Best Of :: Shopping & Services
We gave Curating the Cool an award for the Best Highbrow Junk and Eclectica in 2014 for good reason: The place is a veritable paradise for junkyard pack rats and all lovers of one-of-a-kind furniture and plain old stuff — really good stuff — with a constant turnover of new/old merchandise that keeps things fresh no matter how often you visit. But it just so happens that late last year, the purveyor of antiques and curiosities had a little extra space to fill. Grooves & Games took up the challenge, bringing in its own handpicked stock of vintage vinyl, retro video games and toys galore as a pop-culture counterpoint to Curating the Cool's more decorative focus. Come in and play!
Central Denver is lousy with new buildings — or would that be that most of the new buildings are lousy? Not all of them, fortunately. Around Union Station in the Platte Valley, there are several recently completed structures that have been well designed and constructed out of distinctive materials. Most of those are fairly nice, and one, the Triangle Building, is positively great, already a distinctive landmark in that part of town. Taking the very sculptural form of a sharp-edged wedge nearly completely clad in black glass, it looks as much like an art object as it does an office building, which is what it is. Developed by East West Partners, the building was designed by one of the city's most artistically distinguished architectural firms, Anderson Mason Dale Architects. The firm has done a number of other exceptional projects not far from the Triangle Building, including the handsome pair of mid-rise pavilions bracketing Union Station and CU Denver's Student Commons Building, a stone's throw away on Speer Boulevard.
1550 Wewatta St.
By early last year, Brad Evans was fed up with the ugly structures sprouting up all over Denver. And soon the founder of the Denver Cruisers was on a roll with Denver FUGLY, the Facebook page he started to document some of the aesthetic disasters in this fast-growing town. "There's all this shit going up," he told us at the time. "Stucco boxes that have no use for being built. People are being lazy." But not Evans, who regularly posts not just his most recent fugly discoveries, but attractive options around the world. And the group's members weigh in regularly, making Denver Fugly a place that's really building for a better future.
Piece by piece, Denver's built environment is getting a makeover — but Save the Signs is working hard to make sure that the city's commercial history is not lost in the changes. A few years ago, photojournalist Corky Scholl began sharing images of the vintage illuminated signs that once greeted travelers along Colfax Avenue on Facebook. These days, Scholl uses the social-media hub as a way to get the word out about endangered neon signs across the country. He's also expanded his project to include photos, stories and videos about the architects and artists who contribute to Denver's visual urban landscape. More than just a place to commune online and talk about the Mile High City's good ol' days, Save the Signs is also a nonprofit that raises money to restore classic signage. Scholl's efforts have saved the wacky neon of Colfax icon Sid King's Crazy Horse Bar and downtown jazz joint El Chapultepec's glowing corner sign, among others.
A notoriously misunderstood player in Denver's history, Colfax Avenue still works hard to showcase its role as the vibrant city thoroughfare it was intended to be. Fortunately, ColfaxAvenue.com is shining the spotlight on what Playboy magazine once called "the longest, wickedest street in America." Founded and run by Anistacia and Johnny Barber, ColfaxAvenue.com regularly publishes photos, personal stories and news updates that prove that the 26-mile-long main street, though still wild, is definitely welcoming. Whether you're looking for throwback images of the gone-but-not-forgotten Eddie Bohn's Pig 'N Whistle or Mammoth Skating Rink (now the Fillmore Auditorium) or a tribute to Pete Contos — owner of the Satire Lounge, Pete's Kitchen, Pete's Greek Town Cafe and many of the other Pete's-named businesses in the city — ColfaxAvenue.com is worth repeat visits.
It's been more than a decade of interviewing bands and making prank phone calls (and fun of each other), but the boys are still at it. The Eddie, Jason and Chris Show is broadcast live every Monday night on idobi Radio — the most-listened-to alternative-music stream in the world — but the podcast is created right here. The three best friends and Denver natives — Eddie Barella, Jason Newcomer and Chris Barr — are online-broadcasting pioneers, having started live-streaming their show during the dial-up days, before podcasting was even a thing. More than 70,000 listeners tune in each week to catch interviews with bands like the Mowgli's and the Undead, but the trio has been known to make appearances around Denver at events like Holiday ManCraft and the Underground Music Showcase. Listen to the show live at 6 p.m. MST on idobi.com, or download the podcast episodes on iTunes. Either way, Denver's sounding mighty good.ejcshow.com
Readers' choice: Whiskey and Cigarettes