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Urban to Asian Frances D. Roces and His Kimono Dragons

Synthetic Elements As Real as It Gets

Gamerlife Playing the Game

October 2011

Contributors Writers Tate Fisher Cameron Cowan Hart Dubois Michael Beckerman Ben Simons Jacklynn Blanchard

Photography Dave Wood Robert A. Rice Rachel Becker Michael Beckerman Deadfall Photography

Stylists Bradi MacSleyne Liz Vranesh Michael Imperatore

Hair & Makeup Team Camille McCool Ciera Tabor Ashley Kelly Ashley Saltalamacchia Jaime Garcia Kristy Singer Nichole Taylor

A White Christmas November 23rd, 2011 Benefit for Children’s Hospital and T&G Magazine Quarterly Release Event! Featuring some of Denver’s Hottest Designers walking in one of Denver’s coolest events! Come celebrate the Holidays with T&G Magazine and Children’s Hospital with a beautiful fashion show and benefit concert! Acts to be announced soon! Casselman’s Bar & Venue 2620 Walnut St.


October 2011




Urban to Asian


Frances D. Roces & His Kimono Dragons By: Tate Alyson Fisher

The Perfect Pair



New Ideas On Food and Wine’s Complimentary Relationship By: Ben Simons

Cameron’s Fall and Winter Do’s & Don’ts Patterns, Prints and Bold Colors Oh My By: Cameron Cowan

Bringing Awareness

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Besties With Testies and the Nuts For Fashion Show By: Hart Dubois

Keys to a Successful Fashion Show Steps 2 and 3 By: Michael Beckerman

Photography by: Rachel Becker Models: Lauren Buxton & Erin Christoff Wearing Sapphire Stars

Andrea Li

FALL OUTERWEAR PICKS Duckie Brown 3/4 fur cuffed jacket

Hermes 3/4 Navajo Inspired Full Shawl

Jean Paul Gaultier Short Houndstooth Blazer

Valentino Black 3/4 blazer

Christian Dior Waist Length Sable

Carlo Pignatelli Fur trimmed 3/4

Burberry 2/3 Officer

Valentino Vintage neutral pea coat

Valentino Teal leather

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October 2011


As Real As It Gets Synthetic Elements and Their Long Road to Our Hearts By: Tate Alyson Fisher

Playing the Game


Gamerlife’s Rise to the Top By: Jacklynn Blanchard

2012 Fall /Winter Trends


Our Take on all of Your Must Have’s for the Season By: Tate Alyson Fisher

Cheap Tricks


Nights Out Without Hurting the Pocket By: Hart Dubois

Frances D. Roces From Asian To Urban A designer’s vision By:

Tate Alyson Fisher

A text message pops up on my phone, “I’m sitting outside, black frame glasses and black hair in a pony.” It’s Sunday afternoon at Pablo’s Coffee Shop on 6th and Washington, and I am looking for Francis D. Roces, the extraordinary designer and owner of Kimono Dragons. The coffee shop is packed inside and out, but I finally see him sitting on the stoop of the adjacent building. As he stands up to greet me, he gives me a big hug, and I suddenly feel like I’m meeting a good friend for coffee.

As we find a spot in the shade, I ask Francis to give me a little background on the man behind his “Asian 2 Urban” design line. Francis discovered fashion through art class and anime, where his drawings began to reflect an inner craving. As he dug into the passion of art and design, his natural flair began to emerge and people began complimenting what he dressed his figures in. His first inclination was to become an illustrator, but then, Francis tells me, “The computer age kicked in and that went out the window.” His joie de vive, however, did not go out the window, and to avoid taking P.E., he opted for Home Ec. As he learned to sew, his skills became a gift to family and friends, and he soon found himself wanting more. So he headed for Design School in the Philippines, where he thrived and eventually graduated in 1991.

Following this foundation, he set his sights on Emily Griffith Technical College and Westwood College in order to “…learn both sides of the spectrum, the creative and the business side.” At Emily Griffith, he chose to bypass the computer and industrial courses and focus on the courses that taught how to use table-top sewing machines, working with patterns, tailoring and alterations, which Francis says is “a lot more beneficial because then you feel comfortable working with pieces you find at the thrift stores. You know how it’s constructed, so you know how to break it apart and make it into something else; then you can do the up-cycle that’s getting popular.” As he explains this familiar process, I’m reminded of Bradi MacSleyne, the designer of Marlaesk, and I ask Francis if he knows her.

With a smile, he says he does and quickly adds, “You can see her in her designs,” which is a high compliment. I am certain you can see Francis in his designs as well because each piece is one of a kind, just like him. I’m certain you will agree that my Q & A with him reveals just how distinctive he is. T&G: What is your inspiration for your designline? Francis: “A lot of influences from modern art and anime (the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of animation). I love the vividness and the visuals of Japanese period pieces; interacting with fellow designers and artists…and nature! I love the fluidity of water, the textures of wood, how leaves change colors, and the color combinations hybrid flowers come up with.” T&G: With your expertise, how do you hope to influence fashion? Francis: “I would like to let people know that they don’t have to be like a sheep, just following the flock. They can find their creative side, to help them stand out and be an individual.”

T&G: What does a typical day look like for you in the role as fashion designer, and do you have another job as well? Francis: “I do have another job as a waiter at an Asian restaurant, so my main task for the day is to be able to balance my persona as a waiter and my persona as a designer; and time management is a big role. I have to make sure that what I do outside my waitering job doesn’t influence what I do as a designer, or what I do as a designer doesn’t influence what I do as a waiter…so I’m learning to be my own assistant.” T&G: When do you find time to do your pieces? Francis: “Whenever I can. I have to mindset and discipline myself but also have the flexibility of knowing that reality does not play by my rules, so if something comes up…then I have it in me to say, okay it’s not going to work out, but I can work late at night to get it done. I seem to function better if I know I have a deadline.”

T&G: Are you constantly creating drawings of your pieces or do they mainly come directly from your imagination? Francis: “I don’t have the skill to go from drawing to pattern, to end product. I’ve tried that and too many variables start changing, and then I end up with something totally different than what I drew. So I just go from what’s in my head, directly to the piece. Then, if someone says they need a sketch of that, I’ll sketch it.” and give them a feel of a little roughness.” T&G: How do you feel fashion differs for men and women? And how are you infiltrating your designs into that? Francis: “I’ve always found that what men wear is so basic and trying to find something creative is hard. So I started making stuff for myself and people liked it. I want to give men a feel that they can express their creativity without being over-the-top fluff. I try to make my men’s pieces more masculine T&G: Patterns seem to be very popular, and yet it seems there is a struggle for a lot of designers to make that attractive to the naked eye or the “average woman.” How do your designs differ and offer more versatility? Francis: “A lot of my dresses, I will make them more A-lined, like a tunic dress ‘cause then you could always synch it with a belt or leave it loose, depending on what the season says. And I’m not really restricted to doing sizes since I make my pieces from scratch. I usually make an 8, a 12 and a 14 because that seems to be what people are saying.” T&G: What is the biggest challenge you face with your designs? Francis: “The biggest challenge is trying to do better. Because you always want to keep people interested, so if you are doing the same thing, people say they have already seen it and don’t want to go to events where they see the same pieces. I try to make something new for each event that I do. I may use pieces from the past, but I then incorporate them into new pieces I make.”

T&G: As the focus of Teyste & Grandeur is to bring European influences to fashion, what do you see KimonoDragons contributing to that vision? Francis: “You have to realize the type of culture that Denver is; Denver is very outdoorsy, so a lot of the European looks don’t exactly coincide with the personality of Denver. So you have to be able to find the two, the happy middle, that you can incorporate the outdoors with the mentality of Europe. You don’t want to get Denver lost in trying to be like New York or L.A. because…there’s always going to be resistance. We can step up to that level and still be our own at the same time and have our own sensibility and styles.” The L.A. and New York scenes are undoubtedly oversaturated, so I imagine it’s somewhat easier for designers to make a name for themselves here. Francis agrees, and tells me that “In Denver, two other designers and I are known to be the Asian designers, and if we were in L.A. or New York, or Seattle even, we would be just one among a dozen. So here we have a niche, we have a market, and we have our followers. And I wouldn’t want to move anywhere else because I’m somewhat of a fish here, and I’m gonna be a guppie out there!” I highly doubt Francis D. Roces could ever be a guppie, and the foreseeable future will land KimonoDragons in the finest stores from coast to coast. For now, Francis says, “I’d rather have it cook right instead of being undercooked.” And that is exactly why he will continue to be successful. Please check out Francis’ designs at

Winter Picks 5 must have boots for the season

Alexander McQuen Abstract Heeled boot

Jimmy Choo

Vince Camuto fivvy boot

Christion Louboutin Black Fringed boot

Gucci Prato flat white fur boots

Synthetic Elements As Real as It Gets

by: Tate Alyson Fisher

Whether or not your IPOD rocks tunes like “How Far” or “Life Will Fade Away,” you cannot help but fall in love with Synthetic Elements, the Alternative / Punk Rock / Ska band from Fort Morgan, CO. Kyle Hernandez (Bass Player and Vocals) showed up at 10am on a Wednesday morning, dressed to fit your teenage dream of a punk rocker, carrying his orange Gatorade and flashing his heart-melting smile. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the Teyste and Grandeur warehouse, we were soon entrenched in conversation. Looking at this confident 26 year old, I knew there was an incredible history behind the mounting success of Synthetic Elements. About ten years ago, on a snowy Colorado day, Kyle and his buddies decided it was too snowy to hit the skate park and headed for his friend Todd’s house (Todd McMullan, Lead Singer). Little did they know that the moment they picked up his dad’s instruments, they were embarking on a life-long journey into the world of music. The fact that none of the boys had been trained musically didn’t stop them from booking a gig at a local coffee shop (which at the time was In the Mood) within just one week. Kyle had already been a roadie for a friend’s band, and Brett (Brett Carson, Drummer) was playing for another band that had kicked him out when he broke his ankle. Kyle seized the opportunity and “stole” Brett, whom he’d known since kindergarten, and the band got their real start. Raw talent abounded within the group, and the city of Ft. Morgan was chomping at the bit, especially since the last musical wonder to come out of that town was Glenn Miller circa 1940. With the limited entertainment in this small farming town, Synthetic Elements packed the house at every concert they offered, and they were soon branching out to surrounding cities such as Greeley, CO.

Next on the map? Denver seemed too easy yet not quite as inviting, so the band hit the road and headed to Utah; fifteen and sixteen year-old boys packing up the van on a Friday night to feed their hungry fans and then head home Sunday to get ready for an average teenage school week. Around Utah, the ska-punk tunes of Synthetic Elements rang through the locals’ ears, and soon word spread like wildfire, bringing more gigs and innumerous fans. A lot of heart and little steps along the way continued to lead the band to places like the Sundance Film Festival, where they met a few legends and left a lasting impression on key players in the industry. Touring the US on their own circuit for years, they welcomed the privilege to tour with icons such as Billy Idol and Flogging Molly, and the camaraderie has certainly kept their passion blazing. “We’ve played everything,” says Kyle, “from the tiniest bar to the biggest venues, wherever the kids were hungry for us!” Apparently the kids in Indianapolis are starving for them because every concert has been sold out, and last year awarded them “Best Punk Band in Indianapolis 2010” even over all their own local punk bands. Kyle talks about how supportive the scene is there as if he was talking about his favorite uncle. Not too far-fetched considering the fans there range from teens to 50-year olds. There is no master formula to making their band successful. Kyle says “We’ve all learned so much through the years by trial and error, we’ve all learned together.” When they first started out, they discovered that the Denver scene was not as diverse or responsive in the realm of the punk scene, so they sought to create a following in other regions. My Space was hitting the web scene around the same time the band came together, so much of their publicity and promotion has flourished through social media, allowing for a bigger following and greater exposure.

The band’s managers, Dave McMullan and Brad Lindgren, do their best with what they know, but the band has “…all chipped in, and [they’ve] failed miserably, but also succeeded” (Kyle Hernandez). Part of their success comes from choosing to stay in Colorado as opposed to the oversaturated scene in Hollywood. Synthetic Elements has not only made a name for them, but has paved the way for other bands to do the same. The band believes wholeheartedly in giving back to the community, helping others who are striving to reach their goals and pouring back into their own band to enable them to soar even higher. “It is a business…lawyers; contracts, bonds, equipment…but we have never taken a cent from the band, any of us” (Kyle Hernandez).

This principle is at the heart of Filthy Beast Records, the record label the band started so that they could pour back into other local bands, such as The Potato Pirates, to help them live their dreams. Each of the band members has his own day job, working 40 plus hours a week, but it is all to paint a bigger picture, so that they can one day be “Synthetic Elements” fulltime. They are on tour with AFE (Armed Forces Entertainment), starting in October 2011, as they visit Guam, Japan and South Korea. The AFE is the “Official Department of Defense agency for providing entertainment to U.S. military personnel overseas. Armed Forces Entertainment and its performers have the honor of supporting soldiers, airmen, marines and sailors by bringing them the very best in American entertainment”

( Kyle says that the entertainment brings the military personnel a piece of home and boosts morale. Because this is “official business,” he is not at liberty to tell me the details of their AFE tour, but he is excited to return to Guam for the one year anniversary of Molly McGhee’s, the bar they opened and of which they remain “plank owners.” Preparation for this tour is intensive, so the band will take two weeks off prior to departure to meticulously pack equipment and personal belongings. When they return, their usual schedule would be booked two months in advance, but they will be taking some time to focus on the year ahead. 2012 will undoubtedly be an exciting year for Synthetic Elements, with a new album in the works and an unwavering commitment to only stop when they have “plateaued.” They are continually brainstorming and charging ahead, landing their songs on local radio stations (namely, channel 93.3/KTCL), ESPN, Fuel Television and Rock Band®. Recently, the band recorded a few demos in their own studio, and soon will be laying down tracks for their new album at Bill Stevenson’s studio, “Blasting Room,” in Fort Collins, CO. Previous hits, like “Something Worth Fighting For,” have influenced many people on various levels with multiple meanings. The band may have a story behind a song, but what they want is for the lyrics to apply to others’ lives whenever and however they might need it. Just ask the fans who have tattooed their lyrics on their bodies, and I am sure you will hear resounding admiration for these men. Kyle and I could talk all day, but since we both have a busy schedule, I want one last bit of inspiration from him, so I ask him to tell me what drives Synthetic Elements. He leaves me with this, “We are a family, and we’re very close brothers. We absolutely love playing music and seeing people sing our music back to us. The happiness that it brings to people is what really feeds us. That’s the reason we don’t talk about religion or politics. We talk about every- day life that anybody can relate to. We’ve had people say, ‘I was going to commit suicide, but your music really helped me.’ When we can be an inspiration to people or put smiles on people’s faces, it really drives our band.”

The next time you’re looking for a way to transform your playlist, remember there’s more to the punk scene than the music, and look for the latest hit from Synthetic Elements. The Band: Kyle Hernandez, Bass Player and Vocals; Todd McMullan, Lead Singer; Brett Carson, Drummer; Johnson, Washboard and Trombone; Mike Blecha, Organ and Trumpet; Dave McMullan, Manager; Brand Lindgren, Road Manager




LAKESIDE STROLL Photography by: Rachel Becker Hair by: Cammille McCool Nichole Taylor Makeup by: Cierra Tabor Clothing by: Sapphire Stars

The Perfect Pair By: Ben Simons

“I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.” Hannibal Lecter Although I question his choice of pairings (I probably would have gone with Champagne), you have to admire Hannibal’s attention to detail. It is often the small embellishments that elevate--- a meal from the prosaic to the sublime. Here in America we tend to view our food, and most other things for that matter, somewhat carelessly. We do not spend the time to really think through the logical progression of our meals, or how the individual components will play together. By contrast, many European cultures have specifically tailored their regional cuisine to match the wines produced from grapes grown in their climate. Each meal, and even each individual course, is carefully planned to create the perfect combination of main dish, side items, and wine. The result is a harmonious relationship between food and wine that brings out the best in each element.

Finding the perfect pairing for your homemade Pad Tai (or census taker’s liver, if that is what you are into) can be a daunting task, especially if you are new to the game. Fortunately, there are some guidelines to help you make your decision a little easier. Match Like With Like One of the most important elements of wine pairing is that you should always try to match the “strength” of the wine with that of the food it is being paired with. For example, a steak has very bold flavors that need to be paired with a “big” wine, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah, otherwise the wine will be overpowered by your food. The same holds true in the other direction. The delicate flavors of your grilled Tilapia will get lost in a glass of jammy Zinfandel. In addition to the strength of the wine, you also want to match the sweetness of the food to that of the wine. Nothing will ruin a nice glass of dry red wine like pairing it with a sweet dessert. In general your wine should always be at least as sweet as the food that it is being served with.

For example, the popular pairing of red wine and chocolate really only works if you use a dark chocolate that is not overly sweet, or a red wine that contains more residual sugar. Often there are also other characteristics that you might want to try to match between your food and wine. If you are eating a dish that has a lot of pepper or spices, a wine that has similar flavors might be a good fit. Similarly, a dish with a rich and creamy sauce will pair well with a rich, buttery Chardonnay. Acid is Our Friend Sometimes you will hear a wine described as being a good “food wine” or as “food friendly.” There are many different aspects of what makes a good food wine, but one of the key elements is the amount of acidity in the wine. The acidity in a wine can pair well with other acidic elements in food, and it can also “cut through” and tone down some salty, fatty, and oily flavors from the food. Often a wine that is too acidic to really be enjoyable by itself will shine when paired with food.

A Study in Contrast Although rule number one was to pair like with like, there are situations where you want to pair wine and food that will provide some contrast to each other. The most notable example is pairing sweeter wines with spicy foods. A common pairing for spicy Tai food is a sweet Riesling. The heat and sweetness serve to balance each other out, and make for a beautiful pairing. Try Something New These are just a few guidelines to help you narrow down your search for a killer pairing. Ultimately the only rule is, “if it works, go with it.” Don’t be afraid to try something that you haven’t tried before. Half the fun of wine pairing is discovering something new and sharing it with friends. Be adventurous. In the words of Hannibal Lecter, “It is important…, always to try new things.”

Playing the Game

From Killin' Emcees at House Parties to Selling Out The Gothic, GamerLife has Come a Long Way Written by Jacklynn Blanchard Photography by Michael Beckerman GamerLife was born from a bullet to the leg, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. GamerLife was founded in 2005 when RH1N and T.G. broke off from their original group, World Class Game, to form GamerLife. This break-up might have had something to do with the aforementioned bullet that shattered T.G.'s femur, now replaced with a titanium rod, and put him in Saint Anthony Central Hospital for a week and into rehab for 6 months. Their first real gig was at the former “Snake Pit� and it hasn't exactly been an easy ride for the duo, both dealing with struggles ranging from a stint in jail to deaths of family members to having a child with Down Syndrome, but through all of the adversity they've faced GamerLife has still come out swinging. It seems that they might have paid their dues though because since the 2009 420 festival they have enjoyed a rise in popularity complete with all the trimmings: opening for Bone Thugs n Harmony, playing with the Oscar winning Three3Mafia, radio play, sold out shows, and what every musician secretly (or not so secretly) gets into the industry for, groupies. It seems that their days of playing dive bars might be in their rearview, but is MTV in their future?

How did GamerLife come to be?

T.G.: My name is just T.G., that's my initals.

T.G.: GamerLife first of all means “good at making emcees rewrite like it's freshman English”. The game is the dope game, the rap game...

RH1N: We don't have to come up with a gimmick because we really are this thing. There's no gimmick with us. It's our real names.

RH1N: It's just life in general.

T.G.: But T.G. stands for “Top Gun. (Laughs)

T.G.: The female game. Like everything. We like to play it well. We're gamers. So, it actually started with him (RH1N) before I met him. We used to be called “World Class Game” and they called each other gamers way before that term was even used.

What was your original vision and how has that changed?

RH1N: A gamer is someone who's above the ordinary. Somebody who's esoteric, different. We're not ordinary like these other people. We're not simple-minded. Everything we do is just aboveaverage. That's basically what I think of a gamer. What about your names? RH1N: I'm RH1N (Ren), Reality Has 1 Name, and it's a nickname. You can call me Ryan, you can call me RH1N. Nobody calls me “Reality Has 1 Name”.

T.G.: We were really just trying to make music that we wanted to listen to. But now we're tryin' to show people what they need to listen to. RH1N: Yeah, that all changed. T.G.: People in Denver, at least in our circle, they're just kinda behind, they listen to KS107.5. They listen to what they're forced to listen to and we don't agree with what they're forced to listen to. Now we're just trying to open people's minds and on the flip side of that we're emcees first of all, we are super lyrical so we're also trying to show these other cats that they can't rap.

RH1N: We're trying to take it in another direction. They're dumbing everything down and talking about the materialistic. People's songs nowadays sound like a clothing commercial or a jewelery commercial. We're totally against that.

T.G.: Our point at the shows is just to drop jaws and make people trip out. RH1N: And we do. T.G.: Heavy Metal future flow is what we call it.

T.G: Exactly. We're trying to show people that there's more out there. Cuz we listen to music from all over. RH1N:We talk about politics, the economy, and just things that really matter. I don't care what kind of clothes you've got or what kind of car you're driving. It makes no difference. Are your stage personas an extension of yourselves? T.G.: Definitely. We just grab the mic and just do what we do. We're just no holds barred. It's definitely a way for us to express ourselves. RH1N: It's therapy, that's how I look at it.

RH1N: Yeah, cuz you can't really categorize us into one genre. T.G.: And we do shows without the band with just our DJ too. If our promoter calls us and says that they have some other rappers or other Djs and that we would be the only band, they usually don't want us to bring the band. So, we just do our DJ stuff cuz there's the scene with the bands and there's the scene without the bands, it's just as big in Denver. So, yeah, we try to cover both cuz that's where we came from. RH1N: We've been doing the band thing for about a year and a half. It's very brand new, so that's the thing, these guys are older, they're like hair metal guys.

T.G.: But they're super musical and that's the main thing, they have that musical bone in them. So we're trying to school them to hip hop a little more, like the rhythms and stuff. Practice actually went really freaking well last night. RH1N: Yeah, so we're pretty excited about the future. We're trying to incorporate more electronic into our live-set too, like making it a kind of Linkin Park hybrid sound. Heavier and more hip-hop. How did your early experiences shape the direction that you've taken with GamerLife? T.G.: It's everything. RH1N: It's what made us. T.G.: Yeah, like yesterday made GamerLife. You know what I mean? We live off of our daily lives. That just made us who we are. If we didn't play all those shit shows then we wouldn't appreciate the shows that we have now. RH1N: It showed us how shady promoters are too. And we learned every aspect of the game by doing all that shit for all these years. We're about sixyears deep doing shows, so, yeah, we've learned a lot. You played your first gig at the Snake Pit in 2005. What was that like? RH1N: It actually was amazing, we had 200 people there. But the third one we had had 40 people there. So, it's been a freaking roller coaster with this. We were the only white dudes down there, we had to prove ourselves and do amazing shows for them to accept us. They used to like look at us like we were fucking idiots, but by the time we were done with our set they were all high-fiving and saying...

T.G.: Let's do a song together. That was a trip and I think that has a lot to do with our mentalities now. We've been there, done that, like the trial by fire kind of thing. RH1N: We had to learn to perform while people were judging us like crazy. It wasn't our friends watching us perform. Yeah, The Snake Pit was the first big show for us, we probably did like 60 or 70 shows there over three years. If you had become instantly successful after your Snake Pit show do you think your music would have suffered? RH1N: We wouldn't have been mentally ready. T.G.: We definitely feel ready mentally and musically to take to go to the next level now. It took a lot of hard lessons and learning who to trust and what to trust. RH1N: And how to promote. Just everything. We do everything ourselves now. We don't have a bookie manager, we don't have a promotional manager or all that shit. We do everything ourselves pretty much. Are you looking to get signed? RH1N: We're actually trying to stay independent. T.G: Maybe, if the right thing came along but that's not our goal. A distribution deal would benefit us the most. RH1N: There's really not much to look forward to as far as getting signed these days pretty much all the music companies, all the record companies, sign into Sony so everything is now Sony. There's no more record companies. How is that effecting music? RH1N: It made it easier for you to get heard, it's made it harder to get paid. But with the internet it's changed everything. Now it's a lot easier to get your stuff out there. Harder to make money but it's easier to be independent. T.G.: You've gotta make your money touring now. We went to Ohio and Nebraska last month to do a real tour, it was cool. It was with 8th ElemEnt, they're a local hip-hop label and we kinda just tagged along a little bit.

RH1N: We went to Cleveland and Scottsbluff. It was a cool experience. T.G.: Yeah, we're trying to network with other Djs and promoters in different cities. I think we'll start with like the four corners area. Your next album is tentatively titled “Denver Zoo 2”. What makes this different from your previous albums?

T.G.: Yeah, electronic. That's why the “vs. the Future” reference. What do you want GamerLife to be most remembered for? RH1N: Quality music that we always represented well. T.G: And that we stood up for the little guy.

T.G.: The whole reason behind “Zoo” was to get more people together in Denver and it was successful, but since then things have changed and people have faded away. Our focus now is on our next project, which is gonna come out on New Year's Eve 2011, it's gonna be called “GamerLife vs. the Future”. There's a lot of glitch, a lot of sort of techno sound.... RH1N: Electronic.

RH1N: That we stood up for what we believe and respected all values of life. T.G. We make music that Joe Blow can relate to. RH1N: We had fucked up childhoods and a lot of people can relate to what we say. That's what I'd want people to remember, that we got them through another day.

Cameron’s Fall Men’s Do’s and Don'ts by: Cameron Cowan

Do not let these trends happen to you! The sheer variety of men’s fall fashion trends is boggling my mind. There are skinny jeans, wide dress pants, skinny ties, wide ties, one issue of any men’s interest magazine besides Playboy can cause the men-folk a great deal of fashion confusion. Let me clear the air. Fall fashion, especially for men this year is a study in how to dress for your body.

Cameron’s Fashion rule #1: Just because it is in style doesn’t mean you should wear it. See this picture above. These wide pants make this gentlemen look awkward and unkept. The pants are fine they are (insert designer here) and are a great piece by themselves but they are just on the wrong body. Don’t try so hard.!

Cameron’s Fashion Rule #2 Accessories should enhance not look funny Here is a great example of a misuse of the wide tie. If you do not have the expansive chest or shoulders to accommodate something to massive on the body lay it aside for a 2 inch wide tie or slimmer so that the tie has the correct effect without looking out of place or making you look like you’re too small for your own clothes Cameron’s Fashion Rule #3 Be careful with patterns Patterns are everywhere this fall. You can find them on shirts, furniture, skirts and at some stores like our favorite red retailer, out of control. However, that does not mean that its 1975 and you can cover yourself with patterns a’la International Male of the same period. Pick one piece, have that be patterned and then match more quiet pieces around that. Buying clothes this fall could have any man covered in bright tasteless patterns. Do not let this be you!

Cameron’s Fashion Rule #4 Rings, watches, ear studs etc. Oh My! See all that advice above for patterns? Take the same advice for jewelry. The trend of big jewelry has hung on for far too long and even upscale watch makers are turning out pieces that are far too large for anyone’s wrist. If you happen to have forearms like Superman and a large watch looks good on your wrist then be my guest and buy one but for most guys it is going to look clunky and out of place. So keep the jewelry small, please.

One of the keys to turning great fashion into tremendous style (and yes there is a difference) is how you wear a certain garment. Great style icons put together great pieces that work for their body and then they make style look effortless and that is why we envy them. Cameron Cowan is a local stylist and designer in Denver, Colorado. You can get more fashion advice at or follow him on twitter @HausWidgery.

Urban Asian Kimono Dragons

Photography by: Deadfall Photography Hair by: Ashley Saltalamacchia Makeup by: Ashley Kelly Clothing by: Frances D. Roces of Kimono Dragons Styling by: Michael Imperatore

Gin Tasting Highlights


Ben Simons

No liquor cabinet is complete without a good bottle of gin. This versatile spirit is useful for a variety of cocktails and mixed drinks. Made from distilled grains and then redistilled with juniper berries and other botanicals and spices, gin can vary greatly from one brand to another. Here are some great options that should be available at a liquor store near you. Hendrick’s Gin Distilled in Scotland By far one of the most distinctive gins in the world, Hendrick’s features a polarizing gallery of 11 botanicals, as well as infusions of cucumber and rose essential oils. The botanicals are juniper cones, coriander, angelica root, lemon peel, orange peel, chamomile, Cubeb, elderflower, meadowsweet, caraway seeds and iris root. This gin is subtle, with floral and fresh cucumber notes coming to the forefront. Great for gin and tonic, especially when garnished with a slice of cucumber and a lime wedge. Tanqueray Gin Distilled in Scotland, UK Distilled with juniper, coriander, angelica, and liquorice, Tanqueray is a great example of a classic London dry gin. Tanqueray is perfect for use in a gin and tonic and other cocktails, or on its own. The refreshing pine and juniper notes will stand out in any context. Beefeater Gin Distilled in London, England Another London dry classic, Beefeater is actually the only London dry gin still distilled in London. Beefeater features a more varied mix of botanicals than the Tanqueray, including juniper, coriander, orange and lemon peels, angelica, liquorice, almond and orris root. This gin has a pleasant balance of juniper, spices, and citrus elements that make it a great fit for any cocktail. Bombay Sapphire Distilled in Chesire, England A slight variation on the London dry gin, Bombay Sapphire features juniper, almond, grains of paradise, lemon peel, liquorice, orris root, angelica, coriander, cassia bark, and cubeb berries. Aromatic and well balanced, this gin is perfect in both gin and tonic and martinis, and is also a great fit for other cocktails. Subtle juniper notes combine with crisp citrus and a touch of orient spice. Plymouth Gin Distilled in Plymouth, England Plymouth gin is the name of both the brand and the style of gin, which is less dry than its cousin the London dry. Juniper, angelica root, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, lemon peel, orange peel, and orris root form the botanical makeup of this gin. Subtle and smooth, this gin makes an excellent martini that might prove to be a good gateway to drinkers who have been put off by more overpowering gins in the past. Aviation Gin Distilled in Portland, OR An American twist on the English classic, this off-dry gin features juniper, cardamom, lavender, sarsaparilla, coriander, anise seed, dried sweet orange peel. The flavors of this gin are more nuanced and balanced than many gins, with juniper actually taking a back seat to the floral and spice notes of lavender and sarsaparilla. Some distinctive earthy notes also find their way into the mix. A great gin for martinis, gin and tonic, or for its name-sharing Aviation cocktail.

Fall and Winter Trends By: Tate Alyson Fisher Sweltering summer fun has slowly morphed into crisp fall comfort, and the new season has introduced a fresh start. We trade in our flip flops for trendy flats and rustic boots; our tank tops get tucked away and are replaced with our favorite long-sleeves; and skirts and shorts take a back seat to denim and corduroy. Although flirty summer trends left a smile on our faces, fall fashion has moved in to warm our hearts. Whether you are entertaining clients, enjoying family affairs or embarking on a special occasion, the richness of autumn inspires alluring outfits. Women are donning lace, layered with patterns and textures, autumn florals and intense, bold hues. Velvet and velour dresses offer both comfort and sass, and long skirts keep you warm and keep your man guessing. The cozy clothing of this season, such as furs, quilted fabrics and wool are emerging in creative style from head to toe; and coats—from blazers to parkas—pair nicely with feminine dresses. Accessories add spunk and yield versatility; a red or caramel hand bag and a fun textured belt take your outfit from predictable to precocious. And don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and head for a spunky 40’s style dress or a geometric 60’s blouse. There seems to be an underlying theme of “old meeting new”— vintage tradition with modern femininity.

Even if your budget steers you away from Vera Wang or Bottega Veneta, you can still rock the latest fall fashion with Missoni for Target or Elle for Kohl’s. When all else fails, head for the look of retro romance…you must have something in your closet that makes you want to go kick up the golden leaves. And let’s not forget our men…who may opt to hit the local sports bar to see their favorite uniformed men passing pigskin instead of rustling leaves with you. Sports fan or not, a good man will take note of what he throws on in the morning. Whether you are drawn toward the sophistication of Hugo Boss, the rustic sex appeal of True Religion or the “unconventional chic” of LaCoste, fall trends have got you covered. You can pair your dark wash skinny jeans with neutral plaids, add a killer scarf to a basic-T or turn to a local designer for something a bit more edgy (see page 48 KimonoDragons). GQ’s deputy editor, Michael Hainey reminds us that “men buy the temperature, not the calendar”(GQ March Issue, P.132), and designers are one step ahead of that mentality. And, contrary to disparaging opinions, your sexual preference does not dictate your fashion sense. Men can have fun with autumn magnetism too. It’s fall. The leaves outside will be transforming, your fireplace will be getting its inaugural flame and your wardrobe will be hailing the beauty of the season.

Bringing Awareness Nuts for Fashion does not only raise alert for a good cause, but for the Denver fashion scene, as well ! By: Hart Dubois When most people think of Denver, they envision a mountainous skyline, soft powdery snow perfect for skiing, familial suburban neighborhoods and, of course, cows. A chic and extremely talented fashion scene is not the first thing to come to mind when Colorado is brought up in conversation, but the Nuts for Fashion charity event on September 19th proved otherwise. The Nuts for Fashion show was put on by the charity, Besties with Testies, an organization created to benefit testicular cancer, and blew all the stereotypes of an uncultured and stagnant Denver out of the water. Held at the Summit Music Hall, Nuts for Fashion was a night of exceptional local music and brilliant designs by the cities hottest designers. The bands at Nuts for Fashion showed off an eclectic array of Denver’s most sought after sounds. From indie rock to hip hop, no matter what your musical preference, you could be sure to find it between sets at the Nuts for Fashion event. Poet’s Row was one such act that did not fail to impress even those with the toughest hearts. The acoustic duo played simple, yet endearingly genuine songs that catered to those fans of both indie and folk genres. Popcult was another serene, yet potent act of the night. The trio’s music could be compared to echoes through the air on a hot summer’s night. A mixture of Coldplay and My Morning Jacket, Popcult is a band clearly ready for some worldwide recognition. For the Rock-A-Billy crowd there were the Trailor Park Playboys, whose knee-slapping melodies and humorous lyrics helped carry-out a fun and energetic set with three men who obviously do not take life too seriously. Just as with the musicians of the evening, the designers of the Nuts for Fashion event illustrated the extraordinary talent Denver is harboring within its skyscrapers. The fashion show was separated into three sets with Fahrenkamp Apparel, Kahlia Clothing and 927 Designs in the first set, Amore Loves and Marlaesk in the second set, and a compilation from Rakun shop, Champagne Clothing and designs by Julie Ann in the third set.

A major theme treading down the runway was the vintage look, and, from cocktail dresses to summer shorts and T’s, it seemed as though many of the designers incorporated classical elements into their designs. Floral prints were also trending big at this fashion show, making sure the carefree and whimsical attitude of spring and summer carries all the way into fall. The creators of Nuts for Fashion deserve recognition for bringing together so many varied designers and clothing lines. Each set had something for everyone, keeping the audience captivated and making even the least fashion savvy onlooker feel incorporated. Relatable to those spectators who preferred jeans and a T-shirt to anything fancy, Kahlia Clothing’s T-shirt line was casual and comfortable, as Champagne clothing’s humorous and unconventional shirts and handbags held particular interest to those looking to make an artistic statement. In contrast, 927 Designs catered to those girly girls who could not live without their cocktail dresses or summer frocks, and Fahrenkamp Apparel had sultry and trendy clothes for the Fashionistas who were present. Even Rakun, an inspiring boutique that thrives with local creativity, had a collaborative collection walk down the runway, sporting out-of-the box outfits and madefrom-scratch accessories. Amore Loves and Marlaesk are favorites in the Denver fashion scene, and after watching their clothes modeled down the runway, it was easy to see why. Amore Loves (designer Amanda Anderson) had a certain 1940’s secretary meets modern business women feel. Anderson described her style as a, “vintage renewal,” and explained that she “takes vintage inspired pieces and adds a modern twist,” which is obvious when gazing at her retro designs. When asked what the main trend was going to be this fall, Anderson said, “the tailored preppy-look. Bowties and sweater vests, along with oversized grandpa sweaters and vintage floral prints.”

All of which she incorporated into her unique and classy designs. Amore Loves had an ensemble for any occasion, from funky business attire to fashionable school wear. Marlaesk (designer Bradi MacSleyne) was another designer who did not fail to impress with her fanciful, sexy outfits that one could wear out on a date or out on the town. Marlaesk has a knack for glamorous fabrics that flow with the models natural curves. Another favorite of the night was Julie Ann, an up-and-coming artist with an eye for beautiful prints and femininely elegant clothing. Her sleek black dresses with bold flower prints stole the show and made for a great final set to close on. The crew at Besties with Testies did not disappoint, and included bands and fashion lines that everyone in attendance could appreciate. Bands that could melt your heart or get your body moving and clothes that could make you seem ultra-professional or totally wild were the sensations of the night. The Nuts for Fashion event successfully made the statement that Denver has some of the hottest and most talented up-coming designers around. The Denver fashion scene is not to be ignored. Breaking down barriers and screaming to be seen, it is no longer a timid, underground movement, but a confident and untamed force.

Photography provided by Ashley Cooke

Cheap Tricks Nights Out On the Town With a Budget By: Hart Dubois

Sometimes, you just need a night out. Whether it is to let off steam after a tedious work day, vent after a tumultuous break-up, celebrate a special occasion or just spend time with your closest friends, having an enjoyable night out should never take a backseat to finances. Unfortunately, more and more people are staying in to shelter their wallets from the not-so-pleasant economy. Well, sagacious spenders and cautious consumers, you are in luck. Denver is one of the greatest cities around for those trying to live it up while still fiscally hunkering down. Mondays do not have to be a dreary start to the work week any longer. Head to The Hornet, located on Broadway just a block away from the Mayan Theatre. Catch a movie, then enjoy The Hornet’s $4.50 Olmeca Altos Margaritas, as well as $3.50 draft beers. While there, take part in its Happy Hour from 3-6 P.M. The Hornet’s daily Happy Hour includes $3.00 drafts, wells and house wines, and half off all appetizers. Denverites can also find local music every Monday at one of Colfax’s most famous “jamband” bars, Sancho’s Broken Arrow. Music aficionados and cocktail devotees alike can enjoy themselves at Sancho’s with local bands, heavy pours and average drink prices of $3.00. If you are a diehard comedy enthusiast, than laugh your Tuesday night away at Squire Lounge. This local dive-bar on Colfax is a second home to a diverse group of people, from the trendy to the down-trodden. Good humor and cheap beer brings the masses together on Tuesday nights with Squire Lounge’s Open Mic Night. Beat your Hump Day blues with Hapa Sushi’s infamous Happy Hour. While sipping the stress of your week away with $3.50 Sake drinks and $3.00 beers, you can indulge in 2 for $7.00 sushi rolls.

Another great Wednesday night excursion is Black Pearl restaurant on Pearl Street. Black Pearl is known for its upscale contemporary menu made out of fresh and local produce. Each day from 4-6 P.M., Black Pearl offers half off all drinks and oysters, and if you are up late looking for something other than Diner food, enjoy the restaurants eclectic late night menu, which includes items such as chorizo corn dogs and duck tenders. Thursdays are the new Friday, boasting some of the best specials in Denver, such as at Spill nightclub and CRU wine bar. Thursday nights from 9-midnight, Spill offers $3 Skyy Vodka drinks and shots, and $4 well drinks. CRU wine bar attracts those looking for a reasonably priced night out with its Thursday night special that includes half off all bottles of champagne and a $3 small plates menu from 4-7 P.M. If you are looking for a fine dining atmosphere with a low-cost menu, Ototo on Pearl Street on Friday and Saturday nights is the place to be. From 10 until closing, Ototo has $2 Samurai and Pabst beers, $5 well cocktails and glasses of wine, and a well priced tapas menu. If you enjoy gazing at art, try attending the Santa Fe artwalk every first Friday of the month and then jumping into Interstate Kitchen and Bar for their late night Happy Hour menu and extensive whisky list. Sundays are all about Barry’s on Broadway and its $2.00 you-call-its. The former home of Skylark now holds a new bar that advertises the cheapest drinks on Broadway, and promises if you win at skeeball, you get a complimentary shot of your choice. So, whether you seek fine dining or a down home dive-bar with a diner style menu, there are inexpensive ways to have an entertaining night doing whatever you desire.

18 Key Factors for Producing a Successful Runway Show by: Michael Beckerman

Michael Beckerman Photography for Colorado Fashion Week 2011

2. Model Staging Area Does the venue you will be holding your fashion show in have a separate Model Staging Area? Every fashion show needs to have a separate Model Staging Area that can be used by models, makeup artists, stylists and designers to prepare in before a show begins. This area needs to be entirely separate from the main runway area. Ideally, none of the models should be seen by anyone outside of the Model Staging Area prior to the start of the show. This will allow for the model's appearance out on the runway to have maximum impact and effect for the audience during the show. Is the Model Staging Area big enough to hold all the models, makeup artists, stylists and designers that will be in the show? If you try and cram ten designers, five makeup artists and thirty models into a 15x15 ft. prep area, no one will have the space they need to properly prepare for the show and tempers will likely soon flare as a result. If you don’t have a large enough staging area to properly prep for the show in, then you don't have the right venue to host a show. The Model Staging Area needs to be large enough to comfortably accommodate everyone that will need to be working back stage at the show. Are there enough electrical outlets in the Model Staging Area? These will be necessary for the hair stylists and makeup artists to be able to plug in hot irons, curlers and rollers. The more electrical outlets the staging area has the better. You do not want to be running multiple extension cords off of outlet strips and overloading electrical outlets, resulting in both significant trip and fall risks and potential fire hazards.

Are all electrical cables in the Model Staging Area securely taped down to the floor? Just like on a professional movie set, any and all cables that are running across an area where people will be walking need to be thoroughly taped down to the ground (using wide masking tape, duct tape or gaffer’s tape) to prevent someone from tripping and falling. Taping down of cables should be done as soon as any cables are put in place. Serious liability issues can result if someone trips, falls and gets hurt at a show because a cable was not properly secured and taped down to the floor back stage in the Model Staging Area. Are there mirrors and sufficient lighting in the model staging area? Mirrors will always be helpful for models, hair stylists and makeup artists to use to check hair, makeup and outfits before going out on the runway. Models shouldn’t have to be constantly running back and forth to the bathrooms just to have access to mirrors to check and recheck their hair and makeup. Additionally, the hair stylists and makeup artists will need adequate lighting to be able to see what they are doing while prepping models for the show. Having a large 5,000 square foot staging area does you no good at all if there isn’t enough lighting in place for anyone to see what they are doing. Make absolutely sure that there will be adequate lighting in the Model Staging Area before the show starts, before deciding on a venue for a show. If there are windows in the room that will be used as the staging area, be sure and check the lighting conditions in that room after dark, if the show will be held in the evening. An area with widows may look great during the day and then be far too dark to us at night, if proper lighting is not in place. 3. Controlling access to the Model Staging Area Can you keep very tight control over who will be allowed into the Model Staging Area? Keeping tight control over who can and cannot enter the Model Staging Area is vital to running a successful show. It is important to be very strict about this before, during and after the event. Only event staff, venue staff, models, promoters, stylists, makeup artists and pre-approved professional photographers that have been hired to shoot the event should be allowed in the Model Staging Area. That means no friends of models, no family members of models, no guests and absolutely, under no circumstances, any boyfriends or significant others of the models. Access to the staging area must be very tightly controlled at all times to keep a show running smoothly and on schedule. Having unnecessary people that aren't part of the show in the Model Staging Area is one of the fastest ways to cause problems before a show and potentially delay a show’s start time. Also, remember that models will likely be either naked or very close to naked in the Model Staging Area at some point, both when they are preparing for a show and shortly after the show concludes. You do not want a drunk guests from the show with cameras back in the Model Staging Area before or after a show trying to snap pictures of models while they are changing. Professional photographers at the show that are well trained and experienced know this is something that they would never consider doing themselves as it would instantly ruin their reputation and credibility in the fashion industry (they would be effectively committing professional suicide by doing this even once at a show). Drunk guests at a venue however, cannot be held to anywhere near as high of a moral or ethical standard of conduct and absolutely must be kept out of the Model Staging Area at all times during a show to prevent problems from occurring.

Michael Beckerman Photography for Colorado Fashion Week 2011

Have you created Back Stage Passes to hand out only to those that are in the show? The best way to control access to the Model Staging Area is to post security personnel at each of the entrances and have Back Stage Passes created for the show. The passes should then be given out ONLY to those that have a need to be back stage during the show. When passes are used, only those holding a valid Back Stage Pass for the event are granted access to the Model Staging Area. This restriction of access needs to apply uniformly at all times, before, during and after the show. Using passes is the simplest way to address and resolve the problem of having unnecessary people in the Model Staging Area that could potentially delay or disrupt the show. It is best to explain this restriction to all models, hair stylists, makeup artists and photographers far in advance of the show (this should also be printed clearly on the back of the Back Stage Pass itself so there is no confusion about it what so ever). Everyone needs to understand, right from the very start, that for security reasons access to the Model Staging Area will be very tightly controlled and restricted throughout the entire event. It is important to set this expectation early on with everyone that is involved in the show so there are no surprises on the day of the event. In addition to keeping a show on schedule, restricting access to the Model Staging Area during a show also improves security. Unfortunately, many models have experienced theft and loss of personal property during fashion shows, due to a lack of any type of substantive security or restrictions on access. Many models have lost cash, jewelry and expensive cell phones from staging areas during fashion shows where security was not taken seriously. Tightly controlling access to the Model Staging Area with well trained security personnel and Back Stage Passes is a critically important element for running a successful show. Instructing all models to leave any expensive or valuable items at home during a show is the best way to prevent thefts. Taking these kinds of proactive steps will greatly cut down on potential disruptions and keep the show running smoothly and on schedule. (This article is an excerpt of the second and third sections from the guide “18 Key Factors for Producing a Successful Fashion Show� from Michael Beckerman is a fashion photographer based in Denver, CO)

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