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Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Dick Jokes for Everybody

    Wrist Deep Productions

    It ain't easy being funny these days. "Your mama so fat" jabs died with the banking collapse. Dick jokes in the middle of a recession? Fuggedaboutit. Thankfully, we still have Greg Baumhauer, Ben Kronberg, Ben Roy, Jim Hickox and former Westword scribe Adam Cayton-Holland (who recently released a DVD called Dick Jokes for Artists), the witty fellows behind the standup… More >>
  • Best Overseas Experience Without Leaving Home

    Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret"A Night In..." series

    The best thing about Lannie's "A Night In..." food, music and wine series, is that, for around $45, you'll be transported to another country for an evening, immersed in the tastes, smells and sounds of a land far, far away. So far, the series has been to Spain, France and Italy, and this month, Lannie's will take lucky participants to… More >>
  • Best Food Fair

    Colorado Chocolate Festival

    Like chocolate? Then you'll love the Colorado Chocolate Festival, which turns Mother's Day weekend into one long, miasmic cacao high, as hopped-up chocoholics snake from booth to booth tasting chocolate of every ilk, from dark and pure to sweet and milky, gooey to waxy smooth, with wine, with nuts, infused with tea, slathered on cakes, baked into brownies and artfully… More >>
  • Best Anarchist Ball

    Louis Vuitton Night

    Louis Vuitton Night proclaims itself "too smart for New York, too hot for L.A." And indeed, Denver ought to be flattered that the $3 anarchist variety show takes place here every so often at the Mercury Cafe instead of one of those two other places. They even do kid-friendly; the most recent incarnation of LVN took place at noon instead… More >>
  • Best Coffee Table Book by a Local Artist

    American Dream: Portraits of ThingsLauri Lynnxe Murphy

    A large part of what makes Lauri Lynnxe Murphy — the local artist, artrepreneur, scene-maker and Westword MasterMind — tick is her utter confidence in all that she does. When she decides to open a store, she opens a store. When she decides to put more energy back into being an artist with connections, she's an artist with connections. And,… More >>
  • Best DIY Book With Local Ties

    Day of the Dead Crafts Co-authored by Jerry Vigil

    We love local santero Jerry Vigil, having bestowed a previous Best of Denver award on him for his cocky Colorado Rockies muerto, a traditional bare-bones Day of the Dead calavera dressed up in a Rockies uniform. And now we get to laud him all over again for Day of the Dead Crafts: More Than 24 Projects That Celebrate Día de… More >>
  • Best Arts and Crafts Marathon

    Knitting for Our Troops Project

    At last count, this quixotic effort to crank out soft-wool caps to serve as helmet liners for our troops overseas had produced close to 10,000 noggin-warmers — almost double the initial goal of 5,280. That's a lot of wool, a lot of volunteers knitting away at a pattern posted online, and a massive organizational effort on the part of Fresh… More >>
  • Best National Nod to a Local Dance Ensemble

    Ballet Nouveau ColoradoDance Magazine's 25 to Watch list

    Dancers might have grace and good balance, but when it comes to taking a step up in the world, their chances are few and none. So when a local dance troupe gets a national pat on the back, it's reason to, well, dance for joy. And Ballet Nouveau Colorado really worked hard for this honor by constantly tweaking the range… More >>
  • Best Way to Celebrate Your Inner Firefighter

    Ricky's Rib Shack

    Some firefighters like to make movies. And what better topic for a firefighter's movie than, well, a fire? That was Rob Bieber's idea, anyway; the Denver firefighter and a cinematographer partner made Ricky's Rib Shack in order to convey to an audience what it's really like to be in the middle of a blazing inferno. Because Bieber was on the… More >>
  • Best Place to Celebrate Your Inner Slumdog

    Bollywood West

    Slumdog Millionaire was a great film. But did you wonder what was up with all the spontaneous choreographed dancing? Welcome to the wonderful world of Bollywood, where popular Indian films and Top 40 songs are married into fast-paced, colorful dance productions reminiscent of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" (but with less groaning). And along with providing an excellent workout, the East Indian… More >>
  • Best Performance by a Coloradan in a Film

    Amy Adams in Doubt

    It's been a rapid rise for Amy Adams, who spent many of her formative years in Castle Rock. Since her breakthrough performance in the 2005 indie Junebug, she's co-starred in goofy comedies (Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby), headlined a musical-fantasy blockbuster (Enchanted) and appeared with Academy Award winner Tom Hanks (Charlie… More >>
  • Best Performance by Colorado in a Film

    Ink

    The independent flick Ink, which concerns so-called dream people fighting for souls, turned out to be a dream come true for the local film community. The movie was shot entirely within the state, at locations ranging from the plains of Brighton and the peaks of Crested Butte to the Evergreen foothills and downtown Denver — and as a bonus, the… More >>
  • Best Performance by Colorado in a Homegrown Film the Rest of the Country Will Be Seeing Soon

    Skills Like This

    Directed by Colorado's Monty Miranda and produced by Donna Dewey, the state's latest Academy Award winner, Skills Like This, has been a darling on the festival circuit since 2007, when it won its first Best of Denver award. Unfortunately, only a handful of viewers have gotten a chance to see the flick, which features scenes shot at Union Station and… More >>
  • Best Performance by Colorado in a Hollywood Film the Rest of the Country Will Be Seeing Soon

    Imagine That

    The last time a big Hollywood production descended on Denver was in late 2007, when Eddie Murphy's Nowhereland spent two weeks showcasing downtown and LoDo. The film was originally slated to hit screens in the fall of 2008, but it was delayed — seldom a good sign. It's currently expected to reach theaters in June, complete with a new title:… More >>
  • Best Local Film Festival

    The Shoot Out 24 Hour Filmmaking Festival

    Who says making movies is a long process? Participants in the Shoot Out in Boulder have a single day to assemble a masterpiece (or a facsimile thereof), and most of them manage to do so. Not all, though: Last year, 53 teams began the competition, but seven of them vanished along the way. Even so, the contest is a great… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater — Food

    Cinema Grill

    When most of us watch movies at home, we don't eat fancy fare. Instead, we go for comfort food of the sort that's long dominated Cinema Grill's menu. Have a hankering for buffalo wings? The folks at CG offer them in one-, two- and three-pound serving sizes. The menu also boasts a large variety of salads, plus quite a few… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater — Drink

    Mayan Theatre

    The Mayan's atmosphere can't be topped, but it can be topped off by the beverage of your choice. The bar's menu has no shortage of colorful mixed drinks, ranging from Ruby Red Cosmopolitans to Blood Orange Martinis, not to mention weekend specials such as $5 Bloody Marys and mimosas. And teetotalers also receive deluxe treatment, by way of rich Dazbog… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater — Programming

    Starz FilmCenter

    Does any theater in Denver even come close to matching the eclecticism of Starz? Sure, the FilmCenter programs plenty of well-known independent flicks. But it also spotlights obscure features, shorts and documentaries that earn screen time thanks to the archeological instincts of the dedicated staff. Also on tap are special series and events, including April's XicanIndie FilmFest and this summer's… More >>
  • Best Nooners

    Denver Art Museum

    DAM's slate of lunch-hour events shifts with the seasons, but you can count on at least one Lunch Box Series a month and a Nooner Tour or three to energize your midday break. The Lunch Box features a curator, artist or visiting scholar focusing on one work from the museum's collection; recent talks have centered on conceptual artist Fred Wilson… More >>
  • Best Temporary Museum

    Denver Community Museum - CLOSED

    The DCM is dead. Long live the DCM! In actuality, the Denver Community Museum is on its last legs, but that's part of its beauty. The brainchild of design-community mover and shaker Jaime Kopke, this pop-up museum was never meant to last, at least not in its present form. Yet in its short lifetime, the DCM, which debuted in a… More >>
  • Best Hellishly Educational Museum

    The CELL

    The Center for Empowered Living and Learning, aka the CELL, is the world's first terrorism museum. Funded by local real-estate mogul Larry Mizel, the place is a Disneyland of death and dismemberment: realistic replicas of suicide bombs, clips of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on permanent repeat, a multimedia experience in which visitors enjoy a make-believe terrorist attack on the Civic… More >>
  • Best Mysterious Art Museum

    Madden Museum of Art

    It seems unlikely: an art museum in a Denver Tech Center office building. Granted, the Palazzo Verdi isn't an ordinary office building. It's a slick and handsomely appointed but understated structure blessed with a 55-foot atrium sporting an inset replica of the cathedral labyrinth at Chartres, an ethereal chandelier by Lonnie Hanzon and Todd Siler's monumental wall mural. It's also… More >>
  • Best Insight Into an Artist's Mind

    Open Shelf Library

    Wouldn't it be nice to step inside the thoughts and inspirations of your favorite artists? You can do just that at MCA Denver's Open Shelf Library. Composed of books, digital works, found objects, games, journals, models, movies, music and sculpture contributed by MCA artists, the shelves are a physical catalogue of the artifacts used to shape their realities. Computerized information… More >>
  • Best New Public Art

    "National Velvet," by John McEnroe

    Like "Mustang" at DIA, John McEnroe's "National Velvet" has elicited a lot of public comment. But here the jokes have been accompanied by sniggers and smirks rather than shock and awe. Some have suggested that the piece, a contemporary take on an obelisk cast from piled-up sandbags — in the Platte River floodplain, no less — suggests either a penis… More >>
  • Best Save of a Sculpture

    "Alto"

    In 2008, Aurora Public Art Program manager Deana Miller got a call from development company Trammell Crow asking whether the city wanted an old sculpture for free or whether it should simply go to the scrap yard. Miller researched the piece and discovered that the monumental red and yellow steel spike, installed in an office park, was the work of… More >>
  • Best Resurrectionof a Work of Art

    "Electric Fountain" replica

    The original "Electric Fountain" was designed by Frederic Darlington for Denver's first Democratic National Convention, in 1908. Located in City Park's Ferril Lake, it combined acrobatic water displays with theatrical lighting shows, back when electricity was still fairly new. Sadly, the fountain was allowed to deteriorate over the ensuing decades and had become a ruined fragment by the time engineer… More >>
  • Best Shows Timed for the DNC

    Hijacked and Enough

    There were many art events scheduled during or in conjunction with the Democratic National Convention last summer, but some of the most relevant were mounted and paid for by local artists. Two of the best were Hijacked, a Susan Goldstein installation about the need for abortion rights, and Gayla Lemke's Enough, which took on the topic of the transfer of… More >>
  • Best Unemployed Museum Director

    Cydney Payton

    Last fall, MCA Denver celebrated its first year in its spiffy David Adjaye-designed building at the edge of the Platte Valley. During that time, over 50,000 people made their way through. This response — not to mention the building itself — was orchestrated almost single-handedly by Cydney Payton, who served as executive director and head curator from 2001 through 2008.… More >>
  • Best Re-employed Gallery Director

    Ron Judish

    In the fall of 2007, investor Andrew Kalmar opened the elegant Gallery T at the corner of West Ninth Avenue and Santa Fe Drive and hired Ron Judish to run it. An art-world veteran, Judish was an early member of the Spark Gallery co-op and later ran two of his own galleries. When the second of those galleries closed some… More >>
  • Best Museum Exhibit

    Houdon From the Louvre

    Because it has a wide audience, the Denver Art Museum has to come up with a range of attractions, but certain kinds of shows are hard to come by, and expensive, to boot. That's what made Houdon From the Louvre, an in-depth look at the master of classical French sculpture Jean-Antoine Houdon, so memorable. Active before, during and after the… More >>
  • Best Gallery Show — Group

    Alchemy

    Artists have been using recycled materials ever since Marcel Duchamp took a urinal, turned it upside down and dubbed it "Fountain" nearly a hundred years ago. But lately the cause has gained a new urgency. Highlighting this trend was Alchemy, at the William Havu Gallery, in which three artists used non-art materials to create their work. Coloradan Stan Meyer wove… More >>
  • Best Gallery Show — Solo

    Recent Paintings by Dale Chisman

    Although he was frail and seriously ill at the time, Dale Chisman was still able to hold court over what would turn out to be the final solo show of his lifetime, Recent Paintings by Dale Chisman. From a comfortable seat in the office, he greeted a throng of well-wishers at the opening reception who had formed a line so… More >>
  • Best Solo by a Local Master

    David Yust

    Last fall was a terrific time to visit the Arvada Center, because one of the region's acknowledged masters was the subject of an enormous show there. The exhibition, which sported a four-volume title — David Yust: Looking Back/Looking Forward: 1970s — 2008: Explorations in Symmetry and Inclusion Series: Circles and Ellipses — sprawled over the capacious spaces of the Lower… More >>
  • Best Solo by an Up-and-Comer

    New Works by Lorey Hobbs

    Colorado artist Lorey Hobbs has come into her own in the past few years. Her efforts in painting and works on paper, as seen last winter in New Works by Lorey Hobbs at the Carson/van Straaten Gallery, have a distinct look highlighted by remarkable color combinations ranging from moody and dark shades to toned-up, dazzling ones. Her subject matter is… More >>
  • Best News for Fans of Western Art

    It's hard to believe that the formal Western art galleries on the seventh floor of the Denver Art Museum's Ponti tower were shuttered for five years. Sure, some Western pieces have been displayed on the second floor of the Hamilton building, but most of the collection had been in deep storage until recently, when curators Peter Hassrick and Thomas Smith… More >>
  • Best Western Two-Step

    Walt Kuhn and Edie Winograde

    To explore the subject of the American West, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center curator Blake Milteer put together a pair of conjoined solos that turned out brilliantly. In the back was Walt Kuhn: An Imaginary History of the West, and in the front, Place and Time: Reenactment Pageant Photographs by Edie Winograde. Kuhn, who worked in the early twentieth century,… More >>
  • Best Print Show — Historic

    Good Impressions

    Back in the 1980s, the late Fred Mayer and his wife, Jan, began putting together a collection of prints dating to the first half of the twentieth century, a golden age for the medium. Then, as now, the prints were relatively inexpensive, and that fact, combined with the Mayer family's great wealth and good taste, allowed them to assemble a… More >>
  • Best Print Show — Contemporary

    Shark's Ink

    Bud Shark opened Shark's Lithography in Boulder back in 1976. Twenty-some years later, he moved to Lyons, changed the name to Shark's Ink and has been there ever since. Shark is a master printer who has worked with many internationally known artists, some of them over and over again. In putting together this stunning show, outgoing curator Cydney Payton chose… More >>
  • Best Cheesecake Show

    Jezebel

    New York-based conceptual photographer Carla Gannis took up the topic of the femme fatale for her BMoCA solo last summer. In doctored-up digital photos with appropriated imagery from Hollywood movies, Gannis placed a sexy young woman in the midst of the action. The large, elegant color photos typically simmered with erotic content or with violence — or the threat of… More >>
  • Best Beefcake Show

    Tattoo Detour

    Northern Colorado artist Jack Balas has made a habit of approaching handsome young men over the years. His intentions are noble, however: He simply wants to take their pictures and use the photos as preliminary works for his eye-catching drawings, watercolors and paintings. Tattoo Detour, mounted in the dog days of July, was made up of images based on the… More >>
  • Best Argument for "Over the River"

    Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Prints and Objects

    Conceptual artist Christo and his collaborating wife, Jeanne-Claude, want to put fabric panels over the Arkansas River in southern Colorado, a $50 million project called "Over the River" that they've been working on for more than a decade. It's the second time the two have chosen Colorado as a site for their outrageous creations; the first was 1972's "Valley Curtain,"… More >>
  • Best Conceptual Show

    The Look of Nowhere

    Colorado native and Colorado College art instructor Scott Johnson is an installation whiz, and for this impressive if enigmatic show, he completely took over the East Gallery at BMoCA. The Look of Nowhere, which included separate installations, a video and hemispherical mirrors, all of it sparely lit, was purportedly about Johnson's ruminations on Venice, but that was hard to tell.… More >>
  • Best Design Show

    Florence Knoll: Defining Modern

    One of the Kirkland Museum's specialties is modern design, which made it the perfect venue for the traveling exhibit Florence Knoll: Defining Modern. The show comprised pieces of Knoll's furniture that truly expressed her less-is-more philosophy. Knoll favored straight lines and minimal detailing, but she was a perfectionist when it came to scale and proportion. Kirkland curator Hugh Grant supplemented… More >>
  • Best Textile Show — Modern

    Designing Women

    Over the past few years, collecting couple Jill Wiltse and Kirk Brown have assembled a definitive group of fabrics documenting the significant role women played in post-war Britain. Designing Women, organized by Wiltse and Brown's personal curator, Shanna Shelby, and Tariana Navas-Nieves of the CSFAC, showed off this collection in spectacular fashion and lured textile curators from Europe and across… More >>
  • Best Ceramics Show

    Paul Soldner Ceramics

    Paul Soldner first became interested in ceramics while he was a student at the University of Colorado back in the 1960s. Over the next four decades, the California-based artist maintained a studio near Aspen that he used during the summer. Paul Soldner Ceramics, organized by Dan Jacobs for the University of Denver's Myhren Gallery, included pieces from a wide range… More >>
  • Best Textile Show — Contemporary

    Magnolia Tapestry Project

    The brainchild of artist John Nava and printmaker Donald Farnsworth, California's Magnolia Editions has been creating tapestries using digitized looms for the last ten years. During that time, Magnolia has produced works by significant artists such as Chuck Close, Deborah Oropallo, Lewis deSoto and Leon Golub. The results of translating paintings or prints into tapestries are stunning, and the Fort… More >>
  • Best Combination of Art and Artists

    RedLine

    For years, photographer and philanthropist Laura Merage fantasized about creating an "art incubator," where galleries hosting serious exhibits would be mixed with studios for working artists. So she snagged a big concrete block commercial building in Curtis Park and then had Bryan Schmidt of Semple Brown Design spiff it up and turn it into an art center, which opened in… More >>
  • Best New Gallery Space

    Plus Gallery

    With a mix of moxie and money, Plus Galley owners Ivar and Karen Zeile undertook the reconstruction of the Flue structure on the back side of the old Benjamin Moore paint factory on Larimer Street. For the redesign of the existing building and the creation of an addition, the Zeiles tuned to Denver architect Steve Chucovich, a cutting-edge neo-modernist. Chucovich… More >>
  • Best New Theater Space

    Shadow Theatre - CLOSED

    Inside the spacious lobby, dozens of people chatted, smiled and sipped wine as they waited for the opening of Dinah Was — Shadow Theatre's first production in its brand-new home. Along one wall was a series of sculptures by Ed Dwight, and wandering through the crowd was artistic director Jeffrey Nickelson, beaming. For years, the company had performed at the… More >>
  • Best Theater Season

    Buntport Theater Company

    Originality, playfulness, a bit of brain food (but not enough to ruin the fun), surprises and lots of laughter. These are the things we expect from Buntport, and the group unfailingly delivers. This season began with a spoof on The Three Musketeers in which Alexandre Dumas was joined in his coffin by an argumentative, small-town librarian, and ended with the… More >>
  • Best Direction of a Shakespeare Play

    David Ivers, The Merry Wives of Windsor

    David Ivers is primarily known as an actor, but this production showed off his directing chops. He changed the play's time and locale, wedding the script's Elizabethan humor to the bright optimism of the 1920s, the era of flappers. With the help of an excellent cast that included Kathleen M. Brady as a hilarious Mistress Quickly, an inspired set by… More >>
  • Best Shakespeare Performance

    Jamie Ann Romero, As You Like It

    If you remember, As You Like It's Celia is one of those forgettable roles, cousin and sidekick to the far more vivid and poetic Rosalind. But Jamie Ann Romero made Celia real, listening with deep sympathy to her cousin's problems, cavorting about the stage when things went well. This Celia was so funny and charming that she almost romped away… More >>
  • Best Return to the Stage

    Lucy Roucis

    Known for her luminous performances with Phamaly (Physically Handicapped Actors and Musical Artists League), Lucy Roucis suffers from Parkinson's disease. In 2008, she underwent the surgery she'd been thinking about for years, in which a battery-operated medical device is implanted in the brain to stimulate targeted areas and block abnormal nerve signals. As the medical staff worked, she found herself… More >>
  • Best Actress

    Jeanne Paulsen in Doubt

    Doubt is about a priest who may or may not be molesting a young boy at his school, and the nun who, convinced of his guilt, is determined to bring him down. Jeanne Paulsen made Sister Aloysius every bit as stern and judgmental as the script required, but she also showed us there was something admirable about the woman's strength,… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actress

    Kim Staunton in Doubt

    Kim Staunton had only one brief scene in Doubt, as the mother of a boy who may have been abused by a priest at his Catholic school, but it proved pivotal. This mother's response to the accusation was both surprising and inevitable. She had been so beaten down by life that she had learned to accommodate in ways most of… More >>
  • Best Actor

    Terry Burnsed in Tiny Alice

    In this odd, enigmatic play by Edward Albee, Terry Burnsed played Julian, a humble priest destroyed by a Lawyer, a Cardinal, a Butler and a seductive benefactress named Alice, who may all have been acting on behalf of a corrupt and unimaginably vicious God. Burnsed's portrayal was at the heart of Tiny Alice's power and success; in fact, he acted… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actor

    Ian Merrill Peakes in Glengarry Glen Ross

    In the Denver Center's sizzling production of Glengarry Glen Ross, David Mamet's play about a shabby, ruthless subculture, Ian Merrill Peakes played conscience-less super-salesman Roma, and he had every gesture, every seedy predictable inflection down exactly right. This was the salesman of your nightmares, callow and impermeable but wielding a perverse and frightening kind of power.… More >>
  • Best Actress — Season

    Emily Paton Davies

    Two knock-it-out-of-the-park performances, and another acting display so good it almost saved a not-very-convincing play — that was Emily Paton Davies's contribution to the theater scene this year. In Crimes of the Heart, she played ditsy husband-killer Babe. Describing the killing, this girl was so sweetly and transparently reasonable that you really understood why she'd had to make herself a… More >>
  • Best Actor — Season

    Tyee Tilghman

    Tyee Tilghman brings dignity, subtlety and intelligent understatement to almost everything he does on a stage. This year's triumphs included a hardened street person in Curious's The Denver Project; a small but telling role in the Denver Center's Merry Wives of Windsor, where his low-key humor contrasted nicely with all the crazed hijinks going on around him; and a gravely… More >>
  • Best Theater Fundraiser

    Modern Muse Theatre Company

    First of all, Modern Muse is an interesting, adventurous company. Artistic directors Gabriella Cavallero and Stephen J. Lavezza work with local playwrights and make their decisions based on artistic rather than commercial considerations. Some of their productions are among the gutsiest and most thoughtful the city has to offer. Secondly, the fundraiser they held last August brought Jamie Horton back… More >>
  • Best Theater Production

    Eurydice

    Find a terrific script, gather together a first-rate cast and a group of talented technicians, direct with a mix of meticulousness and wonder — and lo and behold, you get Curious's magical production of playwright Sarah Ruhl's take on the age-old myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. We're at a loss to decide what to praise first and most: Chip Walton's… More >>
  • Best Comic Production

    Love Song - CLOSED

    This play tells the story of Beane, a sad, lonely, crazy man who finds love when a young woman breaks into his apartment, threatens him and starts babbling about minimalism and arson. Except that this young woman might be imaginary. The script is funny, original and touching, and director Jarrad Holbrook did beautifully by it, utilizing a clever, expressive set… More >>
  • Best Example of Theatrical Relevance

    Mediamockracy

    Director Mitch Dickman and actors Karen Slack, William Hahn and GerRee Hinshaw went out with recording equipment during the Democratic Convention in Denver, asking questions and shooting video. The result was the satiric Mediamockracy, which took on politics, corporate interests and media idiocy in the form of two fictive cable-show hosts: a viperous Fox-style anchor and a talk-show comic in… More >>
  • Best Environmental Staging

    The Hot L Baltimore

    There couldn't have been a better setting for this textured, nostalgic play than the cozy, elegantly proportioned lobby of the more-than-century-old Barth Hotel, or a script better suited to the environmental approach chosen by director Terry Dodd. The playing area brought out the intertwined passions and emotions of the script and, because it was no brighter than the rest of… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Musical

    Nova Y. Payton in 3 Mo' Divas

    All three divas in 3 Mo' Divas sang pieces that ranged from opera to blues to disco with great authority and power. All were sensational. But Nova Y. Payton stood out. When she gave her sexy, playful, yearning rendition of Gershwin's "Summertime," you felt as if you'd never heard the song before, and she stripped "My Funny Valentine" of its… More >>
  • Best Musical Number

    "Come Look at the Freaks," Side Show

    Amid the thunderous chords of "Come Look at the Freaks," the first number in Side Show, the cast formed a ragged circle at the perimeter of the stage. Although their expressions varied — blank or determined, resigned or defiant — they were all looking at us, the audience. You, they seemed to say, you, sitting comfortably in your plush seat,… More >>
  • Best Direction of a Musical

    The Producers

    So you're producing a blockbuster musical on a limited budget, a show known for productions that feature sparkly costumes, amazing technical effects and big, big musical numbers. What do you do to make audiences forget the Broadway show and those costly touring versions? Here's Michael J. Duran's answer: He assembled a cast of talented actors and ingenious tech people, and… More >>
  • Best New Recurring Musical Event

    The Soul Den - CLOSED

    Since relocating from Denver to its new home in Aurora last April, Shadow Theatre Company has become a forum for much more than just drama. Artistic director Jeffrey Nickelson and the Shadow crew have incorporated a wide range of performing arts into the theater's programming, including the new "Soul Den" concert series mounted by DaJazz Records CEO Michael Hancock in… More >>
  • Best Musical

    Woody Guthrie's American Song

    Woody Guthrie's was the voice of the people. And the songs we heard in Peter Glazer's eloquent musical — songs written by Guthrie in the 1930s — speak to us now: "I Ain't Got No Home in This World Anymore"; "The Jolly Banker" (who will help you out, then "come and foreclose, take your car and your clothes"); "Pastures of… More >>
  • Best Karaoke Night

    Rockstar Karaoke - CLOSED

    As bassist for the now-defunct Machine Gun Blues, Jermaine Smith is no stranger to the spotlight. The guy is no stranger to karaoke, either, having hosted karaoke nights at another spot for years. So it's only natural for the rock star (he's still a rock star to us) to set up shop at Rockbar, where he now sprinkles some of… More >>
  • Best Club Night

    Mommy's Little Monster - CLOSED

    You know a DJ's got mad skills when he's flown in every week just to host a club night. Such is the life of DJ Klaw, whose main gig is manning the decks at motocross champion Carey Hart's club in Vegas. Around the same time that Hart and Klaw unveiled Mommy's Little Monster at Wasted Space in Vegas's Hard Rock… More >>
  • Best Unconventional Club Night

    New Music Mondays Larimer Lounge

    Though the idea of inviting completely inexperienced musicians, journalists, promoters and scenesters to get behind the decks seems like a bad one — especially at the Larimer Lounge, a venue that rarely showcases dance music — DJ Hot to Death (aka Monolith Music Festival's Matt Fecher) has turned his weekly event into the place to be on Monday nights. Sparkly… More >>
  • Best DIY DJ Night

    Bring Your Own Records Party!

    Everyone who has been around the scene within the last decade either knows Sarah Slater or has seen her at some of the most interesting shows, local and otherwise. For the past couple of years, she's organized and hosted her Bring Your Own Records night at various places, now mostly Carioca Cafe (aka Bar Bar). Basically, you bring a handful… More >>
  • Best Jukebox

    3 Kings Tavern

    Like the place itself, the 3 Kings jukebox has a distinctly personalized feel. From homemade mix CDs to the other handpicked music selections, there's a little something for everybody: new and old punk (the Clash and X to Against Me!), some classic rock (ZZ Top and AC/DC), a little soul (James Brown and Stevie Wonder), as well as a bastion… More >>
  • Best Jukebox for Old-School R&B, Soul, Jazz and Country

    The Skylark

    The Skylark's penchant for mid-twentieth-century pop culture is clear in its jukebox collection, a diverse catalogue that spotlights giants from a wealth of genres. But the musical selection doesn't exist in a vacuum; rather, it adds a degree of authenticity to the 'Lark's collection of kitschy posters and nostalgic decor. Cuts from soul giants such as Etta James and Otis… More >>
  • Best Non-Alcoholic Late-Night Spot

    The Shoppe - CLOSED

    Bars are great places for hanging out and imbibing with friends, but when alcohol isn't on the agenda, why not catch up over huge mugs of coffee, bowls of custom-mixed cereal and a couple of gourmet cupcakes? The Shoppe welcomes visitors until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights; Tuesday through Thursday, you can grab a treat until 10 p.m.… More >>
  • Best Hangout for Wiccans

    Witches Brew - CLOSED

    Looking to map your chakras over chai, mix some magick into your mocha or just dabble in a little tea-time tarot? Point your broomstick right at Witches Brew, a charming little cafe overlooking Berkeley Lake that's become a gathering place for area pagans. Whether you want to join in an equinox celebration, stock up on crystals, candles and other ritual… More >>
  • Best Barista

    Greg Lefcourt

    Barista Greg Lefcourt has everything we've ever wanted in a java jockey. He's certainly got the skills, since his just-right java earned him the gold at the Mountain Regional Barista Championship in Thornton this past January. But he's also got the right amount of chutzpah to go along with his lattes. Whether it's boasting that Boulder cafes beat the beans… More >>
  • Best Coffee Beans

    Novo Coffee - CLOSED

    Not long ago, it would have been obscene for ritzy restaurant menus to name-drop their brand of coffee. But that's happening around here all the time now — especially when the coffee being used is Denver-based Novo Coffee. And that makes sense, since the family-owned Novo crafts coffee like other boutique outfits craft great wine or beer, seeking out the… More >>
  • Best Beer-and-Coffee Combo

    Great Divide Brewing Company and Pablo's Coffee

    Early mornings are for coffee and late nights are for beer, but the rest of the day? That's for Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout, a powerful seasonal brew from Great Divide Brewing Company that's been infused with espresso from Pablo's Coffee. The two Denver stalwarts (Great Divide popped its top in the Ballpark neighborhood in 1994, while Pablo's steamed… More >>
  • Best Beer-and-Whiskey Combo

    Oskar Blues Brewery and Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey

    Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey has its roots in beer, since the Denver micro-distiller was founded by Aspen Renaissance man and gonzo legend George Stranahan, who also started Flying Dog Brewery, which left Colorado last year for Maryland. But the award-winning hooch producer got even deeper into the beer world recently, by deciding to give its used whiskey barrels to local breweries… More >>
  • Best Bar for Drinking Beam

    Stadium Inn

    Be it fact or folklore, the Stadium Inn claims to sell more Jim Beam per square foot than any other bar in the country. This stat means $2 Beam drinks and shots all day, every day. It also means that each October, the first fifty lushes to sample all seven varieties of Beam that the bar offers receive a Degree… More >>
  • Best Blackout for Ten Bucks

    Bionic Beaver

    Infamous on Colfax for both beginning and ending nights, often simultaneously, the Squire Lounge's Bionic Beaver is just like the suicide slushies of your childhood, only much more incapacitating. For ten bucks, watch in awe as the bartender fills a 52-ounce pitcher with vodka, gin, rum, tequila, triple sec, PBR, grenadine and cranberry/orange/pineapple juices. This recipe is not exact, of… More >>
  • Best Bar Game of Chance

    Edgewater Inn

    Bars love gimmicks — they get you in the door, they get ya drinking more. And while any ol' place will sling a free drink or two for correctly calling a coin flip or sinking a quarter in a shot glass, only the true neighborhood joints shill drinks and cash. At the Edgewater Inn, it's all about back-alley Yahtzee. Pay… More >>
  • Best Bar for Dogs

    Barker Lounge

    Ask Barker Lounge co-owner Patrick Vigil whether dogs are allowed in his canine-themed bar, and he'll laugh like you've posed the most obvious question he's ever heard. Look around, he'll say, aiming his arm at every man inside his stray (straight + gay) establishment. Of course they're welcome! All men are dogs. (Get it?) But the four-legged variety? "We see… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar for Straight Men

    Hamburger Mary's

    Finally! A straight-friendly safe haven where hamburgers are the only meat that patrons want to eat. At Hamburger Mary's, the intimidating bare-chested bar hunks have been replaced with super-friendly, pot-bellied bears who've been trained to speak without a lisp. And the clientele is a heterosexual man's gay dream come true: just a smattering of preening Cherry Creek hairdressers amid a… More >>
  • Best Straight Bar for Gay Men

    Harry's

    When the blaring disco and bitchy drama of gay bars gets you down, it's time to take the show on the road to Harry's. And you don't even have to get on a plane. This '60s, space-age lounge is located in the corner of the Magnolia Hotel and can easily be accessed by light rail, should you not score the… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar

    Charlie's

    At Charlie's, it's like the (gay) stock show is in town every night. Since 1981 — before some of the studs who frequent the bar were even born — Charlie's has been the place to meet up, boot, scoot and boogie. If you're not into the cowboy way, there's a separate dance floor with plenty of flashing colored lights and… More >>
  • Best Dive

    Nob Hill Inn

    The Nob Hill Inn recently celebrated its fiftieth birthday. It's daunting to think of all the people who have spent hours on the stools there, killing time and waiting for the day to the end. But it's the kind of joint where it's easy to lose track of time. The square-shaped bar makes for easy people-watching, and with some of… More >>
  • Best Midnight Drink Deal

    Zephyr Lounge

    Two-for-ones on a Saturday night at midnight? Damn straight. While the morning happy hours have been a tradition at the Zephyr since it opened more than six decades ago, the place has two more happy hours that run daily, from 5 to 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. It's also one of the few places in town where… More >>
  • Best Smoking Area — Inside

    The Grizzly Rose

    Of course we know where the smoke-easies are, but we'll never tell. Not here. Not ever. Nobody likes a narc. We can reveal, however, that if you're a smoker and looking to get your country-music jam or line-dance on, you need look no further than the Tobacco Shop at the Grizzly Rose. A well-ventilated, closed-door room off the eastern alleyway,… More >>
  • Best Smoking Area — Outside

    The Fainting Goat

    The Fainting Goat took over a building on Broadway that's been a half-dozen restaurants and bars over the years, giving it a good cleaning, fixing the elevator and introducing a menu with an Irish accent. But the best innovation so far has been the bar added to the rooftop patio, which saves the servers (or customers) from having to run… More >>
  • Best New Bar

    Tooey's Off Colfax

    As a local rep for PBR, Alissa Anderson visited a quite a few bars in this town. The next logical step was to own a bar of her own. So last October, she and her husband bought the former Club Boca, which had been vacant for close to a year, did a quick renovation that involved moving the bar to… More >>
  • Best New Club

    Suite Two Hundred

    Francois Safieddine has been in the LoDo club business for fifteen years. During that time, he's launched such hot spots as Lotus, Monarck, 5 Degrees, Mynt and, a year ago, his super-posh 24K club. But Suite Two Hundred might just be the feather in Safieddine's cap. Since it opened last August, the ultra-slick upscale club, located in the former Lucky… More >>
  • Best Dance Club

    Beta

    It's not the state-of-the-art sound system, the primo location in LoDo or the crowds of beautiful people that make Beta Denver's best dance club (though none of that hurts). No, it's the high-caliber talent the place brings in week after week. In just its first year of operation, Beta has hosted a cavalcade of talent that reads like a who's… More >>
  • Best Rock Bar

    3 Kings Tavern

    Calling 3 Kings Tavern a rock bar just hints at the entertainment to be found here. From hosting an array of dance nights, burlesque revues and art shows in the basement gallery to presenting a full calendar of top-notch local talent (including a rare appearance by Slim Cessna's Auto Club) and compelling national acts (Red Fang and High on Fire… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club

    Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge

    After twelve years, Dazzle has definitively proved that it has what it takes to make a successful jazz club. Whether it's bringing in a steady stream of outstanding local jazz talent like Ron Miles and Kenny Walker (or the blues of the Shuffletones on Saturdays) and nationally recognized players like organ ace Joey DeFrancesco, Schoolhouse Rock composer Bob Dorough or… More >>
  • Best New Venue

    B.Side Lounge

    Formerly the Trilogy Lounge, the b.side is carrying on some of the musical legacy left of the former music venue and restaurant while carving out a niche of its own. Although DJs still frequently spin there, b.side has also brought in an eclectic mix of nationally renowned talent such as the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Dirty Sweet and the Mighty… More >>
  • Best New Venue — Denver

    The Loft

    When some of us would see the old Muddy's sign on the back of this building, we'd instantly remember the days when downtown Denver was both a scary place and one where interesting coffee shops and clubs could be found. When the building was renovated, a piece of Denver history was erased, and in its place was what looked like… More >>
  • Best Club Revival

    One Eyed Jacks - CLOSED

    The Continental Club had a lot of potential, but it only lasted a year. In January, former 15th Street Tavern owner Myke Martinez teamed up with musicians Desi Gonzalez and Maia Fortis to buy the spot, and they immediately began fixing it up. They made the stage bigger and painted it with black and white zigzags, dubbing it the David… More >>
  • Best Improved Venue

    Old Curtis St. Bar - CLOSED

    A few years ago, the Old Curtis St. Bar had terrible sound and a nearly sub-dive vibe. But it's steadily become a better place to play. There is now a small stage — outfitted with gear from the 15th St. Tavern  — and a rudimentary sound system that provides for decent vocals and kick-drum sound. With Joe Ramirez, Andy Wild and… More >>
  • Best New Blues Club

    Blues on Blake Supper Club - CLOSED

    After Brendan's closed up shop on Market Street and then unsuccessfully gave it a go at the spot where the Marquis Theater is now, a large hole was left in downtown's blues scene. Thankfully, Blues on Blake, which combined the former Laughing Dog Deli and Dugout spaces, stepped up to bring blues back into downtown. Modeled after the '40s and… More >>
  • Best Blues Jam

    Ziggie's

    Ziggie's has always been known as Denver's oldest blues bar, but Cherrie DuFour and Carla Jordan, who took over the place and remodeled it just over a year ago, have expanded the music selection by also bringing in R&B, funk, rock and jazz acts on Fridays and Saturdays. The other five nights are allotted to open mikes, alternately hosted by… More >>
  • Best Jazz Jam

    Tuesday session with Dan Schwindt

    Dan Schwindt definitely knows a few things about jazz guitar and improvisation, and he's performed with a ton of the region's heavier players. He's also carved out Tuesdays from his schedule for the past few years to head up the jazz jams in Dazzle's Dizzy room. One of the best ways to learn is through playing with other cats, and… More >>
  • Best Ambient-Music Showcase

    Textures

    The Gypsy House, situated on the southeast corner of 13th Avenue and Marion Street, isn't just the place to get some of the best chai in town and relax in a calming bohemian setting. On the second Sunday of every month, it also hosts Textures, a showcase for underground ambient music and sound art from around the country and beyond.… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Stage

    The Meadowlark

    Prior to its makeover sometime last spring, the back lot of the Meadowlark looked like a much-neglected community garden, sunflowers and all. But somehow, someone at the 'Lark turned the area into the outside equivalent of the bar's interior — intimate, even classy, but with more room and a calming ambience that you rarely find outside of certain jazz clubs… More >>
  • Best New Music Festival

    Mile High Music Festival

    The premiere of the Mile High Music Festival last summer yielded a unique opportunity for local music fans, offering them the chance to take in sets by homegrown musical heroes like Rose Hill Drive, the Photo Atlas, Born in the Flood and the Flobots in the afternoon, then spend the evening lolling on the grass to the strains of Tom… More >>
  • Best Local Concert

    The Fluid

    Band reunions that take place more than a decade down the line are generally sad affairs that tend to accentuate the passage of time rather than causing it to stand still. But even though the original members of the Fluid — John Robinson, Garrett Shavlik, James Clower, Rick Kulwicki and Matt Bischoff — hadn't played together since the early '90s,… More >>
  • Best Concert

    Tent State University Music Festival to End the War

    It's hard to imagine a more perfect setting for the return of Rage Against the Machine than Denver during the Democratic National Convention. Likewise, there couldn't have been a better supporting cast of kindred artists than State Radio, the Coup and the Flobots, who owe a debt to Rage ideologically and, to some extent, musically. With incendiary anti-war politics informing… More >>
  • Best Punk-Rock Reunion

    The Frantix

    A Fluid reunion show seemed unlikely fifteen years after the band broke up, but fortunately for us, it happened. Even more unlikely was the reunion of one of the true punk-rock legends of the Colorado scene: the Frantix. Before Matt Bischoff and Ricky Kulwicki helped to form the Fluid, both were in the Frantix, an act whose infamous song "My… More >>
  • Best New Recording

    Everything Absent or Distorted (A Love Story) The Great Collapse

    Everything Absent or Distorted's strong debut, The Soft Civil War, should have been difficult to improve upon — a sophomore slump would have been acceptable, even expected, from Denver's resident bombastic pop big band. But somehow the group pulled out all the stops and delivered a second album that not only fulfilled the promise of its stellar debut, but flat-out… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Album

    3 the Hardway, Set in Stone

    Colorado rapper A.V.I.U.S., producer Es-Nine and DJ Cysko Rokwel each had their own thing going on before they came together as 3 the Hardway: Cysko Rokwel was taking out DJs nationwide in the DMC Championships; Es-Nine was producing for local and national artists; and A.V.I.U.S. had just dropped his solid debut album, Patience. But with all three talents combined in… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Mixtape

    The Pirate Signal, Of Gods and Gangsters, Vol. 1

    For the fans who've played out the Pirate Signal's EP from 2006 like it was the only CD they owned, the duo's mixtape Of Gods and Gangsters, Vol. 1 was a breath of fresh air. The tape, entirely mixed by DJ A-What!, features Yonnas spittin' over original beats as well as beats used by M.I.A., 50 Cent and Kanye West,… More >>
  • Best Album Packaging

    Able Archer, EP01

    These days, CDs are seen as outmoded technology — a point made in a witty way by EP01, whose sleeve duplicates the design of an '80s-era floppy disc. Unlike a floppy, however, the CD inside will work in a modern computer drive. That way, Able Archer fans can go old-school in a new-school way.… More >>
  • Best Local-Music Reissue Bum Kon

    Bum Kon Drunken Sex Sucks

    Many of today's most extreme Denver bands were influenced by Bum Kon without even knowing it — and thanks to Drunken Sex Sucks, they can now fill in the gaps of their musical education. Only five of the 25 cuts here received a proper release, with the remainder appearing on an album for the first time. Tracks like "Giving In"… More >>
  • Best Companion DVD for local re-release

    The VSS, Nervous Circuits

    The re-release of the VSS's final album, Nervous Circuits, hardly needs recommendation. But Hydra Head, the label that put out the reissue, included a bonus DVD of live footage of the band from periods seemingly across its career, including shows at actual venues in Chicago, D.C., Brooklyn, Berkeley and Boulder, as well as at a church in Philadelphia. None of… More >>
  • Best New Band

    Young Coyotes

    Young Coyotes has been around for less than a year. In that short time, however, the act has released two EPs, embarked on several cross-country tours, recorded a Daytrotter session, been hailed on numerous blogs and attracted a high-powered manager in Blee Music's Brian Swartz (Rose Hill Drive). Seemingly milliseconds after forming, the band went from playing Saturday matinee sets… More >>
  • Best Singer-Songwriter

    Danielle Ate the Sandwich

    In the spirit of such acts as Dashboard Confessional, City and Colour and Bon Iver, Danielle Anderson opted to go with the clumsy Danielle Ate the Sandwich rather than her given name. Fact is, with a bewitching voice that sends shivers down any listener's spine and a lyrical sensibility and sense of humor that recalls Kimya Dawson, the Fort Collins-based… More >>
  • Best Supergroup

    Moonspeed

    Being dubbed a "supergroup" can be a bit of a curse, but when your band includes members of local luminaries such as Bright Channel, Space Team Electra, Moccasin and Monofog, that term seems somewhat justified. But it would be meaningless if the resulting music was one iota less powerful, uplifting or sonically inventive than the music of Moonspeed. With eleven… More >>
  • Best Confrontational Band

    Spellcaster's Rock and Roll Time Travel Committee

    It's hard to say if this is really a band or a performance-art group or both — or if it even matters to make such distinctions. It seems laughable to say that the act has developed since its debut early last year, but it has, adding various members along the way. "Spellcaster" is the group's vocalist, and throughout live performances,… More >>
  • Best Band Overhaul

    Achille Lauro

    Once upon a time, an Achille Lauro show was a rare and remarkable event. With multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter Brian Joseph on the road working sound for hotshots like the Fray and Bon Iver, the group just couldn't pull together very often. A few months ago, however, Achille Lauro and Joseph decided it made sense to head in different directions. This decision has… More >>
  • Best Band Playing Country the Way It Was Meant to Be Played

    The Hollyfelds

    The Hollyfelds five — Eryn and Keith Hoerig, Kate Grigsby, Tim Mallot and "Magic" Sam Spitzer — are blessed with talent to spare. The music on Saratoga, their most recent full-length, and the forthcoming EP Black Heart Blue, offer up crystalline harmonies, irresistible melodies, sturdy playing, and lyrics that feel lived rather than invented. But arguably their most important quality… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Producer

    Es-Nine

    He's produced tracks for the likes of KRS-One, Dilated Peoples, Braille and Killah Priest, but that's not why people are talking about Es-Nine. His group, 3 the Hardway, recently released its debut album, Set in Stone, which was entirely produced by Es-Nine and features some of the hardest head-nodding beats to come out of Colorado in some time. But it… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Crew

    L.I.F.E. Crew

    The L.I.F.E. Crew is a small collective of Colorado hip-hop artists who blew the doors off the scene in the past year. First up, Ichiban won Best Hip-Hop Solo Artist at the 2008 Westword Music Showcase, then dropped a slammin' debut album, Psycle Analysis, a few months later. That album was followed by ManeLine's sophomore effort, ...And Sew It Seams,… More >>
  • Best Rapper East of Colorado Boulevard

    F.O.E.

    While Jewell Tyme Music may be the best hip-hop label in Colorado, the star of the label has to be F.O.E. (Father of Enemies). Last year he dropped the excellent King of the Mountain mixtape, shined on the Music, Money, and Roundtables comp and kills every venue he's booked at. He's also been tapped by ManeLine, Diamond Boiz, Joe Thunder… More >>
  • Best Rapper West of Colorado Boulevard

    Whygee

    The curious case of Whygee: He's an unaffiliated Colorado hip-hop nomad who wanders all around the city but is mostly found near the center. His unique gruff voice is instantly recognizable and, with his thought-provoking and brash lyrical prowess, he's one of the best MCs in Colorado. He's proven this not only during his live show, but also on the… More >>
  • Best New Hip-Hop Crew

    The Food Chain

    Even though the Food Chain doesn't have a MySpace page, website or even a logo, it's made a big enough impression through a collection of leaked tracks for us to take notice. The Chain consists of producers Mass Prod, MoHeat and Mic Coats, with contributions from Frank E. and rappers Champ (aka Oren Lomena from Raw Sports/Fox Sports Rocky Mountain and… More >>
  • Best Homegrown Hip-Hop Hitmaker

    Frank E

    If you've listened to any hip-hop radio station in any major city recently, chances are you've heard some of Frank E's music — that's how big he's getting. He was the man behind the hit records "Please Excuse My Hands," from Plies featuring Jamie Foxx and the Dream; "Me & U," from Flo Rida; and a DJ Khaled/T-Pain mixtape joint… More >>
  • Best Dance-Music DJ

    DJ Dragon

    As a member of the Triad Dragons crew, DJ Dragon is part of a dance-music juggernaut that's quickly established itself as the top promotions company in the region. That's given him the chance to play on the same stages as some of the world's top talent, and he's made the most of his opportunities, showing time and again that he… More >>
  • Best Online Hip-Hop Show

    DJ Chonz on UStream.TV

    Aside from the worldwide fame of Vajra and Cysko Rokwel, DJ Chonz is probably the most famous of his brethren in Denver. He's on KS-107.5 every day, offering live mixes to listeners as they drive home from work; he's rocked a party at almost every club in town; and the ladies absolutely love the guy. But he barely gets to… More >>
  • Best Commie Music Project

    People's Kazoo Orchestra

    When Denver singer-songwriter John Common started putting out feelers for an all-kazoo ensemble, many folks assumed he was joking. However, as Common proved with the project's debut at the Oriental Theater in February, he was absolutely serious about the admittedly silly idea. The People's Kazoo Orchestra doesn't exist to bring more attention to Common, who hopes it will be a… More >>
  • Best Musical Collective

    Hot Congress

    Other Denver musical collectives have smartly put together bills and showcases of like-minded acts at various venues. And while Hot Congress has a similar agenda, its roster is impressively diverse, including bands as decidedly different as Action Friend, Widowers and the Jim Jims. This more inclusive approach seems likely to succeed where past efforts have not, especially since the collective… More >>
  • Best Guitar Hero

    Cole Rudy

    The games Guitar Hero and Rock Band have made far too many people of all ages think that playing guitar well is easy. Good thing someone as diversely talented at the instrument as Cole Rudy lives in Denver to show us how to do it right. Educated in jazz guitar, Cole is probably best known for his stints as the… More >>
  • Best Multimedia Musician

    Laura Goldhamer

    Video may have killed the radio star, but it only serves to set Laura Goldhamer in a class of her own. Her distinctive voice and vocal style, serious skills on guitar and banjo and evocative and beautiful songwriting are special enough to mark her as an artist to watch. Goldhamer takes it a step further by actually being an artist… More >>
  • Best Label

    Bocumast

    Some labels have a sound, others have a mission. Bocumast falls into the latter category, and what a mission it is! The defining characteristics of Bocumast's diverse roster, which ranges from the oddball post-punk guitar funk of Natural Selection to the oceanic electronic bliss pop of Iuengliss, are simple: They're all excellent, and none of them are afraid to take… More >>
  • Best DIY Live Recordings

    The Flat Response

    You may not know Lance Stack by name, but if you've been going to certain shows, you've probably seen his impressively portable, live recording setup. For over two years, Stack has been making high-quality recordings of live shows and posting them online. After getting a band's permission, he posts the tracks at his website, the Flat Response. A casual perusal… More >>
  • Best Band Name

    Sega Genocide

    Sometimes, all you need to know about a band is its name to know that it is some kind of awesome. For our money, Sega Genocide is just such a name. Combining nostalgia for our 16-bit, Blast-Processing youth with the bad taste inherent in any reference to genocide, Sega Genocide is a name that captures the imagination in that special,… More >>
  • Best Music Zine

    Ground Fuse

    When Ground Fuse first appeared in the summer of 2008, it was pretty much just a stapled-together affair that you could only find at Wax Trax and Blast-O-Mat. Sure, it could have been better edited, but what made it important was the fact that someone was taking the time to write about bands that got little or no other coverage.… More >>
  • Best Blog

    Donnybrook Writing Academy

    The Donnybrook Writing Academy combines insightful, amusing writing and an ironic embrace of elitism for an unfailingly snarky look at the Denver music and arts scene. Music is the core concern of the Donnybrook crew, but the topics don't stop there. You can find everything from the invaluable sex advice of Ivyy Goldberg and opinions on Denver's most fuckable rock… More >>
  • Best History Festival

    Celebrate 1908

    Back in 1908, the Democrats trucked in piles of snow to amuse delegates to the Democratic National Convention. A century later, the best entertainment inspired by the 2008 Democratic National Convention may leave a more permanent legacy. Celebrate 1908 was a two-day, multimedia festival of political and historical flashbacks that brought the issues and arguments of 1908 back to the… More >>
  • Best Free Entertainment

    "Mustang"

    Denver art takes off Devil horse inspires us to write Mile Haiku Who would imagine that a piece of public art could provide endless hours of entertainment? Back in 1993, New Mexican sculptor Luis Jiménez won a $300,000 commission to create a giant sculpture of a horse for the still-unopened Denver International Airport. From the start, art insiders were betting on… More >>
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