Despite their collective name, the members of Accidental Superhero have worked hard in their seven years, making their own success instead of waiting around for a record-label deal. The Internet-savvy Colorado Springs outfit racked up close to a million downloads through MP3.com, repeatedly edging past radio-saturating bands and onto that site's top-ten list. Now their music can be heard across the country on low-watt FM stations, as well as many other places on the Web. The Superheros self-sold over 10,000 copies of their first CD back in 1998; a new disc, Full Circle, is poised to do even better. The New York Post is just one in the gaggle of press cheering the band on. All this, and they can leap tall buildings in a single bound.


The minds behind HigherListening.com -- Dan Vigil, Kelly Beckwith, Nate Weaver and Trish Baird -- have done a fine job in the past few years, moving from a mere message board to what is now a comprehensive online resource for those interested in local performers of all stripes. Offering a local calendar along with news, reviews, interviews and a comprehensive database of performers, the site covers the Mile High scene admirably and is eminently surfable. Deep down, though, it's the creators' straightforward and sincere enthusiasm for local music that makes it all happen.


Louisville-based UltraCo Inc., once a darling of the Boulder-area high-tech economy, has since fallen on harder times. Founded in 1999, the company rebuffed a few acquisition attempts, only to see its business model fizzle after the dot-bomb. But UltraPlayer media software, with its customizable appearance and the versatility to play all of the most popular audio and video formats, is still among the cream of the crop -- and even though the company is defunct, the software is still available to download for free online.


At a show that recast the Flaming Lips as a backing combo for Beck, bandleader Wayne Coyne enlisted nearly thirty local fans to join the band on stage, cloaked in full animal-suit regalia.
The Ogden Theatre isn't exactly a quiet room. On most nights, the music is loud and so is the crowd, the members of which angle for position, and cocktails, on the floor and in an upper balcony. But when the Icelandic dreamspace outfit Sigur Rós performed for a sold-out show in November, the place took on the feel of a symphonic chamber. Attendees appeared genuinely stunned by the gorgeous, whale-sound music they were hearing, as well as the accompanying film reels projected on a giant screen. Vocalist Jón Thor Birgisson wailed siren songs and led a large band through waves of blissful sound shaped by keyboards, piano, strings and guitars played with violin bows. No wonder the audience couldn't stop staring: Watching Sigur Rós's performance was like watching the Northern Lights move about the sky.


Tea and Harry just seem to go together, like frogs' eyes and newts' toes. And nearly 200 million books sold worldwide doesn't hurt, either. So Oak & Berries Tearoom owner Roxanne Mays hosts Harry Potter teas each November for kids of all ages to get together over a cuppa to discuss the newest book's possibilities or recount the latest on-screen antics of Harry, Hermione and Ron. It's a splendid, Hogwarts-worthy setting, and costumes are welcome, as are good appetites: The Tearoom offers finger sandwiches, hot chocolate and other tidbits to all attending Potterphiles. We assume there's a nice, safe place to park broomsticks.
The Dushanbe Teahouse rarely needs to coerce anyone to sip or dine there. With its folkloric Tajik craftsmanship, the teahouse is a magnificent place to sit, especially when it's open to the summer breezes like an airy, sun-filled tent. And once it year, it's even more enticing with its wonderfully celebratory Rocky Mountain Tea Festival. There's something here for tea lovers of every stripe: seminars and tastings for serious drinkers, a tea dinner for the serendipitous -- even an inexpensive tea party for the under-twelve set. It's a summertime tradition we hope to see continue for years to come -- with or without two lumps.


This coffeehouse opened last May and quickly became the social epicenter of the Curtis Park neighborhood. The building has seen many uses since it went up in 1885, including as a Prohibition-era speakeasy and a 1950s vanilla factory -- hence the name. Today the coffeehouse has plush sofas and funky furniture, as well as artwork by neighborhood residents on the walls. But what really makes the Vanilla Factory special is the vintage player piano with original sheet music. The circa-1920 piano is on loan from a Curtis Park resident, Cricket Krantz, who wanted her neighbors to be able to enjoy it. The piano still cranks out tunes from the old days, and it's easy to close your eyes and imagine being served a bit of bootleg gin at an after-hours jazz party.


Swallow Hill's annual picnic is a glorious celebration of all things acoustic. The 2002 event featured a high-flying collection of the nation's best singer-songwriters and performers in a wide range of genres. That these electrifying and, typically, electricity-free artists are showcased outdoors in the rustic, rural setting of Four Mile Historic Park makes the event a family-style hoedown of the purest kind. Folk music has never been easier to swallow than at this bucolic-in-the-big-city picking party.


Dude! There is nothing cheaper than free, and free is one concept that truly befits the sport of skateboarding, which, at its best, has no rules -- except, perhaps, those agreed upon by the boarders themselves. And that's exactly how things work at this 60,000-square-foot, city-built facility, which opened to the public in summer 2001 and has been such a hit that it's already expanding. But the fun at Denver Skatepark isn't reserved just for the kids who cram the place: Watching the action can be every bit as entertaining. Grab a soda and hot dog from the cart that always seems to be there when the boarders are, find a spot with good sightlines of the concrete bowls and ramps, and prepare to be amazed -- and amused.


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