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5280 Magazine June 2021

Founded in 1993, 5280 is the largest local magazine in Colorado. The magazine's stories often make national headlines, and since 2005 5280 has been nominated for four National Magazine Awards. Get 5280 Magazine digital subscription today.

United States
5280 Publishing, Inc
12 Issues

in this issue

1 min
better together

For decades, the third weekend of June heralded complicated identity-juggling for Colorado’s Black LGBTQ community. Denver Pride, the celebration of queer liberation run by the Center on Colfax since 1977, attracted 450,000 revelers in 2019. Yet some of those attendees were missing another important observance. Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, falls on June 19, so festivities—including the nine-year-old Juneteenth Music Festival, which brought in 90,000 celebrants in 2019—usually coincided with Denver Pride. “We wanted our community to be able to attend both,” says Joe Foster, the center’s vice president of development and communication. So when city officials suggested moving Denver Pride one weekend later, Foster’s team happily complied. That’s no small thing, says Juneteenth Music Festival director Norman Harris, but the resulting alliance outshines…

3 min
the doctor will really see you now

The doctor’s office should be a place of healing. For a transgender person, it’s often the site of trauma, where quality of care can run the gamut from microaggressive to downright discriminatory. “Physical and emotional safety in a health care setting is a big deal for a trans person,” says Denver physician Jerrica Kirkley. Which is why she co-founded Plume in August 2019, along with her medical school friend Dr. Matthew Wetschler. One of the first known telehealth services exclusively for trans and nonbinary people, the Denver startup provides virtual access to gender-affirming care in 33 states. And that’s just the start. With $14 million in new venture capital funding announced this past February, Plume has likely become the largest trans-specializing health care provider in the country, if not the world.…

2 min
know bats, know thyself

Dear Colorado, I write to you today in desperation. As a member of the Rocky Mountain bat community, I’ve grown up amid a swirl of unflattering stories about my kind. (I’ve never even met Dracula.) And now, research suggests the virus responsible for COVID-19 originated with our bat brothers and sisters. I can’t hang by as this news fuels the haters. Whether or not it’s true, the accusation shouldn’t blot out the good my species brings to Colorado—or overshadow the danger we face. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, bats save the country’s agricultural system as much as $53 billion a year. How? Our sonar deters many of the pests that would otherwise feast on your crops, and we try our best to eat the rest. Even our waste benefits humankind:…

3 min
in her nature

On February 16, 2020, Emily Holland decided she was finally done drinking. The writer and podcast producer had recently moved to Boulder from Boston to be closer to nature, and, after a decadelong abusive relationship with alcohol, realized that booze was only holding her back. Holland, now 29, also understood that her desires to get sober and be outside were connected. She just wasn’t sure how. To find the answer, she launched the Nature Untold podcast in January 2021 to explore the intersection between addiction, recovery, and the outdoors through interviews with folks from across the adventure community. With its second season dropping on June 15, we spoke with Holland about the show and what she’s learned from it along the way. 5280: How did your relationship with alcohol change over…

2 min
last writes

Suzi Q. Smith’s new book, Poems for the End of the World, may seem like a macabre manifesto born from the pandemic. But the Denverite wrote many of the verses in 2019, responding to earlier global and personal upheaval: The Amazon rainforest was on fire, her daughter was headed to college, and Smith had recently left her position as executive director of nonprofit Poetry Slam Inc., which shuttered soon after. “I was spending time in gardens and thinking about how the world continues on, even after change or catastrophe,” she says. That theme echoes through one of the few COVID-19-inspired pieces, “Mezzo Sopranos Get the Sad Songs,” to appear in Smith’s book, out this month. We asked her to break down the poem for us.…

1 min
from peru, with love

When chef-owner Francesca Ruiz shuttered the cult-favorite lunch buffet at her Peruvian restaurant, Los Cabos, due to COVID-19-related concerns in spring 2020, she anticipated the worst. Thankfully, demand for her distinctive, takeout-friendly family recipes ensured the 33-year-old business survived the pandemic’s most difficult days. Some of those dishes were inspired by immigrants—from Africa, China, and Europe—who helped shape Peruvian cuisine over the centuries. Sopa a la criolla is a Creole-inspired soup loaded with sirloin steak and angel hair pasta, while lomo saltado is a Chinese-style steak, onion, and tomato stir-fry served on a bed of french fries. Both are excellent choices at the loungy, red-walled restaurant, which Ruiz runs with the help of her sister Nelly Castillo. But the object of our true affection is the ceviche mixto, a medley…