Why I Love Denver

Last night I took the family to a free outdoor concert by the delightful Somerset Catalog at the Clyfford Still Museum. Despite the light rain and unseasonably cool August weather, there were lots of enthusiastic fans (according to Facebook this was, sadly, the excellent band's last Denver show), delicious exotic sausages from Biker Jim's Gourmet Hot Dogs, craft beer (not just IPAs) from Baere Brewing, tiny handmade ice cream sandwiches, a fair number of dogs, free admission to the museum, and a polar bear promoting the Yes on SCFD campaign. I knew it was going to be a good evening when the band sound-checked with New Order's "Age of Consent" (meanwhile, up in Golden, Glenn's other band was also faithfully re-creating this classic). The kids were a little bit nervous about the polar bear, but had a great time dancing to Somerset Catalog and running around looking at the huge abstracts at the "paint museum."

You're free to mock all of this, including a green-mohawked dog, as hipster pretension but I think that would really miss the point - all this music, food, and art is the product of people deeply devoted to mastering a craft and making something distinctive.

The whole rainy-yet-joyous experience prompted me to reflect on what makes Denver such a great city for families,artists, and everyone right now. There's a critical mass of enthusiasm and support for the crafts that makes it possible, at this moment, for people to pursue their dreams of making stuff that isn't mass-produced. Whether that's food, fermented beverages, music, art, comedy, podcasts, or museums. City Park Jazz, the food truck scene, MCA Denver, and the SCFD -  these are events and institutions that try to put the city's creative products in reach of everyone. I only hope that Denver manages to find ways to confront the rising cost of housing, so that rents don't put life here out of reach of the aspiring artists, brewers, chefs, comedians, and musicians who make it such a great place to be right now.

-Michael

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