Telluride Inside…and Out, Denver: Night out on the town

Telluride Inside…and Out, Denver: Night out on the town

Ivar & Susan

It was time to stretch our wings, and so we sprung ourselves from the anodyne Spring of Telluride and headed for our second home: Denver.

Our loft is downtown, just on the edge of LoDo in Curtis Park, a neighborhood in the throes of a full-throated appeal for gentrification, but still a bit rough around the edges.

IMG_1727 IMG_1723 On Friday night, Curtis Park (the historic Ballpark Neighborhood District) was the place to be. The heart source was Ivar Zeile’s Plus + Gallery, Denver’s leading progressive contemporary art gallery located at 2501 Larimer Street, where attendees of The Association of Writers & Writing Programs’ annual conference, a celebration of authors, teachers, writing programs, literary centers, and small press publishers, had scheduled a poetry slam.

Edgy location. Edgy poetry.

IMG_1710 The evening’s wrangler was Mark Tursi, a founding editor of Apostrophe Books, an innovative press devoted to publishing poetry that intersects philosophy and cultural theory. Tursi summed up the ethos of the group of hip, mostly young literary lions.

“We are deeply interested in language, especially in challenging and subverting conventional ways of thinking about poetry and short stories.”

Tursi was joined by colleagues from other notable small publishing houses: Action Books, Black Ocean, Slope Editions, and Tarpaulin Sky Press . All came brandishing metaphorical knives. Most left disarmed. None left disappointed.

IMG_1779 After a time out with Ivar, his wife Karen and their son Udo – their home is part of the gallery complex,  recognized as the “Art Space of the Year” by the Denver Post in 2009 – it was on to another neighborhood hot spot: Twelve, a delightful alternative to the whiz slam vibe of LoDo, where we were joined by our friend and the Denver writer for Telluride Inside… and Out, Tracy Shaffer.

Chef Osaka

Twelve Restaurant, 2233 Larimer Street, is the latest culinary project of Los Angeles native, Jeff Osaka, a bravura chef whose claim to fame is an understated elegance reflected in both the food and the decor.

IMG_1786 Twelve derives its name from the fact its menu changes each month to feature the freshest organic, gourmet ingredients in peak season. I had scallops served with three beans. Clint had halibut topped with a strip of bacon and served with asparagus and potatoes. Both main courses not only tasted good, but were presented with the kind of good taste that can only be described as artistry. We cleaned our plates.

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