Follow Friday: Local Denver Awesomeness

On Twitter, “Follow Friday” (#FF or #FollowFriday) is a way to recommend people you think others should know about. It’s a very neat idea, though most people just add the hashtag and then list a bunch of Twitter user handles. It’s a nice way to give someone a shout out, but often lacks the context. Why should I follow these people? Well I’ve decided to answer that question & provide that context. Each Friday I write a post briefly profiling 3 local or relatively lesser known creative people who you should know about. This Friday is the "Things I'm Doing This Weekend" Edition. I'll profile comedians Adam Cayton-Holland & Andrew Orvedahl, super local supporters Greater Than Collective, & Denver band Viretta.

Comedians: Adam Cayton-Holland & Andrew Orvedahl


So I know this is kind of a double entry since they are two different people, but I'll be seeing them together so I'm saving myself space. Plus, Cayton-Holland has hobbit-like features and Andrew weighs the same as 9 year old girl so they're both kind of half-people if you think about it. These two gentlemen form 2/3 of a brilliant comedy troupe/show/web series/group/support group called The Grawlix.

They host a monthly show of that title at the Bug Theatre in Denver each month which is home to some incredible alternative comedy. This weekend, both are recording comedy albums at the Bug (recorded by Greater Than Collective - more on them next). During an interview this afternoon on OpenAir CPR with my good friend Corey Jones, Adam described how recording this album makes sense at this point in their career and it certainly does. In a very short time here I've become a HUGE fan of both of these guys. Nothing they do feels forced or gimmicky. It's just witty, intelligent comedy, and when it's inappropriate, that's absolutely appropriate - if that makes sense. There's nothing thrown in just to get a few cheap laughs.

Cayton-Holland making out with Orvedahl

Each of them seems to very natural at this, though they readily admitted in a recent Westword article, that they grew up as comics the same as anyone does - through attending shitty open mics and probably telling even shittier jokes for a while. I feel fortunate to have become tuned-in right as they hit their stride. Each set I've seen is better than the one before it and I have been looking forward to catching their sets on Saturday night since the shows were announced. Bonus: Ben Roy, the third member of The Grawlix, who Orvedahl refers to as the "exhaust pipe" of the group and Cayton-Holland refers to as "also there" just had his comedy album named as one of the 10 Best of 2012 by Laughspin. Check that out over here.

Local Supporters: Greater Than Collective


The Greater Than Collective's about page sums it up perfectly: "Not following the traditional label model, Denver-based Greater Than Collective works with a small selection of artists and offers them help with anything the band may need, including but not limited to: promotion, album duplication and music licensing." Greater Than is run by Illegal Pete’s owner Pete Turner, Suburban Home Records founder Virgil Dickerson, and publicist and founder of the Donnybrook Writing Academy, Erin Barnes. These guys are incredible supporters of the local Denver/Boulder creative scene. They are on a short list of people I would not hesitate to collaborate with and they are a group I look to as an example, as I continue to develop my reputation as a local advocate in Colorado as well.

They come up in so many conversations I have at local shows and the sentiment is always positive. I reached out to Virgil awhile ago and our correspondingthegreater_than_logo_cursive_vector back and forth communication affirmed my belief that their heads and hearts are in the right place. They're a tremendous asset to the Denver/Boulder local artistic community. One of the neatest things to come of this group is Illegal Pete's Pint Glass Program. The restaurant raised money for hard working local bands by selling a series of custom pint glasses with the band’s logo on them. I mean, seriously. That's fucking cool.

Musicians: Viretta


Viretta's a talented young trio out of the Southeast Suburbs of Denver comprised of drummer Michael Bokenkamp & twin brothers Rob and Michael Moroni. They first came into my world about 3-4 years ago when I toured through Denver with a Chicago band named Model Stranger. We were looking for a Sunday show before heading out of Colorado and managed to find Viretta to share the stage for a matinee show in Littleton. It was a fun thing to have happen as I was connected to the band through drummer Michael, who I actually babysat when he was a youngen in Chicago. At this point Viretta was a group of 16 year olds who had sonic maturity and stage presence far beyond many bands I had seen who had played a lot longer. They seemed to have a bright future ahead of them. Sure enough, Viretta's seen a steady climb, winning a variety of contests and even having the pleasure of doing some recording for their new EP with Isaac Slade, the lead singer of a little band called The Fray. I'll be at the Marquis in Denver tonight to support these guys. I'm excited as each time I've seen them, they continue to improve and they are definitely a band that saves their best performances for the stage, not the studio. Check some tracks out here:

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