This is My Denver


Thanks to a partnership with entertainment site The A.V. Club, Basil Hayden’s is putting me on the road to mix it up with fans of our bourbon and fans of their site. We call this tour “This is My….” Starting in Denver, we’ll be traveling to several cities across the country to document a collection of people in each city doing interesting things centered around a theme. Our theme for Denver was après ski, that time when you ditch your gear and curl up with some good food, good friends, a good movie, and a good cocktail (or two). Special thanks to Williams & Graham’s Chad Michael George for crafting the Red on the Rocks cocktail and to Winter Session’s Tanya Fleisher and Roy Katz for sharing their story and their space for our first event.

The Johnny Cash Christmas Show, 1977

My newest holiday tradition: watching The Johnny Cash Christmas Show, circa 1977.

Chris Olberding of Gitman Vintage

Starting in on a story about Chris Olberding is like walking into a corn maze and immediately hitting walls on three sides. Lost amid the seven foot stalks, I find myself in this field of dreams as I share a bit about the man who was my mentor for the last year of my twenties.
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Birth of a Hat: Making a Stetson

Thanks to the National Film Preservation Foundation, I discovered a 1935 reprint of the original 1920 film, “Birth of a Hat” an industrial short about, and sponsored by, the John B. Stetson Company.

From the press materials: “Within ten years of its founding, Stetson developed the widely popular ‘Boss of the Plains’ hat, the inaugural model of the now-traditional cowboy hat. By the early 1900s, Stetson hats were the most popular in the American Southwest, and the company operated the largest hat factory in the world, with 5,400 employees, in Philadelphia.”

Bowmaker, Jack English

Filmmaker Grace Jackson shares the story of Jack English, a 93-year-old man who lives in a cabin isolated deep in the Ventana Wilderness.

From Grace’s profile, “While on a hunting trip he learned that an old homestead in the Ventana Wilderness was being put up for auction by the estate of a childless heiress. He put a bid on the property and won. On the land he built a small cabin using materials from the land and milling trees by hand. When his wife passed away, Jack effectively left “society” and moved to the cabin full time.”

He continues to make repairs to the cabin, chop wood, hunt, and make violin bows, a simple life for a contented man.

I deeply appreciate a profile such as this. It is a solid reminder that it really can be a good life.

The Campground KC Comes to Life

As they continue to shape their backyard shack into something of a hangout, a meeting place, an event space to end all event spaces, Cristin and Christopher at Kansas City’s Campground have added this killer video to document what it’s all about.

I can’t for my next trip to Kansas City. Experiencing the spectacular hospitality of this talented couple is at position A Number One on my list.

Video by Nathan Eaton.

What is “Liberty?”

From Ken Burns’ 1985 documentary, The Statue of Liberty.
Available in its entirety on Amazon Prime or Hulu Plus.
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The Lone Ranger

Today sees the return of The Lone Ranger, one of the most enduring characters of the West.
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Torres


Frontwoman Mackenzie Scott explains in this excellent video from Pitchfork, that she chose the moniker “Torres” in tribute to her grandfather. As the co-owner of a store named for fathers and grandfathers, you can imagine my delight in learning this. I recently caught Torres throwing it down at The Empty Bottle in Chicago, and I was blown away by her intimate, emotionally-connected performance. I happily picked up the “still warm” first vinyl pressing of the debut album, and as mind-blowing as they were live, this band sounds just as good on the home HiFi.

Torres is playing tonight at SXSW as we speak. Seek them out.

John Belushi & Dan Aykroyd Take Brian Wilson Surfing, 1976


Growing up, my favorite movie was The Blues Brothers. I watched all the time with — of all people — my mother, who would laugh whenever Aykroyd appeared. She would point at the TV and say to me, “You could do that.”

Some mothers want their sons to grow up to be president. Mine was aiming for Aykroyd. Reading the story of making The Blues Brothers in the excellent comedy issue of January’s Vanity Fair, I rediscovered my love for the film, and for the men behind it.

I found this Beach Boys video on Sasha Lamb’s blog, Workin Nights, yesterday. From Dennis Wilson’s T-shirt (No Sweat) to the “Surf Patrol” uniforms the not-ready-for-primetime boys no doubt lifted from Universal Studios’ costume department, it had me in stitches.

Come on, Brian. Let’s go surfing now.
Everybody’s learning how.
Come on a safari with us.