Best Change of Tune at DIA 2002 | Revival of the International Performance Series | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
The big wheels at Denver International Airport have done plenty wrong over the last year, but here's something they did right: They allowed the International Performance Series to continue inside the airport over the Christmas holidays, despite the post-September 11 security concerns that forced them to cancel it during the Thanksgiving rush. For more than a decade, musicians have roamed the concourses at DIA (and Stapleton Airport before it) during the hectic times of the year, entertaining travelers and easing the minds of anxious or delayed passengers. The variety of performers has been wide, with acts including Banda Felicidada, Camacho-Ransoli, Bill Barwick and Sons of Tumbleweed, and Boxty, a Celtic quartet, as well as city auditor and presumed mayoral candidate Don Mares, who performed as part of a folk duo. The series is managed by Meredith Gabow, who also runs a companion Web site at For her dedication, and for DIA's decision to resume the series, we offer a joyful noise.
It's possible that you have to live in Aurora to truly appreciate it, and sometimes even that doesn't work. But how many citizens of Denver's much-maligned suburb to the east actually know anything about the place where they wake up every day and go to sleep every night? Here's a way to learn. Staff members at the Aurora History Museum mined the museum's historical archives to develop a matching game pairing facts on flashcards to photos on a Bingo-style game board. Available for $13.95 at the museum's gift shop, the game might just be the next hot thing for proud Aurorans everywhere. Is it worth it? Bingo!
New York's got a bunch of songs; Chicago's got a few. Hell, even St. Louis has been the subject of a couple of ditties. So why not Broomfield? That's what Phil Long, who grew up in once-sleepy Broomfield, thought when he returned to his now-overgrown hometown after many years on the road as a singer and musician and found it to be almost unrecognizable. So Long, who is 37, wrote down his thoughts for "The Broomfield Song," which he performed in November at a ceremony marking the official beginning of Broomfield County, Colorado's 64th such municipality. "I should have stood the ground, I should have put up a fight," the lyrics read. "But when you've been away so long that you lose your way, I guess you've got nothing to say."
With the closing of a couple of clubland staples over the past year, the nocturnal socialite has fewer options from which to choose. Fortunately, Enigma Afterhours -- which began as Rezodanc in the spring of 2001 -- has swiftly filled the late-night void by opening its doors at the unsaintly hour of 1 a.m., Thursday through Saturday nights. With a mostly local and progressive roster of talent, including Friday-night sets from members of the prominent Casa Del Soul crew, the stylish Larimer Street locale has upped Denver's cosmo quotient considerably. A dedicated dancehound knows sleep is for wimps. So unplug your alarm clock, slam some Starbucks (or whatever elixir you fancy) and make a move for the dance floor. At Enigma, the beats go on.
What's the matter with kids today? Not a thing, if you ask the young crowds who populate Club Pulse, a Littleton hot spot that welcomes teenage patrons as well as the over-21 crowd. That's good news for younger hipsters who prefer to spend their Saturday nights on the dance floor rather than cruising the 16th Street Mall. True to its name, Club Pulse throbs to the sounds of hip-hop, R&B and DJ stylings, with music spinning into the wee hours on Friday and Saturday nights. (Sorry, kiddies, your time to shine ends with the midnight curfew.) Let's hear it for the boys -- and girls.
Last fall, when the Denver City Council was debating an ordinance allowing mixed-age crowds at cabarets, Rock Island owner David Clammage -- or, as his patrons know him, "Uncle Dave" -- was a vocal advocate of allowing local venues to provide safe and exciting entertainment options for the under-21 contingent. With his weekly All Agez Ragez, Clammage puts his booking policy where his mouth is. Every Saturday night until 11:30 p.m., the dark and buggy LoDo nightspot opens its doors to patrons ages sixteen and up; those eighteen and older are invited to stay until closing time. The Saturday-night fetes regularly feature revolutionary local spinners, including the Postman, DJ Harlan and Dave Granger. This is no mere kids' stuff.
It started with a bunch of Longmont area high school students who wanted their own dance club. They pulled together the resources, gathered community support and wrote a business plan that sold the Longmont City Council on the idea, to the tune of $91,000 in funding. With student managers, DJs and security -- adults are "advisers" only -- the Grind, which leased space in Longmont's Rollerena for six months, was a big hit; $4 and a student ID were all you needed to get in. That lease has expired, though, so the city's youth-services division is helping the Grind negotiate a new lease for a spot on Main Street. And a city-council-approved budget of $182,000 for this year is sure to get that party started right. Thanks to the efforts of the entrepreneurial group, Longmont club kids can look forward to having a safe and secure place to play and dance. Smells like teen spirit.
For those who prefer stylish settings to sports bars, Citrus is a juicy addition. This clean, Euro-style eatery boasts one of the city's finest selections of Champagne and top-shelf vodka. But five nights a week, the LoDo spot opens its floors (and its upstairs V.I.P. room) to the dance-music contingent, with DJs spinning all manner of house music, from Chicago-style soul to deep progressive. Citrus is a mellow, sophisticated, place-to-be-seen destination where the vibes flow along with the spirits. Call it fruity, fun -- and good for you.
If you've got cat class and you've got cat style -- or just a Ben Franklin for you and a friend burning a hole in your velvet pants -- this quasi-underground club is the hottest spot in Denver to strut your stuff. Entered via an alley behind the Diamond Cabaret strip club, Alley Cat features house music spun by the hottest DJs in Denver and around the world in the club's main dance chamber, and progressive trance in the smaller "red room" lounge. Fire twirlers and cage dancers (many of them Diamond girls partying after work) are standard on weekends. The Cat is open Thursday through Saturday; the cover charge is steep ($15, somewhat negotiable after 1 a.m.), but the sultry, supercharged atmosphere within is worth the scratch.
Every DJ in the Casa Del Soul crew excels at his craft. They all know how to read, and lead, a crowd. They all religiously mine the record bins at Casa Del Soul Records (owned by the collective's founder, Nate Uhlir). And they all play out regularly at the biggest dance clubs in Denver. But if you favor a hybrid style that seamlessly splices house with techno, East Coast with West Coast, then Ty Tek must top your list. Groove to it.

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