Inside the Utilities Building, a unique white structure just south of the Mining Exchange on Nevada Avenue, you can find a lot of broken furniture, antiques like a Wurlitzer, and a stuffed cape buffalo head. There's a stage, a Great Gatsby-esque ballroom, and thousands of dollars worth of instruments.
The place — which is huge — for a long time has looked something like your grandmother's attic on steroids, and became even more joyously cluttered earlier this year, when Colorado Springs painter Phil Lear set up a temporary studio there. By October, though, it will be the Gold Room, a live entertainment venue that will bring musicians like Larry John McNally (who has written songs for Bonnie Raitt and Rod Stewart) and comedians like Tom Green.
Mining Exchange owner Perry Sanders envisions the Gold Room offering "intelligent, high-end entertainment" (which isn't the most obvious descriptor for Green's work, but never mind), like what you'd find in a bigger city. He's also gearing up for a singer-songwriter broadcast with McNally, which will start as an online series that Sanders can envision being picked up by a network such as PBS: They'll film in a studio attached to the Gold Room and start soon after the venue opens.
Sanders can't give any more specifics on either venture since there's no set opening date, but says he's already working with friends in the business and lining up "verbal commitments." He's also getting tips locally. "We think that the Stargazers [Theatre and Event Center] does a fantastic job, so we'll probably be certainly wanting to talk to people like that."
If everything works out, Sanders hopes to draw attention to the Springs from all over, whether that means people visiting the Gold Room, or just checking out the arts scene online.
"This whole city could really become sort of a high-altitude Austin," he says, "and that means that you need a variety of venues for people that are traveling artists especially to play and also for really great local artists to play.
"We certainly intend to get Colorado Springs out there to the world to let people see some of the really cool stuff that's happening here from an entertainment standpoint."