Best Slipcovers
I Do Slipcovers
4856 S. Acoma St., Englewood

Elaine Ellis, an almost alarmingly committed artiste, has never met an old sofa she didn't grow to love. And when the owner of I Do Slipcovers becomes inspired, watch out. She'll find you deals on fabric, show you hundreds of photographs of her work, ask you exactly what you want--and return a couple of weeks later with a washable, one-of-a-kind slipcover that will withstand even the grimiest home environment. She will then thank you for providing her with such an exhilarating creative experience. As for her prices--they can't last.

Best Eclectica
Desert Heart Inc.
3480 W. 32nd Ave.

You may come away with something you really didn't need, but at Desert Heart, chances are it'll be something great. The shop sells beads, metal stampings and oddball ornaments that can be purchased by the scoop from color-coordinated bauble baskets--as well as exquisite, jangly costume jewelry designed by owner Deborah Sparshott. And the wares don't end there: There are transparent glass seashells in candy colors, papier-mache animal rattles, fanciful boxes, petroglyph T-shirts and other unpredictable pretties.

Best Erectica
Adult Book & Video
4810 Pontiac St., Commerce City

The Triple-X neon sign at Adult Book & Video burns 24 hours a day because this adult toy store behind the Sapp Brothers Truck Stop (the one with the big neon coffeepot sign just north of I-70 and Quebec) never closes. If you yearn for a nice pair of nipple clips at four in the morning, you can find them here, along with a porndog's treasure cache of other goodies. There's a large selection of gay and straight periodicals, books and magazines available in multipack deals. The 25-cent arcade has more titles than you can shake a stick at, and the extremely large video collection is conveniently divided into "subject" areas. You can buy one, rent one, or reserve an on-site viewing room and catch all the action without ever leaving the comfort of the store. An abundant novelty selection includes love kits, paddles, penis pacifiers, risque gag gifts, blow-up dolls and pocket pals, along with enough vibrators, fake phalluses and sturdy strap-on tools to satisfy the needs of even the pickiest consumers. What we liked best was the counter display of red-leather AIDS ribbons for sale.

Best All-Around Vice Shop
Jerri's Tobacco Shop
1616 Glenarm Pl.

Clean living? Who needs it? At Jerri's Tobacco Shop, you can choose your poison: gluttony (a very large array of cholesterol-packed snack items from barbecued Corn Nuts to palm-oil-drenched coconut balls), gambling (Lotto tickets by the score), pornography (the widest assortment of bodice-busting skin mags we've found yet in an establishment that also sells walking canes) and general decadence (care for a water pipe, anyone?). Naturally, the shop is also choke-full of the richest, meanest tobacco this side of North Carolina.

Best Secondhand Smoke
Edward's Tobacco Inc.
3439 S. Broadway, Englewood

Step off busy South Broadway into Edward's, and you'll swear you've landed on Tobacco Road. The bravest souls will even venture into the cozy store's humidor. The aroma inside Edward's definitely will put you in the mood--to either linger amid the choice cigars or run like hell toward the door.

Best Mall for Smokers
Northglenn Mall
The world is an increasingly inhospitable place for that most endangered of species, smokers. But nicotine addicts will find shelter from the norm at the Northglenn Mall, where management, in response to customers' requests, has designated two smoking areas--complete with ashtrays and seating--in the north and west wings, near Sears and Mervyn's, respectively.

Best Use of Rhodesian Railroad Ties
The Baobab Tree
1518 Wazee St.

Baobab Tree owners Miles Forsyth and Anita Walter have been bringing artifacts back from South Africa, Zimbabwe and other countries on the dark continent for twenty years. So when they recently opened for business, there was no shortage of ethnic stuff for them to put on the block. The spacious room is filled with carved busts, clay figures, exquisite basketry, beadwork, tapestries and other oddities. But perhaps the most unusual items are memorabilia culled from the Rhodesian railways, including gargantuan dining tables smartly fashioned from teak railroad ties--and so well finished you'd never dream where they came from.

Best Folk Art
Fish Head Soup
238 S. Broadway

Fans of the artfully funky will love the up-scale Fish Head Soup, set in an appropriately quirky South Broadway neighborhood. The heart of the store is stocked with shelves of cheap doodads and silly toys such as schnozz-shaped pencil sharpeners that make terrific stocking stuffers. Though the proprietors sometimes carry works by such nationally known folk artists as Howard Finster, much of their merchandise is crafted in the back room. Slide over to the bottle-cap snakes, which cost about a third as much as their Santa Fe counterparts.

end of part 1

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