MCA Denver Black Sheep Fridays

Girl in Museum

I’ve always loved museums, the feeling of being on sacred ground, the precious things, the food court. And I’m lucky enough to live in Denver, a town whose museum and cultural scene is blowing up. It’s not just stuffy, dark mineral halls either. Lately it’s really cool, thoughtful exhibitions and experiences that are drawing out people who might not immediately associate a Friday night museum visit with outlandish fun.

MCA Denver, our contemporary art museum, continues to crush it with an event they call “Black Sheep Fridays” – it’s a themed (!!!) evening that ranges from “Spam Poetry” where they had local Denver poets read guests’ spam emails (as amazing as it sounds) to an event where you can make a cake with the artist/actor/rapper Drake’s face on it. Magic. Pure, totally weird magic. Plus, this experience comes with a band, a bar, and access to all the museum exhibits for the insanely low price of $5.

I adore everything about this idea – with Black Sheep Fridays, MCA Denver shows a sense of humor about art that gives people an access point. It’s fun and quirky, but it also exposes world class contemporary art to the guy who might have just come to the event because of the bar and live music. Maybe the dude will drink his beer and split, but maybe he’ll take a moment and look at piece and think about how it makes him feel. MCA Denver is meeting people where they are and opening its doors wide to any riff raff (i.e. myself) who are looking for something cheap to do on a Friday night. It’s taking the museum out of the ivory tower and into the weird, crunchy alley for everyone to enjoy.

I love it so much. Stay strange, MCA Denver.

*Just to clarify: I adore the mineral halls at Denver Museum of Nature and Science. I always make the same joke to my beloved that I’m making my Christmas list when we’re going by the gems and we laugh and laugh. **

**No one laughs at that joke but me. And I make it every single time.

Thump Coffee


Three years ago I was new to Denver and felt very much like a small country mouse who had been plopped down in the middle of city mouse’s super hip neighborhood. Down the block from my beloved, basement, slum-lord apartment was a new coffee shop that seemed like a place where I could meet some friends.

Just kidding, one does not meet friends in a hip coffee shop unless you’re on a 90s sitcom.

That new coffee shop was Thump Coffee (13th and Downing, Denver) and it’s become one of my favorite spots. Not because the coffee is good (It’s really not. There are a lot of “notes of lavender” on their coffee menus which is a giant red flag for a woman who once ran out of coffee filters in college and used paper towels. I do not need lavender, I need caffeine and to be left alone) but because the food is amazing.

Thump has biscuits and gravy. I repeat, Thump Coffee has biscuits and gravy. And it’s become my biggest and most treasured vice. Forget smoking, sex with strangers or heroin. Just give me that gravy.

I feel like it’s my civic duty to tell everyone that staff do call carry out orders of their biscuits and gravy “B&G on Wheels” –  which is especially mortifying when you’re standing there in your pajamas waiting to carry your slightly gross breakfast back to your basement apartment without all the beautiful people on their Mac Books noticing. Please quit yelling “B&G on Wheels” barista. I beg of you. It’s weird, it makes people look up from their computers and it draws attention to the fact that I’m wearing fleece pants with candy canes on them and it’s March.

But besides their weird code names of things and their too cool vibe, Thump Coffee is a pretty amazing neighborhood asset. They are (hilariously) pulling out all of their laptop plugs later in the month, in an effort to keep the crowds cycling through, but an hour of coffee drinking and people watching at Thump Coffee is about as long as you need to be in the space before you realize it might be good to be out in the real world. A world that doesn’t smell like Madewell denim and lavender coffee. A world where biscuits and gravy is not “B&G on wheels” and a world where wearing candy cane pants in March is considered chic and daring*.

Give Thump a go, it’s fabulous. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

*Sadly, this world does not exist.