Denver women’s scene queen Silke Reuthlinger bids Colorado ‘Auf Wiedersehen’
June 7, 2012 | 12:09 pm
(Updated: February 22, 2013 | 7:49 pm)
Silke Reuthlinger is a woman who makes things possible.
The graphic designer and founder of CafeVivid.com, a Web resource launched in 1997 for LGBT events in Denver, has kept a hand in every pool in Colorado’s LGBT social scene: In Hip Chicks Out, a women’s social group she founded in 2007, in Climax Sundays at Vinyl which she co-produces with DJ Tatiana, and in this spring’s SWISH events lineup with Dede Frain.
“I have a passion for bringing people together,” Reuthlinger said. “I’m always thinking, ‘What’s next?’”
But if you talk to Reuthlinger a while, it becomes clear her real talent and passion is finding an answer wherever there’s a need. CafeVivid.com was her first big community project, which she launched to create a one-stop events calendar that Colorado’s LGBT community was lacking.
“In 1997 the Web wasn’t really that up-to-date; it was just starting to be popular,” Reuthlinger said. “I thought, how do you get people involved when they’re living in the mountains and there’s no resource there, no Out Front.”
As for Hip Chicks Out, Reuthinger said, “We had our gay bars, but there wasn’t really anywhere the ladies would want to dress up and have martinis. So I thought we could go somewhere else and make it ours for a night.” The social group exploded into one of Denver’s most popular and well-known recurring events for Denver lesbians.
Reuthlinger was born in Wichita Falls, Texas – her father was a pilot in the German Air Force working with American military pilots in an exchange program – but was raised in Ingolstadt, Germany and returned to the U.S. as a young adult.
Now, after decades as an instrumental player in Colorado’s LGBT community, Reuthlinger says it’s time to head back home.
“I came when I was 19 – it was supposed to be only a year – but I fell in love with Colorado and the mountains,” Reuthlinger said. “I’ve been in the States 24 years and always wondered what it would be like to go back home and live there as an adult, not through teenager eyes.”
“I want to see Europe,” she said.
Reuthlinger first left Germany for Colorado on a nudge – starting with her father’s comments at a wedding that German youth never seem to do anything adventurous when they come of age. “He loved the stage,” she said, “wanted everyone to experience travel and said everyone was a little lazy and just got married and had kids.” But she took it as a dare, announcing then and there she’d travel to the U.S. where she had been born.
“I just wanted to talk back. I didn’t know anything about the U.S.,” Reuthinger said. But she’d just made her bold announcement in front of a crowd, so she followed through. She said she didn’t even know she was a U.S. citizen until she was applying for a green card at the U.S. embassy and was told she was in the wrong line – that “passports are over there,” she recounted.
The choice was between Denver and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, both places where the family still had friends. But the popular American soap opera Dynasty, set in Denver and dubbed Die Denver Clan in German broadcasts, lit a spark.
“I didn’t know a whole lot about Denver, but I knew ‘The Denver Clan,’” she said. After that, Reuthlinger’s love of the mountains, skiing and Colorado’s community kept her here until another nudge came along: In March, her Colorado girlfriend of just under a year took up a job offer in Germany.
Reuthlinger is leaving for Munich on July 4, where her family and girlfriend are waiting – a “bittersweet” transition, Reuthlinger said, but something that’s been on the back of her mind for a long time.
She said, “I’m gonna shed buckets of tears before I leave. People here are awesome, and I’m gonna miss them.”
The plan, she said, is to stay in Munich for two years – but for a woman with a knack for becoming immersed and instrumental in her surrounding community, nothing can be certain. In the meantime, she’s making sure the work she’s done in Colorado will last.
Climax Sundays will party on with DJ Tatiana, and Reuthlinger is shopping for a plan for CafeVivid – which she calls a “passion” project rather than a business venture – to be certain Colorado always has a resource like it. She has a plan for Hip Chicks Out, as well.
“Hip Chicks Out will continue for sure – it’s my baby. It’s very important it keeps going; I’ll only leave here if it will,” Reuthlinger said. She’ll still be involved through social media, while guest hostesses will take charge of events. She said, “It will be fun to have new people rather than my old face all the time.”
Hip Chicks Out is “just a happy hour,” Reuthlinger said – “but more to some people than just that. It’s a place to connect.”