We had the good fortune of connecting with Dave Flomberg and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dave, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I’m originally from Santa Ana, California, but I grew up in Denver. The past is prelude, right? We are who we are because of where we’ve been — we’re all defined by the sum of our experiences. Or at least how we allow those experiences to inform who we are. But even that choice isn’t possible without the experience itself. I’m a lucky man, in that I was born to great parents. My pop was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and my ma in Forest Hills, Queens. He was poor, she was lower-middle class; both Jewish children of immigrants from Eastern Europe. I’m the grandson of the Survivor generation, and that certainly shaped who I am. My father was the most honest man I’ve ever known, and his moral compass was unimpeachable. So I try to live up to that as best as I can. The biggest thing, for me, was that my folks believed in knowledge, curiosity, and letting me and my sister find our own way. They believed in giving us tools, but not plans. It was up to us to create the blueprints for what we wanted our lives to be; my folks believed in just making sure we were equipped to pull it off. Every pursuit I showed interest in; they encouraged. Even when that went down paths they knew weren’t going to be lucrative. And in the end, I found a way to live a life that I find tremendously fulfilling. I make a good living with a great agency that also affords me the luxury to still be a writer and a musician, and that creative interplay makes be better at each of those things.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve been blessed and privileged to eke out a career doing what I love to do. And I do mean that — I’ve no doubt that privilege has played a huge part in that. I’ve had the great fortune to be able to make a good living while pursuing all the creative goals I’ve set for myself over the years — On the writing side: I wrote a column for the Rocky Mountain News (may her memory be a blessing) for the last 7 years of her run where I was recognized a few times for my work by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). In 2012, I published my first book called “Management For Zombies.” I’ve been writing for the Yellow Scene magazine for years, and have been recognized with three more SPJ awards for my work there over the last three years as well. Last October, Erik Maulbetsch over at the Colorado Times Recorder asked me to come onto their team as a columnist covering anti-Semitism. As a Jew and a historian, this really excited me, because it’s a focused and extremely important topic for me. And anti-Semitism has been rising at an alarming rate in the last four years, so I feel a calling, so-to-speak, to cover it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love history and Colorado’s no slouch. At the same time, the pandemic has hit my beloved spots hard. El Chapultepec is now gone, and that’s a huge loss to the local music scene. So that’s off the table. But Charlie Brown’s is still around. We’d go there, and I’d regale my friend with stories about Carol, the waitress who worked there for decades and fought off Jack Kerouac’s advances back in the 1940s. And then I’d take him to My Brother’s Bar and we’d get a Johnnyburger and a pint and listen to some classical music. Maybe we’d do a nightcap at the Cruise Room and I could tell him about the bar’s history as one of the first places to open after prohibition, and how it was designed as a replica of the bar on the Queen Mary cruise ship. Casa Bonita is a must-have experience, I don’t care what you think about the food. Colfax alone is its own world that deserves a few volumes of exploration, and at some point we’d land at the P.S. Lounge for cocktails — maybe after a couple sugar steaks across the street at Bastien’s Steakhouse, which is still my favorite in Denver. Pete at the P.S. loved my old band and still has us on the jukebox there and a framed picture of us from our tour out to California when we played the Brown Derby. I’m on the Board of Directors for City Park Jazz, so of course we’d do that on a Sunday evening — there’s no better celebration of community than that experience. We’d hit up some of my favorite venues in town like the Oriental Theater, The Gothic, and Dazzle. Rooms where it really doesn’t even matter who’s playing, but seeing a show there is always a good idea. We’d hit up Santiago’s or Brewery Bar II or Annie’s Cafe or El Tejado for some green chile, because that’s an absolute must in Denver. And since I’m assuming this to be a summer trip, we’re gonna do a night at Red Rocks, which is hands-down still the greatest venue in the world.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are too many to whittle down, honestly. I guess I’d have to start with my folks. I was so privileged to have parents that nurtured my education as a very young child. I was able to read and write before I was in school, and that gave me a head start that’s immeasurable in its value. This is where I started to understand the idea of privilege, too. My mother was able to be a stay-at-home mom for several years, enabling her to give me that head start. And once I realized what that privilege was, I started recognizing it in a lot of other places in my life. My sister, Deb, who’s always been one of my closest collaborators.. My closest friends, who all champion me and hold me to high standards. The incredible community of musicians I’m a part of in Colorado who have all helped me find my voice as a player. The great journalists I’ve worked with over the years, from the Boulder Weekly to the Rocky Mountain News to Yellow Scene Magazine to Colorado Times Recorder. The amazing leaders I’ve worked for and with at other jobs and companies. My love, Gina who supports me in my creative endeavors. And on, and on…
Deb Flomberg, Kevin Burr, Tivoli Club Brass Band, Mel Aman, www.wedlakephoto.com