Sundial Park, officially Cranmer Park, has long been one of my favorite Denver parks — and we have a lot of cool parks in the Mile High City. I used to walk my dogs there, admired the lavish flower gardens and above all the view of 120 miles of Colorado’s Front Range and the oversized sundial. Sundial Park has been a primo spot for stargazing, watching fireworks, and I’ve conducted a number of interviews there at picnic tables under the large trees. ••• Also, there was the glass house that Ginny Williams’ built. When my walking partner told me that the house was to be torn down, I couldn’t believe it. When we walked past and saw the construction fence around the property and the large machinery, I thought maybe they were adding a swimming pool. But, no. The house was razed. When I posted on Facebook, so many people responded that I knew I needed to pursue a story. The trail let to the architect in New York City, and we had a profound conversation about the glass house he’d designed for the late art doyenne of Denver. The trail also led to a former Historic Denver director who emphasized the need for some protections for such extraordinary buildings. The Denver Gazette published my feature last Sunday, a story about private property and private lives.
Monthly Archives: February 2021
A painter of reflections reflects on his life of painting
Rob Gratiot teaches painting at the Art Students League of Denver, yet chances are his students will not follow in his artistic footsteps — at least when it comes to subject matter. Gratiot paints the most difficult of difficult scenes: candy twisted up in foil wrappers, sunglasses packaged in cellophane, storefront windows with reflections upon reflections in glass, polished brass and other shiny surfaces. In short, he paints the almost impossible-to-paint!
The artist and I enjoyed a long interview in his backyard in the company of his two small dogs. Colorado Expression published my article on this artist in their February-March 2021 issue.
Writing a friend’s obituary
ALMOST TWO MONTHS HAVE PASSED since Roger Leitner passed away on a most auspicious day: not just Winter Solstice, but also the day of the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn — a celestial event called The Christmas Star or The Star of Bethlehem. Roger was a star in his own right, an All-American basketball player. A husband. A father. A friend. And on that day, December 21, 2020, I experienced my own great conjunction when I was recruited to write narrative obituaries for a standing featured titled “Colorado Lives” in the Denver Gazette, a newish digital daily newspaper.
I wasn’t sure whether I would want to face mortality every week, but I managed to write Roger’s obituary, and the Gazette published my words of tribute to Roger along with an image of Roger and his master work: a laser-cut stone labyrinth modeled after Chartres cathedral’s. Written from the heart with tears mingling with the ink, this obituary was an honor to write and a gift to the family of Roger — my brother from another mother. The photo below was taken by Roger’s wife on a day when the three of us shared stories and laughs and lunch at their home.
We need more men like Roger.