Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Free Entertainment

    Cinco de Mayo on Federal Boulevard

    Too bad Mexico has already laid claim to Cinco de Mayo on its calendar, because that country doesn't do anything to celebrate the alleged holiday — whereas here in the Mile High, May 5 is a party worthy of celebration. One weekend a year, generations of Denver's Latinos head toward Federal Boulevard in their lowriders and whips, rolling on fat… More >>
  • Best Romper Room

    Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver

    When the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver opened this past fall, it was immediately celebrated far and wide for its plucky backstory, sleek design and striking exhibits. But few people mentioned the superb room on the top floor filled with little else but massive beanbag chairs. We're not sure what, exactly, this space has to do with contemporary art, but it… More >>
  • Best Theater Trend

    Beverages!

    You're allowed to bring tea, coffee, beer or wine into the new Black Box Theater at the Arvada Center, and such venues as Miners Alley, the Bug and Curious Theatre also allow sipping during performances. This is a trend we applaud — although inebriated audiences can be a nuisance, and no one should be crunching popcorn or rustling candy wrappers… More >>
  • Best Barista

    Heidi Bickelhaudt

    Every coffee snob has his favorite barista; it's sort of like rooting for your hometown football team. But how do you determine who's actually the best of the best? The answer was the first-ever Mountain Regional Barista Competition, held in March in Thornton — though the results were a letdown for latte-loving locals, since they can't actually enjoy the efforts… More >>
  • Best Dive Bar

    Brown Barrel - CLOSED

    Save for the jukebox and TVs, the Brown Barrel looks like it hasn't changed since the '60s. Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? It's easy to walk past this joint; the exterior is about as nondescript as a plainclothes policeman at a dad convention. And it's even easier to miss at night, since it can close as… More >>
  • Best New Bar

    Continental Club

    Every once in a while, a bar opens that just feels like home — if your home had cheap drinks (we're talking dollar PBRs all the time) and a damn fine jukebox stocked with everything from old-school punk to classic country to jazz and everything in between. The Continental Club is a simple, unpretentious joint — a little on the… More >>
  • Best New Bar From a Musician

    Crown Hill Taphouse - CLOSED

    Tyson Murray knows a few things about bars — and music. The Railbenders bassist was one of the original owners of Bender's Tavern, and last summer he took over the former Wheat Ridge Bar & Grill, turning it into a damn cool spot. While the Taphouse may be only a fraction of the size of his former joint, Murray has… More >>
  • Best Band-Friendly Bar

    3 Kings Tavern

    A tub of ice-cold beer and a respectable payout at night's end is all that most local bands can hope for, and yet few music venues provide such simple pleasures for the men and women who toil on stage for our enjoyment. But ever since Jeff Campbell, Martin Killorin and Jim Norris — the three kings behind 3 Kings Tavern… More >>
  • Best New Club

    Below

    Nearly two years after opening the basement-level Slim 7, Bill Ward expanded his subterranean empire to the other side of Larimer Square, taking over the 6,000-square-foot space that formerly housed the Champion Brewing Company and transforming it into two clubs, Pie Hole and Below. They're about as yin and yang as it gets: Pie Hole is the brightly lit, sparsely… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club

    Dazzle

    Once again, the folks at Dazzle have shown they know what it takes to make a stellar club: first-rate music seven nights a week, great food (including the habit-forming $5 happy-hour menu) and two vibrant listening rooms. For more than a decade now, Dazzle has brought in a constant stream of outstanding, nationally renowned jazz talent like Donald Harrison, Red… More >>
  • Best Rock Club

    hi-dive

    There's a reason this club keeps winning the Best Rock Club award, and it has nothing to do with its amenities. While the staff is welcoming and the drinks reasonably priced, the space itself isn't impressive. In fact, the sightlines outside of the main area kind of suck, and the stage is so unadorned that even a homemade lighting rig… More >>
  • Best Club Makeover

    Toad Tavern

    After taking over the Toad Tavern this past August, one of Brice Hancock's top priorities was to build a new stage. Today the tiny spot in the corner that couldn't fit more than four people is no more; bands now perform on a better-situated platform that can easily accommodate at least a ten-piece act. And Hancock didn't stop there. He… More >>
  • Best Intro to Spanking

    Friday Munch 'n' Mixers
    The Enclave

    So you're curious about whips and paddles, but you're a little gun-shy? Think you want to be bound and gagged, but worried about pulling a muscle? If so, get your kinky self down to the Friday Munch 'n' Mixers at the Enclave, one of Denver's private bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism clubs. The weekly social events are open to the… More >>
  • Best Club Revitalization

    Lion's Lair

    A Denver institution, the Lion's Lair has always been a great place to see a show, whether you're seeking the city's best ear-splitting punk, metal and hardcore or taking in rare performances from iconic musicians like Graham Parker or Garland Jeffreys. Still, the place was due for an update, so kudos to Sarah Levin, who took over booking duties last… More >>
  • Best New Venue

    The Falcon

    When he bought the nearby Sport Bowl Lanes & Billiards, Gothic Theatre owner Steve Schalk wanted to turn the spot into a live music/bowling center with a sci-fi theme, and even thought about having the Millennium Falcon crashing into the front of the place. While he didn't end up going quite that far, the iconic Star Wars spacecraft became the… More >>
  • Best All-Ages Venue

    Marquis Theater

    The thought of sending naive teenagers into the heart of the Ballpark neighborhood can be daunting for parents. But thanks to Soda Jerk Presents' Mike Barsch and Ben Davis, such apprehension is unfounded when it comes to the Marquis Theater. Although all ages are welcome, the longtime promoters, who successfully put on all-ages shows at Tulagi and Rock Island for… More >>
  • Best Intimate Performance Space

    The Meadowlark

    Although it's a basement space, the Meadowlark features soft, tasteful lighting and a well-appointed interior that makes you forget you're belowground. The room is well-suited to singer-songwriters and acoustic acts who thrive in small places, where they can better connect with the audience. And with a recent run of regular bookings, the once obscure bar has become a nice, clean… More >>
  • Best House Concerts

    Highlands House Concert Series

    Taking in a show at Dwight Mark's charming home in Highland is more like attending a friend's dinner party than seeing a concert at a formal venue. Prior to the performance, folks nosh on light hors d'oeuvre and chat, then eventually make their way to the living room for intimate, one-of-a-kind performances by an array of engaging acts, from celebrated… More >>
  • Best Non-Conventional Venue

    Brooks Center Arts - CLOSED

    Since it opened in the lower level of a large church complex, Brooks Center Arts has become a haven for some of the town's less volume-driven acts looking for a place other than a bar to share their music. The venue, organized primarily by filmmaker/songwriter Laura Goldhamer, is like someone's large living room, complete with tea and other goodies sold… More >>
  • Best Reason to Go to Boulder for a Show — Still

    Fox Theatre

    It may seem redundant to continue heaping praise on the Fox Theatre year after year. After all, the venue hasn't undergone any major renovations in recent memory. But it doesn't need to, because the Fox is still the best place along the Front Range to see a show. The sound is flawless, the sightlines unobstructed, and the talent is as… More >>
  • Best Reason to Go to the Springs for a Show

    Piano Warehouse

    The Piano Warehouse, which is located in Colorado Springs's arts district, hosts semi-regular, all-ages shows whose cover donations go directly to the bands. While a lot of those shows are punk rock, the venue welcomes performances from a full range of underground musicians. And it's truly a piano warehouse, with the bands setting up on one side of the spacious… More >>
  • Best Club Comeback

    Sutra - CLOSED

    Just over a year ago, Paul Piciocchi and Charles Trujillo opened the sleek and sexy Sutra Room in the short-lived Donkey Den space, then added Left on Lincoln in the front. After trying to operate separate clubs that catered to different crowds, they decided to join the two spaces, in the process creating the best of both worlds. But they… More >>
  • Best Club Expansion

    Hiccups III

    The first two Hiccups sports bars are known for hot bartenders and waitresses wearing ass-less chaps with their panties. But when Hiccups III took over this former Brewski's location, the owners stepped things up, making this third spot the biggest and possibly the baddest of the bunch, with a big stage that attracts cover bands and the like (hell, even… More >>
  • Best Bondage Till Dawn

    Masters & Servants After-Hours Party
    The Sanctuary

    Kinky folks are like vampires. No, they don't drink blood (most of them don't, anyway), but like those winged fiends, they do their best work at night. No wonder some of the hottest BDSM action around (suspension, floggers and electrical toys, oh my) goes down at the Masters & Servants After-Hours Party at the Sanctuary private dungeon club every second… More >>
  • Best Jazz Jam

    Chapultepec Too

    Anyone who's tried to play jazz knows that learning scales and modes is just part of the battle. To really understand the language of jazz, you have to perform with other people. At El Chapultepec Too, an outpost of the classic LoDo club, the Wednesday-night jazz-jam sessions serve as a proving ground for younger musicians who want to hone their… More >>
  • Best Blues Jam

    The Hornbuckle Jam
    Bushwacker's Saloon

    Michael Hornbuckle is a hell of a guitar player — though that's not too surprising, given that he's the son of the late, great Bobby Hornbuckle, a local legend and a killer blues ax-slinger. Every Sunday at Bushwacker's Saloon, Michael kicks off the blues jams, sometimes with his badass bass-playing brother Brian alongside, with a scorching set of his own… More >>
  • Best Club Happy Hour

    Larimer Lounge

    Lately, happy hours at the Larimer Lounge have gotten happier. In addition to daily happy hours from 4 to 8 p.m. with $1 PBRs and Miller High Lifes, $2 wells and $3 you-call-its, the club has reinstated its late-night happy hours: Sunday through Thursday, midnight until close, you can grab $2 PBRs and High Lifes. The club's also souped up… More >>
  • Best Club Night

    Night of the Living Shred
    Bender's Tavern - CLOSED

    One of the fliers for Night of the Living Shred shows a picture of two naked chicks with skateboards. But while you'll probably see some skateboard videos Thursday nights at Bender's Tavern, naked chicks not so much. Still, the young rocker boys and girls do sometimes let their hair down in more ways than one. It's hard not to, what… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Night

    The Solution
    Funky Buddha Lounge

    DJs Low Key and Sounds Supreme (aka Justin Green and Nate Watters) originally started their weekly underground hip-hop parties in the basement of Shelter, with the goal of creating a night they'd want to attend themselves, one they could take pride in. Well, it looks like the duo has succeeded. Whether they're throwing tributes to some of their heroes —… More >>
  • Best Funk Night

    1st School of FunkJazz@Jack's

    Skip Reeves isn't called the "Funktogolist" for nothing. Dude knows his funk, which becomes obvious when you listen to his Saturday-night show on KUVO, "A Funk Above the Rest." He's working overtime spreading the funk gospel, and in his quest to make Denver one city under a groove, he's been hosting the 1st School of Funk every other Tuesday at… More >>
  • Best Unorthodox DJ Night/Jam Session

    JINXED!Rockbar - CLOSED

    There's no shortage of half-assed DJ nights or unlistenable open jams in the area, but by combining the two and being somewhat selective about who participates, JINXED! manages to create a truly exceptional experience. Hosted by Eric Halborg — frontman for the Swayback and multi-talented renaissance man — the Wednesday-night session has drawn members of Vaux, the Lawrence Arms, Hemi… More >>
  • Best Place to Have a Panic Attack

    Widespread Wednesdays Moon Time Bar & Grill

    The Urban Dictionary defines a Spreadhead as "one who is a Widespread Panic fan, on an extreme level. Often characterized by smoking copious amounts of pot, eating caps, and dropping the occasional hit, and traveling through 3 states to attend a WSP concert." In other words, the type of folks you'll find at Moon Time on Wednesdays. Although we can't… More >>
  • Best Jukebox

    Continental Club

    Creating the ideal jukebox is like making the ideal mix tape for someone: Part of the process is picking songs you like, and the rest is finding tunes the other person will dig. The Continental Club's jukebox includes a collection of mix CDs, which run the gamut from punk to garage, surf, jazz, soul, lounge and country, with a few… More >>
  • Best Concert

    The Swell Season
    Ogden Theatre
    November 13, 2007

    When Frames singer Glen Hansard and new talent Markéta Irglová agreed to co-star in director John Carney's Once, neither expected much. So imagine their surprise when the joy-filled film became an unlikely hit that not only brought them together as a couple, but ultimately earned them an Academy Award for the impossibly gorgeous "Falling Slowly." At the Ogden long before… More >>
  • Best Opportunity to Dress Like a Schoolgirl

    School Girls Gone Bad
    La Bohème Gentlemen's Cabaret

    The slutty schoolgirl has got to be the most overworked, cliched sexual fantasy of all time — not to mention the most overused Halloween costume ever. Still, there's a reason the archetype endures, perhaps because it's just so much fun to don the lowest-cut crisp white shirt you can find, along with the shortest plaid skirt available, and start gathering… More >>
  • Best Local Concert

    Eric Bachmann, Ian Cooke, Elin & Frieda
    hi-dive
    January 12, 2008

    It's impossible to think of a show in the past year that made us happier to be Denverites. Slowly but surely, Ian Cooke has become one of the most vital artists in this region, and he proved it this night; with his honeydew voice and looped cello, he made songs that seemed to come out of the ground organically and… More >>
  • Best Double Bill

    LCD Soundsystem and Arcade Fire
    Red Rocks Amphitheatre
    September 17, 2007

    There's certainly no shortage of shows where it's perfectly acceptable to show up fashionably late, just in time to catch the headliners. But anyone who did this in September, when the LCD Soundsystem and Arcade Fire tour stopped by Red Rocks, really blew it, since both of these acts are worthy of headlining. After a vigorous set of pulse-pounding tracks… More >>
  • Best Unwitting Double Bills

    3 Kings Tavern and hi-dive

    Thanks to consistently engaging bookings at both of these clubs, we've found ourselves on countless weekends bouncing back and forth between the two joints. If Denver has a quintessential rock block, this section of Broadway is it. While the individual programming can be vastly different and the vibe is unique at each place, somehow the acts booked into these clubs… More >>
  • Best Low-Key Show From a Kiwi Rock Legend

    David Kilgour
    hi-dive
    November 3, 2007

    In the late '70s, David Kilgour started the Clean with his brother and a friend. That band went on to influence not only New Zealand's underground music scene, but musicians around the world who saw that music could be raw, imaginative and fun all at once. The Clean never became a household name in the United States, but thirty years… More >>
  • Best Secret Show

    3OH!3
    Oriental Theater
    January 9, 2008

    Due to a restrictive agreement for a show they'd played a few nights before, the members of 3OH!3 were unable to promote their performance at a Sims Snowboard-sponsored event at the Oriental in January. While this was a shame for the duo's rabid fans as well as the Oriental's owners — especially considering that the act had sold out the… More >>
  • Best Unexpected Swan Song

    Bright Channel Red Rocks August 6, 2007

    When the Fray prepared for a sold-out three-night run at Red Rocks in August, its members asked their favorite bands, including Bright Channel, to play for them. The gig ended up being Bright Channel's final public performance, and while much of the crowd didn't seem to understand why this darkly atmospheric band was playing before Isaac Slade and company, everyone… More >>
  • Best Farewell Show

    Planes Mistaken for Stars
    Marquis Theater
    February 16, 2008

    While we all knew it was coming, few of us had actually braced for the inevitable crash when Planes Mistaken for Stars finally went down. And as we watched one of Denver's truly great bands disintegrate in midair, it was difficult to shake the feeling of utter helplessness. Whoever said that all good things must come to an end must've… More >>
  • Best Blast From the Past

    Christie Front Drive, Crestfallen and the Volts Reunion
    Denverfest 3
    Marquis Theater
    September 1, 2007

    Reunion shows are generally intended as a celebration of days gone by for those who were there the first time around, a moment for grizzled old-timers to reflect on how good it was back in the day. But in some rare instances, these shows also serve as a primer for the new breed, showing them just how it's done. Such… More >>
  • Best Show to Rip the Still-Beating Heart Right Out of Your Chest

    Vaux
    Bluebird Theater
    July 28, 2007

    Vaux billed its final show as a funeral and encouraged everyone to wear black. That turned out to be an apt suggestion, given how many fans at the Bluebird felt that night. As expected, Vaux didn't go gently into that good night. Quentin Smith and company played like it was their last night on earth, with a molten ferocity that… More >>
  • Best New Band

    Widowers

    The current lineup of Widowers looks an awful lot like the now-in-limbo Constellations, with two-thirds of the same people, but Mike Marchant's tight songwriting — with just the right blend of pop smarts and psychedelic swirls — and Cory Brown's melodic drumming signal that this outfit is up to something very different. In just over a year of live shows,… More >>
  • Best Place to Watch Girls Shakin' What Their Mamas Gave 'Em

    Pink Elephant Room

    Although burlesque is just now taking off across the country, women have been taking it off — artfully, theatrically, legally — in Denver for more than a decade. And now they have a great place to do so. The Pink Elephant Room features not only the most red-hot burlesque in the city, but also creative cocktails to pair with the… More >>
  • Best Bet to Break Out Nationally

    Flobots

    If radio programmers, bloggers and hip-hop heads across the country react as favorably to Flobots as the folks here at home, this insurgent seven-piece hip-hop band could soon find itself the focus of nationwide buzz. There's certainly a lot to love about the outfit, which earned its local reputation by putting on massively entertaining shows featuring thought-provoking, message-driven songs. And… More >>
  • Best Live Band

    d.biddle

    D.biddle is basically the brainchild of frontman Duncan Barlow, a member of the semi-legendary hardcore band Endpoint in the '90s and thus no stranger to musical catharsis. When he started performing with this band, he focused on quieter but no less intense songwriting. The result has always been good, but the current incarnation of d.biddle has proved the best vehicle… More >>
  • Best Bar Band

    The Informants

    Plenty of musicians take umbrage if their group is called a bar band. Still, the finest acts with this label don't need open taps or drink specials to work their magic; their playing is intoxicating enough. Witness the Informants, which boasts killer brass, a driving rhythm section, a lead singer (Kerry Pastine) capable of starting any party, and songs such… More >>
  • Best Metal Band — Still

    Cephalic Carnage

    No one will confuse Cephalic Carnage with a new act: Guitarist Zac Joe and his squad of aural assassins have been grinding out visceral riffage for more than fifteen years. Still, they remain as impressive as ever, and show it on every note of Xenosapien, their latest CD for Relapse Records. Rather than simply heaving out death-metal cliches, the musicians… More >>
  • Best On-Again, Off-Again Band

    Drag the River

    Does Drag the River still exist — and if so, in what form? That's a difficult question to answer. The band allegedly broke up in 2007, only to reunite in order to promote You Can't Live This Way, a first-rate CD issued by the Suburban Home imprint. Afterward, the players drifted back into the shadows, but a bio included on… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Crew

    Boostwell

    Headed by production maestro SP Double, the Boostwell crew boasts plenty of talent. Whether it's the banging beats of SP or Flawless, the one-two punch of On Point, the lyrical mastery of ManDaMyth or the rapid-fire flows of Catch Lungs and Purpose, the consistent quality of this crew's musical output is unmatched. This year, Boostwell will drop albums from Lost… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop DJ

    Cysko Rokwel

    Over the past few years, DJ Cysko Rokwel has become one of Colorado's elite DJs: He has a weekly residency at Boulder's Round Midnight, spins on Radio 1190's hip-hop-centric Basementalism show every week, and backs up local artists A.V.I.U.S., Es-Nine and The 6th Grade on records and at live shows. But his biggest accomplishment to date was placing second at… More >>
  • Best MC

    Spoke in Wordz

    Spoke's debut album, Wordplay, showcases the MC's relentless scattershot rhyme flow. His style is like the second coming of Big Pun, his proclivity for complex rhyme schemes has listeners rewinding just to see if they missed anything — and he does all that in Spanish, too. Spoke's live show is as good as his recorded output, mesmerizing fans with a… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Label

    Jewell Tyme Music

    Jewell Tyme Music launched in the heart of east Denver in 2002, headed by rappers 800 the Jewell and F.O.E. But it wasn't until last year that the imprint caught the attention of the rest of the city with the Joe Thunder/Selector Sam mix tape Drama Kings, starring F.O.E. and B Blacc and featuring the entire Jewell Tyme roster and… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Teamwork

    Dojo

    Because hip-hop is such a highly combustible medium, few collectives stay intact over the long haul. Yet Analog Suspect and Selecta Roswell, the artists behind Dojo, have been making compelling music together for years; their ability to work in harmony with a range of collaborators, including each other, is a big reason why. On Duality, their latest recording, they gain… More >>
  • Best Pirates

    Rogues of Colorado

    Avast, me hearties! If one day a year — September 19's Talk Like a Pirate Day — is not enough time for channeling your inner pirate, then perhaps you belong with the Rogues of Colorado. These rascally representatives of our landlocked state can be found at the Colorado Renaissance Festival in June and July; look for their flag waving proudly… More >>
  • Best Band to Fall in Love To/With

    Paper Bird

    With three beautiful and golden-throated females singing sun-dappled melodies and gorgeous, nostalgic harmonies, and three rugged, musically gifted men providing accompaniment on banjo, guitar and trombone, Paper Bird offers plenty of crush material. But even if none of the aesthetically pleasing members of the act catch your eye, you won't be able to resist falling hard for their old-timey songs,… More >>
  • Best Short-Lived Band

    Games for May

    When former Insider Spider members Nathaniel Barsness and Greg Schoonmaker (also ex-Mannequin Makeout) joined with Diana Sperstad (formerly of As Seen on TV) and Suzi Bromfield (previously with Supply Boy and Catatonic Lydia), they wrote some of the most feisty, beautiful pop songs ever to grace Denver stages and performed them as the charming, energetic Games for May, whose name… More >>
  • Best Band Name

    Abracastabya

    Anyone who knows anything about perfumes knows that a horrible but incredibly powerful smell is mixed in with more refreshing and pleasant aromatics. Abracastabya is a bit like that: Its name sounds like it should go with a screamo or post-hardcore act, but its music is much more experimental and artfully nuanced, not at all abrasive and obnoxious. Geoff Brent… More >>
  • Best Band With the Worst Name

    We Are! We Are!

    Putting punctuation, especially exclamation points, in a band name is always a bad idea. Right, Panic! at the Disco? (Uh, make that Panic at the Disco.) And no matter how you say We Are! We Are!, you end up sounding like a stuttering idiot who can't conjugate properly. Since this act is actually a powerful, hard-charging instrumental outfit capable of… More >>
  • Best Singer-Songwriter

    Joe Sampson
    www.myspace.com/adogpaloma

    While we don't know who your favorite singer-songwriter is, we're willing to wager a bet that his or her favorite singer-songwriter is Joe Sampson. Whether Sampson is playing with A Dog Paloma, sitting in with the Wheel or Bad Weather California, or just strumming and singing his pastoral folk tunes all by himself, he manages to maintain a rather unassuming… More >>
  • Best Back-to-Nature Songwriter

    John Common

    Performers are often said to boast natural talent when their artistry is neither heavy-handed nor overly self-conscious — and in that sense, John Common has plenty of natural talent. But a more literal interpretation also applies to his latest recording, Why Birds Fly. Throughout tunes such as "Moonlight" and "Unseen Things," Common weaves traditional instrumentation with the sort of found… More >>
  • Best Purveyor of Artsy Rock

    Denver Art Rock Collectivewww.myspace.com/denverartrockcollective

    The term "art rock" conjures up so many negative connotations that most groups influenced by the style tend to prefer the word "progressive." But the Denver Art Rock Collective, also known as D.A.R.C., is devoted to resurrecting the label, as well as the movement's often loopy spirit of adventure. D.A.R.C. promotes concert appearances by such members as New Ancient Astronauts,… More >>
  • Best Purveyor of Electro-Pop

    Jen Pumo

    Adding electronics to traditional songs isn't exactly new. Decades after the form's pioneers began experimenting with Moogs and other doodads, however, many musicians still find it difficult to use this technology in an expressive way. Not so Pumo, whose most recent disc, All Over the Moon, finds her and collaborator Graham Pearce using the inherent chilliness of electronic accoutrements to… More >>
  • Best World-Music Artist

    Wu Fei

    Trained since the age of six in the art of classical Chinese guzheng music (the guzheng is a plucked zither with an ancient history), this virtuoso Beijinger now living in Boulder works with one foot firmly planted in tradition. The other foot has walked off into a brave new world of contemporary fusion, a wide-open genre that Wu Fei fell… More >>
  • Best Frontman

    Chris Adolf

    Chris Adolf, leader of Bad Weather California, has that ineffable "it" factor that sets him apart. When he's on stage, it's almost impossible to look away, and when he's really on, his performance is both epic and breathtaking. Adolf could easily turn that kind of power to evil as the leader of a cult or corporation, but luckily for us… More >>
  • Best High Culture for the Cool Crowd

    Telling Stories

    Sure, you say you like classical music and great literature, but that's usually just to impress the hottie at the bar. When was the last time you actually attended a classical-music show or literary reading? Yeah, we thought so. Fortunately, there's still hope for us lowbrow slobs, thanks to Telling Stories Music and Readings, the brainchild of local classical musician… More >>
  • Best Frontwoman

    Julie Davis
    www.myspace.com/belakaroli

    The voice and singing style of Bela Karoli frontwoman Julie Davis is a perfect match for the group's smoky, sultry, future-lounge sound. Her vocals are seductive, touched with a hint of danger, and wrap sensuously around the exotic, jazz-tinged music, subtly casting Davis as a classic femme fatale. Between songs, though, she comes off as funny, sweet and charmingly earnest.… More >>
  • Best Moonlighter

    Carrie Beeder

    Carrie Beeder's violin magic has been a mainstay of the Denver music scene since 1994, when she began playing with performance-art weirdos Gladhand. Lately, however, she's become almost ubiquitous, performing with Bela Karoli, the Wheel, Joseph Pope III, Hearts of Palm, Astrophagus, Born in the Flood, Everything Absent or Distorted (A Love Story), Dan Craig and her newly unveiled improvisational… More >>
  • Best Assault With a Deadly Rhythm

    Red Orange Yellow
    www.myspace.com/redorangeyellow

    When Devon Shirley left his post as drummer for the Photo Atlas, he could hardly wait to resurrect this project. Watching the baby-faced, monkey-limbed percussionist perform with guitarist Holland Rock-Garden of Machine Gun Blues and keyboardists Nick Martin and Kyle Gray, it's easy to see why. Shirley brings the same lightning-fast precision and grace under pressure that made his playing… More >>
  • Best One-Man Avant-Pop Act

    Dugout Canoe

    The one-man band is not a new thing. Not even in Denver. Reverend Dead Eye was once, and is again, a one-man band providing percussion, guitar, harmonica, guitar and vocals. Rather than inspired gospel blues, however, Dugout Canoe produces a rougher, much more experimental indie pop that defies easy categorization, since it incorporates elements of drone and folk as well… More >>
  • Best One-Man Grunge Covers Show

    Littles Paia Rhinoceropolis June 22, 2007

    Littles Paia is known for his always-fascinating blend of folk and psychedelia — so it came as a surprise when he announced that at his show last summer at Rhinoceropolis, he would cover Nevermind in its entirety. Turns out Littles Paia (actually Adam Baumgartner, also of Bad Weather California and Navy Girls) grew up listening to early-'90s alt-rock and long… More >>
  • Best Soundmen

    Devon Rogers and Xandy Whitesel
    hi-dive

    Recently, a gal at the hi-dive noticed us watching a show off to the side and came over to offer us some unsolicited advice. "Listen," she said, "if you want to really enjoy the show, you need to stand over here." And she nodded toward the rear of the club, insisting that's where the sound is the best. While we… More >>
  • Best Engineer/Producer

    Andrew Vastola
    www.rockyrecorders.com

    While working at Rocky Mountain Recorders, Andrew Vastola has been up to his elbows in some of Denver's best records. As engineer, producer or mastering pro, the studio wunderkind put his magic hands on some of our favorite discs by the Photo Atlas, Born in the Flood, Laylights, Hearts of Palm, the Wheel and many others. It's the upcoming Swayback… More >>
  • Best Recording

    Ian Cooke
    The Fall I Fell

    Next to death, unrequited love is perhaps the cruelest of life's inventions. Few things are as euphoric as the rush of endorphins you feel the first time someone truly steals the breath from your lungs — or as soul-crushing as later realizing that the one you love doesn't love you. On The Fall I Fell, Ian Cooke does a masterful… More >>
  • Best Instrumental Rock Record

    Get Three Coffins Ready
    Get Three Coffins Ready

    The finest instrumental rock outfits cut to the chase. No extraneous instrumentation is required, and no microphones, either: just hard grooves, galloping rhythms and a burglar's fondness for getting in and out quickly. Guitarists Adam Hester and Gil Romero, bassist Jeff Anton and drummer Rikki Styxx display all these attributes and more on their self-titled debut disc, which features the… More >>
  • Best Record Label

    Rope Swing Cities

    Since its launch a little over two years ago, the quirky, eclectic Rope Swing Cities has issued nearly thirty releases in a variety of genres, ranging from the spacey electronic abstractions of Loafeye and the intricate mind-fuck programming of Ten to Tracer's IDM soundscapes and the emotional indie rock of Roger, Roll. Every release is distributed as a free download… More >>
  • Best Poetry Exchange

    PotLatch Poetry

    As Robert Frost once said, "To be a poet is a condition, not a profession." Poetry is traditionally underfunded, leaving poets poor as church mice yet still determined in their ongoing quest to emote in chiseled language. In everyday prose, that means they're a forgotten bunch, often with only each other to look to for recognition. To formalize — and… More >>
  • Best Video

    "Electroshock"
    3OH!3

    If any group was made for video, it's 3OH!3. And on "Electroshock," the so-normal-they're-bizarre tandem of Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte prove it again with a gag-and-gore-filled trip to an operating room, set to a track funky enough to break hips. The results are as danceable as they are uproarious — an all-too-rare combination that explains the boys' growing national… More >>
  • Best Depiction of What It's Like to Be a Struggling Musician

    Everyone But You

    After completing El Diablo, his fourth album, Eric Shiveley sold his home in Denver and moved to the San Luis Valley to build a house and recording studio. And just hours before he was slated to break ground in November 2005, he purchased a cheap camcorder at Wal-Mart and began shooting Everyone But You, a touching documentary in which he… More >>
  • Best Reason to Stop Smoking and Start Exercising

    Monolith Music Festival

    Monolith was a killer last year. But to truly enjoy it, you had to be in good — if not great — shape, because more than half the stages were located at the top of the stairs that ring Red Rocks. Sure, we could have just plopped down and enjoyed the offerings on the main stage, but then we'd have… More >>
  • Best One-Off That Deserves to Become a Permanent Fixture

    Stand By Your Band

    What if members of Born in the Flood joined forces with musicians from Hot IQs and other local bands to interpret the classic soundtrack from Chariots of Fire? The result would be incredible. We know, because we've seen it happen. The premise of Stand By Your Band — randomly mixing up members of Denver's best local acts into new, temporary… More >>
  • Best Tastemaking DJ Duo

    Tyler Jacobson and Michael Trundle

    We recently heard a local tastemaker heap effusive praise on Michael Trundle: "He's the first one in this town who played Shitdisco." While that may not mean much to non-Shitdisco fans, Trundle and his longtime Denver 3 associate Tyler Jacobson have indeed been turning the masses on to the hottest music with their playlists and frequent listening parties at Lipgloss,… More >>
  • Best Forward-Thinking DJ/Promoter

    Peter Black

    "I don't follow trends. Trends follow me." While we'd be hard-pressed to pinpoint the exact origin of that declaration, if might as well have come from Peter Black (aka DJ Aztec, aka Pete Gurule). For well over a decade, this shapeshifting DJ and promoter has been exposing us to styles ranging from acid jazz and trip-hop to drum-and-bass and Afrobeat… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop DJ Hustlers

    DJ Bedz and DJ Quote the Beatmaker

    Aesthetically, DJ Bedz and DJ Quote have different styles — but their hustle is nearly identical. Both have worked tirelessly over the past few years to gain national notoriety for themselves and the city, with striking parallels in their individual trajectories. They both got their start in the clubs before branching out into the mix-tape game and then garnering slots… More >>
  • Best Dance-Music DJ

    DJ Ivy

    DJ Ivy is an electronic chameleon behind the decks. Regardless of what he's spinning — house, breaks, down-tempo and damn near everything else — his sets are always tasty masterpieces of dance-floor delight. He handles it all, from smooth and sexy funk to tripped-out space journeys and deep, pumping progressive grooves. Whether he's opening for dance-music royalty or headlining his… More >>
  • Best New Production/Promotion Company

    Uddermadness

    The name may be ridiculous, but Uddermadness is deadly serious about bringing innovative, exciting dance-music talent to Denver. Founded less than two years ago, Uddermadness quickly built a reputation as promoters with an ear for what's hot and a knack for booking artists for their first Colorado appearances. From the pulsing, jazz-infused techno of Cobblestone Jazz to the infectious, irresistible… More >>
  • Best Metal/Hardcore Advocate

    Uncle Nasty

    Metal and hardcore are big draws in Denver, thanks in part to Uncle Nasty. You know this, of course, if you've ever tuned your dial to KBPI between the hours of midnight and 2 a.m. for Metalix, the long-running underground, metal-centric specialty show he founded. Six days a week, the best emerging talent is spotlighted, along with the town's heavyweights.… More >>
  • Best Literary Blog

    www.newwest.net/books/

    There are plenty of literary bloggers in Colorado, but most tend to divert their attention toward the coasts as the default harbingers of lit life. Not so at the New West website, which has a thread devoted to books and writers in the Rocky Mountain region. Boulder-based writer Jenny Shank offers almost-daily updates on local readings, publishing gossip and reviews… More >>
  • Best Music Evangelist

    Jonathan Bitz
    www.myspace.com/denversyntax

    Jonathan Bitz has an unbridled passion for local music. The mastermind behind Syntax, the well-regarded literary-arts publication, his love for the scene has resulted in much-needed exposure for such vital Denver artists as Ian Cooke, Bela Karoli, Gregory Alan Isakov and Rachael Pollard. Last spring, Bitz and the Late Jack Redell created a three-day singer-songwriter confab titled A Moveable Feast,… More >>
  • Best Scene Enthusiast

    John Baxter
    www.myspace.com/howsadiamtoday

    The title "promoter" can be a loaded one, conjuring the image of some sleazy opportunist trying to milk coin off another's god-given ability. But if you're a musician on the local periphery, you can do no better than having John Baxter in your corner. Eschewing the limelight and any sort of credit, he's the kind of music-first guy who'll hate… More >>
  • Best Local Music Exporter

    Carmen Allgood

    For nearly two decades, Carmen Allgood has been an ardent supporter of local music. The original host of Mountain Homegrown, she's also sat on the board of the Colorado Music Association. And through her nationally syndicated weekly radio show, The Colorado Wave, currently carried on over a hundred stations, Allgood's continuing to do her bit to expose the rest of… More >>
  • Best Graciousness From a Big Deal Band

    The Fray

    A multi-platinum band in an era when such a thing essentially no longer exists, the Fray has earned the right for its members to be pretentious jerkwads if they choose. Thing is, they're anything but. During their sold-out three-night stand at Red Rocks, the guys used all local support — Single File, Meese, Born in the Flood, Dualistics, Bright Channel… More >>
  • Best Kick in the Balls of the Music Scene

    "Denver Music and Other Anomalies"
    FM Magazine

    Every scene needs a Zachary Vora. In the second issue of FM (Fucking Mountains), Vora took the Denver music scene and all its sacred cows to task, essentially asserting that while some acts are a big deal here, the rest of the country could give two shits — and so we should stop being so goddamn self-congratulatory about the whole… More >>
  • Best Online Advertising

    Swallow Hill Sounds

    Buying tickets for Swallow Hill shows has become downright fun since the folk- and acoustic-music haven instigated this selective web-radio option in February. Featuring aural previews of premium cuts by upcoming musical acts, it gives the discerning concert-goer a chance to test the milk before buying the cow. Plus, it's just a swell listen.… More >>
  • Best Place for a Kid to Be a Rock Star

    Paul Green School of Rock

    Chris Soucy ain't Jack Black. But as head man at a new local franchise of the alternative music school made famous by the movie, he does aim to instill youngsters with the collaborative rock-band ethic. Geared toward young musicians ages seven to eighteen, the school's program includes private lessons and group rehearsals focusing on the kind of music that students'… More >>
  • Best Way for Drummers to Get Their Groove On

    Po' Boy Drums

    Driven by a desire to offer top-notch drum kits at an affordable price, Tony Chadwick founded Po' Boy Drums, a Littleton company that offers drums manufactured in the same plants as the better-known and more established brands. The prices may be lower, but Chadwick doesn't take shorcuts; the drums are made from the finest woods and undergo a special lamination… More >>
  • Best American Idol Knockoff

    Rock Idol
    British Bulldog

    What's much more fun than watching American Idol every week? Trying to become the British Bulldog's Rock Idol. Competitors had to choose songs from such categories as "'90s" and "female vocalists." With the Bulldog's buy-one-get-one-free drafts and well drinks, there were plenty of people in the audience for the would-be Rock Idols to entertain, and in this competition, singing was… More >>
  • Best Karaoke Effects

    Cosmic YouTube Karaoke
    Electric Cowboy

    Everyone knows why karaoke is always a good time: It's fun to make a fool of yourself (and your friends) in front of an audience. But there comes a time in every karaoke fanatic's "career" when he truly tries to nail "Total Eclipse of the Heart" or seriously channel Elvis. These moments have to be seen to be believed —… More >>
  • Best Children's Book by a Local Author

    The Long Gone Lonesome History of Country Music
    Bret Bertholf

    Bret Bertholf performs classic honky-tonk as the frontman for Halden Wofford and the Hi-Beams — and he definitely knows his stuff. The Long Gone Lonesome History of Country Music, which Bertholf wrote and illustrated, is a flat-out wonderful look at the country genre in all its tacky, quirky, irresistible glory. Thanks to charming illustrations of C&W heroes and heroines and… More >>
  • Best Free Monthly Downloads

    Oskar Blues Downlow'd Music Club

    You have to love the way the folks at the Oskar Blues brew castle wear their roots-rock affinity on their sleeves. After all, what goes better with a cold Old Chub than a dirty-good, salt-of-the-earth blues band? Maybe a honky-tonk or alt-country combo puttin' down a riff in a room that would be smoky if it could be? Join the… More >>
  • Best Suggestion for the Cricket on the Hill Space

    Reopen Cricket on the Hill

    When the music community was hit by the news that Cricket on the Hill would be closing, shock waves spread through the scene. For countless locals, the Cricket will be remembered as the place they got their start, earned their keep, made their name or found the family they never had. The storied bar in Capitol Hill has been a… More >>
  • Best Spot for Free Shots and a Rose for the Ladies

    P.S. Lounge

    With places proliferating where you can grab a decent drink at a decent price, the P.S. Lounge stands out because of its sweet extras. At some point during every evening here, each lady in your party will receive a single, sweet-smelling rose. But the free benefits extend to men, too. Every patron, whether male or female, also gets a complimentary… More >>
  • Best Manga Comic by a Local Author

    Fool's Gold
    Amy Reeder Hadley

    Amy Reeder Hadley's Fool's Gold manga comic follows Penny, a typical high-school girl with typical high-school problems: namely, boys who are jerks. Penny starts a secret club to deal with her dilemma; she and other club members identify unworthy boys as "pyrites" (the club is disguised as a geology group) and throw darts at voodoo dolls representing the boys, vowing… More >>
  • Best Book About Animals by a Local Author

    Animals Matter
    Marc Bekoff

    Mice are empathetic, feeling each other's emotions. Rats are kind to one another. And whales possess spindle cells, the same cells that help humans and apes process emotions. These are all facts gleaned from the latest findings that Marc Bekoff — professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, member of the Jane Goodall… More >>
  • Best GLBT Anthology

    Focus on the Fabulous: Colorado GLBT Voices

    Colorado was a red state in the last presidential election. And it's also home to that other Focus organization — which means that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Coloradans find themselves living elbow-to-elbow with one of the most conservative groups (and, arguably, some of the most conservative people) in the country. What's that like? Matt Kailey, author of Just Add… More >>
  • Best Way to Watch a Bad Movie

    Mile High Sci Fi
    Starz FilmCenter

    There's no better way to enjoy a cheesy, cliched sci-fi "classic" than getting drunk with a few smart-ass friends and piling on the snarky comments and vulgar innuendo as it plays. That's why we're lucky to have Mile High Sci Fi, a group of hilarious local comedians who've picked up the torch of movie-riffing pioneers Mystery Science Theater 3000 and… More >>
  • Best Film Festival

    ArgusFest

    Last spring, Jason Bosch e-mailed a visual missive to friends and supporters. "ArgusFest R.I.P.?" it queried over the photo of a distraught towheaded boy who embodied Bosch's own inner feelings about his grassroots human-rights film series. The message was not just a plea for attention — and maybe even donations — but also a declaration by Bosch that he plans… More >>
  • Best Undiscovered Film Festival

    Independence Film Festival

    It's not hard to "Get High on Film," as the Independence Film Festival motto suggests, when the whole thing takes place up in the clouds at various venues in Buena Vista, Leadville and Salida. Last year's inaugural cinema bash kicked off with a ceremony featuring filmmaker John Landis on the 12,000-foot summit of Independence Pass, and the rest was purely… More >>
  • Best Performance by a Coloradan in a Film

    John Elway
    Resurrecting the Champ

    Sure, Amy Adams was a sweet princess in Enchanted — but nothing says Colorado like John Elway. Fortunately, this state's biggest celebrity didn't have to say much in Resurrecting the Champ, the Josh Hartnett/Samuel Jackson vehicle that came out last summer. The script was loosely based on a story by former Denverite J.R. Moehringer, who lived in Los Angeles when… More >>
  • Best Performance by Colorado in a Film

    Blades of Glory

    While New Mexico keeps raking in the movie business, Hollywood continues to snub Colorado. But at least the Pepsi Center could get ready for its close-up when the Democratic National Convention hits town come August in Blades of Glory, the Will Ferrell/Jon Heder figure-skating extravaganza. Although the stars managed to skate right past this city, a nice aerial shot of… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater — Programming

    Starz FilmCenter

    Programmed under the auspices of the Denver Film Society, Starz is not only a great place to see the latest in foreign and independent films, but it's also home to nearly a dozen ongoing series that cover all the cinematic bases. There's Cinema Q for the gay-centric crowd, DocNight for those who want an injection of reality into their film-going… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater -- Food

    Neighborhood Flix Cinema & Cafe

    Neighborhood Flix Cinema & Cafe is such a welcome addition to the Lowenstein Theater complex, we can only wonder how we lived so long without it. Other places have mixed food and film, but never first-run movies with first-rate food. Neighborhood Flix combines a bar/bistro (with an initial menu designed by James Mazzio of 5 Degrees and Via fame) with… More >>
  • Best Free Drinks for Smarties

    Geeks Who Drink

    Sure, you know who was president during the Spanish-American War. But how about the language — other than English — featured in the Pixies song "Debaser"? If you can answer that one, you just might have what it takes to win a bonus round at one of the many Geeks Who Drinks pub quizzes around town. Four times during each… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater — Drink

    Aurora Movie Tavern

    Movie theaters that offer food and drink service are becoming almost commonplace. But that's food and drink service in the lobby. The Aurora Movie Tavern is one of the Tavern chain's "premier" locations, which means that there's full waitstaff service in the theater itself. Press the call button at your seat during the film, and your server will bring the… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater — Comfort

    Landmark Theatre Greenwood Village

    Landmark's latest theater not only offers the same great first-run and art films you'll see at the Mayan, Chez Artiste and Esquire, but it has a lounge complete with a bar. And then there's the snack deal: free popcorn and fountain drinks for the cost of admission. Granted, the tickets are a few dollars more than the current standard, but… More >>
  • Best Western Film Exhibit

    Reel West: Cliché and Character at the Saturday Matinee
    Buffalo Bill Museum

    The earliest movies were Westerns, probably because there's something so archetypal and striking about the idea of a wild frontier with no boundaries — legal, spiritual or physical. It was the same anything-can-happen spirit that brought people to Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, which is why the Buffalo Bill Museum hosted this display of film memorabilia, including more than forty… More >>
  • Best New Public Art

    "Mustang," by Luis Jimenez
    Denver International Airport

    Even though it's been widely ridiculed — and hated — it's hard to deny the power of Luis Jimenez's "Mustang" on the approach to Jeppesen Terminal at DIA. The 32-foot-high outdoor piece is a perfect example of the artist's sensibility, bridging the gap between the high art of classic Western imagery and the low brow of the carnival's garishly painted… More >>
  • Best New Public Art — Suburbs

    "Ghost Trolley," by Lawrence Argent
    Aurora

    Old downtown Aurora has seen better days, and the city's leaders have attempted to turn that fact around in any number of ways, one of which is the installation of public art in the area. Among the several commissions completed in the last year or so is "Ghost Trolley," by Lawrence Argent, which sits in the center island across from… More >>
  • Best New Public Art — South

    "Continuum," by William Burgess
    Colorado Springs

    Like many cities, Colorado Springs has a vacated railyard next to its downtown. Since it's small and in Monument Creek's floodplain, however, the city decided to turn it into America the Beautiful Park instead of developing it and to anchor the park with the stunning modernist sculpture "Continuum — the Julie Penrose Fountain," by renowned sculptor William Burgess. Set in… More >>
  • Best Gallery Show — Solo

    William Stockman
    Nothing Is Hiding
    Singer Gallery

    William Stockman was on everyone's list of the most significant contemporary artists in Denver right up until he split around five years ago. He returned not long after, but quit making art while he made a living. In 2006 he went back into the studio, and it must have been just like riding a bike, because he picked it up… More >>
  • Best Gallery Show — Group

    Current
    Robischon Gallery

    Last spring, Robischon Gallery put together a beautiful and coherent exhibit that highlighted a range of contemporary abstraction while showcasing the work of more than a dozen artists, each with a personal aesthetic vision. To create this dazzling show, the gallery started off with a series of works on paper by an international star, Ellsworth Kelly. Then, mining its stable,… More >>
  • Best Museum Exhibit

    Color as Field
    Denver Art Museum

    Artists today want to tell stories, but a generation ago there was a group of artists who simply wanted to make beautiful paintings, and they were the subject of Color as Field, a magnificent exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. The traveling show was guest-curated by Karen Wilkin, for the American Federation of the Arts, and the DAM's able Gwen… More >>
  • Best Conceptual Show

    Muniz Remastered
    Museo de las Américas

    Brazilian-born New York artist Vik Muniz is chiefly known for his funny photographs, but he isn't really a photographer. He's a conceptual artist who uses cameras to preserve his ephemeral re-creations of works like "The Last Supper." For that da Vinci sendup, Muniz used expertly applied chocolate syrup, though he's also turned to ad hoc art materials such as cotton… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Your Geek On

    Cafe Scientifique

    It's no big secret that the Front Range is one of the nerdiest places around: We boast one of the highest concentrations of science and research labs in the country. And what do all of those research geeks do when they aren't watching the latest Heroes episode? They flock to the Wynkoop's Mercantile Room for Cafe Scientifique, the wildly popular… More >>
  • Best Political Show

    Weather Report
    Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

    Sometimes shows that take on political topics have the character of earnest class projects in a high-school corridor, but that was hardly the case with Weather Report: Art and Climate Change, a mammoth show organized by curator and art theorist Lucy Lippard. It not only filled the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art to capacity, but spilled over to the Boulder… More >>
  • Best Installation Show

    David Altmejd
    Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver

    Among the seven Star Power shows that inaugurated the new Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver last fall, David Altmejd is one of the few that are still open. A young Canadian artist, Altmejd covered the walls of the Family of Natasha Congdon Large Works Gallery with sheets of mirror, then created a series of anthropomorphic figures clad in mirrors as well.… More >>
  • Best Teaser

    Clyfford Still Unveiled
    Denver Art Museum

    Abstract-expressionist giant Clyfford Still was an anti-social egomaniac. When he died, his estate retained more than 90 percent of his lifelong output. This created an opportunity for Denver to build a museum specifically to house it all. The Still Museum won't open until 2010, so its director, Dean Sobel, put together a stunning preview, Clyfford Still Unveiled, at the Denver… More >>
  • Best Contemporary Asian Art Show

    Face East
    Robischon Gallery

    In January, Robischon Gallery co-directors Jim Robischon and Jennifer Doran put on a full-blown salute to contemporary Chinese art in Face East, an authoritative group show. The two typically go all out for their exhibits, which in this case meant traveling to China to pick pieces right out of the studios and workshops of the selected artists. The exhibit included… More >>
  • Best Art History Lesson

    Marecak Diptych
    Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

    Twenty years ago, Colorado art from the 1950s and '60s was more often seen in thrift shops than in galleries or museums. But times have changed, and in the past ten years, many people, especially curators, scholars and collectors, have become interested in artwork from this period. Hugh Grant of the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art is now… More >>
  • Best Research Project

    Eight Painters & Sculptors
    Victoria H. Myhren Gallery

    Victoria H. Myhren Gallery director Dan Jacobs organized a history-gathering project based on eight past members of the University of Denver's art faculty, including some of Denver's best-known artists. The lucky eight were Vance Kirkland, Arnold Rönnebeck, Louise Rönnebeck, John Billmyer, William Sanderson, Otto Bach, Mina Conant and Marion Buchan. Art-history grad students Petra Sertic, Laura Fry, Neely Patton, Jillian… More >>
  • Best Loving Sendoff

    Tribute to Antonette Rosato
    CU Art Museum

    CU Art Museum director Lisa Tamiris Becker is committed to showcasing the accomplishments of the university's distinguished art faculty. Last year, after the death of teacher and feminist conceptual artist Antonette Rosato, Becker had Rosato's students mount one of her last pieces, a poignant installation called "Pattern That Connects." The wall-hung piece, made up of fallen leaves that have been… More >>
  • Best Change of Pace

    Homare Ikeda
    Sandy Carson Gallery

    Denver painter Homare Ikeda, who was born and raised in Japan, made his reputation with densely composed nature-based abstractions so methodically produced that it sometimes took years to complete one. But after receiving a fellowship to work at Omaha's Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Ikeda had a change of heart and decided to work much faster, creating more than 100… More >>
  • Best Riff on Flower Paintings

    Position and Drift William Havu Gallery

    In their purest form, abstract paintings are about paint, but some artists base their abstractions on representational imagery. That's what Boulder painter Amy Metier did in Position and Drift at the William Havu Gallery, using gardens and flower bushes as the basis for her vividly colored expressionist compositions. Paintings of flowers are often sweet and sentimental, but Metier's are monumental… More >>
  • Best Riff on Animal Sculptures

    Walk in the Park
    Plus Gallery

    Animals are a well-established topic for sculptors, and many examples can be seen around town in the form of metal or marble horses, stags, lions and eagles. Last fall, California artist Michael Whiting brought his own menagerie to the Plus Gallery for Walk in the Park, which featured constructivist renditions of a doe, a buck, a squirrel, a rabbit, a… More >>
  • Best PowerPoint Presentations for Hipsters

    Pecha Kucha Night

    Twenty slides, twenty seconds each: That's the challenge issued to creative types in this international phenomenon, wherein invited presenters may expound upon their private worlds, credos, outlooks or whatever in a visual quickie with strict restraints. Denver is a new spot on the Pecha Kucha map; watch for these structured slide jams quarterly at Buntport Theater. To prepare yourself, visit… More >>
  • Best Show About Letters

    A Retrospective: 20 Years of Roland Bernier
    Walker Fine Art

    Instead of using shapes to define his artwork, contemporary conceptual artist Roland Bernier uses letters that form words. These letters are made of laser-cut mirrors, sawn plywood or printed vinyl. For a twenty-year retrospective — representing the second half of his forty-plus-year career — Walker Fine Art was transformed into what looked like a museum. One reason was that some… More >>
  • Best Show About Numbers

    Quasi-Symmetries
    Rule Gallery

    Denver painter Clark Richert is a perennial favorite with young artists, both the many students he's influenced as an art professor at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and others who have taken his lessons through osmosis. Richert is interested in advanced math, which he uses to determine the details of his paintings and other works like "Riemannian… More >>
  • Best Western Painting Show — Solo

    Don Coen
    William Havu Gallery

    Artfully blending contemporary concepts with Western images is a popular pursuit for many Colorado artists, though few have been doing it longer or more successfully than Boulder artist Don Coen. The magnificent Don Coen took over the entire first floor of the Havu gallery and featured the artist's depictions of ranch animals, which are often monumental in size and hyperrealist… More >>
  • Best Western Painting Show — Group

    Masterpieces of Colorado Landscape
    Foothills Art Center and the Denver Public Library

    Freelance curator Rose Fredrick came up with the idea of putting classic nineteenth- and twentieth-century Colorado landscapes together with contemporary ones, and the result was Masterpieces of Colorado Landscape, a traveling show that stopped at Foothills Art Center in Golden last spring and is now on view in a somewhat retooled version at the Denver Public Library. The show highlights… More >>
  • Best Design Show — Solo

    Eames 100: This Is the Trick
    Emmanuel Gallery

    The late Charles Eames and his second wife, Ray, created furniture classics in the 1940s, '50s and '60s, seemingly hand over fist. Many, like their plywood-and-leather lounge chair and ottoman, are still being made. Eames's granddaughter, Carla Hartman, who lives in Denver, has collected his work for decades and has special access to the still-running Eames Office in Los Angeles.… More >>
  • Best Design Show — Group

    Substance: Diverse Practices From the Periphery Metro State Center for Visual Art

    Luxury goods usually dominate design exhibitions, but there are also design items meant to solve social problems. This is what Metro professor Lisa Abendroth gathered together to pull off the thoughtful Substance: Diverse Practices From the Periphery at the Center for Visual Art. The show was divided into sections called Access, Community, Education, Wellness and Shelter (which included an inflatable… More >>
  • Best Photography Show — Solo

    Collier SchorrJens F.Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver

    New York photographer Collier Schorr gets pretty out there in Jens F., a large solo that is still on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver. It was originally part of Star Power, a series of exhibits on view when the building opened last fall. Using photos, montages, collages and even sketches, Schorr zeroes in on a very attractive teenage… More >>
  • Best Photography Show — Duet

    Kevin O'Connell and Richard Van Pelt
    O'Sullivan Art Gallery

    Willy Sutton from Regis University put together two impressive exhibits in the O'Sullivan Art Gallery that looked like a singular presentation. Sutton paired Denver's Kevin O'Connell and Boulder's Richard Van Pelt, both landscape photographers. O'Connell, who is best known for his luxuriously done platinum prints of the Colorado plains, turned on the color for these newer pierces and aimed his… More >>
  • Best Photography Show — Group

    Collections/Selections I
    Edge Gallery

    The Colorado Photographic Arts Center no longer has its own gallery, but it still holds some 500 old photos. Last spring, Edge Gallery brought a choice group of them out of storage for the handsome Collections/Selections I. It was a rare guest slot at this artist co-op, which usually features only the work of members. The pieces were chosen by… More >>
  • Best Graphics Acquisition

    Psychedelic rock posters
    Denver Art Museum

    Over the years, Boulder collector David Tippit has gathered up nearly 900 psychedelic rock posters dating back to the 1960s and '70s. In February he announced his intention to donate them to the Denver Art Museum's Department of Architecture, Design and Graphics. Included in the collection are examples by the biggest names in the movement, such as Rick Griffin, Stanley… More >>
  • Best Place to Get All Touchy-Feely With a Needle and Thread

    TACtile Textile Arts Center

    Long before the current DIY movement was even DIYing around on its hands and knees, TACtile director Dianne Denholm was ahead of her time as the owner of the D'Lea's fabric store. But she had a dream, which is now slowly coming to fruition, of creating a kind of collective, in which fiber artists and members of established fiber-arts organizations… More >>
  • Best Ceramics Show — Solo

    Kim Dickey
    Cold Pastoral
    Rule Gallery

    Boulder artist and University of Colorado professor Kim Dickey converted the Rule Gallery into a conceptual garden for Cold Pastoral last summer. Photos she took of gardens in France filled most of the walls, while the back wall of the gallery was covered with mirrors, giving the illusion of great space. These elements set the stage for the main attraction:… More >>
  • Best Ceramics Show — Group

    Masters in Clay
    Sandra Phillips Gallery

    Despite the limitation of having just a small storefront for her modest gallery, Sandra Phillips has been noticed in the competitive Santa Fe arts district, and she's done it by showcasing noteworthy Colorado artists, especially those working in ceramics. The culmination of her ongoing clay promotions was last fall's Masters in Clay, done with Sally Perisho, which included giants of… More >>
  • Best Wizard-in-Residence

    Lonnie Hanzon
    Museum of Outdoor Arts

    Part of Lonnie Hanzon's charm is in the way the visual designer seems to reappear like a flesh-and-blood Dumbledore — here and there, from time to time, fully wound — holding court over a magical world of his own invention. He's created spectacular Parade of Lights floats, over-the-top Christmas displays in Hong Kong and the whimsical "Evolution of the Ball"… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery Near the Denver Art Museum

    Denver Public Library

    The hoopla over the new DAM complex shouldn't drown out the props due to the downtown library as a vibrant art source all its own. Quite apart from the permanent offerings in and around the DPL that have survived the endless construction next door — Daniel Lipski's little horse on a big chair, the Edward Ruscha murals — the library… More >>
  • Best Arts Community Builder

    Kim Harrell
    East End Applied Arts

    Talented silversmith, gallery owner with an eye for good design, community arts organizer, Aurora politician: Kim Harrell is a walking work of art. As the Aurora Art in Public Places Commission Chair, she helped bring work by local artists to the suburb's depressed downtown and East Colfax corridor. And in 2006, she took her mission one step further, founding the… More >>
  • Best Coming Attraction

    El Centro Su Teatro

    Though it's spent many years ensconced in the former Elyria Elementary School building north of I-70, the heart and soul of the Chicano cultural and theater collective El Centro Su Teatro never left the old barrio. El Centro has always meant to return to that neighborhood, so we applaud the center's purchase of a property at Second Avenue and Santa… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Drama

    Chris Reid
    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
    Aurora Fox Arts Center

    Everyone's bigger than life in Tennessee Williams's melodrama about familial battles in the hot, lurid South, and everyone talks nonstop, but Brick is required to say very little for a long, long time. Chris Reid made the character complex and multi-dimensional, so that his extended silences pulsed with feeling and thought — and when he exploded, everything around him went… More >>
  • Best Sympathetic Portrayal of a Pederast

    Paul Borrillo
    How I Learned to Drive
    Curious Theatre Company

    Uncle Peck is a monster who's sexually abused his niece for years. Yet in an understated performance, Paul Borrillo managed to make him ordinary and likable, even vulnerable. In one charming scene, Uncle Peck was teaching a small boy how to fish — "reel and jerk...reel and rest" — and Borrillo's portrayal was so strong that it took a few… More >>
  • Best Performance in a One-Man Play

    Erik Tieze
    Thom Paine: based on nothing
    Modern Muse Theatre Company

    Thom Paine: based on nothing is a very odd play, a sort of bubble held together by a skin of words, and at its center is a single performer who keeps inventing and reinventing himself, creating varying personae out of phrases, cliches, story fragments and bits of stage business. How do you play an empty, grinning, cursing thing like this?… More >>
  • Best Performance in a One-Woman Play

    Julie Rada
    My Name Is Rachel Corrie
    Countdown to Zero

    Rachel Corrie, a young American who went to Gaza to witness the plight of those who live there, was killed by an Israeli tank while attempting to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home. My Name Is Rachel Corrie is pieced together from her e-mails and journal entries. At one point she writes a friend, begging him to join the… More >>
  • Best Do-It-Yourself First Friday Event

    Mini-Shops
    EvB Studio Collection

    Anyone can look at art on First Friday. But it takes a dreamer like sculptor and multi-media artist Marie Ev.B Gibbons to understand that some people might prefer to make art, which is why on every First Friday, passersby and art lookie-loos can create their very own miniature ceramic masterpieces at her place. March's project was tiny clocks; past Mini-Shops… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Drama

    Karen LaMoureaux
    Squall
    Modern Muse Theatre Company

    Cordelia is utterly demented, way out in la-la land most of the time. But there's one marvelous moment in Squall when she's forced into something approaching sanity. It happens when the supposedly sane woman she's been stalking seems to flip into madness, and in a sudden reversal, Cordelia tries to comfort her. This is a role that's hard to play… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Light Comedy

    Vincent C. Robinson Soul Survivor Shadow Theatre Company - CLOSED

    In Soul Survivor, Vincent C. Robinson clearly had a great time portraying the Devil as he attempted to win the soul of a quiet, rational man already quite happy with his life. He swaggered, teased and seduced the audience, uttered tee-hees of laughter that were both sinister and self-mocking, mugged, grimaced and, at one point, broke into an outrageous triumphal… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Wry Comedy

    Jim Hunt
    The Gin Game
    Paragon Theatre Company

    Jim Hunt has turned in some fine performances over the years, but in The Gin Game, his portrayal of an angry, agitated, aging man was his best yet — deep and committed, with every thought and emotion given its due. In the Paragon Theatre production, it was fascinating just watching the conflicting feelings traveling across his face, heart-rending to see… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Black-Hearted Comedy

    Gene Gillette
    The Lieutenant of Inishmore
    Curious Theatre Company

    Gene Gillette held the stage with complete authority in The Lieutenant of Inishmore, a crazed, cathartic bloodbath of a play dominated by scenes of torture, murder and dismemberment. As the psychotic Padraic, unhinged by the death of his cat, he was dopey, sentimental and terrifying, and you believed he was capable of every violent act attributed to him — and… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Comedy

    Patty Mintz Figel
    My Old Lady
    Miners Alley Playhouse

    The old lady of My Old Lady comes with the dignified Paris apartment the protagonist has inherited and has to share with her until she dies. Now in her nineties — and with no intention of going anytime soon — the woman has led a life of culture and adventure, was for many decades the mistress of the protagonist's father,… More >>
  • Best Shakespeare Production

    A Midsummer Night's Dream
    Colorado Shakespeare Festival

    Within the magical A Midsummer Night's Dream, realities dissolve and two pairs of lovers are bamboozled by fairies into losing track of their original alliances and switching partners again and again. The interrelated themes are that love is crazy and lovers blind, that we all live in a world of illusion, and that theater itself mirrors this shifting, upside-down universe.… More >>
  • Best Shakespearean Leading Lady

    Sarah Fallon
    A Midsummer Night's Dream
    Colorado Shakespeare Festival

    Sarah Fallon has a lovely voice and she knows how to speak Shakespeare, giving the poetry its due without ever sounding phony. At the Colorado Shakespeare Festival last summer, she brought real humor to the role of the jilted Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream — broad but never over the top.… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Drama

    Richard Thieriot
    Julius Caesar
    Colorado Shakespeare Festival

    When the young Marlon Brando undertook the role of Marc Antony, he appeared on screen oiled and muscular, a glorious young god. Richard Thieriot, on the other hand, sauntered on in shorts, looking like any yuppie Boulderite out for a run. But after a while, you realized what he was up to — and it was an entirely refreshing and… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy

    Sean Tarrant
    All's Well That Ends Well
    Colorado Shakespeare Festival

    Sean Tarrant's gifts are many: He's tall, lithe and athletic; he has a good voice and a magnetic presence; his work is informed by a discriminating intelligence. And when he's on stage, it's hard to watch anyone else. As Paroles in All's Well That Ends Well, Tarrant showed that even a laughingstock can have some humanity, and perhaps even moments… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Drama

    Laura Norman A Body of Water Modern Muse Theatre Company

    A man and a woman have just woken up, and they don't know who they are. A young woman enters, and she tells them cruel things — that they're suspected of murder, that they're not, that they're actually married, but unhappily so. She identifies herself as their lawyer, then later as their daughter. Laura Norman took this baffling role and… More >>
  • Best First Friday Outgrowth

    Babes Around Denver

    Before BAD was officially BAD, Dede Frain founded the social network that would grow into Babes Around Denver on the strength of a little First Friday gathering in 2002 that quickly outgrew one venue after another. She began to organize other lesbian networking and singles events, started a website and newsletter, and last year finally left the mainstream workforce and… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Musical

    Brandon Dill
    Little Shop of Horrors
    Boulder's Dinner Theatre

    Seymour is a nerdy soul who's faced with a Faustian bargain when he finds and tends a man-eating plant that offers him money, prestige and the love of Seymour's beautiful co-worker, Audrey — but only if Seymour keeps feeding it flesh. It's a ridiculous premise that fuels a goofy show, but Brandon Dill, an expressive actor with a strong voice,… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Musical

    Gina Schuh-Turner
    John and Jen
    Nonesuch Theater

    As Jen, the sister in the two-person musical John and Jen, Gina Schuh-Turner turned in a wonderfully committed performance. She not only acted well and sang beautifully, but she brought a particular subtlety to the stage — at times heart-meltingly tender, at others hilariously funny. And in one memorable song, she morphed into a loud, shrewish sports mom, screaming out… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Musical

    Milton Craig Nealy
    La Cage Aux Folles
    Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities

    Jacob is the intensely effeminate butler — or, as he prefers, maid — of the gay couple at the center of the frothy, splashy La Cage Aux Folles. The role is a guaranteed laugh-getter, and Milton Craig Nealy played it to the hilt, with infectious style, humor and enjoyment.… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Musical

    Kathleen M. Brady
    A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
    Denver Center Theatre Company

    Is there anything Kathleen M. Brady can't do? We've seen her in classical and modern plays, in comedy and tragedy. This year we found out that she can sing, and sing she did in A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, rich-toned and full-throated. Brady played the role of the shrew Domina (the name speaks for itself)… More >>
  • Best Performance in a Musical Number

    Alicia Dunfee
    Midlife! The Crisis Musical
    Boulder's Dinner Theatre

    Here's the setup: a man and woman are seated at a bus stop after a pleasant first date, and she suddenly reveals that she'd really like to have a baby before her biological clock runs out. As the woman, Alicia Dunfee began sweetly but became more and more aggressive as she attempted to coax, bully and physically force her unsuspecting… More >>
  • Best Musical — Local

    Ragtime Boulder's Dinner Theatre

    With Ragtime, it felt as if Boulder's Dinner Theatre had opened the doors and let in a great whoosh of invigorating air. This is one hell of a musical to stage, one based on an important book that marries a meaningful plot with a smart, perceptive script and terrific songs. To create a cast, artistic director Michael J. Duran teamed… More >>
  • Best Musical — Touring

    The Light in the Piazza
    Denver Center Attractions

    Luscious and lyrical, a feast for the eyes, ears and mind, The Light in the Piazza reminded you of just how romantic a musical can be. Every performance was a gem. Katie Rose Clarke was a luminous Clara; David Burnham, too, sang like an angel. And at any point, if you happened to get bored watching superb actors carry an… More >>
  • Best Theater Production

    Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
    Paragon Theatre Company

    The play was an old chestnut, but thanks to impeccable casting and insightful direction, Paragon Theatre Company breathed new life into Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? You couldn't help admiring Martha Harmon Pardee's vitality and sheer, pull-out-the-stops courage as Martha; she came across as funny, smart, wrenchingly vulnerable and, in her own way, honest. Sam Gregory's George at first seemed… More >>
  • Best Season for a Director

    Warren Sherrill
    Paragon Theatre Company

    Neither The Gin Game nor Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? are particularly timely, though the latter is an American classic and welcome viewing any time. But at Paragon, Warren Sherrill's productions of these two plays made them contemporary. The Gin Game featured Jim Hunt as a man fighting the ravages of time and his own loneliness in the… More >>
  • Best Theater Season

    Curious Theatre Company

    Although there were some disappointments at Curious Theatre early in the season, How I Learned to Drive — a reprise of the first-ever Curious production ten years ago — was a hit, and the company continued to roar forward with two of the most exciting productions on a Denver stage this year. 9 Parts of Desire, a play by Heather… More >>
  • Best Friday Night Pre-Party

    Untitled
    Denver Art Museum

    Who would have thought that the coolest Friday-night party around would be at a stodgy art museum? But sure enough, on the last Friday of every month, the Denver Art Museum turns itself into a lively all-ages club, complete with local DJs or bands, a cash bar and a host of kooky activities — guided meditation in the Asian galleries,… More >>
  • Best Grace Under Pressure

    Trina Magness
    Macbeth and Red Herring

    To some extent, actors are at the mercy of the productions in which they appear. An exciting show can make an okay actor look terrific; an excellent actor can seem weak if trapped by circumstances. So far this season, Trina Magness has emerged with honor from two productions that simply didn't work. She played the first witch in the noisy,… More >>
  • Best Original Script

    Ellen K. Graham
    How We May Know Him
    Paragon Theatre Company

    How We May Know Him is a brain-tease of a play that acts on your cerebral cortex, not your guts. It's a story about four women: Val, a Christian zealot; Simone, a new-agey television host; Nicola, a soldier of fortune; and Nicola's partner, the sometimes waspish but usually lost and bemused Wren. The action is surreal and much of the… More >>
  • Best Dramatization of a Novel

    Eric Schmiedl
    Plainsong
    Denver Center Theatre Company

    Kent Haruf's Plainsong won critical acclaim for its quiet beauty, and Eric Schmiedl's stage adaptation — miraculously — comes close to doing the novel justice. This isn't one of those theater pieces that wows you on the spot; instead, Plainsong stays with you, settling slowly into your consciousness until it becomes part of the way you see the world. This… More >>
  • Best Prologue

    Erik Edborg
    Moby Dick Unread
    Buntport Theater Company

    No other company in town matches Buntport's humor and inventiveness, and the group's take on Moby Dick was no exception. But perhaps the funniest bit occurred at the very beginning, when Erik Edborg re-enacted the entire leviathan of a novel using nothing but a red plastic fish and a round fishbowl.… More >>
  • Best Remount

    Titus Andronicus! Buntport Theater Company

    The conceit of this sendup of Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare's bloodiest and most incoherent of plays, is that a wandering troupe of five actors is presenting it as a musical. Buntport actually got us through the entire plot, using a board with caricatures and lightbulbs to tell us which of the five actors was playing which of the several dozen characters… More >>
  • Best Cameo

    Steven J. Burge
    Contrived Ending
    Conundrum Productions

    Shane is just a small role in Contrived Ending, an original play by Josh Hartwell. He's one of those dopey, marginal little guys whom no one in his high school respected, and who gets put down constantly even after high school is over. He also invents all kinds of lies to make himself seem more important. In Conundrum's production, playing… More >>
  • Best Depiction of Virtue

    Terry Ann Watts
    Dead Man Walking
    Denver Victorian Playhouse - CLOSED

    Terry Ann Watts gave a beautiful and open-souled performance as Sister Helen Prejean, the real-life nun who has worked for years with death-row inmates, making her exactly the sort of wise, calm woman you would want beside you in a crisis. Watts was quietly dignified throughout Dead Man Walking, but you could see the mingled rage and pity in her… More >>
  • Best Display of Theatrical Integrity

    My Name Is Rachel Corrie
    Countdown to Zero

    Rachel Corrie has been a lighting rod for controversy since her death in Gaza at the age of 23, when she was run over by an Israeli soldier driving a bulldozer while attempting to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home. And My Name Is Rachel Corrie has proved controversial, too. The play was too hot for the New York… More >>
  • Best New Theater Space

    Crossroads Theater at Five Points

    Kurt Lewis opened this small, comfortable performing space with Bold Girls, a fine play about Ireland's Troubles directed by Anthony Powell. Now Paragon Theatre has made the place its permanent home. A welcome addition to Five Points, a historic part of Denver, the theater will also be used for music, poetry readings and classes. Everyone knows that crossroads are magical… More >>
  • Best Reinvention of Theater

    Heritage Square Music Hall

    What you'll see at Heritage is unlike anything you'll see anywhere else. It's pure silliness, pure Colorado, pure pleasure, an odd mix of dramatics, song, utter craziness and actors just sort of palling around with the audience. Veteran T.J. Mullin writes a lot of the material and delivers his roles with laid-back but assured humor. With the exception of Kira… More >>

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