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Best Of :: People & Places

Best Parking Lot Art Gallery

Having public artworks replace private cars could be the perfect example of Mayor John Hickenlooper's plan to transform Denver from an outpost of the automotive age into the very model of a creative-class city. The empty parking lots of this shuttered John Elway Ford dealership are separated from the City Park neighborhood to the north by an aging wooden security fence hung with lively works of contemporary art. The artwork east of Gar­field Street consists of colorful constructions that handily show what a good artist can do with leftover mate­rials and scraps of time; the pieces hanging on the fence east of Jackson Street are assembled from repurposed wooden screen doors and discarded housewares. This gallery is open at all hours; art lovers are encouraged to bring their own wine and cheese.

Best Move by Leadville

Leadville doesn't get a lot of attention these days — so the adopted home town of Jihad Jamie Paulin-Ramirez really didn't appreciate being labeled "nothing to write home about" and a "dirtball town" by a local reporter characterizing the place for Fox. Local lawmakers fought back by offering to host "A Day in a Dirtball Town" that would include tours of Leadville's art galleries and historic sites — including spots visited by Oscar Wilde in 1882. And he did write home about the town, reporting at one saloon, "I saw the only rational method of art criticism I have ever come across. Over the piano was printed a notice — 'Please do not shoot the pianist. He is doing his best.'"

Best Actual Reality-TV Star From Colorado

When America voted Lilly Scott off this season's American Idol, our hearts sank. Scott, a Littleton resident who previously fronted the band Varlet, was a breath of fresh air on a show otherwise known for churning out (with a very few exceptions) a steady parade of unmemorable artists who, in turn, produce mainstream pabulum. And while we were being unrealistically optimistic to think she'd make the finals, we couldn't help pulling for Scott. For the first time in years, she made Idol worth watching. We couldn't wait to see what songs she'd pick next: From "Lullaby of Birdland" to "Fixing a Hole" to "A Change Is Gonna Come" to "I Fall to Pieces," she kept things interesting. But that last song eventually proved to be her undoing; Scott's voice, which recalls Joanna Newsom's, was a bit too much for most folks. Your loss, America.

Best Radio Talk-Show Host

Now that texting while driving is illegal in Colorado, the legislature really should do something about drivers who listen to Caplis & Silverman while behind the wheel between 3 and 6 p.m. This odd couple of the airwaves can be dangerously distracting. While you're wondering just why former DA Craig Silverman doesn't execute a citizen's arrest for Caplis's shameless boosting of the University of Colorado, for example, you could wipe out a fleet of RTD buses. Still, it's almost impossible not to tune into their show during rush hour, and the impressive lineup of guests they book apparently all feel the same inevitable pull, because just about every politician and newsmaker in the state winds up yakking with these talk-show hosts.

Best TV Sportscaster

He's still finding his voice on morning radio, and his attempt to click with players sometimes comes off a little shmoozy. Still, Channel 4 sports anchor Vic Lombardi overcomes these and any other faults you might be muttering about with his undeniable natural knowledge and feel for Denver sports. He was born with it: He's a native of Denver's north side and interned with the station as a student. But he balances his obvious fandom with honest, astute observations and a geniality that oozes from your flat-screen.

Best Scale Model ? Canned Goods Division

Colorado's real capitol dome is in trouble. It is rusting, rotting and cracking, and fixing it will cost millions. But a scale model of the building, made entirely of canned goods, is doing just fine. Located inside the dome museum — known as Mr. Brown's Attic — the replica is a version of one originally created for the 2004 People's Fair by Intergroup Architects of Littleton as part of Canstruction, a yearly contest held by the Society for Design Administration. Made from a variety of containers, including soup and tomato sauce cans and sardine tins, it's topped by a plastic water bottle. Canstruction projects are typically built as fundraisers, and the food is then donated to food banks, but this one is on permanent display — which may be more than we can say for the real thing.


Best Parking Lot Art Gallery: 3701 to 3821 E. Colfax Ave.


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