Best Place to Get a Muttsterpiece 2001 | Jack Atkinson | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Now your mutt can look as classy as any of those kennel-club types. All it takes is the talented brushwork of Jack Atkinson, pet portrait artist extraordinare. From your photos, Jack can create a masterpiece in color ($125) or a black-and-white drawing ($75) that captures the special spirit of your best friend.

Born in Boulder in 1995, the family-owned Little Mountain is what's known in the retail world as a super-specialty store, in this case specializing in miniature camping, outdoor and sports gear, from child carriers and joggers to hiking boots and skiwear. And without even thinking about it, you know it has immediate appeal for outdoorsy Boulderites with disposable incomes and blossoming families. However, it's really just good customer service that keeps the endeavor afloat (so buoyantly, in fact, that a third store is being penciled in for the Denver area in 2002): While parents shop, for instance, kids are entertained by such amenities as a Lego table in the Boulder store or a TV at FlatIron Crossing. But the stores are also known for their particularly large, well-equipped bathrooms -- an important consideration for parents toting kids around a shopping mall.

It's no secret: This is where the rich kids -- or at least their discriminating parents -- shop, from the day the kids are born and ready to be swaddled in heirloom-quality crocheted blankets, linen and lace. And as they grow older, they can continue to wrap themselves in luxury courtesy of Hollyhocks: The little girls will be adorned in simple classics, from creamy French cotton underwear underneath, to Lilly Pulitzer shifts and pink gingham-lined iridescent Florence Eiseman raincoats on top; and the little boys will wear perfect-little-man suits with tiny ties decorated with race cars, or playworthy overalls appliquéd with chenille trucks. What the heck. You're only young once.

Scene to Screen is the only bookstore in Denver that specializes in theater and film and caters to students and performers alike. The shop carries more than 5,000 scripts, but if you still can't find what you're looking for, owners Jacque and Joe Riala are more than happy to order it for you. Open six days a week, except during Denver Center productions.
The Music Stand is enough to make any music lover burst into song. Although the store's tucked away in Longmont, it also has a catalogue. In person or online, you're bound to find the perfect music-related gift item, from miniature instrument keepsakes to keyboard-embroidered socks, a handcrafted music cabinet or that collection of Broadway show tunes you know they've been coveting.

Author! Author! Every time a writer comes to read at the Tattered Cover, Denver photographer Gary Isaacs snaps a portrait -- and his collected works create an impressive wall of fame at the original store.
Don't plan your next bash without talking to the "Entertainment & Promotion Specialists." If you've got a theme, Reinke Brothers can make it happen, down to the last little detail -- costumes, sets, props, decorations, noisemakers and all the trimmings. From this fabulously stocked, 17,000-square-foot shop of effects, Reinke has supplied more than one Hollywood gala; parents worried over amusing kids at a modest birthday party should find a few tricks up the Reinke sleeves, too. They do party and event planning, too. If you're looking for magic, a call to Reinke Brothers should do the trick.

You know you've always wanted to be the answer to a trivia question. Now you can be, in "The (Your Surname) Family Tree Trivia Game," available for $39.95 from Heart's Corner of Golden. As you play the game with your nearest and dearest, you create permanent trivia cards about yourself based on the questions on the board; once you've finished that first round, you have a personalized game that contains fun facts and stories about the whole family. Add photos and memorabilia to create a treasured family heirloom that's bound to hold its value longer than that vintage Trivial Pursuit game.

Proudly display your true feelings to other drivers by placing a road-rage sign in your car window -- and then keeping your hands on the wheel. Your choice of various degrees of viciousness include: "Hang Up the Damn Phone and Just Drive, OK?"; "Caution: Horn Broken, Watch for Finger Signal"; "What Part of Use Your Turn Signal Don't You Understand?"; and our personal favorite, "Denver: Who Fuckin' Planned This City Anyway?" The signs were created by comic Jeff Chesler and sell for $3 each. No word yet on whether Chesler's ready to make an "I Brake for Funny Signs" sign.
Papyrus has the write stuff: everything you need to send out the classiest, most creative correspondence this side of County Line Road. So what if they don't actually stock papyrus? There are plenty of 100 percent cotton and wood-pulp goodies here. And if you want something that says Colorado, Papyrus offers paper with Aspen leaves printed on it. E-mail's quicker, but a genuine letter lasts a lot longer.

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