Once housed at the venerable bookstore's LoDo events space, the long-running Tattered Cover Film Series moved to the Starz FilmCenter this year without amping up the price. Curated by critic Howie Movshovitz, the series uncovers both obscure gems and the occasional classic, such as Casablanca. They even pay for the parking, too: All you have to buy is the popcorn and soy-milk latte.
Wanna know who wins the Worst Parent or Guardian in a Movie award for 2002? What

about Actor Who Should Have Known Better? Or Worst Attempt to Act Smart? Abby Winter and her partner, Laura Peterson, will happily slag off -- even at industry favorites. The roommates use amusing photos of their cats, Gleason and Mr. Thornhill, as their rating system; a hissing, hairball-hacking Gleason is the worst snub they dole out (and they do it often). They've targeted Titanic as the worst movie of all time and were even tepid about O Brother, Where Art Thou? Although the site doesn't have a professional polish, Winter's sardonic wit and Peterson's childish graphics are good for endless hours of entertainment.

Each spring, lindy hop king Frankie Manning returns to Denver, like the swallows to Capistrano, for a weekend of dance, dance and more dance. The octogenarian's history as a dancer dates back to the heyday of the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, where he helped invent the original lindy moves. When swing gave way to bebop, and jazz audiences stopped dancing, Manning took a thirty-year break and went to work at the post office. But he's been back on his feet since the 1980s, dancing across the country and becoming an annual fixture at Karen Lee's dance studio alongside his son and fellow dancer, Chazz Young. Swingers, take note: Reservations for his April 16 through 19 Denver turn are going quickly.


Mercury Cafe
The Mercury Cafe's indomitable life force, Marilyn Megenity, has seen it all -- good, bad and ugly -- in the many years she's been running the place. So if she personally endorses something, it's gotta be good. Right now she's touting the Middle Eastern Peace Dance, which is held the last Saturday of every month and features live music by Sherefe and the Habibis. It seems to encourage what Megenity calls "that old wild hippie freestyle," a sweet-vibed communal phenomenon some of us haven't seen since 1970 -- give or take a few Phish concerts.


First of all, there's no need to arrive single, but if you do, there's no need to be shy. Nor do you have to be accomplished on the dance floor, though you'll see plenty who are. Known for its friendly regulars and non-threatening atmosphere, the forty-and-over Sunday-night Sharp Images dance has endured for at least fifteen years, for reasons that will become obvious the minute you step in the door.


Wife-swapping is dead? It simply ain't so. If you've always wanted to have group sex with a charming, friendly group of people -- and do a little drinking and dancing beforehand -- you've just hit the jackpot. Formed in 1969, the Golden Circle is Colorado's oldest and most legitimate swingers' club, a strictly couples-only affair for people who believe that swinging isn't sleazy, just an alternative lifestyle.


Collecting art has never been an inexpensive hobby. But even the poorest aesthete can build up a cachet of original works at an Art Trading Card swap, where painters, drawers and doodlers convene to barter tiny masterpieces. The cards are only two by three inches -- about the size of your average baseball card -- so you'll probably still need to find something for the wall above the sofa. In the meantime, go forth and trade: Outside of what it might cost you to create or reproduce your own cards, this club is absolutely free.


The homegrown blockbuster Retrospectacle, which opened last fall at the Denver Art Museum, has been described as a "Dianne Vanderlip lovefest." That's because it highlights Vanderlip's 25 years as curator of the museum's modern and contemporary art department, a job that was created specifically for her. The exhibit includes many of the great New York artists, including Robert Motherwell and Andy Warhol, who are joined with Colorado stars such as Clark Richert and John DeAndrea. Retrospectacle was not only one of the best bets of the past year, but of 2003, too, since it will stay up through the summer.


After World War II, American pop culture hit Japan like a tsunami. Tokyo, for example, is filled with Yankee Doodle standards like skyscrapers, neon signs and McDonald's. This influence extends to the arts, as well, and Cydney Payton, director of Denver's Museum of Contemporary Art, tapped into the trend with POPjack, a show combining American pop art with Japanese art based on it. The exhibit ably demonstrated how two worlds could collide and converge at the same time.


Denver sculptor Emmett Culligan made a splash when he first emerged on the scene a few years ago, and since then, he's gotten relentlessly better. His latest efforts were featured in Emmett Culligan, at Judish Fine Arts in February. The fabulous monumental sculptures on display had gravity-defying features, with big slabs of native Colorado stone soaring at preposterous angles. There is a whole new generation of young sculptors -- many of whom are very good -- that has emerged in the past few seasons, but Culligan stands out as the best of the current bunch.


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