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On Wednesday, July 17 acclaimed Denver chef Tommy Lee opened the doors of the second iteration of his hugely popular LoHi ramen staple, Uncle. The new restaurant — nestled between the Baker and Wash Park neighborhoods  — is not simply a carbon copy of the original. Instead, Lee has taken much of what he’s learned in the nearly seven years since he first opened the first location, transferring that knowledge to a clean slate. While the latest joint isn’t necessarily a direct celebration of his time spent in the limelight, the decision to open a new ramen joint in the peak of summer may not have been lightly considered — Uncle number one celebrates its seventh birthday in August.

Uncle originally opened as a pan-Asian noodle house. “I wanted to open a restaurant that Denver didn’t have at the time,” said Lee. The decision to focus on ramen only came after around six months of toying with the menu. Lee realized that the ramen was much more popular than the rest of the options and he was “sick of keeping rice noodles in the back of the car.”

The limited space forced customers to cram into the 50-seat closet of a noodle house, yielding long waits that further solidified the place’s escalating aplomb. The new spot is no less cool — in fact, the many improvements make the new location even more attractive. The food’s success is can shine outside the trappings of hype.

Click to view slideshow.

The interior is much more spacious — stretching the 80 available seats onto a breathable, open floorplan. While the atmosphere is equally vibrant, the controlled chaos that gave the original some of its charm is noticeably absent. While customers are sure to expect some kind of wait as ramen-season shifts into full swing, the larger space seems like a natural move for a concept that has outgrown its initial borders. “We can only grow organically,” said Lee, both of the concept’s natural progression and his decision to not include investors at this time.

Most of the best items that lead to the prototype’s success can also be found here, but up to half of the menu is new. Appetizer wise only the chilled tofu ($5) — with ginger, soy vinaigrette and wakame — appears at both locations. Of the five new starters the charred shrimp cocktail ($19) — jumbo shrimp in a spicy pepper marinade that are flame-grilled then refrigerated, then served with sweet chili sauce — shine with their intelligent interplay of hot flavor and cool temperature. Grilled quail, southern fried mushrooms, celery salad and lamb ribs are also available to start the meal. Even the food choices have a certain calmness — an apparent invitation to sit back and relax — that the original menu seemed to intentionally avoid.

Click to view slideshow.

An entirely new section — Heirloom California Rice — has been added with a current focus on curries. While the section is entirely devoted to sophisticated interpretations of Thai variations, Lee wanted to title it in hopes of leaving the rice the only necessary constant — with Katsu or other rice-bowls to be added and subtracted at the chef’s discretion. The rice comes from Koda Farms, a family company in California who have been producing the product for three generations since the founder immigrated from Japan. The place boasts its own seed nursery and controls every aspect of production. The short rib Penang ($23) is thick cuts of succulent short rib doused in red coconut curry, peanuts, Thai basil and Kaffir lime. Placed over the bright, sticky rice the dish can easily be split between two as an appetizer or enjoyed alone.

Ramen-wise the spicy chicken and duck that made Uncle famous are available, with three new bowls joining the menu. The Jiro ($15) is a thick chicken and bonito broth, pork belly, cabbage, bean sprouts spicy garlic and ajitama egg. The broth is nicely punctuated by the crisp cabbage and the pork belly does not overlap with the fatty broth. On the lighter side, the Tokyo Shoyu ($14.50) combines a light chicken and fish broth, pork belly, arugula, scallion and ajitama egg for a daintier but equally punchy result.

Uncle’s food has always spoken for itself. With any luck, the new space will only help to bring the product to a larger audience who, up until this point, may have been scared off by the long waits and growing pains that can come with unexpected success.

The new Uncle is located at 95 South Pennsylvania St. It is open Monday – Saturday 5 – 10 p.m.

All photography by Alden Bonecutter.

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Last year we here at 303 Magazine announced a collaborative, interactive partnership with the Underground Music Showcase (UMS) called The Underground and we’re bringing it back this year with new surprises in store.

For 2018, The Underground relied on a series of 15-second visual clues with the specific objective in mind of informing the participants of secret pop-ups and events around UMS. Those in the know were rewarded with free Shake Shack, cloud hammocks and a school bus filled with vinyl. We’re back this year with a new concept pop-up dubbed “The Green Room” which will take The Underground to the next level — with the help from our friends at Molly’s Spirits.

Located at 3Kings’ underground room, this password-protected space will feature an immersive bar and dance floor that’ll feel part speakeasy, part disco and a whole lot of jungle. Access will begin at 10 p.m. until close on Friday, July 26 and Saturday, July 27. But in order to get in, you have to sign up here.  As the event draws near, keep your inbox open and your phone handy as you’ll be sent a pass. See below for the DJ line-up and get ready to dance.

The Green Room - YouTube

Friday, July 26

10 – 11:15 p.m. Levi Double U
11:15-12:15: Nasty Nachos
12:30 – 1:30 a.m. Motion Trap (DJ Set)

Saturday, July 27

10 – 11:15 p.m. Erin Stereo
11:15-12:15: Fun Factory
12:30 – 1:30 a.m. Funk Hunk

Sign up for The Underground Denver updates here. The Green Room concept is going down July 26-27 with limited availability. First-come, First-served. It is located at the underground room 3Kings at 60 S Broadway, Denver.
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Not too many hot wing joints in Aurora have been around for over 25 years like Golden Flame has. But, over the decades this restaurant has made a name for itself as a local hang out with 14 signature handmade sauces.

Golden Flame originated as Wings of Fire in 1994 and just five years later, the new owner Carlos Cetina inherited it and made quite a few changes. A simple name swap and additions to the menu made this a go-to spot in Aurora. Since then, the menu has expanded with various fried appetizers, distinctive seasoned fries and local brews on tap. The food spread isn’t the only expansion Cetina has implemented since taking Golden Flame under his wing. There are three other locations in Parker, Castle Pines and Colorado Springs and the option to order online.

This home-grown spot offers a vast list of customizable drums and flats lathered in tasty flavors from the honey mustard inspired Honey Bee to the hickory-smoked habanero Colorado Fancy. These recipes lack overpowering vinegar and the unbearable heat that other competitors have. The most popular choice serves as its namesake with a perfect balance of golden honey and medium-hot spice. The Golden Flame sauce is addicting— once the basket of fried chicken is soaked, it somehow ends up as a dip for both the fries and celery.

Click to view slideshow.

It’s difficult to choose an alternative to the classic Golden Flame. According to Cetina, it’s a tie between the Shanghai Sizzle and the Garlic Pepper Dry Rub. The Shanghai Sizzle has a tangy teriyaki flavor that is drooling inducing, but it’s the sizzle element is what really propels this dish to the next level. The heat that hits the back of the throat is subtle but powerful. The Garlic Pepper Dry Rub is a select combination of dry spices that render flickers of heat from the crushed pepper and delicious smacks of garlic salt.

Golden Flame stands out among the bar food scene in Aurora because of its local neighborhood bar ambiance with friendly service. Strolling into the restaurant and instantly an aroma of freshly fried chicken wings snap hunger to attention and the tangy smell of melted butter and buffalo is immediately mouthwatering.

The menu offers a basket of either boneless or traditional at affordable prices. Of course, the price is determined by the amount per order. A small order of six wings is ($7.25), 10 wings are ($11.49) and 20 wings are ($22.79) Each order increases by increments of 10 and maxes out at 100.

Some of the most popular deep-fried sides offered include Texas toothpicks—fried onions and jalapeño slices, spicy corn nuggets and fried pickle chips. Each appetizer thoroughly satisfies that greasy bar food craving, but the Golden Flame French fries hold their own alongside the star of the show.

The French fries come out fresh and crispy with a choice of four unique seasonings. The Beach Fries ($2.99) and Mile Hi Fries ($2.99) are the most popular with two very different flavors. The Beach Fries are a tasty partner to accompany any meal with a light seasoned salt and malt vinegar concoction. The Mile Hi Fries provides a southern kick to a dish with a few dashes of a house Cajun-style seasoning.

Golden Flame remains a perfect location in Aurora with many more appetizing years to come. Wander out east to explore this local gem and all the tasty food it has to offer.

Golden Flame (Aurora) is located at 18757 E. Hampden Ave. Golden Flame is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday through Saturday.

All photography by Brandon Johnson Photography 

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Colorado is an outdoor-minded state famous for natural icons like Pikes Peak, Hanging Lake and Rocky Mountain National Park. But when those icons start to feel more like Disneyland than the outdoors — Hanging Lake started requiring permits this year, access to Rocky Mountain National Park’s Bear Lake closes as early as 9 a.m. on summer days — it makes us wonder why and what we can do to make sure our state’s favorite spots don’t turn into trash dumps while still staying accessible for all the years to come. We sat down with Ranger Neil Coen — a “steward” as he puts it — who has served Rocky Mountain National Park for more than 30 years for an inside look at how visitors of our state’s most popular park can do their part to preserve it.

Our state’s population has boomed in recent years, and as Ranger Coen said, “the exploding population of people is the single environmental problem.” So, if you want to wander RMNP and all the rest of Colorado’s wild monuments for years to come, accept the new ways, adapt these Leave No Trace guidelines into your day-to-day outdoor adventures and learn to take care of the outdoor spaces as much as you use them for recreation.

Ranger Tip #1

 “You need to plan ahead and prepare,” said Ranger Coen. Today, 80% of Americans live in cities. Even though it’s only been 20 years since the same number of people lived in rural settings, most Americans have adjusted to a “life with concrete and glass and steel,” said Ranger Coen. “And you bring them out here and there’s no reference point for how to live.” The accepted expectations of city life — sanitized tap water, consistent cell service — don’t apply when we’re in the wild.

Know how to read a map and compass — “Your phone doesn’t actually have a GPS. You get in the mountains and you can’t get a cell signal, or you get one that’s bounced off a couple of places and it tells you you’re somewhere in Wyoming. A reliance on technology doesn’t work really well here.”

Book your campsite ahead of time — “We’ve got about 200 backcountry camping sites and we now have that you need a reservation and you need a permit to get in there. We now have access online which means you can plan and reserve those starting March 1 and we’ll do thousands of permits that first week.”

Watch the weather and keep the higher elevation in mind —“Ok, are you aware that there’s four feet of snow up there? Well, where did you come from? Florida, Georgia, Texas. Where it’s been hot for months. So let’s talk, are you prepared?”

Ranger Tip #2

“You need to travel and camp on durable surfaces,” says Ranger Coen. Human impact is inevitable. But RMNP makes use of designated “sacrifice areas” to maintain the overall goal of park preservation. It’s “high impact, but localized,” says Ranger Coen. “They’ll tear stuff up in a small spot and carve their name into trees and all of what we ask them not to do, but they do it in a contained space.” This isn’t an all-access pass to thinking the park’s regulations don’t apply to you, so keep these things in mind to minimize your own footprint:

  • Stick to clearly designated trails.
  • Choose durable surfaces like rock, gravel or dry grass.
  • When camping, choose an established site where the area is already compacted and shows signs of use.
Ranger Tip #3

“Dispose of waste properly. [That’s a] big one,” said Ranger Coen. Rocky Mountain National Park has a warehouse. Recently, the Wilderness Office — which uses the warehouse to store their publications and brochures — was asked to clear out the space they were using to make use for the most mandatory of human materials: toilet paper. “The new metric in the park is how much warehouse space we have for toilet paper,” he said. “That just gives you an idea of something that we never thought much about. How are we going to manage so much human waste?” With more than 5 million visitors each year, 200 backcountry campsites booked 200 days out of the year, and no easy plumbing system, as Ranger Coen puts it, “start multiplying that by the numbers and you’ve got a significant impact.” What does that mean for visitors?

  • Pack out everything you bring in — that means all trash, food and, yes, even toilet paper.
  • Stick to using biodegradable soap.
  • When necessary, dig a cat-hole 6-8” deep and at least 70 steps from any water, trails or camps to deposit your natural human waste.

Rocky Mountain National Park via Facebook

Ranger Tip #4

“Leave what you find,” said Ranger Coen. “People always want to be taking stuff for souvenirs. If everybody’s doing that, nothing’s left.” Or, as the age-old adage goes, take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints. Our country’s national parks operate based on the Organic Act of 1916 which calls for our parks to be preserved, unchanged for the enjoyment of all the people. We all have to do our part to make that mandate truly work. “It looks permanent,” said Ranger Coen, “but it’s not.” Don’t take anything — even fishing requires a permit. Don’t build anything and don’t make your own campsites. “Because, if it’s going to be for everybody forever then you have to make sure that the way you travel through this country leaves no impact,” he explained.

Ranger Tip #5

“Minimize campfire impacts,” said Ranger Coen. In 2012, someone camping in Rocky Mountain National Park lit an illegal fire. That seemingly innocent camping tradition led to a fire that burned more than 3,000 acres, forced some of the locals near the park to evacuate, and ended up costing more than $6 million dollars to get under control. “Like with everything,” said Ranger Coen, “there are a few people that mess it up for everybody.” So, while camping in RMNP, keep in mind that backcountry campfires are now completely off-limits unless wood fire site is specified on your permit because minimizing their impact is something that “nobody seems to be able to do,” said Ranger Coen. “So now we just say you can’t have one, period.”

If a wood fire campsite is on your permit or you are pitching your tent at one of the designated spots within the park’s five campgrounds, keep these habits in mind to minimize your impact:

  • Try to use a portable stove or Jetboil whenever possible and consider using a candle lantern instead of a fire.
  • Only build a fire within an existing metal fire ring.
  • When gathering firewood, only use sticks smaller than an adult wrist.
  • Always put out your campfires completely and immediately.

Ranger Tip #6

“Respect wildlife,” said Ranger Coen. It seems common sense to those who live around Rocky Mountain National Park that the wildlife — elk, moose, bighorn sheep, deer — are just that, wild. But as demographics of where people live are shifting, the idea of common sense is shifting. “People always want to feed the animals because they’re cute,” said Ranger Coen. “They want to take one home in a box. We’ve had people feed the squirrels and lead them into their vehicle. The idea of common sense is no longer common, it’s localized.” Wild animals may be “cute,” but respect their environment, view them from a distance, and leave them alone.

Ranger Tip #7

“Be considerate of other visitors,” said Ranger Coen. We go on vacation and get wrapped up in our own personal checklist of things to see and do. It’s easy to forget that in reality, we’re sharing the experience with hundreds, if not thousands, of other people. “You want to camp in such a way that you’re not setting up your tent right next to someone else,” said Ranger Coen. “They came here for that wild experience.” Keep your campsite to yourself, your noise level low — that includes drones (which are prohibited).

The takeaway, said Ranger Coen, “it’s the will of the people to keep it safe. People are good-natured. Ninety-nine percent of the people who come to a place like this come with good intentions and a love and concern for the place.” But it won’t take much for everything the park has accomplished to disappear. At 104 years old, Rocky Mountain National Park is our own rugged escape to traverse, enjoy and preserve for another 100 years to come.

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Oli McCracken wants you to feel something.

The singer/songwriter grew up all around the world before settling down in Denver and has been flying quietly under the radar for a while. Citing influences such as Van Morrison, John Mayer, Amos Lee and BB King, his soulful sound and evocative lyrics keep his listeners hooked and ready for the next story he’ll tell with his music. He’s signed with local record label Third & James, which is also home to another local star, Kayla Ruby. With his first full album release coming up in late August, he’s ready to cement his place in Denver’s music scene.

303 Magazine got a chance to sit down with McCracken to talk about traveling around the world, what it’s like to be a part of Third & James and the possibility of releasing someone’s new favorite album.

Photo Courtesy of Ryan Frazee

303 Magazine: So it seems like you’ve grown up all over the place.

Oli McCracken: Sort of, yeah. [laughs]

303: Has growing up and living in so many different places – the UK, Australia, Chicago, Houston, and now Denver – influenced your music?

OM: Yeah, I would say so, I think I’m just open to everything. I hate the idea of getting stuck in a place and listening to the same music over and over. I don’t know if that maybe goes back to the migrant, growing up sort of thing and moving around. But I just always love exploring music, researching it, digging through old records that I’ve never heard of, seeing what’s out there. It’s definitely made me feel open to wanting to hear music from all over the place and wanting to experience that. There’s so much out there to see and so much out there to listen to as well.

303: Have you experimented with different types of music because of your background?

OM: Yeah, definitely. I think you have to go all over the place to really find unique and different stuff that you can maybe add to your bag. Or maybe there’s a melody you hear in some weird music, something like that. I’m always looking for like how can I subtly steal something from this person and add it to what I do to give it a more interesting sound.

303: Do you have a favorite place you’ve lived in?

OM: Honestly Denver’s probably my favorite place I’ve ever lived. As far as visiting, I’ve always loved going to England, I have a lot of family there. London’s one of my favorite cities. The people-watching and cab rides in London are fascinating, just looking out the window. I love Barcelona. If I could go somewhere and spend a long time there, Barcelona probably takes the cake on that. I love Austin, Texas. Chicago is super special for me. Picking a favorite place is hard.

Photo Courtesy of Ryan Frazee

303: What initially drew you to make your home base in Denver and its music scene?

OM: I was applying to colleges and the University of Denver was the best school I got into by far. I came out here and checked out the city and just loved it. The first night I was here, I went to Appaloosa Grill down on 16th and they had some live tunes going on there. But I just like the city. There’s just something about it where it’s not quite a big city, not a small town. To me, it’s the “Goldilocks” perfect median. So, I came out here for school, made some friends, got to know the city and there’s nowhere like it. I feel at home here.

303: What Denver artists are you listening to right now?

OM: Claire Heywood is one of the most incredible songwriters I’ve ever heard. I love John Adams Smith a lot. He’s a fantastic guitar player, an amazing storyteller. The Soltones are doing some cool stuff. They just showed up out of nowhere on my Instagram feed and they seem to be playing every day. Covenhoven is probably my favorite. I think he’s really moving. I’m always struck by music that makes me think about stuff or takes me to a different place. The lyrics are what really gets me. I don’t know if you’ve checked out that album, but I went to the release show and it was super incredible. He’s got a super sweet story. He’s making really good, authentic music. Schema Things is a crazy disco-rock type thing that’s going on. They’re awesome. Nathaniel Rateliff is one of my songwriting heroes. The early releases that he put out before The Night Sweats are some of the most moving music. There’s so much great music in Denver and there’s always more coming.

303: So true. Are you planning on checking out the UMS coming up?

OM: Oh yeah. It’s gonna be fun.

303: The Third & James family seems to be super close, collaborating and taking road trips together. What has it been like to have that support system from your record label?

OM: It’s the best. It’s just like being a part of a family. Having these people around to bounce ideas off of or if you’re going a little nuts, it’s good to have people around that are of a like mind and believe in the same goal and believe in the team goal. We’re all trying to help each other out. They’re kind, passionate people. In music, if you can find kind, passionate people, you gotta hold on to them. And it’s just fun. We have a good time while we’re here. Just coming down, hanging out, listening to music, it’s the best. I think as musicians, that’s kind of what we want to do all the time is just be surrounded by friends that listen to music, play music, are happy to talk about it for hours. If you have other friends and you talk music to them it’s like “Alright dude, alright.” It’s always good to have these people come talk music.

Oli McCracken and Band Live @ Third & James Studios - Aftershocks - YouTube

303: For those who haven’t yet heard your music, how would you describe your sound?

OM: I hope that it’s music that strikes people as thought-provoking in a sense and kind of makes you slow down and appreciate things or take another look at things. For me, music has always been like meditation and reflection. It’s philosophy and storytelling. It’s everything. It’s that whole spectrum and I hope that with my music, you might hear a little bit of something you love and maybe a little bit of something new too. That’s such an absurd way of answering that question but I’m trying to put in a little bit of all the music I’ve heard throughout my life and made me feel something. I’ve been working with Brionne Wright singing background vocals and for me, female backing vocals have always been the most powerful, moving aspect. Bringing that into this latest album, it’s my first time doing that. It’s really been amazing. I guess I still haven’t answered your question. Just check it out, I guess!

303: Your first full album is coming out later this month. What was the process like for making this album?

OM: It’s been awesome. A lot of it has been like, “Well, these songs are never going to sound like they do in my head.” Getting comfortable with that and also getting to a place where you’re excited about it. I had a couple songs written and they were all on a guitar or on a piano. I got together with some musicians and we just hashed it out and jammed on them for a while. For me, that’s been my favorite way of creating music is to just stumble upon something, to have that feeling of “Wow, we’re just doing this. Let’s go into the studio and see what we can come up with and what’s going to stick.” That was just a thrilling experience. There’s a couple songs on here that while writing, it was moving for me to just write this stuff. That’s been something else too where it’s like, now I gotta come up with another song where I can make myself feel something that strong again. That’s always a challenge. But that’s also the whole excitement of everything. I’m really happy with what we have right now. I’m proud of myself in that I think I’m continuing to grow as a writer and I pray that others feel the same. It’s just been rewarding and a lot of learning and a lot of fun.

303: Do you feel like there are any overarching themes to the album?

OM: Yeah, definitely. The working title right now is A Few More Hours. There are themes of being good with where you’re at and appreciating your surroundings. There’s a couple of things on there about regret and loss. There’s a lot of stories in there, songs about memories I have. You have to sit and grow with these songs and let them grow a little bit. There’s a song in there that I wrote about our trip down to Muscle Shoals and that one’s kind of about the world losing its mind a little bit. I’m trying to write about stuff that makes me feel something, whatever it is. I really hope that the songs don’t feel hollow to anyone. I’ve been trying to pour everything I have into songs and sort of give myself fully that way like I would when I’m singing a performance.

303: A lot of your songs have a narrative feel to them. What’s your songwriting process like and do you mainly draw from your own real-life experiences to write your music? Do you draw on the experiences of others? Do you make up stories in your head?

OM: Kind of all three. A lot of them are experiences that I found myself going through. A lot of them are stories or characters that I’ll read in books that strike me as incredible. Even just ideas or time periods. I have this song I put out, “Letter from a Boxcar“. I wrote that after reading Bound for Glory. You read about these guys that are going out and looking for work and just hopping on a train. People are like, “Work’s this way, I guess.” I kind of wrote the song in that space where you put yourself into someone else’s shoes. I think you gotta be careful because you have no idea what their shoes are like, but it’s definitely a fun experiment. What if I was a guy who was leaving his loved ones at home and setting off on a train, hoping to find some money to make things better for people? This guy kind of finds himself stuck too far from home and he doesn’t have any money and he’s writing a letter home. That struck me. I’m fascinated by the “old days” kind of thing. I’m a very nostalgic person. If I’m not writing about my experiences, typically it’s about some dude a long time ago or something that I think has an interesting story and I can tell it.

Photo Courtesy of Ryan Frazee

303: What kind of setting would you think is ideal for listening to this album?

OM: Maybe a road trip. At least once by yourself, somewhere that you like, but then other times, get together with some friends and sing it. I think there’s a couple of songs on there that you could imagine in different settings. I think it’s cool that you have an album like the Night Sweats’ latest album with songs like “A Little Honey” or “You Worry Me” where they’re anthems and people want to sing along. And then you have songs like “Still Out There Running” where you listen to it and it kind of hits you like a sack of bricks and you want to break down. Those are the most special albums in that you can feel this wide spectrum of emotions. So, I hope there’s maybe a song that you can take to a cabin in the woods. Then, maybe a song where you can put in your headphones while you’re skiing and have a good time. Then, another where you can maybe sit on a plane and look out the window and think about sad stuff. I think there’s a lot of places. That’s a cool question to think about.

303: It definitely sounds very portable.

OM: [laughs] Yeah, I hope so.

303: What are you most excited about with the release of this album?

OM: I’m excited about the possibility that someone will hear this and it’ll just hit them. That’s really the only thing I can hope for is that someone can sit down and turn these songs on and decide they want to keep listening to it. And not only that, but that things that I say and the stuff that they hear makes them really feel something. Whatever that is, I hope it’s a strong emotion and they want to come back to it. That’s what I’m excited about, that possibility that maybe I’m putting out someone’s favorite album. How cool is that? That’s really exciting. And also just to share the songs and stories with people, the chance to share your passion. There’s not a lot of lines of work where you actually get to share, in detail, your passion, you know? In a way, that’s what I’m doing. I believe in this and I’m passionate about it. This is what I am. Here’s who I am. I’m just excited by that possibility that someone just really loves it and they don’t shut up about it. That would be really cool for me, to hit someone in that way.

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Amanda Nieves moved to Denver only a year ago and has already established herself in Denver’s fashion scene through her site, Epoch Vintage. From selling her best fashion finds at local pop-ups and conventions to thrifting and selling her favorite fashion and household items on her blog shop, Nieves has immersed herself into Denver’s fashion industry, making a name for Epoch Vintage among the thrifting community.

Nieves started her journey into fashion through the creation of her blog, which is now where she sells much of her apparel inventory. Her use of social media to market her brand and its products has allowed her to become a part of some of Denver’s largest fashion conventions like ThriftCon and Old School Cool Vintage Market.

303 Magazine: Did you always have a passion for fashion? When did your involvement in fashion begin?

Amanda Nieves: I don’t know honestly. It just started as a love for being weird and different. I didn’t go to school for fashion and was always more interested in interior design but fashion was always just a way for me to express how I feel and how my soul feels.

303: How did you decide to start your own fashion-based business?

AN: As far as starting my own business, I’ve always been a thrifter. It’s definitely been a long process. I thrift everywhere. I’m originally from South Florida so a lot of my pieces are still from home since I moved here only a year ago. I love going to the bins and I love state sales. I also go to the usual ARC and Goodwill. Before I started this business, I had a small business with some friends at home where we curated our own collection. My love for it just grew from there. Once I came here, I realized it could be a real thing.

I started in Florida doing pop-ups at local and smaller events so when I moved here I had the idea to continue to do that already. I started a website that was initially a blog and just decided to start putting my stuff on there to sell. I also started with a Depop but decided it would be better to just sell everything through my own website and it kind of just went from there. So, now I’m really just trying to grow my online presence and my Instagram.

303: Describe Epoch Vintage’s style.

AN: It’s really anything I’d personally wear. I love the 1950s and the pinup style but also love ’90s grunge. I was raised in the ’90s so I’m obsessed with soda shoes and the Clueless style. I feel like my store is pretty eclectic so there’s something for everyone.

303: Where does the name come from?

AN: I was searching for other words for “vintage” and “epoch” came up. I also liked that it sounded like “epic.”

303: How do you determine what is worth selling in your store?

AN: I feel like I’ve gained experience just by thrifting. I’ll know something is truly vintage just by its fabric, the way its sewn or just by its tags. I always look for patterns and small things that I know have some relation to the past. As far as pieces that stand out that I know are worth it, it’s the fabric and materials that I look at. Especially with handbags. They just don’t make the same things anymore and you can really tell when something is handsewn.

303: Where has Epoch vintage been lately and what events have you been a part of?

AN: I’ve been in Old School Cool Vintage market which has popped up in Rino. Then, I was in the Bonfire Vintage pop-up in April. I’ve also done ThriftCon and will be doing that again in August. I go to Colorado Springs a lot because they have a lot of women-owned businesses and an event called Women of the Future. Starting in July, I will have a permanent spot with all my vintage household goods and that will be in Colorado Springs for now while I work with two other business owners to find a spot to open on Broadway that would be like a co-op retail shop.

303: What do you hope for the future of Epoch Vintage?

AN: My goals are definitely to have an actual shop with a storefront — like a co-op shop — just so we can bring small businesses into one. I want this to include all my vintage items and vintage furniture and even start to design and make loose-leaf tees. I just want to have a chill environment to sell my finds.

All photography by Lauren Magin.

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Denver is arguably one of the most eclectic music scenes in the country. From the breezy alt-pop style of Wildermiss to the homegrown folk of the Lumineers, Denver’s diverse scene crosses genres and cultures, becoming a truly rich melting pot of sound in the process. There are a plethora of emerging artists across multiple genres continuing to reshape the Denver soundscape, redefining the “Denver sound” as they go along. This article features the best of Denver’s music scene organized into their respective genres. The songs featured are subject to what’s available on Spotify. We love all Denver music, but unfortunately, couldn’t feature every artist or genre. Are we missing someone you’d like us to check out? Feel free to add a link in the comments.

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This is the sixth story of the ongoing series Deep Cuts, which highlights a local DJ here in Denver every month. The series includes a profile on important underground DJs around Denver as well as a playlist of five to ten of their current favorite tracks.  If you’re interested in being featured on this segment, e-mail Padideh.aghanoury@303magazine.com  

Residing in the Denver area, DJ Housewife — whose real name is Brooke Fifield — has been honing her craft on the decks for over two years. Though she has been booking gigs and DJing around town for quite a while, in the course of the last two years, Fifield can attest to her improved skills — “My transitions have gotten smoother for sure in my sound and I’m continuing to evolve my flow,” aiming to take her listeners on a journey of light, upbeat pop and uplifting, high-energy EDM.

Fifield, aka Housewife. Photo courtesy of Fifield

Recently, Fifield has played two exciting gigs, one of them at Neon Baby in LoDo. “I played over at Neon Baby recently and had a blast. For Denver nightlife, this spot has a great aesthetic and is keen on house music which undeniably I love,” she shared. Her favorite DJing experience took place during Pride Fest last month, a first for her in terms of playing the festival circuit. “[Pride] was an exciting success for me because I auditioned amongst 20-plus people and performed down at the Civic Center. My dream is to play more festivals in the future, because the energy that people bring, I thrive off of.”

DJ Housewife’s Deep Cuts:

1. Restless- Crazy P Extended Vocal Mix

Sisy Ey - Restless (Crazy P extended vocal mix) - YouTube

2. Parfume- Eli & Fur

Eli & Fur - Parfume - YouTube

3. Caress Me- Ben Hemsley

Ben Hemsley - Caress Me - YouTube

4. Musica- Pimpo Gama

Pimpo Gama - Musica - LouLou records (LLR132) - YouTube

5. Glitches- Croatia Squad

Croatia Squad - Glitches (Original Club Mix) - YouTube

Most recently, Fifield played the Moxy in Cherry Creek for their MMM Sundays Brunch event, and she has three upcoming gigs at Improper City. Fifield channels her upbeat, peppy personality into her mixes and succeeds at creating a fully fleshed party atmosphere, no matter where she plays. Her DJ style is guaranteed to ramp up the energy — no matter the time or place. Whether she’s bumping groovy disco, or hard-hitting house slappers, DJ Housewife will certainly get the dancefloor moving in a heartbeat — even at brunch. 

She will play from 9 p.m. to midnight at Improper City on August 3, August 10, and September 7. If you’ve vibed with DJ Housewife’s Deep Cuts, check her out at Improper City. 
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A few years ago, we made a list of 21 restaurants and breweries in Denver that had amazing murals painted on their exteriors. But two years has changed a lot, including the local mural scene. There are still quite a few on our original list that still have their epic murals, but there are others that have been added since. Next time you want to grab a bite to eat or a cold beer, check out this list to find the one with the best-painted walls to accompany your outing.

RiNo 10 Barrel Brewing

Debbie Clapper’s finished mural, behind 10 Barrel Brewing Company. Photo by Cori Anderson

Where: 2620 Walnut St. 

The Lowdown: Painted as part of the annual street art festival CRUSH WALLS in 2017, this geometric beauty is a signature style of its maker, Boulder-based Debbie Clapper (aka gneural). With light purples, flower-inspired pinks, mint green and glowing gold, this mural has just the right amount of femininity — it’s not in your face, but it’s also not afraid to show it off. The intricate black linework is a mainstay of Clapper’s, although she typically works on a much smaller canvas than this wall. In order to enjoy this one on your trip to 10 Barrel Brewing, you’ll have to find your way to the backdoor since it’s located in the alley.

The Ramble

Murals by Lindee Zimmer, left, and Nomad Clan, right for CRUSH 2018. Photo by Amanda Piela.

Where: 1280 25th St.

The Lowdown: You won’t be able to see them while you’re inside The Ramble or on the rooftop patio bar, but if you head around back they are impossible to miss. These two murals were painted in 2018 during CRUSH WALLS by three women artists — founder of the Fort Collins Mural Project Lindee Zimmer and UK-based duo Nomad Clan. Obviously, the two murals vary dramatically in style, color choice and theme, but they each dominate their side of the building with equal power and finesse. Since they’re located at 25th and Larimer Street, they act as totems at the entrance to RiNo — reminding all who enter that art rules here.

C-Squared Ciders

Mural by Will and Chris Kreig for CRUSH WALLS 2018. Photo by Peter Kowalchuk

Where: 2875 Blake St., Unit C

The Lowdown: It’s hard to miss this mural, painted by father-son team Will and Chris Kreig during CRUSH WALLS 2018. The eyes are piercing and realistic and the colored shapes around them are reminiscent of flying shards of glass. It’s a forceful image and an oddly calming one at the same time. The size of it is no joke either, although it might be hard to realize that since it soars several stories in the air. It’s easy to view this one from the parking lot of C-Squared, along with several other murals on the building by Anthony Garcia Sr.

Improper City

Photo by Brittany Werges

Where: 3201 Walnut St.

The Lowdown: Part of the cost of opening Improper City was cutting a hole in the back wall, which included taking out an entire mural created during CRUSH WALLS 2017. But, since then, the meeting place has welcomed street art in various forms on its interior and exterior walls. Much of what’s visible from the outside patio area is from previous years of CRUSH, from the striking portrait by Casey Kawaguchi to the doughnut cartoon scene by Birdcap to the graffiti letters on the north half-wall. Even the towering piece across the street by Spanish artist duo Pichi & Avois is from CRUSH last yea rand a seat on Improper City’s grass lawn will offer the best view of it in Denver. This year, the US Women’s Soccer Team commissioned a mural on Improper City by local artist Marissa Napoletano, which features two portraits of athletes on the team. We expect more murals to come to Improper City’s walls soon.

Larimer Lounge

Mural by My Name is Ebo and Ganja White Night on Larimer Lounge. Photo by Peter Kowalchuk

Where: 2721 Larimer St.

The Lowdown: Larimer Lounge has held a spot on lists like this one for many years. Since it was mentioned in our first roundup in 2017, it’s been painted over three times, with the most recent version on April 20, 2019. The two other murals were completed during consecutive CRUSH WALLS — in 2017 it was by a visiting artist called Woes and last year it was by a local group So-Gnar Creative Division. So-Gnar’s mural had featured a cartoonish dinosaur and octopus, with saccharine colors jolting across the background. Currently, it’s the work of Ganga White Night and My Name is Ebo with a piece that’s more hardcore but retains the bright colors.

Bigsby’s Folly

In front of Bigsby’s Folly, a mural by KiriLeigh Jones painted in 2018. Photo by Cori Anderson

Where: 3563 Wazee St.

The Lowdown: Best seen from above, but certainly enjoyed on the ground level as well, this mural by local artist KiriLeigh Jones fittingly features a rhinoceros to signify the RiNo Art District. Beneath the rhino, Jones included her signature mandala pattern, along with some snow-capped mountains and other ornamentation suited to Colorado (the colors are even reminiscent of retro Colorado logos). She painted it during CRUSH WALLS 2018 as the first of two murals during the week-long festival. Bigsby’s Folly is located on the Brighton Boulevard side of RiNo, which is still undergoing some amount of construction, but this mural can be reached easily by traversing the train tracks on the elevated walkway accessed via Walnut and 35th.

Our Mutual Friend Brewing Click to view slideshow.

Where: 2810 Larimer St.

The Lowdown: Now that Our Mutual Friend (OMF) is holding down some central RiNo real estate, it’s imperative that it stands out among the more than 20 other breweries in the district. For the last several years, artist Jeremy Burns has transformed the exterior with murals that are strikingly different yet remain consistent with one central piece — two people standing over the front door, shaking or holding hands. The most recent iteration of Burns’ design is the hardest to decipher since the entire building is covered with amorphous sections of bright colors, but the people are still visible if you know where to look. Burns is also responsible for the iconic Larimer Boy/Girl mural that changes design depending on which direction you are traveling on Larimer — just down the block from OMF.

 Places from our first roundup that are still rocking the same murals: The Populist, Bar Fausto, First Draft, Ratio Beerworks, Matchbox

Downtown/Cap Hill Mile High Spirits

Mural by So-Gnar Creative Division. Photo by Peter Kowalchuk

Where: 2201 Lawrence St.

The Lowdown: Painted last year by the Denver-based group So-Gnar Creative Division, this mural at Mile High Spirits headquarters puts a twist on their “Punching Mule” with a cartoon-rendered donkey wearing a flannel. The stylistic color blocking in the background makes sure you know it’s a So-Gnar creation, and it’s eye-catching to boot. One of the best things about So-Gnar is their ability to not take things so seriously, leading to murals with a sense of humor and a reason to smile.

READ: These Four Denver Street Artists Are Painting This City With Love
Dairy Block Click to view slideshow.

Where: 1800 Wazee St.

The Lowdown: In 2018, one block in Downtown Denver became a major destination for food, drink, overnight stays and art. It’s called Dairy Block, and the concept is a food hall and marketplace that also entices people with over 700 original art pieces commissioned by local and visiting artists. In the alley, you’ll find murals by Sandra Fettingis, Michael Ortiz, Evan Hecox, The Lost Object and The London Police that were co-curated by Robin Munro, founder of CRUSH WALLS.

READ: One of Denver’s Most Art-Filled Blocks Can Be Found in LoDo
La Boheme

Mural by Grow Love. Photo by Cori Anderson

Where: 1443 Stout St.

The Lowdown: Okay, so it’s not exactly a restaurant or brewery, but La Boheme makes the list on the merit of its mural. Painted by Denver-based artist Robyn Frances (aka Grow Love), the larger-than-life Marylin Monroe in shades of purple is as charming as the iconic actress herself. Nestled in among the skyscrapers and paved streets near the Convention Center, this mural pops out, turns heads and embraces femininity in the best ways. Frances, aside from painting enormous murals with spray paint, also spends a great deal of time in her studio creating art in other mediums — like faux fur.

READ: Faux Fur and Female Nudes Feel Timely at New Exhibition by Local Artist
Dulce Vida

Mural by Birdcap on Dulce Vida. Photo by Cori Anderson

Where: 1201 Cherokee St.

The Lowdown: To match the chill and festive vibe of Dulce Vida, the restaurant asked street artist Birdcap to paint a mural on one of its sides. Birdcap isn’t based in Denver, but his frequent visits to the city mean he has as much art on walls here as many local artists, and he’s embraced by the local scene. His style is heavily influenced by cartoons, with his own signature twist. Often, you’ll find doughnuts or other zany characters somewhere in his murals, but you’ll also need to look closer for wittier clues that tell you more about Birdcap’s interests and passions.

Ace Eat Serve

Mural by Casey Kawaguchi. Photo by Cori Anderson

Where: 501 E. 17th Ave.

The Lowdown: This mural is pretty fresh, with local artist Casey Kawaguchi only finishing it earlier this year. On top of the gorgeous exterior mural, Kawaguchi also painted a few pieces inside for guests who are actually enjoying the food and drink at Ace Eat Serve. Kawaguchi always paints a different version of the same character — an androgynous person, with red cloaks and paintbrushes, held like weapons. He finds a lot of influence in Japanese art, especially calligraphy and ink paintings, and does his best to portray that through spray paint. His delicate techniques lead to monumental murals that take your breath away.

Broadway Broadway Market

Mural by Mariano Padilla. Photo by Cori Anderson

Where: 950 Broadway 

The Lowdown: Broadway Market has another fresh mural, as of this summer, by Mariano Padilla. Painted freehand, this enormous black-and-white masterpiece displays Padilla’s skill and patience. He doesn’t always work in black-and-white, but it is his primary choice and one he does extraordinarily well. The aesthetic suits the sleek and modern appearance of Broadway Market while making it stand out amidst the older buildings along Broadway.

Banded Oak Brewing Company Click to view slideshow.

Where: 470 Broadway

The Lowdown: Banded Oak has not one, but two epic murals even though it’s one of the smallest buildings on our list. On the front side facing Broadway, the earth-tone colors of local duo Pedro Barrios and Jaime Molina welcome guests to hang out on the patio and have a beer. In the alley facing north, you’ll find a stunning portrait by Thomas “Detour” Evans, which entices people to stop at the brewery as they drive by.

Atomic Cowboy

Mural by Patrick Kane McGregor. Photo by Peter Kowalchuk

Where: 141 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: A list of Denver murals wouldn’t be complete without at least one by Patrick Kane McGregor — a long-standing figure of the scene. This one, on one of Atomic Cowboy’s locations on South Broadway, portrays a photorealistic portrait of Einstein with the words “Question everything.” Like the rest of McGregor’s pieces, this one shows his remarkable ability to imprint realism on a grand scale — something that isn’t easy to do, if you ever try it yourself. Faces are especially hard to get right at a monumental size, but McGregor nailed it again on this one.

The Brutal Poodle

The patio at the Brutal Poodle with art by Ricks, Patrick Kane McGregor and DINKC. Photo by McGregor

Where: 1967 S. Broadway 

The Lowdown: The murals on the patio of the Brutal Poodle change regularly, so you can’t get too attached to any of them. But, you can enjoy the variety and the favoritism toward graffiti over mural art. Some of Denver’s most prolific graffiti writers have made appearances here, most recently Charlie Ricks (who just goes by Ricks). Other artists you may see are DINKC and Patrick Kane McGregor, although that list will keep growing the longer the Brutal Poodle stays in business.

Places from our first roundup that are still rocking the same murals: Declaration Brewing

West Denver Avanti F&B

Photo by Jason Thielke

Where: 3200 N. Pecos St.

The Lowdown: Avanti is known for its drinks, the incubator food stalls and, of course, its view over Denver — but it also houses some great art. On the north side, you’ll find a mural by Jason Thielke in his classic line-work style. Another mural by Thielke gains a lot of attention on Park Avenue near RiNo (it shows two people kissing over a yellow background). This one is a little more muted in terms of color choice and location, but it still showcases Thielke’s expertise with paint and penchant for illusions. Can you see the face?

Brew Culture

Mural by Tony Zellaha. Photo by Cori Anderson

Where: 3620 W. Colfax Ave.

The Lowdown: West Colfax has been in the business of integrating art along the corridor the last decade, including murals. Even though Colfax is one of the most historic and iconic streets in Colorado, it’s been in various states of disrepair on the west end for a while. But, the West Colfax Business Improvement District along with 40 West Arts has been..

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Denver has some fresh events lined up this weekend. Kick it off by getting your science on at Science Lounge: Moon Mayhem and end it by getting zen at Yoga Rocks the Park. Wherever the weekend leads you, make sure to take a gander at this roundup of events happening in Denver.

Thursday, July 18 Science Lounge: Moon Mayhem

Photo by Giacomo Di Franco

When: July 18, 7 – 10 p.m. 

Where: Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse, 3636 Chestnut Pl., Denver 

Cost: Free admission

The Lowdown: Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse hosts a Summer of ’90s Movies series. The event features a screening of Disney’s original Lion King in celebration of the new Lion King. You can kick back and get a little nostalgic with the film with an Ironton drink in hand and dive into a pizza from Mountain Crust Catering. Make sure to bring a chair to sit on and wear ’90s gear to match the theme of the night.

Rainbow Militia with Chimney Choir and DeCollage

Global Dance Festival. Photo by Alden Bonecutter

When: July 19 – 20

Where: Broncos Stadium at Mile High, 1701 Bryant St., Denver 

Cost: $89 – $239 tickets available here

The Lowdown: Get your party on at the Global Dance Festival. The festival features two days of celebrating dancing with carnival rides, multiple stages of music to dance till your feet get sore and an immersive village experience. You can also delight in food from food trucks to refuel from your party ventures throughout the weekend.

Slow Food Nations 2019

Photo Courtesy of Eventbrite for Organizers‎ on Facebook

When: July 19, 5:30 p.m. 

Where: Clyfford Still Museum, 1250 Bannock St., Denver 

Cost: Free register here

The Lowdown: Clyfford Still Museum hosts Don Chicharrón. The event features a performance from the local eight-member group Don Chicharrón. The group pays homage to Chicha – a mix of Peruvian artists meshing Afro-Cuban rhythms with Andean traditional folk melodies and ’60s psychedelia. You can jam out to the band and explore the galleries.

RiNo Arts Fest

Photo Courtesy of D0NN13‎ on Facebook

When: July 19, 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. 

Where: X Bar, 629 E. Colfax Ave., Denver

Cost: Free admission

The Lowdown: Get your glow on during a Glow Ball. The event features a party with poppin’ beats from DJs, illuminated black lights and more. Make sure to grab some glow sticks, wear your best glow friendly gear and be ready to dance all night long.

Denver County Fair

Photo Courtesy of ROLL‎ on Facebook

When: July 19, 7 p.m. –  2 a.m. 

Where: ROLL, 1399 35th St., Denver 

Cost: $5 get tickets here

The Lowdown: Lace up your roller skates for The Golden Girls ROLL. The event features an evening of skating in the space that has been transformed into an ’80s paradise with karaoke, dancing and beats from DJ Soup. Make sure to wear costumes that match the theme of the night.

4th Annual Lucha Libre

Photo courtesy of Museo De Las Americas on Facebook

When: July 19, 6 – 9 p.m. 

Where: Museo De Las Americas, 861 Santa Fe Dr., Denver 

Cost: $6 – $20 get tickets here

The Lowdown: Museo De Las Americas hosts the 4th Annual Lucha Libre. The event features a Lucha Libre wrestling match with traditional masked wrestlers. You can watch as the wrestlers duke it out in the ring while sipping on drinks and snacking on food.

Boy Band Spectacular

Photo Courtesy of Denver Milk Market.

When: July 20, 8:45 – 11 a.m. 

Where: Denver Milk Market, 1800 Wazee St., Denver 

Cost: $5 – $50 get tickets here

The Lowdown: bRUNch Running hosts Sweat in the City. The event features a fitness festival that takes over Denver Milk Market. You can participate in a 5k run around downtown Denver or take part in a class with one of the many local studios within the market alley. Following your sweat session, you can dine on brunch to refuel.

Drake Night

Photo Courtesy of History Colorado Center

When: July 20, 7 – 10 p.m.

Where: History Colorado, 1200 Broadway, Denver

Cost: $35 get tickets here

The Lowdown: History Colorado Center celebrates the opening of its latest exhibit, Beer Here! with Historic Styles Brewfest. The event features a tasting of historical styles of brews no longer available, ancient recipes and retired craft-classics. The ticket price includes a commemorative cup, complimentary snacks and pretzels and beer tastings.

Kayla Rae

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