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Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Arts District

    River North Art District

    Drop a stone in Denver, and it will land in (or at least close to) an arts district, but the only one with the potential for continual expansion is the River North Art District. That's because RiNo feels like more than just one neighborhood. The Plus and RedLine galleries are in a completely different area than Ironton and Weilworks, while… More >>
  • Best Annual Festival

    Denver County Fair

    The 2012 Denver County Fair, the event's sophomore edition, might have experienced a few growing pains, but the modern urban take on a rural tradition is already gearing up for year three, and it promises to be the best yet. Cornerstone activities — including the proliferating blue-ribbon competitions in categories ranging from traditional to hipsterized to just plain silly, Andrew… More >>
  • Best Theater Supporter

    Gloria Shanstrom

    As general manager of the Colorado Theatre Guild, Gloria Shanstrom maintains the group's website, stays in touch with companies around the state and administers the annual Henry Awards, among many other tasks. Wearing a second hat, she does publicity for several Colorado companies, providing perhaps the most competent and reliable service around. But her work is about much more than… More >>
  • Best Theatrical Date Night

    Off-Center@The Jones

    What goes on in the shadows of the Jones Theatre, hidden away on the back side of the Denver Performing Arts Complex, shouldn't be kept a secret: The Jones is home to the ongoing theatrical/performance/improv/crazy madness series Off-Center@The Jones, which produces about four shows each season, some of them ongoing and others a one-shot deal or with a limited run.… More >>
  • Best Steampunk Opera

    Luminous Thread

    Serendipity landed Luminous Thread in Denver. Lucky us: The steampunk performance ensemble brings something to the cultural mix that didn't exist before, augmented by trained operatic voices, a bit of Wellesian sci-fi surrealism and, well, luminous threads — beautiful costumes and sets that echo steampunk's Victorian roots. Led by Ben Sargent, who holds up the business end, and multi-talented artistic… More >>
  • Best Political Theater

    Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins

    Most Coloradans know of the hard-drinking, straight-talking Texas reporter Molly Ivins, who died much too soon — just when we needed her most, some would argue — at the age of 62. Ivins helped break the gender barrier in journalism, and she did it as a dame, a broad, a liberal in a deep-red state, a fiery populist. She loved… More >>
  • Best Burlesque Night

    Merry Widow's Artisan Operetta

    In a city as boosterish on burlesque as Denver, creativity earns extra bonus points. Every third Monday, the performance troupe behind Merry Widow's Artisan Operetta surprises its audience at Voodoo Comedy Playhouse with a comedic (and clothing-light) tribute to any number of topics from this century and the last — from sultry takes on Roy Lichtenstein and Mae West to… More >>
  • Best Comedy Night

    Arguments & Grievances

    Funny with a purpose, however absurd, is the new frontier in comedy and improv, and Arguments & Grievances is a perfect example of the trend. Kevin O'Brien's Sunday comedy night puts two comics on the podium to argue, point/counterpoint, on inconsequential issues, such as Simpsons vs. Family Guy and Poop vs. Pee. Denver's best comedians come out regularly to argue… More >>
  • Best New Radio Station

    Comedy 103.1

    Denver loves its standup so much that, after packing themselves into a crowded club for a comedy show, fans will get into their cars and click on the local 24-hour comedy station, 103.1. During any given ten-minute segment, programming is apt to go from Abbott & Costello's who's-on-first routine to Louis C.K.'s black-people-can't-time-travel bit to Chris Rock analyzing women and… More >>
  • Best Performance by an Ex-Critic

    Mark Collins
    44 Plays for 44 Presidents

    Meet Mark Collins, critic: a temperate, thoughtful fellow, quietly self-effacing. Now check out Mark Collins, actor, as he swaggers around impersonating a boastful Ben Franklin in Square Product Theatre's 44 Plays fr 44 Presidents, transforms into a big, blubbery baby gobbling spoonful after spoonful of applesauce, and, as Gerald Ford, takes a number of skidding, sliding, arm-spinning falls. Yes, sometimes… More >>
  • Best Radio DJ

    Alisha Sweeney

    Open Air debuted on Halloween 2011 at the frequency formerly occupied by the legendary KCFR, and the Colorado Public Radio-affiliated station has since established itself as one of the most free-spirited stations around. Its popularity is due not only to its programming, but also to its on-air personalities. The best among them is Alisha Sweeney, whose morning show features a… More >>
  • Best On-Stage Couple

    Michael and Rachel Bouchard
    Sweet Storm

    As Sweet Storm began, Boas and Ruthie had just married, and he was carrying her over the threshold. Charming. Except that Ruthie was paralyzed from the waist down, and the threshold was the entrance to a treehouse that the naive Boas had constructed with his own hands as a romantic gesture. No sooner was Ruthie safely deposited on the bed… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Shakespeare Production

    Nigel Gore
    Richard III

    When Lady Anne confronted Richard over the coffin of her father-in-law in Richard III and railed that his presence was making the corpse bleed anew, Nigel Gore, playing Richard, stuck in a finger to check. When she spat in his face, he tasted her spittle. This Richard wasn't kingly. He was almost clownish, and vulgar in the most undignified and… More >>
  • Best Five Minutes of Fame

    Adam Cayton-Holland on Conan

    We always like to see our homegrown talent on national TV, and when standup extraordinaire Adam Cayton-Holland landed a spot on Conan O'Brien's show in January, his fans tuned in to watch. Cayton-Holland even made it to the couch, but not before he quipped about, among other dandy topics, why we shouldn't name children after cities lest they become strippers… More >>
  • Best Live Talk Show

    Rawlitix

    Onus Spears, local character and a man of the people, is also an avid fan of Denver's writers, musicians, comics, artists and poets, on whom he bestows lots of love at Rawlitix, the intimate live talk and variety show he hosts monthly at the Deer Pile. In a casual, salon-like, house-party atmosphere, Spears, a born yakker, focuses on people who… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Shakespeare Production

    Mare Trevathan
    Richard III

    Queen Elizabeth is usually one of the more forgettable female roles in Shakespeare, a sad figure who sweeps around in a long dress weeping for her murdered child — though she does have one highly charged scene when Richard III, who murdered that child, asks for her daughter's hand and she appears to give in. But Mare Trevathan packed one… More >>
  • Best Film Festival

    Denver Jewish Film Festival

    The Denver Jewish Film Festival is about much more than Jewish themes, Jewish directors, Jewish actors or even Jewish storylines. Nothing is off limits in this smartly curated festival, which brings together movies that cross cultures, topics and lifestyles. For its seventh season, the festival showed films ranging from A.K.A. Doc Pomus, a documentary on an unsung songwriter, to Melting… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Musical

    Joannie Brosseau
    42nd Street

    Joannie Brosseau can sing. She can dance. She can play a wide range of roles, most of them with an irrepressible comic edge. Most of all, she has an indefinable quality that makes audiences snap into high alert whenever she steps on a stage. You could call her perky, but perky sounds mindless. Can you be smartly perky? That's certainly… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Musical

    Nate Kissingford
    Miracle on 34th Street

    Nate Kissingford is only six years old. Still, we can't remember seeing an actor stop the action quite the way he did when little Tommy took the courtroom stand in the Arvada Center's Miracle on 34th Street and, with devastating innocence, utterly destroyed his prosecutor father's case against Kris Kringle. Cute kids often bring down the house, as Kissingford did.… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Musical

    Lauren Shealy
    Miracle on 34th Street

    Doris in Miracle on 34th Street is a young single mother, a spunky, supposedly cynical professional who nonetheless has an easily breached heart — in other words, she's a pretty generic musical-comedy heroine. The script is on the nondescript side, and the songs are so-so. Nonetheless, in large part due to Lauren Shealy's fine soprano and strong performance in this… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Musical

    Erick Devine
    Miracle on 34th Street

    Erick Devine exuded kindness and humanity as Kris Kringle in the Arvada Center's Miracle on 34th Street. He has a big, rich baritone, and his portrayal brought so much warmth to the show that when he told little Susan he really was Santa Claus, you didn't doubt it for a moment.… More >>
  • Best Political Open Mic

    Mutiny Words Night

    The Mutiny Words Night free-for-all, hosted by comedian and devil's advocate Onus Spears on Thursday nights, invites poets, musicians, comedians, storytellers and raving lunatics to talk, read or sing about what concerns them — or simply dispense their activist screed. Mindless haters, Spears warns, are not tolerated, so take your anger elsewhere unless it's directed into a cogent, arguable point… More >>
  • Best Save in a Musical

    Nick Sugar
    Bat Boy

    When Adam Perkes, the intense actor who played the lead in Bat Boy for Equinox Theatre, was found dead in a Glenwood Springs hotel early this year, the rest of the cast was devastated, and it looked as if the show would have to be canceled. But director Deb Flomberg felt that if that happened, everyone involved would remember the… More >>
  • Best Family-Friendly, GLBTQ-Centered Events

    Mile High Freedom Band

    Hosting several shows a year that emphasize its family-friendly nature, the Mile High Freedom Band provides a festive party alternative for kids and adults alike on holidays ranging from Halloween to St. Patrick's Day to Martin Luther King Day to Pride. Comprising a full concert band, a marching band, a swing band and smaller ensembles, the GLBTQ-inclusive group works with… More >>
  • Best New Festival

    Make Music Denver

    The Downtown Denver Partnership sprung a sweet surprise on 16th Street Mall strollers last summer when it threw the mall's first Make Music Denver street festival, a participatory free-for-all that celebrated beats and blasts and reverberations from masses of musicians of all skill levels and age groups. Inspired by an international event with roots in France's Fête de la Musique,… More >>
  • Best Drag Pageant

    Miss Queen of Aces

    Since its start as the annual signature fundraiser for the Colorado Gay Volleyball Association four years ago, the Queen of Aces pageant has grown into an entity all its own. For a chance to win a sparkling crown and carry out do-good missions throughout the year, this old-fashioned drag blowout attracts contestants of all impersonation skill levels. The costumes may… More >>
  • Best Character-Building

    Steven J. Burge and Damon Guerrasio
    Love Child

    Two men play 26 roles in Love Child, a play about a couple of actors who decide to stage Euripides's Ion in a sausage factory. Steven Burge played the actor's agent, who sits in the audience watching him and his own mother and father...oh, wait, maybe that was Damon Guerrasio. With the two men switching roles so fast and so… More >>
  • Best Ongoing Drag Event

    Drag Nation

    Over the past five years, Drag Nation has become the premier queen catwalk for moving local performers onto the national stage. Once a month, contestants pull out incredible stops: Birdcages drop from the ceiling holding radiant queens; human pieces of art strut their stuff; a bevy of dolled-up backup dancers creates a show with a Fame vibe. In addition to… More >>
  • Best Drag Performance

    Steven Cole Hughes
    Is He Dead?

    Steven Cole Hughes played Millet in Is He Dead?, a Creede Repertory production presented at the Arvada Center, but he spent most of his time in drag as Daisy — and he did it deliciously. Despite the frilly dress and golden wig, he avoided the usual mincing walk, smeary clown lipstick and high-pitched giggle. Millet-Daisy was earnest and bemused, and… More >>
  • Best Deeply Feminist (in So Many Ways!) Production

    In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play

    Every now and then, Equinox Theatre, known primarily for camp humor, gets serious — as it did last year with Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play. A play about orgasms and Victorian attitudes toward women, this would have been a gutsy choice for any company, let alone one with severely limited resources, but director Deb Flomberg… More >>
  • Best Female & Queer-Friendly Open Mic

    Baby Hair

    Disappointed by open-mic nights at bars frequented by judgmental drunk dudes, writer Erica Adams and artist/musician Sara Century created Baby Hair, a monthly night at Deer Pile that encourages queer and female artists to step on stage. Unlike open mics that center on just comedy or poetry, Baby Hair is more free-form: On any given second Tuesday, artists perform everything… More >>
  • Best Transgender Comedian

    Jordan Wieleba

    Despite the fact that Joe Biden called transgender rights "the civil-rights issue of our time," standup comedy is still a world crawling with pre-Stonewall bigotry — which makes for some great tension when Jordan Wieleba lays her autobiographical transitioning stories on a mainstream comedy audience. Formerly of locally celebrated punk band Forth Yeer Freshman, Wieleba spent the first five years… More >>
  • Best Karaoke

    Armida's Restaurant

    When it opened some twenty years ago, Armida's hosted karaoke one night a week. But the Mexican restaurant soon focused in on the entertainment option, and for years it's been one of the few spots in town to host karaoke seven nights a week. It's also grown into one of the most popular venues for people to strut their stuff… More >>
  • Best Bar Trivia Program

    Tavern Hospitality Group

    What can a bar do to keep its customers entertained? There are trivia nights all over town almost every night of the week, most operated by independent trivia companies; some bars attempt to offer their own trivia nights, but those attempts usually turn out to be trivial. Not so with the Tavern Hospitality Group, which offers an original, high-tech trivia… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar

    Tracks Nightclub

    Tracks is more than just a gay bar — it's a veritable multiplex of GLBTQ-centered activities. The decades-old nightclub has it all, from Denver's largest ladies' night (First Fridays) to RuPaul's Drag Race watching parties to DJs from across the globe rocking its multiple dance floors. The adjoining EXDO Event Center space allows Tracks to offer the best live drag… More >>
  • Best Use of Video

    Date

    Autobiographical one-person plays can be tedious, but when Luciann Lajoie decided to create Date, a piece about her online dating experiences, she avoided narcissism by asking a hundred people for their stories and then intertwining these vignettes with her personal narrative. As a result, the audience in this Denver Center Theatre production at Off-Center@The Jones learned what it's like to… More >>
  • Best Use of Multimedia

    Ed, Downloaded

    Ed, Downloaded was a feast for the senses, from James Kronzer's scenery to Brian Tovar's lighting to Tyler Nelson's evocative sound to Charles I. Miller's video design. And director Sam Buntrock had previously won critical acclaim in both London and New York for his stunning and visually sophisticated revival of Sondheim's Sunday in the Park With George. But the tech… More >>
  • Best Colorado Movie Tie-In

    Argo

    Argo, the Ben Affleck flick about a real-life CIA scheme to rescue six Americans from Iran by disguising them as a fake movie crew, won big at the Oscars, snagging statuettes for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, among others. But there was one important fact left out of the Hollywood retelling: the daring rescue's Colorado connection. The script that… More >>
  • Best Set

    Sweet Storm

    When you're designing for a small space like Miners Alley Playhouse on a low budget for a play set in a treehouse, and the actors have to enter and leave through a trap door beneath it, you've got yourself a whole lot of headaches. Fortunately, designer Richard Pegg, who has a solid understanding of both aesthetics and construction, was more… More >>
  • Best Ensemble

    The Seafarer

    John Ashton, Warren Sherill, Steef Sealy, Brock Benson and Kevin Hart all gave fine individual performances in Conor McPherson's The Seafarer, a play about two drink-sodden Irish brothers, their friends, and the enigmatic figure who shows up for a game of cards. But these performances — the bullying, the silences, the moments of meanness, misery or amnesia — also meshed… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Drama

    Ben Bonenfant
    Red

    In Curious Theatre's Red, Ken was the kid who apprenticed with the overbearing, narcissistic artist Mark Rothko, making coffee, cleaning up, fetching Chinese food and enduring huge, pointless and unexpected rages. Ben Bonenfant's portrayal of Ken was vulnerable and self-effacing. But even as Ken soaked up the things the master had to teach, he also began to understand the weakness… More >>
  • Best Lesbian Bar

    Eden - CLOSED

    Eden is a garden of lesbian delights. Thanks to a diverse menu of vegetarian- and vegan-friendly options, Eden is as green-friendly on the inside as the grass-colored building is on the outside. But it's the after-dinner fare that makes Eden a standout on the nightlife scene: In addition to regularly supporting the women of Denver with events dedicated to roller… More >>
  • Best Open Stage

    Meadowlark

    While the intimate Meadowlark hosts a stellar jazz jam on Mondays, its long-running Tuesday-night open stage has attracted a number of the city's finest singer-songwriters, who come to test new material or refine older songs. In more recent years, it was where Churchill and the Lumineers — then a duo from the East Coast — played before moving on to… More >>
  • Best Jukebox

    Lion's Lair

    Variety is key to a great jukebox, and the juke at the Lion's Lair has it in spades. From the blues of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf to the classic rock of the Stones and Zeppelin — and pretty much everything in between — it's one of the more diverse collections in town. And since the Lair brings in its… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Drama

    James O'Hagan Murphy
    RFK

    James O'Hagan Murphy provided a complex portrait of a complex man in RFK. Robert Kennedy is remembered for his tragic assassination and venerated as the ideal president-who-should-have-been. But he possessed less pleasant characteristics, too: utter ruthlessness in pursuit of power; spurts of pettiness and jealousy; a profound loathing (entirely reciprocated) for Lyndon Baines Johnson. Kennedy tapped Martin Luther King's phone,… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Comedy

    Michael Lopez
    The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity

    The story behind The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity is told as a series of monologues by a Puerto Rican kid called Macedonio Guerra, or Mace. Mace was fascinated by professional wrestling as a kid and grew up to be a part of that world. But only as a literal fall guy — the opponent routinely demolished by such stars… More >>
  • Best Club Patio

    Vinyl

    You'd be hard-pressed to find a dance-club patio in Denver with a better view of the mountains and the skyline than Vinyl's indoor/outdoor rooftop patio. And the view here isn't the only amenity. This patio, one of the biggest in town, has heaters, fire pits and comfortable booths and chairs, making it a great year-round spot to sit and chat,… More >>
  • Best Club Smoking Area

    Herman's Hideaway

    If you haven't been to Herman's Hideaway in a while, it's high time that you headed over there to see the renovations that have taken place, from swanky bathroom makeovers to sound upgrades. The most startling change, however, is the addition of a new outdoor smoking area — more like a patio, really — just adjacent to the stage. With… More >>
  • Best Innovation in a School Building

    MSU Denver's Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center/SpringHill Suites

    What's the best way to teach students how to run a hotel and events center? By having an actual hotel and events center right on campus, of course. And that's exactly what the Metropolitan State University of Denver's Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center accomplishes by doubling as a SpringHill Suites Marriott hotel. The swanky-looking combination classroom building and boutique hotel… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy

    Geoffrey Kent
    Noises Off

    Geoffrey Kent is the go-to fight specialist for almost every theater in the region, which means he's a very physical actor. He also tends to be a cheerful, high-spirited presence on stage. We knew all this before he played Garry in Noises Off, a 2012 Colorado Shakespeare Festival production. Even so, we couldn't possibly have anticipated the level of his… More >>
  • Best Cigar Bar

    Cigars on Sixth

    Cigars on Sixth is the ultimate man cave — decorated in dark wood, antique chairs and a flat-screen TV, and stuffed full of every cigar- and pipe-related knickknack you can imagine, not to mention a set of antlers and a fake mounted fish. Here you'll find old boys in suits and ties, lawyers, accountants, politicians and Hawaiian shirt-clad silverbacks trading… More >>
  • Best Bathroom Makeover

    3 Kings Tavern

    Although the men's restroom at 3 Kings Tavern was never the worst in town, it was far from the best — just two small urinals and a stall with a makeshift shower-curtain divider. But then it got a stunning, Extreme Makeover-worthy overhaul. With the wall between the bathroom and a storage closet removed, the pisser is now twice the size,… More >>
  • Best Newcomer in a Musical

    Madison Kitchen
    Next to Normal

    In the musical Next to Normal put on by Ignite Theatre, Natalie was the confused teenage daughter of a bipolar mother. During the course of the action, she changed from a disciplined, Mozart-loving pianist and conscientious student into an angry, aimless, self-pitying drug abuser. Madison Kitchen brought a fine soprano to the difficult score, and her Natalie was the epitome… More >>
  • Best Newcomer in a Drama

    Tara Falk
    Time Stands Still

    In Time Stands Still, at Curious Theatre, Tara Falk played Sarah, a photographer wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq who has returned to the United States with her relationship with magazine writer James, both physical and emotional, nearly in pieces. In an intelligent, restrained and unsentimental performance, Falk made you believe fully in Sarah's injuries and slow recovery. She… More >>
  • Best Club Night

    Mile High Soul Club

    Mile High Soul Club is a monthly event, and while once a month would hardly seem enough to make it a destination, this club night packs more than enough good times and great music into one evening to hold you over until next time. Launched in 2008 at Rockbar, the night, helmed by Tyler Jacobson, DJ DogBoy and Creeper Steve,… More >>
  • Best Club Night Return

    The Solution

    At this point, the Solution is well on its way to becoming a Denver institution. But it isn't just our town's longest-running and most revered hip-hop night — it's also a testament to quality and resilience. Despite having moved virtually all over town since it was founded half a dozen years ago by DJs Low Key and Sounds Supreme, the… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Drama

    Aimee Janelle Nelson
    In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play

    It requires a lot of daring to take on the role of Mrs. Daldry in In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play, about a Victorian doctor who, in accordance with the practices of the day, cures hysteria by providing orgasms. As Mrs. Daldry in Equinox Theatre's production, Aimee Janelle Nelson had to portray complete sexual innocence and also deliver… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Drama

    Laura Norman
    Ghost-Writer

    In the Boulder Ensemble Theatre's Ghost-Writer, Laura Norman played Myra Babbage, the secretary of a major writer, who continued work on his unfinished novel after his death because she believed she could still hear his voice dictating the words to her. Playing a woman who lived to serve others and kept a tight rein on her own feelings, Norman made… More >>
  • Best Club Night Revitalization

    Lipgloss

    After debuting Lipgloss as an indie-rock, '80s-underground dance night in 2001, co-founders Michael Trundle (aka boyhollow) and Tyler Jacobson slowly built their once-monthly dance night into an award-winning weekly Denver institution, one of the first to embrace the dance-punk craze of the mid-2000s. More recently, however, Trundle felt the night's original theme was being eclipsed by the dubstep and hard… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy

    Deborah Persoff
    The Play About the Baby

    Magnificently stagey and at the same time deeply sincere, Deborah Persoff is a mainstay of the local theater scene and always a pleasure to watch, whether she's being wryly sophisticated, dead serious or What-Ever-Happened-to-Baby-Jane crazy. She got to strut all her comic stuff as Woman, half of an older couple determined to disabuse a younger couple of their illusions in… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Comedy

    Hannah Duggan
    Tommy Lee Jones Goes to Opera Alone

    In Buntport's Tommy Lee Jones Goes to Opera Alone, waitress Jane, played by Hannah Duggan, was the only actual, freestanding human being. Everyone else was busy animating the large Tommy Lee Jones puppet or, in the case of Eric Edborg, providing his voice. So Jane served him pie and responded with down-to-earth humor and some skepticism to the bits of… More >>
  • Best Reality-TV Star From Colorado

    Dog the Bounty Hunter

    Long before he was a reality-TV star, Duane Chapman was a bounty hunter based in Denver — and he even won an early Best of Denver award, for his work on the mean streets of this city. Since then, of course, he's gone on to much bigger and better things. And although he and A&E parted ways over his successful… More >>
  • Best Original Play

    Tommy Lee Jones Goes to Opera Alone

    Buntport was a lock for this award — but for which of the season's offerings? The sad-funny Sweet Tooth? Wake, a profound musing on love and time inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest? In the end, inspired by the images and scraps of dialogue that keep coming to mind months after the play's closing, we decided on Tommy Lee Jones Goes… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Weekly

    Club Level Sports Bar

    Hu$$la Entertainment's Saturday-night hip-hop party at Club Level attracts hundreds of people every week. One of the secrets to the night's continued success is its organizers, who treat every week like it's the first. They further foster goodwill with customers by treating them with grace and respect: While DJ Juanito and DJ RX spin the tunes, host Thomasito Vasquez greets… More >>
  • Best Combination of Two Passions

    The Catamounts

    Theater is great. Food is great. Both are forms of artistic expression. So why are the snacks at most theatrical performances so bad — nothing but stale chips and candy bars and a cup of popcorn if you're lucky? At the opening night of the Catamounts' hip tragicomedy Jon, vodka was served in glasses with a rim of blue Kool-Aid… More >>
  • Best Collaboration

    Buntport and Screw Tooth

    Musician and multimedia artist Adam Stone played Ariel as a gray shadow in Buntport's phenomenal play Wake, and provided a haunting and evocative soundscape as well. Stone has composed music and songs for several of the group's best shows. Now Buntport has announced it will be sharing its theater space with Stone's new company, Screw Tooth. Starting in August, the… More >>
  • Best Funk Night

    Tuesday Night Funk

    Skip "The Funktologist" Reeves, who hosts KZKO's Funk Above the Rest show, knows the funk inside and out. If the dude had his way, Denver would be one city under a groove. So it made sense when Reeves set up shop at Jazz@Jack's five or so years ago and started his own funk night there. It's still one of the… More >>
  • Best New Club

    NORAD

    Following a stretch as the third incarnation of the venerable Muddy's coffeehouse, the triangular building at 22nd and Champa was home to quite a few dance clubs, including Club Evolution, the Loft, Club Ra, Gallery 22 and 2200. No one seemed to be able to make the venue work — until NORAD moved in. Owner Preston Douglas, who formerly wore… More >>
  • Best New Music Venue

    Grizzly Rock - CLOSED

    In addition to being one of the state's best spots for country music, the Grizzly Rose has hosted its share of '80s hair bands. But when owner Scott Durland opened the Grizzly Rock last year in the former After the Gold Rush space, he started bringing hard rock back, starting with bands like Slaughter, Skid Row and Winger. And in… More >>
  • Best Dance Club

    Beta

    Since opening in 2008, Beta has shown time and again that it's the best dance club in the city. Sure, a big part of that is having a state-of-the-art Funktion-One sound system that's unrivaled by virtually any club in North America, but the other reason Beta has been named one of the best dance clubs, here and around the world,… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club

    Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge

    Now in its fifteenth year, Dazzle has secured its spot as the premier place for jazz in Denver. But it's not just here that the club's been praised: Downbeat magazine listed it as one of the top 100 jazz clubs in the world — and with good reason. The level of talent that's brought in week after week makes it… More >>
  • Best Blues Club

    Blues & Greens (inside the Boulder Outlook Hotel)

    While Blues & Greens dubs itself "Boulder's Home of the Blues," it's easily the best blues spot in the state. There's a steady stream of local acts such as Lionel Young, Otis Taylor and Dan Treanor gracing the Blues & Greens stage, but the club also brings in a number of nationally known heavies, like Janiva Magness, Steady Rollin' Bob… More >>
  • Best New Office Building

    Drive at TAXI

    Starting in 2001, father-and-son developers Mickey and Kyle Zeppelin began developing a campus of buildings meant to serve as offices, ateliers and residences for Denver's creative class. They started by renovating the 28,000-square-foot former Yellow Cab dispatch center — hence the name TAXI — before adding several new structures to the group and rehabbing other existing buildings. The latest structure… More >>
  • Best Merry Melodrama We're About to Lose

    Heritage Square Music Hall

    The quality of the food varies, and the shows range from hilariously creative to the occasional damp squib. But over its 25 years, Heritage Square Music Hall has always been worth a visit. The melodramas and songfests feel like a wonderful party where your friends get up, one by one, to tell jokes or sing songs — though your friends… More >>
  • Best Jazz Jam

    The Tuesday Session

    For a long time, guitarist Dan Schwindt ran the "Tuesday Session" jazz jams at Dazzle, one of the few spots in town to hold such get-togethers. Now hosted by drummer Todd Reid, these jams attract some of the heaviest players in town, as well as younger music students, who get to hone their chops in a live setting with Reid,… More >>
  • Best Company Leaving a Longtime Home

    Germinal Stage Denver

    We're guessing the ancient pot that dispenses bitter coffee has been around since artistic director Ed Baierlein founded Germinal Stage Denver in 1973, and went along for the ride when he moved the company to West 44th Avenue 26 years ago. The man isn't fond of change. But over the years, he's staged some of the most interesting theater in… More >>
  • Best Blues Jam

    Pro-Jam with Jack Hadley

    A veteran of the Denver music scene, Jack Hadley has fronted his own blues-based act for close to a decade; he also spent a year and a half as lead guitarist in Otis Taylor's band, and played reggae with Rude Culture and R&B and funk with Network. Hadley knows his way around the blues, and he definitely adds a sense… More >>
  • Best DIY Venue Makeover

    Seventh Circle Music Collective

    When Ethan McCarthy stepped away from Blast-O-Mat, Aaron Saye, a longstanding supporter of local underground culture and music, stepped in and prevented the building that housed it from potentially returning to being the auto-repair shop it had been in its previous life. Recruiting a group of volunteers from the underground scene, Saye transformed Blast-O-Mat into Seventh Circle Music Collective. The… More >>
  • Best International Film Organization Based in Denver

    Design Onscreen

    As a Colorado-based film organization, Design Onscreen functions on several levels: as a film-making entity, as a festival organizer, and as an advocate for the restoration of post-World War II architecture. The non-profit foundation also curates the Architecture + Design Film Series, culling documentaries that showcase architecture in film and include historical, cultural and stylistic subject matter. Design Onscreen then… More >>
  • Best Relentless DIY Venue

    Unit E - CLOSED

    Unit E was shut down briefly last year when the cops took issue with the venue's donation-only bar. But that didn't stop the unassuming multi-purpose space from thriving. Once co-habitant Gregg Ziemba took care of the resulting fines, he and the rest of the collective went back to work. Delivering on the group's mission to bring art together with punk,… More >>
  • Best EDM Weekly

    Sub.Mission Electronic Tuesdays

    You wouldn't think a Tuesday night would be the hottest night for finding fresh music, but when Nicole Cacciavillano and her team got ahold of it over a year ago, it quickly gained popularity. Sub.Mission has garnered an unprecedented Tuesday following for new talent in Colorado at Cervantes'. Hosting producer competitions, battles and the occasional headliner (in the past, we've… More >>
  • Best EDM Show

    Pan-Pot
    NORAD

    The people bringing DJs and producers to town have gone above and beyond during the past year, proving that you can put a city that's not on either coast on the international map if you play your cards right. In a year of music that also included such artists as legendary techno superstar Chris Liebing and illustrious underground names Rrose… More >>
  • Best Choreography

    42nd Street

    Tracy Warren is a warmly appealing actress with a fine singing voice. And during Boulder Dinner Theatre's 42nd Street, we learned she also has a deft touch as a choreographer who can handle dozens of swiftly tapping feet as well as soulful solos and silly-funny two-performer numbers.… More >>
  • Best EDM Programming

    Afterhours Anonymous

    It's been a banner year for electronic music in Denver — after all, the metro area is home to Communikey and the Great American Techno Festival, so we've grown to expect headliners that should make EDM fans in many larger metropolitan areas green with envy. But Afterhours Anonymous produced consistently amazing shows throughout the year, bringing in internationally renowned DJs… More >>
  • Best Musical

    42nd Street

    When a small dinner theater decides to take on a huge, glitzy Broadway show featuring dozens of tapping feet, it's asking for trouble. Where will the director find all those triple-threat performers, the people who can sing, dance and act equally well? For 42nd Street, Michael J. Duran enlisted the help of talented Boulder's Dinner Theatre regulars, mixed in a… More >>
  • Best Dubstep Promoter

    Sub.Mission

    Being plugged into the local dubstep scene is one thing, but having your finger on the pulse internationally is a whole other feat. The Sub.Mission crew has done just that by bringing the biggest names in the burgeoning genre stateside for half a dozen years now. Utilizing their in-depth knowledge of the dubstep scene, the folks at Sub.Mission have opened… More >>
  • Best Season of Original Work

    Buntport Theater Company

    The members of Buntport don't just put on plays; they create the plays they put on through a communal process of idea swapping, testing and rehearsing. Since these shows are never critic- or audience-tested, every one represents a big risk. And they're all staged in Buntport's convention-busting style. Sweet Tooth was a take on the turn-of-the-century decadent movement — think… More >>
  • Best Drum-and-Bass Promoter

    Recon DNB

    With the emergence of dubstep — sometimes falsely referred to as "fast drum and bass" — other EDM genres have taken a side seat. The tried-and-true plate-traders at Recon don't subscribe to this. Recon DNB has maintained prominence in Denver by bringing real drum-and-bass to the people who know and love it. Whether you find yourself in the dampest of… More >>
  • Best Season for a Theater Company

    Curious Theatre Company

    Curious had a rocking season last year, and this year the company did it again, mounting three of the season's must-see shows. Time Stands Still was an incisive examination of the way the media covers war — and the resulting indifference of the public — in the very human context of a relationship between a photographer and a writer who… More >>
  • Best Big Shows at a Small Venue

    Lion's Lair

    Brandy Darling of Girlwreck Presents worked with Doug Kauffman, owner of the Lion's Lair, to bring a handful of shows to the storied bar that may not have otherwise come to town. This began in January with Garland Jeffreys, who was an early friend of the Velvet Underground and whose song "Wild in the Streets" has struck a chord with… More >>
  • Best Album-Release Show

    The Dirty Few

    Anyone who saw the Dirty Few early on and thought it was just a half-decent garage-rock band should see it now. At an album-release show at 3 Kings Tavern this past January, the bandmembers not only played the show like rock-and-roll wildmen, but they really got the crowd fired up, then fed off that energy with increasing intensity throughout the… More >>
  • Best Theater Production

    The Book of Mormon

    A couple of hometown boys — Trey Parker and Matt Stone — made good, very good, with The Book of Mormon, which debuted on Broadway two years ago and started its tour in Denver last summer, with tickets selling out within hours of going on sale. The story of a couple of Mormon missionaries sent to Uganda, the show was… More >>
  • Best Homemade-Instruments Show

    Gorinto

    Kurt Bauer (Super Secret Messengers and Animal/Object), a fixture in the Denver avant-garde going back to at least the '80s, curated this event. He asked people in the scene who'd built their own sound-making devices to put together a set showcasing the capabilities of those home-crafted instruments. With numerous performances that included entomologist Aaron Spriggs's portable theremin, a piece performed… More >>
  • Best Annual Art Fundraiser

    Design After Dark

    There are a lot of great parties in the art world, but they usually attract very specific crowds. Design After Dark attracts all kinds, however. The annual February event supports Darrin Alfred's Architecture, Design and Graphics department at the Denver Art Museum, and the 2013 version took place inside the newly rehabbed McNichols Building, with Design After Dark favorite James… More >>
  • Best New Music Festival

    Blacktop Festival

    The mainstream and underground arts communities don't come together often enough, much less in collaboration with the city. But when the organizers of Unit E were approached about doing a music festival on the grounds of the Denver Performing Arts Complex, they jumped at the chance. With the help of the city, which shut down part of Champa Street for… More >>
  • Best Proof That Fashion Is Art

    Yves Saint Laurent: the Retrospective

    Among the amazing coups by the Denver Art Museum last year was landing Yves Saint Laurent: the Retrospective; in fact, it was the traveling blockbuster's only stop in this country. Curator Florence Müller, with backing from the late couturier's partner, Pierre Bergé, surveyed Saint Laurent's career, with the dramatic exhibition design by Nathalie Criniére setting a new standard around here.… More >>
  • Best GLBTQ-Spotlighting Film Festival

    Cinema Q

    Giving movies that might otherwise never be seen a chance on the big screen, the Sie FilmCenter's ongoing Cinema Q series and annual film festival focuses on the wide-open world of GLBTQ cinema. I Want Your Love, which screened last year, might have been too pornographic for any other festival, but at Cinema Q, it got the attention it deserved.… More >>
  • Best New Hip-Hop Showcase

    Quantized Fitness

    Kalyn Heffernan of Wheelchair Sports Camp felt the need to create a quasi-clandestine hip-hop showcase as a way to stay connected to the art form's true creative sources. With the assistance of longtime friend and collaborator Qknox, Heffernan put on the inaugural Quantized Fitness at a local DIY venue in late December and used the occasion to release Qknox's debut… More >>
  • Best House Shows

    Post Pony Palace

    Having an anarchist collective host musical events is not a new or unique occurrence in Denver: The Breakdown Book Collective put on multiple memorable shows at both of its locations, and the Pitchfork House was one of the very few places where you could see crust-folk outfits like the Fainting Fansies in their element. Post Pony Palace benefited from the… More >>
  • Best Rollout of a New Art Space

    Fulginiti Pavilion

    In fall 2012, the University of Colorado unveiled a small but elegant building called the Fulginiti Pavilion for Bioethics and Humanities, named for former chancellor Vincent Fulginiti. Designed by NAC Architecture with Stuart Crawford, the building includes a good-looking little gallery. In an inspired move, freelance curator Simon Zalkind was hired to set up the first year's schedule. He started… More >>
  • Best Ambient House Show

    Robert Rich

    Jesse Sola has been producing interesting ambient music on an international level since the 1990s. And because his music has been picked up by various ambient labels over the years, Sola, who still plays live occasionally, has had access to some of the most important and influential artists of the genre. Over the past decade or so, he's hosted Hearts… More >>
  • Best Reunion Show

    Five Iron Frenzy

    When ska was ascending to the peak of its popularity, Five Iron Frenzy was in the right place to ride that wave. There was a glut of ska in the '90s, and before Five Iron broke up, what set it apart was the fact that it was punk and rock as much as it was ska. It was also a… More >>
  • Best Reunion That You Probably Missed

    Uphollow at Wax Trax

    Some of the best shows are the ones that no one seems to see — and this was definitely the case for Uphollow's original-lineup reunion last April. As part of the Wax Trax 33 1/3 Birthday Blowout — set over Record Store Day weekend — the band came together for an amazing revival of its pop-punk past. Uphollow's post-'90s incarnations… More >>
  • Best Show Involving Hip-Hop Legends

    Hip Hop Gods Tour

    Any show with Chuck D as the host would qualify for this award, but this one sparkled like it was taking place two decades ago. Flavor Flav stole the show, providing the crowd with some truly memorable moments — now grabbing the bass from Davy DMX and slapping intensely, now stepping behind the drums to drop an incredible solo. X-clan,… More >>
  • Best Return to the Denver Music Scene

    Sleepers

    In the second half of the '90s and the early part of the '00s, Kathryn Ellinger was one of the primary songwriters in experimental rock band Worm Trouble. The charismatic frontwoman, a multi-instrumentalist with a strong yet girlish voice, had a knack for crafting pop songs with avant-garde underpinnings. Ellinger renamed the band Sleepers around 2003, and focused on songwriting… More >>
  • Best New Building Downtown

    Denver Police Crime Laboratory

    During the twentieth century in Denver, typically only one building was constructed each decade in the greater Civic Center area. That's changed, though, and since 2000, we've seen no fewer than eight new landmarks. Add to this exalted group the Denver Police Crime Laboratory, designed by the Durant Smith Group. Though relatively small in size, it's big in visual appeal,… More >>
  • Best Musical Variety Show — Internet

    Late Night Denver

    A weird mix of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and The Tonight Show, the Denver-centric variety show Late Night Denver has a bit of an intentionally awkward, surrealistic vibe. But that just adds a bizarre classiness to a program that, in another era, would merely have been a well-produced cable-access show. Hosted by John Rumley, of Urban Leash and Slim… More >>
  • Best Rollout of a Relocated Gallery
    Frank Sampson

    Although it was tiny, the Sandra Phillips Gallery on Santa Fe Drive established itself by focusing on important artists from the state's art-historical past. But when gallery owner Sandra Phillips moved to the Golden Triangle last fall, she knew she had to pull out the stops to recapture the exhibition-going crowd. Frank Sampson, dedicated to one of the best-loved and… More >>
  • Best Projection Screen

    The Oriental Theater

    Scott LaBarbera has a very diverse booking policy at the Oriental Theater, and he and his team have brought in some impressive acts, including Crime and the City Solution, Dead Prez and Woven Hand. Part of what makes these shows such a rich experience is the projection screen that occupies the entire back wall. With it, even local bands on… More >>
  • Best Fantasy Show

    Plato's Retreat

    Conjuring up imaginary worlds, especially Utopia, has always been popular, but there is also plenty of art involving dystopian visions, where the imaginary world is terrible — or at least difficult. Susan Meyer's evocatively titled Plato's Retreat — named for a swingers' club in New York that was closed in the face of the AIDS epidemic in the '80s —… More >>
  • Best New Recording

    Double Four Time
    The Swayback

    Few bands put out their strongest album ten years into their career. But that's what happened when the Swayback released Double Four Time. Not only is the album an artistic leap forward for this already noteworthy band, but it sounds like a complete reinvention that incorporates what the group has been developing over the past few years. A diverse yet… More >>
  • Best Place for a Drink and a Film

    Movie and a Martini

    Taking advantage of the Wildlife Experience's massive forty-by-sixty-foot HD screen, the Movie and a Martini series keeps selling out the house with its monthly film and food pairings. Coupling classics like Casablanca, Sixteen Candles or Strange Brew with specialty cocktails makes the grownup soiree worth a trip to Parker. And the museum's companion series, Whiskey and a Western, offers double-barreled… More >>
  • Best Soundman

    John Fate

    Denver's got plenty of venues, but when it comes to sound quality, not all rooms are created equal. For a sure bet, though, walk into 3 Kings Tavern almost any night of the week and see a show with John Fate behind the board. From sparse folk to the heaviest of metal, the soundman extraordinaire makes the music of every… More >>
  • Best Tribute Band

    The Dirty Femmes

    Jen Korte has been on the radar of the Denver music scene for some time now, but it was only last year that she introduced us to the Dirty Femmes, her Violent Femmes tribute band. Korte embodies the Femmes' gender-bending songs with a passion and accuracy that could only spring from a devoted fan. The pleasure she gleans from performing… More >>
  • Best New Noise Project

    Crablab

    Katy Taylor was an unassuming resident of Rhinoceropolis for a year or two, but her quiet, thoughtful demeanor hid a vivid imagination. Her project with Alphabets' Colin Ward, Sex Therapy, is a jarring and electrifying foray into confrontational performance art. As Crablab, however, Taylor reveals her own unique creative voice, utilizing unconventional guitar noises, synths and tape loops and effects… More >>
  • Best Photo Show

    Reality of Fiction

    Month of Photography hit a kind of critical mass this year, with one wonderful show after another, but RedLine served as the event's unofficial heart by hosting Reality of Fiction, put together by MoP founder, photographer and arts advocate Mark Sink. He included artists from around the world but relied on local talent for most of the inclusions. Everything in… More >>
  • Best Music Blog

    ThisSongIsSick.com

    Nick Guarino, founder and owner of ThisSongIsSick.com, didn't expect his obsession with music to take off the way that it did. After attending the University of Colorado at Boulder for a couple of years, Guarino found himself at a crossroads: continue higher education, or press on with the blog. Like any smart entrepreneur, he followed his passion, and as a… More >>
  • Best Abstract Trio

    Amy Metier, Michael Clapper and Emilio Lobato

    William Havu brought together three of the state's top abstract artists last spring. The main event was Amy Metier. Metier begins with an actual subject, and then, using her expressive brushwork, turns it into an abstract composition; though more representational than usual for her, these paintings were still very much a part of her classic style. Meanwhile, the floors at… More >>
  • Best Label

    Elm & Oak

    Berk Gibbs started Elm & Oak in 2005 while living on the East Coast; since then, it has grown from an artist collective of sorts to a monumental player. Backing artists like Two Fresh, Cherub, Black Actors and fellow Elm & Oak owner Alex Botwin's solo project Paper Diamond, the label also provides space for boutique art and clothing sales… More >>
  • Best Act of Selflessness

    Mike Marchant benefits

    When beloved local songwriter Mike Marchant was diagnosed with lymphoma last year, the scene immediately rose up to support him. A part of Denver music for the past decade and a half, Marchant is known not only for his never-ending creative endeavors — in Widowers, Houses, Mike Marchant's Outer Space Party Unit and more — but also for his kind… More >>
  • Best Rock Massage Therapist

    Abby Jane Palmer

    When she's not tenderizing the muscles of stressed-out working folk in the Capitol Hill Whole Foods, Abby Jane Palmer is often moonlighting at rock concerts, keeping blood pressure low and limbs loose for big-name acts passing through Denver. Last year alone, she methodically kneaded the road-weary backs and shoulders of performers in My Morning Jacket, Band of Horses, Jack White's… More >>
  • Best Installation

    "Bufalo Blanco"
    Brandon Bultman

    Nestled inside The Surface Beneath, a group show presented last summer, was a hallucination in the form of an installation by emerging artist Brandon Bultman. The unforgettable "Bufalo Blanco" consisted of a derelict upside-down '57 Buick station wagon with its exposed undercarriage planted with real prairie grasses. A thoughtful young artist, Bultman proved he's also ambitious with this piece; to… More >>
  • Best Collaboration

    DeVotchKa and the Colorado Symphony

    As any rock historian could tell you, teaming up with an orchestra can sometimes be a thin attempt to disguise a creative lag. But in the case of DeVotchKa and the Colorado Symphony, the pairing has produced an inspired, brilliantly structured melding of two aesthetics that relies less on contrast than it does on similarities. With DeVotchKa's sentimental landscapes and… More >>
  • Best Kinky Comedy Band

    Harpoontang

    Listening to Paper Bird, M & the Gems or Laura Goldhamer and the Silver Nail, you wouldn't necessarily guess that their female members, some of whom make up the comedy band Harpoontang, have raunchy humor up their sleeves. But after witnessing Harpoontang's live show, with the acoustic funk of "Jingle Me Down," a song about safe sex with Santa, or… More >>
  • Best Opening Slot

    Flashlights and boyhollow opening for New Order at 1STBANK Center

    Landing an opening gig for a big-name band on tour is a big deal. Opening for a legendary act in an arena is an even bigger deal. Ask Flashlights and Lipgloss DJ boyhollow (Michael Trundle), who garnered a highly coveted slot opening for New Order during its visit to the 1STBANK Center last fall. Both acts owe a significant creative… More >>
  • Best Pre- and Post-Movie Party Spot

    Sie FilmCenter

    Whether you're hanging out before a movie, between film-festival showings or after an unrelated event, Sie FilmCenter always has the makings of a great party. The FilmCenter makes good use of its indoor and outdoor space, hosting shindigs on the rooftop, cocktail hours and yoga classes in Henderson's Lounge, concerts on the front steps, and trivia nights in the lobby.… More >>
  • Best Way to Learn How to DJ

    Global DJ Academy

    While most DJs spend a great deal of time, effort and money pursing their craft — only to learn the biggest lessons through trial and error — Walt White has created a school at which would-be DJs not only get instruction in how to mix and match beats, but can also try out their skills in a live club setting… More >>
  • Best Celebrity Endorsement

    Bill Murray for Big Head Todd

    Bill Murray, who just a month earlier had been photographed across Austin at South by Southwest rocking Big Head Todd and the Monsters T-shirts, was at Wrigley Field for the opening day of the Chicago Cubs 2012 season, where he sang an enthusiastic rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." Accompanying him? Todd Park Mohr, one of Colorado's favorite… More >>
  • Best Homage to Elvis

    Jonny Barber

    On the 35th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, Jonny Barber — the artist formerly known as the Velvet Elvis, who channels the King perhaps better than anyone else in the world — chose to honor Elvis Presley in the most memorable and fitting way possible. While the rest of the world was in Memphis last August, Barber had the foresight… More >>
  • Best New Band

    The Dirty Few

    With the constant influx of great new bands that flood the scene every year, it's tough to pick the best of them. But the Dirty Few made that task infinitely easier this year. The trio makes the kind of fun, no-frills, boisterous, beer-can-foisting rock that you thought didn't exist anymore. The bouncy bombast could inspire even the most bashful of… More >>
  • Best Concert Debacle

    Wyclef Jean 4/20 show

    The free show featuring Wyclef Jean and hosted by the University of Colorado at the Coors Events Center last April was designed to stamp out unofficial 4/20 observations on campus. The concert was open only to students — and once the doors closed, those students would not be allowed to leave the venue for the duration of the entire two-hour… More >>
  • Best Debut for a Newly Local Artist

    Linhas Polimórficas

    Last summer, the Denver Art Dealers Association mounted a citywide event called "Introductions," featuring work by artists new to Denver. A standout in the series was Linhas Polimórficas, a solo dedicated to Rosane Volchan O'Conor, a Brazilian-born artist who recently relocated to Boulder. The show was made up of an installation and works on paper, and the relationship between the… More >>
  • Best Conceptual Show

    Between Chaos and Order

    Best known for his "Face the Sun," a permanent installation on Tennyson Street, conceptual artist Kevin Curry made quite a splash during the years he lived in Denver. And although he is now in Florida, Curry was the subject of a compelling solo at Rule Gallery (which is now sadly shuttered). Between Chaos and Order was related to "Face the… More >>
  • Best Free Impromptu Show

    Jack White

    One Wednesday afternoon, hours before he was to perform a sold-out gig at Red Rocks, Jack White casually tweeted the secret location of a free show that had been rumored but seemed too good to be true. But it was true: The performance, which took place at Isdajo Automotive on West Colfax, drew a throng of excited fans who crowded… More >>
  • Best Sculpture Show

    Parson in Perspective

    When Randy Roberts opened Z Art Department a few years ago, he decided to focus on artists important to Colorado's history, including Herbert Bayer, Roland Detre and Winter Prather, all of whom are dead. Then last year, he delved into contemporary art by living artists. One of the first exhibits of this kind was Parson in Perspective, which looked at… More >>
  • Best Concert

    Refused

    Nearly fourteen years after an aborted tour in support of its epochal and influential album The Shape of Punk to Come, Refused reunited for another tour and the chance to properly present the music live. The black curtain masking the Ogden stage, with clear letters spelling out the band's name and a white light shining through, helped build anticipation for… More >>
  • Best Members' Show

    Material Engagements

    Co-ops, schools, associations and art groups often mount shows that feature the work of their members exclusively. Material Engagements, at Laura Merage's RedLine, comprised pieces by the complex's residents and former residents, and it was definitely a winner. Guest curator Harmony Hammond made the savvy decision to choose material as the organizing theme; this was a necessary call, given that… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater — Food/Drink

    Alamo Drafthouse

    The long-awaited Alamo Drafthouse just made its Colorado debut at Aspen Grove, but its fun-loving movie-party reputation precedes it. One big part of the Alamo formula is the food: a full menu of burgers, pizzas, salads, sandwiches and brunch items that brings home-style amenities to the movie-going experience. And fueling up at the Alamo is no problem: You can choose… More >>
  • Best Paired Girls' Group Shows

    Swank [Fool] and Continued From the Other Side

    The gorgeous front space at Ice Cube Gallery, which is often split so that it can host two shows at once, is one of the best rooms in the local art scene. This past fall, two shows exemplifying post-feminist sensibility were presented side by side. Swank [fool] was an over-the-top duet featuring paintings and installations by Theresa Anderson and sculptural… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater — Programming

    Sie FilmCenter

    Sie FilmCenter programmer Keith Garcia wears his film fanaticism in a bright splash right on his sleeve, and his constituents love him for it — because he's one of them. Thanks to Garcia, the Sie's schedule pairs the best in current indie and art films with more esoteric sidesteps into anime and animation, documentaries and genre films he books for… More >>
  • Best Free Entertainment

    Mercury Cafe

    For more than thirty years, Marilyn Megenity's Mercury Cafe has given this city a movable feast of good works, good food and good entertainment — much of it free. For the last two decades, the Merc has been doing it from the edge of downtown, in an area that was once sketchy and is now heading toward respectability. And you'll… More >>
  • Best New Museum

    American Museum of Western Art — the Anschutz Collection

    Denver has been on a museum-building boom over the past several years, with the Clyfford Still Museum and History Colorado among the most recent projects. Unlike those glittering edifices, though, the American Museum of Western Art — the Anschutz Collection, which opened last May, is housed in one of the oldest buildings downtown, the Navarre, once a school for young… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater — Comfort

    Boedecker Theater at the Dairy Center

    Time is on the Boedecker's side: The intimate, state-of-the-art film palace opened at the Dairy Center just two years ago, so it includes the most modern of amenities. Its sixty seats are plush rockers, each with four feet of leg room, and the theater also boasts 5.1 Surround Sound and HD DLP projection that rival better sophisticated home-theater equipment. Throw… More >>
  • Best Group Show by a Bunch of Grownups

    Stephen Batura, Edie Winograde, Jerry Kunkel and Gary Emrich

    In anticipation of Continental Drift at MCA Denver, Jennifer Doran curated a quartet of solos by well-known Colorado artists that focused on new art about the West. Stephen Batura was made up of the artist's casein-and-acrylic paintings based on historic photos, like his famous train-wreck paintings. Edie Winograde mashed the past with the present through the artist's remarkable color shots… More >>
  • Best Celluloid Holdout

    International Film Series

    Pablo Kjolseth, the heartbeat of CU-Boulder's time-honored International Film Series, is all about analog, and though he's now being forced to add digital equipment to IFS's projection rooms (new celluloid is essentially history with the recent passing of the Digital Cinema Initiatives), he promises to still deliver film classics on celluloid whenever possible. Kjolseth stands by the idea that a… More >>
  • Best Fan Convention

    Denver Comic Con

    It takes guts to say you're going to launch a new major comic convention — but even more, it takes faith, the faint promise of funding, and maybe a wing and a prayer. Still, Comic Book Classroom, a non-profit program that teaches literacy to kids through comics, pushed forward with the first annual Denver Comic Con last June, and the… More >>
  • Best Anime Convention

    Nan Desu Kan

    The anime community, which wraps Japanese animation and video-game fandom up with an exquisite propensity for cosplay and costumery, is tight in Denver, and it showed off with abandon at this fall's Nan Desu Kan, an annual hotel takeover that's out of this world. You feel as if you've stepped into another world at NDK, where manga characters come alive… More >>
  • Best Bookings

    Counterpath

    In 2006, Tim Roberts and Julie Carr created Counterpath publishing house. Five years later, they were ready to expand their artistic offerings into a physical storefront, which they fill not just with books, but also with carefully curated events and performances that range from film screenings to scholarly lectures to readings by traveling poets. Between acts, you can peruse Counterpath's… More >>
  • Best Slam Poets

    Minor Disturbance

    Last summer, Denver proved, once again, that it's a straight-up poetry town — and also that it takes a village to make it that way. Minor Disturbance represents the city's junior division of slam poets, who, besides being talented beyond their years to begin with, benefit from the expert coaching of the adult brigade. So we're not surprised that the… More >>
  • Best Group of Shows by a Bunch of Kids

    Estee Fox, David Sole, Harry Kleeman and Daniel Nilsson

    This past winter, four young upstarts transformed Edge Gallery into a very edgy place. First was Estee Fox, represented by videos, disturbing performances and some great figurative works on paper. Then David Sole turned one space into an artificial back yard that included a gouged and graffiti-covered wall. Next up was Harry Kleeman, with some super-successful hybrids of paintings and… More >>
  • Best New Book by a Colorado Author

    The Drowned Cities, by Paolo Bacigalupi

    After racking up awards — Nebula and Hugo honors for Best Novel — for his debut book, The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi followed up with Ship Breaker, set in an equally dismal, dystopian future, and won another round of awards, including a National Book Award nomination and a Printz Award for Best Young Adult Novel. The latest from the Paonia-based… More >>
  • Best Graphic Novel by a Local Artist

    The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln, by Noah Van Sciver

    Don't think we're crowing just because Noah Van Sciver's work appears in these pages: The cartoonist would have made a name for himself in the comix world with or without our help — he's that good. Known to the rest of the world as the creator of the Blammo comic book and an accomplished old-school comic artist with a dense,… More >>
  • Best Gallery in a Pot Shop

    GroundSwell Gallery

    GroundSwell would be a great gallery regardless of its location: Gallery curators Rebecca Peebles and Danette Montoya earned a Westword MasterMind award this year for opening an intimate viewing room that doubles as an arts incubator and a haven where artists can show more daring or experimental work. Since they opened GroundSwell, Peebles and Montoya have hosted everything from Andrew… More >>
  • Best Pop-Up Gallery

    Dikeou Pop-Up Space

    Devon Dikeou's private Dikeou Collection gallery in a 16th Street high-rise is worth seeking out, but it's hard to find unless you know what you're looking for. Far more visible is its adjunct pop-up gallery in the Golden Triangle, which hosts openings and other special events, highlighting new additions to the collection in a more accessible spot. Think of this… More >>
  • Best Civic Makeover

    McNichols Building

    The McNichols Building started out handsome when it first opened as a Carnegie Library in 1910, and it remained stately through every changing of the guard, including stints as the Denver Water Board office and the Denver Treasury. It was renamed in 1999 for former Colorado governor Stephen McNichols, and then, sadly, sat vacant for ten years. The first glimmer… More >>
  • Best Pop-Up Shop in a Museum

    Design Within Denver

    We loved the Denver Art Museum gift shop's nod to local designers when it displayed and sold Denver-made styles during the Yves Saint Laurent retrospective's run. But even more enduring is MCA Denver's shop-local-themed Design Within Denver series, which brings in changing trunk shows on selected Friday nights, giving local artists, designers, crafters and jewelry makers a chance to shine… More >>
  • Best Community Art Show — Denver

    Open for Design

    Art museums are getting all experiential these days, and the Denver Art Museum's Open for Design challenge and exhibit proved just how good that can get. Last summer, regular folks — artists, designers, doers, thinkers, nobodies and somebodies alike — took over the walls of the DAM's Hamilton Building to show off artful models expressing their ideas on how to… More >>
  • Best Community Art Show — Boulder

    Museum of Broken Relationships

    BMoCA's venture into community involvement, Museum of Broken Relationships, is actually the local incarnation of an international movement based in Zagreb, where former lovers Draen Grubiic and Olinka Vitica curate a permanent collection of cast-off mementos left behind when relationships end. Boulderites and other Front Rangers answered BMoCA's call by donating their own relics of love lost for the exhibit,… More >>
  • Best Gallery Show — Solo

    Place

    Michael Brohman, who teaches sculpture at the University of Colorado Denver, is known for being outrageous. For his solo Place, mounted in fall 2012, the longtime Pirate co-op member presented some never-before-seen works that he'd done during a residency at the Jentel Foundation in Banner, Wyoming. The works, mostly made of found materials, represent contemporary takes on Western themes, like… More >>
  • Best Sanctioned Yarnbomb

    "Fancygasm," Ladies Fancywork Society

    Yarnbombing is a joyful thing: We look out our windows to find that the trees have grown socks and that flowers have bloomed on chain-link fences, and nobody knows exactly how that came to be — or even wants to know. Yarnbombing is done in secret — although around here, you'd rarely be wrong if you guessed that the deed… More >>
  • Best Unofficial Public Art

    The Big Blue Bear Takes a Big Blue Dump

    One fine spring morning, we woke up to find that our beloved Big Blue Bear — Lawrence Argent's "I See What You Mean,"a sculpture of a giant bear peering into the Colorado Convention Center — had taken a big blue dump. It was not the first time our own Ursa Major had been the focus of guerrilla street art (in… More >>
  • Best Small Show About Colorado Art

    Continental Drift

    When MCA Denver curator Nora Burnett Abrams and Aspen Art Museum curator Jacob Proctor announced that only seven artists — out of 300 considered — would appear in Continental Drift, there was a collective groan heard across the state's art scene. That reaction would have been understandable had the show been a survey. But to appreciate Continental Drift, which was… More >>
  • Best New Public Art

    "Bridge," by Stephen Shachtman

    In remote southwest Denver, art of any kind has been hard to find. But this part of town has finally gotten its first piece of public sculpture: "Bridge," an elegant minimalist gateway by Stephen Shachtman. Constructed of two Corten steel upright forms connected by a heavy horizontal element made of polished black granite and sheets of laminated glass, the piece… More >>
  • Best Big Show About Colorado Art

    Art of the State

    Arvada Center curator Collin Parson has redirected the venue's visual-arts program so that it zeroes in on work made by in-state talent. The resulting exhibitions included solos dedicated to David Yust and Robert Mangold, and group shows focused on representational artists and women. His most successful effort, though, was Art of the State. Parson asked Denver art-world celebrity Dean Sobel,… More >>
  • Best Public Art at DIA

    "Mustang," by Luis Jiménez

    "Mustang," a 32-foot-tall blue fiberglass stallion with glowing orangey-red eyes, has truly captured the public's attention. The piece conflates the Wild West with lowrider culture and is the greatest accomplishment of its creator, the late Luis Jiménez. When it was unveiled in early 2008, fifteen years behind schedule and two years after a chunk of the then-work-in-progress had fallen on… More >>
  • Best Redefinition of Western Art

    Ed Ruscha: On the Road

    With Denver being a key stop in Jack Kerouac's On the Road, Colorado found its place on the hipster map. Los Angeles-based conceptualist Ed Ruscha, himself a hipster's hipster, did a series of works on paper that incorporated quotes from the novel and placed them across photos of Western landscapes or related abstracts. They're classic post-pop Ruschas, with the text… More >>
  • Best Museum Exhibit

    Becoming van Gogh

    The Denver Art Museum has really stepped up its game since the Hamilton Building came on line, giving the facility more space and allowing director Christoph Heinrich to turn the place into an exhibition-driven destination. The homegrown blockbuster Becoming van Gogh was a perfect example: The museum stayed open around the clock at the end of its run to accommodate… More >>
  • Best Reminder of an All-But-Forgotten Artist

    William Joseph: Sculptor & Painter

    A small private venue in Capitol Hill, the Kirkland Museum has done more to preserve and promote the history of Colorado art than any other museum in the state. In fact, it could be said that the Kirkland, under the direction of Hugh Grant, has done more on this score than all of the other museums combined. One of its… More >>
  • Best New Curator

    William Morrow

    Last fall, William Morrow was named the Denver Art Museum's Polly and Mark Addison Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, joining Gwen Chanzit, the department's senior curator, who was named Curator of Modern Art. The distinction is that art from the early to mid-twentieth century is called modern, while work by artists active from the '60s to the present is referred… More >>
  • Best Retrospective

    Floyd D. Tunson: Son of Pop

    As a kid in Denver in the '60s, Floyd Tunson would flip through the magazines his mother brought home from her job as a housekeeper, paying particular attention to the work of the pop artists, notably Warhol. It changed his life, and Tunson has been responding to it in his work for the past thirty years, though he takes on… More >>
  • Best Museum Shop

    History Colorado Center

    The History Colorado Center has courted controversy with its exhibits, but the powers-that-be at the institution did get a few things right. They commissioned David Tryba to design a spectacular new building — a winner, even before it opened, of a Best of Denver award last year. They also stocked a spacious and handsome gift shop on the main floor,… More >>
  • Best Civic Discussion Group

    Warm Cookies of the Revolution

    Buntport Theater's Evan Weissman had the urge to do something more, something proactively political that would engage the public in a gentle way. His urge to facilitate a better world led to Warm Cookies of the Revolution, an ongoing series of civic discussions augmented by an element of shared creative fun that Weissman likes to characterize as a "civic health… More >>
  • Best Gallery Show — Group

    The Other Primary Colors — White Black Grey

    Two separate themes connected the artists in The Other Primary Colors, a group show at Space Gallery. First, as indicated by the title, all of them used neutral shades. And second, they all created pieces in the context of contemporary abstraction, with everything owing a debt to either minimalism or pattern painting. Guest curator for this show was Marks Aardsma… More >>
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