Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Free Entertainment

    LoDo at Let-Out

    The action can get pretty hot and heavy when LoDo's bars let out at 2 a.m. But from the cheap seats on the sidelines, watching the crowds pour out of the clubs and pour themselves into cars and cabs -- after some last-second attempts to hook up --can be mighty entertaining. And the vehicles parading slowly past offer a non-stop… More >>
  • Best Place to Rant for Free

    Open Zine Project

    Though Stevyn Prothero's tiny Iron Feather Book & Zine Shop is in danger of losing its space in north Denver, the place's do-it-yourself attitude lives on to the bitter end. Prothero welcomes any and all wannabe zinesters to use his stuff -- Xerox, keyboard, scissors and so on -- to create their own page for the community-based Open Zine Project.… More >>
  • Best Annual Festival -- City

    Capitol Hill People's Fair

    Capitol Hill encompasses a wide swath of central Denver, so it's no wonder that the Capitol Hill People's Fair is the city's best, and most diverse, festival. From its humble beginnings at Morey Junior High in 1971, when 2,000 people attended, the People's Fair has exploded into Colorado's premier arts-and-crafts happening; last year, some 275,000 people attended the three-day event… More >>
  • Best Annual Festival -- Mountains

    U.S. Comedy Arts Festival

    Normally, when you come across a celebrity in Aspen -- say, Kevin Costner fashioning a kayak for an In Style magazine photo shoot -- it's funny, but not ha-ha funny. For nearly one week out of every year, though, Aspen is the ha-ha-funniest place in the world. The U.S. Comedy Arts Festival is a veritable all-you-can-eat buffet of humor, from… More >>
  • Best New Festival (Since March 2004)

    The Shoot Out Boulder

    The first of its kind in the United States, The Shoot Out Boulder celebrated the art of quick and cheap movie production. Filmmakers were given 24 hours to complete a seven-minute short. Only in-camera editing was allowed -- meaning everything had to be shot in sequence -- and the footage had to incorporate specific locations or props from within the… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Festival

    Cherry Creek North Gourmet Series

    Good food and Cherry Creek North? Two of the most obvious bedfellows in town. It took little stretch of the imagination to combine them into a fail-safe annual festival. The glitzy al fresco celebration spreads over several Saturdays and features a gourmet market and cooking demonstrations by hot chefs from the region and the world, working in a state-of-the-art outdoor… More >>
  • Best Battle of Wits

    Stand-Up Comedy Battles

    September's inaugural Yell Fest was a wild, chaotic mess. Put on by Comedy Works house comedian Chuck Roy, the night was advertised as a search for "Denver's biggest asshole." What the night actually determined was that given limited rules and ample booze, everyone's an asshole. Roy has since fine-tuned the format, and the resulting Stand-Up Comedy Battles, which take place… More >>
  • Best Posthumous Tribute

    Lalo Delgado

    The only thing wrong with Mayor Hickenlooper's declaration last September naming Abelardo "Lalo" Delgado Denver's first poet laureate was that it came too late for Delgado to savor it -- just two months after he died, at age 73. During his lifetime, Delgado -- whose politically charged epic "Stupid America" is considered a classic of Chicano literature -- battled the… More >>
  • Best Place to See an Irish Genius

    Regis University campus

    It makes sense that Regis University, a Catholic Jesuit institution, should end up with a statue of the great Irish author James Joyce on one of its campuses. After all, Joyce's stand-in, Stephen Dedalus, is referred to as a fearful Jesuit in the epic Ulysses. Sculptor Rowan Gillespie forged this life-sized bronze in Ireland in 2001; encircling the figure in… More >>
  • Best Use of Empty Air Time

    On Stage

    Stan Kroenke's Altitude Network took a blow right along with the National Hockey League: Pro hockey's strike-riddled lost season translates into lost revenue for the new station, which was conceived primarily to broadcast Avalanche hockey, along with play by other Kroenke-owned sports teams. But the Altitude team made a small comeback by creating On Stage, a concert series featuring live… More >>
  • Best Lecture Series

    The Lab at Belmar

    Adam Lerner directs The Lab at Belmar, one of several exciting new spaces that have distinguished the urban shopping center as a creative hub as well as a shopping destination; in its first year, Belmar has hosted everything from filmmaking workshops to gallery exhibitions and cutting-edge public art. The Lab's "Appreciating Contemporary Art & Things You Learn From Aunt Miriam"… More >>
  • Best Architectural Brainstorming Session

    Architectural Laboratory - Denver

    By day, Maria Cole heads up the expansion of the Denver Art Museum for Davis Partnership Architects. By night, she heads up Architectural Laboratory - Denver, a non-profit group that brings together architects and artists to discuss theories of design, free from the constructs and constraints of day-to-day reality. But Cole doesn't limit the discussion to stuffed-shirt academics or think-tank… More >>
  • Best Architectural Event

    Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver building selection process

    The Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver's effort to build a new home began last year, when Mark Falcone and Ellen Bruss donated a tract of land at 15th and Delgany streets. A series of presentations by six architectural firms from around the world -- all vying to build a new structure on the site -- drew standing-room-only crowds. The MCA's… More >>
  • Best Revolutionaries

    [denverevolution]

    You never know what progressive cause you'll find on www.denverevolution.org. Sometimes it's a notice for a biodiesel meeting; sometimes it's a radical-film night. Tony Shawcross and the rest of the [denverevolution] collective ensure that the good people of Denver are never without something to do -- and that the city's underground activists and change agents have an audience for their… More >>
  • Best Free Movies

    Denver Public Library Film Series

    The multiplexes keep multiplying, but they're all showing the same Adam Sandler and Lindsay Lohan atrocities. True cineastes know that Denver's central library can be counted on for filmfests that mix the traditional and the edgy, the classic and the avant-garde. Past offerings have included the films of Billy Wilder, horror flicks, gay cinema, notable adaptations of great novels and… More >>
  • Best Human-Rights Film Series

    ArgusFest

    Michael Moore has proven that it's possible for left-leaning documentaries to find a home in the multiplexes. But for most makers of progressive films, widespread distribution -- or any distribution -- is as distant as the expression on George Bush's face. Fortunately, since 2003, ArgusFest's Jason Bosch has presented free screenings of documentaries that focus on human rights, social justice,… More >>
  • Best Specialty Film Festival

    Cinema Q

    The LGBT community is an active producer of independent film. But not many titles make it to the major theaters. Fortunately Denver has a viable outlet for queer cinema. Now in its sixth year, the Cinema Q festival (formerly Seeing Queerly: The Denver International GLBT Film Festival) creates a local outlet for cutting-edge celluloid dyke dramas, queer comedies, sexy shorts… More >>
  • Best Local Film (Since March 2004)

    Earthlings: Ugly Bags of Mostly Water

    When Denver-based movie director Alexandre O. Philippe came across a copy of Hamlet that had, according to its cover, been restored to the "original" Klingon text, it opened a door to a strange world called the Klingon Language Institute, whose members study and speak the made-for-TV tongue that linguist Mark Okrand created for the iconic series Star Trek. Like Gene… More >>
  • Best Performance by a Coloradan in a Film

    Don Cheadle
    Hotel Rwanda

    A native Denverite and devoted alumnus of East High School, actor Don Cheadle has impressed movie audiences in everything from Devil in a Blue Dress to Ocean's Twelve. But when he starred as the quiet manager of a four-star hotel in Hotel Rwanda, last year's troubling drama about genocide and conscience, he earned a Best Actor nomination from the Academy… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater -- Food

    Mayan Theatre

    Landmark's Mayan Theatre continues to expand its commitment to good eats and drinks. Longtime patrons can still snatch up old faves like the big, fat bagel dogs, Odwalla juices (try the Mango Tango) and Alternative Baking cookies (Explosive Espresso Chip suits us fine). But if you've never sprinkled your popcorn with soy sauce or Spike multi-seasoning, get right on it.… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater -- Comfort

    United Artists Denver Pavilions Stadium 15

    Generally speaking, a 'plex is a 'plex. But the fifteen-screen Denver Pavilions in downtown Denver offers a couple of advantages over its suburban counterparts: free underground parking (with validation) in a roomy adjacent structure, and the proximity of good food and drink in many establishments on Denver's 16th Street Mall. Otherwise, the Pavilions' stadium seating is as padded-rocking-chair comfortable as… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater -- Programming

    Starz FilmCenter

    The best thing to happen for Denver-area film buffs in decades, the Starz FilmCenter at the Tivoli presents a year-round selection of art-house fare, independent features and revival screenings that rivals the best offerings in cinema-rich cities like New York and San Francisco. Recent programs have included a series of five contemporary French comedies, a three-film series honoring the great… More >>
  • Best Program at the 2004 Denver International Film Festival

    An Evening With Morgan Freeman

    In the course of a long and illustrious movie career, the star of Driving Miss Daisy, Glory and The Shawshank Redemption has intrigued audiences with his versatility and his gift for nuance. So when Morgan Freeman visited the Denver International Film Festival last October, ticket-holders were in for a rare evening of artistic assessment and warm personal reminiscence from a… More >>
  • Best Major-Movie Views of Denver

    Silver City

    John Sayles's elaborate political fable Silver City was less than boffo at the box office, and its cautions about the corruption of the electoral process didn't fly with a weary public amid the bloodiest, most divisive election-year brawl America had experienced since 1968. But this dark comedy about the nitwit machinations of a fictional Colorado gubernatorial candidate gave Sayles plenty… More >>
  • Best New Public Art (Since March 2004)

    "Indeterminate Line"

    The Colorado Convention Center has bigger fins than a '57 DeSoto and is lit up like a laundromat at night. So it can be hard to notice the fabulous rusted-steel sculpture sitting out front, "Indeterminate Line," by international art star Bernar Venet, that's situated on the lawn along Speer Boulevard at the Stout Street tunnel. It's a large, elegant twenty-ton… More >>
  • Best Art News

    Clyfford Still museum

    Last August, Mayor John Hickenlooper got everyone's attention with the announcement that the City of Denver had agreed to receive the paintings and drawings in the estate of abstract-expressionist master Clyfford Still. The multimillion-dollar gift from the estate's trustees was made in exchange for a promise that the city would build a museum to display the collection. So far, no… More >>
  • Best New Art Hire

    Patty Ortiz

    The beleaguered and financially strapped Museo de las Américas has been rudderless since founder José Aguayo stepped down a few years ago. But hope for a turnaround spiked late last year, when Patty Ortiz was brought on as director. Ortiz spent five dedicated years at the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, but no one could blame her for seizing the chance… More >>
  • Best Museum Exhibit (Since March 2004)

    Quest for Immortality

    With all the creepy stuff on display at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, including mummies, Quest for Immortality was guaranteed to bring in the crowds. And it did. Tens of thousands marched through the blockbuster collection of ancient Egyptian tomb art during its several-month-long run. The show, sponsored by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., was… More >>
  • Best Exhibit About Colorado Art

    scene Colorado/sin Colorado

    Last summer, Dianne Vanderlip, head of the Modern and Contemporary department at the Denver Art Museum, put together scene Colorado / sin Colorado, an exhibition devoted to the work of some of the state's top artists. Drawn from the DAM's permanent collection, the show focused on mid-career talents as opposed to emerging ones. Vanderlip displayed no aesthetic agenda in her… More >>
  • Best Supporter of Colorado Art

    The Kirkland Museum

    It started as a museum devoted to the work of a single artist, Vance Kirkland, but the Kirkland Museum has expanded its collecting scope greatly over the years, and now has an exhaustive collection of decorative art on display. Kirkland director Hugh Grant has also avidly sought out artworks by other Colorado artists, making the Kirkland the only institution in… More >>
  • Best Museum Solo

    John David Rigsby: Dots, Blobs and Angels

    Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver

    As a curator, Cydney Payton is at her best when dealing with art she really loves, which is why Dots, Blobs and Angels was so darned spectacular. Payton's a fan of John David Rigsby's work, and it's easy to see why. The quality of the paintings, sculptures and drawings that made up this stirring retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary… More >>
  • Best Historic Show -- Solo

    Emerson Woelffer

    Emerson Woelffer: Life in the Abstract, at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, wasn't large, but it was definitely grand. Woelffer, one of the best of a generation of abstract expressionists working in southern Colorado in the '50s, is mostly remembered instead as a Los Angeles artist. When he lived here, he was director of the now-defunct-but-then-famous Colorado Springs Fine… More >>
  • Best Historic Show -- Group

    True Grit

    A traveling show out of New York, True Grit addressed the work of a group of women artists who rose to prominence before the feminist revolution of the '70s. Organized by Katherine Crum of the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, the exhibit included pieces by Lee Bontecou, Jay DeFeo, Nancy Spero, Louise Nevelson, Claire Falkenstein, Nancy Grossman and Louise Bourgeois… More >>
  • Best Gallery Show -- Solo

    Virginia Maitland: Opened Windows

    Studio Aiello typically hosts big, unwieldy group shows in its big, unwieldy building, and only rarely presents solos. That's surely because few artists have enough work to fill it. But Boulder painter Virginia Maitland came up with enough to cram the gallery -- and its storage room -- to capacity. Opened Windows charted Maitland's career of more than thirty years,… More >>
  • Best Gallery Show -- Group

    Repeat Offenders

    The title of Repeat Offenders indicated that each artist in this group show did work in a series. That was a fairly open-ended qualifier, since nearly all artists create their pieces that way. But the handle gave Singer Gallery director Simon Zalkind an excuse to feature artists whom he felt were among the best around -- more than two dozen… More >>
  • Best Solo by an Out-of-Towner

    Rex Ray: Recent Work

    San Francisco artist Rex Ray is perhaps best known for his graphic designs for Apple Computer, Bill Graham Productions and David Bowie. But he's a fine artist first, as demonstrated by the knockout show Rex Ray: Recent Work at Rule Gallery. Ray, whose real name is Michael Patterson, lived for a time in Colorado, and he has occasionally exhibited here… More >>
  • Best Duet by Out-of-Towners

    John Buck and Manuel Neri

    It was a brilliant stroke last spring when the Robischon Gallery, the city's flagship, presented two sculpture shows, John Buck and Manuel Neri, and installed them back to back. The show illustrated how the two artists compare and contrast with each other. Both are masters of contemporary sculpture who work in the West -- Buck lives in Montana, Neri in… More >>
  • Best TV Appearance by Local Artwork

    David Mazza

    In a recent episode, Extreme Makeover -- Home Edition came to Arvada to build a duplex for two low-income families and, next door, a community park. Young hotshot David Mazza was tapped to create a sculpted entry for the public space. Inside a week, Mazza turned around "Renaissance Park Archway," a work in welded steel. The form of the piece… More >>
  • Best Painting Solo -- Abstract

    Bruce Price: Fill

    Put together during the few short months when Ivar Zeile was teamed up with Ron Judish, Bruce Price: Fill was a major success -- unlike the partnership. Price is a local pioneer of post-minimalism, known for pattern paintings based on his theories of decoration. For Fill, which debuted in New York before moving to Denver, he put on one layer… More >>
  • Best Painting Solo -- Representational

    Pictures From Sonny's Place John Hull

    Nationally known Colorado artist John Hull likes to mix Hollywood-style shoot-'em-up imagery with traditional painting techniques; taken together, his cyclical narrative pieces could be called visual novels. In Pictures From Sonny's Place, Hull told the story of an imaginary rural junkyard -- based on an actual place in Wyoming -- where meth is used and dealt. The story is filled… More >>
  • Best Ceramics Show -- Solo

    Michael Coffee: Place of Mind

    The Lakewood Cultural Center has made ceramics a specialty, with regular group shows devoted to the medium. The center hosted a rare solo show last fall, when Michael Coffee's smart-looking Place of Mind was installed in the north gallery. Coffee, a retired architect who turned to ceramics ten years ago, has mastered the art of clay, as evidenced by his… More >>
  • Best Ceramics Show -- Group

    Colorado Clay

    One of the state's biggest and most important annuals, Colorado Clay, has been held at Foothills Art Center in Golden since the '70s. This year's guest juror, Peter Held, from the Arizona State University Art Museum, took a new approach: Instead of choosing objects, Held chose artists -- and fewer of them than usual. Each of the sixteen ceramicists was… More >>
  • Best Painting Solo -- Emerging Artist

    Brandon Borchert: Random Art Two

    The Powerball lottery seems an unlikely source for paintings and prints. But in Random Art Two, his smashing solo at Capsule@Pod, Brandon Borchert assigned a specific image to each of the Powerball numbers, one through 53. The images illustrated one of four subjects: sex, death, food and art history, and included everything from canned meat to hand grenades. The show… More >>
  • Best Sculpture Show -- Solo

    Andy Miller: A Deconstruction of Life

    Andy Miller: A Deconstruction of Life knocked everyone out when it was shown at Pirate last spring. The show featured four monumental steel and neon sculptures that depicted simplified images of men committing suicide. One was hanging by a noose from the ceiling, another aimed a gun at his head, a third was taking a vial of poison, and the… More >>
  • Best Sculpture Show -- Group

    Three Dimensions

    The William Havu Gallery pays as much attention to sculpture as any place in town. There's always a piece on the sidewalk, and there's a proper sculpture garden in back. For Three Dimensions, a great indoor show, owner Bill Havu gathered work by three established sculptors from the region: Denver's Lawrence Argent; Mary Bates Neubauer, from Tempe, Arizona; and Stephen… More >>
  • Best Sculptor in a Group Show -- Emerging Artist

    Morgan Barnes

    The rambunctious Group Show 2 was the latest version of Studio Aiello's biennial. This time around, Kathy Andrews, director of Metro State's Center for Visual Art, served as a single juror, selecting all of the pieces herself. Among the dozens of objects that Andrews chose was "Evolution of Form & Concept, #2," a sculpture by emerging art star Morgan Barnes.… More >>
  • Best Installation

    "Second Hand Smoke"

    Justin Beard went all out to create his funny, smart and somewhat politically incorrect installation "Second Hand Smoke" at Capsule@Pod. The meticulously crafted piece was also interactive. Beard placed a black table in front of a red-vinyl-covered banquette. On the table was an open, bound sketchbook, which contained a stencil and, underneath, a vacuum. Visitors were invited to sit at… More >>
  • Best Photography Solo -- Deceased Artist

    Ron Wohlauer memorial

    Ron Wohlauer was a legend among Colorado photographers, with a style best exemplified by his majestic black-and-white landscapes. Sadly, he died last year after battling repeated bouts of cancer. In a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction moment, Wohlauer's latest book of photos, SMALL ROOMS and HIDDEN PLACES, came out just a few days after he passed away. There was nothing else to do but… More >>
  • Best Photography Solo -- Established Artist

    David Sharpe

    For his self-titled show at the Robischon Gallery, photographer David Sharpe focused on unfocused shots of the Western landscape taken with primitive, homemade cameras -- the kind of thing he's done for years. His pinhole cameras are made from cylindrical containers such as oatmeal boxes. Aping the method of nineteenth-century photographers, Sharpe travels into the countryside with an ad hoc… More >>
  • Best Photography Solo -- Emerging Artist

    Conor King: Sentience

    Sometimes shows in Pirate's cramped and awkwardly shaped Associates' Space outshine the main attractions up front. That was surely the case when Conor King's Sentience was on view there. The twenty-something King, a recent University of Colorado graduate, created six photo enlargements framed in natural-wood boxes. The photos were illuminated from behind, making them glow. The images depicted people involved… More >>
  • Best Print Show

    Open Press LTD

    Open Press LTD: A 15-Year Anniversary was a short course in the recent history of printmaking in Denver. The show, presented at the Gallery of Contemporary Art at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, was an enormous survey of the fruits of the fine press founded by master printer Mark Lunning. Over the years, Lunning has facilitated scores of… More >>
  • Best Computer-Art Show

    Quintin Gonzalez

    Computers have had a big effect on the visual arts, especially photography: Digital cameras and digital printing are now the standards. And though the pieces in Quintin Gonzalez: digital images resembled digital photos, they were actually drawings created with a variety of software applications. One of the most striking features of the work was the iridescent palette of remarkable tones… More >>
  • Best Political Show

    Unstitched: A Voyeur's Idiom

    Unstitched: A Voyeur's Idiom, displayed at weilworks, was both confrontational and beautiful, an outlandish and hard-to-achieve combination. Photographer Jimmy Sellers used his childhood interest in G.I. Joes to create political works that comment on the issues of gays in the military and same-sex marriage. In color and black-and-white digital prints, the macho figures were posed in various evocative situations; some… More >>
  • Best Religious-Art Show

    Susan Goldstein: POLI VESTURE

    Susan Goldstein's POLI VESTURE lent the Edge Gallery a creepy, haunted-house mood last spring -- not surprising, considering that Goldstein's photos were shot in an abandoned factory where religious articles were once produced. The title of the show was taken from the name of the factory, which was located in Pittsburgh. Goldstein captured the broken crucifixes and headless saints under… More >>
  • Best Class Project

    IN LIMBO

    Under the direction of Gwen Chanzit, a professor at the University of Denver and a curator at the Denver Art Museum, a group of DU students organized IN LIMBO, a terrific show at the school's Victoria H. Myhren Gallery. The exhibition featured works generously loaned by big-time local art collectors Vicki and Kent Logan. The students used computers to view… More >>
  • Best Western Landscape Show

    The Painter's Eye

    The West has inspired artists for over a century, and LoDo's David Cook Fine Art is one of the best places in Denver to check out some of the genre's older creations. The gallery rarely presents exhibits, so The Painter's Eye, on display last summer, was an unusual treat. The show included pieces by artists who worked in Colorado, New… More >>
  • Best Latin American Duet

    Painting a New World and Tiwanaku

    The Denver Art Museum's New World department includes both pre-and post-Columbian sections, and patrons Jan and Fred Mayer were principal sponsors of two relevant shows designed to showcase both. First was the post-Columbian offering, Painting a New World, which surveyed Mexican colonial painting. Then came the pre-Columbian Tiwanaku, which examined a little known civilization in Bolivia. Donna Pierce, the DAM's… More >>
  • Best Architecture Salute

    Poetry and Stone

    In the early '90s, architect Cab Childress designed a mountain home for University of Denver chancellor Daniel Ritchie. The imposing stone structure was done in an unusual neo-traditional style, with a copper roof called "Granny's Castle." Though Childress didn't know it at the time, the building was his audition for the post of DU architect. Over the next decade, Childress… More >>
  • Best Wall Art

    "Womb"

    Assembly art gallery is know for showing more controversial, cutting-edge works than some of its neighbors on Santa Fe Drive. But it wasn't an exhibit that got director Jared Anderson in trouble with the City of Denver. No, it was his yard art, "Womb." Designed as a freestanding monumental sculpture, "Womb" spans nearly fifty feet by fourteen feet, blocking the… More >>
  • Best Tribute to Old Denver

    Tilt-a-Whirl World

    Lakeside Amusement Park creaks on year after year, slowly sliding down the path toward historical oddity. It's Colorado's very own Coney Island, and that's exactly what makes the place so charming. Local photographer Christina Ianni captured the broken-down park -- with the rickety old Cyclone and carny-favorite Tilt-A-Whirl -- on film, using toy cameras scrounged at five-and-dimes. The results were… More >>
  • Best African-American Treasure Chest

    Stiles African American Heritage Center

    Retired teacher and Colorado Preservation, Inc. State Honor Award-winner Grace Stiles rescued a once-dilapidated Victorian frame house in Five Points and reshaped it for the greater good. The Stiles African American Heritage Center is stuffed with Stiles's own special legacy for black Denver's youth: a haystack of pictures and artifacts that piece together the lives a dozens of the region's… More >>
  • Best Museum Outreach Using a Virgin

    Denver Art Museum

    For several Decembers now, the Denver Art Museum has hyped an exhibition on Our Lady of Guadalupe by offering free Southwest Santos family backpacks, which include special games designed to encourage interaction with the artwork. Families can play Rhymes & Riddles or put together an Our Lady of Guadalupe magnet puzzle while taking in the museum's collection of Virgin-centric artworks,… More >>
  • Best National Appearance by a Colorado Treasure

    Navajo Weaving Stamp

    Last August, a selection from the Denver Art Museum was reduced to a tiny canvas, but it reached a global audience. An intricate 1940s Navajo weaving by master artisan Daisy Taugelchee was one of ten artifacts depicted in "The Art of the American Indian" stamp, a series of 37-cent stamps released by the United States Postal Service. The inclusion of… More >>
  • Best Development for Western Playwrights

    Playwrights Showcase of the Western Region

    Organized by Pamela Jamruszka of the Red Rocks Community College theater faculty, and with the support of the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, the first Playwrights Showcase of the Western Region featured three intense days of panels, workshops, discussions and play readings. The series was designed to inform and inspire, and to begin the process of putting Western… More >>
  • Best Theater Production

    The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia?

    Edward Albee's play about a man in love with a goat makes you question every assumption about sexual mores you've ever made. Just where are the boundaries between the permissible and the impermissible, and what do they mean in the lives of actual people? The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia? is skillfully written, funny, silly, profound and disquieting all at… More >>
  • Best Dramatic Script

    Inventing Van Gogh
    Steven Dietz

    Inventing Van Gogh unleashes a torrent of ideas about art -- possibly enough for a dozen plays. But its primary achievement is illuminating the artist's struggle to wrench meaning from a recalcitrant world, and to ransom his own soul. Steven Dietz's script incorporates historical fact without lecturing; bits of Vincent van Gogh's letters erupt into the text like cries from… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Drama

    Brett Aune
    Inventing Van Gogh

    In a luminous portrayal, Brett Aune made Vincent van Gogh an essentially gentle and guileless man, a little uncomfortable in his own body. Aune possessed an arrogance that stemmed from the artist's bone-deep understanding of the rightness of his work, coupled with the insecurity of someone who has laid bare his heart and received only contempt and indifference in return.… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Drama

    Laura Norman
    Angels in America

    Angels in America's Harper is a pill-popping young Mormon wife who spends half her time yearning for her faithless husband and the other half in a fantasy. She could easily seem fey or just plain irritating. But Laura Norman moderated Harper's dopey ethereality with a wry humor and a sense of groundedness. Her interpretation was potent, but also wonderfully unassuming.… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Drama

    Christopher Leo
    Inventing Van Gogh

    Christopher Leo gave two confident star turns in Inventing van Gogh -- as an unscrupulous art authenticator named Bouchard, and as the painter Paul Gauguin. Bouchard was self-mockingly mannered, effete in the most amusing way, while Gauguin was arrogant and thick-skinned. Both characters possessed a juicy vitality that served as a perfect foil for the other actors' lower-key interpretations. Leo… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Drama

    Denise Perry-Olson
    Old Times

    Harold Pinter's Old Times is a bleak, enigmatic play, but Denise Perry-Olson's sensual energy and radiant smile animated it. Her Kate -- sophisticated, sexy and well-traveled -- flirted equally with onetime best friend Anna, and with Anna's husband, Deeley. It sometimes seemed she was about to stride off with Bas Blue's entire production. … More >>
  • Best Musical

    Cabaret

    Many regular customers of Boulder's Dinner Theatre stayed away from Cabaret. The show's seedy settings, writhing dance numbers and uncomfortable focus on fascism clearly set it apart from most BDT fare. But in a just world, it would have attracted dozens of people who normally never set foot in a conventional dinner theater. Director Michael J. Duran's production was a… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Musical

    Nicholas Sugar
    Bat Boy: The Musical

    Bat Boy: The Musical is based on a character in the Weekly World News, a bat-human creature found in a cave. In this musical, he's discovered by some teenagers, one of whom he bites. Nicholas Sugar -- an actor we should be seeing a lot more of -- plays the role full-tilt. He's weird, comic, scary, athletic and pathetic. … More >>
  • Best Actress in a Musical

    Shelley Cox-Robie
    Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

    Dulcet-voiced and warm, Shelley Cox-Robie is always a joy to watch. As Joseph's narrator, she was the constant presence that stitched together all of the jokes and wild goings-on in the Boulder's Dinner Theatre reading of this early Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. Cox-Robie's empathetic work with the children in the large ensemble cast was particularly charming. … More >>
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Musical

    Lucy Roucis
    Guys and Dolls

    Most people remember Guys and Dolls' Adelaide as the chanteuse (or chantoosie) who sings "Take Back Your Mink" and "A Bushel and a Peck." PHAMALy's Lucy Roucis delivered these songs with sass and sang the famous "Adelaide's Lament" so feelingly that you didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Either way, you were riveted. … More >>
  • Best Singing in a Musical

    Sheryl Renee
    Hi-Hat Hattie

    Hi-Hat Hattie was a sentimental, one-dimensional piece of theater, but Sheryl Renee made it work. She's a fine actress, but it was her vocal abilities that transfixed us as she sang a mix of blues, funk and show music. At times, Renee's voice emanated from the depths of her being; at others, it soared operatically high. Her phrasing was sophisticated,… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Comedy

    Randy Moore
    A Christmas Carol

    Randy Moore's Scrooge was pinch-mouthed and mean, but he was also an aging child, with a child's unconcern for decency and politeness, as well as a vulnerability. Although Moore has played the role for several years, this was his most joyous and deeply felt performance. When the reformed Scrooge humbly asked the charitable couple he had turned away in the… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Comedy

    Annette Helde
    Boston Marriage

    Anna is one-half of a prickly lesbian couple that forms the heart of Boston Marriage, David Mamet's first play to feature female protagonists. She likes falling dramatically onto the chaise lounge, having the vapors, exploring flights of self-pitying fantasy, and tossing off acerbic witticisms. In a tour-de-force performance, Annette Helde did all this with feeling, wit and precision. … More >>
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy

    Rhonda Lee Brown
    The Fourth Wall

    The Fourth Wall featured a housewife so distressed by contemporary politics that she arranged the furniture to create an invisible fourth wall in her living room. Rhonda Lee Brown played Julia, a brittle interior decorator from New York, brought in by the protagonist's husband to help unravel her motives. Affected by the stagy living-room setup, Julia began acting as if… More >>
  • Best Performance by a Child

    Brittany Heileman
    Tongue of a Bird

    Tongue of a Bird is a pretentious, forgettable play about a woman pilot searching the mountains for a lost child. But it had a bright spot in teenage actor Brittany Heileman. She appeared to the protagonist in visions, her face bloodied, in a performance that was sharp, quick, cheerful and without a trace of sentimentality. Heileman is that rarest of… More >>
  • Best Actress in an Experimental Production

    Erin Rollman
    Kafka on Ice

    In one of the funniest, sweetest scenes in Kafka on Ice, Erin Rollman skated on a floor of artificial ice, skidding, gliding and falling cutely about as a Chaplinesque Kafka (played by Gary Culig) sped to her rescue again and again. Rollman is one of Denver's most inspired comic actresses; in Kafka on Ice, she was able not only to… More >>
  • Best Speaking Voice

    Trina O'Neil
    Metamorphoses

    Playwright Mary Zimmerman incorporated large segments of poetry into Metamorphoses, including passages from Ovid and Rilke's extraordinary "Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes." The poems lend the script much of its power, but they can also be a mouthful. Elocution isn't taught much these days, and many actors scorn verbal precision and fluidity. Trina O'Neil has these qualities in spades. Her beautiful lucidity… More >>
  • Best Guide From Death to Life

    Todd Coulter
    Angels in America

    The dying Prior in Angels in America is often whiny, snappish or unreasonable, but he has intellect and dignity, too. In the Bas Bleu/OpenStage Theatre and Company production, Todd Coulter gave all these characteristics their due. Late in the play, Prior receives a reprieve, thanks to new AIDS drugs, and from then on, he becomes a kind of guide into… More >>
  • Best Tribute to a Performer

    Frank Gorshin as George Burns
    Say Goodnight Gracie

    Good impressionists don't just mimic their subjects, they become them -- and Frank Gorshin simply was George Burns in this production. He had the man's walk and mannerisms, and also seemed to possess his spirit. … More >>
  • Best Representation of a Great American

    Russell Costen
    Paul Robeson

    In Paul Robeson, a one-man show detailing the life of the scholar/athlete/performer of its title, Russell Costen held the stage for over two hours on his own. Robeson was a tall, powerful man with a rumbling bass voice, while Costen is shorter and more muted. Still, Costen communicated Robeson's gravitas and found his measured vocal cadences. Though this was a… More >>
  • Best Work Against Type

    Alicia Dunfee
    Cabaret

    Alicia Dunfee wasn't the obvious choice to play Sally Bowles, Cabaret's immature heroine; Dunfee is a grown-up woman who takes the stage with authority. Nonetheless, the interpretation worked. As always, Dunfee gave herself fully to each musical number and held the audience mesmerized. But she also created a convincing portrait of a naive sophisticate, managing not only an English accent,… More >>
  • Best Performance in a Literary Adaptation

    Terry Burnsed
    Circe

    Casting Terry Burnsed as Bloom in Circe, a staged chapter from Ulysses, was a stretch. Burnsed is slender and small, closer in body type to James Joyce himself than to such traditional Blooms as Zero Mostel. But his performance in the role was masterly. He managed the difficult feat of making the character simultaneously ascetic and self-indulgent, anguished and funny,… More >>
  • Best Display of Literacy in a Family Drama

    The Retreat From Moscow

    William Nicholson's The Retreat From Moscow was a real find for the Aurora Fox -- the best production staged there in several years. The play details the breakdown of a highly civilized marriage, unfurling in low-key, logical increments. It's subtle, passionate, assured and full of magnificent bits of quoted poetry. … More >>
  • Best Crossover Performer

    Leonard Barrett Jr.

    In PHAMALy's Guys and Dolls -- and with a nod to Marlon Brando -- Leonard Barrett Jr. shone as the seductive conman Sky Masterson. In Angels in America, he played a completely different role: that of Belize, a former drag queen. Here his acting was playfully self-aware without being self-conscious; he was sometimes funny and sometimes wise. When, without sentimentality,… More >>
  • Best Couple in a Musical

    Susan Dawn Carson and Marcus Waterman
    Gypsy

    Gypsy's Rose is usually played as an iron-sided belter, but Susan Dawn Carson made her warm and sympathetic. This interpretation brought out interesting nuances in the role, actually highlighting the character's narcissism. Marcus Waterman gave Rose's partner, Herbie, a sad integrity that made him the moral center of the play. There was genuine chemistry between these two actors, and it… More >>
  • Best Cabaret

    Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris

    Jacques Brel is about roses and wine, nostalgia, love, and bright, toe-tapping songs. But there is also a sense of bitter world-weariness to Jacques Brel's music, which was brought to life by three talented musicians and four superb performers, including singer Erica Sarzin-Borrillo. Sarzin-Borrillo is a unique stage presence, lacquered and artificial -- but there's a profound reservoir of passion… More >>
  • Best Ballsy Production

    Dirty Story

    Some observers speculated that Dirty Story represented departing artistic director Donovan Marley's raised middle finger to the Denver Center Theatre Company. Others viewed it as an intelligently provocative selection. Either way, it was a brilliant choice. The production transformed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a sadomasochistic relationship between a middle-aged English professor and a bright young student, with a dopey, gun-twirling… More >>
  • Best Treatment of a Touchy Subject

    Yellowman

    Racism is a common enough topic in theater, but Dael Orlandersmith's Yellowman explored a different kind of bigotry: the contempt felt by some lighter-skinned African-Americans toward their darker-skinned brethren, and the reciprocal rage it engenders. The play dares to evoke all kinds of stereotypes as Alma, one of the two lead characters, describes the revulsion she feels toward her own… More >>
  • Best Shaking Up of Shakespeare

    Comedy of Errors

    Director Stephanie Shine set her Comedy of Errors in nineteenth-century New Orleans and gave the actors a lot of freedom to improvise, resulting in many hilarious bits. But she also reined them in when necessary and protected the music of the lines. The result was funny, relaxed and magical -- the perfect amusement for a summer night. … More >>
  • Best Remounting of an Old Chestnut

    Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

    Andrew Lloyd Webber's Dreamcoat is a mishmash of silly jokes and pulsing tunes. For his first show as artistic director at Boulder's Dinner Theatre, Michael J. Duran energized the company's talented actors, including a group of delightfully unself-conscious children. He tossed in just enough zaniness to keep the audience engaged and giggling. Duran's feat was amazing, indeed: He brought a… More >>
  • Best Spectacle

    Varekai
    Cirque du Soleil

    True, it's hard to continue loving an outfit that started cheeky and small but is now a multimillion-dollar endeavor that becomes more expensive by the year. But these folks keep delivering. Where does Cirque du Soleil find these extraordinary people -- clowns, dancers and athletes who combine precision, explosive power and balletic grace? Varekai's musicians and performers, like its settings… More >>
  • Best Boulder Production

    The Fourth Wall

    The Fourth Wall gave pleasure on many levels. It was erudite without a trace of pomposity, forceful without ever becoming mean-spirited. Well cast and directed by Billie McBride, the production had audience members snorting with surprised laughter time and again. It also gave them something to think about on the way home. … More >>
  • Best On-Stage Feast of Language

    Circe

    What kind of director would think of staging chapter fifteen of James Joyce's Ulysses, with its stream-of-consciousness representation of one man's mental processes during a single day? Who'd want to tackle all those puns, metaphors, allegorical riffs, allusions, fragments of liturgy and bits of drama, poetry, Shakespeare and even Gilbert and Sullivan? Germinal's Ed Baierlein, that's who. At first confounding,… More >>
  • Best Experimental Play

    Kafka on Ice

    Buntport is known for wacky, iconoclastic humor, but the group is also highly literate. So it makes sense that this ice-skating version of Franz Kafka's life (along with an exposition of his most famous story, "The Metamorphosis") would be both laugh-out-loud funny and respectful, even beautiful. No one but the Buntporters would have thought to use artificial ice to such… More >>
  • Best Revival of a Forgotten Play

    A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur

    In A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur, set during the Depression years, Tennessee Williams was exploring less poetic lives than in his earlier work. He used caricature, slapstick, even diarrhea jokes, and maintained a fine balance between humor and his customary melancholy. He also gave us moments of grace in which the characters overcame their essential separateness to minister to… More >>
  • Best Theatrical Collaboration

    Angels in America

    Last year, Bas Bleu, which has been presenting theater in Fort Collins for over a decade, moved from its exquisite small theater building to a roomier location. For the first event in the new space, the group staged a two-evening production of Tony Kushner's brilliant seven-hour epic, Angels in America, in collaboration with OpenStage, another Fort Collins institution. The presentation… More >>
  • Best Direction

    Jeremy Cole
    Metamorphoses

    Jeremy Cole assembled an excellent group of actors, each of whom played several roles, to bring Ovid's fables into the twentieth century in Metamorphoses. He balanced the tone of the production comfortably between comedy and tragedy, mythic resonance and contemporary humor. The set -- a huge, water-filled granite pool that could be anything from a Hollywood swimming pool to the… More >>
  • Best All-Around Woman of the Theater

    Wendy Ishii

    Wendy Ishii is the artistic director and co-founder of Bas Bleu, a major theatrical force in Fort Collins. She has also gained attention for her work on the plays of Samuel Beckett with faculty from Colorado State University. Ishi's energy and vision keep Bas Bleu going: Her efforts to secure funding facilitated the company's recent move to a larger home.… More >>
  • Best All-Around Man of the Theater

    Ed Baierlein

    Where would Denver theater be without Ed Baierlein? He and his talented wife, Sallie Diamond, started Germinal Stage thirty years ago, back when there was very little theater of any kind in town. He has produced a roster of challenging, hilarious and thoughtful plays every year since -- and in the process, has discovered many of the city's best actors.… More >>
  • Best Season for an Actress

    Mare Trevathan

    Mare Trevathan brings a combination of subtlety, conviction and luminosity to every role she undertakes. In Harold Pinter's Old Times for Bas Bleu, she was the mysterious Kate, whose husband and onetime best friend spent the evening vying for her attention. She was also somewhat muted as the wife of an adulterous husband in Curious Theatre Company's The Long Christmas… More >>
  • Best Season for an Actor

    Jamie Horton

    Jamie Horton, one of the earliest members of the Denver Center Theatre Company, is a local treasure. He proved it again this year with his performance as Dalton Trumbo in Curious's Trumbo: Red, White and Blacklisted, making the man eccentric, outspoken, wise and wily in that peculiarly evocative American way. Horton also shone in The Misanthrope at the Denver Center.… More >>
  • Best Season for a Director

    Nagle Jackson

    Nagle Jackson is known as a classical kind of guy -- an intelligent translator and a witty and incisive playwright. So it wasn't a surprise when he staged a lucid production of Molière's The Misanthrope for the Denver Center Theater Company. But who expected him to follow with a wildly controversial contemporary drama about a guy shtupping a goat? Jackson… More >>
  • Best Theater Season

    Curious Theatre Company

    Okay, so we weren't knocked out by The Tricky Part, and we found some fault with The Long Christmas Ride Home and Yellowman. But Inventing Van Gogh and The Goat Or, Who Is Sylvia? represented theater at its best. And even though some productions are more winning than others, there's a stamp of integrity on every single Curious production. Artistic… More >>
  • Best Chance for Change in the Theater Scene

    Kent Thompson

    The winds of change are blowing through the Denver Center Theatre Company. New artistic director Kent Thompson has announced that the upcoming season will include two more plays than usual and feature female, black and Latino voices. Thompson seems intent on restoring the company's role in nurturing original plays, and to that end is networking with important local directors. Finally,… More >>
  • Best Tribute to the West Side

    Westside Oratorio

    El Centro Su Teatro's Tony Garcia combined with composer Daniel Valdez to turn the saga of the Chicano community into a moving presentation about Denver's Mexican-American population. But Westside Oratorio wasn't just about Denver; it chronicled decades of experience throughout the entire Southwest. As Garcia noted in his script, memory in the United States is short. That notion was ironically… More >>
  • Best Drag Troupe

    The Alterboys

    Drag queens? Please. When it comes to gender-bent entertainment, boys who dress as girls are as worn out as an old pair of pantyhose. Fortunately, Denver is home to the Alterboys, a troupe of six women who love grrrls and look like bois. The Alterboys have a flavor for every taste: cowboy, gangsta rapper, '50s greaser, punk-rocker, even an Eminem… More >>
  • Best Instigators of an Impromptu Conga Line

    Log
    LoDo Music Festival

    Joan Jett, Sonia Dada and Karl Denson's Tiny Universe were the major draws of last year's LoDo Music Festival. But tucked away from the main stage, quarantined in the dirt like some flea-infested sideshow, the funky members of Log held court for late-night stragglers not quite ready to call it a night. And in the midst of all the hip-swaying… More >>
  • Best Elvis Impersonator

    Chris Barber

    Although calling Chris Barber a renaissance man may not be fair to Leonardo da Vinci, there's no question that he's got plenty on his plate. He leads Spiv, an enjoyable power-pop band, oversees Pop Sweatshop, a label whose catalogue brims with interesting acts, and, in his free time, channels Elvis Presley. Inspired by a pilgrimage to Graceland last fall, Barber… More >>
  • Best Ambidextrous Scene Kid

    Sara T

    Sara T -- aka Sara Thurston -- is 100 percent freaky fly. The notorious "No Bullshit" DJ and glamour gal of groove -- host of the monthly booty-shaker Danceotron, co-owner of the south Broadway boutique Chielle, and timekeeper for bands Hot House and Clotheshorse -- is thumpin' her rump all over this town while collecting a loving congregation of peeps… More >>
  • Best Underground Parties

    White Girl Lust

    Bringing the hipster indie-rock set and the dance-music contingent together may seem like an impossible feat, but the DJ duo of Eric Kozak and Clay Meador, otherwise known as White Girl Lust, have done just that. WGL has almost single-handedly fused DJ culture with the rock scene, cleverly reworking songs by acts like the Pixies and Bloc Party so they… More >>
  • Best Club DJ

    Nutmeg

    A Sunday-night institution in Denver since the late '90s, DJ Nutmeg pumps house music in clubs like the Snake Pit, Lime, Rise and ROX with a verve that comes from years of experience and dedication. Turning each club he plays into an essential spot to hit up, Nutmeg has made himself one of the most in-demand DJs in the scene.… More >>
  • Best House DJ

    DJ Foxx

    DJ Foxx is one of the key DJs who've put Denver house music on the map. From holding down residencies at some of the city's top clubs to playing throughout the United States to producing tracks and releasing records under the alias "Rhythmcentric," Foxx lives and breathes the style. During his regular nights at Mynt and Lotus, he never sticks… More >>
  • Best Progressive/ Trance DJ

    DJ Dragon

    DJ Dragon and his crew, the Triad Dragons, are key forces keeping the rave scene alive in Colorado. The Triad's Global Dance Festival at Red Rocks and the Caffeine Festival are the two biggest electronic-music events to go down each year. Dragon has also become the face of Denver trance and progressive house, playing events around the country, including this… More >>
  • Best Down-Tempo DJ

    DJ Idiom

    DJ Idiom could easily be considered the most creative and eclectic DJ In Denver. Typically sticking to mellower, groovier down-tempo and hip-hop beats, Idiom moves around to incorporate tunes by Björk, Sigur Ros, and even Guns N' Roses in a way that actually makes sense. A regular feature at the Sherbert and White Girl Lust parties, Idiom's ability to rock… More >>
  • Best MC

    The Black Pegasus

    The best MC in Denver isn't really even from here. In fact, if you ask the Black Pegasus, aka Robert Houston II, he'll tell you he's straight outta Colorado Springs. No matter, though. Black P is up here so often warming up stages for everyone from Atmosphere to Tech N9NE, we'll just go ahead and claim him as our own.… More >>
  • Best Online Equivalent of Peyton Place

    www.denvermessageboard.com

    Ever wonder what your favorite local musicians are doing during the week? Presumably, the majority of them are working at jobs, like normal people. At least that's what you'd think until you stopped by the Denver Message Board and sorted through the myriad posts. Musicians and scenesters go to the DMB (whose unofficial motto is "You can't spell dumb without… More >>
  • Best Place to See Live Music From Home

    www.rockdenver.com

    Too late for the mountains? Too early for the bars? Too drunk to drive? Kick back at home and log on to rockdenver.com, where, for the price of a dumb look, you can enjoy live monthly webcasts from Herman's Hideaway. The shows feature many of Denver's emerging acts: the Fray, the Railbenders, Yo, Flaco!, Aggressive Persuasion, Battery Park, Chronophonic, Ion,… More >>
  • Best Website for Bands to Find e-Groupies

    www.myspace.com

    Take the computer flirting scene between Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy in Pretty in Pink, multiply it by a few bazillion gigabytes, and you've got myspace.com. With millions of profiles of computer-addicted geeks around the world, it's basically a glorified, digitized singles bar. But the site is more than Friendster's hipper usurper; it's also the best way for local groups… More >>
  • Best Place to Find Blackmail Pictures of Local Musicians

    www.rockoncolorado.com

    Founded by longtime local-music champions Tommy Nahulu and David Barber, rockoncolorado.com is more than just a collection of snapshots. The site also contains music-related articles and reviews, as well as a calendar and message board. But the primary attraction is the massive searchable database of live photos. From bigger shows at the Bluebird and Gothic to smaller gigs at places… More >>
  • Best Place for Vinyl Junkies to Defect

    www.beatport.com

    Although some dyed-in-the-wool vinyl-lovers cling to the romance of crate-digging, more and more jocks are embracing digital technology. They're also embracing Beatport. Led by lauded DJ Jonas Tempel, the site is helping to revolutionize the way DJs approach their craft. Tempel and his crew have amassed one of the most comprehensive dance-music repositories on the Web. Last year, when the… More >>
  • Best Online Music Store

    www.milehighmusicstore.com

    Looking for the latest disc from P-Nuckle, GasHead, Lisa Bell or Drag the River -- but don't feel like scouring the bins of your nearest independent retailer? How 'bout a DVD of Xiren's live set at Red Rocks? Billie Tolles's hard-to-find Chapulteset? A hardback copy of G. Brown's Colorado Rocks! or a reissue of Lannie Garrett's Doubleback? On milehighmusicstore.com, Hapi… More >>
  • Best Online Music Magazine

    Kaffeine Buzz

    With all the energy its name implies, Kaffeine Buzz is a scattershot, ADD-fueled cornucopia of music journalism. Covering local as well as national punk, indie and hip-hop, the site features interviews, club listings, weekly show picks and CD and concert reviews. Editor Kim Owens, who also pens an impressive portion of the text, employs a solid, personable writing style that… More >>
  • Best Musical Professor

    Stephen Scott

    A professor at Colorado College, Scott does more than just teach about music. He also makes it in a very singular way. Rather than play the piano using the instrument's keys, he and his assistants physically pluck and manipulate its strings with the assistance of everything from guitar picks and percussion mallets to nylon fishing line and horsehair. This approach… More >>
  • Best Musical Advice

    The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting a Band
    Mark Bliesener and Steve Knopper

    The authors of this tome draw from a wealth of experience. Bliesener once drummed with ? and the Mysterians, a group remembered for the garage-rock hit "96 Tears," and went on to become a successful promoter and manager of bands such as Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Knopper, for his part, has written about music for newspapers such as… More >>
  • Best Avant-Garde Composer

    Michael Andrew Doherty

    Ironically, many creators of contemporary experimental music are too stuck in academia and orthodoxy to truly forge their own voice. But Michael Andrew Doherty, after earning a bachelor's degree in philosophy and religious studies at CSU, ditched his musical studies and began orchestrating sound according to the dictates of his own soul. The result is a string of releases and… More >>
  • Best Concert (Since March 2004)

    The Killers
    April 20, 2004

    Before they appeared on Saturday Night Live and The O.C. and were lionized by damn near every music scribe in the free world, the Killers were just another out-of-town act performing at the Larimer Lounge on a Tuesday night. Although the Lounge was only a quarter full -- the band was still flying well beneath the radar, and most… More >>
  • Best Event for Dancing in 9/8 Time

    Colorado Prog Music Fest

    For anyone who cuts the rug like Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis or Elaine from Seinfeld, the Colorado Prog Music Fest offered the perfect excuse to boogaloo like you just didn't care. Area musical acts committed to precision and unusual time signatures held court for an entire day of free-form anarchy. The all-ages event featured sets from the Colorado Guitar Circle,… More >>
  • Best Recording

    How It Ends
    DeVotchKa

    In a year of exceptional local releases, DeVotchKa's How It Ends stood out like a peacock at sunrise. A dizzying feast of neo-classical strings, south-of the-border tango flirtations and punk-informed polka, the fourteen-song cycle finds Denver's most sumptuous quartet at the pinnacle of its craft. Recorded and mixed by Craig Schumacher (who has worked with Calexico, Giant Sand and Beth… More >>
  • Best Audio Alternative to a Handful of Vaseline

    The Total Wanker
    Wanker

    Woody Allen once said, "Don't knock masturbation -- it's sex with someone I love." In the cocksure hands of Wanker however, love means never having to say you're anything but horny and alone. Then again, damn near every song by these nostalgic, faux-Anglican glam-bangers revolves around frigid white girls, full-metal teddies, or sisters with blisters. Get a grip. … More >>
  • Best Long-Winded Metal Album Title

    Stormbringer: Conjuration of the Nighthorde
    Throcult

    Metal bands usually get straight to the point when it comes to naming their albums: Morbid Angel had Domination; Kreator issued Endless Pain; Venom put out Welcome to Hell. Then there's Throcult's second full-length, Stormbringer: Conjuration of the Nighthorde. Even without umlauts, it's a real mouthful, sporting two compound words, eleven syllables and one pesky colon. Saying it out… More >>
  • Best Side Project

    Wovenhand

    Denver Gentlemen alum David Eugene Edwards hasn't left 16 Horsepower behind, but as an extremely prolific songwriter, he needed another venue for his efforts. Wovenhand fills this particular bill very well, and on Consider the Birds, Edwards's third disc under the moniker, he takes advantage of it. Like all of his compositions, the Wovenhand offerings are striking expressions of the… More >>
  • Best Swan Song

    Antidote
    The Gamits

    Area artists always try to make their discs sound as professional and high-quality as those put out by major record labels, but very few succeed. With Antidote, pressed by Suburban Home Records, the Gamits joined this rarefied company, exciting fans who hoped the disc would propel the band into the bigtime. Instead, Chris Fogal's creation splintered mere months later --… More >>
  • Best Spoken-Word Disc

    Love, Death and Poetry
    Art Compost and the Word Mechanics

    With the occasional exception of standup comics, most people who use common speech as their main form of creative expression don't fare well when it comes to compact discs. So give veteran wordsmith SETH credit for combining poetry and music in a singularly bold way. The sounds whipped together by Bob Peek, Scott Seeber and Edward Marshall are simultaneously accessible… More >>
  • Best Toga-Party Soundtrack

    Pledge Kappa Epsilon Gamma
    The Orangu-Tones

    CU's sex-and-booze scandals make Animal House look like Romper Room. Still, the 1978 John Belushi film popularized a relatively raucous time in American pop culture: the era of frat rock, that surf-drenched bastardization of R&B that blared across university campuses in the early '60s. The Orangu-tones have frat rock down to a science, from the buzz cuts to the bleating… More >>
  • Best Music DVD

    Drop the Fear
    Drop the Fear

    It's hard enough finding bandmates who are in the same musical headspace as you. But when Ryan Policky formed the shoegazing Drop the Fear, he discovered that not only were his cohorts -- Gabriel Ratliffe and Sarah Marcogliese -- sympathetic sonic collaborators, they were also fellow filmmakers. Fittingly, the trio's eponymous debut comes with a DVD featuring a self-produced documentary… More >>
  • Best Blues CD

    Rise
    Eddie Turner

    Blues aficionados from Colorado and beyond know Eddie Turner best for his contributions to many of Otis Taylor's recordings. Yet as Rise demonstrates, he's also a fine frontman, with an expressive voice and guitar skills that blast through genre boundaries as if they were nonexistent -- which, in his mind, they are. The disc was produced by Kenny Passarelli, another… More >>
  • Best Free Music Project

    52 Songs
    Tyler Potts

    The year 2004 was a very good one for electronic composer Tyler Potts. Beginning in January, he set out to record a new song every week, and not only did he stick to his Sisyphean schedule all the way through December, but the music he made over this span was consistently fascinating: imagistic electro-ruminations on his world and what was… More >>
  • Best Formerly Free Music Project

    The Denver Gentlemen
    The Denver Gentlemen

    Last December, this very publication saluted the new self-titled full-length by the Denver Gentlemen for several very good reasons. The group, led by the enigmatic Jeffrey-Paul Norlander, helped establish the gothic-roots sound that distinguished the Denver scene during the '90s, with former members going on to found 16 Horsepower, Slim Cessna's Auto Club and the Kalamath Brothers. Moreover, the new… More >>
  • Best Compilation Dedicated to a Demonic Dachshund

    Halloweiner Dog

    Forget vampires, mummies and werewolves. Last Halloween's most frightening spectacle was an evil dachshund flying on oversized bat wings, shooting death rays from a pair of black, lifeless eyes, transforming the Front Range into a smoking crater. Amusing cover art aside, Sparky the Dog's spooktastic holiday compilation was a fun, apple-bobbing affair cobbled together by Soapy Argyle, Matt Shupe, Brett… More >>
  • Best Recording Made at Einstein Bros. Bagels

    Eclectic and Mental Guitar Music
    Robert Eldridge

    When Robert Eldridge decided to commit his acoustic wizardry to disc, he didn't bother with pricey studios. No, Eldridge simply went to an Einstein Bros. Bagel outlet, plugged a pick-up into his six-string and let 'er rip. Recorded live and expertly mastered by Desert Airport's Eric Shiveley, Eclectic and Mental Guitar Music finds Zeut's lead electric-guitarsmith alternating between ragtime, classical,… More >>
  • Best Debut Release by a Label

    An Argument Between the Brain and the Feet
    Morning After Records

    Denver's underground rock scene is boiling over right now -- and one of the individuals who's been dutifully stoking the fires is Dan Rutherford of Morning After Records (www.morningafterrecords.com). He envisioned the label while attending South by Southwest last year, and found the perfect flagship band when he got back to Colorado: the indie-pop sensation Hot IQs. The group's debut,… More >>
  • Best Experimental Noise Label

    Backwards Records

    Champions of unstructured sound collage and homemade instruments, Backwards Records is home to an array of adventurous laptop jockeys and electronically minded noise artists: Page 27, Blackcell, Robot Mandala, Haunted Sound Lab, Sporadik, Kuxann-Sum and Paraclude, among others. Surviving on the distant fringes of normalcy, the unsung label creates sounds as willfully edgy as they are impossible to pigeonhole. No… More >>
  • Best North-of-the-Border Label for Colorado Blues

    NorthernBlues Music

    Yes, NorthernBlues Music is based in Toronto, but it's got a soft spot for Colorado blues talent. The imprint has put out a number of Otis Taylor's finest efforts, including White African and Respect the Dead, and recently reached out to two other area bluesman: Eddie Turner, who released Rise last year, and Dan Treanor, whose collaboration with vocalist Frankie… More >>
  • Best One-Stop Record Label

    Hapi Skratch Entertainment

    Since launching Hapi Skratch Entertainment ten years ago, Morris Beegle has shaped his label into a hub that supports musicians at all levels. Celebrating a decade of operations this year, this Fort Collins-based company is one of Colorado's foremost purveyors of homegrown music. Over the years, Hapi Skratch and its three offshoot imprints have worked with a diverse array of… More >>
  • Best Jazz CD

    Crossed Paths
    The Fred Hess Quartet

    Saxophonist Hess has been a part of Denver-area jazz for so long that it's tempting to take him for granted. Crossed Paths, on Tapestry Records, shows how unwise that would be. The disc, which features bassist Ken Filiano, drummer Matt Wilson and trumpeter Ron Miles (another local treasure), doesn't break any new ground, but it makes spending time in familiar… More >>
  • Best Mix CD

    DJ Quote

    This past year, when DJ Quote wasn't mixing things up on the air with Troubleshooter Tom Martino, he was issuing CDs at a frenzied pace. Taking the game to a whole new level, Quote's discs have been hosted by an assortment of noteworthy guests, including MC Serch, Pitbull, DJ Cocoa Chanelle and David Banner, who will introduce Colorado to material… More >>
  • Best Worth-the-Wait Release

    Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead
    Cost of Living

    Cost of Living, a Denver supergroup featuring ex-members of Qualm, the Departure and Shogun, completed production on its debut in the spring of 2004. But Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead wasn't released until last month -- an excruciating eternity for the quintet's fans, many of whom have been rabid devotees of singer Justin Hackl and guitarist Ryan Welter since… More >>
  • Best Compilation

    PS 2

    As a showcase of new Colorado music, PS 2 isn't perfect. But it's closer than anyone's ever come before. Ranging from humble to heavy-hitting, the disc amply displays the passion and attention to detail that Ben De-soto and Tim Garvey of Public Service Records bring to this project -- and to the local indie scene as a whole. Everything from… More >>
  • Best Metal Label

    Infexious Recordz

    Co-founded by Rogue frontman Bill Terrell and Voodoo Productions owner Dave Zaharia, Infexious Recordz is a headbanger's nightmare sprung gloriously to life. In addition to luring national acts like L.A. Guns, Exodus and Pissing Razors to town, Infexious has showcased over a hundred of Denver's own up-and-coming metal acts -- Tyfoid Mary, Kill Syndicate, Mud Crawl and Kronow, among others.… More >>
  • Best Metal Promoter

    Big Q Productions

    No one has worked as hard to promote the Denver metal scene as Wayne Quigley, the man behind Big Q Productions. From frequently booking shows at the Ogden, Gothic and Bluebird theaters to putting together smaller gigs at Iliff Park and Eck's saloons, Big Q has shone the spotlight on many of the best emerging metal acts in town. Promoting… More >>
  • Best Soundman

    Chris Steele

    Ever been down to the Soiled Dove and experienced anything other than flawless sound? Yeah, didn't think so. In the extremely rare event that you did, chances are someone other than Chris Steele was sitting behind the mixing board. Although it would be easy to credit the Dove's P.A. for the outstanding sound, we all know that any system is… More >>
  • Best Nationally Renowned Producer You've Never Heard Of

    Dave Otero

    Tucked away in a small warehouse studio just south of downtown, producer Dave Otero has captured some of the most ferocious music ever to be recorded -- not just in Colorado, but anywhere. Anomalies, Cephalic Carnage's release for Relapse Records, was recorded at his Flatline Audio studio and is currently being heard around the country. But Otero is still relatively… More >>
  • Best Absinthe-Minded Sound Professor

    Bob Ferbrache

    Producer Bob Ferbrache has been the studio ace behind many of the truly exceptional releases to emanate from the Front Range over the last decade. Working from the unlikely confines of his mother's basement in Westminster (Absinthe Studios is actually located within arm's length of a washer and dryer!), Ferbrache added to his impressive back catalogue by engineering two of… More >>
  • Best Basement Recording Facility

    Rudy's Studio

    Rudy's Studio sits on the outer edge of north Denver, in the basement of Mark Obermeyer's suburban ranch home. Using two tracking rooms and a slew of gear, Obermeyer has recorded some of Denver's best-sounding records over the past few years. And although he initially cut his teeth working with metal bands, he's capable of recording just about any style.… More >>
  • Best Studio for Head-Expanding Music

    helmet R00m

    Randall Frazier not only fronts the moody, psychedelic outfit Orbit Service, but he's responsible for recording and mixing some of 2004's most engaging local releases, as well. After moving from a west Denver cellar to a space that currently shares walls with the Revoluciones art space, Frazier and production veteran Matthew Mensch helmed audio projects by Sons of Armageddon and… More >>
  • Best Recording Studio on the Cheap

    Globalsound Recording Studio

    Tony and Lydia Fiore, a musician and artist, respectively, sensed that the local music community needed a high-quality, inexpensive place to record and mix music. They were right: Since opening last year, Globalsound Recording Studio has produced demos and CDs for scores of local acts drawn by its accessible atmosphere, reasonable prices and more than adequate facilities. The place is… More >>
  • Best Place to Chill After Rehearsal

    Walnut Room

    The Walnut Room is a massive extension of Soundstructure Studios -- a popular, musician-friendly rehearsal space on a formerly barren fringe of the Ballpark neighborhood -- with its own restaurant, bar and performance venue. Since it opened, the room has netted a reputation as one of the best-sounding rooms in town, with a huge stage and spot-on sound crew. With… More >>
  • Best Place to Feed Your Ears While Feeding Your Belly

    Toad Tavern

    It's no secret that the club market in Denver is oversaturated. And like crabgrass, for each spot that doesn't make it, two or three others sprout up in its place. Nowadays, folks need a reason to search a place out -- namely, cheap drinks, plenty of free parking, and great sound and booking. The Toad Tavern has all of those… More >>
  • Best Live Band

    Call Sign Cobra

    It's like a full-scale ninja battle on stage: eight sweaty freaks brandishing guitars, horns, tambourines, microphones, pheromones, feedback and blood as they eviscerate everything that is decent and respectable about rock and roll. The band is Call Sign Cobra; that wet splat hitting your underpants is what's left of your spleen. With players culled from Scott Baio Army, Out on… More >>
  • Best New Band

    Matson Jones

    Fort Collins-based Matson Jones has been around for a couple of years, but it's only in the last few months that the group has really started carving out its empire. Not that the coed quartet seems crassly ambitious; instead, it's wholly focused on creating music that obliterates expectation even as it captures the brain and heart. With a lineup comprising… More >>
  • Best Jam Band

    Harmonious Junk

    While not entirely a straight-up ramen act (though lead guitarist Damon Wood can noodle with the best of them), Harmonious Junk pulls together savory parts funk, jazz, blues, psychedelic, soul and jam. The versatile outfit is equally comfortable pumping the groove at a Colfax smoke hole or loosening wallets and hips at more upscale clubs downtown. Composed of members of… More >>
  • Best Metal Band

    Tyfoid Mary

    In July 2001, Tyfoid Mary lost its frontman, Vince Stott, in a fatal car accident. While such a tragedy would cause most bands to hang it up for good, Tyfoid persevered and found a new voice in Jerry Harper. He had his work cut out for him, as Stott was a well-regarded vocalist. But Harper -- a giant in his… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Act

    Ground Zero Movement

    Dow Jones, Sid Fly, Aseone, D.O. Da Fabulous Drifta and DJ C.Y. -- the five members of Ground Zero Movement -- have spent much of the past year teasing area hip-hop fans. A few copies of Writer's Square, the exceptional followup to the 2003 full-length Future I.D. , were leaked to the media months ago, but the disc still isn't… More >>
  • Best One-Man Band

    Ian Cooke

    When not pulling duty in the veteran local outfit Uphollow, Ian Cooke writes and performs his own music. But instead of going the orthodox acoustic route, the flamboyantly coiffed artist employs electric cello, piano and a wireless microphone headset to sculpt arty, gorgeous pop compositions that are as delicate as they are virtuosic. Combining the pathos of Antony and the… More >>
  • Best Tribute Band

    Rocket Queen

    Who would have thought that the 21st century would see a huge resurgence of interest in Guns N' Roses? Too bad Axl Rose is too messed up to capitalize on his own legacy. But picking up his Slash, er, slack is Rocket Queen. Begun as a one-off Guns N' Roses tribute at the popular "Monsters of Mock" concert held every… More >>
  • Best Transplanted Band

    Git Some

    When Chuck French moved to Denver last year to play bass for Planes Mistaken for Stars, he was already playing guitar in a Chicago act called Git Some. Instead of breaking up, the band followed French to Colorado. With handmade demo tapes in hand, the foursome started tearing up bars and basements around town with its chaotic uppercut of groove-gouging… More >>
  • Best Band With the Worst Name

    Machine Gun Blues

    It's a rule of thumb: Never include a musical genre in the name of your band. Metal groups with "metal" in their monikers? Bad. Punk outfits called the Punk Rock something-or-others? Even worse. Machine Gun Blues, though, never got the memo. Which sucks, because the quartet's music is a writhing, scorching convulsion of blues rock that sounds about a hundred… More >>
  • Best Band Name That Sounds Like a Pee-wee's Playhouse Character

    Cowboy Curse

    Way before The Matrix, a struggling actor named Laurence Fishburne donned Jheri curls and a ten-gallon hat to play a character called Cowboy Curtis on the Saturday-morning kids' show, Pee-wee's Playhouse. Today we have Cowboy Curse, a trio featuring bassist Tyler Campo, singer/guitarist Ben Bergstrand, and Ben's brother, Josh Bergstrand of the Symptoms, on drums. The band name actually comes… More >>
  • Best Band Name Change

    The FlashBangs

    Tobias Jupiter was a strong contender for this year's "Best Band With the Worst Name" award, but the quintet dodged that honor by changing its name last month to the FlashBangs. Where Tobias Jupiter stumbled clumsily off the tongue, the group's streamlined new moniker efficiently sums up its sound: a bright, loud burst of indie-powered rock and roll sparkling with… More >>
  • Best Band Name

    Lyin' Bitch and the Restraining Orders

    You say love has no boundaries? Tell it to the judge, fucker. Then back up a thousand feet. … More >>
  • Best Band Reunion

    Rocket Ajax
    January 29, 2005

    When Rocket Ajax disbanded in early 2003, many scenesters were befuddled. Just a few months earlier, the band had picked up stakes and headed for the West Coast in search of fame and fortune -- or at least a record deal. At the time, Ajax was one of the most promising hard-rock bands around. Shortly after relocating to Los Angeles,… More >>
  • Best On-Stage Conniptions

    Luke Fairchild
    White Dynamite

    For two years, White Dynamite has been leveling stages and logic itself with its off-kilter, hardcore-spawned pandemonium. But the real show is singer/guitarist Luke Fairchild. A veteran of such Denver bands as Why Planes Go Down and Sparkles, Fairchild has at last completely surrendered to whatever demons possess him. He barks. He jerks. He chews at the air. He falls… More >>
  • Best Frontman

    Brian Hagman
    Black Lamb

    Back in the day, Brian Hagman was the only real reason to watch local punk act Wretched Refuse. But when Black Lamb (né the Lambs) formed at the dawn of the millennium, the singer finally found a band that could keep up with his intensity. Crooning like some three-headed clone of Ozzy Osbourne, Ian Astbury and Glenn Danzig, Hagman prances… More >>
  • Best Frontwoman

    Marie Litton
    Ghost Buffalo

    Anyone who dismisses Ghost Buffalo as just a Planes Mistaken for Stars side project doesn't quite get it. While guitarist Matt Bellinger and drummer Mike Ricketts do indeed split shifts between the two bands, Ghost Buffalo is a full-time passion for leader Marie Litton. The songwriter lends her soaring, haunting voice to the group's heartache-weary country rock; on stage, she's… More >>
  • Best Unheralded Guitar Virtuoso

    Dave Beegle

    Artist, producer, teacher and one-man guitar battalion Dave Beegle remains an underground six-string phenom. After launching power trio Fourth Estate in the late '80s, the Fort Collins homeboy used his masterful tone -- something that mates Joe Satriani and Paco de Lucia with Johann Sebastian Bach's blessing -- to explore the instrumental nuances of flamenco, world fusion and ethno-acoustic rock.… More >>
  • Best Bluegrass Band

    Open Road

    Bluegrass traditions may not be ancient by the standards of Greek mythology, but they have a proud history that Fort Collins-based Open Road limns with love and skill on its latest disc for Rounder Records, ...In the Life. The longer Bradford Lee Folk and his musical partners perform this music, the deeper and more natural their playing and singing becomes.… More >>
  • Best String Section

    The Lee Lewis Harlots

    Jay Munly might be the star, but cellist Rebecca Vera and violinists Elin Palmer and Frieda Stalhiem are the driving force behind the Canadian transplant's "thinkin' man's country music." Weaving together complex rhythms and sensuous melodic lines, the trio of harlots augment Munly's dark, rootsy side with a chamber-driven classicism, turning lyrical murder ballads and tales of backwoods madness into… More >>
  • Best Band to Shoot Whiskey To

    Out on Bail

    Some bands are just made for booze. ZZ Top? Tequila. Black Flag? Why, a six-pack, of course. But when listening to the ragged country punk of Out on Bail, whiskey is the only real choice. The semi-acoustic coed quartet writes songs that burn on the way down, peel the casing off your entrails and make you simultaneously sappy and feral… More >>
  • Best Band at the Worst Time

    Detective Jabsco

    Timing, they say, is everything. Which is why Detective Jabsco may be the most unfortunate band in Denver. The outfit's music is lacking absolutely nothing: Impassioned, concise, soulful and catchy as hell, it's a welcome lungful of fresh air. So what's the catch? The style is straight-up ska-core circa 1995, perhaps the uncoolest thing you could possibly be playing in… More >>
  • Best Up-and-Coming Band

    Constellations

    As fitting at a basement show as it is under the disco ball, the music of Constellations is a protean thing. While clearly drawing from many of the same sources that fuel the current dance-punk lemming march, the group molds jarring guitars, pixilated noise and logarithmic beats into a much more slippery sound. Its stunning debut, Sistering, careens between laptop… More >>
  • Best Singer-Songwriter -- Male

    Gann Matthews

    A scant year and a half ago, Gann Matthews resembled nothing so much as an unplugged disciple of Thom Yorke and Isaac Brock. What a difference a few months make. The young troubadour has swiftly graduated from shaky-throated emulation to sure-footed maturity, trading in indie pallor for a rich, ruddy rootsiness that teems with guts and depth. His debut disc,… More >>
  • Best Singer-Songwriter -- Female

    Judith Avers

    Armed with just an acoustic guitar and a gorgeous, angelic voice that alternately recalls Gillian Welch, Rosie Thomas and Paula Cole, Judith Avers could literally sing the classified ads and still be positively riveting. Fortunately, that won't be necessary: Avers is equally adept and compelling as a storyteller, crafting heartrending tales steeped in both hopefulness and despair. Although she performs… More >>
  • Best Comedy Night

    Squire Lounge

    Comics that turn up for the Squire Lounge's Comedy Night want to win the $25 bar tab that's awarded for best performance each week. But it's not the booze they're after, and it ain't the glory; other venues are far more lucrative and offer way better exposure. No, Colorado comics know that if you can kill on Colfax, you can… More >>
  • Best Karaoke Night

    Bender's 13th Avenue Tavern - CLOSED

    With an elevated stage surrounded by vintage vinyl, Bender's 13th Avenue Tavern is the best place to experience bar culture's most self-indulgent pastime. New Wave/Indie Karaoke Night -- hosted Tuesday and Thursday nights by ebullient wiseacre Keith Houston and his lovely assistant, Laura Benson -- welcomes seasoned hams and budding exhibitionists alike to wrap their pipes around a tune or… More >>
  • Best Salsa Night

    La Rumba

    On Saturday nights, salsa virgins and sexy pros go hand in hand on the dance floor at La Rumba, the stylish Golden Triangle staple that's become one of Latino Denver's top weekend destinations. Rookies can arrive early for a quick primer before the main event: The club offers free lessons, during which buzzed boys and girls are split up like… More >>
  • Best Club Night

    Lipgloss

    Launched in June 2001 by DJs Michael Trundle, Tyler Jacobson and Tim Cook, aka the Denver 3, Lipgloss has grown from a once-a-month Monday-night shindig into the best club night in town. Since relocating from 60 South to La Rumba last Spring, Lipgloss draws the crowds with a laid-back, unpretentious vibe, an expansive playlist and guest DJs; Carlos D from… More >>
  • Best Mid-Week Club Night

    Off the Wall
    hi-dive

    Off the Wall is a glorious celebration of all things '80s, without the shlocky retreads that get played ad nauseam. The hump-day affair is helmed by Westword's own Jason Heller and DJ Al from the Maybellines. The pair's deep old-school cuts will have you cabbage-patching before you can say OMD. So whether you came of age during Reaganomics or just… More >>
  • Best Club Comeback

    Cherry Pit

    The space at 60 S. Broadway has weathered many incarnations recently, including 60 South and the short-lived Southpark Tavern. Viable as neither a lesbian club nor a sports bar, it was transformed last year into the Cherry Pit. The format this time? Rock venue. Strangely, the room finally feels like it's found its true identity. While all manner of homegrown… More >>
  • Best Dance Club for Dancing

    Vinyl

    Not to be undone by some 31.8 inches of snow that collapsed its roof during the blizzard of 2003, Vinyl came back bigger and badder than ever last fall. Now boasting what is arguably the best sound system in Colorado, Vinyl is a four-story behemoth of a dance club, with three floors all featuring different music and an uber-swanky lounge… More >>
  • Best Dance Club for Hooking Up

    Brewski's Pub

    With Ted Nugent on the jukebox and silicon-injected blondes peddling trays of Red Bull and Jäger, Brewski's is the place to let loose your inner Swayze and grab one for the roadhouse. Damn, even the drunk jackass at the bar wearing fake snakeskin boots is getting' play! When the house gets packed, hit the dance floor with a Bud Light… More >>
  • Best Rock Club

    hi-dive

    What began as a humble new dive in November 2003 has quickly blossomed into the best room in town. Occupying the space once held by Quixote's True Blue and the legendary 7 South, the hi-dive offers everything: karaoke, movie screenings, some of the most imaginative DJ nights in town -- and, of course, live music pumped through a top-notch system… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club

    Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge

    Combining elegance and hep, Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge refracts the elusive quality of Mingus, Monk or maybe even Parker in a soothing atmosphere. From classic to experimental, the joint swings seven days a week. Sheryl Renee pays tribute to the legends on Sunday nights, while Ralph Sharon recalls Ellington, Carmichael and Berlin on Wednesdays. Up-and-coming young bands take the stage… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Your Jam On

    Dulcinea's 100th Monkey

    Originally more of a jazz-oriented setup, Dulcinea's 100th Monkey has hopped branches and now embraces the jam nation with equal enthusiasm. Though images of Miles Davis and John Coltrane have been replaced by shots of Warren Haynes and Bob Weir, the overall vibe remains the same: mellow, welcoming and dedicated to the making of music. Where else in town can… More >>
  • Best Gay Club

    Club Evolution

    Club Evolution opened last year in the building that was once home to Muddy's but looked wrecking-ball-worthy in recent years. Fresh from a floor-to-ceiling overhaul, the place is now a gorgeous, two-story jewel of a club with an intriguing split personality. During the day, the upper level welcomes a wi-fi crowd for coffee; by night, the brick-walled room serves as… More >>
  • Best Large Venue

    Fox Theatre

    Sure, it's pain a for Denver dwellers to drive to Boulder to see a show. But the Fox Theatre makes it impossible not to. Over the past year, the venue has begun snagging a ridiculous amount of noteworthy acts from nearly every sliver of the spectrum: jam, soul, reggae, blues, jazz, metal, punk, country, world music and indie rock, not… More >>
  • Best Small Venue

    Larimer Lounge

    There's no doubt about it: When it comes to booking the best national acts, the Larimer Lounge consistently beats every venue in town. Sometimes, though, the club's intimacy has worked against it -- especially when bands are way too big, in terms of both popularity and sheer size, to fit comfortably on the stage. But recently, co-owner Scott Campbell expanded… More >>
  • Best All-Ages Venue

    Rock Island

    All-ages venues have had a spotty history in Denver -- mostly due to outmoded liquor laws that make it prohibitive for clubs to admit teens and still serve that rent-paying alcohol. Though Rock Island has long hosted sixteen-and-up dance nights, the club's kiddie offerings got a boost when Mike Barsch of Soda Jerk Presents moved his concert-promotion company into the… More >>
  • Best New Club (Since March 2004)

    Bender's 13th Avenue Tavern - CLOSED

    Before an enormous black-and-white mural of Johnny Cash graced the east-facing facade of Bender's 13th Avenue Tavern, the run-down, windowless structure was home to a string of short-lived hip-hop and goth-oriented night spots: Tongues Untied, Club Onyx and Club 314. Enter Tyson Murray, upright-bassist for local country powerhouse the Railbenders, and an entrepreneur with a vision beyond mere turntables and… More >>
  • Best Jukebox

    Gabor's - CLOSED

    Nothing sucks more than getting drunk to crappy music. But at Capitol Hill mainstay Gabor's, there are no worries: The bar's jukebox is stocked with a passel of discs that make the firewater slide down all the easier. From the twang of Patsy Cline and Neil Young to the shiver of Joy Division and Massive Attack, the selection is as… More >>
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