Denver Retro Con reminds us that the ’80s and ’90s are officially retro

The first annual Denver Retro Con brought 1960s through 1990s kitsch and culture to the Ramada Inn in Northglenn.

Denver Retro Con comes to the Ramada in Northglenn. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Totally Awesome Thrift Shop's booth at Denver Retro Con. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Totally Awesome Thrift Shop’s booth at Denver Retro Con. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

The first annual Denver Retro Con brought 1960s through 1990s kitsch and culture to the Ramada Inn in Northglenn.

More than 1,500 attendees came to check out the 80 vendors and enjoy performances by DJ Rockstar Aaron and KISS tribute band RocKISSity.

The day-long convention combined three of organizer Dana Cain’s previous events, Toy & Doll Supershow, Denver Modernism and Vintage Voltage.

Cain loves all things retro, something her 35 years of experience throwing conventions and festivals can tell you. But this year, she wanted to remove the ’60s and ’70s from the spotlight and emphasize the ’80s and ’90s. Because, in case you hadn’t noticed, that’s retro now. Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

Cain said she was inspired by her own experiences as a Cabbage Patch Kid-buying yuppie mom by day and a sequined dance hall diva by night. Of course, there was still a healthy dose of midcentury modernism — partly thanks to Miss Modernism, Bunny Galore — but with a dose of extra ’80s dazzle.

Here’s a peek at 2016’s Denver Retro Con:

Denver Retro Con comes to the Ramada in Northglenn. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Aaron Wright plays Scramble dressed as a Ghostbuster.  Hyperspace Arcade brought vintage games to the con. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Mike Gomez, collector and creator, at his Zomboy Masks booth. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Mike Gomez, artist and collector, with his Zomboys Masks booth. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Fort Collins-based Zomboy Masks had a booth at the con. Mike Gomez, an artist and collector, has been making your worst nightmares into latex masks for 16 years.

Denver Retro Con comes to the Ramada in Northglenn. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
A Zomboys Masks creation. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Gomez says business does well at this time of year.

Denver Retro Con comes to the Ramada in Northglenn. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Antique dolls from Doll Dreams and Wishes. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Speaking of that time of year, there’s nothing quite like 30 or more pairs of sightless eyes to kickstart the night terrors.

Denver Retro Con comes to the Ramada in Northglenn. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Dennis Schwartz checks out a vintage guitar from Schwartz Electronics. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

“We’ve crammed a lot into this little space,” laughed Dennis Schwartz, the owner of Schwartz Electronics.

Vintage guitars, audio equipment and vinyls lined the shelves of his display.

Denver Retro Con comes to the Ramada in Northglenn. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
DJ Rockstar Aaron plays a collection of oldies at the Denver Retro Con. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Denver Retro Con comes to the Ramada in Northglenn. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Karin Wikstrom-Miller with her wares at Denver Retro Con. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Karin Wikstrom-Miller left her “Frank Lloyd Wright meets Austin Powers” home in Santa Fe to move to Denver about two years ago. She’s been an avid mid-century modern collector for years and now sells her collection and her photography under the name, Trailer Trash Studios.

Denver Retro Con comes to the Ramada in Northglenn. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Wikstrom-Miller shows Miss Modernism some matchy-matchy pants. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Burlesque performer and mid-mod personality, Bunny Galore, won Miss Modernism 2016. She said Denver inspires her to be a thoroughly modern woman.

“Modernism in Denver is the coolest form of radical self-expression,” Galore said. “Commercial space travel, the aerospace industry, tech — that represents a return to mid-modernist idealism.”

RocKISSity performs at Denver Retro Con. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
RocKISSity performs at Denver Retro Con. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Denver Retro Con comes to the Ramada in Northglenn. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Denver Retro Con comes to the Ramada in Northglenn. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Because it just wouldn’t be the 1980s without KISS.

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at caiello@denverite.com or twitter.com/chlobo_ilo.

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