The Oriental Opry – From Coffeehouse to The Big House

Genuine. Organic.  Vintage. Authentic.

These are just a few words that hit the nail on the head when discussing the Oriental Opry, an event held at The Oriental Theater the second Tuesday of each month. Two Sundays ago, I met with Jane Manly and Joe Kellogg, the master-minds behind this great event that aims to strengthen the community through musicianship. After witnessing two captivating Oprys, I had to get the behind-the-scenes-scoop!

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Jane Manly and Joe Kellogg, organizers of The Oriental Opry. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Feb 2014

So how did The Opry start? The event actually stems from weekly jam sessions out of musician and friend, Rick Franz’s, garage. Jam sessions grouped with (Jane Manly and her friend, Vince Leclair’s,) suggestion of the band Dirt Simple taking the big stage at the Oriental Theater, and BOOM! The Oriental Opry was born last June 2013.

A variety show, The Oriental Opry aims to provide a variety of acts, currently consisting mostly of folk, blue grass, jazz and blues music. Coming up, Jane, the producer and organizer, is working on integrating other community acts, including magic and performances by kids in the community.

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Shots from the first Oriental Opry that DenverSpeax attended in January 2014 – we were instantly hooked! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

What makes The Oriental Opry so unique and special is that it’s “all about putting local musicians on the stage to create community; it’s about bringing people together”, Joe said best. Musicians reinforce this sense of community and camaraderie  by collaborating with each other on stage- many times without sheet music, simply supporting their fellow musicians. The musicians, Jane, and Joe rely heavily on word-of-mouth advertising for the Oriental Opry each month. No one participates in this event for the money – performers trust Jane’s producing skills and Joe as the MC, while musicians and viewers alike understand the mission behind The Oriental Opry.

Jane and Joe have created a supportive environment allowing musicians an opportunity to make the move from playing at the coffee house to performing in the big house. “The Oriental Opry allows musicians that are isolated to come together and collaborate”, explained the two, continuously stressing the importance of the community the event creates. Additionally, they described the amazing support they receive for the event from Oriental Theater owners Scott LaBarbera and Andy Bercaw. Lots of love toward them as well as Lara Moore for all of their assistance and belief in this fantastic event.

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Jeffrey Dallet and band at the February 12th, 2014 Oriental Opry event. See more photos by clicking on pic and visiting our Facebook page! Credit: Steve Mercer, Feb 2014.

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Nearly There jamming at the Opry! Credit: Steve Mercer, Feb 2014

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Come check out the talented musicians at the Oriental Opry – check them out by clicking on the pic above to be brought to their Facebook page. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Feb 2014

Once you experience this show, it will be easy to understand and feel a necessity to share in the mission; it’s not just another event – it’s a great time with some of the most talented musicians DenverSpeax has ever heard. They have a knack for entertainment, allowing you to forget to check the time on your watch and how many likes you got on your Facebook selfie that evening. The sounds are creative and captivating, all while giving you a sense of inclusion into The Opry’s community.

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Check out The Oriental Opry every 2nd Tuesday of every month at The Oriental Theater. March 11th, 2014, is the next Oriental Opry – don’t miss it!

For information on playing in the Oriental Opry, please contact Jane Manly for additional information via the Oriental Opry’s Facebook Page.

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The Oriental Theater: A Tennyson Staple

Here’s a place we feel doesn’t get nearly enough credit for the incredible acts and fantastic shows put on: The Oriental Theater.

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The Oriental Opry, Jan 14th, 2014. Top: the Oriental Theater’s marquee. Bottom: Friends jamming at the Oriental Opry. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

Located at 44th and Tennyson in Denver, CO, sits this intimate venue, boasting performances by such greats as Leon Russell. The charming, vintage environment enhances the experience – the murals, grand stage, lush curtains, and statuesque balcony come together to form a bold statement about the place – it’s a staple within the community.

Our first visit to the Oriental Theater was to experience the Oriental Opry – a night chocked full of groups of friends performing various blues, bluegrass, and jazz tunes, both original and recreated. Because of the close-knit community and camaraderie of the musicians that grace the stage at the Oriental Theater, we immediately felt at home.

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Mike & Moses playing a slow, jazz number. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

The Oriental Theater also hosts other events aside from live music; comics grace the presence of the stage, as well as this past Superbowl 48 game! Upcoming, Oriental Theater will host Masters of the Brewniverse this Thursday, February 13th. 15 breweries will provide unlimited tastings and participate in a beer pageant (yes, a pageant). $25 scores you unlimited craft brew samples and admission to watch the competition. Even COOLER – 100% of the profits go toward the Mile High United Way.

For more great events, check out the schedule here on the Oriental Theater’s official website. Ticket prices are extremely reasonable, the staff are kind and knowledgable, and the experience surely memorable.

We will see you all at Masters of the Brewniverse this Thursday!

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. at the Bluebird Theater in Denver, Colorado

Detroit natives Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. will be hitting the Bluebird Theater stage Saturday, March 8th, 2014. Tickets are only $15 in advance and $17 at the door, catering to ages 16+.

We’re suckers for happy-fun-sunshine, toe-tappin’, positive vibe music, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. definitely delivers on all counts. The fact that they never really planned to make it big, as well as choosing a band name that seeks out musically open-minded individuals only adds to the cool factor of this band.

Before or after the show, hit up Goosetown Tavern across the street and get some great grub! Maybe a pint to wash it down with as well.

Hope to see you at the show!

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Hilarious in a Bad Way – The Book of Mormon

Another fantastic product of Colorado – The Book of Mormon, created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker – the guys who brought you South Park. I kicked myself for not seeing the most recent show here in Denver, but will definitely be ready when the tour returns in 2015! Check out this fantastic review from Bucket List Publications. Make sure you stop by their blog and show ’em some love.

Sleigh Bells – Bluebird Theater on Colfax

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Super excited to see Sleigh Bells play at the Bluebird here on Colfax. Doldrums just finished an epic set, and now it’s just a waiting game…
It’s our first time at the Bluebird, and I’ve got to say – what a sweet venue! Honestly, there’s really not a bad seat in the house. Yeah, my Coors draft was $5, but I didn’t expect any less.
If you didn’t make the show…

I’m sorry. You’re missing out.

More soon! Happy hump day, Denverites.

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The Story Portal – How cool is THAT?

An interactive stage built around the idea of sharing real, true, and raw experience, The Story Portal is trying to raise money for further improving this project, and taking it to the grand stage of Burning Man in August 2013; visit their official website to lend your support. Check out their Facebook Page and see what they’re all about – it’s a very unique and interesting concept of community that I think would be incredible to experience live!

Credit to the StoryPortal’s official site for the video posted here.

https://www.facebook.com/TheStoryPortal
http://thestoryportal.org