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Love + Light: A Fun new Art Adventure in Downtown Loveland!

If you have not yet checked out the first annual event at the historic Feed and Grain building in Loveland you still have a chance. Going on this weekend February 10th through the 12th Love + Light showcases an energizing assortment of local artists from multiple disciplines that is sure to please everyone.

When I first arrived on Friday night I was not sure what to expect. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t apprehensive about the evening given the very small amount of information I had about the event. When I first arrived in the area I had no idea that the masses of people and cars were all there to see the show. There was a fifteen minute line outside the building to get in because the fire code only permits them to have 72 people in the building at a time. This made for a pleasantly populated space inside with just the right amount of room to get around and see the displays. Outside live performers kept the spectators entertained with musical light performances and fire dancing.

The wide range of artwork included everything from abstract constructions, steam punk technology, speaking narratives, color changing light art, photography and even a large oil paining gallery. The displays are located in several buildings around the grounds with a nicely decorated school buss dedicated to children’s art, an outdoor area with ice sculptures, the main building housing the bulk of the art and a building just for photography featuring a display from G. Mark Lewis in its main front room with rooms showcasing other photographers as well.

From the classic to the freshly invented Love + Light is a show worth seeing. Did I mention that its free?

http://www.facebook.com/events/305994062780234/

Historic Loveland Feed and Grain, 130 W 3rd, Loveland, CO

 

Cirque Voltaire Deux

Walking into The Oriental Theater I felt an odd transformation happen at the doors as though I was entering another time and world. The Oriental was not just a theater on this night, as it had been transformed into Cirque Voltaire Deux a circus/museum displaying the oddities and genius of The Mad Tatters and the many other great artists that had joined in for the festivities! Definitely under dressed for the evening I felt lost in a crowd of corsets, fishnets, vests and top hats but enthralled with the dark beauty that surrounded me. The crowd with their inspired attire made the occasion even more vivid and only hinted at what was in store for the night. To begin The Mad Tatters displayed some of their inspiration for the event along with various other artist and vendors in an art showcase. Set before us was a beautiful glimpse into an odd world that seemed to be coming to life throughout The Oriental Theater. A world that beckoned the audience to the theater as Cirque Voltaire Deux was about to begin.

Fadey's Freak Show

Dr. B. Zurk one half of The Mad Tatters began the show with some musical shenanigans and chaos. With a couple brass horns in chase, he ran around the stage and audience in his top hat making an entertaining scene, even riding a tricycle. A great beginning to an evening that was full of surprises, starting with the Fort Collins group Fadey’s Freak Show and their many amazing presentations of human endurance. One man walked and jumped on glass without so much as cringe, while his partner laying on a bed of nails allowed three people to jump atop his belly! ( See video here).

Chalita Bang Bang

Pretty crazy but not as big a surprise as the bearded woman or the monkey Chalita Bang Bang, one in the same each changed into a beautiful burlesque dancer right before our eyes( See video here).

Lynx the Animator

The magic for the evening came from Lynx the Animator a street magician with a sense of humor and a foul mouth. With some amazing tricks, he proved his magic wasn’t out weighed by his mouth and he even had a minion that trolled the audience for volunteers.

All through out the night an amazing mix of  burlesque dancing took place, every performance ending in beauty but none beginning the same. Two of the dancers started as demented dolls dressed in polka dot dresses, cutting the  heads from other dolls with a guillotine. An interesting image that slowly built into an incredible balancing burlesque act( See video here)! The same two dancers came back with a third and to raise the stakes the group took the show to the air, each performing intense aerial maneuvers that seemed effortless and flowed smooth and sweet as any dance but just above our heads.

Aerial Act

The Mad Tatters out did themselves and topped it of with two outstanding bands. First was Champagne Charlie a nice group of hooligans purveying their infectious, jazz, dark cabarette to the crowd, they kept the dance floor moving and everyone’s feet stomping. With a dark style and songs like Billy the Burning Business man Champagne Charlie was the perfect group of mortals to open for The Widow’s Bane and a great choice by The Mad Tatters who couldn’t have chosen two better bands to represent Cirque Voltaire Deux.

The headliners for the evening, The Widow’s Bane immersed the audience in their world, with stories from their beginnings aboard the devils ship and their escape, to experiences along their path. Such as an encounter with a snake charming hussy that kills one of their band mates, before joining the band. With such an existence it’s no surprise that they could produce a song like “Burns”, it chills one to the bones with its message to mortals and dark chorus. As The Widow’s Bane ended their set and the night came to an end, the world I enjoyed all night slipped away as I left the Oriental Theater. Yes, The Mad Tatters did a great job on Cirque Voltaire Deux, with such a great line up, we can’t wait to see what’s next!

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New West Fest 2011

Another year of New West Fest (23rd to be exact) and Bohemian Nights at New West Fest has passed and with it another excellent time! With the downtown streets full of food, vendors, carnival rides and nine stages of entertainment it was another weekend jam packed with excitement!  You could have started at the Creative Garden, described as a café-style oasis it took over the parking lot behind The Aggie Theater with hands on arts demos, gourmet food and specialty beer. The Garden also included many artists and hosted The Bohemian Nights Singer/Songwriter stage as well as a family friendly Performing Arts stage. From here it was just a short walk to the Dance Showcase Stage, a stage dedicated to anything dance from cultural and belly dances to jazz and hip hop this tent kept things moving all day Saturday and Sunday.

After moving your hips a little it might have been time to let the kids indulge in their very own stage, the Kid’s World Stage in Library Park. Host to a list of kid friendly activities from magic and comedy to martial arts, tumbling and weapons demos even an adult might get sucked in at this stage for a bit. If not, Library Park also offered one of the primary music stages and played host to many great bands including SHEL a group of four sisters that have already rocked SXSW in Austin this year (see video of SHEL’s 2011 Bohemian Nights set at hyphytek.net) or the Emmitt-Nershi Band a forward thinking modern blue grass band including Drew Emmitt of Left Over Salmon and Bill Nershi of The String Cheese Incident.

Once done hanging in the park one might have wondered through downtown Fort Collins enjoying the multitude of vendors that filled the streets, everything from feather earrings and extensions to massages and sunglasses. After getting your fill of Monkey balls, meat on a stick or Gyros and finding everything your heart desired it was time for more music and this time it was your turn. Just pick one of the many beautifully painted pianos hanging around Old Town and play, maybe some Chopsticks or that Elton John song that you just can’t seem to remember the name of. No matter what tune you play, nothing’s better than karaoke on the streets. But before your throat goes rasp and you lose your voice, it’s time to move on for more music and eighty Colorado bands!

Next it’s on to the Old Town Square Stage, a permanent stage nestled in the middle of Old Town Square it plays host to music year round. This year many great Fort Collins bands played the Old Town Square Stage including The Grippe, Dead Floyd, Sour boy Bitter Girl, The Nu Classics and Fierce Bad Rabbit (see an interview with Fierce Bad Rabbit and video from their 2011 Bohemian Nights set at hyphytek.net) as well as two stellar bands from Boulder, Supercollider and The Widows Bane (see an interview with Jon Gray of Supercollider and video of both Supercollider’s and The Widows Bane’s 2011 Bohemian Nights set at hyphytek.net). After enjoying the music in Old Town Square it’s time to move on to the Linden Street Stage. On your way you’ll have your choice of stopping by the beer garden or refilling your water bottle at the free refill station. With plenty of beer in the multiple beer gardens it’s always good to see plenty of water available and free! At the Linden Street Stage you’ll find some more great Colorado bands including The Motet, The Rewards, Elway, Air Dubai and The Wire Faces (see video of Air Dubai and The Wire Faces 2011 Bohemian Nights set at hyphytek.net).

By now it could be late and the headliner Tedeschi Trucks band might be found at the Mountain Avenue Stage. Or you might find one of the many Colorado bands raging from the Mountain Avenue stage like The Dovekins, The Lionel Young Band, White Water Ramble, Musketeer Gripweed, The Patti Fiasco or The Big Motif (see an interview with The Big Motif and video of both The Big Motif and The Patti Fiasco’s 2011 Bohemian Nights set at hyphytek.net). No matter which way you choose to experience Bohemian Nights and New West Fest this year, you had a great time and most likely experienced something new and worth coming back for!

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Our day at Colorado Cutt Throat Supercon

Colorado Cutthroat Connection Super Con report

It’s about that time again when video game tournaments are at an all-time high. Los Angeles hosts EVO while Japan is home to Godsgarden, but unless you have the time and money to attend these (and if you do, we’re jealous), where is a local player to go to participate in such gaming events? The Colorado Cutthroat Connection event has you covered. These guys host about 5 tournaments every year all over the US. One of the more prominent ones was just held in Denver during the last weekend in July, and we were glad to attend. If you wish to partake in some fighting game goodness, this is the place to be.

When we departed for this event we weren’t sure what to expect, as our experience with fighting game tournaments had been limited to local anime cons, which is admittedly a very different atmosphere. Were the players going to be the dreaded anti-social stereotype of elite players, or would they welcome newcomers with open arms and freshly-modded controllers? I am grateful it turned out to be the latter, and in the end it was a rewarding and fun experience. I have never met a friendlier group of people for a gaming event. The Cutthroat guys definitely go out of their way to make sure you have fun at this mini gaming con. It’s a one day event that’s filled with more than just fighting game, since it has room for other types of gamers to have fun, even including space for some classic convention DDR. Their main focus is still the fighting games, of course. They were running tournaments all day long for Mortal Kombat, MVC3, Super Street Fighter 4 AE, and Blazblue. In addition they ran workshops in some of the other rooms instructing people on how to improve their skills, complete with random trivia for prizes. There is always something to do all day long regardless of your game preference.

It was a lot of fun and everyone there far exceeded expectations. We got some great tips on modding arcade sticks at the event which I have been excitedly working on in my spare time. For an event focused on fighting tournaments, these guys know how to do it right. And it’s not just a one-time event, they manage to keep it running multiple times throughout the year! The man in charge, Greg, is so dedicated that he has fighting game parties at his place just for people to come and enjoy the atmosphere. Anyone looking for some fellow players for a match or even just wanting some tips for major tournaments should check these guys out. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions either, you never know what handy tips you might pick up. These guys are exceptional and just want to do whatever they can to help improve your game.

Also look for their upcoming events partnered with Gamestop in the Colorado area. They have a full schedule planned for the fall and winter season this year and Hyphytek plans on attending just about all of them. I hope to challenge some of you guys there!

Additional resources:

Website:  http://www.coloradocutthroat.com/index.php

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/ColoradoCutthroatConnection

Joseph Dunn

Shoryuken!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A trip to first time festival Kanrockas

Is it possible for Kanrockas to make it past their first year and possibly even last longer in Kansas than Walkarusa did?

Just looking at the line up it’s obvious that promoters wanted a diverse mix of acts that could please anyone, with Eminem and Muse headlining a cast of artist such as  STS9, Girl Talk, Primus, The Flaming Lips, Bassnectar and Ween just to name a few it wouldn’t be hard. With such a big line up and a huge venue this festival had a lot of potential for blowing up! So arriving at Kansas City Speed way in the early hours of the morning I expected to see the usual line of cars camped for the night waiting to get in. Surprisingly we were among the first twenty cars in line. Something that was great for us but I felt set a tone that this festival wasn’t going to meet promoters expectations for crowd size. I had also found out that they decided not to raise ticket prices the weekend of the festival like advertised, which I took as another sign of poor ticket sales. Though the line did start to take shape a couple hours before the gates opened to let everyone in, which gave some life and promise to what was to come for the rest of the weekend. Once inside the gates and parked  in our camping spot it became apparent how large the Kansas City Speedway really is. It was something awesome to look at and I was in a bit of awe, but in the end it did make the experience a little bit harder.

The hike from the closer camping spots to the festival grounds was the usual trek made at any festival, but once inside it was another hike down a few flights of stairs and the angled race track before you reached the festival grounds. Now with the prices for food and alcohol set were they are at festivals these days being able to return to the campgrounds is essential and with the stairs and race track it became a long weekend. Once inside and staring out over the festival grounds it was easy to see how much room there was to work with and how well executed the set up of the stages was. The three stages and Critical Mass tent surrounded the rest of the festival grounds; this made all the music the same distance from all the food tucks and vendors. A really great set up for fans to easily experience all the music possible and with multiple mist tents and free water spots across the festival grounds the promoters really tried to make hydration easy for everyone.

There where a couple lacking points that caught me by surprise.  First I’ll never understand how a backpack is any different than a large camel pack, humongous purse, or side pack. A back pack is an essential part of festival gear, and all the ban on back packs this year did was sell me on a large camel pack, which is the smart choice anyways! Second the festivals schedule was set up great there was always something to listen to, but not everyone wants to hear every band at the festival. Kanrockas could have used a lot more attractions out side the music. The Ferris wheel looked cool but wasn’t worth the price and the water slide just didn’t cut it. There where many great artist creating amazing live work as well as displaying it in an art gallery by the Critical Mass tent. Sadly though the only thing to do for free, which made me cringe a bit cause I don’t smoke was hang in the Marlboro truck. Offering air conditioning, a place to hang with couches, a free photo booth, music downloads and non alcoholic drinks to any one 21 w/id and an email, the Marlboro truck beat the heat and Kanrokas for things to do during down time. Which I have to say again to a festival that sports an angled race track and flights of stairs as the path to and from the camp sites, the more attractions inside the better! Over all Kanrockas had a stellar line up, setup and schedule that made me happy to be part of the first year. Hopefully what seemed like a low attendance won’t stop the promoters from trying again next year.

Will it out last the Wakarusa run in Kansas, only time will tell?

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Mark Cuban Files BADASS Legal Doc

Frpm TMZ ” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban just dropped the ultimate “IN YOUR FACE” statement to a minority owner of the team … who tried to take control away from Mark last year. Long story short — the minority owner, a company owned by Ross Perot Jr. — filed legal papers in May 2010 calling Cuban a “careless and reckless” owner who was running the team into the ground. Perot begged a judge to remove Cuban from operational control of the squad before it was too late. Now, Cuban has responded in legal docs with the greatest statement ever … a photo of the Mavs hoisting the NBA championship trophy. In the docs, Cuban adds, “Under Cuban’s stewardship, the Mavericks have become one of the league’s most successful teams and are now NBA champions.” ”

See the full Document @ tmz

Marvel vs Capcom 3 review by Joseph Dunn

Marvel vs Capcom 3 review by Joseph Dunn

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Castlevania Harmony of Despair review by Joseph Dunn

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Rush N’ Attack review by Jarod Sanchez

Rush’N Attack: Ex-Patriots

Genre: Stealth Action

Developer: Vatra Games

Available: XBLA, PSN

Enslaved Review by Jarod Sanchez

Enslaved: Odyssey to The West

Genre: Action, Adventure

Developer: Ninja Theory

Overall Score: 8

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Dynasty Warriors 7 review by Kai Powell


In but a few months, Tecmo Koei has been hard at work churning out high profile releases for the first part of the year. Nestled right between Warriors: Legends of Troy and Samurai Warriors Chronicles laid a sequel fans have been clamoring for years to play. Taking a full three-plus years to be released, Dynasty Warriors 7′s release marks the longest span between titles in the series history. Has it been well worth the wait, or does the first true Shin Sangokumusou title feel too similar to past entries? Would you like to know more?

Monster Tale review by Kai Powell

Working off the success of 2009′s sleeper hit Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure, a Mario-meets-Bejeweled platformer, newly formed DreamRift has released another Nintendo DS title under the radar called Monster Tale. Much like their previous title meshed two otherwise unrelated genres, this one meshes Castlevania style sidescrolling action with a virtual pet simulator reminiscent of Digimon. Check after the jump to see just how this game blends them together.

It’s hard to say what caused the recent surge of ‘Metroidvania’ titles over the past couple of years. It could be a new revitalization of the sidescrolling genre and honestly, I’m happy for it. When I was browsing a local game store, this title seemed to pop out at me. At first glance it looked just like a normal sidescroller. Little did I know that once I actually got to playing it, I discovered a hidden gem in the DS library.

Graphics: 9.5/10
Overall, there’s nothing inferior or rushed about the graphics whatsoever. With so much development in the DS’ life cycle, it was only a matter of time before we saw games with perfectly fluid animations and Monster Tale is no exception. Every object and character has been given so much detail, it’s easily one of the prettiest titles on the system. Not only that, but every screen is just packed with imaginative locations and vibrant color. Even Henry Hatsworth, a graphical powerhouse in its own right, doesn’t quite compare to the graphical prowess of this game. With how much variety they had with the limited number of enemies you encounter, it’s a bit sad that they still threw in palette swapped monsters to help fill the roster. At least they all move differently and have different attacks but still..

Sound: 9.0/10
The sound is another high point of Monster Tale, once again showing off just how much detail one small company can throw into a handheld title. Each of the main characters is voiced in a number of conversations of the game and each one is voiced by a different voice actor from FUNimation. If I recall, all of the voice actors worked on either BECK or the recent Evangelion movies. While there isn’t a lot of voice work, it’s refreshing to hear some experienced voices instead of the half-assed work done in some other games (I’m looking at you, Chaos Wars!). As for the music, each level has its own theme but there isn’t anything memorable enough to whistle along to. For the most part, the game features some fairly relaxed music that won’t drive you mad as it loops again and again.

Gameplay: 8.5/10

This one is quite a mixed bag. One the top screen, you have an amazingly well done sidescrolling adventure game and on the bottom, there is a virtual pet simulator. While the latter concept sounds interesting, there isn’t much substance to it. While your monster is on the top screen, his life continually goes down until he returns to his home on the bottom. From there, he can either rest or automatically use one of the numerous collectables one finds off of defeated foes or purchased from a shop. Many of those items actually affect the action on the top screen. A soccer ball will bounce around from corner to corner while a catapult will launch a constant barrage of rocks on a particular part of the screen. These items are particularly handy for dealing a little extra damage to enemies or bosses, but there’s no way to tell your monster not to use any of the items while on the bottom screen. Aside from a place to store your items and keep your monster when he’s out of stamina, the bottom screen doesn’t quite to a whole lot.

True to the Metroidvania formula, Monster Tale features an upgraded assortment of abilities and exploration. While there isn’t much to be had in terms of the latter, the former certainly help expand the length of the game. And boy does it. It’s a bummer that so much of the game’s length can be attributed to simple backtracking. Far too often, the player will be stuck at a dead end and be forced to return to a previous area to acquire one item in a room that opened up only to get past that one door and find another blockade. Luckily the games designers thought ahead and put in a waypoint on your map, always showing you exactly where to go for the next objective. While I’m not a fan of hand holding in modern games, it’s nice having a reference I can flip to in case I get stuck.

Replayability: 4.0/10
Unlike other games in the genre, Monster Tale’s surprisingly short. With a campaign (including 100% completion) clocking in at around six hours, it stands as one of the shorter titles. While there are thirty different forms to unlock for your monster, you’ll find yourself acquiring most of them with minimal effort throughout the game. There are a few surprise ones for the ones that put forth the effort to unlock them, but by the time you’re that far in the game, the final boss doesn’t hold too much of a challenge. With no form of extra game or unlockables, there stands little reason to replay the game other for than to just have fun with it all over again.

Overall: 8.0/10
While not a lengthy game by any means or as serious of a ‘virtual pet simulator’ as the developers claim, Monster Tale certainly offers an enjoyable experience that fits perfectly in anyone’s DS library. Whether you’re a fan of the exploration adventure genre or just want something cute for the kids, Monster Tale is one title that I can wholly recommend. Although you may find the game to be over far too soon, you’ll enjoy every minute of it.

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