Best Of :: Shopping & Services
Over the years, record stores have come and gone — these days, mostly gone. But Twist & Shout just keeps on rocking. It had already been going for two decades as Underground Records when Paul and Jill Epstein, both high-school English teachers, bought it at a tax auction in 1988, on the very first day of spring break. They didn't have much time for teaching after that. They moved the store to one spot on Alameda, then another, and in 2007 made the big leap — a big leap of faith, given how the music industry was imploding — to the Lowenstein project on Colfax Avenue. And somehow, they managed to make a thriving business out of a dying business model. Paul was way out ahead of the vinyl revival, stocking records, turntables and cartridges; Twist & Shout also has big DVD and Blu-ray departments and an incredible selection of music. But Twist & Shout is much, much more than a record store. It's a mainstay of the music scene, bringing in big national acts for in-store appearances, championing local groups and serving as a community gathering place. (The cool toys and clothing also make it a great gift shop.) With the Tattered Cover and the Denver FilmCenter just a few feet away, Twist & Shout has fueled a cultural revolution on Colfax. Long may it rave.
For local musician Martina Grbac, there is life after Matson Jones: Although she still works on musical projects, Grbac's newest vision is eyeLAB, a sliding-scale optical service that provides eyeglasses to artists and other uninsured people who typically can't afford a nice pair. By nature a labor of love, eyeLAB is a one-woman deal, and the sliding-scale concept is unique, but Grbac hopes to pair with charitable organizations in the future so she can dispense free eyewear to the most indigent customers. Give her a visit, whether or not you can afford the smart new frames.
Public bikes and public art ought to go hand in hand, and at this stylin' RiNo B-cycle station, one of fifty in the city, they do. Colorado sculptor Christopher Hecker's untitled urban-art assemblage, built from recycled car hoods and emblazoned with the word "Bike," is the perfect advertisement for B-cycle, especially in an arts district: Not only does it repurpose a dinosaur automobile, but it encourages B-cycle patrons to trade in their metal for pedals.
As sugar addicts and cheapskates already know, it's a scientific fact that candy canes and butterscotch pillows taste exactly the same whether they're intact or broken into pieces. The only difference? The price. In the Oops Room at the Hammond's Candies factory, thrifty five-year-olds (and grown-ass men who love caramel marshmallows and saving money) can get their candy fix for less by buying the factory's fractured goods. At Hammond's, Denver's 91-year-old candy company, even the mistakes are delicious.
The Queen Anne has everything you'd expect from a good downtown Denver B&B. Within reasonable walking distance of the 16th Street Mall and other urban attractions, its side-by-side Victorian houses open up to reveal old-style hospitality, served in lovely old rooms, some of which sport vaulted ceilings or city views. But it also runs on a streak of modernism: Proprietor Milan Doshi, a trained chef, dishes out lovely breakfasts based on locavore principles (there's a big garden in back in the summer, where guests can dine outdoors), and green and eco-friendly standards are observed throughout the inn, right down to the organic linens and low-flow toilets. To top it off, the Queen Anne also features a series of super-urban rooms decorated by an edgy stable of local artists and designers. For visitors hoping for a real city experience, it's an excellent launching pad.
Will he start? Won't he start? It doesn't matter. Denver Broncos (backup?) quarterback, underwear salesman and clean-living phenomenon Tim Tebow has sold a lot of No. 15 jerseys since the team drafted him in April 2010; in fact, his jersey has consistently been one of the NFL's top sellers. But jerseys are expensive, which gave Daniella Grieve, of Lombardi's Embroidery in Arvada, an idea: Bring her your old Brandon Marshall (remember him?) No. 15 jersey, and she'll replace the former Broncos wide receiver's name with Tebow's for $25. It's a bargain for Denver fans and a good way to make sure that Tebow groupies keep their shirts on.