Arts & Entertainment

  • Best New Bar

    High Street Speakeasy

    The High Street Speakeasy sits in a turn-of-the-century building that, way back in the day, served as a rooming house for transient Denverites. When it opened last spring, the place buzzed with rumors that spirits roamed the upstairs apartments and sometimes came down to the bar -- for a cocktail, maybe, or just to scare the crap out of the… More >>
  • Best Old-Time Bar

    Don's Club Tavern

    Our mother always told us to respect our elders. So we're giving mad props to the 57-year-old Don's Club Tavern, a smoky dive bar that welcomes everyone with open arms -- from the regulars who plant themselves daily on Don's bar stools to the college kids in search of a decent pool table and cheap drinks. With faded family pictures… More >>
  • Best Reincarnation

    Skylark Lounge

    Regulars at the Skylark Lounge know what a difference a couple of blocks can make: not much. The stalwart watering hole moved this past November from its sixty-year home at 58 South Broadway to roomier digs at 140 South, but the revered smoky atmosphere was carefully transferred, along with the pinups and classic Western and sci-fi movie posters that still… More >>
  • Best Club Comeback

    Brendan's Pub

    Brendan's, the patron saint of the blues, is back, baby. But it's hard to feel the spirit of the downtrodden in such a beautiful club. Fine woodworking infuses the venue with warmth, and the view is sharp from any angle. There's a steady lineup of quality acts, the sound is as lush as the aura, and the bartenders are comfortably… More >>
  • Best Dance Club for Hooking Up


    If the slogan "Where the lonely get laid" or the phallic connotations of the Roosters name aren't enough to entice Mootown's lonesome losers to head north in search of a little hello kitty action, then a semi full of Viagra isn't likely to help, either. Maybe it's the pervasive pheromone mist created by sweaty bodies rubbing together or the perpetual… More >>
  • Best Dance Club for Seeing A-List DJs

    The Church

    Denver's infamous cathedral-turned-disco has been getting national props left and right as one of the nation's most sacred temples. And we couldn't agree more: From divine acts like Deep Dish to Paul Van Dyk, Seb Fontaine to Carl Cox and DJ Irene to DJ Rap, the Church's elders consistently offer up the most blessed of electronic sacraments. Those passionate about… More >>
  • Best Dance Club for Dancing


    Several new high-quality dance venues have opened in the Denver metro area in recent months, but with the best PLUR vibe and sound system, top-shelf DJ talent and lower covers and drink prices, Avalon gets our nod as the first-place finisher. Sure, it's a long way from LoDo to Lone Tree (designated-driver alert), but week in, week out, the massive,… More >>
  • Best Dance Club for Seeing -- and Being Seen


    Rise is the perfect place to spot the bold and the beautiful -- or to pretend to be bold and beautiful yourself. Since this bold and beautiful club opened last summer, a slew of movers and shakers have been eyeballed chilling on the patio's preformed plastic couches, shaking it like a Polaroid on the spacious dance floor or having drinks… More >>
  • Best New Club


    Dive-bar row lost a legend last year when Quixote's -- which had replaced the even more notorious 7 South -- closed its doors at 7 South Broadway. But two newcomers are quickly filling the void. The hi-dive, which is coming on strong as a local indie-rock venue with creative programming, is a classic hipster-trash joint with minimal decor, a pool… More >>
  • Best Club Night


    GROWednesdays has been transplanted several times since it debuted three years ago at the Funky Buddha, where it was dumped for a disco night. It was resurrected last spring at Harry's, the downstairs bar in the Magnolia Hotel, where it blew up big time -- too big, as it turned out. Besieged by noise complaints from its business-traveler clientele, Magnolia… More >>
  • Best Club DJ


    If you want to get off on nutmeg, seasoned psychonauts recommend 200 milligrams per two pounds of body weight. But trust us: A face-melting, booty-shaking, soul-massaging, four-hour dance set by DJ Nutmeg is a way better high. A master mixer who reads a crowd's vibe with X-ray eyes, Nutmeg plays old- and new-school techno with flourishes of deep house and… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop DJ/Turntablist


    One of the most hard-line proponents of hip-hop culture is an unassuming record clerk from Boulder. Yeah, we know, Boulder sometimes seems like the polar opposite of everything street, but in the hip-hop galaxy, think of it as the Dagoba System, with DJ Vajra as Yoda. Vajra holds down turntables with a Jedi's grace and poise -- a beacon for… More >>
  • Best Jukebox

    Lion's Lair

    There's a Smithsonian quality to the Lion's Lair juke, a beat-up old box that houses a carefully curated collection of rock-and-roll historica: Start with Hank Williams Sr. or Muddy Waters and work your way forward through the last fifty years, stopping at every major genre along the way, from Motown and soul (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Curtis Mayfield) to… More >>
  • Best Underground Party Series

    Unity Gain

    Devotees of Unity Gain refer to the Sunday-night climaxes of these 72-hour, multi-location marathons as "Church." And Unity Gain is worthy of worship. Since it started in the summer of 2000 as a mere club night at Boulder's Soma, the series has garnered a well-deserved reputation as the premier showcase for turntable talent in a non-commercial, underground setting. Typically, the… More >>
  • Best Monday Night Chill-Out

    Bare Witness, Mario's Double Daughters Salotto

    Stepping into Mario's Double Daughters Salotto is like waking up from an overdose of LSD and Pop Rocks. The downtown bar has a trippy Alice in Wonderland-meets-City of Lost Children vibe that jells perfectly with Bare Witness, its Monday-night DJ residency. Selectors Ryan Mates and Zach Dunn -- aka Monke Man and Dr. Zen -- whip up a deep, smooth… More >>
  • Best Rock Club

    Larimer Lounge

    Aesthetically speaking, nothing much stands out about the Larimer Lounge: The stage is awkwardly placed, the sound is merely adequate, and the bathrooms are cramped and dingy. But the Lounge does one thing better than anyone else: It brings the rock. Besides, some of the great rock rooms of history -- the long-defunct Jabberjaw in L.A, Emo's in Austin and… More >>
  • Best Gay Club


    Queer Eye for the Straight Guy has nothing on Serengeti, where the stylish roam free. The newest grand-scale venture to be blessed by nightclub impresario Regas Christou is a primarily gay club that promotes itself as "the evolution of nightclub culture." Unlike so many of the other Denver gay clubs, Serengeti fills its house with a mixed clientele, exposing us… More >>
  • Best Country and Western Club

    Sharp's Roadhouse - CLOSED

    The first thing that hits you as you walk into Sharp's Roadhouse is the smell. The club reeks of honky-tonk, that sweet mixture of smoke, beer and sweaty bodies. But contrary to its name, Sharp's is much more than a roadhouse. Over the past year, this joint has attracted a large, devoted cult following of those looking for real country… More >>
  • Best After-Hours Club

    Two AM - CLOSED

    With a nondescript alleyway entrance between Lincoln and Broadway, Two AM is inconspicuous enough that first-timers may miss it. Located in the heart of the Golden Triangle, Two AM is a stone's throw from the Church, Serengeti and Vinyl (which will reopen after its collapse in last March's epic blizzard). As such, it is the chosen destination for those who… More >>
  • Best Heavy-Metal Club

    House of Rock

    A true headbanger's ball in the depths of suburbia, House of Rock is a natural as the area's best metal club. The absence of nearby neighbors means the local heavyweights can -- and do -- turn the dials all the way to eleven. Local bands can also rejoice now that Russ Austin, Denver's top connoisseur of the hard stuff (music… More >>
  • Best Metal Detector in a Club


    A lot of venues, especially those that cater primarily to the hip-hop crowd, are employing various security measures to ensure patrons' safety. But most of the tactics -- from invasive pat-downs that border on manhandling to token once-overs from a $15 handheld wand from Radio Shack -- are insulting, humiliating or just plain ineffective. While the outside of Paladium and… More >>
  • Best Place to See Emerging Hip-Hop Talent -- Denver

    Soiled Dove

    You Night! at the Soiled Dove is the place to be for aspiring MCs and DJs. Organized and run by Neil McIntyre of Yo, Flaco! and Minezai fame, the Monday-night extravaganza is proof positive that hip-hop is not only alive and well, it's also the new punk rock. The room is consistently packed with artists and fans, cornrow-wearing gangstas, throwback-clad… More >>
  • Best Place to See Emerging Hip-Hop Talent -- Boulder

    Fox Theatre

    Boulder's Fox Theatre is a required destination for the nation's hottest up-and-coming hip-hop acts, from Dilated Peoples and Jurassic 5 to People Under the Stairs and the Pharcyde. The theater consistently has its ear to the street, with an aggressive booking policy that takes chances on up-and-comers and gives locals a chance to shine. The club's unobstructed sight lines and… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club

    Dulcinea's 100th Monkey

    When it comes to the elusive spirit of jazz (past and present), colorful Colfax watering hole Dulcinea's is one swinging primate. Taking pains to stock the jukebox with both legends (from Coltrane to Miles, Monk to Holiday) and newer members of the genre (Charlie Hunter, Norah Jones), the Monkey covers a lot of ground. It's an invitingly relaxed setting, too,… More >>
  • Best Jazz Incubator

    Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge

    Over the past half-dozen years, Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge has bloomed into one of the most vibrant rooms in town, with live music seven nights a week and a schedule that moves deftly across the jazz strata and features many of the region's most accomplished players. But Dazzle has also become a breeding ground for the… More >>
  • Best Unexpected Jazz Club

    Angie's Place

    Since last October, a cozy nook on West Colfax called Angie's Place has featured top-notch local jazz performers such as singer Teresa Carroll, pianist/vocalist Ellyn Rucker and tenor saxophonist Max Wagner. The music, showcased on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, attracts a largely Lakewood crowd, and no one performs much past 11 p.m. But this unassuming little boîte has nice… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Label

    Mobstyle Records

    The primary artist on the Aurora-based Mobstyle label is self-styled gangsta Don Blas, whose latest platter, The Modus, is one of the best-sounding rap CDs to come out of the Denver area in forever. As Don goes, so goes Mobstyle, and the quality of the company's first effort, which has received spins on KS-107.5 and other major commercial radio stations,… More >>
  • Best Prog Label

    ReR USA

    Since the late '70s, London-based Recommended Records, founded by eccentric musician Chris Cutler, has been the place that true connoisseurs of progressive rock turn for the latest and weirdest examples of this willfully edgy form. Prog continues to survive on the distant fringes of the music industry, and drummer Dave Kerman aims to give it a boost with ReR USA,… More >>
  • Best Jam Band and More Label

    Sci-Fidelity Records

    At first Sci-Fidelity's website was principally a venue for the String Cheese Incident, Colorado's most extravagant gift to the neo-hippie crowd. No more. The success of the band has allowed the label to expand its roster to include Incident-related acts such as Comotion (a side project) and DJ Harry, as well as the jam-friendly collective Karl Denson's Tiny Universe and… More >>
  • Best Art Label

    Starkland Records

    Boulder's Tom Steenland has been putting out challenging avant-garde sounds on his Starkland imprint for over ten years now, and by keeping his product list modest in size, he's able to maintain high-quality music and packaging. Take Mystery Dances, by Robert Een, who uses voice and cello to create striking music that's occasionally reminiscent of jazz or world music, but… More >>
  • Best Jazz Labels

    Capri Records/Tapestry Records

    Headquartered in Bailey, the Capri and Tapestry imprints are the brain-children of Tom Burns, a jazz lover who's devoted himself to getting some of Colorado's finest musicians heard beyond the state's borders. His catalogue features material by saxophonist Fred Hess and trumpeter Ron Miles, both of whom appear on a bracing new Tapestry release, The Long and Short of It,… More >>
  • Best Mix CD

    Radio Bumz Monthly CD Mix

    Produced and distributed monthly by "your favorite muthafuckin' white boys," this CD, available free with a purchase at Independent Records, is the hottest mix disc available anywhere in Mootown. DJ Petey and Bedz -- both KS-107.5 mixmasters and members of the DJ collective Radio Bumz -- oversee nights at Bash, Avalon and several other clubs, and they make it their… More >>
  • Best Compilation Disc

    Bluegrass Roots: The Best of Bluegrass and More, Live From etown

    For more than a decade, etown, taped each week at the Boulder Theater, has been a staple of better National Public Radio affiliates and commercial stations from coast to coast. (In these parts, it's heard Sunday evenings on KGNU, KBCO and KUNC.) The show, hosted by Nick Forster, of Hot Rize fame, and his wife, Helen, combines environmental talk with… More >>
  • Best Local Recording

    Go Slowly All the Way Round the Outside, Blusom

    That Blusom even exists is something of a fluke. Vocalist Mike Behrenhausen (who also drums with Maraco 5-0) and electronic specialist Jme (aka Jamie White, formerly of the late, lamented Acrobat Down) recorded the material that makes up their debut CD more as a creative exercise than a commercial venture. Fortunately, the folks at Kansas City's Second Nature Recordings recognized… More >>
  • Best Live Band

    Bright Channel

    A lot of groups both lousy and laudable have made their presence felt this year, but none has seared its image onto this town's collective retina like Bright Channel. Formed from the remnants of the overlooked acts Volplane and Pteranodon, the trio coalesced in February 2001. Since then, it's been a force of noise and beauty, beguiling audiences with a… More >>
  • Best New Band

    The Fray

    Reason, the Fray's second EP, is a fitting introduction to an outfit that came out of nowhere and quickly rose to prominence. Though technically founded in 2002, the quintet didn't hit its stride -- or gig much, for that matter -- until around the time Reason was released, late last year. Led by two ridiculously talented vocalists, Joe King and… More >>
  • Best Band With the Worst Name

    Rubber Planet

    What's in a name? In the world of rock and roll, a lot. Remember Ned's Atomic Dustbin? What about Nuclear Valdez? Uh-huh, that's what we thought. Some may be inclined to avoid an outfit with a goofy name like Rubber Planet just on principle, but think of the tasty fruit beneath a kiwi's unattractive, hair-laden exterior. Listeners will soon discover… More >>
  • Best Band Name

    Monkey Butlers

    Brandy in the greenhouse? Fetch it yourself, Thurston Howell III. Domestic drudgery finally takes its rightful place behind swingin' on chandeliers and flingin' poo.… More >>
  • Best Band to Blow Your Atkins Diet

    The Affairs

    With everyone getting in on the Atkins craze -- we hear that the U.S. Postal Service is ready to issue low-carb stamps -- it's about time for the backlash. Cue the Affairs. This quartet cranks out high-energy power pop that pays glorious homage to the aggressive yet sugary sounds of past masters such as Superchunk, the Buzzcocks and the Who,… More >>
  • Best One-Man Band

    Reverend DeadEye

    After wiring a primitive microphone from a rusty Falstaff beer can, resourceful bellower Reverend DeadEye discovered a new way to speak in tongues. The Oklahoma-bred Bible-thumper creates an unholy noise with his mike and homemade slide guitar (with a resonator fashioned from a discarded wok), transforming the dirty Delta blues into a foot-stompin' hellfire revival. Can we get an Amen?… More >>
  • Best One-Man Dancercize Troupe

    Magic Cyclops

    Magic Cyclops (born Scott Fuller) has been inciting head-scratching and bootie-bumping ever since he began mixing on-stage aerobics with cheesy '80s music a couple of years ago. And just as the mythological Cyclops had to make do with just one eye, so does Magic Cyclops: He deejays entire sets with just an iPod. Hot dance tracks like Rod Stewart's "Young… More >>
  • Best Synth-Pop Answer to Outkast

    George & Caplin

    While Outkast stole this year's Grammys with its cut-and-paste opus Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, George & Caplin, a much more modest duo, were employing a similar pop-exhuming technique. But instead of funk and hip-hop, the humble twosome of Jason Iselin and Jeffrey Stevens blends vintage synth pop and modern technology to create an atmospheric, hook-suffused sound awash in acoustic guitars and… More >>
  • Best Ambassadors of Wet-Panty Rock

    Jet Black Joy

    Loud and brazen, Jet Black Joy is not trying to change the world. But as practitioners of a rousing, bombastic sound that frontman Jimmy Jet lovingly refers to as "wet-panty rock," the four-piece might make some members of the audience need to change their frillies. Meow!… More >>
  • Best Blast From Colorado's Punk-Rock Past

    My Dad's a Fuckin' Alcoholic, The Frantix

    The Frantix were the precursors to the Fluid, who helped popularize the grunge movement that shook the galaxy last decade. For that reason, the music on this disc (issued by Afterburn Records, an indie imprint out of Australia) is of historical importance -- but it's about as academic as a high-school dropout on a three-week bender. The rip-roaring title track… More >>
  • Best Rock-and-Roll Debacle

    Riff's Rock In' Freak Fest

    In no short order, the localpalooza called the Rock In' Freak Fest landed one of the organizers in the pokey, left another with a shiner and a splitting headache, garnered an assault charge for one local radio personality, bankrupted a local zine and left more than thirty local acts high and dry. Talk about a freak fest.… More >>
  • Best Free Musical Event


    Known for performing marathon-length shows to rival Bruce Springsteen or the Grateful Dead, Ween played an abbreviated but remarkable set last fall to a standing-room-only crowd -- one that showered New Hope, Pennsylvania's finest with giddy praise, hand-made cards and a liter of Jack Daniels. The intimate, daytime setting found Gene and Dean trotting out both classics and rarities, honoring… More >>
  • Best Alternative to Alt-Country

    Out on Bail

    Denver is crammed with every far-fetched country-music spinoff imaginable (Pentecostal Goth country?), but Out on Bail sticks out like a stubborn weed among all the hayseed wannabes. This wet-behind-the-ears quartet takes the bleak grace of Johnny Cash and crams it into the guttural sloppiness of old Bay Area punk like Crimpshrine and early Jawbreaker, combining twangy guitar, lopsided distortion, coed… More >>
  • Best Metal-Scrapper Turned Authentic Bluesman

    Willie Houston

    When Willie Houston sings the blues, he draws from a deep reservoir of personal experience, including heartache, poverty and years of backbreaking labor in the Louisiana swamps. Still an engaging and soulful performer at 76, the Junkman adheres to a timeworn sound that grabs listeners with honesty and conviction.… More >>
  • Best Blues Artist

    Otis Taylor

    Not long ago, Otis Taylor was a Boulder antiques broker, and uninformed observers of the local music community considered him to be something of an antique. How wrong they were. In the mid-'90s, Taylor reinvented himself as a modern bluesman, and since then, he's earned the kind of critical acclaim that most artists never experience. He's nominated for four W.C.… More >>
  • Best Singer-Songwriter -- Male

    Jack Redell

    Jack Redell is an American classic in the making. Some day, folks will speak of Redell's time here with a reverence generally reserved for Tom Waits and Jack Kerouac. Hell, word has it the Thin Man has named a drink named after Redell in honor of the amount of time he's spent there. And since last year's brilliant, full-length Famous… More >>
  • Best Singer-Songwriter -- Female

    Victoria Woodworth

    It took three years for Victoria Woodworth to produce and unearth Faultline, her first solo recording. It took much longer than that to collect the wealth of experience and emotion at its heart. A small person with a big voice and a poetic bend, Woodworth concentrates on the Important Issues: longing, love and loneliness; faith, awakening and self awareness; memory… More >>
  • Best Large Venue

    Gothic Theatre

    A decade ago, the Gothic Theatre was a pit: dank, dirty, with crappy sound and ripped-up seats left over from its Prohibition-era, weekend-matinee heyday -- the perfect setting for punk shows back before the style became sterilized. In 1999, the Gothic underwent a makeover more radical than the one performed on Michael Jackson's nose. The venue's original art-deco atmosphere was… More >>
  • Best Small Venue

    Soiled Dove

    Everything about the Soiled Dove is rock-solid. Located in the heart of LoDo, it provides an intimate experience unlike any other room. The stage is situated so that there isn't a bad seat in the house, the distance between performer and patron is negligible, and the lights and sound are simply stellar. With a consistent lineup that caters to the… More >>
  • Best Soundman

    James Martinez, The Blue Mule

    After years of sliding faders and twisting knobs for local luminaries such as Blister 66, Rocket Ajax, Chaos Theory and countless other acts, James Martinez has finally found a home behind the boards at the Blue Mule. From one-man acoustic acts to balls-out gutter punks and everything in between, Martinez has mixed them all. And with a keen understanding of… More >>
  • Best Rehearsal Space

    Sound Structure Studios

    Because so many downtown warehouses once used for rehearsal spaces have been recast as lofts and galleries, Denver is experiencing an epidemic of homeless musicians. Rents are up all over, but that's only part of the problem; after all, who wants to rent to a bunch of kids with Stratocasters? Actually, John Burr does. He opened Sound Structure Studios on… More >>
  • Best Concert (Since March 2003)

    The Mars Volta

    The first time the Mars Volta came to town, in November 2001, it was easily outshone by the other acts on the night's bill. Vocalist Cedric Bixler and guitarist Omar Rodriguez seemed reserved, even timid, despite being widely renowned for their explosive stage presence as members of the critically acclaimed El Paso quartet At the Drive In. But by the… More >>
  • Best Underground-Band Documentary

    The Tornado Dream

    Garage rocker-turned-director Davis G. Coombe spent six years chronicling the explicit and unpredictable behavior of the Czars, Orbit Service and Rainbow Sugar, then boiled it down into a 99-minute exposé of Denver's underground music scene, warts and all. Intimate, candid and stylish, The Tornado Dream not only graced the 2003 Starz Denver International Film Festival, but it gave local-music fans… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater -- Programming

    Starz FilmCenter

    Home to the Denver International Film Festival for ten days each October, the eight-house Starz FilmCenter features top-drawer art films and lively revivals through the remainder of the year, along with Saturday-morning programs for children, film-and-discussion nights, themed series and frequent showcases for Colorado filmmakers. In February, Starz hosted the eighth Denver Jazz on Film Festival, in March the Denver… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater -- Food

    Mayan Theatre

    A perennial winner in the movie-food category, the venerable Mayan Theatre serves up the kind of quirky, whole-earth stuff that goes just fine with such indie cinema as 21 Grams or the latest slice-and-dice action from Hong Kong. The Alternative Baking Company's vegan cookies -- Peanut Butter Persuasion is our top choice -- are sure winners, and the politically correct… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater -- Comfort

    Colorado Center Stadium 9

    Seen one multiplex, pretty much seen 'em all. But the Colorado Center Stadium 9, operated by United Artists Theatres, has a couple of minimal advantages: plenty of indoor and outdoor parking, close proximity to pre- or post-movie refreshment (i.e., Dave & Buster's) and, if you're in the mood for a little sensory overload, an IMAX house with a five-story screen,… More >>
  • Best Campus Film Series

    International Film Series, University of Colorado at Boulder

    Since 1941 (the year Citizen Kane was released), the University of Colorado's International Film Series has been a major cultural resource. The inventive CU programmers continue apace in their efforts to bring in exotic and important work. Recently, IFS's "Cult Cinema" series featured screenings of Alferd Packer: The Musical, The American Astronaut and Waking Life; a seven-film tribute to the… More >>
  • Best Denver Film Festival Guest

    Francis Ford Coppola

    Francis Ford Coppola's daughter, Sofia (the Oscar-winning writer/director of Lost in Translation), gets most of the attention these days, but the man who created the Godfather trilogy, Apocalypse Now and The Conversation was as thoughtful, congenial and engaging as any Denver International Film Festival honoree in recent memory when he appeared briefly at DIFF in October. The bearded bear who… More >>
  • Best Cheap Movies

    Tiffany Plaza 6

    Sometimes a movie is just not worth $8.50. Sometimes it's not even worth the $3.50 to pay-per-view it. But sometimes, the guilty pleasure of, say, a Legally Blonde 2, is worth fifty cents. Every Tuesday the Tiffany Plaza 6 drops its already cheap $1.50 rate to a mere half-dollar -- all day. Sure, some of the movies have already gone… More >>
  • Best Movies for Spanish Speakers

    Cinema Latino Aurora 8

    That the metro area's Spanish-speaking Hispanic population continues to grow didn't escape local entrepreneur, state school-board member, politico and all-around rich guy Jared Polis. Seeing an untapped market, the man with the means opened Cinema Latino in the Aurora Plaza mall's former dollar theater. The eight-screen movie house features new Hollywood releases that are dubbed or subtitled in Spanish, and… More >>
  • Best Feature Shot (Partially) in Colorado


    The early sequences of Gavin O'Connor's deft, exciting re-creation of a great moment in American sports history -- the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team's 1980 victory over the seemingly invincible Soviets -- are set at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and in the rickety old Broadmoor Arena, where the blood feud between the University of Denver and Colorado… More >>
  • Best Movie News for the Nostalgic

    Cinderella Twin reprieve

    Last fall, the Cinderella Twin, one of the city's last two drive-in theaters, was supposed to bite the dust to make way for new development. But the plans were put on hold, so there's at least one more season in the sun. The double-screen drive-in is already open on weekend evenings, and it plans to have a full schedule beginning… More >>
  • Best Movies for Grownups With Kids

    BYO-Baby to the Movies, Madstone Theaters

    There's no getting around it: Babies kill the movie experience. Rather than become the pariah in the last row, most parents of newborns opt to simply give up on going out to the movies. But now they don't have to: Moms and dads can take their babies and wee ones to Madstone Theaters on Tuesday mornings, where the grownups can… More >>
  • Best Movies for Kids

    Kids Movie Saturdays, Starz FilmCenter

    No question about it: Flicks are for kids on Saturdays at Starz. The usual Saturday-matinee fare is absolutely abysmal, but at Starz the shows are hand-picked for children in varying age groups. Naturally, the movies fall on the indie side of the spectrum, but there are also kid-lit-to-screen titles, as well as the occasional big-screen nod, such as a Spanish-language… More >>
  • Best Theater for Grownups With Kids

    Families@Play, Denver Center Theatre Academy

    Most adults instinctively know that when the kids come along, they'll spend the next eighteen years reclaiming their cultural lives, inch by wretched inch. Happily, the Denver Center Theatre Company found a way to slow parents' march of Sisyphus: While adults take in a matinee, Familes@Play entertains their kids with a mixture of drama classes and activities. There's life after… More >>
  • Best Kids' Theater

    Walden Family Playhouse, Colorado Mills

    You have to hand it to creative guide Douglas Love and the Walden Family Playhouse. The exclusive Colorado Mills children's theater, which debuted just over a year ago, really does what it set out to do: provide the same kind of experience for children that the Denver Center Theatre Company provides for grownups. Walden dishes up world-class theater with top-notch… More >>
  • Best Use of Bubble Gum by an Actress

    Annie Dwyer, Take Me Out to the Ball Game, Heritage Square Music Hall

    Annie Dwyer must have spent every waking hour for many, many months playing with bubble gum before appearing in Heritage Square's production of Take Me Out to the Ball Game. The woman can blow a bubble the size of a basketball and then retract it slowly, with perfect control, back into her mouth. She can let a deflated bubble dangle… More >>
  • Best Original Comic Character

    Erin Rollman, Idiot Box: An Evening of Sketch Comedy, Buntport Theater

    The popular Buntport Theater, with its adventurous comedy troupe, has an abundance of hilarious regulars. None, however, are as side-splitting as Erin Rollman. Her characters are so funny, because although they're impossibly overblown and shamelessly ridiculous, Rollman herself completely believes in them. And you almost believe in them, too. She fills them with feeling and life; she is these people,… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy

    Bill Christ, Lobby Hero, Denver Center Theatre Company

    In the Denver Center Theatre Company's Lobby Hero, Bill Christ played a cop who seemed to have no insides, a kind of parody of a cop. He mouthed the heroic, tough-guy lines you so often hear in television dramas, bullying and prevaricating, and fluidly took on whatever persona suited his needs at any particular moment. Christ's character was both goofy… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy

    Ethelyn Friend, Bright Ideas, Curious Theatre Company

    Bright Ideas is a story about a yuppie couple's fight to get their toddler into the best preschool, and Ethelyn Friend played a mother who succeeded. The woman is so smug, bitchy and professionally successful that you know she won't survive the first act. But Friend was riveting while her character lived, a slinking, posing pencil stroke of concentrated loathsomeness.… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Comedy

    Ed Baierlein, Relatively Speaking, Germinal Stage Denver

    Ed Baierlein may be the most interesting, subtle, intelligent and multi-layered actor in Denver -- a role he's played for more than two decades. In Alan Ayckbourn's hilarious comedy Relatively Speaking, which he also directed, Baierlein played the male half of what seemed at first like a very conventional English couple. But we soon discovered that what these people felt… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Comedy

    Sallie Diamond, Relatively Speaking, Germinal Stage Denver

    Who but Sallie Diamond -- Ed Baierlein's real-life wife -- could play opposite him in Relatively Speaking? In the face of all her husband's blustering, she stood her ground and gave as good as she got. With her fluting voice, dithery gestures and impeccably timed slow comic takes, Diamond was a hoot, whether she was explaining why she failed to… More >>
  • Best Time We've Had at the Theater

    Lobby Hero, Denver Center Theatre Company

    Directed by David McClendon for the intimate Jones Theatre at the Denver Center, Lobby Hero was an impeccable production of a charming play, one with just enough substance and insight to keep the viewer from going away hungry. The four quirky characters were played to perfection by Rick Stear, Bill Christ, January Murelli and Terrence Riggins, whose portrait of a… More >>
  • Best Visitation by an Actor

    Ben Hammer, Visiting Mr. Green, Denver Center Theatre Company

    Ben Hammer is living proof that the Method approach to acting is still one of the most effective imaginable. His interpretation of the title character in Visiting Mr. Green was rich and grounded, and it made the production soar. Hammer was so deeply immersed in the character that he didn't have to say a word to communicate what he was… More >>
  • Best Return by an Actor

    Jamie Horton, John Brown's Body, Denver Center Theatre Company

    Jamie Horton spent much of the past year working in New York, and from the moment he stepped on stage in John Brown's Body, we all realized how much we'd missed him. His John Brown was stunningly authoritative, a rock-hard, unreasoning, narrow, immovable, plainspoken man who seemed simultaneously contemptible and heroic. This larger-than-life characterization reminded us that historical heroes are… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Drama

    Randy Moore, The Three Sisters, Denver Center Theatre Company

    In this excellent production, Randy Moore played Theodore Middleton, the schoolmaster husband of one of the sisters. Middleton was a boring man who had only to open his mouth to send the other characters fleeing. Nonetheless, he loved his mocking, angry, miserably unhappy wife. He even found his own odd little way of comforting her when she was prostrate with… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Drama

    C. Kelly Leo, Proof, Curious Theatre Company

    Claire is the shallow sister of the moody, brilliant heroine, Catherine, in David Auburn's Proof, and she could easily be played as the villain. But C. Kelly Leo brought the character to scintillating, multi-faceted life. Though you hated many of Claire's words and actions, Leo made sure you understood their source. You could tell this woman loved her crazy sister… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Drama

    William Hahn, Bent, Hunger Artists Ensemble Theatre

    Last spring, William Hahn played Max in Martin Sherman's Bent, a harrowing drama that revealed the plight of homosexuals in Hitler's extermination camps. At the play's opening, Max lived for booze, cocaine and easy sex. By the second act, his lover had been beaten to death in front of him, and he was in Dachau. He began a friendship with… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Drama

    Patty Mintz Figel, Three Tall Women, Germinal Stage Denver

    In Three Tall Women, Patty Mintz Figel played a very old woman whose mind and body deteriorated in front of us. The woman was angry, paranoid, agitated, incontinent, ungrateful and hell to take care of. She rambled about the past. She was a racist, though she barely understood her own racist comments or the revulsion they aroused in others. Figel… More >>
  • Best Actress in Shakespeare

    Sarah Fallon, The Taming of the Shrew, Colorado Shakespeare Festival

    Sarah Fallon's Katharina was the high point of the 2003 festival. Fallon has a wonderful voice, and she knows how to speak Shakespeare's verse. Funny, lithe and capering in her black, 1950s capri outfit, she made Katharina an appropriately angry little spitfire. But Fallon was also touching as she revealed Kate's growing love for Petruchio.… More >>
  • Best Example of an Actress Transcending a Production

    Kathleen M. Brady, Picnic, Denver Center Theatre Company

    Picnic was a generally forgettable production, with disappointing performances from some of the leads. But playing a befuddled neighbor, Kathleen M. Brady showed just how powerful gentleness can be. Sure, her character was confused and sometimes downright dumb, but all of her instincts were true. She was kind to the young people and understanding with her bad-tempered, controlling neighbor, Flo.… More >>
  • Best Theater Production

    The Three Sisters, Denver Center Theatre Company

    Many of the literati quarreled with director Donovan Marley over his decision to set the production of Chekhov's classic, The Three Sisters, in the American South in 1862. But somehow James Warnick's translation added resonance and implication while leaving intact the plight of the characters and the sense of a world trembling on the verge of transformation. The cast --… More >>
  • Best Portrayal of Sisters

    Annette Helde and Jacqueline Antaramian, The Three Sisters, Denver Center Theatre Company

    One of the great joys of Donovan Marley's The Three Sisters was watching Annette Helde and Jacqueline Antaramian working together. Both of these women are extraordinary actresses, and both project entirely different personae. Helde brought a profound gentleness to the oldest of the sisters, Alma, along with a stifled tenderness that illuminated the entire evening. As the unhappily married Marsha… More >>
  • Best Dinner Theater Production

    Chicago, Boulder's Dinner Theatre

    There's a lot to like about Chicago -- brilliant songs, a witty script and a grown-up worldview -- and Boulder's Dinner Theatre gave the dark musical a sexy, vivid, energetic production, full of show-stopping performances. Joanie Brosseau-Beyette played Roxie Hart, a hard-eyed, murderous little blond, without a second's sentimentality. Alicia Dunfee led a chorus of murderesses that included the delightful… More >>
  • Best Gender-Bending in a Musical

    B. Hamlette, Chicago, Boulder's Dinner Theatre

    Okay, his name is actually Brian Mallgrave, and he's an excellent and very intense young actor, but we'd never seen him like this before. It took several seconds after B. Hamlette's gliding, swooping entrance in Chicago before most of the audience realized he wasn't a she. As gossipy, credulous reporter Mary Sunshine, Mallgrave was simultaneously elegant and silly, stealing every… More >>
  • Best Singing in a Musical

    Sweet Corner Symphony, Shadow Theatre Company

    Sweet Corner Symphony was a doo-wop a cappella concert with amazing singing by Vincent Robinson, Ed Battle, Ken Parks, Dwayne Carrington and Hugo Jon Sayles. "Swanee" got the group's own satiric spin, and they also performed dozens of lesser-known songs. Ken Parks was mesmerizing as the ringleader: tall and heavyset in a gold-and-black dashiki, deploying his strong, mellow, expressive voice,… More >>
  • Best Dance Performance in a Musical

    Savion Glover, Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk, Denver Center Attractions

    Those Denverites who saw Savion Glover perform at the Buell will someday tell their children about it. He just may be the best tap dancer alive, certainly one of the best who ever lived. Glover, who began dancing at the age of eleven, makes music with his feet. Bring in Da Noise, which he also choreographed and for which he… More >>
  • Best Musical Number

    "Springtime for Hitler", The Producers, Denver Center Attractions

    Though some of us wondered why New York kicked up such a fuss about The Producers, the "Springtime for Hitler" number made everything clear -- or almost so. The entire show builds to this moment, and when it comes, it's got the lot: a tease of a beginning, catchy tunes, chorines prancing about in '30s-style Hollywood headdresses that feature… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Musical

    Charley Izabella King, The Producers, Denver Center Attractions

    Ulla was a Swedish sex bomb who longs to be a star. She was almost a cartoon, a flesh-and-blood Jessica Rabbit, and Charley Izabella King was a wonder in the role. Inhumanly gorgeous, wearing clothes that loved her body, she vamped around the stage and spoofed her own exaggerated accent. While limited to prancing, splits and high kicks, it was… More >>
  • Best Delivery of a Monologue

    Dennis Rodriguez, Waiting for Godot, Bug Theatre

    As Godot's Lucky, Dennis Rodriguez was called on to stand for long periods of time with his mouth open, his feet turned out and his knees slightly bent, looking like a clown, a puppet, something inanimate. His silent presence remained infused with feeling nonetheless. Then he began his speech, an incomprehensible monologue that must have been at least ten minutes… More >>
  • Best Season for an Actor -- Small Company

    Brett Aune, Curious Theatre Company/ Bug Theatre

    Brett Aune is one of the finest actors around. He brought both passion and particularity to the role of Hal, the mathematics professor whose flirtation with the moody Catherine was tainted by self-interest in Curious's Proof. We believed he was brainy, yet he was also nerdily charming. As Vladimir in the Bug's Waiting for Godot, he was almost dapper, a… More >>
  • Best Season for an Actor -- Large Company

    Keith L. Hatten, Denver Center Theatre Company

    Keith L. Hatten has brought grace and vitality to a number of small roles over the past few years. No matter how little he has to do or say, you can always sense his character's inner life. Hatten was charming and funny in this year's Christmas Carol, stalwart as a servant in The Three Sisters. In John Brown's Body, he… More >>
  • Best Theater Season

    Curious Theatre Company

    In the past year, Curious Theatre Company has demonstrated its commitment to variety, quality and audience outreach. Under Chip Walton's direction, the company staged Proof, a well-made contemporary play illustrating the abstract beauty of mathematics; Nickel and Dimed, a piece that evolved from Barbara Ehrenreich's exposé of the plight of working Americans; and the farcical Bright Ideas. The standard of… More >>
  • Best Eclectic Theater Season

    Germinal Stage Denver

    Where but at Germinal Stage Denver could you suffer through Edward Albee's truth-saturated Three Tall Women, giggle at the light comedy of Relatively Speaking, puzzle through one of Harold Pinter's most mysterious offerings, No Man's Land, and be reintroduced to Arthur Kopit, whose Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad was a… More >>
  • Best Experimental Theater

    The Earth's Sharp Edge, Buntport Theater

    Thaddeus Phillips, creator of the Earth's Sharp Edge, fuses intellect and feeling with an entirely original vision, making theater out of dented desks, toy airplanes, memory, politics and his own voice and body. This piece began with Phillips -- playing himself -- getting stopped by airport security for carrying the book Extreme Islam. Phillips's explanations and descriptions of his… More >>
  • Best Character in an Original Play

    Pam Lynch, Reaching for Comfort, Theatre on Broadway

    In his interesting play Reaching for Comfort, Denverite Josh Hartwell defied stereotype and created Pam Lynch, an abusive wife who was not only vicious, but also complex and human. In a daring, close-to-the-edge performance, actress Cini Bow brought this woman to coruscating life, exploring the character's self-pity and hair-trigger rage, her professional competence and smooth, chatty way of presenting herself… More >>
  • Best Commitment to Local Playwrights

    Theatre Group, Theatre on Broadway

    It's notoriously difficult for playwrights to get their work produced, particularly if the works are full-length rather than one-act plays. Steven Tangedal and Nicholas Sugar, Theatre Group's executive and artistic directors, are to be applauded for mounting two evening-length plays by Denver writers. Josh Hartwell's Reaching for Comfort and Melissa McCarl's Painted Bread, which featured a powerful performance by actress… More >>
  • Best Introduction of a Major Contemporary Playwright

    Fucking A, LIDA Project

    Suzan-Lori Parks has been a force in the theatrical world since she won an Obie in 1996, following it with a MacArthur Fellowship and a Pulitzer Prize in 2002. But until the LIDA Project produced Fucking A, none of her work had been seen in Denver. Artistic director Brian Freeland deserves a lot of credit for mounting a solid production… More >>
  • Best Director

    Mare Trevathan Philpott, Waiting for Godot, Bug Theatre

    Mare Trevathan Philpott directed Waiting for Godot with an immediacy and clarity of vision that cleared away the crust of time, fashion, opinion and academic analysis to let us see the play's bones -- and what a solid, extraordinary pattern they made. She brought a sophisticated sensibility to the fifty-year-old script, and everything about the production came together. The set… More >>
  • Best Departing Director

    Donovan Marley, Denver Center Theatre Company

    Donovan Marley has been the artistic director of the Denver Center Theatre Company for 21 seasons. During that time, he founded the company's acting school, mounted a thoughtful mix of classic and contemporary dramas -- including a ten-hour production of Tantalus staged in conjunction with the Royal Shakespeare Company -- and brought Denver a Tony Award for outstanding regional company… More >>
  • Best Departed Shakespearean

    Jack Crouch, Colorado Shakespeare Festival

    Cymbeline is rarely mounted these days, but it was performed at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival last summer. It was last seen there in 1975, directed by festival founder Jack Crouch. At the age of 84, and shortly after attending this season's offerings, Crouch died. His friends say that one of his favorite lyrics in all of Shakespeare came from Cymbeline:… More >>
  • Best Salute to a Colorado Master

    Frank Sampson Retrospective, Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities

    Fifty years of paintings filled the entire set of lower galleries at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities this past fall when the epic Frank Sampson Retrospective was installed there. Throughout his career, Sampson was interested in figural abstraction, a taste that has come and gone and come back again during the intervening half-century since he first started… More >>
  • Best Lesson in Colorado's Art History

    Vance Kirkland: A Colorado Painter's Life -- Early Works and Beyond, Colorado History Museum

    Vance Kirkland: A Colorado Painter's Life -- Early Works and Beyond is more than a solo devoted to Colorado's most famous modernist. It's a big-picture look at the mid-twentieth-century art world in this state. In addition to Kirkland's paintings from the '30s to the '70s, the show features pieces by most of the other major artists working here during those… More >>
  • Best Friends of Denver Culture -- Family

    The Caulkins family

    When George Caulkins wanted to surprise his wife, Eleanor Newman Caulkins, he asked his five children -- George, Max, Mary, David and John -- and their spouses to pool their money to help with the grand gesture: an opera house named after her. Their combined $7 million is helping to build the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, which is being fitted… More >>
  • Best Friends of Denver Culture -- Couple

    Jan and Fred Mayer

    Jan and Fred Mayer outdid themselves in 2003. With a gift of $11 million, their foundation established an endowment for the Denver Art Museum's New World department, which features pre-Columbian and Spanish colonial art. Over the past few decades, the Mayers have made many contributions to Denver's cultural life and have been particularly instrumental in the success of the New… More >>
  • Best Friend of Denver Culture -- Individual

    Frederic C. Hamilton

    Frederic C. Hamilton has long been a supporter of the Denver Art Museum. For the past 25 years, he's served on the board of trustees, sitting as chairman since 1994. Last summer, when funds to maintain and program the under-construction, Daniel Libeskind-designed expansion were needed, he got the trustees to ante up $60 million, throwing in the biggest chunk himself… More >>
  • Best Art Visionary

    Cydney Payton

    Cydney Payton, director of Denver's Museum of Contemporary Art, has her hands so full that she could be a professional juggler. She administers the institution, raises funds, does programming and even, at times, curates and installs the museum's exhibits. And as if all of that weren't enough, she also recently oversaw a series of six enormously popular presentations by renowned… More >>
  • Best Museum Exhibit (Since March 2003)

    El Greco to Picasso From the Phillips Collection, Denver Art Museum

    Viewers stampeded the Denver Art Museum this past fall and winter to take in the traveling blockbuster El Greco to Picasso From the Phillips Collection. The show was such a big hit that tickets for the last couple weeks sold out in advance. It's no mystery why: The artists are so famous that virtually everyone's heard of them. Along with… More >>
  • Best Little Big Show -- Solo

    herbert bayer remembered , Emil Nelson Gallery

    In a cramped old row house near the Denver Art Museum, Hugo Anderson has opened the quirky Emil Nelson Gallery. The inventory ranges from historic pieces, including things from Anderson's family's collections, to new works, some of it by his friends. The late Herbert Bayer, Colorado's most famous artist, was both an artist collected by the family and a friend… More >>
  • Best Little Big Show -- Group

    Full Frontal: Contemporary Asian Art From the Logan Collection, Denver Art Museum

    The stock-in-trade of Ron Otsuka, the respected curator of Asian art at the Denver Art Museum, is traditional works. However, he was drafted into doing contemporary-art duty when Vail collectors Vicki and Kent Logan made a gift to the museum. Otsuka's compelling, extremely bold Full Frontal: Contemporary Asian Art From the Logan Collection looks at recent cutting-edge art done in… More >>
  • Best Solo by a New York Art Star

    JUDY PFAFF: New Work, Robischon Gallery

    Fall is high season for art exhibitions, so it was surprising when Robischon Gallery presented JUDY PFAFF: New Work in the late spring of last year. The exhibit was an in-depth look at the famous New York artist's most recent pieces. These mixed-media paintings concerned Pfaff's Victorian house, which was once owned by Father Divine, an African-American minister who founded… More >>
  • Best Duet by New York Art Stars

    Symbols of the Big Bang, Singer Gallery at the Mizel Center

    It was impossible to fully understand Komar and Melamid's Symbols of the Big Bang at the Mizel Center's Singer Gallery last fall, but the show was so good it didn't matter. The former Soviet artists did paintings and drawings in which different symbols were put together to create new ones, such as a combination of the Star of David with… More >>
  • Best New Public Art (Since March 2003)

    "Fire House," by Dennis Oppenheim, Denver Fire Station No. 9

    Denver has spent a fortune on public art, but it hasn't always gotten its money's worth -- with the latest sorry example being Jonathan Borofsky's "The Dancers," which cost more than $1.5 million. Once in a while, though, the city picks up a bargain such as "Fire House," which internationally renowned New York conceptual artist Dennis Oppenheim created for just… More >>
  • Best New Public Art in the 'Burbs

    "Virere," by Lawrence Argent

    Local municipalities have been promoting drought-friendly grasses that stay green with less water, but last year, Englewood went further by planting "turf" in a South Broadway median that requires no water. The "grass" in question is a colored-aluminum sculpture called "Virere," by Lawrence Argent, the first of four works the Denver artist is doing for the town. Though "Virere" has… More >>
  • Best Gallery Show -- Solo

    Scott Chamberlin, Robischon Gallery

    This past fall, one of the state's most influential sculptors showed off his recent creations in the magical Scott Chamberlin. The Robischon Gallery exhibit featured wall-mounted pieces that looked like traditional European wall fountains -- not surprising, since Chamberlin, a University of Colorado ceramics professor, had earlier taken a busman's holiday to Portugal and was surely inspired by the wonderful… More >>
  • Best Gallery Show -- Group

    This Year's Model, Cordell Taylor Gallery

    Art has been doing a double take on pop art lately, with a lot of new creations looking forward to the 1960s. A variety of pieces of this type were put together in This Year's Model, a great group effort mounted last summer at the now-closed Cordell Taylor Gallery. This pop-y show included some of those smart-looking paintings of slogans… More >>
  • Best Gallery Openings

    First Fridays

    First Fridays Santa Fe Drive Over the past few years, dozens of galleries and art spots have opened on Santa Fe Drive between 5th and 9th avenues, making this four-block stretch the unofficial epicenter of the Denver art world. And public response to the burgeoning art district has been phenomenal, as evidenced by the tremendous success of First Fridays on… More >>
  • Best Abstract Solo -- Emerging Artist

    Pard Morrison: Recent Sculpture and Paintings, Rule Gallery

    Rule Gallery typically presents the work of established artists, but once in a while an emerging talent gets through the door. That's what happened with Pard Morrison: Recent Sculpture and Paintings. Morrison's works fit the gallery perfectly, because they're neo-minimalist, the style of choice for director Robin Rule. The pieces were aluminum boxes patinated in a range of tones, which… More >>
  • Best Abstract Solo -- Established Artist

    David Yust: PAINTING IN CIRCLES and Other Abstract Works, Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art

    Even though the paintings in David Yust: PAINTING IN CIRCLES and Other Abstract Works included pieces that dated from the mid-1960s to late last year, the display was not a retrospective of the local modern master's career. Instead, curator Erica France examined a handful of currents in Yust's oeuvre, most notably his use of the circle. In a series of… More >>
  • Best Abstract Ensemble

    Wet Paint, William Havu Gallery

    Abstract-expressionist painting has miraculously held on despite the onslaught in the last decade of "new media," a field that includes installation, performance, video and digital. These forms were supposed to make painting look out of date, but, as Wet Paint proves, that's not what happened. The exhibit, which is open through April 10, showcases three artists covering new ground by… More >>
  • Best Representational Solo -- Historic

    Sargent and Italy, Denver Art Museum

    The Denver Art Museum pays a lot of attention to artists from the turn of the last century because they're a popular group guaranteed to bring in big crowds of viewers. The lineup of traveling solos that have stopped by the DAM in recent years includes Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Bonnard, Homer and, last summer, John Singer Sargent. The Andy Warhol of… More >>
  • Best Representational Solo -- Contemporary

    middle ground: Stephen Batura, Museum of Contemporary Art/Walnut Foundry

    Denver's Museum of Contemporary Art has been dealing with its space crunch in a couple of ways: planning a new building and sponsoring off-site exhibits. One of the latter was middle ground: Stephen Batura, a breathtaking display of the Denver artist's signature representational paintings. Done in casein and acrylic, the mostly monumental pieces are based on photos from the late… More >>
  • Best Photography Solo -- Established Talent

    Andrea Modica: Photographs, Sandy Carson Gallery

    The wonderful Andrea Modica: Photographs at Sandy Carson Gallery last winter provided an in-depth look at the work of the internationally known photographer, who lives in Manitou Springs. In her poetic photos, Modica explores the relationship between truth and fiction by using posed and documentary shots, which she takes with a large-format camera over a long period of time. The… More >>
  • Best Photography Solo -- Emerging Talent

    Jason Patz: Self Series, ILK@Pirate

    Last summer, ILK@Pirate saw some difficult days during which the gallery was not only closed, but boarded up! So the first show after this hiatus, Jason Patz: Self Series, couldn't just be good; it had to be great. Happily, it was. The twenty-something Patz displayed his disarmingly simple self-portraits in gorgeous color enlargements, which he posed for by holding his… More >>
  • Best Photography Group Show -- Historic

    A Moment in Time: Photographs of the Early American West, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center

    The earliest examples of modern art done in our region are frontier photographs from the nineteenth century. Some of the finest examples of these images from local public and private collections were brought together at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center last winter for the stunning exhibit A Moment in Time: Photographs of the Early American West. The photos that… More >>
  • Best Photography Group Show -- Contemporary

    Reflections in Black: Smithsonian African-American Photography, Metro State Center for the Visual Arts

    The magnificent Reflections in Black: Smithsonian African-American Photography featured major works by contemporary black photographers who have been active during the past 25 years. The impressive traveling exhibit, which alighted briefly at Metro State's Center for the Visual Arts this past winter, included images by many of the most-talked-about photographers around, such as Carrie Mae Weems, Renee Cox and the… More >>
  • Best Multimedia Show

    doris laughton: theSplatphenomenon2003, Studio Aiello

    The topic of water was on everyone's minds last summer, and artists were no exception, as demonstrated by Studio Aiello's over-the-top doris laughton: theSplatphenomenon2003. In it, Laughton used the shape a drop of water makes when it hits a hard surface to inspire scores of prints, photos, sculptures and a video. Her interest in hydrostatics was very fruitful aesthetically, so… More >>
  • Best Sculptor in a Group Show -- Emerging Talent

    David Mazza

    Balance, Fresh Art Gallery

    For the group show Balance, young sculptor David Mazza installed his fabulous pieces throughout the building as well as in the sculpture garden outside, where he put a trio of major pieces. Mazza's abstract compositions, in which both straight and curved metal bars and tubes are precariously stacked on a pyramidal base, visually express the meaning of the exhibit's title.… More >>
  • Best Sculptor in a Group Show -- Established Talent

    William Vielehr, Pursuits of Passion, Walker Fine Art

    Pursuits of Passion at Walker Fine Art was technically a group show, but it included what could have been a very large solo focusing on Boulder artist William Vielehr, whose sculptures were installed throughout. The most important Vielehrs were large abstracted figures made of fabricated aluminum sheets; one of Vielehr's greatest strengths is how he handles the surfaces, making them… More >>
  • Best Political Solo Show

    Shock/Awe, Spark Gallery

    Denver artist Annalee Schorr felt she was "embedded" in the Iraq war because she watched televised news coverage of it all the time. To create Shock/Awe, her politically charged solo at Spark Gallery, Schorr used enlarged photos of her TV screen. The juxtaposition of bomb-ravaged cities taken from cable news with images from shopping channels was positively chilling. Schorr is… More >>
  • Best Political Group Show

    OVER A BILLION SERVED: Conceptual Photography From the People's Republic of China, Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver

    The spectacular exhibit now at Denver's Museum of Contemporary Art has the novella-length title OVER A BILLION SERVED: Conceptual Photography From the People's Republic of China. The work in this knockout show, which is mostly digitally produced and deals with such hot topics as the Tiananmen Square revolt, SARS and creeping Americanization, is aesthetically, philosophically and technically distinct from… More >>
  • Best Conceptual Artist in a Group Show

    Jon Rietfors, Director's Choice, + Zeile/Judish Gallery

    Director's Choice marked the first time Ivar Zeile and Ron Judish worked together on the same exhibit. The occasion was the launch of their new art venture, + Zeile/Judish Gallery. The striking show featured the work of emerging Colorado artists who previously were little known in Denver. One exciting find was Jon Rietfors of Glenwood Springs, a young conceptual artist… More >>
  • Best Ceramics Solo

    Picasso: 25 Years of Edition Ceramics From the Edward and Ann Weston Collection, Metro State Center for the Visual Arts

    Metro State's Center for the Visual Arts hosted a show last month that highlighted some of the most influential pottery of the last century. The traveling exhibit, Picasso: 25 Years of Edition Ceramics From the Edward and Ann Weston Collection, included more than sixty pieces of Picasso's ceramics that were done with Georges and Suzanne Ramié at their Madoura studio… More >>
  • Best Contemporary Ceramics -- Ensemble

    BECAUSE THE EARTH IS 1/3 DIRT, University of Colorado Art Museum

    BECAUSE THE EARTH IS 1/3 DIRT, which just closed at the University of Colorado Art Museum on the Boulder campus, featured an international array of contemporary ceramic artists. Participants were invited by a committee made up of CUAM director Lisa Tamiris Becker and three members of CU's art faculty: Scott Chamberlin, Kim Dickey and Jeanne Quinn. Just about every artist… More >>
  • Best Contemporary Ceramics -- Solo

    Zamantakis: From the Earth, Victoria H. Myhren Gallery University of Denver

    The retrospective Zamantakis: From the Earth, which was ensconced during the holidays at the Victoria H. Myhren Gallery on the campus of the University of Denver, was a major retrospective examining the fifty-year-plus career of one of the most important potters in the state. DU was an appropriate venue for this show because Mark Zamantakis is a graduate of the… More >>
  • Best Gallery for Kids

    PlatteForum, 1610 Little Raven St., 303-893-0791

    Youngsters are the real stars at PlatteForum, even though some of the biggest names in the local art world are artists in residence. Sculptors, painters, dancers and other representatives of the arts work with local classrooms to develop collaborative cultural projects, and when they're finished, PlatteForum gives the kids -- and mentoring adults -- a space to display their achievements.… More >>
  • Best New Festival -- City

    La Piazza dell'Arte, Larimer Square

    In a town where most of the street festivals have become indistinguishable, the Larimer Arts Association came up with something completely different last year: In the great Renaissance tradition, the group invited artists of all levels to decorate the sidewalk with chalk art. Over two days, the corridor became a canvas of colors, sounds and food. La Piazza dell'Arte will… More >>
  • Best New Festival -- Mountains

    Blues From the Top, SolVista Golf and Ski Ranch

    With at least twenty music festivals already on the roster, Colorado didn't really need another. But the founders of Blues From the Top believed wholeheartedly that Grand County needed a dose of the blues, so last year they debuted a two-day extravaganza at SolVista Golf and Ski Ranch, just two miles outside of Granby. The lineup was solid, the setting… More >>
  • Best Ride

    Oskar Blues "Blues Bus"

    The quaint town of Lyons, on the St. Vrain River, has numerous low-key attractions, including Oskar Blues, a first-rate blues-and-brews club that's even received shout-outs from Rolling Stone. Live acts range from members of the Colorado Blues Society to Pinetop Perkins, all augmented nicely by a Cajun-flavored menu and house-brewed beers. Of course, making the eighty-mile round trip to the… More >>
  • Best Reason to Drive to Central City

    Central City Opera

    Last summer, the Central City Opera featured L'Italiana en Algeri, Gabriel's Daughter -- an original production based on the life of the first female freed slave in gold rush Colorado -- and an evening that combined the famed and familiar I Pagliacci and the rarely performed Goyescas. L'Italiana was laugh-out-loud funny, Gabriel's Daughter poignant, and all three evenings featured magnificent… More >>
  • Best Reason to Go to Arvada

    D Note

    Arvada is still recovering from the cultural jolt thrown by brothers Adam, Matthew and Jeremy DeGraff, who opened the D Note in sleepy Old Town last year. The Brothers D combined their aesthetic and business senses to produce one of the most eclectic and appealing rooms in town -- part art gallery, part music venue, part yoga studio and, sometimes,… More >>
  • Best Girl Group

    Stitch and Bitch, Thin Man

    Next time you wander into the Thin Man on a Monday night, head for the couches at the back of the narrow bar, where you'll find the chatty chicks of "Stitch and Bitch" knitting away. An informal gathering that attracts anywhere from four to thirty gals each week, these friendly ladies are more than willing to teach beginners basic stitches… More >>
  • Best Ladies' Night

    Girls' Night Out, Mynt True Lounge

    Artist/illustrator Michelle Barnes and club-marketing maven Paulina Szafranski know that women are complex creatures. Sure, they want culture and companionship, inspiration and ideas -- but they also like to have their hair played with and get their nails done. Every Thursday, Barnes and Szafranski host Girls' Night Out at Mynt True Lounge on Market Street, where sophisticated ladies get together… More >>
  • Best Karaoke Night

    Armida's Restaurant

    The atmosphere at Armida's is so calming and amiable that it prompts even everyday patrons to step up to the mike Wednesday through Sunday nights. The disc jockeys are friendly and are happy to accommodate the most absurd request for songs, whether it comes from longtime karaoke heroes or first-time howlers. And even the shiest shower-stall crooners can expect a… More >>
  • Best Salsa Night

    Mercury Cafe

    Mercury Cafe 2199 California St. 303-294-9281 Salsa dancing is not for the meek: The moves are aerobic, and the music is full of frenetic polyrhythms and enough syncopation to make your head spin. But throwing your dancing shoe into the salsa ring is a lot less intimidating at the Mercury Cafe's Thursday salsa night. The community-style dance begins with a… More >>
  • Best Drag Show

    Starz Cabaret, Club Dream

    Producer/director Aaron Hunter prefers the term "female impersonator" to "drag queen." Either way, his new Starz Cabaret show is royal. Modeled on high-camp, high-glam productions in Vegas and Chicago, Starz Cabaret opened in February and features a revolving cast of performers who ape only the most deserving divas. When Whitney, Barbra, Liza and others take the stage, there are more… More >>
  • Best Place to See State Legislators in Bondage

    Rise Nightclub

    Debating hefty issues such as water use, growth control and the state budget may feel like a form of self-flagellation for lawmakers, but for the real thing, Rise Nightclub offers naughty Denverites of all political persuasions a chance to crack the whip. On a normal night at Rise, there's enough skin showing to make you wonder if everyone's experiencing a… More >>
  • Best Radioactive Philanthropist

    Nuclia Waste

    Like all good philanthropists, Nuclia Waste raises a little awareness and dough for non-profit projects, but Nuclia does it right with radioactive flair and space-tastic style. Whether it's her annual Misfit Toys variety show and toy drop for needy kids or her annual Project Angel Heart fundraiser (and celebration of big wigs), the Mile Hi Hair Ball, the Princess of… More >>
  • Best Free Entertainment

    People-watching on the 16th Street Mall while we still can

    We miss the old 16th Street Mall. We miss Skip and Amy, the nail-in-nose panhandlers. We miss the skaters at Skyline. We miss the homeless people, who are increasingly being pushed out by metro boosters who don't want to scare away tourists. We miss them because if there is one truth of people-watching, it's that only interesting people are worth… More >>
  • Best Early-Morning Happy Hour

    Zephyr Lounge

    Barry Melnick had been slingin' suds for the Zephyr Lounge's early-morning crowds for 56 years when he was sidelined last spring by a car accident and heart attack. Now his son, Myron, is keeping the Zephyr's 7 a.m. happy hour alive. With the nearby Fitzsimons campus being redeveloped into a biopark, there just aren't many people left in the area… More >>
  • Best Dadaist Bathroom Graffiti

    Gabor's - CLOSED

    When the first Dada Manifesto was ratified in Zurich on July 14, 1916, little did Hugo Ball and company know that one day their revolutionary aesthetic philosophy would wind up being applied to the grimy wall of Gabor's men's room. In perfect accord with the Dadaists' credo of contradiction and nonsense, some patron used the popular Capitol Hill watering hole… More >>