In a way, Sketchbook was a mid-career survey of a still relatively young artist, William Stockman, who came on strong in the mid-1990s as one of a group of artists who revitalized the Pirate co-op. Almost immediately, it was onward and upward, with Stockman getting a piece into the Denver Art Museum's collection -- no mean feat for a then-emerging local -- and bouncing around between some of the city's top commercial galleries, most recently landing at Ron Judish Fine Arts, which hosted Sketchbook. The show explored the all-sizes-fit-one range of Stockman's drawings, which are distinct in style from his equally distinguished paintings. The show included small, intimate sketches, larger-presentation drawings, oversized drawings and even one mammoth drawing applied directly to the wall in the manner of a mural. They all sported enigmatic narrative content and hand-scrawled text coming together to literally shade our understanding of Stockman's vision.

Readers' choice: Aaron Alden at Kung Fu Kitchen

In a way, Sketchbook was a mid-career survey of a still relatively young artist, William Stockman, who came on strong in the mid-1990s as one of a group of artists who revitalized the Pirate co-op. Almost immediately, it was onward and upward, with Stockman getting a piece into the Denver Art Museum's collection -- no mean feat for a then-emerging local -- and bouncing around between some of the city's top commercial galleries, most recently landing at Ron Judish Fine Arts, which hosted Sketchbook. The show explored the all-sizes-fit-one range of Stockman's drawings, which are distinct in style from his equally distinguished paintings. The show included small, intimate sketches, larger-presentation drawings, oversized drawings and even one mammoth drawing applied directly to the wall in the manner of a mural. They all sported enigmatic narrative content and hand-scrawled text coming together to literally shade our understanding of Stockman's vision.

Readers' choice: Aaron Alden at Kung Fu Kitchen

IMAX at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Last December, the newly renamed Denver Museum of Nature and Science in City Park updated its 441-seat IMAX theater with a 15,000-watt (up from 8,500) digital sound system featuring six-track reproduction and -- count 'em -- 58 giant speakers. The sonic effect is rather like taking a front-row seat at the Battle of Verdun. There's also a brand-new screen -- four and a half stories tall, six and a half stories wide -- manufactured by the British firm Harkness. So if you're in the mood for a gigantic view of Dolphins, or some eye- and ear-popping Adventures in Wild California, or a trip to Cirque de Soleil: Journey of Man, IMAX is the place to be. All three films, shot in oversized 70 millimeter, are currently on view, a total of 35 times per week.
Last December, the newly renamed Denver Museum of Nature and Science in City Park updated its 441-seat IMAX theater with a 15,000-watt (up from 8,500) digital sound system featuring six-track reproduction and -- count 'em -- 58 giant speakers. The sonic effect is rather like taking a front-row seat at the Battle of Verdun. There's also a brand-new screen -- four and a half stories tall, six and a half stories wide -- manufactured by the British firm Harkness. So if you're in the mood for a gigantic view of Dolphins, or some eye- and ear-popping Adventures in Wild California, or a trip to Cirque de Soleil: Journey of Man, IMAX is the place to be. All three films, shot in oversized 70 millimeter, are currently on view, a total of 35 times per week.
Last summer, art history of the recent past came alive when the first-generation members of Spark Gallery, Denver's oldest artists' co-op, were brought together in the fabulous Twentieth Anniversary Celebration exhibit. Back in 1980, these aging hippies -- among them Andy Libertone and Paul Gillis (the official founders of the group), Clark Richert, Margaret Neumann, George Woodman, Marilyn Duke and John Fudge (who died late last summer) -- were already key figures in the local art scene. All played a significant role in the development of contemporary art in Colorado, and many still do, as does their still-thriving co-op (though none of the originals have remained involved with the group). For the twentieth-anniversary show, these artistic communards each brought out an old piece and paired it with a new one, for an intriguing glimpse of Denver then and now.

Readers' choice: Kung Fu Kitchen

Last summer, art history of the recent past came alive when the first-generation members of Spark Gallery, Denver's oldest artists' co-op, were brought together in the fabulous Twentieth Anniversary Celebration exhibit. Back in 1980, these aging hippies -- among them Andy Libertone and Paul Gillis (the official founders of the group), Clark Richert, Margaret Neumann, George Woodman, Marilyn Duke and John Fudge (who died late last summer) -- were already key figures in the local art scene. All played a significant role in the development of contemporary art in Colorado, and many still do, as does their still-thriving co-op (though none of the originals have remained involved with the group). For the twentieth-anniversary show, these artistic communards each brought out an old piece and paired it with a new one, for an intriguing glimpse of Denver then and now.

Readers' choice: Kung Fu Kitchen

While William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale might seem contrived or even impossible to stage, the Denver Center Theatre Company's seasonal production was a superbly realized dramatic poem about redemption and renewal. The lyrical currents that twist beneath the play's prosaic rime were marvelously shaped into a vibrant whole by director Laird Williamson, whose aesthetic increasingly reflects a mature artist's appreciation of life's ambiguities. And it didn't hurt that the mystical drama was performed against a stunning backdrop of giant steel trees rooted in a cracked alabaster floor, costumed and lighted to perfection and accompanied by an original musical score of Byzantine-like chants. Along with the efforts of a splendid cast, Williamson's artful touches brilliantly evoked the Bard's twilight observations about "unpath'd waters" and "undream'd shores."

Readers' choice: Suddenly Last Summer , Germinal Stage Denver

While William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale might seem contrived or even impossible to stage, the Denver Center Theatre Company's seasonal production was a superbly realized dramatic poem about redemption and renewal. The lyrical currents that twist beneath the play's prosaic rime were marvelously shaped into a vibrant whole by director Laird Williamson, whose aesthetic increasingly reflects a mature artist's appreciation of life's ambiguities. And it didn't hurt that the mystical drama was performed against a stunning backdrop of giant steel trees rooted in a cracked alabaster floor, costumed and lighted to perfection and accompanied by an original musical score of Byzantine-like chants. Along with the efforts of a splendid cast, Williamson's artful touches brilliantly evoked the Bard's twilight observations about "unpath'd waters" and "undream'd shores."

Readers' choice: Suddenly Last Summer , Germinal Stage Denver

Unlike their previous efforts, which have blurred the boundaries that separate the disabled from the rest of society, the Physically Handicapped Amateur Musical Actor's League production of Side Show emphasized those differences to the point of transcending them. A magnificent theatrical achievement, PHAMALy's regional-premiere mounting of the Broadway musical conveyed the idea of abiding self-acceptance without glossing over a few uncomfortable moments -- like, say, the opening number's repeated chant, "Here come the freaks/Only pennies for peeks!" The book on PHAMALy has always been that they're just a bunch of well-meaning though talented folks in wheelchairs who deserve a properly sympathetic audience. In light of this production, though, that nugget of wisdom seems soft-centered. For this troupe, as for the characters in Bill Russell and Henry Krieger's songfest, "Anything's possible -- when everything's right."

Unlike their previous efforts, which have blurred the boundaries that separate the disabled from the rest of society, the Physically Handicapped Amateur Musical Actor's League production of Side Show emphasized those differences to the point of transcending them. A magnificent theatrical achievement, PHAMALy's regional-premiere mounting of the Broadway musical conveyed the idea of abiding self-acceptance without glossing over a few uncomfortable moments -- like, say, the opening number's repeated chant, "Here come the freaks/Only pennies for peeks!" The book on PHAMALy has always been that they're just a bunch of well-meaning though talented folks in wheelchairs who deserve a properly sympathetic audience. In light of this production, though, that nugget of wisdom seems soft-centered. For this troupe, as for the characters in Bill Russell and Henry Krieger's songfest, "Anything's possible -- when everything's right."

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