The Sons of Norway is a heritage and cultural group of Norway celebrating relationships between Nordic countries. They have a lodge called the Viking Hall or Fjellheim lodge in eastern Colorado Springs. Each year they put on a Viking Market hosting a bazaar and brunch. The community and members come together to share arts, crafts, lefse, handwork, collectibles, unique gifts, baked goods, and goods. The bazaar runs from 9 am until 2 pm, with a pancake breakfast around 9 am, and lunch around 11. They held raffles with gifts donated by the various vendors all as a fundraiser for the group. It was a great time. The Tree Leaves Oracle vended its Viking crafts, gifts, and selections of drinking horns, leather works, and goods. Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
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As usual, Starbucks is always on top of getting in chime with current fads, whims, and trends. Of course, “Zombies” are a year-round trend, they are just more popular in October. So to get with the spirit, Starbucks has created the “Zombie Frappacino” – a tasty an colorful blended iced drink with delicious apple and caramel flavors. Not caffeinated either, so it won’t turn you into a running zombie. A nice treat in the month of October. Limited run and selection offering. Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Ingredients: Ice, Milk, Crème Frappuccino Syrup [Water, Sugar, Salt, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid], Zombie Mocha Drizzle [Mocha Sauce (Water, Sugar, Cocoa Processed With Alkali, Vanillin), Pink Powder (Dextrose, Fruit And Vegetable Color [Apple, Cherry, Radish, Sweet Potato])], Green Caramel Apple Powder [Dextrose, Fruit And Vegetable Color (Spirulina, Turmeric), Natural Flavors, Citric Acid].
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Oweynagat Cave – Cave of the Cats
– Gateway to the Underworld and the Morrigan’s Palace. Rathcrohan / Rosscommon, Ireland
GPS: 53.79677, -8.31038 Article/Research by Thomas Baurley/Leaf McGowan/Technogypsie Productions, 10 October 2017
One of my most favorite sites in Ireland is the “Cave of the Cats” underneath the realm of “Rathcrohan“. It is officially called “Oweynagat” and pronounced “Owen-ne-gatt”.
The Cave is also labelled “Uaimh na gCat”, Irish translating to “Cave of the Cats”. When I first visited this site we had a tremendously hard time finding it. We found where it was supposed to be, but it lay behind fencing on a farmer’s field. We knocked on the farmer’s door, and there was no answer. A neighbor saw us, asked what we were doing and who we were, and he showed us the entrance, giving us permission to enter. It was a small hole under some Fairy thorn trees. The Site is actually a natural narrow limestone cave that hosts a man-made souterrain at its entrance. This is seen by all as the official entrance to the Otherworld and home to the Morrigan or Medh. In the Medieval Period of Ireland, it was labeled “Ireland’s Gate to Hell”. It is a particular sacred site for the Pagan holiday and festival of “Samhain” or Halloween.
It is said that during the Feast of Samhain, the dead, their God/desses, and Spirits, would rise from their graves and walk the Earth. This cave is one of the main places where Spirits and the dead associated with the Fae and/or the Morrigan, would re-surface including creatures, monsters, and the un-dead. There exists an Irish legend based off the “Adventures of Nera” where a warrior is challenged to tie a twig around the ankle of a condemned man on Samhain eve, after agreeing to get him some water would discover strange houses and wouldn’t find water until the third house. Upon returning him back to captivity would witness Rathcroghan’s royal buildings destroyed by the spirits. After this he must follow the fairy host to the Sidhe where he meets a woman who tells him the vision he saw will happen a year from now unless his mortal comrades are warned. He leaves the Sidhe and informs Ailill of his vision who destroys the Sidhe in response.
Some believe the “síd” or the Sidhe of this tale is either the Mound of Rathcroghan or Oweynagat, the Cave of the Cats. It makes the most sense that the Cave of the Cats is where the destructive creatures and fae emerged. There was a triple-headed monster called the Ellen Trechen that went on a rampage across the country before being killed by Amergin, father of Conal Cernach. There have been tales of small red birds emerging from the cave withering every plant they breathed on before being hunted to their death by the Red Branch. There is also legends of herds of pigs with similar powers of decay emerging from the cave until hunted and killed by Ailill and Medb.
The name itself, “Oweynagat” is believed to refer to the Magical wild cats featured in the tale of “Bricriu’s Feast” that emerge from this cave to attack the three Ulster warriors before being tamed by Cúchulainn. Some also claim that the cave was named after Irusan, the King of the Cats, who is featured in Irish fairy tales and hailed from a cave near Clonmacnoise (her home). Another tale from the 18th century CE tells of a woman trying to catch a runaway cow that fell into this cave (nevermind the entrance being too small) and followed it into this cave. It is said the cow and woman emerged miles away in County Sligo, near Keshcorran. There is also a legend of a woman that was told to have killed a monster cat in this cave, turning the woman into a great warrior, and this is why its called “Oweynagat”, Cave of the Cats.
The Birthplace of Medb
It is also believed that this cave is the actual physical birthplace for Queen Medb. The legend states that the Fairy Queen/Goddess Étain who was fleeing her human husband with her fairy lover Midir came here. Midir wanted to visit a relative named Sinech (the large breasted one) who lived in the cave. Within the cave was said to be a great otherworldly palace where a maid servant named Crochan Crogderg (“Blood Red Cup”) lived, and she had granted Midir and Etain entrance. It was here that Crochan was believed to have given birth to a daughter named “Medb“.
Nestled under a fairy tree in a farmer’s field (private property) is a small opening that really only looks large enough for a house cat to fit through. But if a human gets down on their hands and knees, can shimmy into this small hole, they will be presented with a small chamber that connects to a passageway that continually increases to a massive tunnel wider and higher than one could fathom. At the inner lintel of this entrance is an Ogham inscription that bears the words “VRAICCI…MAQI MEDVVI” translating to “FRAECH” and “SON OF MEDB”. Some also translate this to mean “The Pillar of Fraech son of Madb”. This is also seen as the birthplace of Medb. A second ogham inscription, barely visible, reads “QR G SMU” but has not been translated. This beginning chamber is actually a man-made souterrain at the entrance to a natural narrow limestone cave. The souterrain was originally contained within an earthen mound that was later damaged by a road construction project in the 1930’s. The souterrain is made of drystone walling, orthostats, lintels, and stones that measure approximately 10.5 meters from the entrance to the natural cave’s opening.
After crawling on one’s hands and feet, the passage increases in width and height, eventually one can stand up, and eventually the tunnel becomes wide and tall enough that a small Giant could move through it. This is the passage of the Fae, and leads to the Morrigan’s Lair. As one continues down, they’ll find a caved in shamble that is behind a muddy pool of water. If one successfully climbs up and over it, the passage continues to another area that is caved in. Apparently workers on the surface planted a utility pole that collapsed this section of the tunnel. Beyond this is believed to be the Entrance to the Otherworld, and the Morrigan’s Lair. This is actually a natural limestone cave that has been mapped approximately 37 meters deep.
The Queen of the Dark Fae, the Goddess of the Underworld, of Darkness, and Battle, rules the world of the Fae from this place. It is believed that every Samhain, she is pulled on a chariot out of the Cave of the Cats by a one-legged chestnut horse alongside various creatures such as those mentioned above. Some also say on occasion she leaves the cave with a cow, guided by a giant with a forked staff, to give to the Bull of Cúailgne. She is also known to take the bull of a woman named Odras who follows her into the cave before falling under an enchanted sleep upon awakening to see the Morrigan who repeatedly whispers a spell over her, turning her into a river, the same river that feeds the muddy pool at the shamble. Apparently the cave is seen as a portal through which the Morrigan would pass in order to work with Medb as Goddess of Battle. She drove her otherworldly cattle into the cave every sunset. The Morrigan was blamed to have stolen a herd of cattle who belonged to a woman named Odras, and upon following to Morrigan to retrieve them, was turned into a lake by the Goddess. As is the story of Nera, a servant of Medb who met a Fairy woman here in this cave. He married her, and she warned him of Medb’s palace being burnt to the ground next Samhain by the creatures of the otherworld. Upon hearing this, Medb stationed her forces in the cave each Samhain to protect Cruachan from destruction.
Rathcrohan is the legendary burial grounds of the Kings of Coannaught. The region covers approximately 518 hectares hosting more than 20 ring forts, burial mounds, megalithic tombs such as the Relig na Ri (burial ground of the Kings), Rath na dTarbh (For the Bulls), and the Rathbeg. The archaeological site is massive, with earthworks spread over the region with the Grave of King Dathi (Last Pagan King of Ireland) as a 2 meter high standing stone being one of the few physical landmarks left that can be seen. This is also the site of the mythical battle of the “Tain Bo Cuailgne” that remains in the hearts, minds, and folklore of the people of Tulsk and Rathcroghan recorded in the Ancient Irish Epic of the Tain Bo Cuiailgne, the “Cattle Raid of Cooley”. The Tain Bo tells the story of Queen Maeve of Connaught and her armies that pursued the Grat Brown Bull of Cooley, the mighty warrior Cuchulain who does battle with the armies here, and his foster brother Erdia as he defends the Brown Bull, and the province of Ulster. There is a “Tain Trail Cycling and Touring Route” that re-traces the journey that Queen Maeve and her armies traveled from her Royal Palace at Rathcroghan across Ireland to the Cooley Peninsula in County Louth, the home of the Brown Bull. Rathcrohan hosts over 60 National Monuments here.
Druid School: Oweynagat Cave of the Cats. Website referenced January 2012.
Fenwick, J. et al 1977 “Oweynagat”. Irish Speleology 16, 11-14.
Hannon, Ed 2012 “Visions of the Past: Oweynagat Cave”. Website referenced 10/10/17 at https://visionsofthepastblog.com/2012/10/01/oweynagat-cave-souterrain-co-roscommon/.
Mulranney, R. n.d “Caves of Ireland: Oweynagat Cave of the Cats”. Website referenced 10/10/17 at https://cavesofireland.wordpress.com/home/caves/oweynagat-cave-of-the-cats-co-roscommon/.
Waddell, J. 1983 “Rathcroghan – A Royal Site”. Journal of Irish Archaeology 1.
Wikipedia n.d. “Rathcroghan”. Website referenced 10/10/17 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rathcroghan.
In the heart of nowhere is this unique little town of 800-900 inhabitants surrounded by the lumber industry. It however possesses one of the most intriguing architectural high schools I’ve ever encountered making it a gem. The town was created in the late 1800’s after construction of a railway line from Roseburg came through the area – established by Solomon Abraham, the local right-of-way agent in 1881-1883. He originally called the town “Julia” after his wife, but there was a dispute with the chief engineer over this, and it was changed to the name of “Glendale”. In 1883 the post office was established for Julia, and changed names later that year to Glendale. The area was destroyed by fires in 1928 and rebuilt shortly after.
“The Hotel California” ~
A fictional place, but full of urban myths and legends.
The “California Hotel” photo above, is NOT of course the place of the legend from the Song, nor was it the headquarters for Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan. I’m actually not sure of the history of the actual hotel in this photo, but it called to mind my memories about this urban legend. (The photo above MIGHT be the California Hotel of historic landmarks, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Hotel as it was in Oakland. The California Hotel historic is a important cultural center for the African-American community of San Francisco’s East ay during the 40’s-60’s, it experienced severe economic difficulties and turned into subsidized housing in the 80s)
I first came across the urban legend in 1990 at the Starwood festival when I was hanging out with a Satanist from the Church of Satan who first told me the tale … “one of the members of the Eagles was at this bar and got drunk with Anton LaVey’s daughter, she brought him home that night to her hotel room (at the Hotel California where supposedly the headquarters of the Church of Satan resided), they became lovers. Apparently he was so tied up in the affair with her that he disregarded showing up to band practice or responsibilities, and in a sense “never could leave” the hotel. When He snapped out of it, he apparently wrote the song about the experience hanging with the Church of Satan. A similar tale was told to me by my mentor Isaac Bonewits, founder of ADF (Ar nDraoicht Fein – A Druid Fellowship) who briefly joined the Church in his youth, but was so rambunctious and a trouble maker, the Church of Satan actually kicked him out of their group. (I do know that to be true as I’ve seen historic film reels of him in their ranks. Apparently he was recruited after creating a parodic devil’s throne upon which he proselytized on at UoC Berkeley to harass the local bible thumper on campus. They ran across him, were impressed, and asked him to join. )
I digress, back to the original legend. Some claim that Larry Salter, the Eagle’s manage admitted in the Waco Tribune-Herald (Feb. 28, 1982) that the Eagles were involved with the Church of Satan. Oddly the Church of Satan was first legally registered as “Hotel California” (legal entity name). But the Eagles claim far and wide, they were not associated with the Church and it was a leap that people jumped to. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_California)
The Eagles claim that the “Hotel California” is an allegory about hedonism and greed in Southern California in the 1970s. As they first experienced California at that time, they were impressioned that California was about money, drugs, women, and fame – true hedonism, and they were disquieted by it all pushing that un-ease into their lyrics to warn others about the dark underside of such adulation – “a loss of innocence”, corruption of the artist in California imprisoned in a gilded prison that the artist freely enters that he cannot leave. It is not actually a place, but a metaphor of the west’s music industry and its effect on musicians ensnared by it. (http://www.snopes.com/music/songs/hotel.asp)
To make matters worse, many conspiracy theorists have marked that “Anton LaVey” (leader of the Church of Satan, San Francisco) can be seen in the balcony window as depicted on the album cover for the record “Hotel California”.
Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said ‘We are all just prisoners here, of our own device’
And in the master’s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast
Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
‘Relax,’ said the night man,
‘We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave!’
The urban myth has odd facts and twisted thoughts behind it, and whether or not those with the inside knowledge are telling the truth and the Eagles are covering it up to save their reputation, or it is quite a bit of hog-wash and conjecture, we’ll never know. Frey and Henley claim that as much as people want to know what the song was about, they really don’t know themselves. It was an attempt at a “twilight zone” influence and many beliefs are abound. (http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-35347075)
This great little coffee and sandwich shop was such a Denver charm. Unfortunately it is currently no longer. Hopefully it will come back. It was a fabulous alternative to the mainstream coffee shops with great chai, great ambiance, hookahs, performances, readings, belly dancing, and a Middle Eastern vibe. Great hangout and get togethers. Good WiFi. Rating: 5 star out of 5.
Faerieworlds/Neverworlds Winter Celebration 2011: Pirates vs. Faeries Masquerade Ball January 29, 2011: McDonald Theater, Eugene, Oregon
One of my favorite dances annually is the Faerieworlds Winter celebrations where they bring together the magical acts of Faerieworlds indoors to the McDonald theater in downtown Eugene, Oregon. Family and friends within the Faerie realms of Oregon, Washington, and beyond come together, dressed to the nines in Faerie and fantasy costumes ready to mesmerize one another in their frolick together. This year was the theme of “Pirates vs. Faeries” as they dance battled the two realms. It was a great display of art, theater, and magic. The magical band “Woodland” enchanted all with their otherworldly music and presence, as well as being hosts to the party. Drinks, festivity, dancing, friends, and family were blended into an amazing night. I was on a bit of jetlag as I soared the skies and roads with a rental car for a 36 hour visit to family coming from Colorado. It was worth every minute. Rating: 5 stars out of 5
http://www.denverartmuseum.org/ * 720-865-5000 * Denver Art Museum * 100 W 14th Ave Pkwy * Denver, CO 80204
A day of art all around for me as me and friends wandered into the Denver Art Museum on their ‘free day’ which is the first Saturday of the month. Being my first visit to Denver’s impressive Art Museum, I enjoyed my visit and will definitely be back. Hosted in Denver’s Civic Center, this Art Museum is reknown for its collections that expanse well over 68,000 works of art and has quite a notable collection of American Indian Art. Originally founded in 1893 at the Denver Artist’s Club, it took on the name of the “Denver Art Association” in 1916 and moved into its first galleries in 1918 where it became known as its current namesake. Taking over the current building in 1971 that was designed by Gio Ponti and local architect James Sudler as a 24-sided, 7 story architectural art piece in of itself. In 2006, the Duncan Pavillion grew to a 5,700 square feet second story additon to the original Morgan Wing clad in titanium and glass. The museum hosts nine curatorial departments: (1) Modern and Contemporary, (2) Native Arts, (3) Architecture, Design and Graphics, (4) Asian Art, (5) New World Art, (6) Painting and Sculpture, (7) Photography, (8)Western Art, and (9) Textile Arts. The Museum has and does display the arts of India, China, Japan, Southwest Asia, Tibet, Nepal, Southeast Asia, religious art, traditional folk crafts, modern and contemporary collections of 20th-century artists including the Herbert Bayer collection, Man Ray, Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Robert Motherwell, Damien Hirst, Philip Guston, Dan Flavin, John DeAndrea, Gottfried Helnwein, Yue Minjun, Native American arts (spanning several hundred tribes) with Northwest Coastal woodcarvings, Naskapi painted leather garments, Winnebago twined weaving, Plains Indian beadwork, Navajo weaving, Pueblo pottery, California basketry; Oceanic arts spanning all the major islands with wood carvings, painted bark cloth from Somoa, Tonga, and Hawaii; Melanesian collections from Papua New Guinea & New Ireland; drawings, paintings; African Arts with sculptures, textiles, jewelry, paintings, printmaking, drawings, Yoruba works; New World Arts; Latin American arts including ceramics, stone, gold, jade, furnishings, silver from Spanish Colonial periods; Pre-Columbian arts from Mesoamerica, lower Central America, and South America; Mayan art from Mexico, guatemala, and Belize; European and American paintings and photographic works; Coptic and pre-Columbia textiles; Western American Art; the Harmsen Collection; and many more …. The Museum cannot be completely covered in a day – so make your visit to span the weekend. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
One of Colorado’s Society for Creative Anachronism’s (SCA) premiere events … Battlemoor represents the re-creation of the “Age of Chivalry” during whence the Dark Ages have ended and the Middle Ages begin. The focus was on the chivalric ideals of heroism, picturesque castles, glorious churches, pangeants, camps, tournaments, charity and gallant self-sacrifice as it swept across Europe. With active members of the SCA working hard to replicate the historic beauty of the Period with costumes, arts, crafts, battles, competitive tournaments, encampments, parties, and events. From Vikings to Knights, Gypsies to wanderers … it was like stepping into the past. With the backdrop of the amazing picturesque mountains of Buena Vista they recreated the Kingdom of Battlemoor. A six day camping event of feasting, swimming, battling, fighting, debating, conversing, partying, and friendships. It was put on by the Kingdom of the Outlands, one of the 20 Kingdoms found within the SCA.
Our first experience with this amazing event was as vendor’s … The Tree Leaves Oracle sharing cultural arts from Vikings, Pirates, Middle Ages, and the fantastical beliefs of faeries, creatures, and folklore. We had a wonderful time making new friends and re-acquainting with old friends. My son Cian had a blast playing with friends he met at Northern Realms War as did I. The Vikings of the Northern Realms War as well as the Gypsy Camp enchanted us with evening hours of festivity, food, drink, and fun. Thank you all. The Beach party enchanted the wee prince as he won rubber knight duckies during the Marshmallow catapult game and Spear the Santa games. Roasting marshmallows on the fire, hot dogs, pancake breakfasts, Roasted goats, pigs, and bacon wrapped corn were amongst a few of the delicacies we were treated to. The Snow Dragon Inn blessed me with many libations. The Merchant coordinator did an amazing job laying out the site, making sure the vendors were well cared for, and had free lemonade/snacks daily for us to take a break at. Thank you. The pond was cold, but refreshing swim, as was the river. The Cottonwood Meadows site was phenomenal. We’ll be back, It was a great time. Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Right in the heart of downtown Ashland, the Shakespeare Capital of the Pacific Northwest, is this small little cafe nestled amongst the downtown shops. Not much seating, its more or less a walk-and-go location. The staff is friendly and amicable, but because of Ashland’s silly food tax laws, charges taxes on your drinks as does any food place downtown Ashland. The drinks are expensive here. Getting Chai Creme Frappacino‘s here was a common practice for us as we owned a store just down the road. Rating: 2 stars out of 5
Another frequent stopping location when I’m travelling up and down Interstate 5 from Northern to Southern California. The staff is friendly and great service. Shop is small but good internet. Had my usual Chai Creme Frappacino each time frequently and they made them good. Rating: 4 stars out of 5
I’ve visited this quick on / quick off the interstate location for some pep for the long drives from North-Southern California which is especially thankful during the hot desert days. The location is small and is more or less a roadstop location. Staff was friendly and hospitable. Their Chai Creme Frappacino was not up to par during my visit. They gave me a free drink pass to compensate. Rating: 3 stars out of 5
The only Starbucks in Old Colorado City and Manitou, this great location has a friendly staff, good drinks, and great seating area. The internet is strong and allows productivity. There is a bit of transient traffic from the street corner and “sleepers” that seem to lounge there which is a pain when you want to have a place to sit or work and have to sit somewhere uncomfortable because a non-paying guest is sleeping on the comfy chairs. Otherwise my experiences have been great here. Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5Visited 9/5/17
Ah the relaxation of a Starbucks, and this one in the heart of the 16th Street Mall, crowded with tourists on a rainy Colorado afternoon. Limited seating, one bathroom (with a code 74147) down a hall, and friendly staff (as usual). Good window viewing of the Mall. Decent wifi as usually can be expected from Starbucks. The few seats and tables there are, is decent seating. Definitely a drop off point. Parking is limited as its a crowded touristy downtown hub with 2 hour max meters. But hey, it’s around the corner from the Money Museum which is a free one-room display of currency history of the region. Free bag of shredded money as a souvenir. Got some peaceful work done to my drug-of-choice the Chai Creme Frappacino. ~ Leaf McGowan. Visited 8/7/17 : 3 stars out of 5.
The Magic Fest http://www.themagicfest.com/ Friday August 18th – Saturday August 19, 2017 1st Annual, EB Rains Jr Memorial Park / DL Parsons Theater, 11800 Community Center Drive, Northglenn, Colorado
The premiere consortium of magicians, illusionists, and entertainers with a galleria of magical goods, tricks, entertainers, and services. Hosted in the heart of Northglenn, this year’s fest was its first over Friday August 18th and Saturday the 19th. It all began with Intrigue (http://themagicfest.com/intrigue/) friday night in the 1920’s / 1930’s era theme for adults with an evening of speakeasy and partying accompanied by magic, drinks, jazz, and vendors. Our booth the Tree Leaves’ Oracle featured the 1920’s wizard Leaf doing sleight of hand, close-up and stage tricks within the booth. The costumes were fantastic around the party and event. Hosting in the green glory of the EB Rains Junior Memorial Park with outdoor entertainment and bars hosted for free. Within the theater were special paid performances of magical delight. The main stage hosted the Jazz Spiders with a mentalism twist of Anthem & Aria, followed by the Bringers of Swing. On the Sleight of Hand stage Shawn Preston and Joe Given performed, and in the bar were Don Zellner, Brandon Parker, Joe Givan, and Shawn Preston doing card tricks. Magicians walked around the festival doing tricks everywhere with Salida Circum, the travelling escape room, and much more. David and Leeman performed in the theater for shows at 7 and the Sideshows, Oddities, and Spirits performance by the Theater of Dreams Carol Massie and Joe Givan.
Saturday was a full day of fun for the family with lots of kid activities, shows, performances, and fun. Vendors, food trucks, bouncy castles, wand making, and fun in the park. Over 25 magicians performed during the event over 5 stages and roaming performers. The entertainment all free to anyone wanting to attend and be amazed. Cliff Davidson and Mark Strivings bedazzled children in the Kid’s tent. Steve and Carissa Walters did kid magic in the activity area sending home the young ones with tricks to start their own performances. Bryan Parker and Cosmo Solano performed closeup magic on stage 2. Professor Phelyx and Anthem / Aria performed mentalism on stage 3. Richard Kewsell and the Sleightly Impossible (Gene Gordon and Matt Brandt) performed parlor and cabaret magic on stage 4. Alec Mueller and Trevor Vernor, teen magicians, walked around the fest performing all around. The Genii Leaf performed at the Tree Leaves Oracle booth out front. Lots of gifts, tricks, books, face painting, food, and services were offered by vendors local and far.
Once again the City of Northglenn provided an amazing free festival for everyone to enjoy with thousands in attendance. It was a grand event indeed. Can’t wait til the next one! And gearing up to their spectacular Pirate festival as well in a few weeks. Rated 5 stars out of 5
243 E 120th Ave, Thornton, CO 80233 * Phone: (303) 451-7900 *
A great comfortable and luxurious hotel in the heart of Northglenn / Thornton, Colorado. We had the pleasure of staying there during Magic Fest. I can’t comment on price but assume it was reasonable as I didn’t pay for the room, my ex-wife did. The room was spacious, had a nice sofa bed (which I slept on), and a large king for her and my son. The cable and internet seemed to be of good consistency and speed, and the bathroom clean and efficient. The swimming pool was nice, although the jacuzzi had a bit of sand on its bottom. The Breakfast buffet was very good with hot eggs, bacon, oatmeal, cereals, waffles, and other goodies. It was fulfilling. Overall a very good stay. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 Visited 8/19-20/17.
Rolling Volume Chair, 1989 Ron Arad, British artist, born in Israel, 1951 Stainless steel and lead, manufactured by One Off, London. Gift of Robert and Lisa Kessler, 2012.324
“They are still chairs … There always had to be some attributes to do with sitting … You could say that the Volumes series is always functional, but doesn’t always have to be practical. – Ron Arad.” ~ Display at Denver Museum of Art.”
“Ron Arad approached design largely from a sculptural perspective in the late 1980s and early 1990s, driven by the materials and tools he had on hand. The Rolling Volumes – large rocking armchairs – demonstrate Arad’s fascination and experimentation with the techniques and visual effects of welding and polishing steel. Early examples were rough with visible welds. As Arad’s skills improved, he achieved the smooth, highly reflective surface seen here. Heavily weighted at the back with lead, the chair reverses the conventional operation of rocking and tilts upward dramatically when not in use.”~ Display at Denver Museum of Art.
The Money Museum is part of the Denver Federal Reserve and is located along the 16th street mall. It is open Monday through Friday and offers free tours during the day. This little one room display enables the visitor to learn about the Federal Reserve and how money works. While there is no admission, you need to be at least 18 years of age and go through a screening. After the tour, they gift you a bag of shredded money. I actually didn’t really enjoy the visit. Glad it was free. They need a better display and presentation. Rating: 2 star out of 5 (Visited 8/5/17)
The iconic “Main Street” that most think of when thinking of the center of Denver. This foot traffic and shuttle bus strip dotted by upscale stores, chain restaurants, and entertainment avenues is one of the hotspots for tourism to Denver. It is a central drop off location for those staying downtown. It offers a lot of activities for its patrons and visitors. It is a central location for entertainment, festivals, fairs, shows, events, flash mobs, street performances, and zombie crawls. It boasts a free transit mall ride or shuttle bus called the Free MallRide. I’ve had many memories of this place from the Denver Freeze to the Denver Zombie Crawls, to late night and daytime activities. During the summer, the center strip was dotted with free pianos to play, lounge chairs, games, chess, bean bags, rolling chairs, and local performances. ~ Leaf McGowan. Visited 8/5/17 – 5 stars out of 5
The tree-lined pedestrian and transit mall runs approximately 125 miles across downtown Denver from Wewatta Street at the historic Union Square to the Civic Center Station at 16th and Broadway. There are over 300 stores dotted along the corridor ranging from chains to locally owned shops. As costs become over the top, more chains have replaced local businesses through time. There are over 50 restaurants and the Denver Pavillions Mall. The Mall opened in 1982 as a pedestrian strip running from Market Street to Broadway but has since expanded to Wynkoop Street in 2001 and to Union Station in 2002. It was designed by Pei Cobb Freed and Partners.
Directory of Services: Please visit web site linked above. As we review various places and events, they will be linked here in the near future.
I experienced my first visit to the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art on its infamous “penny admission day for Colorado residents” on August 5, 2017. The architectural style of the museum portrays contemporary art in its own style and facade, with a hidden entrance down what appears to be a dead-end graffiti styled corridor out front. The rooftop has a great garden with modern-style and wonderful views of the city. The bubble chill zone on fake grass pads is also a nice touch. Its a great space for exhibiting art. While this particular selection of exhibits was not very fascinating the museum itself had lots of great pleasure. I also was very impressed with the Jenny Morgan exhibit and how it was presented. The other two, not so much. As I’m not a great fan of contemporary art, I did enjoy my visit. ~ Leaf McGowan Rating: 4 star out of 5
The MCA or DCMA was founded in 1996 as a home for contemporary art in the city. For its first seven years, it took over an old renovated fish market in the Sakura Square downtown Denver, being founded by Sue Cannon. By 2003 the Board of Trustees donated land to build a permanent building. October 2007 they opened their current, new 27,000 square foot environmentally sustainable building in lower downtown Denver created by architect David Adjaye. It was styled with hidden skylights and natural lighting with large windows looking out to Denver’s streets. The building possessed five galleries as well as a shop, library, education spaces, and a rooftop cafe.
The Summer 2017 exhibit of Jenny Morgan’s works and paintings at the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art were fantastic. This exhibition in my opinion was the top exhibit of all displayed at the Museum this season. Her work was embracing and drew me into the paintings. Her sense of style was ethereal and enchanting. There was a spiritual essence to her work. The exhibit was characteristic of good art. I was impressed. I’m not usually a fan of contemporary art, but this one instance I was intrigued. ~ Leaf McGowan Rating 5 stars out of 5
Jenny Morgan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1982 and spent a good portion of her life living and working in New York City. She received her Master of Fina Arts at the New York of Visual Arts in 2008. She embraces the figure as her most compelling subject matter as it feels natural within the ebb and flow of her style of portraits. She prides herself in finding different ways and methods in approaching her subject and realism. She plays around with the paint on the canvas just to stay interested and engaged in the work. She focuses her work on people she knows personally as she depicts them on canvas.
Summer of 2017 the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art is featuring the creative works of Derrick Valasquez. A local Denver artist, Derrick was originally born in Lodi, California. He received his Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Ohio State University in 2008. He claims currently that his style is to work with manufactured and industrially engineered materials in a portrayal of natural force, affected by gravity and forced with tension pushing an object’s flexibility to a breaking point. He utilizes marine vinyl, masonite, hand-made half-scale 2x4s, plywood, and found objects to create his art and teases a psychological relation to their dimensions and conditions. Before this new style, he was creating and manipulating works that would constantly loop back on itself in a forward progression making an unclear outcome until one takes’ stock in the process leading up to the end product as a form of learning. He takes a visual representation of large two-dimensional and three-dimensional installations to a social outlook with the art as physical manifestations of the metaphors they represent. He’s a fan of height, stacking layers, and polished finishes depicting the multiple layers of meaning in materials – how they are used and manipulated.
The exhibit was minimalist when I visited on 8/5/17. It really didn’t convey his talent in my opinion. The exhibit was rather bland. I did find his “Obstructed Views” collection of photographs on property boundaries intriguing and new. But some of the material found objects were just pieces of architectural materials laying around. Not really my cup of tea. But to be fair and honest, I’m not a fan of contemporary or modern art. So perhaps I don’t get it. Therefore I possess a bias and don’t see what others are seeing. Rating: 3 stars of 5
The Denver Museum of Contemporary Art is currently (Summer 2017) featuring American photographer Ryan McGinley and his works based around “The Kids are Alright”. The exhibit did Ryan a dis-justice as it didn’t portray his fantastical new works and creations. It rather stemmed on his earlier works that honestly disenchanted me and I left the exhibit not impressed I really didn’t see anything ‘alright’ in the exhibit. Perhaps meant to be an in-your-face exhibit of the life and times of his shenanigans, I personally don’t see what all the hype is about this particular collection of works. I like his current works. I love some of his travel photography and collective works of recent. His work is creative and unique as of late, but this earlier “The Kids Are Alright” works – outside of ‘maybe’ capturing some unexpected moments, was just lacking. That’s the word of the day … “lacking”. I really didn’t see quality in the photography either, but then again, I’m not a fan of contemporary art – and maybe I just don’t get it. It was really sub-standard, the photos and works they displayed in the exhibit. While he has 5 star work today, I’ll have to rate this exhibit with a One star out of 5. Rating: 1 star of 5
Ryan was a popular photographer in the late 1990’s. He was born on October 17, 1977 and grew up in New Jersey and New York City inspired by skateboarders, graffiti artists, fringe museums and artists. He began photography in 1998 By the age of 25, in 2003, he was one of the youngest artists to put on a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the same year named Photographer of the Year by American Photo Magazine. Years later in 2007 he was awarded the Young Photographer Infinity Award by the International Center of Photography and by 2009 honored at the Young Collector’s Council’s Artists Ball at the Guggenheim Museum. Snowboard instructor at Campgaw Mountain in New Jersey from 1992-1995, by 1997 he was a graphic design student at the Parsons School of Design in New York. By 1998 he was living in the East village and was known to have covered the walls of his apartment with polaroid pics of everyone who visited him there. He experimented with photography styles when studying at Parsons putting together the images as a self-made book called “The Kids are Alright” named after film about the music band “The Who”. The scholar and curator “Sylvia Wolf” who organized together his exhibition claimed that “The skateboarders, musicians, graffiti artists and gay people in Mr. McGinley’s early work ‘know what it means to be photographed. […] His subjects are performing for the camera and exploring themselves with an acute self-awareness that is decidedly contemporary. They are savvy about visual culture, acutely aware of how identity can be not only communicated but created. They are willing collaborators.” As his works are supposedly portraying liberation and hedonism, I didn’t see it … at least not to my standards or definitions of such portrayal.
He has changed photographic style of capturing his friends in real-life situations to become more envisioned situations that can be photographed such as at festivals, art schools, and street castings. TIME magazine stated that photography is about freezing a moment in time, and McGinley’s is about freezing a stage in a lifetime as a fly on the wall ready to capture any moment evolving to setting up the photos to make them happen as waiting around he began to believe was a waste of time. Perhaps his new works are better done and captured. These were not portrayed in this exhibit, at least from not what I saw. By 2009 McGinley returned to experimenting with traditional studio portraiture and moving into digital photography.
His early works were done on 35 mm film using Yashica T4s and Leica R8s. Today he utilizes digital photography. He contributes to various high-profile charities and is passionate about raising funds for HIV/AIDS awareness and/or treatment. He has become nicknamed the “Pied Piper of the Downtown Art World”. In 2008, the band Sigur Rós from Iceland used one of his images for their 5th album and his work inspired their album “Gobbledigook”. He has also photographed Lady Gaga for Rolling Stone, Lorde for Dazed and Confused, and Beyonce for Beat Magazine.
Mario’s Two Fisted Pizza Parlour 1626 Market St, Denver, CO 80202
One of my favorite Pizza joints in Denver, Colorado. Mario’s Two Fisted Pizza is conveniently located next door to the infamous Double Daughters Salotto that is by far one of my favorite bars. Back in 2005-2012 when I lived in Colorado … Double Daughters and Mario’s were amongst some of my usual haunts. I unfortunately haven’t had the chance to visit again since 2012 (partially because my life doesn’t support eating out anymore). But from memories … Some of the most superb pizza around. As they are open to 2 or 3 am most nights, great place to grab a slice after clubbing or bar brewing. Rated: 5 stars out of 5
The whimsical humpty dumpy egg sculptures off Colorado Boulevard between Tejon and Pikes Peak have a strange history in Colorado Springs, especially having become the target of multiple vandalism accounts and pranks. They were originally created by artisan Kimber Fiebiger of Minneapolis who submitted one as an installation for the annual Art on the Streets program in 2003. The first one was called “Hump D” and sat in front of the Pikes Peak Center. Local businesses were impressed and commissioned additional ones. One was stolen in 2003, others vandalized over several years, and cost the city much in repairs and replacements. There are now four of them on south Tejon near Colorado Avenue. There is the one that sits on the wall, another playing a violin, another reading a book, and one toppling and hanging on for its life under the parking garage. Rating: 5 stars out of 5(Visited 7/20/17)
Interested in this review or story? have things to add? please comment below. Do you enjoy this article? if so, please consider buying the writer a chai, lunch, or help cover gas funds for covering these sites. Thomas Baurley is a work from home single father sharing his inspirations, treasures, findings, and travels. Tell him thank you if you like his work, Please donate. Need a new or updated review? contact him for more information. Continue reading The Humpty Dumpty Brothers, Colorado Springs, Colorado→
A bit of greenspace in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs. It is Colorado Springs’s first city park and was donated to the city by its founder, General William Jackson Palmer in 1871. Most famous for its Uncle Wilbur Fountain that choreographics water fountain displays to music in a jack-in-the-box fashion, a thrill set for kids splashing around and playing in the water during summers. The Park is also equipt with a playground area that the kids’ love. Unfortunately there is a bit of a homeless problem in the park, and in the past has had issues with homeless camping out. Since then, the park has beautified and cleaned up some of the distractions that scared away some patrons. The park has beautiful green grass lots with shade trees, picnic tables, horseshoe rings, shuffleboards, and during the winter on occasion an ice skating rink. On thursdays during the summer there are vendors, crafts, and food from 10 am – 4 pm. Rating: 3 stars out of 5(Visited 7/20/17)Other Reviews. Also nearby is the water fountain park called America the Beautiful Park where kids can also play and splash around in the fountain water to cool off during the summers.
Interested in this review or story? have things to add? please comment below. Do you enjoy this article? if so, please consider buying the writer a chai, lunch, or help cover gas funds for covering these sites. Thomas Baurley is a work from home single father sharing his inspirations, treasures, findings, and travels. Tell him thank you if you like his work, Please donate. Need a new or updated review? contact him for more information. Continue reading Acacia Park, downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado→
This beautifully sculpted statue watching over Colorado Boulevard between Pikes Peak and Tejon is a majestic sculpture created by artisan Bobbie Carlyle. It is based on her bronze piece “Twilight” from her website at http://bobbiecarlylesculpture.com/Twilight.php. A large street version in Bronze, This fantastical piece represents a mythical woman emerging from twilight as darkness falls, as if from a cocoon, energized by her potential that lies before her path. Bobbie Carlyle is a Loveland Colorado artisan who is a self-made woman funded by her art as the living dream most artists possess. Bobbie states about her art “I create monumental bronze sculptures that capture bold strength and provocative intelligence. My figures go beyond first impressions to challenge the intellect and cause the viewer to look within themselves for greater meaning. My work reflects my love for classic sculpture, while presenting a modern approach with its presentation and a psychological approach for connection to the struggles and triumphs of life.” caption from Bobbie’s web site Bobbie began her art about 30 years ago. Sculpture is located near the whymsical statues of the Humpty Dumpty brothers. Rated: 5 stars out of 5 (Visited 7/20/17)
Interested in this review or story? have things to add? please comment below. Do you enjoy this article? if so, please consider buying the writer a chai, lunch, or help cover gas funds for covering these sites. Thomas Baurley is a work from home single father sharing his inspirations, treasures, findings, and travels. Tell him thank you if you like his work, Please donate. Need a new or updated review? contact him for more information. Continue reading Twilight by Bobbie Carlyle (Colorado Springs, Co)→
Formerly Confluence Park, this 30 acre park was recreated and re-dedicated as “America the Beautiful” in 1992 as part of Colorado Springs Downtown Action Plan for assurance of the vitality of the downtown area. The Julie Penrose fountain was added in 2007 as a fabulous water park section with an slowly turning modern art piece in the center of a timed fountain that patrons can cool off in. The art piece reminds alot of people of the infamous “Stargate”. Its called the “Continuum”.
This beautiful park has become a weekly adventure for me and my son during the summer months for him to splash and play in the fountain waters. Lots of open grass fields for the kids to play,
an amazing kid’s playground very artistically done, and great recreational features such as picnic tables, benches, walkways, and restrooms. Rating 5 stars out of 5(Visited 7/20/2008; 7/1/2017; 7/20/2017 – formerly rated 4 stars in 2008).
Interested in this review or story? have things to add? please comment below. Do you enjoy this article? if so, please consider buying the writer a chai, lunch, or help cover gas funds for covering these sites. Thomas Baurley is a work from home single father sharing his inspirations, treasures, findings, and travels. Tell him thank you if you like his work, Please donate. Need a new or updated review? contact him for more information. Continue reading America the Beautiful City Park, Colorado Springs, Colorado→