Meet your 2012 Denver #WebAwards arts winners
We came. We saw. We tweeted. Last night, Westword hosted the third annual Denver Web Awards, our celebration of Denver's greatest digital minds. In September, we put out a call for you, dear readers, to nominate your favorite online projects, and a team at Westword spent more than a month whittling your suggestions down to our final entries across categories featuring news, arts, food and music. Continue reading to see the winners of the arts categories in this year's Denver Web Awards.
Best Denver Twitter Account: Denver Center For the Performing Arts
The Denver Center for the Performing Arts oversees a complex of theaters and venues for the arts-seeking public. Much of what it has to offer might be taken for granted if it weren't for the Twitter account keeping theater revelers up to date with news of upcoming shows, coverage of current performances and open invites to panel discussions. Corporate Twitter accounts are often just robots of tweeting, but the DCPA responds quickly to questions and interacts with patrons as if they were talking on the phone. This personality gives new life to an otherwise tech-run device, making it easier for Twitter patrons to learn important details about ticket sales, upcoming events, and what to look for in the multiple theaters on whose behalf the account tweets.
Best Sports Phone App: EpicMix Ski Application
As soon as snow hits the ground, Colorado's winter-sports enthusiasts are reunited with the application that has become like a digital best friend for those who frequent it. The app acts as a one-stop shop for all of its users' activity on the slopes at seven EpicMix sites, saving and storing their feats and photos for future knowledge. And bragging rights, of course.
Most Viral Video: "Denver," by TJ Miller
Staying true to the form that it mocks, T.J. Miller's "Denver" is the essence of high-quality tackiness in art and mixed media. Backed by solid film production and spot-on audio mastering and editing -- not to mention a slew of local comic celebrities and Denver hot spots -- the song, with its catchy hook ("Denver, Denver, I'm from Denver"), resonates to the point of annoyance. But the sense of pride it evokes can't be denied: Among other highlights, you'll see Miller and his b-boy crew cavorting at Casa Bonita, Pete's Kitchen, East High School (his alma mater) and assorted breweries.
Best Sex Blog: Shanna Katz
Anyone with a sex life and an Internet connection can write a titillating erotic blog, but what makes Shanna Katz stand out from the rest is that she's actually an expert. A certified sexologist and sexuality educator, Katz answers questions, reviews erotic toys and books, and talks about her new book, Oral Sex That'll Blow Her Mind: An Illustrated Guide to Giving Her Amazing Orgasms, on her candid, funny and delightfully informative blog. Whether she's reviewing Kegel exercises or responding to questions like "Does semen whiten your teeth?" (A: It doesn't), Katz's site is always sex-positive, helpful and a fascinating read.
Best Arts Blog: 12 Questions
It's remarkable how much you can learn about a person from just twelve questions. On their blogazine, Laughing Mouse press founders Becky Hensley and Spencer Keralis ask creative types of all mediums the same standardized twelve questions, which range from simple ("What books are you currently reading or recommending?") to abstract ("How do you define sin?"). The interviews are surprisingly candid, revealing interesting tidbits about subjects such as local artists Andrew Novick and DJ Narky Stares as well as national cult icons like Vaginal Davis and Alice Bag. It's a simple, basic format that somehow never gets old, with consistently well-curated guests.
Best Fashion Blog: Fashion Folio
Glorianna Schinagl, aka Fashion Folio, is everywhere, all the time; whether it's a sample sale, clothing swap, runway show or boutique opening, the fashion blogger is constantly on the prowl, photographing apparel acquisitions and writing up the latest trends. She's an equal-opportunity shopper, praising local designers and mall-store innovations alike, and she pieces together unique looks for her own wardrobe, which she catalogues in detail on her blog.
Best Artist on Social Media: Elisa Gabbert
It seems natural that poets would be pros on Twitter. And poet and author of The French Exit Elisa Gabbert definitely knows how to use her 140 characters. Gabbert delivers short, funny wisdom on everything from why diaphragms work ("You get so caught up in how weird the word looks, you forget to have sex") to a good reason to have kids ("For the first five years or so, they kind of HAVE to be your friends"). In addition to her everyday observations, Gabbert also lights up the Twitter-verse with regular nationwide live tweets of films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Shining, and with @VagTalk, which garnered her the Best Artist on Twitter honor at Westword's 2011 Web Awards.
Best Instagram Account: TheBigKlosowski
Allen Klosowski is a professional photographer and social-media specialist for the Denver Post. His daily photos from the Post building, as well as his documented walks through downtown Denver, provide a professional view through an amateur medium. Instagram has changed the way people interact by utilizing photos rather than words, so for someone to really use it means that it's not all duck-face portraits and narcissistic posts about the current meal in front of the user. Klosowski dominates this realm with images that show the real face of Denver instead of the perplexed face taking the pictures.
Best Web Photo: "Bear Falls Out of a Tree at CU," by Andy Duann
This is the kind of photo that begs to be made into a meme: a tranquilized bear falling, spread-eagled, out of a tree and onto a padded mat while no fewer than five cop-like folks (including one in a cowboy hat) stand around spotting him like they're participating in some bizarre bonding experience at a high-ropes course. Simply put, photos like this are why the Internet exists.
Best Film Blog: Mile High Cinema
While Brad McHargue started writing about film on his now-defunct I Love Horror blog and was a contributor to HorrorSquad with Mile High Cinema, which he founded, his blog reveals knowledge that extends beyond what might be his favorite genre. In addition to covering film events in Denver and surrounding areas, he and a quartet of other writers present well-crafted reviews of current films.
Best LGBTQ Blog: Mile High Gay Guy
Mile High Gay Guy has been holding it down as the premier resource for LGBTQ information and events since 2007. Once run solely by creator Drew Wilson, the Colorado-centric site has recently expanded, with a cadre of contributors who provide relevant political, social and entertaining content daily, with an inclusive mission and a stellar viewpoint.
Best Comedian on Social Media: Sam Tallent
Sometimes it can feel as though comedians use social media to try out material on an ever-present audience -- but Sam Tallent doesn't. Instead, the eternally positive funny dude and co-founder of the Fine Gentleman's Club uses Twitter to share comedic observations about his freelance-comic life. On second thought, maybe Tallent is using Twitter as a joke dartboard, and we just can't tell because he's that good.
Best Tumblr: Denver Is Strange
From photos of late-nineteenth-century Colorado opium dens to strange vintage signs and Weekly World News articles that focus on the Queen City of the Plains, Denver Is Strange collects all sorts of photos and tidbits of obscure history that make this such a wonderfully weird city. It's the Tumblr to visit for vintage photos, old tourist postcards, and pieces of nearly forgotten memorabilia like a cheesy 1970s song about Denver. Without Denver Is Strange, these pieces of local history might be lost to time; instead, they're conveniently collected in one place for viewers to scroll through and celebrate.
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