Gothic Theatre
Matt Need and his friendly staff do what few proprietors of Denver music rooms do: They treat local bands with respect. Beneath the Gothic Theatre's large stage lies a greenroom with furniture you're not afraid to sit on, a shower you're not afraid to step into, and bathrooms with toilet paper. Better still, the staff equips bands with free beer (even the good stuff), hot tea and snacks -- perks that should delight the average hometown player.
Peace, Love, Unity and Respect. The raver's clever acronym seemed almost like an actual religion during the second annual Colorado Dance Music Awards, where club kids, candy ravers, promoters, performers and DJs put down their pacifiers to give each other big fat pats on the back. The event, organized by local rave advocate Jessica Hydle, was a glamorous, giddy affair at which winners in numerous categories took the stage to accept awards bestowed on them by peers in the dance-music community. After the ceremony? To the dance floor!
Undercover cops develop a sixth sense about people who may not be what they seem. That skill is probably what helped Steven Cowles win $510,000 on ABC's reality show The Mole. For 28 days, Cowles, who works for the University of Colorado Police Department when he's not in the limelight, ran around Europe with the rest of the show's contestants trying to determine who among them was the saboteur. Now that he's back on the force, Cowles won't be working undercover anymore: Starring on the show kind of blew his cover.

Save the first Saturday in August for all the Olathe sweet corn you can eat. Last year the Western Slope Vegetable Growers Association donated more than 70,000 ears of the Colorado specialty, which were consumed by an estimated 20,000 attendees, all to benefit nonprofit organizations in the Uncompahgre Valley. It sounds corny, we know, but when they aren't chowing down, festivalgoers can take in continuous live entertainment, contests and games, and more than 150 food, arts and crafts, educational and carnival booths. A downtown parade and pancake breakfast kick off the festivities, and a fireworks show ends them. Come on down and lend an ear.
Her scathing portrayal of an unhappy daughter in last season's The Beauty Queen of Leenane was as hard-edged as they come, but her more recent turn as Beatrice in the Denver Center's Much Ado About Nothing showed that Robin Moseley is an accomplished light-comedy actress as well. She captured perfectly a side of Beatrice that most actresses either ignore or can't locate: the "merry heart" ascribed to her by another character. And when Beatrice remarked that her sense of humor came from being born under a dancing star, Moseley opened a window to the character's soul that is rarely seen in other productions. Though seemingly inconsequential at first, Moseley's astute choices ultimately proved revelatory.

Shortly before he died in late 1997, best-selling author James Michener revealed that he wanted the University of Northern Colorado -- where he'd gotten his master's degree and first started writing -- to become the official repository of his works, a gift he wrapped up with a half-million-dollar donation to establish the archive. Today, the James A. Michener Special Collection fills 400 feet of the library also named after him, a vast expanse consumed not just by notes for his many novels, but also by his false teeth, his typewriter, and a list of all the payments he received for Centennial, his epic novel about Colorado. And the collection is still growing.
Driven by Nils Kiehn's riveting turn as a raconteurish Satan, Don Becker's Lucifer Tonite stimulated playgoing nerves that, for too long locally, have been deadened by the dumbed-down din of floor-show-style musicals and hapless revue sketches. Despite its in-your-face tone, this play felt refreshing and provocative rather than angry or pompous. Never out of control but always poised to explode with rage or humor, Kiehn took us through several fractured versions of familiar Bible stories. His performance didn't quite qualify as a miracle, but it was an encouraging breath.

Located in the old Evergreen Hotel next to the famous Little Bear on the main street that runs through town, the Ice House hosts an open-mike night every Thursday evening from 6 to 10. The "unplugged" musical fare is much better than the usual two guys playing old Eagles covers, with a variety of local talent performing original and customized popular selections and a growing reputation that's attracting top-notch musicians from "down the hill" in Denver. The hors d'oeuvres are free, and the bar specializes in martinis. Come ready to play, sing or just listen till closing, then step next door for the last set of whoever's playing at the Bear.

Francis Scott Key could not have envisioned a time when his "Star-Spangled Banner" might be fused with the state song of, say, Namibia; in those days, it would have been impossible to foresee John Guillot's World Anthem Project. The local producer used a computer system called Experiments in Music Intelligence to sample 192 national anthems and create a compositional whole. The anthem debuted this past New Year's Eve in Denver, providing a sonic backdrop for the rockets-red revelry.
Rocky Mountain News Books editor Patti Thorn likes mysteries and light fiction. She also respects serious literature. And she harbors a profound curiosity about the current publishing scene, from self-published e-books to monolithic houses, the travails of local writers and the struggles -- and victories -- of independent bookstores. For the past several years, she's dished up a Sunday book section that's a delicious blend of humor, insight, gossip, analysis and wisdom, a section that focuses on Colorado while placing the state's literary doings in a national context. But come April 2001, the News will never again publish on Sunday -- and given the current economic climate, we're not willing to make book on what will happen to Thorn's section.

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