What's worse than a cheap cigar? A cheap dildo.
Thankfully, you won't find any of those at Hysteria, a new "feminist, progressive, sex-positive boutique" that opens at 11 a.m. today at 114 South Broadway. Wife-and-husband team Elizabeth Hauptman and Pete Yribia modeled their shop after the internationally known Toys in Babeland and Good Vibrations, two legendary businesses that were among the first sex-toy stores started by women, for women. Unlike most large pornocopia chain stores that are geared primarily toward heterosexual men, Yribia says, Hysteria is "female-friendly and queer-friendly, welcoming everyone but catering especially to women and members of marginalized sexual subcultures."
Erotic and educational toys, books, DVDs, safer-sex supplies, and retro- and up-to-date-style lingerie and clothing are among the wide array of merchandise available at the shop. But don't expect any cheap dimestore knockoffs: Superiority is paramount here. "Our sex toys are often made by small, independent manufacturers who focus on quality rather than mass production and use the highest-quality materials available," Yribia explains. "Our erotic DVDs are ordered with the tastes of women, couples and sexual minorities in mind. We believe in carrying a small selection of quality titles rather than the wall-to-wall porn-o-rama seen at most adult shops."
What? Shopping for sex toys in a clean, well-lit, fabulously decorated store without drunken, smelly perverts (at least one who's not my date) breathing over my shoulder or wanking off in the corner? Sign me up! -- Debra A. Meyers
Disorder in the Court
Witness for the persecution.
Just a glimpse of 302, a courtroom in Cook County Criminal Courthouse, the busiest felony courthouse in the country, is enough to make time spent on the fourth floor of Denver's City and County Building seem like a day at the beach. But Steve Bogira, an award-winning writer for the Chicago Reader, the Windy City's alternative newsweekly, spent a year hanging out in that courtroom. The result, Courtroom 302: A Year Behind the Scenes in an American Courthouse, is a stunning look at what can go wrong in America's criminal-justice system. It's a big topic that gets into other big issues -- drugs, race, civil rights -- but the telling little details are what put you right beside Bogira. The biggest surprise of his courtroom stint? "The near total indifference to the bigger picture, to the context of crime," Bogira says. "The judges and lawyers are so busy running cases through the system that they almost never pause to consider what's going on -- what's causing a defendant who is guilty of an offense to commit that offense, often repeatedly. It seems to me that a system that doesn't explore a defendant's motivation or circumstances is doomed to be a revolving door. It may be that our system is incapable of more. But if that's so, we ought to recognize it and quit spending so much on it."
Bogira will sign and read from his work at the Tattered Cover in Cherry Creek, 2955 East First Avenue, at 7:30 p.m. tonight. For more information, call 303-322-7727. -- Patricia Calhoun
Take Me Out to the Ballpark
April marks the return of the Colorado Rockies, and it also means it's time for the opening of the Ballpark Market, a mere two blocks from Coors Field. The open-air, European-style flea market -- held in a large parking lot off Larimer Street between 21st and 22nd streets -- is the perfect place to search for everything from antique furniture to that '77 Orange Crush T-shirt that's eluded you all these years. The Ballpark runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month, now through October, rain or shine. True treasure-hunters know they should get there early to unearth the choicest wares. Who knows? You may even find the Rockies' dignity in there somewhere. For more information, visit www.ballparkmarket.com. -- Adam Cayton-Holland
Englewood Library lets readers track down authors.
Lovers of crime novels and detective mysteries are no doubt familiar with author John Dunning and his Denver-grown hero, Cliff Janeway. But the cop-turned-bookseller isn't the only pithy protagonist in the metro area's literary scene. Local lawyer-turned-crime-writer Stephanie Kane offers readers Jackie Flowers, a powerhouse defense lawyer who is adept at maneuvering on the city's seedy side. She's a broad with friends in very low places. Not familiar with Kane? Then stop by the Englewood Public Library, 1000 Englewood Parkway, today for the sixth annual Meet the Faces Behind the Books open house. From 1 to 3 p.m., more than three dozen Colorado writers -- from history buffs to children's authors -- will be on hand to discuss the heroes and heroines of their novels and to sign books.
For more information, visit www.englewoodgov.org and click on "what's happening" or call 303-762-2572.
Tell 'em Flowers sent you. -- Amy Haimerl