An old warehouse building wedged between a doggie day care and a yard piled high with old tires in Denver’s industrial River North (fondly called RiNo) neighborhood may sound like a less than ideal place to celebrate contemporary culture. But poetry has traditionally served as the voice of the common man, and so, surrounded by tires, rusting railroad cars, and howling dogs, Conundrum Press released new books of poetry from three of the Rocky Mountain region’s best poets. But, always on the lookout for the intersection of the art of words with other art forms, we invited artists of the culinary, musical, visual, and space varieties to see if we could create a new kind of cultural experience.
Nanna’s Kitchen created one of the best taco spreads we had the pleasure of diving into:
Ninety-Plus Coffee Estates, whose coffee took 2nd and 3rd place in the World Barista Championships last week in Australia, demonstrated what coffee could truly taste like:
Contributing to our cultural health is a critical part of our mission as a publishing company, so every event we do raises money that goes toward an organization that supports the art of youth, particularly underserved and disadvantaged youth. Conundrum in RiNo raised over $500 for the Young Writers Program of the Lighthouse Writers Workshop and invited two of their young writers to share the stage with the pros. They read their raw and beautiful poetry as the sunset began to flare:
Another art form that complements poetry particularly well is of course music. Chimney Choir graced us with their unique blend of Americana and psychedelic synth, dissonance and harmony, playing well into the evening.
The art of space is an often overlooked, yet critical cultural contribution. We could have held Conundrum in RiNo in the tire yard next door, or even in some common space like a coffee shop, but both lack the care and attention to detail that goes into carving out a space that fosters creativity and community—the two elements that every art form requires. We partnered withConverge Denver because their passion has been to carve out such a space in that old industrial warehouse between the doggie day care and the tire yard, filling the inside with studios for local artists and using found materials to make an inviting back patio of the old loading dock that overlooks the South Platte River and Front Range mountains. Truly, without them, the celebration would have been a far less momentous occasion. With their care, passion, and attention to detail, Conundrum in RiNo was imbued with that special, dare I say sacred, spirit that transformed the evening into a unique and important experience for 120 people.
This is the kind of celebration Conundrum Press will hold at least twice a year, so be on the lookout for another one in October!