The Brown Palace In Denver

Brown Palace Shower Door Etching

Brown Palace Shower Door

    The other night, I had the honor of photographing DJ Equalizor as he rocked the house at The Church in Downtown Denver. I knew from the start it would be a very late night so I asked a friend to arrange lodgings for me. She set me up at the Brown Palace. What? I was going to stay at the most luxurious hotel in Denver, located six blocks away from the venue I had a photo gig at? What?!?

Brown Palace Bathroom Selfie

Selfie In The Brown Palace

    I rented a camera specifically for this gig and I had about 6 hours to practice with it before the show started. My regular camera is a beast and I have been denied entry into The Church for having it in the past so I rented the Fujifilm X100S just for the occasion. It is the best low light camera on the planet and it looks like something JFK would have carried so on this night, I made it in without any problems at all.

Brown Palace Mirror Selfie

Another Selfie

    I got to The Brown Palace about two hours before the show so I spent that time taking photos and mentally preparing myself for what it would take to shoot a DJ in the most well known nightclub in Denver. The Brown Palace is very accommodating and allowed me ample opportunity to play with my new camera whilst basking in luxury. Make no mistake, The Brown Palace is the best hotel in Denver.

Brown Palace Robes

Robes In The Brown Palace

    I’d like to talk about what I hope are complimentary robes provided by The Brown. They weigh at least five pounds and two of them are provided. I took one of them with me and gave it to my mom. Roman emperors never felt anything like this; these robes make you feel like royalty.

Brown Palace Toilet

The Toilet In The Brown

    The toilet was very normal, but the trash can next to it had The Brown logo on the bottom. That last sentence is NOT a euphemism.

Trinity Church From Brown Palace Skybridge

Trinity Church

    Check out time is at noon so the day after the show I walked around the hotel and at one point found myself on the sky bridge of the hotel, looking directly at Trinity Baptist Church.

Brown Palace Escalator

Art Deco Escalator

    There was no such thing as escalators when The Brown was built so I would guess that the art deco feel of this area was installed in the 1920s. That’s just a guess, so don’t get all pissed off if I’m wrong.

Brown Palace Breakfast

Brunch At The Brown

    Looking down from my room, I was able to see people having brunch.

Brown Palace Stained Glass Window

Stained Glass Windows At The Brown Palace

    I wandered around after checking out and came across these stained glass windows.

Brown Palace Ghost

Photo By Bibi Aldana

Ghost In The Brown Palace Hotel

    Finally, I saw a ghost while I was at The Brown Palace. If you think I put on one of those awesome robes and then had someone take my picture whilst standing behind the sheer drapes in the window well then… You are totally wrong. Cheers!

DJ Equalizor at The Church

DJ-Equalizor at The Church Full House

DJ Equalizor At The Church In Denver

    This past Friday night I was at The Church, a Denver nightclub that has hosted more nights of debauchery for me than I can remember, let alone count. There is a genre of performer that has cut a swath of music so wide that I don’t know how to categorize it or explain it to those that have never heard it. In the beginning I generically referred to it as techno or electronic music. Since that time I’ve come to call it the most important recreational activity I’ve ever taken part in. When you are familiar with or personally know the disc jockey at a show, it adds to the recipe of fun that had already included the friends you spent time with before attending the show. There is a very good reason that what a DJ does is referred to as spinning; they blend music in a way that coalesces people together in a place for a certain amount of time that would never happen otherwise. On this night, DJ Equalizor did that for me.

DJ Equalizor Spinning at The Church

DJ Equalizor Spinning At The Church

    DJ Equalizor is a musician from Denver that was in The Church to show that he has what it takes to perform at the premier electronic dance event in the country; Global Dance Festival In Colorado. This is an annual, three day event held at Red Rocks amphitheater under the summer night skies of Denver, Colorado. In the same way that bowling balls cannot be compared to sailboats, GDF is something that can’t be compared to or measured against anything else.

DJ Equalizor Outside The Church

Outside The Church

    What was it like to walk on the moon, attend Woodstock, serve in the Navy or scuba dive on the wreck of a WWII submarine? The fact of the matter is, only people that have done those things know what it’s like and while some people might be able to describe what it was like to do it, what they describe is nothing like actually doing it. Attending a show in a Red Rocks, the most glorious concert venue on the face of the planet should be on the bucket list of everyone. Carved out of ancient rock and positioned in a way that all of the heavens and earth are viewable from the upper levels, it is the closest I have ever been to seeing and feeling joy the creator felt when he created all of us.

DJ Equalizor at The Church in Deep Thought

Preaching At The Church

    I think I may have gotten a little off track. What was I talking about? Ah yes, DJ Equalizor and his path to performing at GDF. Here’s the thing, anyone can climb Mount Everest, be an astronaut or knock a homerun out of Coors Field but the simple fact of the matter is; not everyone does. Each and every one of those things has been experienced by a very small percentage of the human race. Let me tell you this; DJ Equalizor deserves to join the club that has said, “I performed at Global Dance Festival at Red Rocks.”

DJ Equlalizor Full Church View

Full House At The Church

    DJ Equalizor has a website and many free, downloadable mixes on Soundcloud. I personally recommend his GDF audition from last year which can be listened to here:

DJ Equalizor Smiling At The Church In Denver

DJ Equalizor

    Yeah, I know DJ Equalizor and I think his music is the shit. He should be granted access into that exclusive club of people that have performed at Red Rocks for Global Dance Festival. I’ve had this blog for over six years so you loyal readers know that I don’t post about, let alone photograph anything that I don’t believe in. DJ Equalizor is from Denver and he is going to take the world by storm and that storm should be formed over Red Rocks at GDF this summer.

Flowers In The Garden

Purple Allium

Allium

    A year ago I planted a bunch of flowers and trees around the house. It was a lot of hard work and believe me, when it comes to digging holes through rocks and clay; there is no clever way to go about doing it. Anyway, after spending the spring and summer of last year wondering if it was all worth it, things are blooming and growing so yes, it was all worth it.

Poppy Anemone

Poppy Anemone

    At this early point in the spring, flowers are the first to show their colors but, the trees I planted last year are showing some very vigorous signs of life as well. The reason I haven’t shown any photos of the progress they’ve made is because this has been a very personal journey for me. Knowing how long this journey is going to be has allowed me the rare opportunity to sit back and enjoy the ride, rather than document every single step.

Purple Lilacs

Purple Lilacs

    The two lilac photos in this post are, ironically enough, not plants that I planted last year. They are older than me and have endured more Colorado winters than most people I know. They were a bit unkempt as of last year but I trimmed them, causing them to have fewer flowers this year, but are now prepared to have twice as many next year.

White Lilacs

White Lilacs

    So, there you go. There will be more photos of the garden as the spring and summer progress, showing you this labor intensive project I started last year. Oh what a difference a year makes.

Spring in Denver

Tulips In Sun

Tulips In The Sun

    One constant thing about Colorado is that the weather is constantly changing. As a warm weather person, I look forward to spring and summer the way a surfer looks at the ocean; I just can’t wait to get into it. I want to be able to wear shorts and flip-flops and any time of the day or night and ride my bike everywhere. While Denver has had some very warm days this year, it’s not full on springtime yet and even the plants are being fooled into coming out of their winter dormancy early. Case in point, the photos of the flowers in this post they were taken less than 24 hours apart. It’s been so nice for the last few weeks that tulips are kicking things by blooming for me in late March and then, the very next day…

Tulips In Snow

Tulips In The Snow

    They got snowed on. Snow in March is not an unusual thing in Colorado but blooming flowers is a little out of the ordinary so on this day I got to see flowers covered in snow. I’m writing this the day after I took that snowy photo and the snow is already melted so spring and winter are really fighting it out. Anyway, this is just a quick post to show you what we go through in Colorado every year. Cheers!

Review of Denver Public Transportation

RTD 2014 Monthly Passes

All My Monthly RTD Passes From 2014

    As you may recall, I had a lot to say about San Diego’s public transportation system while I was living there. I’ve been back in Denver for over a year and aside from a couple of posts talking about the closure of Market Street Station and the remodeling of Union Station, I haven’t said a whole lot about Denver’s bus and Light Rail system. I wanted to wait for at least a year so that I would be able to use it through all four seasons in order to give it a very thorough assessment and review.

    I was away from Denver from 2006 thru 2013 and the public transportation system has grown up a lot in that time. When I left there were only 2 Light Rail lines and they both ran from Littleton to Denver. Now there are 6 lines that run all over the metro area from Golden to Cherry Creek Reservoir to Lone Tree. Next year there will be 5 more lines added that will enable us to go to Denver International Airport, Arvada, Federal Heights and an extension to an existing line that will go right through Aurora. In 2018 there will be another line added that will go all the way out to Northglenn. These are just Light Rail lines; there are many regional and express busses that already exist and next year will see the addition of another that will run out to Westminster, Broomfield and Flatirons. It’s already a very extensive system and will only get better from here on out.

    That’s what is and what it will be; now I’d like to tell you about what it’s like to actually travel and commute on Denver’s Light Rail and buses. Just to be clear, the acronym for the entire system is RTD, which stands for Regional Transportation District.

    I use Light Rail for 95 percent of my travels around the city. I live in Littleton and I ride my bike as often as possible so I pedal to my neighborhood Light Rail station, lock it up and then proceed into downtown. Once there, if I need to move around I just rent a bike from B-Cycle. I am a big fan of using Light Rail and bicycles instead of the bus for a number of reasons but the main reason is time. Riding a bike to a station is faster and healthier than taking a bus. There are bike racks on buses so you do have that option but it’s just not as efficient and it adds a connection to your trip. As a veteran of public transportation I’m telling you right now that connections will make or break your trip; the fewer connections the better. If I ride my bike directly to a Light Rail station I just have to connect with the train and head directly to my destination. If I include a bus into the equation, then I have to connect with the bus and then hope the bus is on time so I can connect with the train. Since I live in the suburbs, my bike is an integral part of taking Light Rail because the buses out here stop running at 7 p.m. and don’t run at all on weekends or holidays. RTD is much more geared to get suburbanites to and from work during the week that it is to move them around late at night or on the weekends. That’s not a bad thing but if you’re returning home (to the suburbs) after seven at night and you don’t have your bike or car waiting for you, you’ll want to call someone to pick you up from the station. With my bike and a Light Rail trip I can get from my doorstep in Littleton to the 16th Street Mall in 45 minutes flat any day of the week, so it really is fast and convenient.

    As for the process of buying a Light Rail or bus ticket and boarding a train, I do have a few things to say about that. For the bus it’s very straight forward; either insert exact change into the money taking machine next to the driver or show the driver your pass or transfer. For Light Rail it’s a little bit different and to be honest, a little convoluted. The good news is that the ticket vending machines will give back change and most of them take credit and debit cards but the bad news is that how, when, where and for how long your trip will be all need to be taken into account when you buy your ticket. This is a problem that RTD is aware of and is working on but until then, you really need to do a little homework so you can figure out how to get the proper fare. It really is beyond the scope of this post to explain it but it should be smoothed out by the time those new lines open next year. I purchase a monthly pass to simplify things but even those passes have three different options that are based solely on distance. At least with a proper pass you can just walk onto any bus or Light Rail without having to waste time at a ticket machine or carry exact change around with you. Also, the touch screens on the ticket machines are not as responsive as smartphones or tablets so they can be a little frustrating and hard to read sometimes. They can also break so a machine that is supposed to accept money and credit cards may not accept one or the other which is very frustrating because most of us only carry plastic OR money which is why I advocate buying a pass ahead of time. If you are straight up unable to buy a ticket and a transit guard asks to see your fare, politely tell the guard what happened and you’ll be fine.

    The RTD transit guards are very nice and that is something we all need to appreciate. In San Diego, the guards are nothing more than thugs that I have personally witnessed tackling commuters to the ground and arresting people for smoking at a station. Here in Denver, they say please and thank you and will gladly give information to help you get where you need to go. Another big transit difference between San Diego and Denver is the way people board the train. In Denver, people line up at the marked door entrances for the train. When it arrives, people exit the train and then the line of people calmly boards the train. In San Diego, when a train pulls into a station it turns into a mob scene straight out of a horror movie. People push and shove and there are lots of people that bring wheeled carts onto the train too. Denver is certainly the more cosmopolitan of the two cities.

    This review turned out to be much longer than I thought it would be so allow me to boil it down for you; Public transportation in Denver is very good. The trains and buses are clean and they run on time. I wish there was more shade and shelter at the stations but beyond that, they’re well lit and snow is shoveled constantly. The security guards are nice and the system is extensive enough to get you just about anywhere you need to go, as long as you do a little research first. Something I didn’t mention before is that you can take Light Rail to Broncos, Avalanche and Rockies games so remove yourself from some traffic and try out RTD. Cheers!