Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Local Reality-TV Star

    Mondo Guerra

    Denver's avid fashion community followed Mondo Guerra's on-air story as it unraveled during Project Runway's eighth season last summer and fall. And each week, our beloved made the cut, wowing the judges with his style panache — and stunning the world with his on-air admission to being HIV-positive. Lovable Mondo finished strong, with three consecutive wins in the second half… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater — Food/Drink

    Hollywood Theaters SouthGlenn Stadium 14

    Your basic ticket at the SouthGlenn Hollywood Theaters gets you high-back seats and more 3D screens than anywhere else — but a few extra bucks buys you entrance to the SkyboX, a balcony serving cocktails and food that's surprisingly diverse for theater chow, everything from pizza, sliders and bratwurst to a Cuban sandwich and lobster nachos. Alas, not every theater… More >>
  • Best Female-Friendly Club Night

    Female Trouble

    Rockstar Aaron knows how to throw a dance party. But that only makes sense, because for years he's been one of the hardest-working DJs in these parts, spinning regularly at least three nights a week. With Female Trouble, which he helms on Fridays at Bar Standard, he lays down an energetic mix of rock, dance and Top 40, tossing a… More >>
  • Best Weeknight Parties

    Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom

    Nearly every night, Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom plays host to local DJs and other rising talents, giving them the opportunity to showcase their craft in front of lively audiences — while also giving Denverites something compelling to do throughout the week, making the uphill climb to hump day bearable and the downhill slide into the weekend smooth and invigorating. This year… More >>
  • Best Monthly Party

    Whomp Truck

    Long a feature of First Fridays along Santa Fe Drive, the Whomp Truck has been making moves since last year, and recently dubstepped up its game with new additions. These days, the Whomp Truck blares and bumps around an assortment of events, blasting deep bass and electronica from its humble, open box — and even hosting its own shows at… More >>
  • Best Yearly Party

    Who's Having Fun? Fest

    On April 17, 2010, local musicians Kaz Bemski and Lindsay Thorson opened their home for the day-long Who's Having Fun? Fest. The event had a simple goal — to allow everyone to enjoy music in a booze-free, drug-free and smoke-free environment — and the fest more than accomplished that. Dream Wagon played a set on the porch, Pollination Population threw… More >>
  • Best DIY Fest

    Titwrench

    True to the do-it-yourself ethos, Titwrench exists solely through the time, energy and funding of its volunteers. Westword MasterMind winner Sarah Slater created the women-centered experimental noisefest in 2009 and keeps the spirit and interest of the community going throughout the year with Surfacing, a monthly, like-minded showcase of music and art. As a festival, Titwrench does more than just… More >>
  • Best DIY Noise Festival

    Denver Noise Fest

    With the tacit support of No Fun Fest founder Carlos Giffoni, John Gross of Page 27 and Todd Novosad of Novasak have created a festival of local and national acts connected to the noise, experimental-electronic and avant-garde music underground. Over the course of two nights last year, people got to witness acts as diverse as Giffoni's No Fun Acid, Crank… More >>
  • Best Experimental Music and Food Showcase

    Gorinto

    Last year, Corey Elbin set out to create a special night of community-oriented experimental music and performances, which just happened to include reasonably priced vegetarian and vegan meals. And with Gorinto, his Wednesday-night showcase of some of the most interesting avant-garde musicians and performance-art and dance acts in town, Elbin has thoroughly succeeded. Hosted on the second floor of the… More >>
  • Best Place to Eat and Hang Out With Rock Stars

    Illegal Pete's

    The Illegal Pete's outlet on the 16th Street Mall has long been Denver's unofficial punk-rock burrito epicenter, but this year the restaurant made it official with two outreach efforts: The Starving Artists Program feeds out-of-town bands here on tour, and the Eat and Greets sponsored by Suburban Home are a direct byproduct of that program. After all, if visiting bands… More >>
  • Best Annual Electronic Outdoor Party

    Pitch A Tent

    The Treehouse Collective is known around town for its old-school vibe and crew of talented DJs — and, of course, for the wicked-awesome parties it throws for house-heads. If you only go to one THC party this year, make it Pitch A Tent, the annual Labor Day house-music extravaganza set in the mountains near Idaho Springs. The 2010 admission price… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Album

    Son of the Crack Era

    Given how popular his city anthem has become, it's a bit surprising that Mr. Midas hasn't enlisted a chorus to walk behind him and chant the hook to his uber-catchy "Run My Town." The killer single released early from his full-length album Son of the Crack Era, "Run My Town" gave an immediate glimpse into the authentic material that Midas… More >>
  • Best Talking Over a Film

    Mile High Sci-Fi

    We all hate those people who spend the entire run time (and hefty admission price) of a movie loudly chatting about the plot points and the lead actress's boob job, but hand them a couple of microphones and an otherwise unwatchable piece of cinematic shit, and the result can be comedy genius. Of course, there are a few more qualifications… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Mixtape

    Sucks to Be You

    The rhymes on Sucks to Be You were originally supposed to appear solely on the oft-delayed Fuck Foe mixtape, which was scheduled for release last summer. But the process of putting out the mixtape proved far more tedious than originally planned, and FOE ended up collaborating with Qknox to produce and remix Sucks to Be You. And like Frankenstein, the… More >>
  • Best Electronic Album

    The Fire

    The music that VibeSquaD (aka Aaron Holstein) produces falls into the glitch-hop/mid-tempo/psychedelic-bass category, and he's got the talent and the know-how to push glitch-hop further than we knew it could go. His latest full-length album, The Fire, offers up complex layers that are flawlessly arranged, with split seconds of silence spliced into tracks at the perfect moment. From opener "Freshmaker"… More >>
  • Best Label Compilation Album

    Experimental Dance Breaks 36

    Label compilation albums are tricky to pull off; they have to work on multiple levels, from bringing in new fans to appeasing established ones. But the tongue-in-cheek name of Experimental Dance Breaks 36 shows exactly how a label should be doing it. This is equal parts old material, new material and — here's the important part — material from other… More >>
  • Best Use of the LP Format

    Polaroid in Reverse

    Eric Peterson's final record in his brief but influential career as a Denver musician was lathe-cut rather than pressed in the traditional manner. As a consequence, the record is more delicate and will bear the marks of repeated listens; the songs will become fuzzier and eventually disappear entirely into white noise. And in that way, the record embodies its message:… More >>
  • Best New Recording

    Survival Story

    Whether intentional or incidental, it seems pretty telling — and ironic — that Universal Records and Flobots parted ways after Survival Story, a thematic, far more carefully crafted and considered (not to mention better-sounding) album than its predecessor, Fight With Tools, which introduced the band to the masses and propelled its creators to fame based largely on the strength of… More >>
  • Best Song of the Year

    "1993"

    With American Tomahawk, Adam Halferty makes some of Denver's most beautiful, captivating music. His spartan yet soaring songs burn bright — but once your eyes adjust to the shower of sparks, you realize that those gorgeous melodies illuminate some truly horrific and harrowing shit lurking in the crevices. Like shards of glass baked into hard candy, the lyrics — which… More >>
  • Tjutjuna

    Best Album Cover

    Tjutjuna

    Tjutjuna's type of psychedelic space rock is a richly realized alloy of edgy darkness and playful exuberance swirling around a bright center of rippling melodies. But rather than go in for one of those retro cover designs that seem to grace the albums of most neo-psychedelic bands lately, the members of Tjutjuna approached their friend Milton Melvin Croissant III, one… More >>
  • Best Concert Documentary

    Warlock Pinchers

    When the Warlock Pinchers announced they'd be reuniting for two shows in August 2010, Denver exploded with excitement. Then, almost immediately after the shows, Eyeosaur Productions announced that it would be releasing a DVD chronicling the two nights — which led to more explosive anticipation. When the product was finally delivered in December, it combined live footage, behind-the-stage scenes and… More >>
  • Best Local-Music Documentary

    Denver Undiscovered

    When Backbeat's own Tom Murphy and Dane Bernhardt set out to make a documentary about the Colorado music scene, they had a big task ahead of them: Hundreds of bands had come and gone, never seeing their own story told. But the duo took on the massive project with grace, and the resulting Denver Undiscovered is a glimpse into the… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Documentary

    Soulz of the Rockies

    Denver has a rich and vibrant hip-hop history that extends back to the early '80s — from the days when seminal b-boy crews like D&S Connection, Radio Active and Dancers Unique first held it down to the years when hip-hop was kept alive by such latter-day torch-bearers as LOF (Lordz of Finesse), R-Sinareeo and GWT (Get With This). Likewise, the… More >>
  • Best Women's Comedy Night

    Ladies Laugh-in

    Humor-related studies have explained the dearth of women in comedy by suggesting that jokes are a form of social competition for men, who go for the laughs more often because it elevates them in status among their peers; women, on the other hand, aren't socialized in the same way. Whatever the case, comedy is a goddamn sausage party — and… More >>
  • Best Music Video

    "This Shell"

    There have been innumerable visually stunning, cool-looking videos made in the history of the format, but rarely is an idea alone impressive. Cue up the Gamits' video for "This Shell" in your browser, though, and you won't be treated to a flashy video; instead, you'll find yourself trying to piece together a puzzle. If you complete the game quickly enough,… More >>
  • Best Tiny Package

    "Here an incline so known to cause defeat, next a decline thunderous and bad for knees"

    There aren't enough three-inch CDs out there, but there's a logical explanation for that: Fewer and fewer people have CD players with trays in them, so it can be tough to even track down a way to play a three-inch CD. In typical Ash From Sweat style, this EP was released with lovely, hand-assembled packaging, a lyric sheet and even… More >>
  • Best Use of Music for Good

    Indulgent Space Folk, Vol. 3

    Mike Marchant is on the short list of Denver musicians who seem like they write great songs in their sleep — but no one is as generous with his talent. In addition to his prolific work as a guitarist-for-hire, Marchant has greatly increased the production of his own band over the past year. Recognizing the increasing impracticality of trying to… More >>
  • Best Ongoing Act of Charity by a DJ

    DJ Bedz

    DJ Bedz has built quite a name for himself over the years, first as a ubiquitous club DJ and then as the official DJ of the Denver Nuggets, host of White Shadow Radio and on-air mixer on Hot 107. But the most admirable part of his legacy is his support of Safehouse Denver, the nonprofit dedicated to sheltering women and… More >>
  • Best Use of Time to Produce a Discography

    Colin Ward

    Over the past twelve months, Colin Ward — who sometimes goes by Alphabets, or Phonebooks — has released more than a dozen virtual and tangible albums of original work and remixes. His stream-of-consciousness productions combine the rhythmic meditations of rainforest sounds with layers of vocal and electronic loops, which are then expelled in multimedia-packaged albums like the three he's released… More >>
  • Best Record Label

    Plastic Sound Supply

    Plastic Sound Supply has not released a bad record. That's pretty damn admirable, even though the label is only on its twelfth release. But packed inside those dozen albums are some of the best sounds ever to come out of Denver, and like a Fat Cat Records or Warp Records, the label produces a wide variety of music, everything from… More >>
  • Best Cassette-centric Label

    Laser Palace

    From their Capitol Hill apartment, the husband-and-wife duo of Ryan McRyhew and Kristi Schaefer put out music — mostly on cassette tape — on their own Laser Palace label. Each release is a one-of-a-kind work of art in itself: Schaefer crochets some cassette cases, and others are hand-painted by Schaefer's sister, Gretchen, as well as other artists. Nine-to-fivers by day… More >>
  • Best Marketing Gimmick

    Custom Valentines

    A couple years back, Andy Guerrero put his funk band Bop Skizzum on hiatus in order to focus full-time on the understandably pressing matters of being a member of Flobots. But now the Bop is back and — if you'll forgive the cliché — better than ever. The music is alive with energy, and the band is tackling its business… More >>
  • Best Use of Fog to Blind the Audience

    Page 27

    Fog is a dangerous entity for fans, especially when the band using it is hell-bent on filling the venue with so much that nobody can see a foot in front of them. Page 27 loves fog, and would use the tool to a degree that would cause permanent blindness if it could. Combined with the chaotic, often headache-inducing music, the… More >>
  • Best Singer-Songwriter

    Mesita

    The town's best new singer-songwriter doesn't really play shows — but even so, James Cooley, who releases under the Mesita moniker, is one of the most compelling local songwriters in recent memory. With a breathtaking falsetto croon that recalls Bon Iver, he plays a gorgeous brand of folk that will, well, take your breath away. Even more impressive, he performs… More >>
  • Best First Date for Cat Ladies

    Singles Safari

    Looking for a way to make up for a dip in donations due to the lagging economy, the Denver Zoo came up with an event that's both money-making and, if things go well, baby-making: the Singles Safari, a one-night party at which 500 men and 500 women wander the zoo, looking for love and stopping by various "Ask Me" stations,… More >>
  • Best New Band

    BLKHRTS

    BLKHRTS has been around, at least in theory, for the better part of a year — but it wasn't until this past January that it really found its legs. Until then, BLKHRTS (formerly Black Hearts) was rightly considered by most to be just a side project of Yonnas Abraham, and the group — Abraham, FOE, Karma and Catch Lungs —… More >>
  • Best Quick Death and Resurrection of a New Band

    Astrophagus/Port Au Prince

    The death of Astrophagus was announced in September, and before the body was even cold, in November the majority of the band's members announced that they were with a new group, Port Au Prince. Usually when there's this much overlap, the offshoot band ends up sounding exactly like the one from which it was birthed, but somehow Port Au Prince… More >>
  • Best Reunion of a Band That Never Broke Up

    Mr. Pacman

    At no point did Mr. Pacman actually toss in the towel, but the bit-pop group certainly disappeared for a long while. Then suddenly last year, Mr. Pacman emerged again, this time as a solo act, with a controller and a keytar. Although the band's raw, ridiculous energy and costumes were all intact, one man now had the reins — and… More >>
  • Best Rapper East of Colorado Boulevard

    Innerstate Ike

    For Innerstate Ike, hip-hop is deeper than rap. You won't find this guy spitting melodic rhymes about pretty girls over piano beats; he represents his 'hood and his movement with thought-provoking lyrics. Ike, a legend in the streets, has earned his stripes. And he's the epitome of an enterprising, consistent DIY contributor to the local hip-hop scene, always at the… More >>
  • Best Rapper West of Colorado Boulevard

    Spoke in Wordz

    Spoke in Wordz represents the best of a dying art. The importance of oral history isn't often emphasized, especially in hip-hop, yet there are some performers who can recite the backstory of their favorite MC or most poignant hip-hop moment at the drop of a hat. Spoke is that kind of guy. Not only is he incredibly learned in the… More >>
  • Best Addition to the Local Hip-Hop Scene

    Sole

    When Sole, aka Tim Holland, split from Anticon and moved to Denver, the city got an unusual treat — not just a stellar addition to the hip-hop scene, but a live performer whose progressive attitude toward the music industry has subsequently given us plentiful releases of both the free and for-purchase varieties. His attachment to multimedia projects, public-speaking events and… More >>
  • Best Local Hip-Hop Champion

    Joe Thunder

    Joe Thunder is a staple in the hip-hop scene, whether he's filming the hottest freestyle ciphers outside of shows or hosting his Lazy Sunday DVD series, which emphasizes the talents of the brightest local stars. Thunder promotes all facets of the scene, everything from rapping and deejaying to graffiti and b-boying. With his trusty camera by his side, he continues… More >>
  • Best All-Around Hip-Hop Ambassador

    Delfino "Fienz" Rodriguez

    Denver's hip-hop roots run deep. And if there's one b-boy who's doing his part to keep that culture alive, it's Delfino Rodriguez. Better known in hip-hop circles as Fienz, the graf writer, gifted dancer, Bronx Boys member and Lords of Finesse co-founder is teaching a whole new generation the ways of hip-hop and reaching a whole new audience with the… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Project

    Colorado Stand Up

    Last summer, sketches of various members of the local hip-hop scene — they looked like expertly illustrated police composites — started cropping up as avatars on Facebook, on the pages of everyone from local DJs like Lazy Eyes to local rappers like A.V.I.U.S. The resemblance to these luminaries was uncanny, and everyone instantly wanted to know who was responsible for… More >>
  • Best Live Hip-Hop Band

    BigWheel Electrosoul

    If live instrumentation were a living organism, you would find it alive and well at Appaloosa Grill on Tuesday nights. That's when the trio of DJ Check One, Charlie Parker Mertens and Qknox join as BigWheel Electrosoul and set the place ablaze with their progressive and confident brand of hip-hop. With Check One on drums, Qknox on keys and Mertens… More >>
  • Best Place to See Real People Employed as Pirates

    Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah From Slave Ship to Pirate Ship

    Ahoy! Besides being the only place in the entire world where you can currently go to see real, actual, verifiable pirate treasure — although it's not the only treasure ever dredged up from a shipwreck, it is the only treasure ever confirmed as having been possessed by pirates — the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is the only place… More >>
  • Best DJ Crew

    Moolah Boyz

    Maintaining various residencies at all of the top-notch hip-hop clubs in the city, the Moolah Boyz — Ktone, KDJ Above and DJ Top Shelf — are everywhere, introducing hit songs getting heavy burn in other regions to a Denver crowd while keeping local hip-hop music in heavy rotation. Pooling their collective talents, the three rock clubs, pack venues, make pretty… More >>
  • Best DJ Presence

    Colorado DJs at the 2010 DMCs

    Okay, so none of the dudes actually ending up winning this year, but still, it's a pretty big deal that five of the dozen contenders at the finals of the DMC World DJ Championships last year in New York City were from Colorado. Even more impressive, while three of those — DJs Notch, Skip Ripkin and B*Money — qualified locally,… More >>
  • Best Guerrilla Rapping Tactics

    Turner Jackson

    Throughout September, Turner Jackson roamed the city wearing a sandwich board proclaiming "Freestyles Are Still Free." His guerrilla rapping approach showcased his ability to rap his face off at will and proved that the art of freestyle is not only alive and well, but integral to your rapping persona. Using pretty much anything around him at the time, Turner —… More >>
  • Best New Experimental Rock Band

    Holophrase

    Had Katrina Ford stayed dark and spooky after she parted ways with Lovelife and formed Celebration, that act might have developed a sound similar to that of Holophrase. The angular chilliness of early Magazine and the caustic psychedelic sound of Damon Edge-era Chrome can also be heard as ghostly influences on this band's overall sound. Stirringly haunting, Holophrase brings together… More >>
  • Best New Ambient Project

    Kevin Costner Suicide Pact

    If you ever had the pleasure of seeing Fellow Citizens perform their ambitious and atmospherically charged pop songs, you can be excused for not expecting what any members of that band might bring to Kevin Costner Suicide Pact. The name of the act is humorous, but it also suggests that the music has a serious side. And while it's doubtful… More >>
  • Best Band to See Live Anytime, Anywhere

    Hot White

    In 2010, Hot White opened for No Age at the Bluebird and the Warlock Pinchers at the Gothic, but the band is equally content playing basement shows and house parties. Whether climbing tables at the Meadowlark or scraping the cement at Rhinoceropolis, the trio of young punks easily fills any size room with plenty of attitude and noise. The bitter… More >>
  • Best Band That's Still in High School

    SAUNA

    Molly Bartlett, Samantha Davis, Ethan Hill and CJ Macleod have to be the coolest kids at their high school. By day, they're regular teenagers; by night, they turn into SAUNA, an intelligent pop band that crams jumpy beats and reverb-heavy guitars into a perfect throwback package. When the band isn't performing, you can find its members at the foot of… More >>
  • Best Guerrilla-Style Band

    Itchy-O Marching Band

    While living in the Bay Area, Scott Banning, an associate of Crash Worship, was a member of the Extra Action Marching Band and the San Francisco Taiko Dojo. But it wasn't until he decided to try to turn Itchy-O from a sit-down musical endeavor into something more visceral — and on the move — that he managed to combine his… More >>
  • Best Band to Play an Hour-Plus Set

    Skully Mammoth

    Medical marijuana cardholders, meet your new favorite band: Skully Mammoth. Taking some obvious cues from Sleep and Sabbath, these barely-out-of-high-school dudes make droney, psychotropic rock that just goes on and on and on. And on. If the jammy metal four-piece was never told to stop playing, chances are it probably never would. If you're into sludge and have an hour… More >>
  • Best Band to See on a Date

    Lust-Cats of the Gutters

    What better band to see on a date than one that sings about awesome dates? With Lust-Cats of the Gutters, the dual vocals of Robin Edwards and Alex Edgeworth are like a personal cheerleading section, singing about really wanting to get to know you, hanging out with your grandma and, eventually, sticking their tongues in your mouth. Or close enough.… More >>
  • Best DIY Arts Promoters

    John and Kim Baxter

    Winner of Best Scene Enthusiast in 2008, John Baxter has long been a force to be reckoned with in the local music scene, the rare type of promoter whose commitment to the arts outweighs the unsavory connotations of the term "promoter." And in ZetaKaye House, where he's teamed up with wife Kim Baxter, he's really outdoing himself. A merger of… More >>
  • Best Communal Collective

    Lunar Fire

    You really have to see Lunar Fire to understand what's so special about this collective. You can't accurately call it a band, because dancers are an integral part of the show, often leading the musical improvisation through movement. And what dancers they are, implementing fantastical costuming, spinning fire, aerial acrobatics and more while the world-jam-rock fusion pounds out behind their… More >>
  • Best Collaboration Between Artists Who Are Also Musicians

    Modern Witch

    Both collage and multimedia artists in their own right, Kristy Foom and Mario Zoots make up Modern Witch, and when the two come together, the magic is multiplied. This act uses alternative modes of recording — like the microphone on an old VHS camera — to capture its dark and warbling down-tempo tracks. Since Foom works out of Amsterdam most… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Producer

    Qknox

    If Frank Sinatra produced hip-hop songs, Qknox, one-third of the beat-making/production team GirlGrabbers, would be his direct offspring. Classy, charming, debonair and erudite, Qknox taps into his inherent love for music in order to deliver some of the most progressive and distinctive hip-hop translations to come out of Colorado. Displaying exceptional flair on several hit-making projects, including FOE's Sucks to… More >>
  • Best Local Dubstep Producer

    Alert

    As both a producer and a DJ of the so-hot-it's-on-fire dubstep sound, Alert is taking the subgenre to new heights — or, more appropriately, to deep, wobbly, bass-thumping lows. You can tell by listening that Alert is a big horror-movie fan; his tracks are like stepping into a nightmare, but in a good way. The ominous bass tones meld with… More >>
  • Best Rapper Presence on Facebook

    Cavem Moetavation

    As a local activist raising community awareness of inner-city topics, Cavem Moetavation uses every tool he can. He frequently pops up in person at hip-hop shows to spit out a rhyme or two, and he works with programs such as Art From Ashes. In everything he does, Cavem is an ambassador for the hip-hop world and an upstanding representative of… More >>
  • Best Facebook Rants From a Promoter

    Kevin Kain

    Kevin Kain is not your typical party promoter. Not only is he part of a team of folks who frequently and consistently pack Denver's hottest hip-hop nights, but he manages to stay on point with his Facebook game, ranting with the eloquence of a judge and the lexicon of a journalist. Whether it's about the club fuckery he experiences or… More >>
  • Best Denver Music Cheerleader

    Pictureplane

    Whether this dude is partying hard in Moscow or shooting couches with a shotgun between shows in Alaska, Pictureplane is always talking about Denver. The Rhinoceropolis inhabitant has been going his own way for the better half of a decade, but as his goth star has risen, so has the promotion of his adopted home town. Mr. Plane, aka Travis… More >>
  • Best Name-Check by Alternative-Rock Icons

    Caldera Lakes

    Thurston Moore and Byron Coley surprised just about everyone when they picked local band Caldera Lakes (aka Eva Aguila and Brittany Gould) as one of their favorite things in their monthly Tongue Top Ten column in Arthur magazine last year. And later, when Sonic Youth played the Ogden Theatre, rather than have a more conventional touring band open the show,… More >>
  • Best Name-Check by a Classic-Rock Legend

    Nathaniel Rateliff

    Nathaniel Rateliff has had a banner year. He became chummy with Mumford & Sons and made tons of other friends on the road, including such kindred artists as the Delta Spirit. On the strength of his excellent Rounder Records debut, In Memory of Loss, the erstwhile Born in the Flood frontman captured the attention of everyone from Amazon.com, which listed… More >>
  • Best Music Blog

    Something Like Sound

    As an engineering student at the prestigious School of Mines, Tim Weilert has no business being a successful blogger. It's hard to imagine how he finds the time to write about local music on Something Like Sound. At least for the first part of the blog's existence, he had help: Together with Spencer Nelson and Jake Rezac, he built a… More >>
  • Best Modern-Day P.T. Barnum

    Dana Cain

    We've gone hoarse yodeling the praises of Dana Cain, giving her a cover story and an honorary MasterMind award, but all for good reason: The local event promoter and patron of the arts is having the biggest year yet in her storied career of celebrating all things Denver with Barnum-esque hoopla and a modern quirkiness. Her roster of new and… More >>
  • Best Addition to Denver's DIY Music Community

    Brass Tree Collective

    One step into the Brass Tree house and what sets this makeshift venue apart is immediately apparent: There are cameras everywhere. The free shows at the house venue are all recorded and quickly turned around as short, film-style pieces of music history. Only three episodes into its series, Brass Tree has already captured legendary performances by Hot White, Thee Goochi… More >>
  • Best Community Orchestra

    Jefferson Symphony Orchestra

    Founded in 1953 as the Mines Chamber Ensemble, the Jefferson Symphony Orchestra has evolved into the toast of Golden, thriving in an era when even big-name orchestras are struggling to fill the seats. Chalk it up to the dedication of nearly a hundred talented musicians who volunteer long hours to the cause; stability at the helm (conductor William Morse has… More >>
  • Best Electronic-Music Show

    LOVE

    Fans of house music were ecstatic when they discovered that well-respected DJ Doc Martin and the long-dormant Dubtribe Sound System would be visiting Casselman's for an event titled simply "LOVE." And it was impossible not to feel the love while hearing the music wash over the crowd. Martin charmed with a mixture of old-school and brand-new tracks, exhibiting his mastery… More >>
  • Best Reunion

    Warlock Pinchers

    Not so long ago, no one would have predicted that these shows would ever have happened. But Andrew Novick and Daniel Wanush put aside any rancor still outstanding from the Warlock Pinchers' 1992 breakup and performed a one-off collaborative show with Wanush's dancehall group, Murder Ranks. When that proved to be entirely too much fun, the Pinchers pulled together all… More >>
  • Best Show at a Starbucks

    Nervesandgel

    Once upon a time, the coffee shop was a place for anyone with a guitar and a decent voice to take a stab at performing. Starbucks all but eliminated this concept in the '90s, though, replacing it with purchasable music-that-fits-a-lifestyle compilations. So in 2010, who better to play at a Starbucks (at 934 16th Street) than nervesandgel, resident noise creator… More >>
  • Best Concert

    Roger Waters

    There was no shortage of memorable concerts over the past year, with shows ranging from Lady Gaga at the Pepsi Center to LCD Soundsystem at the Fillmore to Gorillaz at Wells Fargo. But none were quite as memorable as this one. Three decades after Pink Floyd first conceived this production, technology finally caught up to the original vision, and Roger… More >>
  • Best Pop-Up Art Champion

    Jaime Kopke

    Jaime Kopke came and Jaime Kopke went; after the local design blogger gifted Denver with a popular Pecha Kucha series and the ephemeral Denver Community Museum pop-up venue, she shut down the popular hands-on people's museum and headed off to England for grad school. It was a long year, but now Kopke's back and working with local museums to create… More >>
  • Best Free Entertainment

    Mighty 4 Denver

    It's one thing to hear about the four elements of hip-hop or even to experience them peripherally. Driving around town, you might admire the elaborately scrawled graffiti while listening to someone on the radio rapping. And if you've been to a club, chances are you've danced to a DJ or maybe even watch somebody breakdance. It's another thing entirely to… More >>
  • Best Night for Word Nerds

    Rock 'N' Roll Spelling Bee

    At 10 p.m. on any given Monday night, the corner of Tenth and Santa Fe is a pretty quiet place. But don't let that fool you: Inside Interstate Kitchen & Bar, the weekly Rock 'N' Roll Spelling Bee is buzzing. The brainchild of bartender Kevin Galaba, the bee, accompanied by a soundtrack favoring the likes of Chuck Berry and Jerry… More >>
  • Best Dressed Reality-TV Contestant

    Julie Zorrilla

    At one point, Julie Zorrilla, the twenty-year-old Denver School of the Arts alumna featured on this round of American Idol, was our odds-on favorite to win the whole competition and become the franchise's next breakout act. We can dream, can't we? Although Zorrilla was eliminated, we're sure we haven't heard the last of her, or her stunning original material. And… More >>
  • Best Rebound

    Denver Zine Library

    Have zines, will travel. The Denver Zine Library has gone from a garage in the Baker neighborhood to a storefront in Highland to the Other Side Arts on Platte Street into limbo, shutting down in the summer of 2009 when it could no longer pay rent. But a year later, the underground project resurfaced: DZL co-founder Kelly Shortandqueer has unpacked… More >>
  • Best Artist Community

    Wazee Union/Walnut Workshop

    S. Brian Smith and Neil Adam wheel and deal real estate, but to them, a building isn't just a building. When they saw an empty warehouse and former factory wasting away down by the railroad tracks off of Brighton Boulevard, they envisioned creating something modern and bold, a community-builder with a concrete floor. And so Wazee Union was born. Inspired… More >>
  • Best Home Gallery

    Super Ordinary Gallery

    Not every couple chooses to open a gallery in their own home, but leave it to design-savvy Tran and Josh Wills to do just that. No sooner had they finished fixing up and settling into their urban family dream home in RiNo, but they opened up Super Ordinary Gallery in hopes of promoting downtown style, artists and ideals to the… More >>
  • Best Rising-Star Gallery

    Illiterate Gallery

    It's easy to dis a gallery run by the young and penniless. They're young and penniless. They don't know what they're doing. They're taking a gamble on unproven artists. But Illiterate is proof that all you really need to survive the gallery jungle is an unwavering commitment to promoting those very artists who might not otherwise find a niche. And… More >>
  • Best Art Exhibit for Foodies

    How to Eat an Artichoke?

    The work of Viviane le Courtois is all about community, waste, decay and everyday things, and those themes followed through in her RedLine installation How to Eat an Artichoke?, a complex study of the community of eating and its by-products. The exhibit began with an elaborately set, completely hand-built beetle-kill pine table, set with homemade ceramics and other accoutrements made… More >>
  • Best Artistic Field Trip

    Bored of Directors

    The underground creative collective of Tuyet Nguyen, Matt Scobey and Tony Farfalla excels at kicking ideas around. One of them, to tear down gallery walls, both real and subjective, and hang art in the streets, took shape when they traveled down to Miami Beach with an artist entourage to do that very thing, during the annual citywide arts fair Art… More >>
  • Best Artistic Billboard

    "Faces of Colorado Art"

    Slapped up boldly on the backside of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House along Champa Street, the massive "Faces of Colorado Art" is a tribute to the region's talented creative pool, a who's who checkerboard of local artwork and artist portraits. Thank the Denver Theatre District, which worked with Plus Gallery's Ivar Zeile to put the cultural patchwork together, for a… More >>
  • Best Street Art

    The Big Picture

    Perhaps because Denver is not particularly known for its street art, let alone its rich cache of artists and photographers, Month of Photography promoter Mark Sink and Illiterate Gallery decided to do something to help change the way the nation — make that the world — views us. And how. Together, they masterminded and provided the local manpower for a… More >>
  • Best Art-District Icon

    "Rhino"

    Sculptor Mike Whiting's monumental, weathered and pixel-shaped "Rhino," installed last year at 24th and Larimer streets and sponsored by the Broadway Viaduct Lower Maintenance District, creates an incredible entry to the RiNo Art District. The tough-as-nails, sky-blue steel ungulate polices the intersection fiercely yet comically, as if daring you to come in. Don't mind if we do.… More >>
  • Best Evolving Gallery District

    RiNo

    River North, with its active enclave of studios and workshops, has always stood by its motto "Where Art Is Made." But increasingly, it's also where art is seen, as more and more galleries open their doors in the neighborhood. These days, the funky and the tony rub elbows happily in RiNo, as evidenced by the recent move to the area… More >>
  • Best Film Performance by a Colorado Governor

    John Hickenlooper

    November was a banner month for John Hickenlooper: The beer-brewer-turned-mayor stepped into the big leagues of politics with his actual election to the office of governor of Colorado, as well as through his fantasy role as a U.S. senator in Casino Jack, directed by his cousin, director George Hickenlooper, who passed away shortly before the film played the Starz Film… More >>
  • Best Lifetime Achievement in the Arts

    Hal Gould

    Most of the masters of Denver's current photo scene weren't even born when now-ninety-something Hal Gould opened his House of Photography in Cherry Creek in 1955. And he was an accomplished photographer long before that, having gotten his first camera in 1932. He went on to help establish the Colorado Photographic Arts Center in 1963, mounting shows as the exhibition… More >>
  • Best Gallery District

    Golden Triangle

    Denver has an abundance of arts districts — there's the town's biggest, along Santa Fe Drive, one in LoDo and another in RiNo; there are arts districts in Cherry Creek North and along Tennyson Street, among other places. But for a true arts district, it's impossible to beat the Golden Triangle, the area circumscribed by Broadway, Colfax Avenue and Speer… More >>
  • Best New Public Art

    "The Red Forest"

    "The Red Forest" sprouted up last year near the west steps of the Millennium Bridge in the Platte Valley, adding another exemplary piece of public art to Denver's collection. Using synthetic rods colored red, Egypt-born Australian artist Konstantin Dimopoulos mounted clusters that look like clumps of reeds to create "The Red Forest." When the air is still, the clustered rods… More >>
  • Best Temporary Public Art

    "Between Life and Death"

    Denver's Biennial of the Americas came and went last year without leaving any real mark on the community — except for the Chevy that's mounted above a reflecting pool across from the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. The idea of having a car aiming at the ground is simple, yet "Between Life and Death" is very impressive. It was created… More >>
  • Best New Public Art That's Actually Old

    Anthony Magar Sculpture

    Back in 1968, a group of local sculptors and their friends from around the country descended on Burns Park, a triangular patch of turf bounded by Colorado Boulevard, Alameda Avenue and Leetsdale Drive, and erected a series of minimalist sculptures for the first — and only — Denver Sculpture Symposium. One of those sculptors was Anthony Magar of New Mexico,… More >>
  • Best Museum Exhibit

    Over the River

    Christo and his late wife, Jeanne-Claude, first achieved worldwide fame with "Valley Curtain," a project they carried out in Colorado in the 1970s. For that massive work, the pair suspended an enormous drapery across Rifle Gap in the western portion of the state. Thirty years later, they again looked to Colorado for what will surely be one of their last… More >>
  • Best Gallery Show — Solo

    Dale Chisman in Retrospect

    The late Dale Chisman was a giant in Denver's art world. Not only was he one of the state's most significant abstractionists, he was also an advocate for the arts who championed the work of emerging artists and was among the founders of Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, where his memorial service was held shortly after he died in 2008.… More >>
  • Best Gallery Show — Group

    Merge

    Metropolitan State College of Denver — perhaps soon to be known as Denver State University — has the largest set of art departments in Colorado, with something like a thousand art majors. That's surely one of the reasons that Merge, a group show devoted to the efforts of Metro's alums, was so damn strong: An amazing number of artists have… More >>
  • Best Two-Part Solo

    Emilio Lobato

    Keeping abstraction new and different has led to the development of neo-modernism, which harks back to the mid-twentieth century but looks thoroughly modern at the same time. That's surely the case with Colorado's own Emilio Lobato, the subject of not one, but two solo shows right now. At the venerable Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, there's Mi Linda Soledad/My Beautiful… More >>
  • Best Club Night

    '80s & '90s Retro/Goth

    When Rock Island closed in 2006 after a long, legendary run, it left a big hole in the gothic and industrial community. While there are still rumors that Rock Island will one day start up again, it's probably not going to happen anytime soon. In the meantime, for those who frequented the legendary club on 15th Street, there's a good… More >>
  • Best Wild West Show

    Charles Deas and 1840s America

    The artist at the center of Charles Deas and 1840s America had quite a story. Charles Deas was from a once-prominent family in Philadelphia; after studying art in New York, he headed out west to record the previously undocumented people and places in the area. And then, after producing a body of incredibly accomplished work on the Indians and the… More >>
  • Best Film Performance by a Mayoral Candidate

    Jeff Peckman

    Out-of-this-world mayoral candidate Jeff Peckman has gotten face time on The Daily Show (back when he was pushing a Denver ballot initiative calling for Safety Through Peace) and Late Night With David Letterman, where he touted his proposal that the city create an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission. But his best-timed appearance may have been in the movie trailer for Battle: Los… More >>
  • Best Place to See the Art of Colorado's Past

    Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

    When Vance Kirkland, Denver's premier mid-century modernist painter, died in 1981, he left his estate of magnificent watercolors and paintings to Hugh Grant — the artist's longtime friend who is decidedly not the well-known actor with the same name. In the late 1990s, Grant decided to share the collection with the public, a decision that resulted in the founding of… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy the Art of Colorado's Past

    Z Art Department

    Randy Roberts is a bohemian's bohemian, so it's surprising to some that he's also clearly an art connoisseur. A couple of years ago, he added Z Art Department to his mini-modernist shopping center on Speer Boulevard that also includes Zeitgeist and Z Modern, shops devoted to vintage and contemporary design, respectively. As can be inferred by its name, Z Art… More >>
  • Best Place to See and Buy the Art of Colorado's Future

    Even Younger Than Jesus

    The evocative — and provocative — title of Even Younger Than Jesus, presented over the holidays at Robischon Gallery, Denver's flagship art venue, referred to the fact that Christ was said to have been crucified at the age of 33, so everyone featured in this wide-ranging group show was that age or younger. While artists from around the country were… More >>
  • Best Sculpture Show

    Moore in the Gardens

    For one of the most important exhibits ever presented in Denver, Moore in the Gardens, curated by Anita Feldman, a substantial group of monumental pieces by Henry Moore, the greatest modernist sculptor England has ever produced, were brought together. The large works, which looked sort of like three-dimensional versions of Picasso's surrealist paintings, were artfully scattered around the beautiful grounds… More >>
  • Best Impersonation of a Museum by a Co-op

    Ice Cube Gallery

    Though it started up just over a year ago, the Ice Cube Gallery has already made its mark not just in RiNo, but in Denver's art world as well. This is partly because of the obvious talent of the co-op's members, who include Sophia Dixon Dillo, Theresa Anderson, Karen Roehl, Carol Browning, Katie Caron, Michael Gadlin, Ray Tomasso and Regina… More >>
  • Best Official Biennial of the Americas Show

    The Nature of Things

    So few people went to see The Nature of Things, the official show connected with last summer's Biennial of the Americas, that the admission fee was waived for the final days of its run. That was a smart move, because the show was too good to miss. It was put together by a young, hot-shot curator from Mexico, Paola Santoscoy,… More >>
  • Best Unofficial Biennial of the Americas Show

    Perceptions

    Not only were Colorado artists marginalized by the Biennial of the Americas, but so were local galleries. This situation inspired Bobbi Walker to mount an unofficial Biennial entry at her namesake gallery. Perceptions included abstract wall installations by Sabine Aell and sculptures by Kim Ferrer and John Murphy. But the tour de force was a hyperrealist installation of people around… More >>
  • Best Update of a Longstanding Colorado Tradition

    At the Edge of the World - CLOSED

    For whatever reason — maybe because of the way the mountains stand out crisply and firmly against the sky — hard-edge abstraction has deep roots in Colorado, going back more than half a century to the work of Aspen's Herbert Bayer. Other artists in the state who have embraced the approach include Angelo de Benedetto, Otto Bach, Bev Rosen, George… More >>
  • Best Photo Show — Solo

    Blurring the Edges - CLOSED

    Denver's wizard with PhotoShop — as well as makeup and costuming — is John Bonath, whose solo Blurring the Edges filled the funky and charming Camera Obscura Gallery to its rafters with magic-realist photos of people in oddball settings. To produce his images, Bonath sets up scenes using actual materials, then makes up his models and dresses — or undresses… More >>
  • Best Photo Show — Group

    Exposure: Photos From the Vault

    It took the Denver Art Museum over a century to finally decide that photography deserved its own department. The first step was to hire a curator: Eric Paddock, who used to fill the same role at the Colorado Historical Society. To create the new department (previously, photography had been split between several), Paddock looted the museum's storerooms for treasures, many… More >>
  • Best Short Film Shot in Denver Involving a Bleeding Clown

    Jamin Winans

    You never find out why the clown suffering a gunshot wound when Jamin Winans's spectacular Uncle Jack opens in medias res is, you know, dressed as a clown, but that's part of what makes this short film so great: Things are not really explained. Rather, they're hinted at through the titular uncle telling his niece a bedtime story via Bluetooth… More >>
  • Best Set

    A Midsummer Night's Dream

    With its white pillars, square of green and blue patch of water, as well as foliage-shadowed trellises to the side, John Iacovelli's exquisite set for the Denver Center Theatre Company's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream played on the contrast between hyper-civilized Athens and the wild woodlands beyond, in which all kinds of sexy and supernatural things could happen.… More >>
  • Best Political Statement

    The Container

    You don't get serious political theater around here much — the last we can remember were two productions of My Name Is Rachel Corrie, one of which showed in Denver a couple of years back, and one later in Boulder. But then The Container arrived at the 73rd Avenue Theatre Company. Staged in a large shipping container, this play packs… More >>
  • Best Theater Season

    Denver Center Theatre Company

    After thirty years, the Denver Center Theatre Company is still going strong, with many more triumphs than stumbles in this past season. While Dracula may have been boring and Othello underwhelming, the company gave us a hilarious Hitchcock spoof, The 39 Steps, as well as The Catch, an excitingly theatrical world premiere about baseball, the farcical Reckless, and an absolutely… More >>
  • Best Season for an Actor

    Sam Gregory

    A suave, handsome Hitchcock hero in The 39 Steps; the harassed playwright-carpenter Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream; Adam, a self-effacing academic, in Mariela in the Desert; a brilliant and famous London playwright watching his life spiral out of control in Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing: Sam Gregory is nothing if not versatile, as he showed in the Denver… More >>
  • Best Season for an Actress

    Alicia Dunfee

    Alicia Dunfee graces the stage of Boulder's Dinner Theatre often, most recently imbuing the title role in Hello, Dolly! with charm, wit and style, and bringing a signature mix of showmanship and wistfulness to all of her performances. But Dunfee, who's been a steady presence at BTD for fifteen years, does more than act, dance and sing. She directs, and… More >>
  • Best Theater Production

    Circle Mirror Transformation

    Sometimes the small pleasures are the most intense. Circle Mirror Transformation followed the encounters of a group of small-town, would-be thespians learning acting and performing theater exercises — tell an anecdote, mirror another person vocally and physically, hold a conversation using only nonsense words — and slowly coming to know each other. There were no great revelations or climactic events… More >>
  • Best Premiere

    The Catch

    Ken Weitzman's The Catch is about baseball, obviously, but also about human dreams, greed and self-delusion as the protagonist, Gary, schemes to catch a home-run ball that he thinks will restore the money he lost when his dot-com venture failed, in the process bringing back his estranged wife. In between frantic calculations, he wars with his cranky father, Sid. The… More >>
  • Best Original Script

    Jugged Rabbit Stew

    The members of the decade-old Buntport Theater Company arrive at all of their final productions through group work and discussion, play and improvisation, and Jugged Rabbit Stew was no exception. But this original play surpassed even their usual surreal, daring and crazily imaginative standards. A wicked magician's bunny that steals everything he can lay his paws on, including human limbs… More >>
  • Best Adaptation

    Crime and Punishment

    It's hugely to the credit of authors Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus that they managed to distill Dostoyevsky's magnum opus into a ninety-minute play without sacrificing depth and significance — and it also speaks volumes about the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's artistic ambition and integrity that it chose to stage this version of Crime and Punishment. The production was thoughtful… More >>
  • Best Collaboration

    Jugged Rabbit Stew

    The Buntport Theater Company has been working in the musical genre — in its own way — for a while; not many other theater groups would have realized the aesthetic possibilities of turning Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus into a musical, for instance. And a couple of years back, the Buntporters got the inspired idea of collaborating with artist-composer Adam Stone —… More >>
  • Best Film Festival

    EFPalooza

    Between arthouses and snowboarders and anyone else with a large white surface to project on and a masochistic yen for cat-herding, there are probably at least two film festivals running at any given time in this town. And while many of them suffer from a disconnect — either they're "local" or they're "good," but they're rarely both — the first… More >>
  • Best Direction of a Drama

    Warren Sherrill

    Set in a timeless Japan, The Sound of a Voice tells the story of a warrior who arrives at the home of a woman he believes to be a witch; he intends to kill her, and the two interact in several taut, charged and ambiguous scenes. Director Warren Sherrill did full justice to the play's poetry and intensity in Paragon… More >>
  • Best Direction of a Musical

    Steve Wilson

    Phamaly is truly an amazing family of performers, all with varying physical disabilities — and director Steve Wilson knows how to work around, and with, every one of them. Wilson doesn't just accommodate these handicaps; he makes them a positive force in the action. When he and the company took on Beauty and the Beast, a tired, sentimental old musical,… More >>
  • Best One-Person Show

    Dixie's Tupperware Party

    Into the world of safe, light and forgettable little musicals blew Tupperware-selling phenom Dixie Longate, a booze- and drug-addled, trash-talking, child-neglecting ex-con from Alabama, to stage a real Tupperware party in Dixie's Tupperware Party. You could buy pretty much everything she described on the stage, including collapsible bowls and ribbed mugs — that is, if you could stop laughing long… More >>
  • Best Ensemble

    Art

    There are only three characters in Art, a play about a man who buys an all-white painting at an astronomical price and the two friends whose loyalties are severely tested by the extravagant and pretentious act. Under the meticulous direction of Richard Pegg, three superb actors — Josh Hartwell, Jim Hunt, Chris Kendall — in this Miners Alley production made… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Drama

    Ian Merrill Peakes

    Gary is determined to make his fortune by catching a home-run ball. In Ian Merrill Peakes's committed, intelligent performance in the premiere of The Catch at the Denver Center Theatre Company, we saw all the character's complexity, his brilliance in calculating the odds, his grandiosity and delusion — and also his very human attempts to connect with his estranged wife… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Drama

    Trina Magness

    In Mouse in a Jar, Ma is the ultimate female victim: a Polish immigrant married to a faceless man who regularly abuses her and stands symbolically for the brute power of dictatorship and oppression everywhere. Ma cooks. She awaits the nightly return of her oppressor. She does little to protect her two daughters, and when one of them attempts to… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Drama

    Mike Hartman

    Mike Hartman always brings a deep, humorous authenticity to his roles — as he did to kvetchy, diabetic Sid, the protagonist's father in The Catch in the Denver Center Theatre Company premiere. Emotionally stunted, endlessly critical of his son, craving sugar every waking moment, this Sid was funny and annoying. And still, in a sneaking way, you loved him.… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Drama

    Jessica Love

    There was an intriguing tension between the sense of calm and centeredness that actress Jessica Love tends to emanate on stage and Jen, the angry, neurotic younger sister she portrayed in Map of Heaven. It turned out to be a winning mix in this Denver Center Theatre Company production. Tossing her long legs over the arm of a sofa, sulking,… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy

    Mark Rubald

    As an actor, Mark Rubald communicates a radiant decency. When he's on stage, you just plain like him; you want him to be happy and succeed. So he was perfectly cast as a good-natured working stiff in Curious Theatre Company's production of Circle Mirror Transformation. You could see how puzzled Schultz was by all the arty stuff going on in… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Comedy

    Julia Motyka

    In Reckless, Rachel is a crazy, farcical character, given to euphoria attacks and blindly ecstatic babble (only briefly interrupted by her husband's revelation that he's taken out a contract on her life). In the role, Julia Motyka sometimes bounded around the stage with an energy so manic you wanted to help those contract killers strangle her yourself. But at other… More >>
  • Best Unnerving Addition to Denver International Airport

    Anubis

    The Denver International Airport has long been a hotbed of hand-wringing conspiracy theories — the Leo Tanguma-painted mural featuring gas-masked Nazi-ghouls and multicultural children in caskets, the giant laser-eyed Mustang of Death that murdered its creator, and the Masonic capstone have all led wingnuts far and wide to speculate that our airport is in fact the future site of a… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy

    C. Kelly Leo

    When it's required, C. Kelly Leo can muster an intensity that threatens to shatter the theater walls, and she deployed it to hilarious effect as neurotic Hermia, wife of the dead man at the center of Dead Man's Cell Phone. Tightly wound and buttoned down at the beginning, she unspooled after a few drinks to become a small tornado, so… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Musical

    Jenna Bainbridge

    Despite the faux spunkiness with which the Disney Corporation endows its heroines, every Belle we've ever seen has been utterly insipid — and Jenna Bainbridge had precisely the sweet soprano and delicate, pretty features required for Beauty and the Beast's Belle. But in this Phamaly production, she also packed a grit and determination that made her easily a match for… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Musical

    Tracy Warren

    With her calm grace and pure, beautifully modulated singing voice, Tracy Warren was a standout as hat-maker Irene Malloy in the Boulder's Dinner Theatre production of Hello, Dolly!… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Musical

    Nick Sugar

    Nick Sugar was born to play the raucous, all-stops-out part of Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. In this Avenue Theater production, he got to strut, cross-dress, belt out numbers both sexy and forlorn, boast, whine, mock and beg — and all while he held the audience spellbound. And then he went further, reaching deep into his own soul… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Musical

    Stephen Hahn

    Gaston, Belle's rejected and vindictive suitor in Beauty and the Beast, may be vain, a dope and a brute. But Stephen Hahn's version in the Phamaly production was so full of wild, juicy, hang-the-consequences vitality that you could see exactly why all the village maidens pined for him.… More >>
  • Best Shakespeare Production

    A Midsummer Night's Dream

    First-rate Shakespeare is very rare in Colorado, and that's why we were so excited by the Denver Center Theatre Company's glowing, intelligent production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Visually beautiful, smartly directed and with strength in every corner of the cast from top to bottom, it both brought new insights to this much-performed play and emphasized old pleasures.… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Shakespeare Production

    Allison Pistorius

    Some actors win audience attention effortlessly; most have to work for it. Allison Pistorius is in the former group. When she comes on stage, you want to watch her. When she leaves, you feel a moment's regret. This quality stood her in good stead in the role of the jilted Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream, a part that's too… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Shakespeare Production

    John Hutton

    In the Denver Center Theatre Company's production of Othello, John Hutton took the role of Iago and made it entirely his own, his interpretation so strong — both entirely original and true to the script — that it shed new light on the action. Unlike the slithering black snake we half expected to see, this Iago was an old soldier,… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Shakespeare Production

    Kathleen McCall

    Emilia is Iago's wife in Othello, and no one can ever quite figure out how complicit she is in his murderous deceptions. Emilia has to know that something's badly askew when she hears Othello castigating Desdemona for having lost the handkerchief she herself picked up earlier and gave to her husband, but she says nothing — despite the fact that… More >>
  • Best Local Musical

    Hello, Dolly!

    Thanks to her friendship with director Michael Duran, the voice of Carol Channing herself welcomed audiences to this warm, lively production of Hello, Dolly! at Boulder's Dinner Theater, where it was graced by a stellar performance from Alicia Dunfee in the title role, a charming one from Wayne Kennedy as Horace Vandergelder, the man she's determined to snare, and a… More >>
  • Best Cinematic Tie to DIA

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    Of all the conspiracy theories swirling around DIA, this may be the most awesome. Take the numbers sent by the aliens for their Earthly rendezvous in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind — 104, 44, 30, 40, 36, 10 — and plug them into Google Earth as W104° 44' 30" N40° 36' 10". What do you get? Denver… More >>
  • Best Traveling Musical

    South Pacific

    While the exquisite songs — "Younger Than Springtime," "Some Enchanted Evening," "Bali Hai" — continue to delight, the action in South Pacific often feels fragmented and dated. Barlett Sher's revival, which won several Tony awards, added intelligent interpretive touches and pulled everything so brilliantly together that Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical gained a new cohesion and vitality. Both musically and visually,… More >>
  • Best Local Actor Who Left Denver

    Paul Page

    After giving us a gallery of interesting characters at numerous Denver venues over the years, Paul Page left town last year to pursue acting work in New York City. Last we heard, he'd acquired a good agent. So we're beating back that nasty, sneaking hope we always entertain when one of our favorites leaves that he/she will fail miserably and… More >>
  • Best Local Actress Receiving National Attention

    Lucy Roucis

    On November 4, Lucy Roucis, whose fine work we've seen in Phamaly productions for many years, attended the Los Angeles premiere of Love and Other Drugs, starring Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal. Roucis has a feature role in the film, as a jokester who cheers up Hathaway's character, newly diagnosed with Parkinson's. And anyone who saw the comic routine that… More >>
  • Best Hope for the Future

    New Play Summit

    The Denver Center Theatre Company introduced its New Play Summit five years ago, and it continues to give us hope for the future of theater in this town. This year's incarnation featured two premieres based on last year's staged readings: The Catch and Map of Heaven. Four fascinating — and entirely unique — new plays were read for possible full… More >>
  • Best Theater Marketing Maven

    Chris Wiger

    After fifteen years as publicity director (and, briefly, head of patron relations) at the Denver Center Theatre Company, Chris Wiger left in February for a spiffy job as director of marketing and public relations at the new Lone Tree Arts Center. We started missing things about him even before he left. His extraordinary efficiency, for example: Wiger responded to requests… More >>
  • Best Opening Slot

    Film on the Rocks

    We in Denver are blessed to have one of the world's greatest music venues just west of town — but only a handful of local musicians will ever get the opportunity to play the hallowed Red Rocks Amphitheater. And without the highly successful Film on the Rocks summer movie series, far fewer locals would ever grace that incredible stage. The… More >>
  • Best New Venue

    Summit Music Hall

    While the folks at Soda Jerk Presents already owned the Marquis Theater at the edge of LoDo and the Black Sheep in Colorado Springs, they still wanted a bigger venue of their own where they could put larger-drawing acts, which were previously booked at various bigger venues around town. So last year, Mike Barsch and company took over the former… More >>
  • Best DIY Venue

    Rhinoceropolis

    Rhinoceropolis has it all — even if some of that is do-it-yourself. The venue is part show space, part home, and all living homage to every underground hangout in American teenage music history. There's no sign on the building, never any set cover charge for any show, and no question that whether Nu Sensae, Monotonix or SSION is coming through,… More >>
  • Best Non-Venue Venue

    Dikeou Collection

    If you haven't already been to the Dikeou Collection, chances are good that you'll never find it without a guide. The gorgeous gallery is hidden away on the fifth floor of a building just off the 16th Street Mall, and is a white maze of rooms filled with art installations of all mediums, occasionally including floor-to-ceiling inflatable pink bunnies. In… More >>
  • Best New Club

    Beauty Bar

    After close to a twenty-year run as the Snake Pit, this Capitol Hill hangout got a much-needed makeover before it opened as Beauty Bar last June. Based on the original Beauty Bar concept that got its start in New York in 1995, Denver's Beauty Bar (there are similar clubs in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Las Vegas) was… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater -- Programming

    Denver FilmCenter

    The closing of the short-lived Neighborhood Flix Cinema & Cafe was a blow to the emerging culture magnet of the Lowenstein complex. But the Denver Film Society has given the space new life — and given its unique offerings a better venue than at the Tivoli, where patrons had to deal with decrepit theaters and compete for parking with mobs… More >>
  • Best Dance Club

    Beta

    Now in its third year, Beta continues to be Denver's hot spot for clubbing. Armed with the Funktion-One Dance Array 4 Speaker Stack System (Beta was the first spot in North America to get one), this dance club bumps like no other, bringing in such world-class talent every week as top spinners Richie Hawtin, John Digweed and Pete Tong, as… More >>
  • Best 15th Street Tavern Flashback

    Rockaway Tavern - CLOSED

    After a long run, the 15th Street Tavern closed in 2007, leaving a big hole in the downtown punk scene. And almost immediately, the Tavern's Myke Martinez started looking for a place where he could resurrect that beloved venue. It took a few years of hunting, but Martinez and Kris Sieger, another former 15th Street owner, finally found what they… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club

    Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge

    For close to fifteen years, Dazzle has shown that it has what it takes to be a dazzling, world-class jazz venue. Downbeat magazine agrees: It's rated Dazzle as one of the top 100 jazz clubs in the world. This is just about the only place in town where you can regularly catch jazz legends like Christian McBride, Curtis Fuller, Bobby… More >>
  • Best Blues Club

    Lincoln's Road House

    Lincoln's Road House might be known primarily for its meatloaf cheeseburger, pot roast burrito and Cajun food, but the bar also brings in a meaty lineup of the area's finest blues acts, including the Informants, Delta Sonics, David Booker and Stanley Milton, on the weekends. Lincoln's also books such nationally known bluesmen as Muddy Waters's son Big Bill Morganfield and… More >>
  • Best Blues Jam

    Ziggie's

    While Ziggie's has long been hailed as Denver's oldest blues bar, in recent years it's expanded into other genres, such as rock, R&B and funk. In addition to an acoustic open-mike night on Mondays, an open jam on Tuesdays and a chance to sit in with featured musicians on Wednesdays, Ziggie's also boasts one of the longest-running blues jams in… More >>
  • Best Denver Answer to Silver Lake

    Lost Lake Lounge

    When hi-dive/Sputnik owner Matt LaBarge took over the Bulldog Bar (and Monroe Tavern before that) last year, it didn't take long for him to turn the dive into a comfortable, inviting spot. Taking his inspiration from older clubs in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles — as well as an even earlier incarnation of the space as the Alamo,… More >>
  • Best Colorado-Themed Bar

    Stoney's Bar & Grill

    Stoney's Bar & Grill touts itself as "a local kind of place," and the owners take that concept pretty damn seriously. This rustic spot, which moved into the former Andrew's on Lincoln space last summer, practically screams "Colorado," with a pond and miniature campsite near the entrance, a ski gondola turned photo booth up front, 150-year-old reclaimed barn wood lining… More >>
  • Best Karaoke Bar

    Music Bar - CLOSED

    For most people, karaoke is something done only in the privacy of the shower or when your friend drags you (with your fourth or fifth vodka tonic in hand) to the stage to giggle through an ensemble rendition of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun." But for the few and the proud, karaoke is an art form. And there's no… More >>
  • Best Jukebox

    Lion's Lair

    Taped on the front of the Lion's Lair jukebox is a letter from Colorado congresswoman Diana DeGette, congratulating the bar on winning the award for Best Jukebox in the 2004 Best of Denver issue. There's a good chance that many of the CDs on that weathered box today were there seven years ago, too; hell, if ain't broke, why fix… More >>
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