Arts and Culture

The Westword 2014 Show and Tell Bucket List: #5-1

Since the start of the new year, we've been filling our four blogs -- Show and Tell, Backbeat, Cafe Society and the Latest Word -- with a Colorado bucket list of the 100 things to do before you kick it.

We've already shared Show and Tell Bucket List picks 25-16 and and 15-6. Here are the final five for Show and Tell.

5. Relive your youth at Lakeside Amusement Park.

The rides at Lakeside Amusement Park are sturdy but not even close to high-tech, and their squeal-inducing, brain-swirling squeaks and trembles bring on a rush of instant nostalgia...if and when they're running. The food is cheap and bad for you; the lines are short but the atmosphere is long. At Lakeside, you can be a bobby-soxed teenager forever and ever, even if you never wore bobby sox the first time around. It's our no-frills, down-and-dirty, magical fortress of fun -- and, truly, you haven't lived until you've circled Lake Rhoda on a moonlit train ride. The neon alone is history caught in amber.

Continue reading for the rest of the Show and Tell Bucket List countdown.

4. Spend the day at Water World...

Sporting more water features than you could ever dream of experiencing in a single day, Water World attracts a monster wave of humanity every hot day of summer, all jostling on giant inner tubes and down massive slides or lazing in wave pools and traveling through the Voyage to the Center of the Earth raft adventure. Generally accepted as one of the best water parks in the nation, this is where Colorado cools off -- its biggest beach. Famous fact: South Park immortalized Water World under the alias of "Pipi's Waterpark" in an episode titled "Pee!" Say no more.

Continue reading for the rest of the Show and Tell Bucket List countdown.

3. ...and the evening at Casa Bonita.

Casa Bonita is our castle of kitsch, a Pepto-Bismol-pink palace where the dirt is palpable and the food is nasty, but we go anyway, because, you know: Cliff divers! Fire spinners! Mariachis! BLACK BART'S CAVE! Eff Disneyland. Eff everything! We have Casa Bonita, world, and you don't.

Continue reading for the rest of the Show and Tell Bucket List countdown.

2. See how the Beat goes on at My Brother's Bar.

The building at 2376 15th Street has held a bar since at least the 1880s, perhaps even earlier. For more than forty years, it's been home to My Brother's Bar, a place so well-known for its classical music, great greasy bar burgers and down-home atmosphere that it doesn't even have a sign outside. But it serves up history as well as stiff drinks: During its incarnation as Paul's Place, which ran from Prohibition through the '60s, this saloon was a hangout for Neal Cassady, the inspiration for Dean Moriarty -- as well as a generation of Beats and other free spirits -- in Jack Kerouac's On the Road. But while Cassady was still a teen in Colorado, he rang up a big tab at Paul's and asked a pal to cover him, as documented by a letter still hanging at My Brother's.

Continue reading for the rest of the Show and Tell Bucket List countdown.

1. Survive an encounter with Blucifer.

Denver is filled with wonderful museums and galleries. But the city's most renowned art collection may well be at Denver International Airport, whose public-art portfolio was named the best in the country by USA Today readers last year. We love Gary Sweeney's "America Why I Love Her" for its good-hearted celebration of America, and even enjoy how Leo Tanguma's murals have inspired a host of conspiracy theories about the New World Order building concentration camps under the airport. But the real leader of this pack? "Mustang," the giant blue devil horse that killed its creator, Luis Jiménez, and now stands guard outside the terminal, frightening tourists with its glowing red eyes and really large anus.

Now see the entire top twenty here.

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd