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Best Of :: People & Places

Best save from the wrecking ball

In 1992, despite its charming 1920s Italian Renaissance revival style, the venerable old Midland Building had been written off by everyone, including the city's hardcore preservationists. Believe it or not, the high-rise wasn't, at the time, considered to be historically valuable. The fact that it was designed by one of Denver's greatest early-twentieth-century architectural firms, Fisher and Fisher, didn't seem to matter, either. Luckily, the building's developers, Corum Real Estate Group, skipped the possibility of a surface parking lot at the site and instead decided to take advantage of downtown's boom times by turning the Midland Building into residential lofts. Now, as the redo moves toward completion, no one would doubt the building's historic credentials or its value to downtown's architectural diversity. One great challenge for the restoration architect, Paul Bergner (in consultation with David Owen Tryba), was the need to re-create the exterior massing and details of the first floor and mezzanine, which had been lost in a misguided 1970s rehab. The project reminds us that in historic preservation -- as in baseball -- it ain't over till it's over.

Best Oscar-night performance by a Coloradan

There's no use taking Academy Awards night too seriously -- particularly if you're South Park co-creator Trey Parker, late of Conifer, and you've been unexpectedly nominated for a statuette in the Best Original Song category. Parker's satirical anthem "Blame Canada" (from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut) didn't win the Oscar. But Parker, who can never resist popping Hollywood on the nose, caught every eye in Los Angeles with his outfit -- a facsimile of the scanty, attention-getting "dress" Jennifer Lopez wore several weeks earlier to the Grammy Awards. His cohort, Matt Stone, came garbed in a replica of Gwyneth Paltrow's 1999 Academy Awards attire.

Best Oscar-night performance by a Coloradan

There's no use taking Academy Awards night too seriously -- particularly if you're South Park co-creator Trey Parker, late of Conifer, and you've been unexpectedly nominated for a statuette in the Best Original Song category. Parker's satirical anthem "Blame Canada" (from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut) didn't win the Oscar. But Parker, who can never resist popping Hollywood on the nose, caught every eye in Los Angeles with his outfit -- a facsimile of the scanty, attention-getting "dress" Jennifer Lopez wore several weeks earlier to the Grammy Awards. His cohort, Matt Stone, came garbed in a replica of Gwyneth Paltrow's 1999 Academy Awards attire.

Best goodwill ambassador -- abroad

You've got to wonder: How many arguments have been settled over a beer or two? That must have gone through Boulder homebrew guru and Association of Brewers president Charlie Papazian's head when he organized a brewers' delegation to China last November to compare notes with Chinese counterparts, review the history of Chinese brewing and discuss such weighty issues as brewing technology, production, quality control and the global beer market. Planned under the sponsorship of People to People, a Seattle-based organization that develops international goodwill exchange tours for students and professionals, the trade mission had the distinction of being certified by the U.S. Department of Commerce. "It went great," says Papazian assistant Mark Snyder. "We made some contacts over there, and I'm sure he will definitely go on other missions. I'm not sure where yet, but it's definitely on the radar."

Best goodwill ambassador -- abroad

You've got to wonder: How many arguments have been settled over a beer or two? That must have gone through Boulder homebrew guru and Association of Brewers president Charlie Papazian's head when he organized a brewers' delegation to China last November to compare notes with Chinese counterparts, review the history of Chinese brewing and discuss such weighty issues as brewing technology, production, quality control and the global beer market. Planned under the sponsorship of People to People, a Seattle-based organization that develops international goodwill exchange tours for students and professionals, the trade mission had the distinction of being certified by the U.S. Department of Commerce. "It went great," says Papazian assistant Mark Snyder. "We made some contacts over there, and I'm sure he will definitely go on other missions. I'm not sure where yet, but it's definitely on the radar."

Best donation for victims of the June fires

Hey, man does not leave by bread, and bedroom, alone. When the Hi Meadow and Bobcat fires displaced dozens of families, Coloradans rushed to donate cash and compassion. But perhaps the most appreciated donation came from Colorado Springs resident Randy Barnes, who volunteered to record old Grateful Dead tapes for a man who'd lost his collection when his house in Pine burned down.

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Best save from the wrecking ball: Midland Building

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