Download our Free Best Of App

Arts & Entertainment

  • Best entertainment for under $1

    The 3 a.m. #15 bus eastbound on Colfax

    After a long night at the bars, it's hard to find things to laugh at. But down at the corner of Colfax and Broadway, the bus stop for the #15 eastbound is a hive of entertainment. The stop is usually packed with denizens from the bars, winos trying to get out to Aurora, and people dealing with the graveyard shift.… More >>
  • Best local rendition of "Blue Moon"

    Mariachi Vasquez

    The Partridge Family? Not. The Jackson Five? Please. But cross Selena with the Brady Bunch and you'd be pretty damn close. Mariachi Vasquez is a certified mom-and-dad-and-all-the-kiddies mariachi group: Daddy plays bass, Mama sings tenor, and the three sisters and two brothers join right in there. The group, which hails from Tucson, has been shaking its maracas since the kids… More >>
  • Best free entertainment

    Lutheran Medical Center lobby

    Sure, it may sound like nightmarish DTs to a barfly in the prime of his life, but there are people out there who actually enjoy listening to the tinkling of the ivories without the cacophony of rattling ice cubes and expectorating stool-clingers. And you just may find those people settling into the comfy chairs surrounding the white baby grand piano… More >>
  • Best specialty film festival

    Aurora Asian Film Festival

    Among the Denver area's several intriguing new film festivals, which address everything from jazz on celluloid to the pan-African experience, the Aurora Asian Film Festival has the most variety and the largest reach. This spring's third edition of the fest screened over four days at the graceful Aurora Fox Theatre and featured a dozen new films from Hong Kong, Japan,… More >>
  • Best split-personality club

    La Rumba/Trinity

    Last year, when Ninth Avenue West became La Rumba, the club shifted its focus from swing to salsa, a move that reduced the number of wing tip wearers in the crowd while upping its quotient of Latin-music lovers. Now the club is sometimes known as Trinity, a progressive dance environment that has welcomed glow-stick-carrying denizens, international acts like the Basement… More >>
  • Best impromptu karaoke in a Mexican dive bar

    Satire Restaurant & Lounge

    Sure, it sounds better after a couple (or several) tall drafts and maybe a bowl of chips. But regardless of your sobriety level, it's a pretty safe bet that on any given night, the Satire will be filled with folks who've been there for a while -- folks who are ready to sing like Ethel Merman on Xanax. Bar-wide renderings… More >>
  • Best place to pretend it's 1940

    Turk's Supper Club

    Most of the week, Turk's Supper Club is a friendly blue-collar joint where you can get a decent burger and a beer for about six bucks. On Monday nights, however, the pool tables are moved to the side to make way for an old-fashioned bandstand and the twenty-person-plus Denver Jazz Orchestra, which uses the historic tavern as a practice and… More >>
  • Best club DJ

    DJ Fury

    No one in Denver works as hard -- or is in as much demand -- as Fury, the city's premier jungle DJ. In addition to spinning at several raves each month, DJ Fury maintains two weekly club residencies ("Breakdown" at the Snake Pit on Thursday nights and "The Globe" at Maximillian's on Tuesday nights). When he isn't heading up his… More >>
  • Best juke-friendly jukebox

    Skylark Lounge

    Owner Scott Heron has crammed his boombox with eras of rockabilly, blues and early country, from Bob Wills and Hank Williams to Elvis, Etta James and more. Johnny Cash and Johnny Horton share space with the Haywoods and Go Cat Go, pure proof that "rock and roll is here to stay." … More >>
  • Best jukebox

    Goosetown Tavern

    Rarely do a squealer (Journey's Steve Perry) and a grunter (Fugazi's Ian MacKaye) lay side by side, but inside the jukebox at the Goosetown Tavern, everybody is friends! The diversity of the artists represented, from gutter punks to Motown divas, keeps the crowd interesting and interested. Goosetown regulars know that on any given night, the crowd can range from tattooed… More >>
  • Best Halloween dance party

    The Church

    Celebrating a pagan holiday in a former church may be sacrilegious, but that doesn't scare us. Denver's most ghoulish characters congregate at The Church on All Hallow's Eve: One Halloween bash turned up a seven-foot-tall creature (the guy somehow managed to dance on stilts all night), an ape-masked person with red lasers for eyes, and a dead ringer for Prince.… More >>
  • Best place to get high and jam

    Nederland Acid Jams at the Wolf Tongue Brewery

    Since he began hosting his weekly Acid Jams in the northerly mountain town of Nederland in 1996, promoter "Michigan Mike" Torpie has seen some mighty fine players wander up on stage and play improvisational music for eager, dancing crowds: Stanley Jordan did it once, and Tony Furtado's done it often, as have members of the String Cheese Incident and Leftover… More >>
  • Best chance to offend PETA

    Harp Seal Piņata

    The rowdy and experimental Harp Seal Piņatas don't quite have a cutesy handle that will endear them to animal-rights activists, but that's okay -- they've got a good beat. … More >>
  • Best band name

    404 Not Found

    Todd Bradley's ongoing experimental electronic project features characters with names like Bob the Robot and Grandmaster Dumbass. Considering that the Internet is Bradley's primary method of music distribution, the band's title -- the same message one gets when attempting to log on to a Web site that has moved locations -- can be viewed as clever, confusing or both. For… More >>
  • Best community film series

    Boulder Film Alliance "Best of" Series

    The newly formed Boulder Film Alliance -- five movie-loving entities working as one -- is screening forty films this spring and summer that reflect the shared interests and various missions of the groups. Some highlights: Colorado University's International Film Series reprises Zhang Yimou's Raise the Red Lantern July 8 and 9 and the "Colors Trilogy" of the late Krzysztof Kieslowski… More >>
  • Best place to get whupped -- and like it

    Central Wrestling Organization matches at the Aztlan Theater

    They may not enjoy bleeding publicly as much as Edward Norton's character did in Fight Club, but the brave souls who enter into the Central Wrestling Organization matches at the Aztlan Theater still seem to derive a rush from delivering -- and receiving -- exhibition-style ass-kickings. Contenders with names like Extreme Machine, Jenocide and Psycho Sarge expertly drop-kick, jack up… More >>
  • Best hip-hop show

    Basementalism, KVCU-AM/1190, 4 to 7 p.m. Saturdays

    DJs Adict and Resonant (aka Mike Merriman and Nate Harvey) are hip-hop heads of the most serious kind -- and that's to the benefit of anyone who tunes in to their weekly radio show on Radio 1190. In addition to spinning the most up-and-coming underground hip-hop artists from the local and national scenes, the crew hosts artists in the studio… More >>
  • Best blues radio show

    Strictly Blues, KRFX103.5FM

    Host Kai Turner makes Sundays especially holy, with three hours of choice three-chord music from 7 to 10 p.m. each Sabbath. Turner has taste and does his homework, bringing both established blues stars and unsung heroes to local ears. And he's not afraid to spin a few things that stretch his show's handle by a few bars.… More >>
  • Best holy hour of radio

    Gospel Chime, KGNU-FM/88.5

    On her Gospel Chime, Madame Andrews provides a Sunday service like no other by playing the very best in soul-stirring music from 7 to 9 a.m. Andrews -- a holy crooner herself -- spins old and new heavenly tunes and gives the faithful a valid excuse for skipping church. Can we get a witness?… More >>
  • Best live-music radio show

    Cabaret, KGNU-FM/88.5

    Each Monday night at 7, Boulder's big-hearted, volunteer-run station lets local acts command its airwaves. The resulting Cabaret is a rare hour of live radio and a chance for area players to reach an equally rare audience. A public-service program of the finest sort. … More >>
  • Best local jazzbo

    Hugh Ragin

    Esteemed trumpeter and local luminary Hugh Ragin is arguably the area's most accomplished jazz performer, if not its most active. The Fort Collins-based educator is a traditionalist, equally at home fast-boppin' as he is dabbling with neo-swing, rendering a soulful ballad, or flat-out improvising. Combining a freethinker's multi-layered sensibility with simple monster chops, Ragin has spanned collaborating with the Art… More >>
  • Best local-music site

    www.denver-rocks.com

    Many solid locally oriented music sites have popped up over the past few years, but denver-rocks.com remains the URL of choice for the sheer volume of information contained in its many pages. Most impressive is its directory of other sites: Separated by genre, the listings lead to the personal home pages of most local bands worth their salt in megabytes.… More >>
  • Best online ranting about local music (and everything else)

    The Hooligan www.thehooligan.com

    When John Reidy migrated to Ireland earlier this year, it seemed that the end was in store for his caustic publication and companion Web site. Fortunately, Reidy's recently been spotted roaming the dark corners and dusty taverns of D-town, and The Hooligan is once again fooling about, at least as a digital entity. That's good news for those who enjoy… More >>
  • Best li'l independent slice of cybernet pie

    www.joesgrille.com

    Self-supporting artists from around the globe have a friend in Wendy Rubin of joesgrille.com. Along with Christina Minicucci and Dave Corey, Rubin is the force behind a distribution network that specializes in quieting the hungry tummies of indie-music lovin' folks, all the way from the North Pole to Tierra del Fuego. Jointly based out of Boulder and Austin, Texas, the… More >>
  • Best local-music how-to

    Making a Living in Your Local Music Market: How to Survive and Prosper by Dick Weissman

    Dick Weissman, a longtime professor at the University of Colorado-Denver who was part of the Journeymen, a '60s-era folk outfit that included future Mamas and Papas leader John Phillips, clearly speaks from experience in his latest book, issued by the Hal Leonard Publishing Company and available online at Amazon.com. In this update of a book first published in 1989, he… More >>
  • Best arts festival

    Salida ArtWalk

    When you've got that hankering to go river rafting, chances are that Salida, one of the state's prime meccas for rapids-runners, will be your destination. But the picturesque mountain town has a lot more passing through it than the Arkansas River: With some forty little shops, restaurants and galleries lining its streets, it's also home to a fair amount of… More >>
  • Best music-scene organization

    Colorado Music Association

    The Rocky Mountain Music Association was once the primary advocate for local musicians in these parts, but over time the group grew less and less effective, causing one wag to joke that anything sponsored by the RMMA "couldn't draw flies." Now the Colorado Music Association, or COMA, has undertaken the same mission with an energy and drive that can't be… More >>
  • Best creative music promoter

    Alex Lemski

    Fortunately for jazz and avant-garde enthusiasts, New Yorker Alex Lemski brings diversity and excitement to the city with forward-thinking cultural events like the Denver Free Music Festival and the Edge of the String concert series. The president and driving force behind the nonprofit Creative Music Works, Lemski has also branched out and begun sponsoring jazz classes and seminars through the… More >>
  • Best music-industry scandal

    House of Blues vs. the Backstreet Boys

    It's hard for most people over the age of eleven to imagine the Backstreet Boys as heroes -- fashion dolls manufactured by Mattel, maybe, but not heroes. However, via its management, the group came to the rescue of innocent ticket-buyers last fall by blowing the whistle on House of Blues's scummy policy (first exposed in Denver) of setting aside large… More >>
  • Best success story

    String Cheese Incident

    Over the past few years, these neo-grass, cross-genre rockers have gone from playing bar basements to headlining Red Rocks. It's the kind of progress bands in any hometown dream of, a feat fueled by excessive touring, good musical vibes and astute business savvy. Nothing cheesy about that. … More >>
  • Best rapper on the verge

    Don Blas

    Don Blas's latest CD, Capo Di Tutti Capi, may display an Aurora address as its point of origin, but the high level of recording quality and Blas's own verbal dexterity would place it right at home in the hip-hop section of any record store in the country. Guest spots from heavyweights like Dready Kreuger of the Wu Tang Clan and… More >>
  • Best rapper with a Super Bowl championship ring

    Terrell Davis

    Terrell Davis's 27th birthday party, held at the F-Stop in LoDo on October 28, may not have resulted in the same sort of riot that overtook much of central Denver after the Broncos' Super Bowl victory a few months earlier, but it did create quite a scene. On the sidewalk outside the club, some of the city's finest-lookin' folks lined… More >>
  • Best rapper to foretell and then prevent the apocalypse

    Apostle

    On his first -- and epic -- debut release Last of a Dying Breed, Apostle raps about a calamitous range of topics including corrupt world government, conspiracy, new world order, natural and man-made disasters and, finally, a to-the-death battle between evil forces and a soul-saving rebel army. And just who is leading the righteous in that battle? Why, our rhyming… More >>
  • Best reason to surf the Flatirons, dude

    Maraca 5-0

    Like the Astronauts twenty-odd years before them, Boulder's surf rockers Maraca 5-0 can boogiefoot with the best of 'em. Twang-crazed, bouncy, guitar-driven and chock-full of reverb-soaked fun, they're the Front Range's landlocked answer to So-Cal's Duane Eddy and the Ventures or Nashville's Los Straightjackets (who, oddly, opt to shoot the curl in Mexican wrestling masks). Sidestepping such hijinks for a… More >>
  • Best proof of life after Boulder

    Fat Mama

    During its life as a Boulder outfit, Fat Mama displayed characteristics that -- in less able musical hands -- might not have played well outside of Colorado. It had a sprawling membership and jamming tendencies. It enjoyed fusing elements of jazz and rock into something many people associate with a proximity to pine trees and kind bud. Yet when the… More >>
  • Best inexplicable band

    DeVotchKa

    Nicholas Urata's Latin-Slavic-flavored ensemble is one spicy ethnic feast. If you're a sucker for strings -- or if you just like something deliciously eclectic -- this cosmopolitan chamber troupe should resin your bow. The Chicago-transplanted outfit's new full-length disc, Super melodrama, combines wild neoclassical inventiveness with frenetic guitar-rock sustenance. It also features the kind of violin playing that could put… More >>
  • Best politically correct tourist greeting

    Judith Francisca Baca's La Memoria de Nuestra Tierra: Colorado (The Memory of Our Land)

    Los Angeles artist Judith Francisca Baca is the doyenne of Hispanic American muralists and, not surprisingly, one of the most willing to forge ahead with the medium. Her new mural at DIA -- a monumental paean to immigration based on the flight of her own grandparents from Mexico during the revolution -- briefly nods to the old fresco mural… More >>
  • Best charity gig by a bunch of drunks

    Buzz Bomber and the M-80s

    Buzz Bomber and the M-80s (Mike Mayhem and Jack Shit) brought their annual slay ride to town last December, brightening the dingy stage at Cricket on the Hill as well as the sad faces of sick tykes at Children's Hospital. Headlining a Toys for Tots benefit, Bomber and the boys helped stuff a fat stocking-load o' charity loot while fulfilling… More >>
  • Best rockin' mama

    Chanin Floyd

    Whether or not motherhood ushers in the beginning of the end for local punk outfit the Geds, the band's frontwoman, Chanin Floyd, remains this area's baaadest rockin' mama. Why? Consider her impressive bass-slappin' resumé: Twice Wilted, '57 Lesbian, and Spell, a onetime signee to big label Island Records. Hopefully, any diapers, bottles or late-night hollerin' can augment the good, crunchy… More >>
  • Best approximation of a mean old coot

    Munly

    Don't smack your baseball into Munly's yard -- you'll never see it again. Hear that grindin' noise comin' from his shed? Human bones, most likely. Remember the "Gashlycrumb Tinies" -- that nursery rhyme by Edward Gorey where all them kids die, one by one, from A to Z? Yessir. It's kinda horrible. But kinda funny, too. But for mean ol'… More >>
  • Best unabashed use of a theremin

    Hoochie

    Not since Lothar and the Hand People has a local outfit employed the Russian inventor's electronic-tone generator to such entertaining ends as Boulder's wall-of-noise trio Hoochie. A throwback to cheesy drive-in movie Martians and sweater-bustin' damsels in distress, the oft-snubbed theremin provides just the right blend of faux eeriness and comic relief. It's also living proof, perhaps, that the distance… More >>
  • Best addition to coffee and crullers

    Ron Bucknam

    Weekend pastry-noshers at the Tattered Cover bookstore in Cherry Creek are no strangers to the ambient wizardry of local guitarist Ron Bucknam, a bimonthly fixture for those who frequent the Queen City's sequestered nooks. As much influenced by painting as he is by music (think of minimalist Steve Reich floating through one of Kandinski's geometric playgrounds, and you're in the… More >>
  • Best approximation of a turn-of-the-century strip show

    Burlesque As It Was

    Sisters Michelle and Andrea Baldwin are the driving -- and gyrating, wiggling and titillating -- force behind Burlesque As It Was, a performance group that revisits an era when stripping and erotic dance was an art form. Students of vaudeville and burlesque greats like Gypsy Rose Lee, the sisters and their sequined crew hosted a pair of performances this year:… More >>
  • Best Sinatra lounge singer

    John Potter

    John Potter can belt 'em out with such force and grace that if you close your eyes and squint just right, you might think it was ol' blue eyes himself swaying between the tables at Patsy's Inn Italian Restaurant, at 3651 Navajo Street. Ask him right, and he'll play your favorite song while you slurp on spaghetti and gulp a… More >>
  • Best chanteuse

    Mary Ann Moore

    As a child, New Jersey-raised vocalist Mary Ann Moore listened to the great jazz singers -- Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Chris Conner -- and she listened to romantic, melodically based piano masters like Bill Evans. You can hear their influence in her lush intonation and impeccable phrasing, but Moore has been very much her own woman since she… More >>
  • Best unretirement

    Vic Cionetti

    A fixture in the '80s on the Denver jazz scene, soprano saxophonist Vic Cionetti chucked it all ten years ago. Burned out by life in nightclubs and frustrated that his original music couldn't find a wider audience, he stuck his horn case under a bed in the guest room and began earning a living as a real-estate man and a… More >>
  • Best reunion

    Front Range Women in the Arts (Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art)

    There were no women on the faculty when Helen Redman went to the University of Colorado in the early '70s as a graduate student in art. Virginia Maitland, who was living with an art instructor, found herself assigned the invisible ranking of "faculty wife." Other women artists were struggling to sculpt or paint while taking care of their families and… More >>
  • Best defunct act

    32-20 Jug Band

    With Dan Kase's departure, D-town's fine jug-powered combo is no more. Tarnation! The 32-20s were a welcome drink of musical moonshine, and their departure leaves a hole in the hearts of many. That's reason enough to want to empty a bottle or two.… More >>
  • Best dang recording

    Nounsville by Dang Head

    Folk-grounded exuberance with startling elements of random noise might best describe Nounsville, the fifteen-song offering from Montana transplant J-ME Smith, aka Dang Head. Fans of musical deconstruction could argue that the ornery fella is merely skippin' down the junkyard path of poetic stray animals with a butterfly net -- and they'd be right. But the critters, duly nabbed (with the… More >>
  • Best local recording

    Local Shakedown

    Former Boulderite Jello Biafra provides a spoken-word introduction to this collection, a two-CD, 45-track crash course in the very best modern music emanating from the Front Range. Sponsored by the good people at Radio 1190 (KVCU-AM), the student-run station affiliated with the University of Colorado at Boulder, Local Shakedown highlights many of the artists played on the station's weekly broadcast… More >>
  • Best new label

    Owned & Operated

    If you're in the habit of thumbing through publications like Flipside or Maximum Rock 'N Roll, you may have noticed that Owned & Operated Recordings has branched steadily outside of its Fort Collins base in the past year. A record company started by former members of ALL and the Descendants, Owned & Operated has put out some of the finest… More >>
  • Best nutritious release

    Get Your Beans by Mr. Tree and the Wingnuts

    The Wingnuts' debut is a madcap celebration of roots raunch and the trio's "doghouse rock." Soapy Argyle brays his hillbilly-savant lyrics over his own careening guitar solos and the insane swinging of bassist Mr. Tree and drummer Shawn 4-On. It's baked, refried and loaded with musical fiber. … More >>
  • Best local-music reissue

    New Music for Bowed Piano by Stephen Scott

    Stephen Scott, whose day job is instructing at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, is an unsung musical innovator who converts his primary instrument, the piano, into a veritable symphony orchestra with a little help from his friends. He and his assistants physically pluck the pianos strings, many of which are altered with the use of bows made of Popsicle sticks… More >>
  • Best friend to have in a recording studio

    Bob Ferbrache/Absinthe Studios

    A onetime lap-steel player for 16 Horsepower, Bob Ferbrache is even more talented when it comes to the art of studio engineering, and local bands know it. In addition to a recent collaboration with the Horsepowered fellas, he's left his unique thumbprint on DeVotchKa's dazzling new platter and is overseeing the upcoming release by the Kalamath Brothers. Big Bad Bob… More >>
  • Best guitar tone

    John Common

    Rainville frontman John Common sports a six-stringed timbre that's anything but common. With a Fender Twin, a semi-hollow-bodied DeArmond "Starfire" and a pair of Boss pedals, Common creates a dinosaur tone that groans and growls, squawls and squeals. Pair it with his deft rhythm-to-lead workmanship (and his picking smarts) and you've got fully realized guitar glory. Let it reign. … More >>
  • Best pedal-steel guitar player

    "Uncle" Dick Meis

    Denver's king of the Sho-bud puts the pedals down with area country acts including Lois Lane's Superband (fronted by Meis's wife, Lois) and Denver Joe. His star-striking skills keep area pickers' jaws dropping on a regular basis, and his occasional solo steel showcases are helping introduce others to the instrument. To quote Denver Joe, Meis is the man himself. … More >>
  • Best sound in a theater

    Fox Theatre

    Every night, soundman David Burbank tweaks and twiddles his gear to craft the clearest live mix in town. While many area rooms frequently wear out attendees with excessive volume, out-of-balance blends and distortion, the club serves up a loud-but-lovely mix that's powerful and fox-smart.… More >>
  • Best comedy revolution

    A.C.E.'s Aspen Comedy Fringe Fest

    There's been only one winner at A.C.E.'s Aspen Comedy Fringe Fest, but that's no surprise: The fest has only one act, even though it takes place at the same time as Aspen's HBO US Comedy Arts Festival. But we'd be happy to draw this card anytime: The three members of the uproarious local improv trio A.C.E. -- Canadian Barb Gehring,… More >>
  • Best new old music hall

    The Fillmore Auditorium

    Bombed-out buildings in Beirut seemed to have more concert-venue potential than the Mammoth Events Center, a decrepit barn with acoustics so bad that even Beethoven might have been bothered by them. But a few million dollars and a name change later, the structure has turned into one of Denver's gems -- a place worth visiting whether or not there's a… More >>
  • Best plan to renovate an old venue

    Red Rocks Amphitheatre

    The city's original ideas about how to bring this national treasure into the next century (projecting corporate logos on the rocks, building an eyesore of a terrace to pump up concession revenues) were on par with New Coke. But the public, symbolized by the grassroots organization Friends of Red Rocks, pitched such a fit that government types went back to… More >>
  • Best place to hear Public Enemy in a classical European setting

    Gothic Theatre

    When Public Enemy performed in town last October, Chuck D was perhaps too busy bouncing athletically around the Gothic Theatre's stage (and keeping an eye on his squirrelly partner in rhyme, Flava Flav) to comment on the venue's interior. Throughout the set, he uttered nary a word about the way the Gothic's balconies recall fifteenth-century French cathedrals, or about the… More >>
  • Best concert in a club

    Gil Scott-Heron at Lion's Lair on February 29, 2000

    In two consecutive Denver appearances, Gil Scott-Heron proved that he is only slightly less hilarious as a comedian than he is inspiring, enduring, and right freakin' on as a musician, poet and social observer. He opened both February performances at the overly stuffed Lion's Lair (which brought new meaning to the word "intimate" that night) with an elongated monologue that… More >>
  • Best concert (since June 1999)

    Tom Waits at Paramount Theatre on October 12 and 13, 1999

    Tom Waits recognizes the value of a good entrance. At both of his Denver appearances at the Paramount Theatre last October, he announced his ascent to the stage by blazing straight through the center of the crowd, howling into a handheld bullhorn as he marched down the aisle. It was the perfect scene-setter for performances that found Waits pulling off… More >>
  • Best karaoke host

    Mel Apodaca

    Mel Apodaca, a former investigator for the Denver Coroner's Office by day and a self-proclaimed "karaoke slut" by night, was captivated by the musical phenomenon as soon as a friend introduced him it. As Apodaca felt pulled by the powerful lure of karaoke, he noticed deficiencies in the business: Hosts took their jobs lightly and lacked enthusiasm and sympathy for… More >>
  • Best dance caller

    Chris Kermiet

    One thing about dance calling: You can't claim that people never listen to you. Chris Kermiet knows the down-home business better than most, and it's no wonder, considering his pedigree: His mother was a member of the singing Ritchie Family, and his father was a dance-caller before him, so you could almost say he was born with the old-time music… More >>
  • Best place to fiddle around

    Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp at YMCA Camp Shady Brook in Deckers

    The Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp, which debuted last year and was a rousing success, is back this year with added vigor, not to mention an all-star faculty headed up by Scottish fiddle whiz Iain Fraser. But this year's weeklong fête in the mountains will be far more than a bunch of fiddlers fiddling around; expanded to include numerous other instruments,… More >>
  • Best of the best

    Colorado Performing Arts Hall of Fame

    Last fall, the Colorado Performing Arts Hall of Fame, a Denver Center for the Performing Arts affiliate formed to honor Coloradans of repute in the arts, announced a list of six inaugural inductees that read a little like a who's who of American popular culture: Included were theater maven Helen Bonfils, playwright Mary Chase, swashbuckling hero Douglas Fairbanks, brilliant acting… More >>
  • Best ticket deals

    Hot Tickets

    What if a city decided to upgrade its arts and culture venues and no one remembered to come? The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District devised a great way to entice the public into trying out places by offering the kind of package deal one simply can't refuse: Hot Tickets, which include a discounted ticket to a selected event at one… More >>
  • Best local kids' recording

    Wheeeeeeeeee: Songs & Stories for Kids by Front Range Artists

    The project of music-school director Sue Schnitzer, a mother, musician and music educator who's led hundreds of toddlers through the ropes of finding their rhythms early, Wheeeeeeeeee: Songs & Stories for Kids by Front Range Artists has a little bit of everything, including some of the bigger names in the local kids'-music industry. Contributions from such talents as Lois LaFond,… More >>
  • Best place to curl up with a Harry Potter book

    Children's Library, Denver Central Library

    The Adirondack chairs in the children's wing of the Denver Public Library, designed by Michael Graves and constructed of sturdy curly maple, are ample enough for two small readers or one adult plus one in-lap guest. Surrounded by a cozy world of books -- not to mention views of Civic Center Park and that horse-on-a-big-chair whatzit -- this is the… More >>
  • Best scientific Web site for kids

    Web Weather for Kids www.ucar.edu/40th/webweather

    At places like UCAR in Boulder, there's nothing mindless or even casual about talking about the weather. UCAR researchers are dead serious, in fact, when it comes to the climatological vagaries of living in the world, and they've put together a dandy, prize-winning, kid-tested weather Web site for young 'uns. Log on to Web Weather for Kids and follow the… More >>
  • Best artsy kids' site

    www.wackykids.org

    You can't keep a nine-year-old away from the Internet forever, but you can steer the little surfer in a good direction: At www.wackykids.org, she'll find nothing but good, clean fun -- all with the added attraction of being painlessly educational. Featuring four clickable areas of interest that draw content from museum collections -- The World of Japan's Samurai Warrior, Maya… More >>
  • Best new public art (since June 1999)

    "Full Fathom Five" by Tim Prentice

    Those kooky visionaries Bill and Judy Petersen-Fleming didn't need to put up a glitzy building for their new-age-style aquarium, Colorado's Ocean Journey, but they did, hiring the specially created architectural firm Odyssea, which put forward a design by the able Ron Mason of Denver's Anderson Mason Dale. Nor did the creators of the private facility need to put in a… More >>
  • Best blockbuster museum exhibit

    Matisse From the Baltimre Museum of Art Denver Art Museum

    The big blockbuster show, once a rarity, is now common fare at the Denver Art Museum, the Colorado History Museum, the museum formerly known as the Denver Museum of Natural History, and even the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Well, they need to beef up those attendance numbers, don't they? Among these big shows, one stands out above the others:… More >>
  • Best political use of an art show to get a bigger building

    Impressionism Denver Art Museum

    Last November, the Denver Art Museum asked voters for a $60 million-plus capital-improvement bond to pay for the construction of a new, freestanding wing. So how could the DAM make the case that it needed the money because it was too damned small? Museum helmsman Lewis Sharp went out and scored Impressionism, a traveling show that broke all of the… More >>
  • Best thing to ever happen to the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

    Director Mark Masuoka

    In the brief but checkered history of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, the fledgling institution, housed in a former fish market, has mostly floundered. But its lack of direction began to change with the dawn of the year 2000, when Mark Masuoka took over as the museum's director. Masuoka had come to town just a year before to take… More >>
  • Best opportunity to catch up on the latest international art buzz

    Contemporary British Artists Denver Art Museum

    Last year, new British art made the scandal sheets by outraging New Yorkers when it was shown at the Brooklyn Museum. But months before that, many of the same artists seen in the Big Apple were part of a show right here in the Mile High City. Unlike the exhibit in New York, Contemporary British Artists came and went at… More >>
  • Best imitation of a museum show

    John F. Carlson and Artists of the Broadmoor Academy David Cook Fine Art

    It was a presentation worthy of a museum -- not the Denver Art Museum, of course, since it pays scant attention to Colorado's rich art heritage, but a museum somewhere else. Exhibition organizer David Cook, who runs a pair of galleries side by side on Wazee Street, used a connoisseur's eye and a historian's judgment to infuse John F. Carlson… More >>
  • Best movie-theater popcorn

    Landmark Theaters

    Popcorn ain't just popcorn anymore. For one thing, Landmark Theaters, Denver's leading art-house consortium, pops its Top O' the Crop kernels in low-fat canola oil -- not the heavier coconut oil most theaters use. For another, they drizzle real butter on top, if you like. For a third, moviegoers with the munchies get a choice of savory popcorn seasonings --… More >>
  • Best rediscovery of hidden treasures

    Vanguard Art in Colorado: 1940-1970 Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

    Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art director Cydney Payton, together with freelance curator and art collector John Woodward, last year presented Vanguard Art in Colorado, a show that revealed a hidden art-historical fact: In Colorado, as in New York at the same time, a post-war generation of painters and sculptors embraced abstract expressionism and created a truly American-style art. Payton and… More >>
  • Best salute to Colorado's contemporary art scene

    Colorado Abstraction: 1975-1999 Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities

    Kathy Andrews, head curator at the Arvada Center, mounted a huge, history-making exhibit last fall. It was truly a who's who of Colorado art, occupying the entire set of galleries on both floors. On the lower lever, Andrews placed abstract painting and sculpture by the pivotal '70s generation; on the upper floor were artists who emerged in the '80s or… More >>
  • Best group drawing show

    Master Drawings Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center

    Last fall, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center hosted the traveling Master Drawings exhibit, which featured more than 150 drawings ranging in date from the 1300s to the 1970s, all of them loaned by the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts. The Worcester has an enormous collection, numbering into the high hundreds; in the choices made for the CSFAC show, organizers… More >>
  • Best solo painting show -- emerging artist

    Bill Brazzell, Align

    Bill Brazzell is one of the younger artists who make up the majority of the ILK co-op's membership. In Align, presented last spring in ILK's branch location at Pirate, Brazzell cleverly melded intuitive gestural abstraction with its opposite, an organized formal structure. Several of Brazzell's paintings were done on thin sheets of concrete that had been stained with square dashes… More >>
  • Best solo painting show -- established artist

    Steven Altman, Untitled

    Surely the tumbledown storefront that houses the main branch of the ILK co-op on the increasingly gentrified Santa Fe Drive gives no indication that inside, as often as not, are some of the best art shows in town. That was definitely the case early this spring when the south gallery was swept clean, painted, and given over to Untitled: Steven… More >>
  • Best painting duet

    Tracy and Sushe Felix, New Work by Felix & Felix

    Manitou Springs artists Tracy and Sushe Felix have exhibited in Denver since the 1980s. Both are highly regarded, and both have their pieces in many art collections (including the Denver Art Museum's). For this stunning show last summer, gallery director Bill Havu gave a large space to each artist -- and separating them from each other was a good idea,… More >>
  • Best temporary mural

    Stephen Batura, "Floodplain"

    As a parting gesture to the Pirate co-op, Stephen Batura mounted the most ambitious painting he had ever done right before resigning his commission as a member. "Floodplain" was a mammoth abstraction that was a full forty feet long and twelve feet high, essentially filling the entire south wall in Pirate's main space. Using short brushstrokes in cool shades of… More >>
  • Best solo sculpture show -- emerging artist

    Melanie Hoshiko, Traverse

    Right out of art school, sculptor Melanie Hoshiko hit a home run with the solo show Traverse, presented at the Gallery at Guiry's in the Ballpark neighborhood. Hoshiko delved into neo-minimalism with chaste, three-dimensional wood constructions that read like two-dimensional paintings. Her use of modernist color combinations such as red and black or black and white, were quite effective, as… More >>
  • Best solo sculpture show -- established artist

    John DeAndrea, Fragments

    The Singer Gallery at the Mizel Arts Center is little more than a good-sized room at the Jewish Community Center in Hilltop, but it's one of the best places in town to see contemporary art. Last year the gallery was taken over by Simon Zalkind, who began to fill the Singer's calendar with interesting shows -- and one of the… More >>
  • Best career-establishing show

    Bryan Andrews, Dopplegangers

    Since graduating from art school five years ago, sculptor Bryan Andrews had been trying to break into the big leagues of Denver art -- and failing. Then everything came together for him, including a chance for a solo outing at the prestigious Artyard, the city's most respected sculpture gallery. Andrews seized the opportunity by filling the show, titled Dopplegangers, with… More >>
  • Best new concession item

    Italian sodas

    Getting thirsty during hour three of that cinema epic about four generations of North Dakota wheat farmers? Slide on out to the concession stand at the Chez Artiste and order up an icy Italian soda (aka "phosphate") -- sparkling water flavored with the syrup of your choice. Among the flavors: coconut, peach, hazelnut, black currant and almond. Available since March,… More >>
  • Best New York school show

    Carl Andre and Melissa Kretschmer

    Among the pleasures of Rule Modern and Contemporary Gallery on Broadway are the many New York artists featured there. True, most are little known, but occasionally director Robin Rule is able to snag one of the greats, as she did when an acknowledged master of minimalism was a part of a duet at her venue last summer. The impressive Carl… More >>
  • Best place this side of the Ozarks to see carved wood

    North American Sculpture Exhibition

    Famous California artist Alison Saar served as this year's juror for the biennial North American Sculpture Exhibition at Foothills Art Center in Golden. For better or worse, Saar, a wood-carver, mostly chose other sculptors working in wood; standouts here were a number of Colorado artists including Alex Harrison, Bryan Andrews and Craig Robb, all of whom work with logs or… More >>
  • Best upstart exhibition organizer

    Jason Thomas, director

    Six months ago, Jason Thomas was working as a security guard, his fine-art degree in the pocket of his uniform. Then Guiry's, the commercial paint and fine-art supply business that's been around Denver since the nineteenth century, opened a new store in an old building on Market Street in the Ballpark neighborhood and hired the ambitious twentysomething to run its… More >>
  • Best combination of funky and fancy

    Shows organized by Jim Robischon and Jennifer Doran

    There's no question about it: Robischon has been the preeminent contemporary gallery in Denver for more than twenty years. And it's kept its top-rank reputation not by resting on its laurels, but by being unpredictable. More often than not, the shows at Robischon are going to be weird -- like last summer, when sculptor Tom Nussbaum's figures were on display,… More >>
  • Best example of the work ethic as applied to the fine arts

    Chuck Parson

    This past year, it seemed that Denver sculptor Chuck Parson was everywhere at once. His work was displayed at the Arvada Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, the Museum of Outdoor Art, the Gallery at Guiry's and in the sculpture court at Artyard. And that was just around here. Parson was also feted to a solo last fall at… More >>
  • Best photo show -- solo

    Hal D. Gould: Visual Legacy

    After fifty years as a professional photographer and more than 35 years as an exhibition organizer, Hal Gould finally allowed someone to give him a solo show. Presented at Gould's own gallery, the Camera Obscura, last winter, the exhibit was organized by Loretta Young Gautier and Mollie Uhl Eaton, which marks another first: Visual Legacy was the only show ever… More >>
  • Best photo show -- group

    Photography and the Creative Process

    This large show, occupying both the Colorado Photographic Arts Center and the adjacent Carol Keller Gallery, was associated with a conference by the same name held at the Auraria campus. The exhibit featured the work of the conference's speakers, including such well-known local photographers as conference chairman Ron Wohlauer and his peers Ray Whiting, Eric Paddock, Bernard Mendoza and… More >>
  • Best show to highlight a Playboy photographer

    Ted Williams, Tone Poems

    Now, calm down. The Playboy photographer in question, Ted Williams, made a career not from those famous cheesecake centerfolds, but by recording, in classic black-and-white shots, America's jazz scene of the 1950s to the 1970s. A photographer since his childhood days in 1930s Texas, Williams became one of the first African-American photographers to enter Chicago's prestigious Institute of Design. The… More >>
  • Best print show -- solo

    Emilio Lobato, Printmaker's Portfolio

    The artist Emilio Lobato, mostly famous for his mixed-media abstract paintings, is also an accomplished printmaker. This is not surprising when you learn that his mentor was printmaster Mary Chenoweth, with whom he studied while he was a student at Colorado College. For Printmaker's Portfolio, Lobato assembled a group of abstract prints that surveyed his career, dating back to the… More >>
  • Best print show -- group

    works on paper: a riverhouse retrospective

    Riverhouse is a Steamboat Springs-based print studio founded in 1988 by William and Jan van Straaten as a place where artists could come, spend a few weeks in the mountains and make some works on paper facilitated by master printer Susan Hover. In its twelve-year history, Riverhouse has attracted some big names like Sol Lewitt, Komar & Melamid and Lynda… More >>
  • Best before- and after-movie watering hole

    Bistro Adde Brewster

    After catching the latest Mel Gibson flick at the Cherry Creek Cinemas, or Gladiator at the UA Colorado Center, drop in at tony but casual Bistro Adde Brewster in Cherry Creek to discuss the deeper meanings in these masterpieces over a Bombay martini the size of your head. The American-French fare (especially the famous hamburger) is just fine, and the… More >>
  • Best art show to include images via computer

    Susan Goldstein, Life Layers

    For a brief time last year, Susan Goldstein transformed the ordinarily turgid front room at Edge into one of the most visually sophisticated places in the city. She did this by putting together Life Layers, a series of very fine collages in which she combined found objects -- ledgers, textbooks and labels -- with computer-transferred images. Goldstein, who at the… More >>
  • Best friend to Colorado's ceramic artists

    Rodger Lang

    Nationally renowned ceramic artist Rodger Lang came to Denver thirty years ago to join the art faculty at Metropolitan State College of Denver. He founded and built one of the best clay programs around, arousing the undying loyalty of generations of students. Two years ago, Lang was instrumental in snagging the prestigious National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts… More >>
  • Best solo ceramics show

    Scott Chamberlin Twelve Years

    Even in the crowded field of nearly one hundred ceramics shows presented this past spring in association with the National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts conference, Scott Chamberlin Twelve Years stood out. The show was organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver's interim director Mark Sink and artist and museum boardmember Dale Chisman, with the pieces selected… More >>
  • Best ceramics duet

    Time in Tandem: James and Nan McKinnell Retrospective

    Susan Sagara, an assistant curator at the Arvada Center, crammed a couple of the lower-level galleries with more than a hundred pots for Time in Tandem: James and Nan McKinnell Retrospective. The McKinnells, now retired, were globe-trotting beatniks from the 1940s to the '60s. They landed in Boulder and Denver a few times before finally settling outside of Fort Collins… More >>
  • Best group ceramics show -- historical division

    Colorado Kilns

    Colorado Kilns was a rare historical look at the proud traditions in Colorado ceramics going back to the early 1900s. Though it was fairly small and inconspicuously sited in the back of the cavernous basement of the Colorado History Museum, the show covered a lot of historic and artistic ground. There was no shortage of masterpieces among the selections, which… More >>
  • Best group ceramics show -- contemporary division

    High Degrees

    Sally Perisho, director of the Metro State Center for the Visual Arts, has presented group shows devoted to ceramics periodically over the last decade. This past spring, Perisho organized High Degrees, an exhibit featuring the work of many distinguished ceramics teachers at Colorado colleges and universities, including several world-famous ceramicists such as Maynard Tishler, Richard DeVore and the late Rodger… More >>
  • Best curatorial gesture linking Colorado with the outside world

    Ron Otsuka's Takashi Nakazato

    In recent years, the Denver Art Museum has been under the gun to present more Colorado art. Now, honestly, no one -- not even the DAM's shrillest critics -- would expect Ron Otsuka, the accomplished curator of Oriental art, to feel the need to respond. Oriental art is associated with the Far East, whereas Colorado is Out West. But Otsuka's… More >>
  • Best installation show -- solo

    Gail Wagner

    In her self-titled exhibit this past winter, Boulder artist Gail Wagner turned the front room at Edge Gallery into a world of her own. The mostly wall-hung installation pieces were made of woven fibers that had been stiffened with paint, suggesting undersea plants and animals -- but only vaguely. One of Wagner's real strengths is as a colorist, brilliantly orchestrating… More >>
  • Best installation show -- group

    Western Vernacular: Colorado Installation

    Freelance curator Sean Hughes was thinking about the local art scene and noticed that many artists were making careers from creating installations. So he made a list of his favorites and built a show around them. Western Vernacular: Colorado Installation filled the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver for nearly all of last fall. The show included ambitious pieces by the… More >>
  • Best local gallery show -- solo

    William Stockman, Sketchbook

    In a way, Sketchbook was a mid-career survey of a still relatively young artist, William Stockman, who came on strong in the mid-1990s as one of a group of artists who revitalized the Pirate co-op. Almost immediately, it was onward and upward, with Stockman getting a piece into the Denver Art Museum's collection -- no mean feat for a then-emerging… More >>
  • Best movie theater -- high-tech

    IMAX, Denver Museum of Nature and Science

    Last December, the newly renamed Denver Museum of Nature and Science in City Park updated its 441-seat IMAX theater with a 15,000-watt (up from 8,500) digital sound system featuring six-track reproduction and -- count 'em -- 58 giant speakers. The sonic effect is rather like taking a front-row seat at the Battle of Verdun. There's also a brand-new screen --… More >>
  • Best local gallery show -- group

    Twentieth Anniversary Celebration

    Last summer, art history of the recent past came alive when the first-generation members of Spark Gallery, Denver's oldest artists' co-op, were brought together in the fabulous Twentieth Anniversary Celebration exhibit. Back in 1980, these aging hippies -- among them Andy Libertone and Paul Gillis (the official founders of the group), Clark Richert, Margaret Neumann, George Woodman, Marilyn Duke and… More >>
  • Best local theater production

    The Winter's Tale

    While William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale might seem contrived or even impossible to stage, the Denver Center Theatre Company's seasonal production was a superbly realized dramatic poem about redemption and renewal. The lyrical currents that twist beneath the play's prosaic rime were marvelously shaped into a vibrant whole by director Laird Williamson, whose aesthetic increasingly reflects a mature artist's appreciation… More >>
  • Best musical

    Side Show

    Unlike their previous efforts, which have blurred the boundaries that separate the disabled from the rest of society, the Physically Handicapped Amateur Musical Actor's League production of Side Show emphasized those differences to the point of transcending them. A magnificent theatrical achievement, PHAMALy's regional-premiere mounting of the Broadway musical conveyed the idea of abiding self-acceptance without glossing over a few… More >>
  • Best musical ménage

    Bed and Sofa

    An opera based on a Russian silent film would seem the sort of artsy endeavor that invites dismissive sneers from musical and movie buffs alike. But with its lilting score and frank take on age-old questions, Bed and Sofa proved an enjoyable mixture of high-minded music and melodramatic fun. What's more, the latest offering from Boulder's Trouble Clef Theatre Company… More >>
  • Best urban legends

    Shadow Theatre Company

    In only its third full season, Shadow Theatre Company managed to up its entertainment quotient while maintaining its commitment to produce works that are non-exclusive to other cultural groups. The predominantly African-American company held audiences rapt with its multiracial production of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Carlyle Brown's The African Company Presents Richard III was particularly stirring when… More >>
  • Best do-right man

    Paul Borrillo in To Kill a Mockingbird

    It might be difficult to understand why the main character in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird willingly subjects himself to vilification, but an actor who portrays Atticus Finch must also contend with the unsettling realization that he inhabits a role that earned Gregory Peck an Oscar in the 1962 film version. Happily, Paul Borrillo's turn in the Arvada Center's… More >>
  • Best heroine in the making

    Sara Smith

    Sara Smith is that rare teenage performer whose precocious nature charms even as her performer's maturity refreshes. The gifted actress, who earlier this year enchanted Arvada Center theatergoers with her brave turn as Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, exuded girlish curiosity and upright determination while starring as Mary Lennox in the Town Hall Arts Center's production of The Secret… More >>
  • Best out-of-body experience

    Martha Greenberg in Wings

    Seven months after his father suffered a stroke, Arthur Kopit tried to understand his dad's altered state by penning a series of surreal episodes that revolve around a former aviatrix's post-stroke experiences. Propelled by Terry Dodd's masterful direction, Martha Greenberg's superb portrayal proved a moving account of one woman's struggle to find her place in a strange, yet achingly familiar,… More >>
  • Best fish tale

    Paul Page in The Ice-Fishing Play

    Paul Page's seemingly native ability to shoot down highfalutin ideas with a gliding, three-note "Yah" contributed to his ingratiating portrait of an armchair-philosophizing fisherman in the Aurora Fox Theatre Company's production of The Ice-Fishing Play. He conferred an easy complexity on native Minnesotan Kevin Kling's look at the intimate lives of sportsmen, at the same time touching upon every man's… More >>
  • Best noh brainer

    Suddenly Last Summer

    While director Ed Baierlein's Noh-theater-style approach initially took some getting used to, Germinal Stage Denver's production of Suddenly Last Summer proved that Tennessee Williams's powers of suggestion are surprisingly compatible with ancient Japanese drama. In keeping with Noh tradition, GSD's entire production was performed on a raised, square platform made of simulated polished cypress wood. Despite the fact that mastering… More >>
  • Best movie theater -- traditional

    The Mayan4-6796

    The Mayan, a repeat winner in the traditional-theater category, remains hard to beat: Built in 1930 and saved from the wrecking ball in 1986, Landmark's charming three-screen art house is a vision of architectural whimsy that stands out in a cookie-cutter world. Between the carved stucco warriors gazing down on you from the rafters and the downtown hipsters in the… More >>
  • Best hard-boiled blarney

    The Beauty Queen of Leenane

    Smarmy reductionists have accused playwright Martin McDonagh of lacking heart, exploiting cheap theatrics and failing to justify his characters' behavior. However, like the works of such master language architects as Anton Chekhov, Harold Pinter and even Irish expatriate Samuel Beckett, McDonagh's creations attain full flower only when nurtured by a seasoned director's artful touch. As expertly deciphered by the Denver… More >>
  • Best (theatrically speaking) political farce

    Nixon's Nixon

    While Russell Lees's imagined conversation between Richard Nixon and his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, might have seemed like ancient history to the younger set, the Aurora Fox's production resonated with older viewers who, having been subjected to Tricky Dick's endless television appearances, learned to think of his sweaty upper lip as the equivalent of Pinocchio's growing nose. Duane Black's… More >>
  • Best androgynous turn

    Brian Houtz in The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me

    Even though Larry Kramer is a pugnacious sort who regularly vilifies newspaper editors and intimidates talk-show hosts, his brand of political crusading is ultimately a compassionate one. At least that's the effect his polemic had on actor Brian Houtz, who played all of the characters in the Theatre Group's production of The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me. Helped in no… More >>
  • Best dysfunctional-family play

    Pig

    Like the rotting entrails of the butchered animal that someone dumps in the backyard, a Queens family's darkest secrets ooze with stultifying frankness in Pig. But while Tammy Ryan's unflinching drama shines a harsh light on domestic discord, Tracer Productions' close-quarters approach gave artful restraint to the sometimes-gruesome goings-on. That's mostly because Raymond Fernandez's stark setting transformed the now-defunct Shop… More >>
  • Best children's production

    Babe, the Sheep-Pig

    The thunderous applause that typically greets a successful Broadway opening could hardly compare to the joyful noise made by children clapping in anticipation of Babe, the Sheep-Pig. And once the Arvada Center's production began, the peals of delight that filled the auditorium served as further indicators that a well-mounted children's show can stimulate the imagination even better than the Great… More >>
  • Best community-theater production

    Of Mice and Men

    The committee that awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for literature cited John Steinbeck for his "sympathetic humor and sociological perception." While the Morrison Theatre Company's "Of Mice and Men" didn't always glisten with professional luster, director Alan Osburn nonetheless evoked Steinbeck's paean to companionship by encouraging portrayals that were as down-to-earth as a Frederic Remington painting. Thanks to the symbiotic… More >>
  • Best environmental/experimental production

    Picasso at the Lapin Agile

    Smaller in scope and more conversational in tone than most mainstage versions, the Avenue Theatre's production of Steve Martin's Picasso at the Lapin Agile was nearly as amusing and, at times, more affecting. More than anything else, though, director John Ashton's environmental show, which was presented in a vacant bar/restaurant space (the former Mike Berardi's), personalized the comedian/movie star's debate… More >>
  • Best new play

    Waiting to Be Invited

    The sometimes bloody sit-ins that took place at "whites only" lunch counters throughout the South inspired dramatist S.M. Shephard-Massat to write Waiting to Be Invited, a tale of four unlikely heroes who put the Supreme Court's anti-segregationist rulings into practice. Largely conversational in tone, yet naggingly urgent in feel, the Denver Center Theatre Company's world-premiere production demonstrated that the everyday… More >>
  • Best one-person show

    Deborah Persoff in Full Gallop

    From the moment she strode through the red-curtained archway of Diana Vreeland's Manhattan residence, Deborah Persoff exuded an ebullience that one typically senses only from established performers appearing in test-marketed star vehicles. Suffused with a regal pride that verged on but never became haughtiness, Persoff cut a commanding figure in Full Gallop while spouting the legendary Vogue editor's slew of… More >>
  • Best director

    Chip Walton

    Acutely aware that Praying for Rain's probing look at the root causes of youth violence would awaken post-Columbine feelings, Curious Theatre Company artistic director Chip Walton went ahead with plans to give Colorado native Robert Louis Vaughan's drama its world premiere in Denver. Though the play didn't scale the artistic heights to which it aspired, Walton's astute approach proved paramount.… More >>
  • Best Denver film festival movie

    Nic (Nothing), Poland

    Audiences at last October's Denver International Film Festival were tremendously moved by the work of Polish director Dorota Kedzierzawska, particularly by Nic (Nothing), an intense, visually fluent drama about children trying to cope with the thoughtless cruelty of their elders. The festival honored Kedzierzawska with a special tribute, and she captivated her listeners with behind-the-camera stories about making films in… More >>
  • Best ensemble

    Street Scene

    In an age when musical blockbusters are marked by star-studded casts, syrupy story lines and truckloads of scenery, Kurt Weill's Street Scene seems destined to remain mothballed under layers of critical and scholarly acclaim. But on the strength of director Michael Ehrman's character-driven approach, a jazzy score and an exquisite set, the Central City Opera's production breathed vibrant life into… More >>
  • Best supporting actor

    John Hutton, Denver Center Theatre Company

    Following a season in which he played a series of demanding leading roles, John Hutton took a backseat to his fellow Denver Center Theatre Company actors and, in the process, introduced audiences to his performing persona's seldom-seen byways. The lanky leading man rendered an authoritative portrait of a browbeaten bliss juggler in the world premiere of A Hotel on Marvin… More >>
  • Best supporting actress

    Mercedes Perez

    For the past several seasons, Mercedes Perez has deftly portrayed supporting parts while maintaining each role's proper place in a play's grand scheme, showing her ability to be an artful team player in a business that increasingly values novelty over craft. And this past year saw her unique talents showcased as never before. She lit up the stage as Anita in… More >>
  • Best actor

    Tony Church, Denver Center Theatre Company

    It's one thing to give a sentimental nod to an esteemed veteran who for nearly fifty years has earned his living as an actor while instructing generations of up-and-comers. More than a first-rate performer and teacher, however, Tony Church consistently tries to embrace each new role as an opportunity to further his command of the craft. And throughout his nine… More >>
  • Best actress

    Sheila Ivy Traister

    Although the character of Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is typically portrayed as a menopausal beast, newcomer Sheila Ivy Traister took a different tack that, within the context of Shadow Theatre Company's contemporary setting, proved just as valid. Filled with verbal buoys signaling undercurrents of antipathy, Traister offered up a remarkable interpretation that colored the multiracial production with… More >>
  • Best local theater company season

    Aurora Fox Theatre Company

    Whether professional or amateur, mainstream-minded or avant-garde, a theater company rises or falls on its willingness to reconcile commercial interests with artistic demands. And while engaging a pail of local Equity actors would normally be considered a financial risk for smaller theater companies, that's exactly what the Aurora Fox Theatre Company did for its final show of the season. That… More >>
  • Best place to tangle with tango dancers

    Mercury Cafe

    Marilyn Megenity's eclectic and artful restaurant and nightclub is an unofficial home to many of the city's social and professional dancers. Nearly every night of the week, you can catch a class and/or performance from someone who's more than willing to swivel her belly, hop the lindy or swing all over the Merc's wooden floor. But more than any of… More >>
  • Best salsa club

    Sevilla

    The heat may finally be rising off the Latin Explosion ushered in by folks like Ricky Martin, but the vida is still plenty loca at Sevilla. Folks on their way to LoDo discos or Rockies games might overlook the swanky spot near the Icehouse, but those inside aren't likely to care: They're too busy shaking their hips and rib cages… More >>
  • Best C&W club

    Stetson Paradise

    This Golden cowboy bar -- which served morning drafts to Coors workers in a past life -- now serves country-and-Western culture to audiences every night of the week. Thankfully, it's the blue-collar working-class type, not the slick sort enjoyed by most wearers of the house's namesake hat. Granted, weekend acts here are more likely to play Garth and Shania than… More >>
  • Best rock club

    15th Street Tavern

    It's sometimes difficult to see the stage at the 15th Street Tavern, a teeny club on the semi-seedy side of LoDo, especially if you've made the mistake of showing up late on a Saturday night when the faithful crowd the floor and a thirsty, critical mass wraps three-deep around the curved bar. From a sight-line perspective, promoter Scott Campbell's knack… More >>
  • Best Denver film festival sleeper

    Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald, Japan

    Writer/director Koti Mitani's Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald was the most unexpected sort of Japanese film imaginable: Inspired by classic Hollywood comedies like those of Preston Sturges, Mitani's madcap farce is set initially in a Tokyo radio station, where a housewife's prize-winning melodrama is about to be performed on the air. But when the leading lady suddenly insists on changing the… More >>
  • Best punk club

    The Raven

    Co-promoters Mike Jerk (of Boulder-based Soda Jerk Records) and Jason Cotter (of the local outfit the Family Men) have recently put more muscle into their efforts to make the Raven fly. They've implemented regular all-ages nights and begun hosting live music throughout the week, not just on weekends. The stepped-up campaign only enhances the already quality fare that local punk… More >>
  • Best punk rocker, for a cop

    Officer Steve Gonzales

    During a crowded punk rock show last spring, deep inside the 15th Street Tavern, a bassist for Hemi Cuda shot a sudden I-can't-hear-myself glare toward the sound guy. The sound guy, in turn, leaned over to the toe-tapping, head-bobbing man standing next to him, Denver police officer Steve Gonzales. What happened next could be considered a peace offering in… More >>
  • Best dance club

    Soma

    Named after an intoxicating plant that induces a feeling of relaxation and euphoria, Soma boasts an aphrodisiacal atmosphere that has steadily made it one of the most innovative clubs in the state -- and the nation. Brothers Hardy and Lucas Kalisher have made a regular habit of bringing national and international talent into the Boulder den; in the past year,… More >>
  • Best jazz club

    El Chapultepec

    The magic of El Chapultepec is hardly a secret. The small, smoky rectangle of a club has a long history of hosting both local and traveling jazz greats, and owner Jerry Krantz's involvement with and interest in Denver's lively jazz scene is well known. Over the past several years, the Pec's location in the heart of LoDo has pretty much… More >>
  • Best blues club

    Brendan's Pub

    There's a world going on underground at Brendan's Pub, Denver's subterranean home of the best in local and national touring blues musicians. The windowless, smoky space has the authentic charm of an out-of-the-way Chicago bar, and when the acts take the small corner stage, it's clear that what Brendan's lacks in adornment, it more than makes up for in consistently… More >>
  • Best after-hours club

    Club Synergy

    Club Synergy continues to be the best place to stop after the bars close and your buzz hasn't worn off yet. DJs Amtrack, Quay, Foxx and Pepper keep the folks on the dance floor moving into the wee hours. A safe haven for Denver's insomnia-prone clubgoers. Readers' choice: Amsterdam… More >>
  • Best new club

    Bash

    Formerly the Blake Street Baseball Club and then the LoDo Music Hall, this location on the corner of 19th and Blake has suffered a bit of an identity crisis over the past few years. Luckily, the place has been reborn as a dazzling new club with an emphasis on DJ and dance music. With its new lighting and decor (the… More >>
  • Best disguise of a playground as a concert venue

    Wonderground

    Cindy Wonderful of Rainbow Sugar is the namesake behind this elusive new warehouse space on Denver's northwest side -- and she's one of the primary loony luminaries you're likely to see doing time in the kissing booth or smashing up the tiny computer modules that dot the Wonderground stage like orchestra floodlights. A breeding ground for both bizarre and bold… More >>
  • Best way to kill time before a show at the Bluebird

    PS Lounge

    At first glance, you might not figure this smallish tavern as the place to glean some knowledge of U.S. history. But request a light from one of the friendly staff behind the parquet bar and -- voilà! -- you're presented with a matchbook biography of JFK, LBJ or even Herbert Hoover. Yet presidential trivia isn't the only thing to keep… More >>
  • Best place to watch really white people dance

    The Supreme Court

    The Supreme Court, a sprawling restaurant at the foot of the Adam's Mark hotel, is a place where weary LoDo workers commune, unwind and get down when the working day is done. The crowd members may have sass, style and courage (once the liquor and live music kick in, that is) when groovin' to the Court's selection of live and… More >>
Loading...