Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Elton John Attains EGOT Milestone with Historic Victory at the 2024 Emmy Awards

Yesterday, world-renowned global superstar Elton John joined Hollywood’s elite group of EGOT winners after securing the EMMY Award for Outstanding Variety Special (Live) for his 2022 Disney+ special “Elton John Live: Farewell from Dodger Stadium.”  

Elton John said, “I am incredibly humbled to be joining the unbelievably talented group of EGOT winners tonight. The journey to this moment has been filled with passion, dedication, and the unwavering support of my fans all around the world. Tonight is a testament to the power of the arts and the joy that it brings to all our lives. Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout my career, I am incredibly grateful.”  

The three-hour, historic, live-streamed concert event from Disney Branded Television and produced by Fulwell 73 and Rocket Entertainment gave Disney+ audiences a front-row seat to his electrifying and legendary performance as he bid farewell to North America. Heralded as one of the greatest send-offs of all time, artists, entertainers, and special guests, along with a packed stadium of fans and admirers worldwide, celebrated the music legend’s epic full-circle moment at Dodger Stadium, paying tribute to his 1975 performance that cemented his global success.  

Having previously won two Academy Awards for Best Original Song for Rocketman’s [“I’m Gonna] Love Me Again” and The Lion King’s “Can You Feel The Love Tonight,” a Tony Award for Best Original Score for Aida and six GRAMMY Awards throughout his career, including the GRAMMY Legend Award, Elton John tonight joined the exclusive circle of only 24 stars who have achieved Hollywood’s highest honor.   

Monday, January 8, 2024

Oscar Shortlisted: An Avocado Pit Directed by Ary Zara and Executive Produced by Elliot Page

Directed by Ary Zara and produced by TAKE IT EASY, the captivating short film "AN AVOCADO PIT" invites audiences into the intersecting worlds of Larissa, a trans woman, and Cláudio, a cis man. Ary Zara skillfully crafts a narrative that, with wit and sensitivity, portrays the collision of these two lives in a heartwarming story that is devoid of violence, yet brimming with light and hope.

Adding star power to this compelling project are Executive Producers Elliot Page, Matt Jordan Smith, and Tuck Dowrey from Page's production company, PAGEBOY Productions. The film has already garnered critical acclaim, winning OSCAR qualifying awards at Outfest and the Guadalajara International Film Festival in 2023. The AFI Festival also recognized the film with the Grand Jury Special Mention for Best Lead Acting in 2022, and it received the Best Queer Short Award and the International Student Prize at Festival du Court Métrage de Clermont Ferrand France in 2023.

Shortlisted for a 2024 Academy Award, "AN AVOCADO PIT" is a testament to the creative prowess of TAKE IT EASY, a well-established Portuguese independent production company based in Lisbon. Known for their alternative languages and passion for multi-layered storytelling, TAKE IT EASY has consistently delivered quality productions with a notable presence in national and international festivals.

The film unfolds as an empowering story of love and growth, bringing together two seemingly opposite lives for a beautiful evening of dancing and shared experiences. Executive Producer Elliot Page, a multi-talented figure in the entertainment industry, expressed pride in being part of the project, stating that "AN AVOCADO PIT is exactly the kind of project we at PAGEBOY Productions are drawn to. We are proud to board this short and it is an honor to amplify Ary Zara’s important work."

Founded in 2021, PAGEBOY Productions, led by Elliot Page, aims to develop and produce original, socially responsible stories that prioritize safety, representation, and intersectional equity. The company actively seeks creators and content from underrepresented communities, advocating for a more inclusive and equitable landscape in the entertainment industry. As they continue to pursue storytelling that challenges norms and amplifies marginalized voices, "AN AVOCADO PIT" stands as a shining example of their commitment to impactful and diverse narratives.

International Snow Sculpture Championships Return to Breckenridge

The 33rd annual International Snow Sculpture Championships presented by Toyota will return to Breckenridge from Jan. 22 – 31, 2024. Twelve teams of sculptors from around the world will convene in Breckenridge to hand-carve 12-foot-tall, 25-ton blocks of snow into intricate works of art.

Breckenridge will host international teams from China, Denmark, Ecuador, India, Korea, Lithuania, Mexico, Mongolia, and two teams from Germany. Representing the USA is the home team of Breckenridge and Team Wisconsin. With world-class snow made by Breckenridge Ski Resort, the dry, cool weather at 9,600’ of elevation, and a welcoming spirit that Breckenridge is known for, the International Snow Sculpture Championships draw the best of the best in the art and sport of snow sculpting to this Colorado mountain town.

Over the course of 94 hours, teams will sculpt day and night from Jan. 22 at 11 a.m. through Jan. 26 at 9 a.m., bringing a variety of whimsical, profound, and gravity-defying designs to life using only hand tools like vegetable peelers, chicken wire, and small saws. Power tools, colorants, and internal support structures are prohibited. Teams bring their ingenuity and dedication to Breckenridge as they compete only for the fun and glory of a win—there are no cash prizes.

During viewing week, Jan. 26 - Jan. 31, spectators can delight in the frozen sculpture garden. While the stunning white snow stands out against clear blue skies during the day, the sculptures transform each evening with ever-changing colorful lights shining upon them. Spectators can show support for their favorite sculpture with the People’s Choice Vote between Jan. 24 at noon and Jan. 27 at 2 p.m.

Winners for the 33rd International Snow Sculpture Championships Presented by Toyota will be announced during the awards ceremony on Friday, Jan. 26, inside the Riverwalk Center. Awards include Gold, Silver, Bronze, and the Lothar Luboschik Artists’ Choice Awards. The awards ceremony is free and open to the public. People’s Choice Awards are announced on the evening of Jan. 27.

The weekend of Friday, Jan. 26 - Sunday, Jan. 29, is historically the most popular time for sculpture viewing. To help ensure the best environment for visitors, timed entry reservations will be required only on Saturday, Jan. 27. There is no cost for a timed entry, but availability is limited. Spectators can sign up for a Saturday sculpture viewing at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. or 2 p.m. online at GoBreck.com/ISSC

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Performance Now Theatre Company presents Disney's "Newsies" at the Lakewood Cultural Center

Performance Now Theatre Company presents Disney’s “Newsies” January 5 - 21 at the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway in Lakewood. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets start at $22 and are available online at www.performancenow.org or by calling 303-987-7845.


Newsies is based on the 1992 musical film of the same name, which in turn was inspired by the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City. Jack Kelly and his ragtag team of newsboys make a meager living selling newspapers on the city streets. But when the prices of “papers” are hiked and the newsies are hung out to dry, there is nothing left to do but “open the gates and seize the day!” Led by charismatic Jack and independent, young newspaper reporter Katherine Plummer, the Newsies form a union and organize a strike against the greedy publisher of the New York World. Newsies contains such popular numbers as “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day,” “Something to Believe In” and “Santa Fe.”


The talented cast includes Levi Randolph as Jack Kelly, Sarah Atkinson as Katherine Plumber, David Kincannon as Joseph Pulitzer, Fletcher Kim as Race, along with 21 other talented actors and dancers.

WalletHub - Denver Ranks in the Top 20 Best Cities for Christmas

Source: WalletHub
With spending over the winter holidays projected to reach record highs again this year, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2023’s Best Places for Christmas Celebrations to help consumers find the best cities to maximize their enjoyment with a minimal budget.

Celebrating Christmas in Denver (1=Best; 50=Avg.): 
  • Overall rank for Denver: 14th
  • 7th – Christmas Tree Farms per Capita
  • 1st – Number of Affordable, High-Quality Restaurants 
  • 12th – Average Beverage Price
  • 54th – Restaurant Meal Costs
  • 4th – Food Banks per Capita

Biden-Harris Administration selects Denver-based JSI Research and Training Institute to receive $50M to fund Environmental Justice projects

Today, as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the Biden-Harris Administration announced JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc. (JSI) of Denver, Colorado, has been selected to receive $50 million under EPA’s Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking program created by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the largest climate action investment in history. JSI will use these funds to serve as a Grantmaker for project applicants across EPA Region 8, which includes Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming and 28 Tribal Nations. 

This new grant program, which will make it easier for small community-based organizations to access federal environmental justice funding, responds to community feedback about the need to reduce barriers to federal funds. Specifically, the program will improve the efficiency of the awards process to ensure communities that have long faced underinvestment can access the benefits of the largest climate investment in history. Communities will be able to apply to JSI for a subgrant to fund a range of different environmental project activities, including small local clean ups; local emergency preparedness and disaster resiliency programs; environmental workforce development programs for local jobs reducing greenhouse gas emissions; fence-line air quality and asthma related projects; healthy homes programs; and projects addressing illegal dumping.  

“This Grantmakers funding will create much-needed opportunities for Environmental Justice communities and leaders to receive federal grants s for locally-developed projects that focus on improving the environment, public health and quality of life,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “EPA looks forward to collaborating with JSI to deliver resources and support in the communities that need them most.”  

“Access to clean water and clean air is a fundamental human right,” said U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. “This investment will help remove barriers to obtaining federal funds for small community-based organizations in parts of Colorado that have long been disproportionately affected by poor water and air quality. It is important to ensure those communities receive the resources they need.” 

“Our Inflation Reduction Act gives us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to address climate change for the communities that are facing it head-on,” said U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper.  “Today’s investment will catalyze locally-led solutions for climate resilience in Colorado and other Western states.” 

“Today’s announcement represents a transformative step in our fight for environmental justice,” said U.S. Representative Diana DeGette. “Thanks to the Biden Administration, these investments will help ensure communities across the Mountain West have cleaner air and water – improving public health across the region. I’m proud that Denver will continue to be a leader in this fight. As we address the climate crisis and the harmful pollution fueling it, we’re working together to ensure a healthier, more equitable future for all.” 

EPA Grantmakers will work in collaboration with EPA to issue subgrants to community-based nonprofit organizations and other eligible organizations representing disadvantaged communities. As a Grantmaker, JSI will design comprehensive application and submission processes, award environmental justice subgrants, implement tracking and reporting systems and provide resources and support to communities.  

JSI’s team will focus on environmental, public health and quality of life improvements in the most overburdened, vulnerable and underserved communities by co-designing an equitable and inclusive grantmaking application and scoring process.  The Institute will reach out to communities across EPA Region 8, reducing burdens on subgrantees and engaging in monitoring, evaluation and reporting that ensures the integrity, compliance and impact of the program. JSI has more than 30 years as an environmental health training and technical assistance provider and grant manager. The subgrants are expected to become available by summer of 2024. 

JSI’s partners include:  

  • The Montana Watershed Coordination Council (Helena, Montana) 

  • The Oglala Lakota Cultural & Economic Revitalization Initiative (Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota) 

  • Dakota Resource Council (Bismarck, North Dakota) 

  • The Wyoming Outdoor Council (Lander, Wyoming) 

  • The Community Health Association of Mountains/Plains States (Denver, Colorado)  

  • Equitable funding Advisory/Training Partner Community-Centric Fundraising (Seattle, Washington) 

Grantmakers are expected to begin opening competitions and awarding subgrants by summer 2024. Community-based nonprofit organizations and other eligible organizations seeking subgrant funding will be able to apply for subgrants through three concurrent tiers offered by the Grantmakers. Tier One will consist of grants for $150,000 for assessment, Tier Two will consist of grants for $250,000 for planning, and Tier Three will consist of grants for $350,000 for project development. In addition, $75,000 will be available for capacity-constrained community-based organizations through a noncompetitive process under Tier One. Each Grantmaker will design and implement a distribution program best suited for their region and communities.  

The Grantmakers program is part of the Federal Interagency Thriving Communities Network and delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 Initiative, which set the goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. Grantmakers will work in collaboration with the Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers (EJ TCTACs) to create a robust support network to assist eligible entities when applying. 

Stories on Stage presents the world premiere of David Nehls' suspenseful new musical "The Wind"

Stories on Stage presents the world premiere of David Nehls' (pictured) suspenseful new musical “The Wind,” a one-person musical, performed by Emily Van Fleet (fresh from her dazzling performance as Carole King at the Arvada Center), accompanied by Nehls, violinist Emily Lewis and cellist David Short. One performance only on Sunday, January 14 at 2:00 p.m. at the Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, Denver. Tickets are $26 and are available at www.storiesonstage.org or by calling 303-494-0523


As a composer/lyricist, David Nehls is best known for the music and lyrics of “The Great American Trailer Park Musical,” and the musical, “Mommie Dearest,” which he has collaborated with Christina Crawford.


A fan of old movies, David came across the 1928 silent film version of “The Wind” stars Lillian Gish as the isolated heroine, Letty, driven insane by the endless wind. The movie was adapted from the novel of the same name written by Dorothy Scarborough in 1925.

Nehls says, “Something about the story just grabbed me. The imagery was fascinating. And the character journey… I’d been looking for something besides the typical musical to write. And I love that era: the late nineteenth century. Especially in the United States.” – from the Scen3 preview written by Mare Trevathan.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Latin American and Caribbean Mental Health Leaders Unite Against Conversion Practices

Mental health professional guilds, organizations, and associations from over seven countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have joined forces to issue a powerful statement condemning conversion practices aimed at altering or suppressing sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Conversion practices, deeply rooted in homophobia and transphobia, are denounced by these organizations for lacking any scientific basis and being extreme forms of discrimination. They inflict severe mental health damage on individuals within the LGBTIQ community, leading to issues such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, self-esteem challenges, and even suicidal thoughts.

The signatory organizations include prominent bodies such as the Caribbean Alliance of National Psychology Associations, Latin American Psychoanalytic Federation, Federal Council of Psychologists of Brazil, Federation of Psychologists of Venezuela, Colombian Professional Association of Psychology, Peruvian Society of Psychoanalysis, Gender and Sexualities Commission of the Professional Association of Psychologists of Chile, and the Professional Association of Psychologists of Santa Fe, Argentina - First Circumscription.

In emphasizing the importance of inclusive approaches within mental health practice, these organizations stress the need to respect the identity of LGBTIQ individuals while rejecting all forms of discrimination.

The joint statement urges mental health professionals to actively denounce and confront conversion practices within their professional spaces, as well as in the media and public forums. Furthermore, the organizations call upon governments in Latin America and the Caribbean to enact effective legislation and public policies that prevent conversion practices and ensure victims have access to the necessary professional care. The overarching goal is to prioritize the well-being and rights of LGBTIQ individuals by eradicating these harmful practices.

Outright International, an organization dedicated to human rights advocacy, has documented the global use of conversion practices and is actively collaborating with partners worldwide to eradicate them. The organization's research sheds light on the nature, extent, and impact of these harmful practices.

Maria Sjödin (pictured), Executive Director of Outright International, emphasizes the crucial need to "convert mindsets, not identities" and advocates for a world where all individuals can live authentically and free from discrimination. Mental health professionals, she states, can play a pivotal role in curbing the demand for conversion practices and ensuring they have no part in it.

Monday, December 18, 2023

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Gallery 1261 Presents "Genesis," A Solo Exhibition By Denver-Based artist Robin Cole

Gallery 1261 is proud to present "Genesis," a solo exhibition by Denver-based artist Robin Cole. Drawing from the deep reservoirs of personal transformation and the vastness of the natural world, Cole's work bridges the realms of science and spirit, presenting a harmonious confluence of the internal and external wilderness.

Said Cole, “My work explores an inner wilderness by way of an outer one. I believe that the natural world is not only an inherent part of us as human beings (and we of it), but that it is the original, exquisitely sensitive mirror in which we find our own inner terrain and wildness reflected. My work has always been an act of reverence for the natural world. There is an element of science in it, in the desire to study and observe. But there is an element of spirit, too, in the continual reaching for something just beyond the visible.

These images come as often from within as without, informed as significantly by emotional texture and imagination as observation. This is particularly true since becoming a mother—a primal event that has acquainted me with the processes (both physical and metaphorical) of germination, gestation, birth, and revelation. As I gaze at the world through this new lens, with a tiny hand clasped in my larger one, I find moments of the purest joy sneak up on me in a way they never have before, like new constellations among previously familiar stars. I find a sense of possibility suffuses our everyday lives, as beautiful and honest as the vision of a double rainbow above the vast plains of my creative life to date.

I am interested in elemental experiences that possess this added, dream-like resonance, like a vision of tiny embryonic mysteries, or the ethereal glow of a nameless light in a white landscape. These are the times when the veil feels thin, when an omnipresent but unnoticed magic moves beneath the surface of the ordinary. In my work, I aim to weave this need for understanding into a broader and equally honest experience of imagination.” – Robin Cole

Gay Catholic Community Leader Responds to Pope Francis' Decision to Bless Same-Sex Couples

In response to the recent announcement from the Vatican approving the blessings of same-sex couples, Richard Zaldivar, executive director-founder of The Wall Las Memorias, a Los Angeles-based LGBTQ+-Latino community organization, expressed his appreciation for this development.

Zaldivar commented, "The news that our Catholic church will be able to bless same-sex couples is a positive step for our LGBTQ+ community. We are grateful for this decision, as it addresses a long-standing need for a safe spiritual space in our church, especially for those in committed relationships. While recognizing that progress takes time, we acknowledge and thank Pope Francis for his leadership on this issue and his efforts to promote inclusion for all Catholics in the church."

This decision is viewed as a meaningful move towards fostering inclusivity within the Catholic Church, providing acknowledgment and acceptance for members of the LGBTQ+ community seeking spiritual recognition within the institution.

Get Ready for a Hilarious Holiday Extravaganza: Paul Lynde's Festive Special on Amazon Prime!

TRAILER - Making the Yuletide Gay from Cinephobia Releasing on Vimeo.

Get ready for a baby boomer's delight with a side of festive hilarity! The comedic genius Bruce Vilanch, known for "Get Bruce!", teamed up with director Scott Rockett to create a side-splitting TV special hosted by none other than the iconic Paul Lynde, brilliantly channeled by Michael Airington.

In this uproarious holiday extravaganza, Lynde plays host to a star-studded lineup featuring Tab Hunter (played by Spencer Day), Sal Mineo (brought to life by David Hernandez), and the flamboyant Liberace (performed by David Maiocco). Joining the merry band are Evie Harris (played by Jack Plotnick), along with special appearances by Seth Rudetsky, Jackie Beat, and Lady Bunny as themselves.

This outrageously funny variety special takes your favorite queer legends from both past and present on a tour de force of festive performances. The musical romp, filled with original music and lyrics by the 14-time Emmy-winning composer and arranger Dominic Messinger, is a celebration of Christmas with a queer twist.

Liberace's piano numbers, cheeky sexual innuendos, a never-ending flow of libations, and a collection of daring Christmas song remakes that would make your grandmother blush – this fabulous special has it all. It's a perfect blend of nostalgia and contemporary humor, promising to bring a little Christmas QUEER into your celebrations.

You can catch all the laughter and merriment exclusively on Amazon Prime.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

WalletHub: Denver Is 2023’s 9th Best City for New Year’s

Source: WalletHub
With venues hiking their prices significantly during New Year’s, putting a strain on people’s wallets that have already been hit hard by inflation, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2023’s Best Cities for New Year’s, along with its infographic of 50+ New Year’s Facts – Traditions, Spending & More.

To determine which cities are the best for safely ringing in the new year without breaking the bank, WalletHub compared the 100 biggest cities across 26 key metrics. The data set ranges from the legality of fireworks and the nightlife options per capita to food affordability and forecasted precipitation for Dec. 31.  

Celebrating New Year’s in Denver (1=Best; 50=Avg.):
  • Overall rank for Denver: 9th
  • 43rd – Avg. Alcoholic Beverage Price
  • 41st – Restaurant Meal Costs
  • 1st – Availability of Affordable Fine Dining
  • 54th – Traffic Congestion
  • 1st – Legality of Fireworks
  • 24th – Walkability

'The Color Purple' In Theaters December 25

Warner Bros. Pictures invites you to experience the extraordinary sisterhood of three women who share one unbreakable bond in “The Color Purple.” This bold new take on the beloved classic is directed by Blitz Bazawule, a multi-medium artist whose breakout first feature is the highly acclaimed “The Burial of Kojo.” The film’s all-star producers are Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Scott Sanders and Quincy Jones. 

“The Color Purple” stars Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”), SAG Award winner and Tony Award nominee Danielle Brooks (“The Color Purple,” “Orange Is the New Black”), Tony nominee and Emmy Award winner Colman Domingo (“Euphoria,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Tony Award nominee Corey Hawkins (“Six Degrees of Separation,” “In the Heights”), Oscar- and Grammy-winning artist H.E.R. (“Judas and the Black Messiah”), Grammy nominee Halle Bailey (“The Little Mermaid”), Oscar nominee Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor (“King Richard,” “Ray”), and Grammy-winning artist Fantasia Barrino in her major motion picture debut. 

 The screenplay is by acclaimed playwright Marcus Gardley, who won a WGA Award for “Maid.” His script is based on the novel by Alice Walker and based on the musical stage play, book (of the musical stage play) by Marsha Norman, music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray. 

Joining director Bazawule behind the camera are a roster of acclaimed artisans, including Oscar-nominated director of photography Dan Laustsen (“The Shape of Water”), Oscar-winning production designer Paul Denham Austerberry (“The Shape of Water”), editor Jon Poll (“Bombshell,” “Meet the Parents”), costume designer Francine Jamison-Tanchuck (“Glory,” “One Night in Miami…”) and choreographer Fatima Robinson (“Dreamgirls”). The music is by Oscar nominee Kris Bowers (“King Richard,” “Green Book,” documentary short “A Concerto Is a Conversation”). 

Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Harpo Films Production, an Amblin Entertainment Production, a Scott Sanders Production/a QJP Production, “The Color Purple.” It will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures and is set to open in theaters in North America on December 25, 2023 and internationally beginning 18 January 2024.

“Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour" Available Today on VUDU

Grab your friendship bracelets and popcorn because you can finally experience the concert for yourself at home! Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour is available today on Vudu, Fandango’s premium on-demand service. Fans can now watch the Certified Fresh film in SD, HD and UHD for $19.89.


To celebrate the long-awaited release, when fans rent Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour on Vudu, they will get 13% off their next Vudu purchase. Additionally, viewers will be entered for a chance to win 2 tickets to Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour LIVE in any city of your choice (ARV is just $500 - $250 per ticket. Travel and Accommodations are not included.) Official rules can be viewed here