Photos by Johne Edge
The Scene: On June 14th The Denver Film Society gathered hundreds of people on the rooftop of Twist and Shout and The Denver Film Center for a neighborhood block party called “Raise The Roof.” This first event will be followed by two more during the summer, and I already can’t wait for July’s “Raise the Roof” event. A true neighborhood block party brings the community together, and as I talked to people throughout the night, I asked where they lived. A majority simply pointed, and then said “one block that way,” or “just over on Adams.” I live “just across the street” myself, and it was great to meet the neighbors.
The Event: Chella Negro was first to take the stage and most people were still finding their way home from work when she started playing. Known for her simple yet robust folk songs and her ability to connect with a crowd, Negro’s set started the night off right, and pulled people in. I was already impressed by the turnout, but the crowd steadily grew as the evening went on.
The family friendly and community feel of the evening was reinforced during the comedy performance by The Fine Gentleman’s Club. I didn’t know if standup comedy was going to hold the large crowds attention, but it sure did. People sat on the deck of the parking structure, took their shoes off, and just laughed. Now, before I moved to the East Colfax/South City Park area of Denver, people talked smack about the Fax. The simple fact was the hood was just too real for them, and what happened on the rooftop last week is what Colfax means to me. Colfax is Denver. For real.
Ian Cooke was the last act of the evening, and as the sky darkened and the air cooled, it felt and looked like a perfect Colorado evening. Did I mention the view? Cooke had the audience charmed with his innovative and intelligent sounds, a great fit for the roof of the Lowenstein Theater Complex. Although Denver Film Center, Tattered Cover, and Twist and Shout are independent business, they combine into an epicenter of arts, culture and community.
The official “Raise the Roof” event ended at 9pm, but the unofficial after party was held in the lounge of the Denver Film Center. Over a hundred people kept their bar busy till, well, I can’t really remember when. Yup, it was that good of a night. Magic Cyclops, The MC of the “Raise the Roof” event, DJ’d old school beats, and as the booze flowed, the dance floor got busy. Not the typical atmosphere of a movie theatre lobby, the Denver Film Center is a proper club when it’s time to party.
If you want to experience what it means to live in the “city” of Denver, check out the next “Raise the Roof” event. It was diverse, had a sense of community and actually was way better than I expected it to be. Not because I didn’t believe in the idea, I just didn’t know how many people were going to hear about it. There is room for tons more folks up on the top of that parking structure, so gather your friends and neighbors, and get up to the roof.