In many cases listening to a podcast is a passive activity - something people listen to while exercising, sitting in the car or doing chores around the house. But “The Bright Lights of Denver,” a new podcast sponsored by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Powered By Off-Center program, is a show that gets the listener involved.
“The Bright Lights of Denver” tells the fictional story of aspiring novelist-turned-journalist Ryan Streeter, who starts out studying the history of the Mile-High City and suddenly finds himself investigating the sudden disappearance of a friend.
Created by Kenny Moten and Jessica Hindsley, the four-episode series will make its fully-produced world premiere in June. The project is one of two selected out of 39 entries by the Powered By Off-Center program. Launched in 2018, it is a residency program for local artists that culminated in two fully-supported workshops at the DCPA, Charlie Miller, Off-Center curator, explained. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program was adapted to propose safe theatrical experiences that could be fully produced at the DCPA in June.
“The goal has been to inspire new ideas, build new creative partnerships, and contribute to Colorado’s local artistic ecology,” he added.
Among the requirements for this year’s entries into the program were to be theatrical at its core, put the audience at the center of the story and be able to run for at least a month and accommodate at least 1,000 audience members through the run.
“Of all the projects proposed, `The Bright Lights of Denver’ best met all our selection criteria,” Miller said. “It tells a compelling story and explores issues very relevant to Denver today. And it provides exciting opportunities for the audience to get out into the world and engage with the characters and the story.”
Audiences don’t just listen - they can interact with the characters through their Instagram accounts and connect with other fans of the show on the Bright Lights Facebook group. There will also be two Zoom question and answer sessions with the main characters, plus QR codes will be placed around the city on the ground outside every key location that the characters visit in the podcast. Scanning these QR codes with your phone unlocks additional parts of the story that help solve the mystery, according to Miller.
“‘The Bright Lights of Denver’ is a great story and an intriguing mystery. But it is also much more than that,” said Miller. “Real interviews with City officials and local experts are woven through the episodes as the main character explores serious issues confronting Denver: the growth of the city, the lack of affordable housing, and gentrification.”
Get more information on the podcast at www.denvercenter.org.
The newly-launched City Park Farmers Market started up on May 15 and will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday through Oct. 30 at 2551 E. Colfax Ave in Denver. The market will feature more than 60 Colorado-based food startups, established brands and artisans. All participating businesses are part of the agricultural industry, in the form of the food they produce or through products like botanical soaps, flowers or zero waste supplies.
In addition to the traditional market, there will a variety of entertainment experiences, including a donation-based yoga class with Big Power Yoga and a schedule of regular live performances from local musicians, according to provided information.
Get all the details at www.CityParkFarmersMarket.com.
Calling Young Thug simply a rapper does a disservice to way the Atlanta-born musician has mish-mashed hip-hop into whatever form he fancies, and if that means pulling in elements like pop or even country, so be it. He’s proven himself one of the most influential musicians of the 2010’s and I’m hoping he continues to push himself and his peers for years to come.
This year he released his second “Slime Language” album, celebrating the roster of artists he has on his YSL Records label. And at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 21, Thugger will be livestreaming a concert from the famous Wiltern Theater in LA.
I wouldn’t be surprised if some of his famous friends showed up for a song or two, so get your spot for what is certain to be a great show at https://youngthug.veeps.com/.
Things are starting to look familiar at Red Rocks again with concerts returning in a slightly altered form, and Film on the Rocks is back, though it’ll (mainly) hold onto last year’s drive-in approach. The new season of the summertime mainstay kicks off on Wednesday, May 26 with a run of bulletproof classics that include “Jaws,” “The Sandlot,” “Aliens” and many more.
The drive-in will be set up at the amphitheater’s, 18300 W. Alameda Parkway in Morrison, Lower South Lot 2 parking area with audio delivered via a designated FM radio frequency. There will be three in-amphitheater screenings - “Casino Royale” on July 12, “Jurassic Park” on July 19 and “The Princess Bride” on Aug. 2.
For tickets and information, visit www.redrocksonline.com/film/.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture apears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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