Best Of :: Arts & Entertainment
Take a walk on the wild side at Crested Butte's annual Wildflower Festival. Now about fifteen years old (in good Crested Butte fashion, the origins of the event are a little vague), this festival remains as fresh and invigorating as an alpine meadow after a summer shower. Crested Butte is known as the Wildflower Capitol of Colorado -- it's the micro-climate, stupid -- and you'll be convinced that the title's well-deserved after just a few minutes at this weeklong summer festival. Official activities include wildflower walks that are easy, moderate and downright challenging, along with tours, photography workshops, sketching instruction, cooking classes and musical entertainment; unofficial activities include lying in fields filled with bright flowers and drinking yourself silly in Crested Butte's classic bars. This year's festival is set for July 9-15.
Yes, it's a school night, but that doesn't bother the lively and loyal crowd on the dance floor at Rock Island. So What, a weekly dance night at this LoDo institution, finds DJs K-Nee, Style 'N Fashion and Aztec playing just about anything they and the crowd feel like. The Tuesday-night gig grew out of K-Nee's So What radio show on KUVO eight years ago and has been spinning an eclectic mix of funky, soulful grooves combining acid jazz, Afrobeat, nu jazz, hip-hop and other sounds in various locations ever since. So watcha, watcha, watcha want?
A pub named Streets of London might seem an unlikely place for a night of country-flavored entertainment, but don't tell that to DJs Stagger Lee and Chester Fields. These good ol' boys are the hosts of Country Gone Wrong, an inside-out C&W show that pairs heartbreak with hilarity. Country classics and obscure hillbilly odes segue into X-rated Johnny Paycheck tunes and rip-snorting stuff from new alt-country acts. And when these DJs start riffin' on a theme, there's no stopping them. Who knew there were so many tunes about chickens, truckin', cheatin' and alcohol? Hank definitely didn't do it this way, but he'd love it all the same.
Jake Jabs came out fighting when the News and Post announced their proposed JOA. But then, he's taken on wilder beasts than rampaging publishers, as becomes clear in the first few pages of his self-published autobiography, An American Tiger ($19.95 at an American Furniture Warehouse store near you, or online). The rags-to-recliners story starts with Jabs's childhood on a hardscrabble farm in Montana and ends with his triumphant crowning as the National Home Furnishing Association's 2000 Retailer of the Year; along the way, Jabs also manages to include dozens of pages from his American Furniture Warehouse customer-service and employee policies. But then, Jabs knows all about how to overstuff a package.
Recorded and/or filmed at Red Rocks, Road Rock V.1, an in-concert CD, and Red Rocks Live, a DVD, aren't just fine documents of Neil Young's undimmed musical energy. They're also reminders that the natural amphitheater located in the foothills west of Denver remains the most primordial place to see a concert in these United States.
Mark Bliesener's decision to expand his musician consulting business to the Web is a gift to bands and artists anywhere, not just those who share his Denver area code. Bliesener is what those in the music industry refer to as an "insider": a former critic, performer, publicist and manager who now helps artists at all levels improve their chances of making a living at this thing called music. Bandguru.com's primary function is to introduce potential clients to Bliesener's background and services for hire, but it also contains a wealth of information that's free for the clicking, including an exhaustive listing of American and international record labels and Web links galore. Guru, we have so much to learn from you.