31 July 2011

The Mozart Lounge

Ahhh, Mozart.  Is there a more well known classical composer in the world than Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?  With the possible exception of that guy Beethoven or Charlie Brown's buddy Schroeder, probably not.  Just saying the name Mozart induces seductive thoughts back to my days spent wandering the streets of Vienna and Salzburg, places where you can almost hear classical music floating through the streets and imagine the residents waltzing during their lunch hour.  Being in Austria makes it easy to buy into the fairy tale, and our man Wolfgang is a big part of the fairy tale.  Mozart is the epitome of the boy prodigy, of classical music, and of.... the dive bar.  

'Preposterous!' you might be saying.  'How dare you compare a legend in music, a titan amongst composers, to The Mozart Lounge'.  Fear not, good readers, for although the towering grandeur of Europe's concert halls, the wig-clad crowds of nobility, and the majesty of Mozart's magical hymns seem to be 250 years and unlimited amounts of class away from a shady lounge sitting just off Colfax and populated by local yokels, by the end of this dive libretto you'll agree (or you won't, more probably) that the relations are there, and that the Mozart Lounge is as prolific amongst Denver's dives as Don Giovanni was with the ladies.  We'll be looking at the Mozarts through the lens of their greatest hits, so roll out your picnic blanket, grab a bottle of cheap wine and a pair of powerful glasses, and get ready for the Overture.

Symphony #1, aptly named because it was Mozart's first symphony, was written by our man at the age of 8 while in London. (I'm pretty sure that when I was 8 the best thing I had going for me was that I could run faster than the girls on the playground.  Alas, my youth was apparently wasted, but that's why one has kids, no?  Both of mine are learning their flats and sharps starting tomorrow).  Mozart the boy prodigy and his art were ageless, as was the maestro of music at the Lounge the night we were in house.  The white guy spinning R&B tunes for those wanting to get down on the dance floor was easily pushing 70, and easily the coolest guy in the place.  Music is a large part of the experience at The Lounge, which is very apropo.

The Magic Flute is one of Mozart's most lasting operatic pieces, and to this day is being reproduced all over the world.  It's about a handsome dude named Tamino who, in the course of running from a scary snake, ends up getting tangled up in a strange quest to find a girl named Pamina because he's been told that she's sexy and available.  It further involves the Queen of the Night and her entourage, a guy named Papageno, who at one point has a padlock keeping his mouth shut, and a slew of magical musical instruments.  The Magic Flute is lovely, but at the same time fairly confusing, which is also happens to be a good description of the beer service situation at The Lounge.  Beer typically comes in a container too big to be a mug, but too small to be a pitcher.  It is a stein almost, only plastic, and it leaves one with the question, do I drink straight out of this, or do I pour into another glass, and would anyone here give a damn either way?  As I said, lovely problem to have, yet a bit curious when it is first presented.  (Hint:  just drink it) 

The Requiem Mass in D Minor, arguably Mozart's greatest work, was unfinished at the time of his passing, oddly fitting and slightly ironic for a piece dedicated to death.  It's ominous and dark, a crescendo leading your decent into the depths, which is similar to the feeling one could get when watching the televisions hanging over the bar at The Lounge.  Not the one showing the Rockies getting stomped again, as that should be accompanied by something very different than a death symphony, more so something akin to 'I Don't Care Anymore' by Phil Collins (back when Phil Collins was semi-respectable).  I am referring to the other tv, where you can watch live security video of your car in the parking lot getting jacked - now that calls for something dark playing in the background.

Mozart died at the age of 35 after being ill with an unknown malady for several months.  It was said that during his illness, some of his moments of greatest solace where when learning of the successes of his last projects like The Magic Flute.  Perhaps wherever he is now, Mozart gets satisfaction from the continued reverence of his works.  While The Mozart Lounge may not be the part of his legacy that Wolfgang's most proud of, I hope at the very least someone up there has made for him a t-shirt emblazoned with 'I wrote over 600 of the greatest classical works ever, and all I've got to show for it is a frickin dive bar'.  Wolfgang my friend, you'll be happy to know that it is a good one.  

The Mozart Lounge is located at 1417 Krameria Street, just off Colfax.  You cannot miss the sign - it's a classic.

Sonsabitches don't realize I've got LoJack

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