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Jessie Hanson

Jessie Hanson lives and works in Denver and couldn't be happier about it. Like the best-possible kind of Jekyl-and-Hyde scenario, she splits her life between science and storytelling. During the day, she performs clinical diagnostics and messes around with test tubes. At night, she performs behind the mic as a standup comedienne, in the air as a circus aerialist, and in rhinestones as burlesque dancer. She begrudges the hyper-inflated cost of a decent pair of false eyelashes. When she's not on stage, she sweating it out as an endurance athlete in triathlons and marathons across the West. She begrudges the hyper-inflated cost of a decent pair of running shoes. She's thrilled to be on board with OnDenver and writing about science, comedy, circus, athletics, and general fun on the Front Range!

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MidWinter: A Colorado Night’s Dream

Sometimes, writing about art and theater feels a lot like falling down the proverbial rabbit hole as I try to find the angle to write about wandering through a haunted-theater immersive experience, ge…

Sometimes, writing a…

Sometimes, writing about art and theater feels a lot like falling down the proverbial rabbit hole as I try to find the angle to write about wandering through a haunted-theater immersive experience, getting splashed in a Halloween horror show in the basement of a spaghetti emporium, sweating through a DIY D&D in a comic shop, savoring (har har!) Sweeney Todd’s enraged high notes, and trying to quiet my howling dog in a public house. I’ve found myself in some odd and awkward scenarios. To update the metaphor, writing this column is a lot like drunk-clicking through an endless algorithm o…

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Something in the Air – Boulder’s National Center for Atmospheric Research

Humans have always had a complicated relationship with weather. Ancient cultures prayed and made offerings to gods in hopes of receiving conditions conducive to growing crops. Adverse weather, then, w…

Humans have always h…

Humans have always had a complicated relationship with weather. Ancient cultures prayed and made offerings to gods in hopes of receiving conditions conducive to growing crops. Adverse weather, then, was often interpreted as displeasure on behalf of those same beings—a punishment for failing to observe proper rituals. It doesn’t take a history scholar to understand this impulse. Weather, now as then, is both an enemy and ally. On one hand, it provides everything from the raw material for food—sunlight driving photosynthesis, wind the primary method of plants spreading their seeds—to …

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How to Be Single for the Holidays

The Holiday 2020 season is upon us. We’ve made it through Thanksgiving, and, having given adequate thanks for the families that we alternately want to hug and garrotte, we now await the horrors of H…

The Holiday 2020 sea…

The Holiday 2020 season is upon us. We’ve made it through Thanksgiving, and, having given adequate thanks for the families that we alternately want to hug and garrotte, we now await the horrors of Hanukwanzmas. Yes, the agony of coerced celebration is well upon us. Perhaps for those who have great jobs, loving partners, beautiful children, and supportive parents, the holidays are wonderful times of joyful celebration. For the rest of us, I offer this account of the internal life of a holiday celebrant. It documents Thanksgiving, but the principles can be applied to any upcoming holiday. …

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Bicycle Film Festival

I’ve written about bikes several times before in this column. Cycling seems to be something that ignites a fire and unleashes a glorious abandon within many of us. Suspended between heaven and earth…

I’ve written about…

I’ve written about bikes several times before in this column. Cycling seems to be something that ignites a fire and unleashes a glorious abandon within many of us. Suspended between heaven and earth, wheeling along on our rubber tires, just a little lower than the avian swifts in their tar-black feathers, we are released from the boundaries and burdens of surly Earth and, for a moment, we are the divine. I mean, it’s oftentimes a shit-ton of sweat and dirt and agony, but there’s more moments of feeling your body and releasing your soul while cycling than almost any other experience I hav…

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2020: Horror & Delight

Whew. We’re into November now and 2020 is still barrelling through all social norms and historical precedents at a blistering pace. At the start of this year, I wrote about an event at the Oriental …

Whew. We’re into N…

Whew. We’re into November now and 2020 is still barrelling through all social norms and historical precedents at a blistering pace. At the start of this year, I wrote about an event at the Oriental Theater that over 600 people attended, packed in shoulder to shoulder and drinking in front of each other. My last column was about a socially-distant production at the Aurora Fox where a dozen folks sat many yards apart and were careful to walk in only one direction through the hallways. Let’s just say that a lot has happened in between those two columns, or just as accurately to say, a lot has…

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TOMFOOLERY at the Aurora Fox Center

I went out in public. Yes, all the way outside of my house, to a public event, where there were strangers that I did not know, and I sat in a row of seats and watched these unfamiliar humans who, and …

I went out in public…

I went out in public. Yes, all the way outside of my house, to a public event, where there were strangers that I did not know, and I sat in a row of seats and watched these unfamiliar humans who, and I am not making this up, were in the same exact room as me. The event was Tomfoolery, a revue of the works of Tom Lehrer, at the Aurora Fox Arts Center, directed by Kenny Moten and executive produced by Helen Murray. I’ve seen a number of other productions at the Fox and never been disappointed so I was curious to see how this creative company would handle a pandemic-age production. The Color…

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Lookout Mountain

Lookout Mountain is benignly described as a “7,377-foot (2,249 m) peak located in Lookout Mountain Park, 1.7 miles (2.7 km) west-southwest (bearing 245°) of downtown Golden.” This seems like an u…

Lookout Mountain is …

Lookout Mountain is benignly described as a “7,377-foot (2,249 m) peak located in Lookout Mountain Park, 1.7 miles (2.7 km) west-southwest (bearing 245°) of downtown Golden.” This seems like an understatement because over the last few years, this “7,377-foot peak” has turned into a beacon for me that outshines even the antennae farm on its crown that beams out signal to my countless screens. My first memory of Lookout is a bland mental snapshot from a family vacation—my dad has a thing for the romanticized history of America and our family vacations in the ol’ Toyota Camry were…

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Faces of Boulder: Mark Acito

Marc Acito is a playwright and librettist best known for his novel How I Paid for College and his collaboration with George Takei on the Broadway musical Allegiance, which addresses the internment of …

Marc Acito is a play…

Marc Acito is a playwright and librettist best known for his novel How I Paid for College and his collaboration with George Takei on the Broadway musical Allegiance, which addresses the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. His latest work, “Secrets of the Universe and Other Songs,” will have its world premiere at the Aurora Fox Arts Center, under the direction of Helen R. Murray. The play portrays the friendship of African American vocalist Marian Anderson (Mary Louise Lee) and Jewish physicist Albert Einstein (Jordan Leigh). While Acito currently resides in New York City,…

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Protests in the Park

Usually, I write this column about theater and performance. Well, we are all performing now, in the public theater of this nation—the world’s last, best hope of democracy. I try to keep things lig…

Usually, I write thi…

Usually, I write this column about theater and performance. Well, we are all performing now, in the public theater of this nation—the world’s last, best hope of democracy. I try to keep things lighthearted and positive, but sometimes you have to just tell your story as it is. In this moment where the violence and horror that never ended have once again come into focus with the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many more, I feel the overwhelming need to do something, *anything* to help.  And so, on several nights this week, I marched my shiny, fragile, privileged, white ass …

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Performing Arts in a Time of Plague: Part I

As you may have heard, there’s something going around these days. Cough, fever, general malaise. You know the drill by now. As a person who makes a living at the edge of the performing arts communit…

As you may have hear…

As you may have heard, there’s something going around these days. Cough, fever, general malaise. You know the drill by now. As a person who makes a living at the edge of the performing arts community, these past few weeks have been...unusual. I’m happy to report that Colorado artists have continued on, creating beautiful things for all of us to enjoy, from a safe social distance. Here’s a few that may interest you. Amber’s Online Tarot: Denver circus artist and aerialist Amber Blais (one of the masterminds behind Zabiti Circus and the Rainbow Militia) has stepped into a new role:…

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The Digital Decameron

Ten writers. Ten days. One hundred stories.   And so, at last, it has come to this: The world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper, not a bomb, but a bug. We don’t ride out in a blaze…

Ten writers. Ten day…

Ten writers. Ten days. One hundred stories.   And so, at last, it has come to this: The world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper, not a bomb, but a bug. We don’t ride out in a blaze of glory in a nuclear explosion, but it all ends in the pestilential isolation of our screens. We have been ever-further socially distant for years, but now that it’s a mandate, we seek ever more connection through our last remaining (fiber optic cable) lines. It would serve us well to remember that in this, as in all things, nothing is new. We are only as we ever have been and will always be, …

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Bike Smut

You guyz! You guyz!! You guyz!!! One of my favorite things EVER is coming to Denver! It’s called Bike Smut, and it’s rolling through Denver on May 8. Bike Smut is exactly what it sounds like; i…

You guyz! You guyz!!…

You guyz! You guyz!! You guyz!!! One of my favorite things EVER is coming to Denver! It’s called Bike Smut, and it’s rolling through Denver on May 8. Bike Smut is exactly what it sounds like; it’s a two-wheeled celebration of sexuality and transportation. And. It’s. Awesome. I first stumbled upon this treasure of short films shortly after I discovered that I really enjoy watching creative, independent erotica in large theaters. This was a whole new world of goofy people having fun and not caring what others thought about them. I loved it. Then I found out that goofy people can have …

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Boulder Colorado Air Quality

A Day on Boulder Creek

Featured Boulder Song

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