Photos: Off-Center's 'Kick-Off Cabaret' kick-starts Kickstarter projects

Off-Center – the DCPA Theatre Company’s theatrical testing ground – recently hosted an innovative evening of entertainment and community-building called Kick-Off Cabaret.

Crowd shot from the Kick-Off Cabaret. Photo by John Moore.  Eight widely varying local Kickstarter project creators – from cooks to programmers to musicians – were invited to make their pitches to a capacity house at The Jones.

The March 13 evening was hosted by accomplished local actors Regina Fernandez Steffen (Vintage Theatre’s Miss Saigon) and DCPA Teaching Artist Justin Walvoord (Aurora Fox’s Metamorphoses and the DCPA Theatre Company’s Jackie and Me.)

The night was described as “Ted Talk” meets “Shark Tank.”

Guest judges from Galvanize and Notion were on hand to choose the most compelling project. Galvanize provides members with work environments that best accommodate start-ups of varying sizes. Notion is a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign centered around a new kind of home security system.

The winner was to receive one month of free work space through Galvanize, and a consultation with the brains from Notion. In the end, the judges picked two winners: ÉSTAINE and Denver Handmade Homemade.

ÉSTAINE was founded in 2012 by Dr. Zofia Wosinska, who had long performed cancer research as a part of her PhD studies in photochemistry. While developing dye solutions used in cancer diagnosis, Zofia imagined the beautiful colors and patterns of the stained cells she saw through her microscope gracing flowing dresses and fabrics — telling the empowering story of a survivor.

ÉSTAINE creates luxury fashion accessories and fabrics that incorporate the colors and dye patterns used in cancer diagnoses. The hope is these unusual accessories will inspire conversation and raise awareness of the disease. The project became all the more personal when Wosinska was planning her first fashion show. That’s when her husband, fashion entrepreneur Jeremy Picker, was diagnosed with Stage 3 lymphoma.

Denver Handmade Homemade (HAHO for short) is building a micro-business incubator and event space that will offer local handmade craft vendors with discounts to business-building services, opportunities to sell twice a month for free, and a multi-modal space complete with a commissary kitchen and co-working maker space.

In addition, Off-Center asked audience members to vote for their favorite projects by using stickers. Off-Center then made a donation to each project equaling $5 per audience vote.

Here’s a look at each of the other featured Kickstarter projects:

Dungeons and Drafts: Coming this spring to Fort Collins. Photo by John Moore. Heat Wraptor: A battery operated, wearable heating pad offering mobile heat therapy for five hours or more.

Flying Queens: A Basketball Dynasty: A documentary about a 1950s women’s basketball team that won 131 consecutive games.

True Vintage: A newly formed hip-hop trio wants to record, mix and master professionally.

The Codex Lacrimae: A fantasy book trillogy involving high adventure, medieval romance, Norse mythology, cosmic peril, and Arthurian lore.

Alcohol Infused Sweet Treats: Help a local boozy baker move into a larger kitchen.

Dungeons and Drafts Geek Bar: A tavern for geeks and gamers coming this spring to Fort Collins

The Kick-Off Cabaret was a test night, meaning audience feedback was taken and a determination will be made to determine if Off-Center should present similar showcases of local artists and entrepreneurs in the future.

Your 'Cabaret'-themed emcees, Justin Walvoord and Regina Fernadez Steffen. Photo by John Moore.
Your ‘Cabaret’-themed emcees, Justin Walvoord and Regina Fernadez Steffen. Photo by John Moore.


April 10-25: Perception. Nothing is what it seems in this fully immersive experience, where every twist of your journey toys with your senses and challenges your perception. For more information, click here.

May 8: Cult Following, a  popular series of unrehearsed, unscripted comedy evenings featuring the some of Denver’s best improv performers. The next performance will have a pirate theme. Tickets are $15 and the beer is free for those over 21. For more information, click here.