And that's why Cafe Nuba is our 2006 MasterMind winner for Literary Arts. This group has shown Denver some luminary talent and even now is expanding its horizons with such events as Podcast competitions and high-stakes poetry slams. There's more competition today, but Cafe Nuba is the original -- and, as with Coke, the original has always been the best. Still, Cafe Nuba has made one major improvement to its original formula: booze. What was once a censor-free, smoke-free and alcohol-free night is now just censor- and smoke-free. "We wanted a grown-up, lounge-type feel," Booth says.
That's a genius move. The move of a true MasterMind.
Design/Fashion: Deb Henriksen
Deb Henriksen does everything from the core. Skate. Board. Design. She's the same kick-ass chick for whom she creates clothing through her company, Equillibrium Clothing.
Henriksen has been a part of Denver's fashion scene since its nascent stages in early 2001. As such, she's been one of the town's biggest boosters and an ardent, even notorious, supporter of others trying to live their dreams. That's because she knows all about it: Before she chased her fashion fantasy and became known for her trademark skull-and-crossbones cat and punked-out equal sign, she had a career in environmental health. But she left that steady work to strike out on her own, taking the big risk.
Since then, many would-be designers in Denver have followed in her footsteps. But Henriksen continues to set the tone, always pushing for excellence. That's why she's our choice for the 2006 MasterMind in Design/Fashion.
While others in the local fashion scene are content with creating screen-printed T-shirts or one or two niche items, Henriksen has stretched much further, designing a complete line of made-to-measure wear full of demure dresses with hard-core edges, flouncy skirts and killer handbags. It's Betsey Johnson if she were a tomboy on a board.
Even without the MasterMind award, Henriksen believes this is her year. She and her fiancé are moving her retail shop and his screen-printing business from the Upper Ballpark neighborhood to Third Avenue and Santa Fe Drive, where they'll have more than double the space. Henriksen also is expanding her material repertoire to include environmentally friendly hemp cottons and bamboo cottons, which have a silky drape and are anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, "because it's fun to play like a boy, not smell like a boy," she says.
She's also realizing that there's room in her dream to honor her scientific side, so she's taken on some part-time environmental-health consulting jobs, which include working on meth-lab cleanups. "I like it because I'm both-brained," Henriksen notes, "and there was a part of me that was sad not being an active part of the environmental sciences."
But most exciting for Henriksen is that her California-based sister, who studied marine biology, is getting ready to launch her own clothing line this summer, and the two will be collaborating. "A sister in surf and a sister in skate," Henriksen says. "It doesn't get more core than that."
Film/Video/Multimedia: Johnny Morehouse
In a digital world, Johnny Morehouse represents the old school: He still shoots on reels, even honoring the medium with his annual "Super-8 Side Show" at the Bug Theater. This summer will mark the sixth anniversary of that project, for which Morehouse invites film aficionados from around the world to screen shorts shot with Super-8, the 1960s-era film. "A photograph is great, the aging of it, the feel of it," Morehouse says. "The same goes for film. It just has an instant nostalgia. We're in such an immediate society right now with reality TV, and the more that goes on of that, the less attractive digital is to me. I love watching old footage and old newsreels."
That's not to say this Colorado native isn't a thoroughly modern man. He works in digital during the day as a freelance producer of corporate videos and commercials and will be using that technology for his own documentary, Colfax vs. Broadway, which is currently in pre-production. Digital will also loom large in the new project he plans to launch in 2006, "Compose and Expose." Morehouse hopes to bring Denver's film and music scenes closer together by having the two collaborate on that program, with filmmakers submitting silents for musicians to score, and music-makers sending in songs so movie buffs can create music videos.
This collaborative spirit and his passion for all things film make Morehouse our 2006 MasterMind winner in Film/Video/Multimedia.
Morehouse wasn't always an advocate for the art -- he started out as a journalism/mass communications student at the University of Denver, but after taking a few film classes, he was hooked. He moved to Portland after graduation, signed up for a few more courses at the Northwest Film Center and realized he'd found his calling. He missed Denver, however, so he came back to town in 1998, committed to helping nurture a homegrown film scene. "Portland was fun, but I wanted to get some stuff started here," says Morehouse, who loves to curl up with a good documentary.
"There wasn't too much going on when I came back, but there were pockets of things happening," he adds. "The scene is so vibrant now compared to back then. It's still rising, but it's in a good position. Plus, I love the non-snobbery of the creative folk of Denver, because I've seen some noses stuck up in the air in different cities."