On the Latest DMNS Exhibits

We’ve been a little lazy in using our Denver Museum of Nature and Science membership … lazy in that we hadn’t gone in a while AND we were getting notifications that it was going to expire SOON. So, since there are two current exhibits that we hadn’t checked out … we decided to just go and do it.

The first one is Vikings: Beyond the Legend, which, clearly, talked about the Vikings. And how horns on the helmet? Not a thing (thanks, Wagner). How “viking” is more of a term like “farmer” or “explorer” rather than an actual ethnic group. In any case, cool exhibit, but both B and I agreed that it wasn’t quite as cool as the Maya exhibit.

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Entrance.

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Badass Viking jewelry.

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Closest I could get my name in runes.

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B’s name was a bit easier.

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Awesome Viking glass.

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LEGO Vikings!

If you’re interested, Vikings: Beyond the Legend goes through August 13.

If you go, you’ll also be able to see Nature’s Amazing Machines, which is on display through the end of the year. I didn’t take too many photos, but it was a cool exhibit on the way animals are awesome, basically – how the dome shape is around so much in nature and how well it protects various species, how amazingly the cheetah is designed, why giraffe hearts are so cool … you get the picture. Probably better for kids, but still fun for adults.

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Exhibit entrance.

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Electronic majestic flap flap (sorry, funny term I found online for rays) that was able to trick real rays.

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Because when one sees a cast of part of SUE, one takes a photo. ESPECIALLY if one has a thing for dinosaurs (ahem).

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On Star Wars and the Power of Costume

So there has been an exhibit at the Denver Art Museum for a few months now titled, “Star Wars and the Power of Costume.” The exhibit is a traveling one that shows the whole journey of dressing the Star Wars universe. The exhibit has everything from storyboards to final costumes, and has different in-depth stories about the various pieces.

Like how the Jedi are purposefully made to look biblical because they are “good.”

Like how Han Solo’s outfit is more reminiscent of an old west gunslinger as opposed to how we’d think some space dude is supposed to look.

Like how ridiculous of a process it was to put on the Darth Vader costume.

And so on. The exhibition closes here in Denver April 9 and I really wanted to make it to the DAM before it closed, so we picked a day last week and went. The following are a smattering of pictures from the event.

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Explanation.

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Luke Skywalker’s outfit on the left and I believe Anakin on the right. While most Jedi are in white and brown, Luke’s outfit is black at this point (I believe this one was from “Return of the Jedi”) due to the nature of the dark side creeping in.

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I totally remember using these iMacs in high school …

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Princess Leia’s dress.

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The iconic bikini as well as the disguise Leia uses to free Han Solo from Jabba.

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Chewy and Solo.

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Rebel fighters. Joked to B that if he were in Star Wars, this is what he would wear.

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… B’s response was that TIE fighters were cooler so he’d be in these flight outfits instead.

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Droids.

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Darth Vader, I believe from the Hayden Christiansen days.

Cool exhibit. I think there’s a more permanent version of the exhibit at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., but after it leaves Denver, it’s also heading to the Cincinnati Museum Center in Cincinnati, Oh., and the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, in St. Petersburg, Fla.

On Casa Bonita

If you grew up in Denver – or watched “South Park” in the early 2000s, you’ve probably heard of Casa Bonita.

If you haven’t, you should probably try and find that episode (it’s from 2003) and watch the last seven minutes or so. Everything Trey Parker and Matt Stone put in there? Completely accurate, down to the sketchy strip mall the restaurant lives in.

In any case, Casa Bonita is affectionately known as Mexican Disneyland. We used to go when I was a kid relatively frequently (frequently being whenever we had out of town guests) and I remember hating it. Of course, I’ve never been the biggest fan of Mexican food and Casa Bonita’s is not … good. However, when Brandon and I got married, we decided (okay, I did, because I’m cruel) to take a lot of our out-of-town guests and friends – most of whom didn’t know each other – and take them to Casa Bonita without their knowledge.

I figured, at the very least, we’re old enough to drink now and if it was that bad, booze could save the night. It ended up being the perfect ice breaker, and a great story for everyone to tell their friends from home. Back in 2011, the restaurant was also still embracing their connection to “South Park.”

We hadn’t been back since … until earlier in August. My brother and sister-in-law decided to go there for my niece’s second birthday. I documented the experience to share …

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This pink tower is in a ghetto strip mall on west Colfax.

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The entertainment requires you to purchase their food …

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Birthday family (and a glimpse of the food).

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Gorilla show.

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Black Bart (or, in this case, Bertha) show.

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Flaming juggler cliff diver show.

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Sopapilla. Really the only reason to come – they are as good as advertised.

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Old-time photo.

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Forget which show this was from …

Not pictured: Black Bart’s cave, puppet show, mariachis (didn’t see them that night …), falling apart arcade.

If you find yourself in Denver and want a truly “Denver” experience (that’s not the damn mountains) … go. It’s totally worth it.

Mythic Creatures at DMNS

Driving to work down Speer every day, I see a lot of banners for exhibits going on at the local museums. One such exhibit (that I’d also seen a lot of friends on facebook go to) was Mythic Creatures at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Therefore, one afternoon, we decided to go.

We also decided to get a museum membership, for a few reasons:

1.) If you go … twice, I think, … it pays for itself, and we average two or three visits a year.
2.) Being a member means free admission to other various museums around the country due to an affiliate program (LVNH would be free if we wanted to go again).
3.) Museum membership is totally one of those “adult” things to do.
4.) If we have a membership, we totally won’t feel bad about going to the museum solely for the special exhibits and ignoring the rest of it.

In any case, the Mythic Creatures exhibit was pretty cool. A little interesting, as clearly the creatures aren’t, you know, found in nature, but as with everything, all myths have roots based in fact. A mermaid is really (somehow) a manatee. Sea creatures are delusions thanks to lack of nutrients. Or whatever.

Behold, a sampling of photos:

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Not all mythic creatures are ancient … (not pictured: jackalope)

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What really sold me on going were the fun green screen photos people posted. Here are ours.

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Cartier at the Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum currently has an exhibit on jewelry house Cartier called Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century. Ever since I heard about it, I wanted to go. Good exhibits are also a nice excuse to hit up the DAM – last time I went was for an Yves-Saint Laurent exhibition.

The pieces displayed inside were gorgeous and there was some nifty history that was tied into the exhibit as well (for example, a section filled with cigarette cases and the like due to the rise in popularity of smoking). However, I can’t help but think back to a piece I read in the Denver Post back when the exhibit started which essentially says that the show is also free marketing for Cartier, a company still very much in business today.

Whichever way you feel, I would still say it’s very much worth a trip to the Denver Art Museum, as the pieces displayed can truly be called “art.” You still have a chance to see it for another month; it ends March 15.

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Going in.

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Necklace, I believe for an Indian Maharajah.

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Bracelet.

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One of the “tutti frutti” necklaces.

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Stunning cigarette case.

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Traveling bar kit.

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Replica of Charles Lindbergh’s Wright Whirlwind engine.

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Necklace in the adverts.

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Beautiful ruby set. Birthstone!

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Probably my favorite necklace of the whole collection. No idea why.

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Blurry, yes, but taken for the sheer size of this pendant – it’s a 478-carat sapphire …

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Watch. So, cool historical fact that I’m going to presume is true – apparently one of the Cartiers invented the modern wristwatch for a Brazilian airplane pilot who needed an easier way to check the time other than pulling out a pocket watch, which was the fashion at the time.

Pro Bull Riding 2015

Since we so thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at PBR at the Stock Show last year, we decided to go again this year. I also learned the lessons of last year and bought better seats.

Continuing on with the “learning from history” theme, we also chose NOT to eat at the Stock Show itself, choosing instead to go to the Stockyard Saloon, which is basically on the grounds, but outside the paid admission area. The place is fairly old school – our beers were in cans! – but it wasn’t bad. We both had salads, I had a bacon cheeseburger and Brandon had a steak sandwich. The only thing that truly disappointed both of us was that the cheese on the cheese fries? Melted cheddar grossness. Like cheddar sauce, not actual shredded and THEN melted cheese. Some people like that … not me. I like my cheese not in liquid form.

After dinner, we headed into the Stock Show itself for a few moments. We were considering going to a PBR 101 thing, but ended up not quite having enough time. As a lot of the stuff is the same year after year (and Brandon’s foot was killing him), we mostly just hung out near the horses and talked to them before heading over to the Denver Coliseum

The bull riding itself (as well as team penning – got to see that again this year!) was awesome and the new seats weren’t bad. I think if we want truly good seats, we’ve got to hop on them as soon as they go on sale …

(Also: I need a better camera or figure out a better way with my point-and-shoot to get action shots …)

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Yes, the bull is bucking even though it doesn’t look like it here.

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Team penning.

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Chihuly at the Denver Botanic Gardens

I’ve known about glass artist Dale Chihuly for a little while – mainly because of his work at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Awesome stuff.

So, when an exhibition of his came to the Denver Botanic Gardens, I knew I had to go. It started in June, but I heard they were doing night tours (now sold out) starting in October, so I decided to wait until then to go.

I am SO glad I went – very, very cool time. If you’re in Denver, go before it’s gone; if you’re not, and an exhibit of his comes to town, go. You will not regret it.

Here is a small sampling of all the photos I took when I went.

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This boat did not work as well at night.

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A friend described this as Chihuly meets Walter White.

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Another exhibit that didn’t work quite as well at night.

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Workshop display.

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These were awesome during the day, too, but the sunset behind them was too good to pass up.

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Same deal with this one.

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This worked a lot better at night with the reflection.

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Shadow play on this one looked awesome at night. During the day, fairly unremarkable, comparatively.

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Awesomeness of these came out at night.

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