Feb 13, 2014

Cliff Diving in Denver

Academics go to a lot of conferences, two or three per year, and they always seem to be held in Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Philadelphia, or Washington DC.  Rarely the South or the West (too far away), and never New York City (too costly).

I've visited all of those cities at least once, often three or four times, often enough to know some of the good museums, art galleries, bookstores, jogging paths, and gay bars.  But I'm only in town for a few days, so I never get the innate "feel" that a resident has.

I'm bound to get misled.  In Atlanta, I was directed to a "great restaurant" that turned out to have a semi-naked lady swinging on a trapeze overhead.  Rather a disgusting thing to watch while eating your cheeseburger.

Or to miss things.  After visiting Denver several times, I still hadn't heard of La Casa Bonita, a Mexican restaurant in the suburb of Lakewood that's been a local tradition for nearly 40 years.

It's geared toward the kid crowd, like Chuck E Cheese.  Thousands of residents and former residents have fond memories of coming to La Casa Bonita at age nine or ten for birthday parties, Christmas parties, and ordinary evenings.  There was even a South Park  episode about it.

The food is somewhat over priced, and by most accounts not very good, but the kids can play in a video arcade, a tropical jungle with a thirty-foot waterfall, and a maze of caverns to explore, and see nightly shows involving gorillas, gunfights, and pirates.

And cliff diving.

You don't have to go to Mexico to find muscular, half-naked men diving off high cliff and performing acrobatic stunts on the way down.  The team at Casa Bonita does it 18 times a day.

There are male and female cliff divers, but most of them are boys, high school or college age, like Caleb Thayer (above) or Tyler Harding (left), the perfect age for gay kids to look up to.   Literally.

They're interviewed on the website, in case their fans want to know more about them.

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