Meet Denver puppet-maker Adolfo Romero
BY LIZZIE GOLDSMITH
MEET DENVER PUPPET-MAKER ADOLFO ROMERO
In 2019, Denver-based Chilean visual artist and musician Adolfo Romero got an unexpected request from a local theater company: “Would you be interested in making puppets for a play we’re developing?”
It wasn’t his first time making puppets — he designed a giant bird for an exhibit at the Denver Art Museum in 2017 — but his art projects throughout Chile and Denver usually took other forms.
After hearing what the story was about though, Romero got to work designing prototypes for the animal puppets that would eventually appear on stage in “Refuge,” a beautiful bilingual production from Curious Theatre about the immigration crisis. (The show premiered earlier this month and closes April 9).
“They were very simple,” he says of those prototypes, “but at the same time very functional, because I took the time to study the anatomy of the bones in order to make all the motion appear realistic. That is why they have two controls, two bars.” (Here are videos of the wolf and dog prototypes in motion, courtesy of Romero).
The wolf is his favorite. “That animal has to be hungry, always,” he explains. “Intentionally, I didn’t fill in some parts of the stomach or the torso to evoke that emptiness. This being is kind of mythical.” Which is why Romero used designs from indigenous masks to inspire the look of the puppets.
“I’m glad to see those babies alive,” he says. “I have such a connection with my creation and puppetry because it’s beautiful. It’s very magical, the process.”
“When you put the puppets [on stage], they bring a different energy,” he says. “One of the people who went to see the play … he told me, ‘Oh my gosh, I started with my attention on the actors, but by the very end I was absolutely engaged with the puppets.’”
Even though the process of bringing this story — and the puppets — to life took longer than expected because of the pandemic, it was still a great experience, and Romero loves working with theaters whenever he gets the chance.
And when he’s not making puppets, you can find Romero working on murals, sculptures, and other public art projects, as well as performing music around town. He’s also the Musical Director at Su Teatro, which is where our paths crossed a couple weeks ago at another show. You can find out more about his work here, and get tickets to “Refuge” on Curious Theatre’s website.
— Lizzie Goldsmith
TODAY ON THE PODCAST 💄
“… music should make you [feel] in the moment, and people dancing and sweating and having fun and laughing — that should be immersive enough. That’s immersive enough for me.” — Michael Trundle, DJ and founder of Lipgloss
The Magic That Keeps Denver’s Longest Running Dance Party Alive
Established in 2001, Lipgloss is the longest running indie club night in the country — and it takes place every Friday evening, right here in Denver. Started by DJ Michael Trundle and a group of friends, Lipgloss is a music connoisseur’s dream: When you hit the dancefloor, you’re apt to hear everything from The Killers to The Supremes to Fontaines D.C. Trundle has been the sole DJ behind the turntables for the last half-decade or so of Lipgloss, but he’s been at the heart of the dance night from the beginning.
Today, Trundle joins Host Bree Davies to talk about how the little indie dance night that could has survived — and thrived — for more than two decades in Denver, and what’s next as it moves to its latest location, HQ on South Broadway.
BIRTHDAY LOVE 🥳
Thank you to the many, many City Cast Denver readers and listeners who have written in to wish us a happy first birthday! We couldn’t have done it without you 💚🌇
“Happy Early Birthday!! I’m a born and raised Coloradan, and I love having CCD be an essential part of my day to day routine. You honestly bring out the feelings around town and have great recommendations on how to support the community and experience the authenticity of this city. Thank you.” — Judon M.
“I love City Cast Denver because it allows new people that have moved to Denver to understand the city better. Love all the different personalities on this podcast!!” — Jessie P.
FROM OUR SPONSORS:
Jad Abumrad at Paramount Theatre April 17
Paramount Theatre with Colorado Public Radio present Jad Abumrad, radio host, composer, and producer. Join as Jad Abumrad engages a new generation of listeners with audio explorations of scientific and philosophical questions that evoke a sense of adventure and recreate the thrill of discovery. The event will take place on Sunday, April 17, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Get Jad Abumrad Tickets.
MORE NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW
🏓 Misguided by a passion for pickleball: A Denver man was banned from all city rec centers and charged with vandalism after he made his own pickleball markings in permanent ink on the basketball court at Central Park Rec Center. The man is known in the community as a pickleball enthusiast and teacher. The rec center estimates it will cost around $10,000 to fix the damage. [Denverite]
- 💬 One pupil of the pickleball pro told Denverite: “I don’t think this qualifies as vandalism… this wasn’t done with malintent. He’s an old person who’s just trying to be healthy and still contributing to his community.”
🦠 There’s a new virus in town: Denver health officials have confirmed the presence of a new strain of the COVID-19 omicron variant in local wastewater and human waste samples. (Some are calling the new strain “stealth omicron.”) However, the city’s health department doesn’t believe there’s any reason to worry about a serious surge in cases thanks to Denver’s vaccination rates and increased immunity. [CPR]
🚉 RTD needs workers, and it’s willing to pay up: RTD and its union members have come to an agreement on a new three-year contract that will increase starting wages to $24 per hour for bus drivers, and $30.25 per hour for bus mechanics. The contact will also improve health, vacation, and retirement benefits in the hopes of attracting and retaining more workers. [CPR]
— Peyton Garcia
THIS WEEK’S THINGS TO DO
TODAY: Remembering March 22, 2021
Today marks the one-year anniversary since 10 people were killed in a mass shooting at the Table Mesa King Soopers in Boulder. The past year of community healing will culminate in a series of portraits and audio stories from Boulder community members on display at the Museum of Boulder.
TODAY – WEDNESDAY: Eat pancakes, promote peace
Wednesday will be the last day of Snooze’s Pancakes for Peace promotion in which 100% of profits made on the special pancake of the week are donated to World Central Kitchen to provide food for displaced Ukranians.
WEDNESDAY – SUNDAY: Celebrate the film community
Kicking off tomorrow after a two-year pandemic hiatus, DocuWest, the region’s largest documentary film festival, returns to Denver for its 13th iteration. Dive into more than 50 documentaries covering civil rights, music, the environment, and more. Find the full film lineup here.