Laugh lady pitches pilot

Column by Penny Parker

Posted

Wende Curtis, owner of Comedy Works in LoDo and south in the Landmark development, is peddling a six-minute “sizzle reel” for a reality TV series about her crazy Comedy Works world.

“The working title is called `Comedy Works',” said Curtis, who wouldn't divulge where or to whom she's pitching the pilot project. “The principal characters are me, Lucy (her four-legged child), Jeff, our GM of the south club, and an assistant who is a sexy little 20-something who wants to break into comedy.

“There are a few more (characters) slated to be introduced early on, but there's only so much to get across in six minutes! We've gotten some strong feedback from the business; now let's see if we can sell it.”

Curtis said her motivation for exploring the reality TV possibilities was primarily financial.

“Money inspired me ... to get out from underneath my debt faster!” she said.

Presidential project

Want to show former President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter what you would do if you had a hammer? Would you hammer in the morning? Hammer in the evening? All over this land?

A few lucky folks will be chosen to work alongside the Carters during the 2013 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project for Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver from Oct. 6 through 11.

This is the 30th anniversary of the presidential Habitat for Humanity event, and Denver is one of three cities in the U.S. getting the special project.

Volunteers will build 11 new townhomes and repair up to 15 existing homes in Denver's Globeville neighborhood.

For more information, visit www.habitatmetrodenver.org.

Makes sense

When the creative team behind the musical interpretation of Jane Austen's classic novel “Sense & Sensibility” first presented their idea to Tony-nominated director Marcia Milgrom Dodge, she thought they were kidding.

How could Austen's iconic 1811 work of romantic fiction possibly translate into a piece for musical theater?

But the team convinced Milgrom Dodge, who fell in love with the formidable project. The result made its world premiere April 5 in Denver Center's Stage Theatre.

The result is a whimsical romp through the lives and loves of the Dashwood sisters, who go from riches to rags after the death of their father.

The sisters and their mother move to Barton Cottage in Devonshire, near the home of her cousin, Sir John Middleton. It's at Barton where a series of tangled romances finally straighten themselves out.

The exciting production values include sets that slide on and off stage or emerge from below or descend into trap doors.

“Sense & Sensibility the Musical” runs through May 26. Tickets: 303-893-4100 or www.denvercenter.org.

DIA's design delights

“USA Today” recently included Denver International Airport in its list of the “world's most beautiful airports.”

Here's what the story said:

“Denver International Airport's iconic peaked fiberglass roof is meant to resemble the Rocky Mountains. Interior details throughout the airport have sparked numerous conspiracy theories — everything from supposed Templar markings in the floors to the theory that the airport serves as the secret headquarters for the Illuminati.”

For more of the story, plus recommended Denver sights worth seeing, go to www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/2013/04/07/worlds-most-beautiful-airports/2056899/.

Steak escape

The Travel Channel recently aired an episode of the series “Food Paradise” with a third “Steak Paradise” edition, which included a stop at Vesta Dipping Grill, 1822 Blake St.

Personally, when I think Denver steak house, Vesta doesn't come to top of mind, but the “Food Paradise” peeps “steaked” a claim to Vesta.

In the piece, diners rave about Vesta's beef steak dishes - including the signature surf and turf, which is a flatiron steak with Manila clams - as well as waxing poetic about Vesta's venison filet.

Former executive chef Matt Selby (who now runs the kitchen at Corner House), talks about the veracity of venison for the camera.

The segment likely will air again on the Travel Channel, but until then, you can check it out at www.travelchannel.com/video/a-steak-by-any-other-name.

More restaurant scoops

Those of you who've been around the Denver dining scene since the 1990s might remember Michael's, a former fine dining spot at 2710 E. Third Ave. that lasted until 2000 when chef/owner Michael Shiell sold the place and relocated to The Big Apple.

After a chef stint there, he headed to the other coast as a restaurant consultant in California. But he longed to get back to his chef self, and to again own his own restaurant. Shiell got his wish when Lime owners Curt Sims and Pam Savage decided to leave Larimer Square and set up shop in the Denver Pavilions.

Shiell leased the below-ground level space in a Larimer Square courtyard (near Bistro Vendome), and will open Milk & Honey Bar Kitchen (he hopes) in August.

“We chose the old Lime spot because ... well ... it's Larimer Square, and I always love those tucked-away little gems personally when I go out,” Shiell said. He was particularly attracted to the large below-ground patio, which he plans to decorate with numerous flowers and plants similar to his Bistro Vendome neighbor.

The “contemporary American” cuisine includes appetizers such as yellow fin tuna tartar, roast hen and foie gras terrine, rabbit rilette and honey-soy lacquered pork belly.

Entrée selections vary from butter-poached halibut, roast French hen, crispy duck breast and veal osso buco. Other dishes are soups and salads, an assortment of artisan cheeses and salumi, pasta and a burger.

Farther west as part of the Union Station redevelopment, Zoe Ma Ma, an Asian eatery with a location in Boulder, will open in the former south parking lot on 16th and Wynkoop.

The menu features Dim Sum, noodle and rice dishes and daily specials. “We use organic unbleached wheat flour, all-natural meats, cage-free eggs and wind power,” the menu says. “We don't use MSG.”

Check out the complete menu at www.zoemama.com.

Moving east from LoDo to Uptown, Pitch Coal-Fire Pizzeria is slated to open on 19th and Pennsylvania with another Marg's taco joint opening across the street next month.

Marg's World Taco Bistro, which has Denver locations in Cherry Creek North and LoDo, serves soft tacos with unusual fillings, housemade guacamole, chips and salsa. Complete menu at www.margstacobistro.com.

Pitch Coal-Fire Pizzeria, with one store in Omaha, Neb., is expanding into the Denver market.

Pitch is the brainchild of Willy Theisen, the founder of Godfather's Pizza who sold the operation in 1983 for millions of dollars. But despite his gah-zillionaire status, Theisen, in his mid-60s, has marinara sauce running through his veins and refuses to retire.

But Pitch is more than a pizza place. The menu includes steaks, pasta, fish, fowl, salads and appetizers. Check it out at www.pitchpizzeria.com.

Comedy in Arvada

Local comedian Bob Meddles is producing a series of monthly comedy nights at West Woods Golf Course in Arvada, beginning with a May 1 performance, starting at 7:30 p.m., featuring national touring comedian Bryan Keller (Comedy Central and “Last Comic Standing”) and another local comic, Talon Saucerman.

The monthly event will be performed in the intimate setting of West Woods Bar & Grill. Seating is available for 62 people, so tickets will be limited. Tickets are $12 and available at www.comedynightatwestwoods-es2005.eventbrite.com/?rank=1# (keyword: west woods). West Woods Golf Course is located at 6655 Quaker St. in Arvada.

Wings of Hope fights cancer

The Wildlife Experience in Parker will host the second Evening of Hope, a fundraising event for Wings of Hope, at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 25. Author and former Vietnam War-era Air Force pilot Brian Shul will give a special presentation for the benefit for pancreatic cancer research at the University of Colorado Cancer Center. The event also will include a silent auction, drinks and hors d'oeuvres.

Walt Imhoff, who lost his wife, Georgia, to pancreatic cancer in 2009, is the event's presenting sponsor. Maureen A. Shul, who lost her brother and mother to pancreatic cancer, founded Wings of Hope and was the founding mayor of Castle Pines. For tickets and more information, visit www.wingsofhopepcr.org or call 720-733-0491.

Kids' day in Wheat Ridge

The Wheat Ridge Police Department is sponsoring the third annual Children's Day on April 27. Scheduled for 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Wheat Ridge 5-8 School, 7101 W. 38th Ave., the family-friendly event is designed to introduce parents and children to members of the Wheat Ridge police department.

The event will include free bike inspections, child ID kits and car-seat checkups. The child safety fair will include a bike rodeo for all kids, face painting, jumping castles, a miniature fire truck and an appearance by Cheezo, the Internet safety program's mascot. A Flight for Life helicopter also will make a landing at noon.

Replacement car seats will be available for a donation. Parents just need to be sure to have both your child and your vehicle with you. For more information, contact officer Betsy Sailor at 303-235-2910.

Spokes town

The people have “spoken” and Denver has emerged triumphant in REI's hotly contested Cycle Town Showdown, which pitted several U.S. cities against each other in a battle to see which city was the most bike friendly.

The outcome was no surprise to anyone who has enjoyed the Mile High City's 850 miles of paved off-road bike paths and more than 300 days of sunshine every year. Denver defeated Portland in the final round of the eight-city NCAA Tournament-style bracket. See the final bracket at www.rei.com/features/infographics/cyclingtown-showdown.html.

Visitors can experience this two-wheel paradise by using Denver B-cycle, the pioneering bike-share system. B-cycle features 56 B-stations located all over the city. The program will increase to 86 stations by the end of 2013. More information: www.denver.bcycle.com.

Adams at Comedy Works

My former Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post colleague Sam Adams hosted a gang of VIP supporters during a book-signing April 10 at Comedy Works South.

Adams, who penned his first book “If You Don't Believe Me ... Lessons Learned From Listening to the Greats,” thanked gathered guests for guiding him through his journey as an insurance company employee to a freelance high-school sportswriter for The Denver Post to a full-time position as a sportswriter to columnist to stand-up comedian and now author.

In the book, published by Books to Believe In (www.bookstobelievein.com), Adams recalls close encounters of the celebrity kind including John Elway, Bill Cosby, Sugar Ray Leonard, John “Buck” O'Neil of the Negro Leagues, Floyd Little, Magic Johnson, Quincy Jones, James Caan and on and on ... Adams admits to being a notorious name-dropper around friends.

It's an interesting memory walk down the lane of a life well lived ($20, www.amazon.com).

Eavesdropping

A man talking to a small group of people at Sam Adams' book-signing party: “This must be the media, isn't this free?”

Penny Parker's “Mile High Life” column gives insights into the best events, restaurants, businesses, parties and people throughout the metro area. Parker also writes for Blacktie-Colorado.com. You can subscribe and read her columns (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) at www.pennyparker.blacktie-colorado.com. She can be reached at parkerp1953@gmail.com or at 303-619-5209.