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Smart and from the heart

February 3, 2009

When he moved back to Colorado after studying improvisation theater in Chicago, Eric Farone needed a place to live. He found more than a place to live; he met his future business partner and wife.

Eric FaroneStudents at CSU

Both Colorado natives, Farone (’87) and Denise Maes (’89) attended CSU at the same time and had mutual friends, but never met. Farone managed the Lory Student Center, competed with the Speech and Debate team, and helped run the speech lab as a speech communications major.

“I knew I wanted to entertain people, but not be scripted. I wanted to be funny, but not necessarily have the same routine every night. I had just defined was improv, but I had never heard of it and could not find anything like it,” he says.

In the meantime, Maes worked at the student bookstore and studied economics as a full-time student. “I was really serious about school and probably should have had a little more fun. I’m the oldest child in my family and the first child to go to college, so college was a big family experience,” Maes says.

After graduation

After graduating from CSU, Maes became a financial consultant and a corporate trainer, hoping to eventually own a business. Farone had heard about a type of acting that involved the spontaneity he desired, so he moved to Chicago.

“Improv was an embodiment of what I was interested in: western civilizations and Buddha’s ideas - working from the heart and living in the moment. I liked improv’s philosophy, but I often disagreed with its practice on stage. In Chicago, many actors were taught to go for the easy laugh and get noticed so they could become stars. Returning to improv’s philosophy was my goal when I moved back to Colorado,” Farone says.

Denise MaesBovine Metropolis

Farone worked with an improve group in Boulder before moving to Denver to begin a sketch comedy group. The group grew large and was split into smaller groups that performed at theaters around town.

When the opportunity came to buy their own building, Farone and Maes started the Bovine Metropolis, a name Maes suggested to capture the “uniquely Colorado” feel of their theater.

“In the Seventies, when my dad worked downtown, the people he saw were all wearing either suits and ties or cowboy hats and boots. Denver isn’t a metropolis like Chicago, but it is more grown up than a cow town. So the Bovine Metropolis is a fancy name for a cow town,” Farone explains.

New location

In 1997, the couple took small steps to build their business and the positive feedback from performers, viewers, and the press confirmed their progress. A couple years later, they found and bought a building that could house the Bovine Metropolis.

“Everyone is born inherently funny, but due to the culture, personalities, and their environments, people begin to think they are not. In our theater, we recognize that humans are innately funny in different ways. People need to peel away those layers to return to that essence and find out who they are. We are grateful and humbled to be part of the process,” Maes says.


Excerpt from a story originally published in Around the Oval magazine. To subscribe to Around the Oval, become a member of the CSU Alumni Association.

Contact: Laura Puls
Phone: (970) 491-6533