People & Places

  • Best Historic Best of Denver Award

    Best Future
    Best of Denver 1984

    Back in 1984, Westword's first Best of Denver hit the streets — an 84-page issue touting everything from the Best Radio Station (KBCO, then six years old) to a long-defunct mobile hot-tub business to the Best Gallery Openings at Pirate Contemporary Art Oasis, still going strong on Navajo Street despite plenty of competition from other now-booming arts districts. But no… More >>
  • Best Way to Watch the Legislature

    Colorado Open House

    Just in time for the premiere of Douglas Bruce, legislator, Colorado Open House debuted with the start of the session this January, giving reality-TV lovers the chance to watch their favorite members of the Colorado House of Representatives live on the Internet and on Comcast cable channel 165. Next year, there are plans to televise the Senate and possibly committee… More >>
  • Best Reason to Toast the Legislature

    SB 08-082

    Join us in raising a glass to state senator Jennifer Veiga of Denver, for proposing the repeal of Colorado's longtime ban on Sunday liquor sales. The measure not only made it through both houses (it's currently awaiting Governor Bill Ritter's signature), but lawmakers even moved up its effective date to July 1. And so, on July 6, 2008, thirsty consumers… More >>
  • Best New State Position

    State Enologist

    You know you've arrived as a wine-producing (and not just -consuming) state when you hire an official State Enologist. Stephen Menke, who previously served in the same role in Illinois, came to Colorado with a stack of credentials, including a degree in agriculture and a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology. More important, he loves the science of wine and… More >>
  • Best New Colorado Mascot

    Western Painted Turtle

    Slow and steady wins the race, as a bunch of determined Skyline Vista Elementary School students proved when they successfully lobbied the Colorado Legislature to make the Western Painted Turtle Colorado's official state reptile. It joins such other notable state symbols as the state bird (lark bunting) and state fish (greenback cutthroat trout).… More >>
  • Best Dressed Politician

    John Hickenlooper

    Although he's known more for his scooter and his goofy grin, Mayor John Hickenlooper has stepped firmly into the spotlight as the state's fashion leader. In September, Hizzoner looked dashing in Esquire magazine's fall fashion special wearing a $1,275 Armani suit, a $575 Dolce & Gabbana shirt and a $160 Prada tie. But in the new year, Hickenlooper proved that… More >>
  • Best Use of Metaphors by a Denver City Council Member

    Chris Nevitt

    Whether he's calling a particular issue "icing on the pound cake" for voters or noting how a proposal puts him on the "horns of a dilemma," District 7 Councilman Chris Nevitt always has a creative — if occasionally confusing — way of putting things. Last year, for example, he predicted that the controversy over proposed new power towers in Ruby… More >>
  • Best Political Spinner — Right

    Dick Wadhams

    The fact that Dick Wadhams still has a viable political career shows just how good he is at engineering comebacks. In 2006, Wadhams oversaw one of the Republicans' most disastrous campaigns, the re-election crusade of Virginia's George Allen, whose unexpected loss — fueled in part by Allen's use of an obscure racial slur, "macaca" — handed the Democrats the majority… More >>
  • Best Political Spinner — Left

    An outgrowth of the Rocky Mountain Progressive Network, and its sister site,, have been burrs under the conservative saddle for several years, and if Michael Huttner and his cohorts have their way, the ride will become increasingly uncomfortable as Election Day nears. The group's approach, which combines grassroots organizing with action plans targeting right-wing candidates and causes, has… More >>
  • Best Political Blog

    It seems like just yesterday that Brad Jones was pissing off young liberals at the University of Colorado at Boulder as the snot-nosed president of the College Republicans. But just look at him now: all grown up into the snot-nosed twenty-something managing editor/owner/spokesman/shadowy frontman behind What was launched exactly one year ago as a Colorado-centric news aggregation site has… More >>
  • Best Hair on a TV Personality — Male

    Leland VittertChannel 31

    How do the managers at Denver's Fox affiliate keep finding so many on-air dudes with great 'dos? Could they have a deal with the devil — or maybe Paul Mitchell? Whatever the case, Leland Vittert displays hair heroics in the glorious tradition of such predecessors as Phil Keating and Jeremy Hubbard, sporting a pillowy coiffure that floats over his cranium… More >>
  • Best New Motto for Colorado

    "Hip to Be Square"

    Colorado's current motto is Nil Sine Numine — "Nothing Without the Deity." Territorial governor William Gilpin came up with it when the new territory needed a seal in 1861; it became part of the official state lineup sixteen years later. Which means it's high time that we dump that mothbally motto for something a little newer, a little less ecumenical,… More >>
  • Best Hair on a TV Personality — Female

    Bazi Kanani
    Channel 9

    Far too many TV-news personalities boast hairstyles that seem to have been coated in lacquer and shaped using a hammer and chisel. So it's a relief to rest our eyes on Bazi Kanani, whose hair is cut in a style that's light and casually elegant, deftly complementing her delicate features instead of looking like a plasticized shell that she can… More >>
  • Best TV Anchor

    Alan Gionet
    Channel 4

    Alan Gionet served as a Channel 4 staffer for several years in the'90s, before he left for a chief-anchor job in Jacksonville, Florida. He recently returned to Denver, better than before: more comfortable and commanding, with a gravitas that had previously seemed just beyond his grasp. At the anchor desk, he handles hard news and happy talk with equal aplomb,… More >>
  • Best TV Weathercaster

    Ashton Altieri
    Channel 9

    Talk about a fresh face. Ashton Altieri looks so young he could pass for an ambitious high-schooler who somehow managed to talk his way onto the set. But with his tender years comes an energy and enthusiasm that's lacking in most of his prognosticating peers — and Altieri has an edgy sense of humor that makes his presentations worth watching… More >>
  • Best TV Sportscaster

    Eric Goodman
    Channel 31

    Eric Goodman has a more challenging position than other local sportscasters: He's usually just a seat or two away from anchor Ron Zappolo, whom many viewers continue to think of as the dean of Denver sports broadcasters even though he's specialized in news for years. But Goodman more than holds his own in the presence of the old master, delivering… More >>
  • Best TV Eye in the Sky

    Jayson Luber
    Channel 7

    When Channel 7 lured Jayson Luber away from KOA radio and Channel 9, it seemed like an odd — and expensive — move. After all, people don't tune into newscasts just because of the guy in the helicopter, do they? But Luber has proved to be a valuable addition to the station's news team, providing practical information in a clear,… More >>
  • Best TV Newscast — Morning

    Channel 2

    While other local morning shows seem like pale, perky imitations of Channel 9, the longtime ratings Goliath, Channel 2's morning program dares to be different. Host Tom Green is the designated curmudgeon, wielding a dry wit that does more to get you going than a pot of coffee, while Natalie Tysdal serves as his good-natured, long-suffering foil. Add in mold-busting… More >>
  • Best TV Newscast — Night

    Channel 9

    The local nine and ten o'clock newscasts have been a real slugfest for years, yet Channel 9 continues to hold off all comers. One of the main reasons is quality: The station continues to break important stories with a regularity that's got to exasperate the competition. But star power is an equally important factor. Adele Arakawa has outlasted an entire… More >>
  • Best Radio DJ


    Nerf isn't just the knowledgeable jock manning the boards during KTCL's weekday afternoon-drive shift; as the station's program director, he's also the music lover behind the decision to add local acts to the regular playlist rather than limit them to a Sunday-evening slot. On the surface, this decision doesn't seem like such a noble act of bravery. But in the… More >>
  • Best Radio Station

    Radio 1190

    Back in 1998, before it was subsumed by Clear Channel, Jacor wound up with one more station than it could keep under FCC rules. Instead of holding a fire sale, execs donated it to the University of Colorado at Boulder, which up until then had made do with a school radio station that broadcast to the dorms using carrier current.… More >>
  • Best Radio Talk-Show Host

    Sandy Clough
    The Fan

    Yeah, this award usually goes to yakkers who specialize in news, not sports. But Sandy Clough, who's ridden Denver airwaves for a generation, is every bit as entertaining and incisive as any of the talk-show hosts who focus on allegedly more "serious" subjects. And even his most outrageous opinions are carefully considered rather than tossed out as mere spurs to… More >>
  • Best New Accolade for Denver

    "Most Lustful City in America"

    In December, Forbes magazine pronounced Denver "the most lustful city in America." And no, not because the Democratic National Committee chose to hold its 2008 convention in Denver. A single statistic earned the city this honor: Over-the-counter contraceptive sales in Denver are 189 percent higher than might be expected for a city this size. Safety first!… More >>
  • Best Bus for Eavesdropping

    The B Route

    Long before commuting was cool, green-thinking Boulderites started hopping the B Route when they needed to get to downtown Denver — for a meeting, for a dinner, for a play. But just sitting on the B bus can be entertainment enough, since it gives you easy eavesdropping access to conversations involving everyone from MacArthur Foundation grant winners and University of… More >>
  • Best Bus for People-Watching

    RTD's #15

    No matter how much the city cleans up East Colfax Avenue, RTD's #15 bus will always be the true gauge of this neighborhood. Hop on between Colorado and Broadway, and listen to East High School students talking with the homeless. Or as happy hour turns to night, watch as drunken blue-collars heading home from the strip's rougher bars rub shoulders… More >>
  • Best Route Between Downtown and North Denver — Before 11 P.M.

    Highland Pedestrian Bridge

    When a new, $8 million pedestrian bridge opened over I-25 at what would be 16th Street, it seemed to offer a quick, safe way for people to move between downtown — via LoDo, the Millennium Bridge and the Platte Valley — and Highland, at the edge of north Denver. But the convenience of the bridge comes to a crashing halt… More >>
  • Best Route Between Downtown and North Denver — After 11 P.M.

    20th Street

    It's late at night, you've had a few too many to drink downtown, and if you're smart enough to leave your car in LoDo, then you're also smart enough to steer clear of the narrow, dark sidewalk that runs along 15th Street over I-25. So how to get home? Pick up 20th Street at Wazee and stagger past Coors Field,… More >>
  • Best Legal Graffiti Wall

    CIA Wall

    Named for its location in an alley southeast of the Colorado Institute of Art — though it has no official affiliation with the school — the CIA Wall serves as a rotating showcase for some of the best graffiti productions in Colorado. Legal ones, at that, although "legal" is a relative concept in the graffiti world. The owner of this… More >>
  • Best New Street-Art Crew

    Ladies Fancywork Society

    A few years back, crews of underground street knitters began tagging up cities across the nation — but Denver's street-art scene remained in the cold. Local light poles were left naked, bus benches stayed bare, and orange construction cones looked chilly without their little yarn hats! But thanks to the tireless work of the young women at the Ladies Fancywork… More >>
  • Best Denver Street-Fashion Blogger

    Renee Mudd, The-Intersection

    Be flattered, not fearful, if a young redhead approaches you on the street and asks to photograph your torso. Then...try to look cool. Because Renee Mudd's fashion blog, The-Intersection, sure does. "A young gal out and about in Denver in search of the city's most inspiring and expressive fashions and street style" is how the University of Colorado Denver student… More >>
  • Best New Building

    Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver

    When Cydney Payton became director of the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, it was located in a former fish market. She immediately started pushing for a permanent home for the institution, and less than eight years later, through the sheer force of her will — and a lot of donations — the MCA is now in its own building. And what… More >>
  • Best Addition to a Historic Building

    Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center

    The stately Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is one of the most important buildings in the Mountain Standard time zone. Built in 1936, the concrete-and-black aggregate structure combines Pueblo style with art moderne design, and was unquestionably the high point of architect John Gaw Meem's career. But while the building remained stunning, sixty years after its completion, it was also… More >>
  • Best Save of a Historic Building

    Hangar #61

    Mega-developer Forest City was not interested in preserving historic architecture as it built out its new-urbanist fantasy on the site of the old Stapleton airport. But that put Forest City on a collision course with preservationists over the fate of Hangar #61, which was designed by the premier mid-century architectural firm of Fisher, Fisher and Davis. Constructed in 1959 to… More >>
  • Best Soundtrack for the Democratic National Convention

    "Voice of My Beautiful Country"

    René Marie started singing early, but she didn't decide to pursue music full-time until after she turned forty. A decade later, she picked up and moved to Denver, where she quickly became a valued voice on the scene. And now Donald Rossa, the brains behind Dazzle, would like to make sure that she's heard not just in this city, but… More >>
  • Best Outcome of a Preservation Battle

    Colorado History Museum

    For years, the Civic Center has been under threat — most recently with a proposal to move the Colorado History Museum into the park itself, opening up space in the 1300 block of Broadway for a revamped Colorado courts structure. But after months of debate, the board of the Colorado Historical Society instead wisely decided to build the new museum… More >>
  • Best Facelift of an Ugly Building

    Pura Vida

    The Tattered Cover bookstore in Cherry Creek was a beloved gathering place, but the building that housed it was an ugly lump. It wasn't always that way, however. Originally, the structure at 100 Fillmore Street was a swank, modernist landmark housing a branch of the now-defunct Neustseter's department store; in the 1970s, when mid-century modern was out of style, the… More >>
  • Best Improvement to a Toxic Dump

    Commerce City Civic and Justice Center

    During World War II, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal was established north of Stapleton — and the resulting Superfund site was such a toxic cesspool that even after cleanup, parts were so polluted that the land could never be developed — so instead, we got the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Refuge. Immediately to the west of that is Prairie Gateway, where the… More >>
  • Best Environment for the Enviro-Friendly

    Alliance Center

    This five-story LoDo treasure, just behind the Tattered Cover, is more than a nicely updated historic building. It's also one of the greenest retrofits in town, registered for two LEED certifications — and home to a couple dozen leading nonprofits, from the Sierra Club and the Center for Native Ecosystems to Colorado Common Cause and ProgressNow. With its krypton-gas-infused windows,… More >>
  • Best Fight to Save a Light

    Morrison Holiday Bar

    When David Killingsworth purchased the Morrison Holiday Bar (known as the "local cure" by Morrisonites), he made a few changes. The bar now boasts a window to the next-door deli, for example, so that bar patrons can order food. But one thing Killingsworth didn't mess with was the blinking neon arrow above the front door. The fifty-year-old sign was an… More >>
  • Best Show of Dignity From a Newly Convicted Felon

    Don Vito Margera

    It wasn't a happy Halloween for Vincent "Don Vito" Margera, a fixture on the MTV series Viva La Bam. Despite the legal assistance of Pamela Mackey, the attorney who helped Kobe Bryant skate away from a trial in Eagle County, on October 31 Margera received two guilty verdicts in relation to a 2006 incident at Colorado Mills — and upon… More >>
  • Best Denver Celebrity to Almost Inherit an English Castle

    Isaac Slade

    Isaac Slade, frontman for the Fray, Denver's first double-platinum band, has been living the dream in more ways than one. Last year he met up with Sir Benjamin Slade, an English aristocrat in search of an heir to inherit his thirteenth mansion. The estate, valued at $15 million, includes three lakes, a ballroom (perfect for private rock shows), hundreds of… More >>
  • Best Appearance by Britney Spears in Colorado

    "Britney's New Look"
    South Park

    The city was agog at reported Britney Spears sightings earlier this year. But her best Colorado appearance was in cartoon form — as if that isn't always the case — on a recent episode of South Park, the Comedy Central series that just celebrated its tenth anniversary. In "Britney's New Look," the pop princess fled the paparazzi and landed in… More >>
  • Best Place for Hillary Clinton to Visit During the Democratic Convention


    By August, we're betting that Hillary Clinton could use a good laugh. And so during a break in the action at the Democratic National Convention, she should make tracks to the scene of one of Colorado's most surreal moments, which occurred the last time this state hosted a high-profile international event. Back in 1997, Denver was the site for the… More >>
  • Best Place for Barack Obama to Visit During the Democratic Convention

    Continental Divide

    Since he began campaigning for president (back in 1961, the year he was born), Barack Obama has been promising to bridge the partisan divide that has split the country into red and blue states. So what better place to visit during the Democratic National Convention than the physical divide that separates the country: the Continental Divide, which runs right through… More >>
  • Best Freshman in the Colorado Legislature

    Joe Rice

    We first encountered Joe Rice, who now represents House District 38 in the Colorado Legislature, when he was the baby-faced mayor of Glendale, trying to save the town from turning into Titty City. Since then, the longtime military man has faced even bigger battles, including three tours in Iraq. But he's been fighting the good fight at home, too. Elected… More >>
  • Best Term-Limited Veteran in the Legislature

    Ken Gordon

    Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon may be term limited, but he's not going out quietly. A former public defender, he started representing the interests of Denverites long before he was elected to the Colorado House in 1992, and even won a Best Pro Bono Attorney award in the Best of Denver 1988. Now in his last year in the Colorado… More >>
  • Best Legislative Entertainment

    Douglas Bruce

    Who says that watching laws being created has to be boring, dry or, as the famous quote goes, like sausages (best not to see them being made)? With Colorado Springs anti-tax crusader Douglas Bruce now in the Statehouse, the entertainment level has picked right up. From kicking a photographer to grandstanding, Bruce has made plenty of headlines — if not… More >>