The History Colorado Center in Denver is opening its newest exhibition, “The Sand Creek Massacre: The Betrayal that Changed Cheyenne and Arapaho People Forever,” on November 19. The exhibition tells the story of the Sand Creek Massacre, the deadliest day in Colorado history, when a peaceful village of Cheyenne and Arapaho women, children, and elders were killed by U.S. troops after being promised military protection. Over 230 were killed on November 29, 1864. The exhibition is the result of a ten-year partnership process between History Colorado and the tribal nations whose people were slaughtered that day.
“We’ve had difficult times in the past with History Colorado. This exhibition shows commitment and dedication,” stated Otto Braided Hair, Jr. (Northern Cheyenne).
In 2012, History Colorado opened a previous exhibit to chronicle the Sand Creek Massacre. Due to inadequate tribal consultation, the exhibit quickly closed.
“I think we really learned our lesson that we can’t do anything about the Sand Creek Massacre without the Cheyenne and Arapaho people. It’s just so vital that the descendants of the victims and the survivors are the ones who tell the story,” said Sam Bock, historian and lead developer for the exhibition.
Since then, History Colorado staff have worked closely with the descendants of the Massacre’s victims to repair and re-establish relationships. Exhibition research and consultation is ongoing and includes dozens of phone and in-person meetings as well as trips to each of the three tribal communities. Each exhibition element is being vetted and approved by tribal representatives. Following proper protocol, this consultation with the three sovereign tribal governments ensures the display respects the memories of the victims. In fact, at the request of the tribes, no artifacts from the day or site of the Massacre will be in the exhibition.
This new project spotlights the living culture of the Cheyenne and Arapaho, two separate tribes with distinct histories that were bound together forever after the tragedy at Sand Creek. After the massacre, the Cheyenne and Arapaho people were forced to leave Colorado. Today they exist as three sovereign tribal nations in Montana, Oklahoma and Wyoming.
“This exhibition will include information about the lives of the Cheyenne and Arapaho people before the massacre, life today and our efforts to remember the massacre,” said Fred Mosqueda (Southern Arapaho), a tribal historian and Sand Creek descendant.
“It was genocide. We need to educate the people and heal our people so that something like this won’t happen again,” said Chester Whiteman (Southern Cheyenne), “I hope this exhibit will get people to understand that we’re all human.”
Bock emphasized that the Sand Creek Massacre was not just a single event, but a piece of history that has had an enduring impact on Cheyenne and Arapaho people for almost 160 years.
“This is family history for a lot of the descendants of the survivors of Sand Creek, and they think about it all the time. This isn’t just something that’s in the history books; it’s relevant to their daily lives. There’s a need to commemorate and to heal from this atrocity and to acknowledge that it happened in a more formal and systematic way.” he said.
“We have to acknowledge our history—including the darkest chapters—in order to heal and move forward,” said U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper, who as Governor, formally apologized for the Sand Creek Massacre on behalf of the State of Colorado. “This exhibit will ensure we never forget the horrific atrocity at Sand Creek, and by doing so help prevent us from repeating it.”
“The Sand Creek Massacre exhibition will demonstrate that people can work humbly together to remember and begin to heal from atrocities and betrayals such as this,” said Shannon Voirol, Sand Creek Massacre project director at History Colorado. “It will also offer universal, timely lessons that fear, racism and stereotyping can, and do, lead to catastrophic consequences.”
Bock said that the last piece of the exhibition focuses on the Cheyenne and Arapaho people today. “Many Cheyenne and Arapaho people still live in Denver, and in Colorado broadly. The last part of the exhibit really focuses on what’s happening for these people in their communities. They have a thriving culture that exists to this day. The Cheyenne and Arapaho people are resilient; they’re survivors. They are not forgotten. They have not disappeared.”
Jose Salazar was in a difficult spot. He was fresh out of jail and found the opportunities for those who spent time behind bars incredibly limited and very unfulfilling. He didn’t want to be like others who end up homeless or unable to keep up with the relentless demands of rent and bills in this challenging economy. Jose decided to join the Treeforce Program, designed to help ex-felons get back on their feet and help make the transition back into society go smoother.
“I was in the Hazelbrook Sober Living facility and they told me about the second chance center, and how they help people get back on their feet,” Salazar said. “A dream of mine is to own a ranch and work as my own boss, so when I told them that the forestry program came up, they said I would be a good candidate.”
One of the main goals of the Treeforce Program and many other workforce development programs is to reduce the rate of recidivism among ex-felons. According to the Center on Media Crime and Justice at John Jay University “Colorado’s overall recidivism rate — defined by the Department of Corrections as returning to prison within three years — is 50 percent, one of the worst in the country.”
“I realized my cycle is, you know, I’ll get out of jail and then I’ll go straight for the first job that will hire me right away, which will be like construction or a at a restaurant or something, I’ll work for three or six months and I’ll either walk off or get fired because it’s a shitty job,” Salazar said. “This starts like a chain reaction of homelessness, and you know relapse and start selling drugs or trying to make ends meet in another way.”
The Treeforce program is run by The Park People of Denver, a 501 nonprofit looking to improve and maintain local parks and plant trees all over Denver. The Park People are all about getting the community involved in the planting process and showing community members how parks and trees can positively impact the hearts and minds of community members as well.
Due to a shortage of workers that grow and care for parks, or “urban forests,” The Park People decided to create the Treeforce Program. It just launched in 2022. This workforce development program aims to help justice involved participants get back into the workforce, and explore possible careers in forestry and tree care.
“For this pilot program, we planted and steward around 100 trees in the Denver West Side neighborhood,” said Madeleine Hooker, the Workforce Development Manager for the Treeforce Program. “And then we worked with a number of training and employees in the tree care sector across Denver so our participants were able to be trained by Denver Parks and rec and their forestry department.”
The Parks Program works in collaboration with American Forests, a nationwide organization that does workforce development programs. The program is technically a pre-apprenticeship tied with an arborist program that is run out of Front Range Community College. The program runs for eight weeks and not only gives participants experience in urban forestry but also the opportunities to work on their resumes and learn valuable skills in a classroom setting.
“Our participants came into the program and had never really had a long term place of employment. For some of them this was their first type of job experience, ” Hooker said. “So just having that experience, day in day out of being expected to show up on time was a good routine for the participants to get into.”
Hooker and the Treeforce Program found that the participants took to the work really well and were happy to see the positive experience the eight weeks were for a group members.
“One of the main outcomes of the program that I wasn’t anticipating was the team camaraderie that was built. We ended up graduating five participants, and all five of them really developed this strong bond by the last week and were really holding each other accountable,” Hooker said. “They had this really supportive community of friends that were really like lifelong friends for one another, and that was really, really cool to see.”
Salazar also found his experience in the Treeforce Program to be a positive experience. He met alot of different people while in the program and was able to talk to business owners, professors, and various residents around the Denver area.
“I got to speak with the parks and recreation people and see what they have to deal with and know that they fight like kind of the same struggle that we do out here,” Salazar said. “Energy and transportation takes priority over anything natural or environmental.”
Salazar has plans now to take the next steps in his life. He has an uncle who has been doing arborist work for about a year and needs help. He and his uncle are talking about expanding and the business and making him a co-owner. Along with his hopes of one day owning a ranch and being his own boss, Salazar also has many other ideas for his future.
“I know I want to help the Native American community,” Salazar said. “I’ve been involved with them, and maybe I can help them hold their ceremonies or use that land to repopulate the bison.”
Perched in the Northwest industrial corner of Denver alongside the South Platte lies a small National Historic District called Riverside Cemetery. As the Denver’s oldest operating cemetery, established in 1876 when Colorado first gained statehood, the grounds of Riverside contain over a century and a half of rich Colorado history and some of its most influential members, including more than 1,000 Civil War Veterans who made Colorado their home during and after the war.
One person who is all too familiar with the background story of Riverside Cemetery is Ray Thal. Thal has spent roughly 20 years researching and documenting the graves at Riverside, particularly the Veteran graves. He now gives walking tours of the cemetery on a regular basis to share his knowledge with the community.
“I’m a frustrated history teacher. I mean, I got my degree in history, and I minored in secondary education, says Thal. “I love to talk. And I love to talk history and Colorado history in particular.”
What once started as a volunteer position at the cemetery’s office for Thal, turned into a deep dive into the history of Riverside Cemetery. Thal spent his time helping people find their loved ones’ graves and answering phone calls, but in his free time he took to sifting through the cemetery’s original records to uncover the forgotten history of its dead.
“We used to keep the original records here, we don’t anymore, which were a lot of fun to go through,” said Thal. “And I discovered a lot of things that way. I got really interested in the Civil War guys.”
With limited information available based on the cemetery records, Thal found other means of gathering data on the Veterans buried at Riverside and made two trips to Washington D.C. to verify Veteran pension records at the National Archives. Thal regularly finds connections with the graves at Riverside that coincide with significant figures and events in Colorado history. He says it always comes full circle.
“You’d read something in a pension document that would have a name or something in it that would trigger something else,”says Thal. “You could go down and then check the newspapers at the time and you find out there’s this whole string of events that this person was part of.”
Thal argues that Colorado was created because of the Civil War. After it had been decided in January of 1861 that Kansas would be a free state under Union power, conflict and chaos ensued across the country between Union and Confederate forces, eventually blowing up into what we know as the American Civil War.
Only a few short months after the onset of the war, the Colorado territory was formally established to help solidify Union control over Colorado’s mineral-rich topography. Union gold mining camps were created, and the proceeds were used to fund the war effort against the South. The Union wanted to maintain control of the Colorado gold mines.
“Colorado raises three regiments during the war. One of them is involved, goes to New Mexico, and fights the battle at Glorieta Pass, which is the largest Civil War battle fought in the West.”
The battle of Glorieta Pass in March 1862 saw the 1st Colorado Infantry Regiment defeat Confederate forces. Colonel John P. Slough and John Chivington led the battle that stopped the South from acquiring gold and silver in the West.
Civil War Veterans who sought a new life out west in gold mining and farming were still dealing with ailments from the war. Many of those in Colorado’s first three regiments were laid to rest at Riverside Cemetery along with a small number of Confederate soldiers.
“In many of the cases of these guys I research, because in their pension files are always their medical results of their medical exams, it’s everything from still having bullets in them to hemorrhoids, terrible, terrible hemorrhoids, scurvy,” said Thal. “And, you know, really very few of them emerge from the war without some kind of issue medically.”
Soon after the establishment of Riverside Cemetery in 1876, 75 to 100 Union Veterans were moved from Denver City Cemetery (now Cheesman Park) to Riverside Cemetery. Over the course of the century after the war, Colorado members of the Grand Army of the Republic fraternal order would all lie to rest at Riverside Cemetery alongside some of the state’s most well-known Civil War Veterans.
One of these such characters is Captain Silas Soule, the leader of the 1st Colorado Infantry, who is known for refusing to participate in the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 which was commissioned by Colonel John Chivington and led to the deaths of over 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho people.
Soule later testified against Chivington in court providing some of the most damning witness evidence concerning conduct displayed by Chivington and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment at the Sand Creek Massacre. Soule was murdered just a few months after testifying. His role in the Sand Creek investigation has long been a theory for why Soule was murdered. Thal says that Soule is held in high regard in Native American cultures due to the stance that he took at Sand Creek. The Cheyenne and Arapaho nations have a ceremony at his grave in late November.
“They start at Sand Creek, run to here [Riverside] and then run to the state capitol building where they hold a big ceremony.”
Riverside also contains three highly decorated Medal of Honor Civil War Veterans, David F. Day who fought in the Siege of Vicksburg, Smith Hastings who was honored for his heroism at Newby’s Crossroads in Virginia, and George Kelly who was recognized for his effort in capturing a pivotal flag that would change the pace toward victory during a Tennessee battle in 1864.
While Colorado may not have been at the forefront of the Civil War, the history contained in the Veterans’ graves at Riverside Cemetery certainly prove that the battle scars of the war stretched nationwide, not only during the conflict but for many years after.
Thal gives Civil War walking tours at Riverside Cemetery during the warmer months of the year and has written a book to go along with the tour, carefully detailing the rich history that he spent two decades uncovering.
“I mean, I love it. And I always have, I love being able to talk history to people. I love to hear the stories that other people have about their loved ones that are buried here. People have come in with incredible genealogies of their family.”
If you’re interested in hearing Thal talk more Colorado history, be sure to catch his Civil War Walking Tour of Riverside this Saturday for a post-Veteran’s Day memorial. You can also pick up a copy of his book, “The Civil War at Riverside Walking Tour.”
Denver, you are cordially invited to the Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience, with live music, drinking, dancing and a performance. Bridgerton, a 2020 Regency romance television drama that became one the most watched English-language shows on Netflix, is based on the books by Julia Quinn. They follow the romances, drama and life of the Bridgertion family in 1800s London.
Now if you’re in attendence at the Queen’s ball during the social season you best dress in your finest clothes. She is looking for the “Diamond Of The Evening” but you’ll also get to hear scandalous rumors from Lady Whistledown‘s society papers. If you are a fan of the show or not this Queen’s ball is perfect for a date night, girls’ night or friends’ night out.
The Bridgerton experience has been in cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta. Now the highly anticipated ball has made its way to Denver for a limited time. Like the show, the welcomed guests are a mix of age groups, races and genders. The Shonda Rimes series broke barriers in casting and the ball reflects that diversity.
As you enter the grand ball you are greeted by classical music and as well as classical remixes of modern-day songs such as Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams,” and Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You.“ Wisteria flowers and lighting help set the mood. Everyone comes dressed up in formal wear, semi-formal wear, and some in Regency style clothing.
Performers help set the atmosphere as you enter the ball. After you get some free time to mingle, dance and enjoy signature drinks inspired by the show. The Queen enters so be sure you greet her with a bow and after getting a chance to present yourself to her, there is a dance performance. It is just like a storyline out the show where two young lovers meet at the ball.
You get to hear Lady Whistledown narrate their love story. You will be asked to show off your own moves as you dance with them as the ball come to an end, and the lovers look over the scene. The Queen returns and is amused by the actions of the young couples as Lady Whistledown announces that love triumphs over all.
Finally, the time comes for the Queen to choose the Diamond of The Evening. After that, sadly the ball must come to an end. There are still more activities for you such as painting your portrait at the portrait studio, snapping a photo on the throne and enjoying free time to see outfits from the show and have a chance to buy themed merchandise.
The Bridgerton Experience is open now and runs Wednesday through Sunday until December 11th The event is for those 18 and up but there are family sessions that take place on November 19th and December 3rd.. The Bridgerton event takes place at 3403 Brighton Boulevard in Denver. Tickets start at $39 and go up from there. They can be purchased at bridgertonexperience.com.
In honor of Veteran’s Day, Bucket List Community Cafe asked Crystal Vigil of Denver to answer our 5 Questions. She told us about her father, Billy Vigil, and how the PTSD he brought home from fighting in Vietnam affected him and his family.
Crystal, Your dad, Billy Vigil, fought in the Vietnam War. Did he ever speak to you about his experience there and what did he tell you?
My dad was very private about his experience in the Vietnam War. I knew it was very traumatic. He was a very charismatic man with a wonderful sense of humor. Any time he mentioned serving in Vietnam it was masked in humor. An example of this is when I made a comment about him not being afraid to eat anything while he was enjoying food that was practically burnt. He mimicked a sort of British accent and replied. “This is a gourmet meal young lady, you should have seen what we had to dig up in the jungles of Vietnam.” He was full of whimsical voices and sound effects.
The only serious conversations were about before and after the war, never any stories about the actual time in Vietnam. He once mentioned that he was not drafted, he and his brother enlisted together but his brother had hearing loss and was not accepted. The story of his return was the only other story I heard from him directly, he told me how he and the other soldiers were headed home with relief and joy until they were greeted with protestors hurling trash and harsh words at them. As he entered the cab he told the driver he had just returned from Vietnam and the driver replied “ Who cares.” I cleaned the cab driver’s words up a little. He never really seemed proud to be a veteran until later in life when he became friends with other Vietnam Veterans and found joy socializing with them and would proudly wear his Veteran baseball cap. We did not realize the real horrors he survived until after his death when my mother received the transcripts from his therapist as proof of how severe the PTSD was. I think we were both honestly shocked.
He returned with PTSD. Can you describe what it was like when he was triggered?
While my father had severe PTSD he also suffered the effects of Agent Orange. My mother and I always knew when an episode was coming. He would break out in terrible hives, I remember him walking around the house scratching with a back scratcher, If he didn’t have it handy he would grab anything capable of scratching just to find relief. This was a time I knew he wasn’t capable of conversation, his mind was somewhere else. We would be in a period of time when I wouldn’t have my intelligent, funny, caring father. We would have a different person for some time. This person was distant, angry, and self destructive. My father was the real life Jekyll and Hyde, whatever chemical imbalances took over in his body it made him a different creature. All we could do was bide our time until this horrible potion wore off and we had the amazing Billy back. There were also flashbacks that were triggered visually, such as flashing lights and also loud banging sounds. These would usually end much quicker. Sometimes with tragic results.
How did his PTSD affect you and your family?
As a family we never knew what to expect. We just knew that vacant look in his eyes was our first sign of danger. Our family time was disrupted frequently. We could be having a wonderful family outing and he would suddenly change into Hyde. I remember he had a flashback while driving, the usual singing to oldies stopped and the car became a terror ride. He was speeding down the old 23rd Avenue bridge, my mom was screaming “BIlly Please Stop.” His eyes were blank. That moment is hard to talk about because it makes my father seem like a horrible person, but that wasn’t him. It was the PTSD taking over. We spent a lot of quality time as a family when he was feeling himself but many times I was left on my own because my mother was trying to help control his destructive behavior. I can honestly say I had a very good childhood and wonderful parents because when my father was himself I was loved and protected. Being left on my own was a protection my mother provided so I didn’t have to see most of the really awful moments. I am sure she has PTSD from those experiences. She understood what was happening. She knew her loving husband was still there. As usual I would hope by bedtime things would be back to normal. They would both be in bed reading their books. I would hear them call my name and my dad would ask me to turn off the lights and he would cuddle up to her. With that vision in my head, I would pray,“let us be normal again.
Did your dad and your family have the help you needed to deal with his PTSD?
I can say this with absolute certainty No. It was obvious to anyone who knew my father well that Agent Orange and PTSD kept him from living a normal life. The physical and mental turmoil disrupted work, activity and family life. Benefits were always denied and the true terror Agent Orange had caused was still being denied by the government. Fighting for any help had become another trigger for my father and he would crumble under the pressure.
Your dad died tragically because of his PTSD. Can you share anything about that and tell folks what you would like them to know about veterans with PTSD?
On the evening of July 2nd 1998 Billy went to sing karaoke. He was a regular at his favorite spot and was there frequently, the place was full of his friends. As I mentioned earlier certain sights and sounds can trigger a flashback. Not long after he arrived fireworks were set off in the neighborhood. His friends who witnessed the accident saw the same distant look in his eyes that we knew when an episode was coming. They told us that he ducked under the tables and started to crawl until he reached the back door. He then sprinted to a tree and quickly climbed. He fell from the tree. The fall caused a femur break as well as internal injuries. He succumbed to those injuries on the morning of the Fourth of July.
Veterans can be the toughest people we know but also the most sensitive to their surroundings. If you know a veteran, maybe family friends or neighbors,be vigilant if they seem aggravated or distant. I know my father would not ever ask anyone to stop enjoying a favorite pastime such as fireworks, but maybe if his friends were aware of his PTSD they could have intervened in some way.
Dealing with a loved one who suffers from PTSD is trauma in itself. It can cause anxiety, stress and anger. As I learned more about PTSD it helped the healing process. I realized these episodes my father went through were not something he could control. Learning this helped me let go of the anger I felt towards him and I developed empathy as I was informed of all the trauma he experienced.
Every Veteran and their families’ experience with PTSD is different. I only know ours. Some people might feel I had a terrible childhood but I didn’t. I had wonderful, loving parents who provided me with the best they could given the circumstances. I have beautiful memories of a whole man who went and fought for this country and came back divided in two. Despite the PTSD he loved God, he loved my mother, and he loved me. He had deep compassion for people. I never heard him say anything hateful about others. He would always say “We are all fighting our own demons. We are taught to have pride and respect for our veterans but I’ve never heard compassion mentioned. Compassion may be the most important perspective as we consider the trauma they may have experienced serving this country.
Convivio is the Spanish phrase for a get together where people share and connect with others, usually over food and drinks. It’s also the name of Denver’s first women owned, Guatamalen inspired, bilingual coffee shop. The arches at the cafe symbolize a bridge that brings people from different backgrounds together. It is the dream come true for owners Kristin Lacy and Vivi Lemus.
“I think that’s what we want to see here too like people who are new, maybe they’ve never been to Central America but maybe they know somebody who’s from there they want to try and and also we want to be like you know a meeting space for people that are from Central America or Latin America that want to speak Spanish, who want to order in their language of corazon so I think it’s kind of like being that bridging community space,” says Kristen.
Since 2020, Convivio was online and a pop up at farmers markets. Crowdfunding helped them realize their dream of a brick and mortar establishment. It opened on November 1st which is the Guatamalan holiday of Dia de Todos los Santos or All Saints Day.
“I feel like just having like communities and supporting us and some people that showed up this morning that have literally helped us, painted walls for us so I think we are very lucky in having support,” says Vivi. “That you have people that are just believing in what you want to build.”
The shop will create cultural connections through roasted coffee that comes from farmers in Central America, a tea selection sourced from a women owned co-op and a menu that combines cultures.
“When we were talking to one of our producers in Guatemala this summer, Kristen asked him ‘What’s your dream?’ and he said, ‘My dream is that my coffee can cross over borders and just reach people I’ve never met. So I feel like for me to just be thinking that the actual product that we have is from people and that we are literally making that reach across the countries and that is so exciting,” says Vivi.
Like the roots of the coffee plant in Convivo’s logo, new ones and old ones can come together to allow communities like Denver to be in Convivio.
Vivi says “I think that when I think of the impact that we want to have is just to be that open inviting space only because we are women-owned also Guatemalan-inspired and have gatherings where people can feel like they belong and just join our Convivio.”
Convivio Cafe is located at 4935 West 38th Avenue in Denver. It’s open six days a week from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s closed on Tuesdays.
When I started college at Metropolitan State University of Denver and wanted to become a journalist many people around me questioned why I wanted to enter a field that exclusively has to with reading and writing. I have dyslexia a learning disability that affects the areas of the brain that process language. It affects my reading, speech and writing skills. So many of my friends and family thought it wasn’t the best decision for me to enter this field. But I believe that my past experiences have pushed me to help and share diverse stories to a bigger audience.
When I was young it took a while for me to be diagnosed with dyslexia. Whenever I did any reading tests my comprehension skills and vocabulary where high but my oral reading skills where low. Teachers kept telling my mom I would outgrow it but my tests kept coming out with the same results. I soon felt like I was getting pushed to the sidelines by teachers and they continually told me I was lazy. I kept working and was trying my hardest to keep up. My self-esteem started to become low. I was way behind most of my friends in my oral reading skill and spelling.
My mom told my pediatrician what was going on so she referred me to a specialist. I was tested and finally diagnosed with dyslexia. I was already in specialized therapy classes for speech and motor skills for other health issues. Once I was diagnosed, my specialized teachers where able help me, but sadly even after the diagnosis my classroom teacher would tell me dyslexia is just an excuse people use to be lazy. I was told by teachers that I wouldn’t amount to anything. Others around me treated me like I was unintelligent just because I wasn’t at the right reading level and was having trouble with spelling. One teacher even pulled me from spelling quizzes and oral reading assignments. My mother pulled me out of public school realizing these skills were crucial. I was put in home schooling that had a program called the Barton Reading program which specializes in learning disabilities, specifically dyslexia. Within the year my reading level was on track and helped me gain back the confidence I lost. I started to read books nonstop and found the love of writing. The bookstore became my favorite spot in the world.
I already had a passion for learning about different cultures and with my new passion for reading l was taking in a diverse amount of literature. When I read and saw interviews from artists around the world, I realized how American journalists would treat those from other cultures like children. The questions were ridiculous to the point of being callow. My feelings of inferiority would flood back. I wanted to be part of the generation that would change journalism and the way it brought the world to us and how we view people who are different. Working with Bucket List Community Cafe brought me the opportunity to meet others and share diverse stories within the Denver community.
My experience with dyslexia came full circle. It gave me empathy and I was angry seeing people with disparity being treated as though they were not intelligent because they didn’t fit a certain mold. I knew what I wanted to do. I want to bring stories form cultures around the world for what they really are, brilliant, elegant, and extraordinary. That’s the way I will view myself even if others don’t see me this way.
This past week Bucket List Community Cafe was invited to be part of something big. A movement. A renaissance. The Independent News Sustainability Summit was held in Austin and 500 people who are trying to reinvent community journalism attended. There were publishers, editors, funders. Non-profits and entrepreneurs from all over North America and beyond.
Bucket List Community Café is energized to be part of this collaboration. News is changing. The way things have been done in the past are no longer what the present or future demand. News is moving online. News is streaming. Legacy print and broadcast news is having to make way for disrupters who are coming up with new ways to deliver information to communities. New ways that the community tells us they want.
It is an exciting time and you can be part of this too. You can join us in creating trustworthy, local journalism that serves communities like Denver. Many of you already are inspiring and supporting this. You are reading the stories on our website, subscribing to our newsletter, following our social media, and listening to our podcast. And you are contributing to us.
Today I’m asking you to do a few things that will help reinvent community journalism in Denver.
Ask three of your friends tosubscribe to our weekly newsletter. Ask them to visit our website to sign up or forward it to your neighbors. Every week we build community by sharing our stories. We cover news, issues, culture, events, food and fun from our neighborhoods.
Mark your calendar for November 29 through December 31 when we will be asking for support in our #newsCOneeds fundraising campaign. We have received a $5000 matching grant from Colorado Media Project and every dollar you contribute up to $1000 per person will be matched.
Contact us and let us know what’s going on in your neighborhood that we should cover. Tell us how we can do better. We are building community by sharing our stories. Bucket List Community Café is the place to get to know your neighbors all over North Denver.
We are building community journalism together. Every day our team works to bring you positive, neighborly news that helps unite rather than divide us. Every day we are inspired by you to serve our community better. Join us and be a part of something big.
Do you like scary movies, Denver? What’s your favorite horror flick? You have to have a favorite! What comes to mind? Nothing, you say? Rest assured. Here is a list of 13 horror movies that are sure to bring the terrors of All Hallows Eve into the comfort of your home. Each film brings to life the most notorious and sinister stories to grab you from the screen. Ranked from least to most spine-chilling, each film listed is sure to make you peek over your shoulder and keep you up at night. Ranging from classic horror slashers to the up and coming creeps that are ready to make themselves at home. They’re hereeee! Settle in, Lock your doors and windows, and see if you can make it through the night..
13. The Lost Boys – Rated R
“Great! The Bloodsucking Brady Bunch!” –
Your stay at Santa Carla is sure to be amazing! Don’t forget to pack the essentials. Holy Water, Garlic, aaand your copy of the comic book “Vampires Everywhere.” This is your survival tool, I mean tour guide. Released in 1987, this vampire cult classic, directed by Joel Schumacher, will make you think twice before taking that trip to California. Just be wary of David and the rest of his lost boys down at the boardwalk, or you’ll end up like Michael.
Step right up everyone, the circus has landed! What would you do if a circus tent appeared during a sleepy night in your small town? Would you have the courage to tag along with Mike and Debbie to see what the show’s all about? Released in 1988, and directed by Stephen Chiodo, this take on dark horror comedy takes your wildest imaginations of a circus to the extreme with this terrifying posse of clowns that are sure to make you reignite that fear many had as a child to enter that red and yellow tent.
11. Poltergeist – Rated: PG
The static of television has never been this horrifying. Who knows, perhaps after viewing this film you’ll find yourself flipping through static and being on the receiving end of some supernatural commune as well. The Freeling Residency is all but peaceful with unwanted visitors lingering. This 1982 film is sure to make you question just how safe is your home. You might also throw out your TV set. Directed by Tobe Hooper, viewers will enter the supernatural realm through their television screen as this suburban family is dragged to hell and back to save their youngest, Carol Anne.
10. Hellraiser – Rated R
“We have such sights to show you.”
Maybe that antique purchase you made wasn’t the best fit. It certainly wasn’t for Frank Cotton as he met his hellish demise because of a small puzzle box. In this 1987 film directed by Clive Barker, hell takes a human form through the infamous Pinhead and Cenobites in all their gruesome and sadistic glory, as those who possess the puzzle; become the puzzle. Be wary viewers; do not show fear to these visitors as they thrive on it.
9. Silent Hill – Rated R
“Evil wakes in vengeance. Be careful what you choose.”
How far will a mother’s love take her? For Rose Da Silva and her daughter Sharon, it leads them to the occult town of Silent Hill. Released in 2006 and directed by Christophe Gans, Silent Hill presents the “other world”, where the darkness that we silence within ourselves, resides. Rose takes you to every corner, full of grime and fog in order to find Sharon, and is presented with the history of Silent Hill and the root of all its evil. Just be sure you don’t follow the fog, or your stay here will be eternal.
8. Fresh – Rated R “The fresher the meat, the better. So I’m going to keep you alive as long as I can.”
Make sure to delete all your dating apps. Your Romeo awaits you at the grocery store. Released earlier this year, director Mimi Cave presents our modern day Romeo, better known as Steve. Handsome, kind, and traditional. Perfect in the eyes of our Noa who had her fair share of experiences of modern dating, but not everything in a relationship is perfect. Communication is key, and before anything gets serious between Steve and Not, Steve makes sure Noa can stomach his intimate cravings. Are you willing to keep it steady with Steve?
7. Sinister – Rated R
“Don’t worry, Daddy. I’ll make you famous again.”
It’s horrifying in itself to see what people are willing to do for fame. This disparity is what leads true-crime writer Ellison Oswald to his demise, and to become the subject of his next hit novel. Released in 2012 and directed by Scott Derrickson, human curiosity and willingness is put to the test by Ellison. Moving across the state causes an impact on Ellison and his family, but what if the inspiration for his next gruesome novel is what they call home as well? Whatever you do, do not open that box full of film like Ellison did. Or do. He’ll find you either way. Maybe you’ll be the star of the next film.
6. Veronica – Rated TV-MA
“You aren’t alone. Someone answered your call.”
Grief presents itself in different ways. Veronica longs for one more encounter with her dad who’s passed away, even if it means performing a seance. Released in 2017, director Paco Plaza captures the staple elements of an exorcism film, as Veronica struggles to rid the visitor who answered her call out to her father. Based on a true story, Veronica will face living her life as a teenage girl crossed with evil forces. (Film provided with subtitles)
5. Raw – Rated R
“I’m sure you’ll find a solution honey.”
Coming of age has never been this raw. As an awkward, overachieving vegetarian, Justine is set off to college with her older sister, Alexia. Unbeknownst of a hidden hunger that awaits her, Justine’s journey is to answer the question of “why was she raised as a vegetarian?” Answering the question, Justine’s hunger goes beyond her limits, Can she control this new and blossoming self-discovery. Directed by Julia Ducournau, this 2017 film both explores and exceeds the hardships the line of women in this family face genetically; and how they must find a way to tame this appetite for flesh. (Subtitles available).
4. Evil Dead – Rated R
“I will feast on your soul! Feast on this, mother****er!”
Everyone has come face to face with temptation. Even if temptation means coming across a book that has been chained, sealed, and kept away in a basement of a cabin in the middle of nowhere.. Right? In this 2013 remake of the original “The Evil Dead” in 1981, Fede Alvarez turns the black comedy to a demonic blood bath as we follow the recovery of Mia transform into a night of demonic possession. This film will make you reconsider the camping trip you planned. Would you be able to conquer the temptation of unraveling the taboo and hidden away book, the root of these ungodly and macabre acts?
3. Hereditary Rated R
“ DON’T you swear at me, you little shit! Don’t you EVER raise your voice at me! I am your mother!”
As one life has fallen; another must rise. When Ellen Leigh passes away, she also passes the legacy she has kept hidden from the Graham family and it presents itself in the most psychological tormenting ways imaginable. A24 has been on the rise the last 4 years, and with the release of Hereditary in 2018, director Ari Aster created a film that captures the horrors of both reality and fantasy. We follow the story of Annie and Peter Graham, mother and son who face an abundance of cryptic messages after the passing of Ellen. All of which leads to the family fortune that is built on immoral and infernal occults. Pay attention viewers, as every detail in this film counts and is sure to unsettle and test your limits like you’ve never experienced in horror before.
2. Incantation – Rated TV-MA
“The following content may contain certain hidden dangers and risks.”
Who ya gonna call? A modern team in Taiwan named after “ghostbusters” gives a new meaning to the comedic film and over the top ghouls. Based on a true story, this film captures the account of Li Ronan in this found footage style film. A mother is in desperate need of protecting her child Dodo. Audiences are presented with footage that will make you pause the film and ask “Is this really fake?” Released earlier this year, director Kevin Ko makes his return back to horror through the breaking of a religious taboo Li Ronan committed six years ago. This Taiwan film follows the consequences Li Ronan must face for her actions, all that her daughter Dodo must endure. Any horror fanatic or newbie will be sure to feel their blood drop cold in this found footage film where our characters interact with audiences. I repeat, do not repeat or reenact anything Li Ronan asks, I repeat. Do NOT repeat or reenact anything Li Ronan asks of you viewers.
1. Thir13en Ghosts – Rated R
“Did I say there’s a petting zoo downstairs? No! There are ghosts downstairs, Arthur!”
What says family reunion better than a glass house full of ghosts? As the Kriticos family handle the loss of their mother, their distant uncle Cyrus gives them an offer of a lifetime: a house of luxury that he left behind in their name. What they don’t know is that alongside the house is Cyrus’ collection of 13 ghosts who are full of gut-churning vengeance when introduced. This film was released in 2001, and director Steve Beck was set on making viewers’ nightmares come to life and evokes that same reaction today. Choose your monster Denver. There’s 13 of them that will haunt you for days after watching these horror classics.
If you had the opportunity to communicate with your beloved pet, would you take it? From loved ones with feathers, to those with scales or fur, Phebe is an experienced tarot reader and animal psychic in Denver who helps people understand what their animal companions are thinking.
She is the founder of Catnip Manor, a company created in 1993 that specializes in interpreting the behaviors, thoughts and lives of animals. Phebe worked as a Tarot Reader at the Spirit Ways Metaphysical Shop in Denver, Colorado for over 40 years. Her grandmother Webster was a medium in Chicago who was able to communicate with the dead. Phebe grew up in an environment where what is unknown behind closed doors was open to her. She became a spiritual interpreter.
Her Grandmother Webster always told her, “If you’re supposed to have something, it happens. If you have to make it happen, it wasn’t supposed to.” Little did Phebe the psychic know that years later, the towel her grandmother embroidered for her with the words “Catnip Manor” would represent her purpose, to communicate with animals, specifically cats, and protect them by supporting efforts such as adoption, spaying, neutering, and more.
The psychic works with people and all animals, but her specialty is working with cats. As a child, Phebe recalls her first encounter with a kitten her father brought home after it survived the outdoors alone. The cat grew up to be responsive to her father’s questions, identifying her answers by pointing to designated locations with her nose. “And that’s how I grew up, just talking to them like you normally would,” said Phebe.
“When I work with people, they come out of nowhere and call me. I get a lot of them that have a problem and the first thing I say to people is ‘Talk to them. Talk to your cat.’ Especially if you had two and one died, you’ve got to talk to them. You’ve got to let them know what happened here. But also, this is your companion. They do let you know what they need. They’re pretty powerful,” said Phebe.
People from all over the country reach out to Phebe to understand why pets behave in certain ways, what the history of the new member of the family is, or to address health issues the pet needs to communicate to their owner. Phebe explains that she receives information from animals telepathically, asking them questions just as she would to a person. Afterwards, she uses the animal or cat tarot decks that consist of 78 symbolic cards to confirm the messages she receives.
“The tarot is only a tool to verify what you’re picking up on. I could tell you stuff without even opening this deck and then we’d spread the deck out and it would all be there. But that’s also from years of doing this, maybe lifetimes,” said Phebe. I get pretty busy with it.”
Phebe calls her black cat Sophia and white cat Seraphim her guardians and helpers. The spiritual interpreter describes pets as having pure souls. Her admiration for cats does not end at the Catnip Manor office but is expanded into her home. This is where she continues to grow her cat collection in hopes of creating a museum out of it one day. Sessions with Phebe can be held in her office at 1776 S. Jackson St, #614 in Denver or by sending in pictures with your pet’s information through the Catnip Manor website at catnipmanor.com.