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“Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, had fans buzzing with the first-ever pop-medley.

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Dressed in custom-made cabaret, can-can, and fetish outfits, the cast members of “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” prowled suggestively around the stage before the June 10 performance, the house lights and normal-volume chatter no match for their hungry gazes. For a traveling Broadway show that had opened just the night before, it was a fitting tease before the curtain rose at the Buell Theater. Or, rather, before the fire-red heart-shaped ensembles began to rearrange. Innovative and splashed with color, the nearly three-hour production that followed, itself an adaptation of the sultry, candy-flavoured 2001 film, rose above a plot formulated to find its cathartic point. Fans of director Baz Lurhmann’s pop culture sampler film on which this Tony-winning road show is based knew curves ahead of time. Intoxicated by the first ever pop-medley, we clapped, swooned and laughed at the sequined spectacle, its uniformly beautiful cast also impressively diverse in age, shape, skin tone and gender. The early 19th century story follows star dancer Satine (Courtney Reed) at the infamous Moulin Rouge, a hidden club in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris. She is the undisputed diamond of this racy, financially dilapidated cabaret, which draws every kind, tall and short, from the cobblestone streets outside. One of them is Christian (Conor Ryan), a flashy, penniless kid from Lima, Ohio who has just arrived in Paris and befriends a pair of serious bohemians: the gray-haired Toulouse-Lautrec (André Ward) and the muscular tango dancer and gigolo Santiago (Gabe Martínez). Together they head off to the Moulin Rouge for lively nightlife as they formulate their own musical, with Christian playing the burgeoning composer. As Christian gazes at Satine, he is struck by her unlikely brilliance and poise, which fans of the film know is a clever ruse. In his elephant-shaped dressing room with neon accents (like the movie, it’s all unabashedly anachronistic and flirtatious), Christian draws her in and eventually wins her heart, even as the cartoonishly evil Duke of Monroth looms over her future after purchasing the club. That includes, as he crudely puts it, Satine and everyone else who depends on the Moulin Rouge for survival. Conor Ryan as Christian and Courtney Reed as Satine in the North American Broadway touring production of “Moulin Rouge! The Musical.” (Denver Center) Christian and his wily friends work a thinly veiled version of her into their own musical plot, and perhaps because of its blinding obviousness (the Duke isn’t the fastest horse on the track), the story within a story it effectively resonates and accumulates anguish. “Moulin Rouge!” often couldn’t be described as subtle, but the pathos here feels earned. Father figure and ostensible emcee Harold Zidler, portrayed irascible tonight by Kent Overshown, in his cannon-voiced voice, directs and punctuates the scenes as various dancers and a council of club staff make their way through rehearsals. for this musical, “Bohemian Rhapsody” (haha/groan). ). The cast, particularly the leads, worked as a single unit amid fantastically complex choreography and blocking. For audience members like my young son, it was pure magic: bohemian musings on alternately chic and shoddy Parisian rooftops; dazzling shows and confetti; true love and tragedy. As befits a story set in late 19th and early 20th century Paris, with raucous class, it was part carnival and part commentary, an introductory course in musical sophistication whose contours captivated my son as “Hamilton ” or “Singin’ in the Rain” has me. Just as important as truth, beauty and freedom was the production’s song licensing budget, which I can’t even begin to fathom. Lasting some 50 years, it was a dizzying montage of top-tier English-language titles, often three or four instantly recognizable within the same issue, turned into new issues with occasional new material. Each fit the mood, though they alternated between easy (“Lorde’s” Royals, The Police’s “Roxanne”) and crafty (Overshown’s triumphant, skintight version of Sia’s “Chandelier”). They also somewhat avoided the trite, depending on your experience with the Beatles and Elton John, and gave all the main characters a heroic amount of air to swallow. (“We Are Young” by Think Fun, which is harder to pull off than it looks.) The cast of the North American tour of “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” which runs at the Buell Theater through June 26. (Denver Center) The jarring effect of that against the costumes and signifiers of the Belle Epoche was often funny and always engaging. Ryan, as Christian, blossomed in the second act into a Ryan Gosling-esque heartthrob, his demeanor decidedly serious and idealistic even through sticky tunnels of torchlight songs. Reed, as Satine, was a nice contrast, but more engaging were supporting roles like Santiago and Zidler, who walked the line between stereotypes and love tropes. It’s hard to imagine a show with such energy and sharpness every night. Nothing felt held back on Friday, and the audience responded in kind, singing with tears in their eyes and letting the escapism and romance pour in. Tap into that well in every show h It will do a lot to bolster the spirit of Denver, especially as the 21st century continues to wear them down. If you go “Moulin Rouge! The Musical.” Presented by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Directed by Alex Timbers, with a book by John Logan, music by Justin Levine and choreography by Sonya Tayeh. June 16-26 at the Buell Theatre, 1350 Curtis St Tickets, $35-$150, at denvercenter.org/tickets-events Sign up for our weekly newsletter, In The Know, to get entertainment news delivered right to your inbox.

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Meow Wolf’s Vortex Music Festival at a Sun Valley Junkyard This August

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Meow Wolf will hold its Vortex music festival on what is now an industrial lot in Denver’s Sun Valley neighborhood, putting an end to speculation about where the signature public event would take place when it first arrives in town this year. It will be the first event to be held at The Junk Yard, which is a new downtown open-air venue run by music promoter Live Nation. The site, at 2323 Mulberry Place, is about a mile south of Meow Wolf’s permanent immersive installation, Convergence Station, in an industrial neighborhood just east of I-25. The event, from Aug. 5-7, will include three days of music for all ages, food trucks and other entertainment, Live Nation said in a statement last week. The Denver-based mega-developer described the property’s owners as “family friends from Live Nation.” Publicists for Meow Wolf and Live Nation did not immediately respond to questions about the capacity of the venue, or who the “family friends of Live Nation” are. “The new owners of The Junk Yard saw a tremendous opportunity to transform a junkyard into a multi-faceted music festival in the heart of the city,” the statement read. “The new venue will undergo a dramatic metamorphosis into another world for Vortex 2022, a transition that is common for many Meow Wolf events and activations, with two impressive stages (Viscera Stage and Atria Stage), art installations… and comfortable rest areas. .” Since the location is in a tangle of off-grid cul-de-sacs, Meow Wolf has included suggested routes on their experience planning page. That includes the closest bus stop (West 8th Avenue and Wyandot Street); the Light Trail station at 10th and Osage streets; and other RTD and bike share options. (Or, it’s a 45-minute walk to the center of town.) There is extremely limited parking in the area, authorities said. Meow Wolf announced in April that the festival would be coming to Denver for the first time this year, having previously been based in Taos, NM, but had not disclosed the location. Meow Wolf opened its convergence station in Denver in September 2021. Previously announced acts include Toro y Moi, 100 gecs, Bob Moses, Neil Frances, Duke Dumont and Maya Jane Coles. Local musicians scheduled to perform include Neon the Bishop, Mr. Frick, Send/Receive and Peer Review. A one-day general admission ticket for the festival is $69.50 per day, while three-day general admission is $198.75, via ticketmaster.com. Tickets are now on sale. Meow Wolf Denver last year opened its Convergence Station facility to praise and buzz, having first cornered the market on “immersive experiences” years ago from its Santa Fe home base. Meow Wolf said it ticked the customer location number one million on June 15. Sign up for our weekly newsletter, In The Know, to get entertainment news delivered straight to your inbox.

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Coloradans May Be Asked To Legalize Psilocybin In The November 2022 Election

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Imagine if Coloradans suffering from anxiety or PTSD had a legal way to treat their ailments with psychedelic mushrooms. Advocates say it’s not that far away. Residents could vote in November to legalize psilocybin and psilocin, the psychoactive compounds in magic mushrooms, for use in therapeutic settings after advocates said they had collected enough signatures to qualify the ballot question. On Monday, Kevin Matthews and Veronica Perez of Natural Medicine Colorado, the campaign behind the legalization effort, submitted a petition with 222,648 signatures supporting Initiative 58, also known as the Natural Medicine Health Act, to the Secretary of State’s office. The state still needs to verify signatures, so it’s not a done deal yet, but since it requires about 125,000 valid signatures, Natural Medicine Colorado thinks the question will be in front of voters this fall. If passed, the Natural Medicine Health Act would lay the groundwork for a legal mushroom market by tasking Colorado regulators with creating rules on growing, manufacturing, testing, transporting, selling and buying of psilocybin and psilocin. While the measure restricts sales to designated “healing centers” that are licensed by the state, so you wouldn’t be allowed to walk into a store or dispensary and buy “mushrooms without a prescription,” it also expands decriminalization for possession, use and gifts throughout the state. Because it establishes a new framework for treatment centers, regulators would also define the necessary qualification, education and training requirements for facilitators who administer the substances. Kevin Matthews led the effort to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms in Denver in 2019. He is now considering legalization statewide. On June 27, Natural Medicine Colorado submitted a petition with 222,648 signatures in support of Initiative 58, also known as the Natural Medicine Health Act, to the Secretary of State’s office. The measure asks voters to legalize psilocybin and psilocin, the psychoactive compounds in magic mushrooms, for use in therapeutic settings. “The most important thing that I hope people understand is that these natural medicines have been used by humans for 10,000 years and in the last 20 to 25 years there has been a significant amount of clinical research at universities like Johns Hopkins and UCLA that really show the effectiveness. of natural medicines,” Matthews, who led Denver’s decriminalization initiative in 2019, said by phone. “Coloradons truly deserve to have access to these amazing healing options because we are facing a mental health crisis in the state right now.” With regard to decriminalization, the measure means that locals would not be arrested for possessing, using or growing a “personal amount” of psilocybin or psilocin, or giving mushrooms to adults over the age of 21. (The term personal quantity is not defined, and as a local rabbi recently discovered, growing more than 30 strains of psychedelic mushrooms can still result in criminal charges.) That ensures more Coloradans have access to these emerging drugs, Pérez said. RELATED: Mushroom Rabbi Grows Ceremonial Psilocybin For Denver Congregation, But Is That Legal? “There are many people in Colorado who have been harmed by the health care system and they will not be the ones who can access through the healing centers. They want to sit with a wisdom keeper or nanny in their home. So we also have a regulated model for those who want the railings,” he said. “That’s what makes the move so beautiful: We meet the most people where they are.” The measure calls for regulations to be put in place and for the state to begin accepting license applications by September 30, 2024, and also establishes a Natural Medicine Advisory Board to consult with lawmakers throughout the process. If adopted, Colorado would be the second state to legalize mushrooms after Oregon. On June 27, Natural Medicine Colorado submitted a petition with 222,648 signatures in support of Initiative 58, also known as the Natural Medicine Health Act, to the Secretary of State’s office. Initiative 58 builds on recent enthusiasm for psilocybin, which has shown promising results in treating depression, PTSD, anxiety among the terminally ill, and even nicotine addiction in college studies. And he’s not alone: ​​Decriminalize Nature Colorado advocates have been campaigning in support of a competing ballot measure, Initiative 61, which aims to decriminalize entheogenic plants and mushrooms, including psilocybin, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), and ibogaine, without establishing a legal market. . Nicole Foerster, campaign leader in competition, was not immediately available for comment, but she expressed concern about who would be left behind by a regulated market earlier this year when they introduced the proposed initiative. It is unclear how many signatures Initiative 61 has collected so far. “Without decriminalization and security that allows affected communities to organize more effectively, regulatory models will make it difficult for the most disadvantaged groups of our population to continue to access the natural medicines that they safely use to heal themselves,” Foerster said in a statement. January release. . “To address this, we are advocating for a simple change to existing laws on these controlled substances.” The original draft of Initiative 58 included the legalization of other psychedelics, such as mescaline, DMT, and ibogaine; however, the current measure only covers mushrooms, at least until June 1, 2026. Thereafter, the aforementioned substances could be added to the regulated system. Matthews and Perez said their goal is to start gradually and not overwhelm regulators with additional substances that require different approaches. “This is new to Colorado. I think two years for (the Department of Regulatory Agencies) and the advisory board to develop something for psilocybin is an excellent time frame,” Pérez said. “Loading DORA with five different substances with different applications, that’s a lot. Let’s start with one, make sure you have a good solid foundation.” Sign up for our weekly newsletter, In The Know, to get entertainment news delivered straight to your inbox.

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Governor Polis Takes Action to Address Lifeguard Shortage at Colorado Public Pools

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Gov. Jared Polis is jumping into the water in an effort to help rescue some of Colorado’s public pools that have been unable to open or have had to reduce hours due to a significant lifeguard shortage. Pools in Denver, Aurora, Thornton and Boulder have struggled to find enough employees this summer, part of a nationwide lifeguard problem. Aurora Governor and Mayor Mike Coffman appeared Tuesday at the Aurora Central Recreation Center to lay out Polis’ three-pronged approach. First, he is enacting an emergency measure that will allow 16- and 17-year-old staff members to work overtime if they choose. Those lifeguards could earn up to $24 an hour. He also announced a $25,000 grant program that area aquatic centers can apply for starting July 1 to potentially use to pay their staff more or put toward recruiting efforts. “This additional funding from the state of Colorado … will allow us to hire the talent, train the talent necessary to keep all of our pools open this summer,” Coffman said. The final piece is a program that will allow aspiring lifeguards to be paid $1,000 for a week of lifeguard training. Several of the state’s public pools have delayed the start of swimming season and/or operated on limited hours this summer after facing staffing shortages, particularly a lack of lifeguards and supervisors. A statewide survey, Polis said, found that only 57 percent of Colorado pools are fully open. “Opening our pools is really a watershed moment for our state, and trust me, it’s not a cakewalk: we’re getting it done,” Polis said. In Aurora, all six of the city’s outdoor pools opened on May 28, but only on a limited basis due to lifeguard shortage issues. Aurora lifeguards Kenzie Mayotte, 18, and Briseis Medina, 16, said that when they needed to cover a shift, it was often hard to get someone. “It’s that you don’t have hours or you have too many,” Mayotte said, “and you can’t find coverage.” Medina said that she could take advantage of the extra hours now that she is on summer vacation and the two agreed that they believe the governor’s announcement will definitely encourage more lifeguards to work longer hours. “I’m pretty sure it will help our staff to really hit the ground running knowing it’s time and a half and making more money for the summer,” Mayotte said. Ella sign up for our weekly newsletter, In The Know, to get entertainment news delivered straight to your inbox.

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