One of Denver’s architectural wonders is the Fredrick C Hamilton Building, designed by Daniel Libeskind at the Denver Art Museum.. With its jutting roof line and walls all akimbo, I love its mix of elegance and surprise. Apparently the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent did too because when DAM Director, Christoph Heinrich, approached them to host the Yves Saint Laurent Retrospective they said “Oui”. They make for a chic ensemble and quite the coup. Denver is the only stop in North America before this exquisite exhibit heads south of the border. New York must be green with envy.

When Yves Saint Laurent took his seam ripper to the nipped Dior waistline, he unleashed the power of the modern woman and seems to have designed her wardrobe for the past 50 years. The words ‘jumpsuit, pantsuit, safari look and bolero jacket’ were rarely heard before the genius of the YSL moment, and never to describe fashion. Influenced by global culture, Saint Laurent drew his inspiration from the arts and artists, from operas, literary figures, personal muses and “aesthetic ghosts;” he has woven time into the timeless.

Read more.
The Yves Saint Laurent Retrospective lands in Denver for an exclusive look into the designer’s genius. The Denver Art Museum is the only North American stop as this exquisite exhibit travels from Paris to South America. Why? “Because I asked.” says DAM Director, Christoph Heinrich. With the integration of local fashion stars and designers included in the gift shop and gallery, I say “Magnifique!”

I live and work in a city that fosters and grows its arts and cultural community, lights the way with a beacon of alternative energy investment, and preserves the character of the city’s neighborhoods and Technicolor past… That’s something to look up to.

It was headline news when Chaplin’s first “talkie”, “The Great Dictator”, premiered in October of 1940, and it seems the Tramp had a lot to say. I am a life-long film fan and being raised on the backlot of a Hollywood studio, I guess it’s only natural. I grew up watching movies and watching them being made. My father worked at M-G-M, our family friend ran the film library. I spent hours looking thorough old clips and screen tests (including my mother’s), viewing them as the celluloid was hand cranked through a Movieola or pressed into service by a warm projector. I’ve tried to give my sons some cinematic context for their lives, and despite the “Is this another old move, Mom?” protests, they are always happy we spent the time together when the final credits roll. I’ve seen them light up when they understand a reference to “Vertigo, grab a light pole and attempt a graceful swing around it, Gene Kelly style. They have the dubious honor of knowing all the words to “Shipoopi”, although Gabe insists it’s ‘Grab her buns when she isn’t lookin’. Chaplin, Keaton, Hitchcock, Wilder, Capra, Lumet and so many others; they have been the profits of my life. Sir Charles delivers a heartfelt and timely message here in the final speech of “The Great Dictator”. Enjoy.


It is not because I was raised in California in the 60s, vote Democratic, eat granola or need a job. (I don’t. I have two, thank you) It’s not because I’ve made or lost a fortune in the stock market, am I anti-American, anti-corporation or want to bring capitalism to its bloody knees. I do not want to share my personal story of loss, health insurance, rate-jacking on credit card rates or banking fees here, I take responsibility for the decisions I’ve made and their consequences. And I’ll leave the commentary on the inner-machinations of who/how/why we got here to the pundits and those far more adept at these things than I.
Most of my professional life has been spent working in television and as theater artist; actor, director & playwright, and I’ve made a living doing what I love. I am at home with the dramatic expression of ideas, comfortable with change and used to the variables of a 1099 income. Suffice it to say Occupy Wall Street is not my first drum circle jam. But that’s not why I’m speaking out. Six years ago, when the prospect of single-motherhood was looming, I got my real estate license, worked my ass off in a difficult market and for the most part it has been good to me (I’m used to the variable income, remember?). I’ve worked the luxury market, helped buyers find their first homes, move up to larger spaces, and have numerous investors who’ve increased their cash flow with rental and fix & flip properties. I find it very gratifying and I’m good at it.
I support Occupy Wall Street because as a Realtor©, I have worked to save clients from foreclosure, spent hours negotiating with banks over short sales, sat around kitchen tables listening to frustrations with loan modifications, and spent as much on tissue as I have on champagne. (Okay, I exaggerate, but you get the idea.) I have seen this at all income levels and from clients who did not take out loans they could not afford, use their homes as ATMs or over-purchase. When they bought the future was bright and the payments were manageable. When the bubble burst and a few of life’s bumps hit (illness, divorce, job loss or downsizing) they tried valiantly to keep their obligations and pay the mortgage…until the day they couldn’t and their homes were worth less than they owed.
We may not all share an aching drive to be rich, but I’d bet that most of us want to work hard, prosper and live comfortably enough to invest in our futures, save for our children’s college and be prepared for retirement. We’d even like a vacation or two. For years we’ve trod along hoping things would get better and worked hard to make that a reality, even if the price of our hope was the depletion of our savings. At last we are exhausted. Too many Silverado, WorldCom and Goldman Sachs sagas played out on the nightly news, followed by stories of bailouts and bonuses for those who’ve shamelessly played fast and loose with our lives.
The tide has turned in America and around the world. The tsunami is hurling us forward faster than we’ve ever collectively moved before and there is no turning back. The social/political, dare I say… evolution is upon us, the old ways are outmoded and there’s no point in retreating to their ice age. It is time to start the conversation. We’ll figure out what the next best step is, but for now… shut up and listen.

If you could see yourself as others see you, would you be surprised? I’d venture a guess that it would be quite different than you see yourself in a number of ways. There are adjectives we’ve heard all our lives from parents friends and lovers, some of them flattering and some we’ve carted around clumsily, like overstuffed luggage with a broken wheel. Why do we deny ownership of the positive qualities bestowed, and draw the fear feeding ones like picnic ants to the watermelon of our souls? And does it ever seem to you that other people don’t do that or is it just me?
Recently I did an interview with Nancy Koontz for the Blacktie Colorado site. The series, called “Have You Met?”, profiles members of Denver’s art, cultural and philanthropic communities, allowing us to get to know one another deeper than the cocktail party or social event allows. Usually I’m the interviewer so this turnabout gave me an opportunity to sit on the other side of the table. I’d been sent a list of questions prior to our ‘sit down’ so I had some time to contemplate my answers and made it a point to dig a little deeper, but what surprised me was my reaction to reading the final post. It was Nancy’s preamble that got me. Reading on the New York subway, I laughed out loud in a relapse of middle-school self-consciousness. “That’s total bullshit” was my first thought, my second… why would I think that?
Is it in our Judeo-Christian culture that ingrains a deep sense of unworthiness within us? Though I was raised without religious ideology, I’ve been on the planet long enough to know that praise is generally bestowed upon good dogs and the Lord. Refusing to allow another’s opinion of or feeling for you into your heart diminishes both giver and receiver.
As the world has become a public shout out we carefully craft and cultivate our online reputation with the real-time self-promotional ticker of social media. Opinions swarm like killer bees, bringing vitriol and condemnation into our daily experience with the blogs, news coverage and unwanted emails flooding our collective inbox. It is no wonder we feel downhearted, for what gets put out into the world the world becomes. So how ’bout a little balance? I’m not talking about posting positive quotes to balance the snark, but taking the time to engage in and embrace the good, starting with self. The introspective tend to take criticism, mull it over in search of its validity and the possibility of self-improvement. How lovely to do the same with praise. So, I have a question for you. How would your life be different if you took all of the good people see in you and reflect about you and accepted it as true?

I have my sons fifty weeks a year, so the time without the demands of motherhood is always at a premium. I set out to use it wisely, make a to-do list and then return from the airport run to crawl under the covers for a quick nap. The week progresses, the list morphs, and I home in on how to use my precious time. Sometimes going dancing makes the cut, sometimes it’s filing, but it is specific. When the week flew by, I scanned to see what I had accomplished in my solitude and what I learned.
The difference between busy and productive will determine your level of success and they can work together if you know how to work ‘em. As a Realtor, writer and single mother, time management skills are critical to the balance of my business and my soul (not to mention keeping the kids alive and on time). Though I still don’t quite believe that time can be “managed”, my days are now color coded and time blocked according to priority, with a bit of flexibility dashed in like salt. I learned to do this during a productivity program created by Darice Johnson called Efficiency by Design . Though I fought it at first, I found that when I imposed structure I discovered enough “type A” in my artistic personality to produce results within multiple income streams. Let’s take a look into our elegant mono-tasker, the honey bee.

1. Busy is busy but counter productive. Unless you’re a bee. Think about the last time you spoke to a friend who answered the question, “How are you?” with “Oh god, I’m so busy”, only to regale you with tales of the cat and the vet, enrolling the kids in school and quarterly taxes. Now each of these tasks will keep you busy and they must be done but the results they produce have their benefits: avoiding jail time, dead cats and smarter children, but they fall under the category of life maintenance.
2. Productivity produces. Especially If you’re a bee. If the aim of business is to make money, all related tasks must lead directly to direct deposit. It’s easy to lose sight of this in all of the busyness, especially if you work from home. As I watch the laundry pile up, I must remind myself that “I launder, therefore I am” ain’t gonna buy new socks when they disappear.
3. Busy lies like a mirror. You think because you haven’t stopped moving, you’ve actually accomplished something but when you take that hard look at the list (or the mirror), you find it doesn’t quite look like you imagined.
4. Busy and productive can co-exist. If you are clear in your definitions, aware of your actions, and a bee. The key here is to focus on the flower. When the honey bee flits from flower to flower she has one intent, one overall purpose; gather pollen, feed the larvae. There is no extraneous action here, no gabbing on the phone about the cat. Even the drone has one purpose, to mate with the queen, though I must remind you that because their sole purpose is to screw around they’re the first to go when the colony’s low on food. Your average female honey bee is highly social and communicative, relaying direction and distance to pollen sources (obviously this is why they don’t bother much with the drones), and in a prime example of mutualism, spreads the wealth and the pollen of creativity to the rest of the world as she stays focused on her goal.
5. Bee intentional. Nature provides seasonal deadlines for the Apidae family, I must create them for my own. Since I began time blocking my productivity has increased, while my busyness (and stress level) has been cut in half. As a Realtor, my productive time (lead generation and conversion) leads to the busy time (contract to closing) and they must constantly be kept in balance. As a playwright, I depend on deadlines to insure that time is scheduled into my week and there’s nothing like a public reading or pending production to keep my ass in gear. So how do I do it? When I’m in the time allotted for a task, it is all I do. Period. No email, no phone call (except from the school) interrupts which makes it easy to relax into production mode because I know that the next thing belongs to the next time slot. It is the next flower.
So take a tip from those who make life much sweeter, take flight and Do-Be-Do-Be-Do my friends!

Creativity is the strongest force on earth; artists, visionaries and innovators lead us into the future. We’ve got some mad skills that actualize potential where others may only see what is possible.  Be sure to click on the Thriving Artist Alliance page above and I’ve created a lovely video to inspire you. CLICK HERE TO WATCH

I wrote about day one on Wednesday afternoon, a piece for Telluride Inside and Out, Later that evening we had the festival’s first PlaySlam at the Steaming Bean. Visiting playwrights and Tellu-writers read excerpts from their works and it was great to see everyone come together to hear such compelling work. The pieces were funny and moving, varied in style and tone, consistent in quality. In my three years at this festival, this has to be one of my favorite evenings. Most of the time I’m squirreled away in my luxury condo, banging out new pages, the only community interface is at dinners, mixers, fund-raisers and the like. It was really gratifying to see, hear and share.
The coolest thing was when my son, Gabe, a wizened twelve-year-old, came up to me after a reading and said, “Mom, did you hear that one?” (I had not, having briefly stepped outside) “It was all about this woman, right?, who had a friend with this disease called ALS…” and he launched into a detailed recount of the story. I was amazed at the power of words and the images they etch in our hearts and minds. Especially this young one.
Today was the company hike to Bear Creek Falls… for me it was the hike through rewrites, just as stimulating, just as exhausting, though I’m certain not as breath-taking. With the boys on a trip to Mesa Verde and a ride on the Silverton/Durango Railroad, I’ve got an open window to focus on the script for Sunday night’s staged reading. Off to hear what my brilliant cast does with these new pages!

Look for the Thriving Artist Alliance banner!


Sunday picnics at City Park Jazz have long been one of my favorite summer rituals and judging by its growth the feeling is mutual. The atmosphere is fun and communal. far beyond a basket of egg salad sandwiches and a blanket, some people really work it: linen draped tables with champagne flutes, portable grills, netted tents and lawn games dot the landscape, festival style as Denver comes out to play.
So I thought… If I park it, will they come? What if you knew you could show up spontaneously, no blanket, no food, no hassle except the parking? What if you had one place where you could meet the friends who are already there scattered around, meet new friends and have an eclectic mix every week? That’s what I was thinkin’. I’ll get there early and set up space and provide something to eat. You show up, walk or roll north on the pathway from 17th Ave toward the band shelter. Look to your right, between the lake and the road and somewhere along the way you’ll see the THRIVING ARTIST ALLIANCE banner hanging from a tree or staked in the ground. Some weeks you may want to bring food and drink, others you can show up empty handed and share in the feast laid out before you. Bring your kids, your friends, your bikes, skateboards, a Frisbee or a ball… sometimes an umbrella. Where else can you eat, drink, dance and celebrate the season? And it’s free. We’ll be there around 5:00, music goes from 6-8. For more information, event updates and who’s playing each week, find me on Facebook or check out Sunday Dinner under events.

Beautiful friends and gorgeous sunsets rock City Park Jazz

It’s been more than ten years since the evening I spent in heated conversation with a small group of theatrical dreamers. Actor/Director, Warren Sherrill, had just dragged me back onto the boards, directing me in a production of “Marvin’s Room” at the Denver Civic where I was blessed to share the stage with the lovely, talented and wittily acerbic Carolyn Valentine. That’s what put me in the room. The first meeting took place around a dining room table in southeast Denver; me, Warren, Lisa Rucker (Moon for the Misbegotten), and if I had more memory I’d recall who else was there (apologies, it’s been ten years;). Michael Stricker and Barbra Andrews were en route from Chicago after a bit of time working with Steppenwolf, but their praises were sung loud and clear. The result of this and subsequent meetings was what we now know at the Paragon Theatre Ensemble.
From a dining room table, to a dream, Paragon has built one of Denver’s premiere theater companies, growing their work season after season, maturing into perhaps the most consistent mid-sized company in Denver. When they began, our theater scene was quite different. Stalwarts of the day have closed, upstarts who planted seeds were blown away as many well intentioned theater groups found the artistic soil far too rocky to take firm root.
Paragon began with a clear vision, a modest business plan, and a high work ethic, then set out to produce quality theater which allowed them to carve out a niche for themselves in Denver theater. They saw a need and the over-filled it. The level of talent in the acting and producing company and the detailed professionalism in their planning and rehearsal process, the careful way they’ve cultivated their acting and directing pool have put the fun and the function into the dysfunctional family that is a theatre company.
Paragon is the only Denver company to present staged readings of works by Colorado/Wyoming playwrights in their Trench series, and they go a step further by considering these plays for full production. Two of my scripts, (w)hole, Saints & Hysterics, have been produced by Paragon through this process, as well as a play by Ellen K Graham. It takes guts to produce new works; it takes balls to produce new work by local playwrights.
Paragon has continued to build momentum by offering a blend of classic plays and edgy new pieces. Over the past few seasons, they’ve included a Equity guest artist contract in their season, bringing Denver Center fav, Sam Gregory, some of the most delicious roles. Hopefully the Equity idea will continue and expand.
On Saturday the 25th, Paragon will be holding their 10th Anniversary with a ‘gala’ (love that word) celebration at the Garner Galleria Theatre at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Part presentation, part profit, and all party, that’s my take on what the night will bring. Perhaps the hardest working, most fun to play with group of theater artists in the metro area, the Galleria may be the place to be come Saturday night.
Personally, I plan on moving from that dining room table straight up to the bar in celebration of a great decade of theatre. I’m a sucker for a success story. Hats off to you, Paragon Theatre Ensemble, congratulations on a decade of great work. Now put your lips together and blow~
tickets available at www.paragontheatre.org

Perhaps you’ve heard of Prudence Mabhena, read about her in the Sunday paper, heard the story on NPR, caught the film about her at the Telluride Film Festival, or saw her beaming at the Oscars when Music by Prudence won Best Documentary.
There is a lot to know about Prudence Mabhena, a lot to learn from her as well. Born with a disfiguring congenital disorder called arthrogryposis, her twisted limbs meant she’d never walk, and so they were amputated below the knees. Her journey from Zimbabwe to the global stage has been told in many forms, a tragedy-to-triumph in a tale that lifts our spirits to the realm of possibility and teaches us to just get over ourselves. But where we really have an opportunity to learn from Prudence is by hearing her sing. That is possible for Denver this Sunday as Prudence joins jazz concept band Zuri at the Mercury Cafe for a 2:00 benefit concert. Wednesday night’s higher priced film screening and meet ‘n greet with Prudence at the Denver Film Center promises to be a moving and inspiring event. The $30 ticket for the Mercury gig promises to be a blow-the-roof-off-the- house experience! Both raise money for King of Kindness, Noel Cunningham’s foundation. Should be amazing, Grace.
Prudence Sings Amazing Grace at Kennedy Center