colorado’s best players at driving to the basket to score points and draw fouls, has been named the Gatorade Colorado Player of the Year.

The 6-foot-3 senior guard who will play next season at the University of Northern Colorado was averaging 22.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 steals a game before Rock Canyon’s March 9 Final Four game against George Washington.

New Chaparral grid boss

Jeff Ketron introduced himself to players and parents on March 8 at Chaparral only days after he was named the Wolverines’ new head football coach.

He replaces Rod Dobbs who resigned last month.

Ketron was the head coach at Douglas County between 1999-2013. The Huskies won the state championship in 2005 and were the runners-up in 2007.

Ketron’s appointment was the latest in what has been a revolving change of football coaches from last season as many of the departing coaches wound up continuing to coach but at different schools.

Mike Campbell left Arapahoe and is the new coach at Class 2A Englewood. Former Valor coach Rod Sherman resurfaced at Arapahoe. New Castle View coach Todd Casebier comes from 4A Fruita Monument. Tom Thenell turned in his Mullen coaching gear and is the new coach at Smoky Hill. Nick Trombetta went from Denver North to Thornton. John Trahan moved from Smoky Hill to Highlands Ranch.

No word yet on who will replace Wayne Voorhees at Legacy. Voorhees was hired as the coach at Riverdale Ridge, the new high school in Thornton.

Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com or at 303-566-4083.

No Comments

Scripting a night of fun with ScreenPLAY

There are some movie characters that just stick with you. Maybe they go through something you can relate to throughout the course of the film, or have a line that seems to apply directly to your life.

Which makes it a rare treat when a local actor gets to take a crack at a defining character. And that’s what ScreenPLAY, created by Adrian Sorge, has been bringing to the metro area for the past three years.

“We provide the opportunity for actors to play iconic characters, some that they’ve loved for years,” Sorge explained. “Not only are the evenings a chance to have some fun, but they’re a great way to build our artistic community.”

Started out of a desire to create more opportunities for women actors, directors and organizers, ScreenPLAY productions take famous movie scripts and gender-flip them for live, one-night only, readings. All the proceeds from these readings go to creative nonprofits.

At 8 p.m. on Monday, March 19, ScreenPLAY will host a live reading of the cult favorite, “Empire Records.” The reading will benefit Lakewood’s newest theater company, Benchmark Theatre, 1560 Teller St., with a $10 suggested donation at the door.

“This presentation is exciting, because we’re using Benchmark’s players in all the roles for the reading,” Sorge said. “These events are a lot of fun when audiences get into it, and with a movie as quotable as ‘Empire Records,’ it should be a lot of fun.”

The interactive evening promises to be loads of fun for movie lovers, theater lovers, and music fans alike.

“What better way is there to support local actors and have an evening of fun and silliness?” Sorge said. “It’s like seeing your favorite movie live.”

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/denverscreenplay/.

What if U-God was one of us?

As most of us have known since 1993, “the Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nuthing ta f’ wit.” And one of the key voices in the clan, Lamont “U-God” Hawkins, will be giving bibliophiles and audiophiles a chance to see him do his thing.

First, at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 16, U-God will be signing his first book, “Raw” at the Tattered Cover’s East Colfax location, 2526 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver. Just a couple hours later, at 9:30 p.m. at Lost Lake, 3602 E. Colfax Ave., he will be performing as part of his Raw Venom Tour.

U-God’s first-person account of his journey, from the streets of Brooklyn to some of the biggest stages around the world, is a fascinating and inspiring one. Readers will learn how Hawkins was raised in New York City, and came to meet and join the founders of the Wu-Tang — RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, ODB, Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah, and Masta Killa.

Rap fans shouldn’t miss this rare opportunity to meet a living legend.

For more information on the book signing, visit www.tatteredcover.com/new-event-calendar. And for tickets to his concert, go to www.lost-lake.com/event/1640090-u-god-wu-tang-denver/.

The British (songs) are coming back

Formed in 1982 with “a commitment to build a diverse community and foster acceptance through music,” the 140-member Denver Gay Men’s Chorus has been wowing crowds for 35 years.

This week, the group will be restaging the music of the British Invasion — including bands like The Beatles, The Animals, The Kinks and more.

The Denver Gay Men’s Chorus will be performing at 7:30 on Friday, March 16, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 17, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Speer Boulevard and Arapahoe Street in Denver.

In 2017, Gov. John Hickenlooper declared June 15 through 17, 2017, as Denver Gay Men’s Chorus 35th Anniversary days, commending the chorus for being “a respected leader in the arts community that significantly enriches the cultural life of the city while serving as a messenger of social justice and change.”

For tickets, visit www.axs.com/ and search for the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus.

Clarke’s Concert of the Week — The Menzingers at Summit Music Hall

It’s hard to imagine a better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than with some beer-sloshingly great rock music.

To get some of that great bar rock that’ll have you shouting along and jumping into friends and strangers alike, The Menzingers at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 17, at the Summit Music Hall, 1902 Blake St. in Denver, is the best way to go.

The Philadelphia-based Menzingers has been making music for 10 years, when they first got together in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Last year’s album, “After the Party,” was one of the best rock albums of the year, and explored the challenges and joys of leaving one’s 20s behind with a keen eye for storytelling.

The show will also feature Brendan Kelly, Bud Bronson and The Good Timers.

For tickets, head to www.thesummitmusichall.com/.

An ‘Odyssey’ for the new season

The March Equinox (also known as the first day of spring) is traditionally a moment for ancient cultures to celebrate the beginning of a new season with one of the oldest forms of expression — oral storytelling.

The Human, Kind Theater Project will be keeping the tradition alive with its “Odyssey” production, hosted at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20 at the Forum Theater at Koelbel Library, 5955 S. Holly St. in Centennial.

The show is a collection of stories from some of Denver’s best artists, providing a peek into the lives of others — all the happiness, sadness, comedy and tragedy that make life worth living. The show features Amelia Watkins, Davis Moline, Jane Hillson Aiello, Rav’n Moon, Robert Ham, and Sebastian Wolfe.

For tickets and more information, visit www.hktheaterproject.com/on-stage.

Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. A community editor with Colorado Community Media, he can be reached creader@coloradocommunitymedia.com.

No Comments