Scorpio Palace: The Denver Creative Incubator Space for Mysticals, Great Hair, Retired Ravers, and More

Read my latest article for Southwest Contemporary about Lauren Zwicky and Michael Stone’s half salon, half community art-film-music venue, Scorpio Palace. You’ll also learn a little about the history of Denver’s DIY scene.

Here’s an excerpt:

When local film artist Kim Shively alerted Lauren Zwicky that the lease was up for the beloved DIY warehouse art party space Rhinoceropolis, Zwicky and her partner, Michael Stone, spotted a unique opportunity. Sharing sensibilities for electronic music-minded entrepreneurship—Zwicky is a longtime Denver-based DJ and licensed cosmetologist, and Stone is a graphic designer and audio/visual artist and consultant—they opened Scorpio Palace in December 2021. 

Before an eloquent friend deemed Zwicky the “death doula” of Rhino, Zwicky witnessed Rhino’s birth, landing her first DJ gig there thirteen years ago. At that time, intermittently spanning the 2000s and 2010s, Rhino was a place to celebrate art and music in a pre-gentrified, pre-RiNo Denver. (The neighborhood branders responsible for coining RiNo, the River North Arts District, claim creative coincidence in closeness to the name of its Rhino predecessor.) 

. . .

Yet, Zwicky and Stone know that their days are numbered in this neighborhood as they nodded to the construction cranes surrounding another new high-rise visible from their front window. While they don’t find their vision and efforts futile, they acknowledge that Scorpio Palace’s long-term survival might not be in RiNo/Rhino.

Nevertheless, Scorpio Palace provides a positive community-art space and promotes good, mystical vibes since Zwicky and Stone know, as Zwicky puts it, “the bad magic [of] reviving a corpse.” So don’t come to Scorpio Palace expecting to find the Rhino reincarnate. But do come with expectations for some much-needed communal healing among local artistic visionaries after a collective rough start to the first few decades of the new millennium.

In case you’ve missed my past articles for Southwest Contemporary, check out this list of my publications.

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