Best of Denver®

Best Of 2003


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Arts & Entertainment

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Best Of :: Goods & Services

Best Record Store

Lurking around every one of Twist & Shout's cash registers, display racks and merchandise cases are employees who'll share a little -- or a lot -- of what they know without the music-snob sneer. Of course, if members of the Twist staff were feeling a little smug, we couldn't blame them: Fifteen years after vowing to cultivate the best record store in Denver, owner Paul Epstein and his wife, Jill, preside over a rarified retail gem. Why do we love it so? For starters, Twist has the city's best selection of new CDs from artists both mainstream and totally remote. It regularly hosts in-store performances by artists stopping through town on tour. (The Flaming Lips and Elvis Costello are recent drop-ins.) It's one of the few outlets where local musicians are invited to sell their merchandise without the hassle of consignment. We also love Paul's willowy white hair, the ample listening stations, the Little Homies for sale. Mostly, we love that Twist & Shout remains an actual family-style store -- complete with in-house cat! They shake it up, baby.

Best Free Service

So you're at a bar, and a certain creepy someone is refusing to leave you alone unless you give him or her your phone number. What to do? Tell the heavy breather in question to call you at 303-575-1696 -- digits that just happen to dial up Denver's Rejection Hotline, a local service of the Web site Although the Hotline's recorded voice is briefly understanding ("I know this sucks, but don't be too devastated"), it's anything but in the long run, hinting that the person being dissed may be "short, fat, ugly, dumb," suffer from "bad breath" or "body odor," give off a "stalker vibe," or is about as much fun as "playing leapfrog with a unicorn." There's no better way to tell that certain unwanted someone to take a hike.

Best Free Seasonal Service

Carousing in LoDo got a whole lot easier -- or at least a bit more sensible -- last New Year's Eve, thanks to the soberRide program underwritten by AT&T Wireless. Folks who'd overdone the bubbly and lacked the means or foresight to book a room downtown for the night were provided free cab rides (up to $50 in value). From 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., chariots awaited, available at cab stands or through a toll-free number. And New Year's revelers got home safely to sleep off their excesses in the comfort of their own beds. But come to think of it, wasn't the name a bit misleading?

Best Free Service at DIA

Sometimes it seems like DIA doesn't want anyone to leave. Is there some kind of strange force field that sucks the juice from car batteries, flattens tires and disguises vehicles parked in the sprawling economy lots and distant car-parks, rendering their owners powerless to drive far, far away? Perhaps -- but it's no match for the good people at AMPCO System Parking, who scour the premises for infirm autos and offer gratis jump-starts, lock-out assistance, tire inflation and guidance for the hopelessly lost. Armed with a license-plate number, they can locate a car for the weary traveler who's just

plumb forgot where he parked it. AMPCO's attentive employees don't accept tips, so be sure to at least smile and wave as you pull out and motor on.

Best DIA Survival Guide

After over two million hours of air travel, the average American would pull out his or her hair. But Littleton resident E. Larry Beaumont didn't do that. Instead, he wrote a book to help other frequent fliers survive the perils of air travel unscathed. From pre-travel planning, check-in and boarding to flight and arrival, Beaumont takes travelers through the experience with the least amount of pain -- and loads of humor. Included with the advice are humorous stories and suggestions for making travel experiences as enjoyable as possible, often at the expense of others.

Best Freebie at the Cherry Creek Mall

It's not easy finding something for nothing at the Cherry Creek Mall. Certainly there are deals to be had, but nothing, not even the free perfume samples, matches the value of the free air compressor behind the mall (near Chevy's). No doubt intended for cyclists passing by on the Cherry Creek Bike Path, the air compressor also beckons to four-wheelers with low tire pressure. So the next time some bohemian friend says, "The Cherry Creek Mall blows, dude," reply "Yes, it does -- for free."


Best Record Store: Twist & Shout


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