On eight years of sobriety: the wonderful and terrifying reality of an alcohol-free life

Categories: Breeality Bites

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On the left, big fat drunk me in 2006. On the right, sober me.
It feels weird to commemorate quitting something that almost killed you. But on July 22 every year since 2006, I say thank you and congratulations to myself for being alive and healthy. As a drunk, I was somehow spared multiple DUIs; I drove drunk -- blackout drunk, at that -- many times over the course of a half a decade. I never managed to get caught or kill anyone. I don't know if that's called luck.

Driving is just one of the many things I now do sober that I used to do drunk. Living a life without alcohol is pretty great most of the time (especially when it comes to not harming yourself or others with your own bad choices). But sometimes, it sucks. That's how sobriety works -- if it was a super-easy thing to navigate and overcome, no one would be an addict. But the truth is, addicts are addicts forever and always. Addiction is not curable, which is why, eight years after I stopped drinking, I still think and dream about it.

See also: Philip Seymour Hoffman, heroin and the secret club of addiction

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Matt Barton

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All images courtesy of Matt Barton.
#66: Matt Barton

Artist Matt Barton hails from Colorado Springs, where he teaches at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and creates fantasy worlds in video and installation, in which animals talk and strange landscapes shimmer and people walk through prismatic lights. In these playgrounds for adults, Barton invites viewers to suspend reality, experience their inner children and just have fun. What goes on in the mind of an artist whose alternative worlds defy grown-up gravity with an open-minded smile? Read Barton's 100CC questionnaire for answers.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Andrea Moore


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Ten best free fountains where you can get wet and wild on a hot Denver day

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RTD
Beat today's heat. Where? Keep reading.

No need to sweat the rising temperatures: Your next kid-tastic adventure is just a fountain away. That's right, the Denver metro area boasts some of the coolest, child-friendly fountains known to man, most adjacent to day-trip-worthy family attractions -- and all free. What are you waiting for? Grab the kids, suits and swim diapers, and start splashing.

See also: Boulder's Meadow Music offers a fun way for families to connect with nature and each other


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Photos: The colors and cultures of Asia at the 2014 Colorado Dragon Boat Festival

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Lions and dragons and boats took over Sloan's Lake Park this past weekend as thousands braved the heat to eat, shop and play at the 2014 Colorado Dragon Boat Festival. The culture of the Philippines was showcased this year, but entertainment included everything from Japanese taiko drumming and martial arts to a wide, pan-Asian slice of traditional dances -- and, as always, the food courts were a major draw. Photographer Jake Shane caught the sheer variety of the fest in these photos and more.

See also: Top ten reasons a man will appreciate the Renaissance Festival

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Top ten reasons a man will appreciate the Renaissance Festival

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Colorado Renaissance
The damsels of the Faire leave little to the imagination.
Most people think of the annual Colorado Renaissance Festival -- or any Ren Faire, for that matter -- as a medieval Comic-Con. But when we visited this annual blast from the past in Larkspur, we found the Renaissance Festival an ideal place for a strapping fellow to bear witness to epic battles, execute feats of strength and kiss a damsel or two. Here are the top ten ways a man can get his machismo on at the Renaissance Festival.

See also: 50 Best Costumes of the Colorado Renaissance Festival

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Kelly Shortandqueer on zines, storytelling and his transgender insurance-claim victory

Categories: GLBTQ

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Courtesy of Kelly Shortandqueer
Kelly Shortandqueer has been a staple in Denver's creative community for over a decade. As a co-founder of the Denver Zine Library, a square dancer with the Rocky Mountain Rainbeaus, a victims' advocate for the Colorado Anti-Violence Program and, most recently, an award-winning drag queen, he has no shortage of ambitious projects under his belt. But using Colorado nondiscrimination law to win insurance coverage for his April 2013 chest surgery has been a landmark victory in equal rights-access for transgender people across the state. In advance of Shortandqueer's free July 23 workshop on his win at the Colorado Anti-Violence Program, Westword caught up with him to discuss the Denver Zine Library's move, storytelling and the future of transgender health access.

See also: Kelly Shortandqueer reflects on ten years of the Denver Zine Library and its hunt for a new home


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WORKSHOP8's temporary public art installation will make you love summer even more

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Crystal Allen
The Summer Is... installation, on display at the Denver Art Museum through September 8.
You can find art all over town -- not just on gallery walls. In this series, we'll be looking at some of the local artists who serve up their work in coffeehouses and other non-gallery businesses around town.

Summer is... sunshine, sweet tea and watermelon salad. Water, of course. Hiking, biking, rafting. Late nights around the campfire sharing beer, s'mores and conversation. Falling in love with a friend. Falling in love with Colorado all over again. Boulder-based collaborators WORKSHOP8 and Blue Spruce Design & Construction felt so inspired by the fleeting season of pool days, backyard grilling and sweet-smelling sunblock that they turned their favorite summertime memories into a unique and interactive temporary public-art installation, Summer is..., now up at the Denver Art Museum's Martin Plaza through September 8. Constructed with sustainable materials and a dash of ingenuity, the contemporary urban "campfires" give art lovers a chance to pull up a tree stump and share a story with friends -- without ever leaving the city or striking a match.

See also: DADA Art Bar gives art lovers and artists a place to hang out -- and hang

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Three things to do for free in Denver this week, July 21-24

Categories: 3 for free

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The weather is hot, but your bank balance is not. Chill! There are many cool activities around town this week that don't cost a cent -- everything from discussions to physical games to head games, as OhHeckYeah closes up shop.

Go to the Westword calendar for a complete line-up of events around town, and let us know about bargains we missed in the comments section below.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Andrea Moore

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Gallery Sketches: Four shows in Denver for the weekend of July 18-20

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Jaime Molina at Super Ordinary.
This weekend's openings are in a range of venues, everything from project spaces in living rooms and storefronts to boutiques to tried-and-true co-ops. And just as the galleries themselves scream variety, so do the shows.

See also: Ween Machine: Irreverent Eclectic


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Aparna Nancherla on Totally Biased, Australian crowds and avoiding the dregs of Twitter

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Doug Ault
The High Plains Comedy Festival will return next month, and SexPot comedy will whet fans' appetites tonight with another weed-and-jokes pizza party at the Oriental Theater. The lineup is packed with crushers from start to finish: SexPot host Jordan Doll and comics Sean Patton, Ashley Barnhill and Ian Douglas Terry will join headliner Aparna Nancherla for an evening that promises to be a greasy slice of laughter pie. Nancherla is a fast-rising star on the alternative comedy scene whose absurdist perspective informs a wide-ranging act that can touch on everything from the gross combo of orange juice and toothpaste to imperialism within the same five-minute set. Nancherla has appeared on Conan and @Midnight, and contributed several memorable segments as a performer and staff writer to the prematurely cancelled Totally Biased with Kamau Bell. In advance of tonight's show, Westword caught up with Nancherla to chat about about SexPot, Australian audiences and avoiding the dregs of Twitter.

See also: Marc Maron on patent trolls and spiritual experiences in the desert

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