Best Of :: Arts & Entertainment
Kathy Andrews, head curator at the Arvada Center, mounted a huge, history-making exhibit last fall. It was truly a who's who of Colorado art, occupying the entire set of galleries on both floors. On the lower lever, Andrews placed abstract painting and sculpture by the pivotal '70s generation; on the upper floor were artists who emerged in the '80s or '90s. Impressive work by old-timers could be spotted even from the parking lot, where outdoor sculptures by Jerry Wingren, Chuck Parson and Bob Mangold had been installed. And inside, just beyond the center's main entrance, were more pieces by such Colorado modern masters as Andy Libertone, Dale Chisman, Joe Clower, Virginia Maitland, Bill Hayes, Gene Matthews, Elaine Colzolari, Clark Richert, David Yust and Stan Meyer. Andrews placed the younger generation at the top of the grand staircase; notable inclusions there were Homare Ikeda, Steven Altman, Ania Gola-Kumor, Trine Bumiller, Jeff Wenzel, John Clark, Bill Brazzell, Melanie Hoshiko, Bruce Price, Carl Reed, Scott Chamberlin and Jeffrey Keith (who felt he belonged downstairs with the mentor group). Despite Keith's complaint -- and the grousing of those who pointed out that key players like Emilio Lobato, who lives in Arvada, had been left out -- Andrews put together one of the best art shows of last year, in the process enhancing our understanding of the development of contemporary art in the region over the last 25 years.
After a long night at the bars, it's hard to find things to laugh at. But down at the corner of Colfax and Broadway, the bus stop for the #15 eastbound is a hive of entertainment. The stop is usually packed with denizens from the bars, winos trying to get out to Aurora, and people dealing with the graveyard shift. Some nights the conversation can get pretty interesting, as folks talk about the various effects of Thunderbird and Night Train on the central nervous system. The bus is almost always packed, and it's not unusual for passengers to break out in song.
Readers' choice: Kitty's
Readers' choice: Kitty's
The Partridge Family? Not. The Jackson Five? Please. But cross Selena with the Brady Bunch and you'd be pretty damn close. Mariachi Vasquez is a certified mom-and-dad-and-all-the-kiddies mariachi group: Daddy plays bass, Mama sings tenor, and the three sisters and two brothers join right in there. The group, which hails from Tucson, has been shaking its maracas since the kids wore Pampers. While other children scribbled multiplication tables, these youngsters perfected their chops on violin, trumpet and guitar. Last year the group cut its first CD, Como la Ves, and is compiling its second. Mariachis usually are content to cover the classics, but Mariachi Vasquez spices its playlist with original material and south-of-the-border tributes to Patsy Cline and Elvis. Although the Vasquez kids are still learning their way around a recording studio -- let them make it through puberty first -- they can still put a little rumba into a conga line. And the Mr. Microphone tribute to the King -- as sung by ten-year-old Vincente -- is enough to put a swivel in your hips. If not a black-velvet Elvis painting in your living room.
Sure, it may sound like nightmarish DTs to a barfly in the prime of his life, but there are people out there who actually enjoy listening to the tinkling of the ivories without the cacophony of rattling ice cubes and expectorating stool-clingers. And you just may find those people settling into the comfy chairs surrounding the white baby grand piano in the lobby of the Lutheran Medical Center. The piano was donated by hospital volunteers, who could see the healing power of music. Anyone with the gift is welcome to play the instrument -- except for the times when professional musicians volunteer to warm the bench, the keys and the hearts of hospital patients.
Readers' choice: 16th Street Mall
Readers' choice: 16th Street Mall
Among the Denver area's several intriguing new film festivals, which address everything from jazz on celluloid to the pan-African experience, the Aurora Asian Film Festival has the most variety and the largest reach. This spring's third edition of the fest screened over four days at the graceful Aurora Fox Theatre and featured a dozen new films from Hong Kong, Japan, China, India, the Philippines and the United States. The roster included the heartwarming Fly Me to Polaris (Hong Kong), in which a blind saxophonist who is killed by a motorist returns to earth with a second chance to express his unspoken love for the nurse who cared for him. Musical performances, Oriental cuisine and an art show augment the festival.
Last year, when Ninth Avenue West became La Rumba, the club shifted its focus from swing to salsa, a move that reduced the number of wing tip wearers in the crowd while upping its quotient of Latin-music lovers. Now the club is sometimes known as Trinity, a progressive dance environment that has welcomed glow-stick-carrying denizens, international acts like the Basement Jaxx and also spinning sessions from the fabulous Freakbeat DJ duo. Sound like an identity crisis? Nah. It's a smart use of a great space. Let's get ready to Rumba.
Sure, it sounds better after a couple (or several) tall drafts and maybe a bowl of chips. But regardless of your sobriety level, it's a pretty safe bet that on any given night, the Satire will be filled with folks who've been there for a while -- folks who are ready to sing like Ethel Merman on Xanax. Bar-wide renderings of all the hits from the Beatles, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix and James Brown are almost as much a part of the Satire scene as the saucy bartenders and Joe the waiter's warning that your plate is hot. Just don't forget to raise your glass when you raise your voice in song.