Best Place to Buy Salvation 2003 | The Catholic Store | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Short of going to confession, a trip to the Catholic Store may be all that's needed to ease a heavy heart. This huge store carries rosaries of every shape and shade, vials of holy water, large statues of saints for the front lawn and tiny statuettes for the household shrine. Or shop on line at The devout will also find Bibles, communion veils and crucifixes. Hail Mary!

Lourdes almighty! The Church of St. Vincent de Paul is awash in holy water from the site in southern France where a peasant girl --later known as St. Bernadette -- reported seeing repeated apparitions of the Virgin Mary in 1858. The mother of Jesus told the child to dig a grotto, and a spring sprang forth. Believers note that it flows to this day. Now, for a mere $2.50 donation, you can get a 2.5-ounce bottle of the special water.

In his previous existence, Bruce Moen was an engineer for Coors Brewing Co.; now he spends a great deal of time exploring the afterlife and helping "newgoners" to get on with their journeys to higher planes of consciousness. He regularly plumbs the depths of the place he says we go in death and dreams, bringing back enough experiences and insights to fill four books and justify a Web site. This summer, he will be holding a six-day retreat at an undisclosed location in the Rocky Mountains. Attendees will get to test Moen's contention that knowledge of the afterlife is available to anyone -- and if they're lucky, they'll get explore another plane of existence with their buddies. Everyone hold hands now.
Out of work? Looking to score? Or just need a little touch of Irish luck? Proprietor Mark Husson at Twelfth House has luck for sale. Put an angel in your pocket for just a buck. Beckon fortunes to come your way with enameled Chinese fish. Think green year-round with silver shamrocks, or return harmony to your love life and home life with a small jade elephant. It's easy to get lucky in this Old South Pearl St. Victorian brimming with new age-y good karma -- and most talismans are under $12, so you can afford an emergency supply.

Name a bustling outdoor spot (Ballpark Market? LoDo sidewalks?), and Denver psychic/mystic Dustin Ceballos can probably be found there at one time or another, sitting legs akimbo on a tattered rug, hunched over a patron's palm. Ceballos makes a living soothing the future solely for tips, finding customers by hawking his talents on crowded streets. Denver's antiquated "no public fortune-telling" law prohibits us from disclosing his exact location, but rest assured -- if you're approached by a dark-haired bohemian dude offering to read your tarot cards for pocket change, take him up on it. Five minutes and a few spare bucks are well worth it to find out what sort of fame, fortune and romance are at hand.

Best Stop Before Girls' -- or Ghouls' -- Night Out

Studio Lites

Drag performers and career monsters flock to Studio Lites, a teeny Broadway space crammed with lots of things to make her, him or it feel pretty. Zombie Webmaster Maris the Great comes to Lites for its green face paint and fake blood -- the kind of specialty cosmetics you're not likely to find at Walgreen's. And any self-respecting queen of show clubs like BJ's Carousel knows it is the place to stop before putting on her face. (You didn't think she was born with it, did you?) At home in the eclectic Baker neighborhood, the Studio traffics in wigs, makeup and other frou-frou stuff for fantasy or just for fun.
Shoppers normally too embarrassed to linger over lingerie are strongly encouraged to get over themselves when they step inside Pandora's Toy Box. Owner Kevin Larson emphasizes sensuality as well as customer care, with a hearty pro-pleasure vibe that's welcoming even to novices. Don't know what that large oblong contraption on the table is? Somebody will explain it to you, sweetie; all you have to do is ask. The boutique's merchandise moves from lacy to racy -- don't blush at the sight of crotchless skivvies or sex swings -- but it's all presented in a decidedly un-icky way. When shopping for gifts for a partner, or perhaps even seeking a battery-operated companion, think inside the Box.

Screw those whiny city anti-smoking ordinances. For some, nothing beats a fat stogie and a stiff drink after a tough week. Lucky for you, El Cid's tobacco shop in northwest Denver is moments away from anywhere, and it features more than a hundred varieties of fine cigars imported from various steamy Central American climes and lovingly housed in a terrifically aromatic walk-in humidor. Such special smokes are proffered by a thoroughly knowledgeable staff, hardcore leaf aficionados who can tell a Honduran from a Dominican in a single whiff. El Cid's sells hand-rolled Deseo and other Cubans (they're legal, because they're made with aged, pre-embargo Cuban tobacco from the 1950s) starting at around $6. High rollers must try the $46 Lars Teten: The tobacco leaves dry above a vat of steaming exotic oils, creating one sweet-smelling stinker.

If reat pleats, drapes, ankle-chokers, pachuco chains and chalk stripes are your style, then Craig Peña and Jay Salas are the vatos for you. During the past six years, they've sold more than a million dollars' worth of zoot suits and accessories, and outfitted everyone from Garth Brooks to Sugar Shane Mosley. With original designs, custom fittings and cutting-edge attitudes, they've managed to become the official clothiers of the Players Ball in Las Vegas. (Even Barry Fey has ordered one.) And they're just getting started in their zoot-suit pursuit. With a brand-new line of clothing, called Chingaso, geared toward the boxing community, they hope to dominate the Hispanic clothing market. "We do everything balls out," Peña says. "One day we will conquer the world."

Best Place to Get Big-City Threads


If you want to look cool, it's all about denim. And to get the trendy styles and labels worn by J. Lo and Tom (Cruise, that is), swing by Hub for a pair of G-Star, Diesel or Miss Sixty jeans -- you might choose to live in Aurora, but you don't have to dress like it. An airy Larimer boutique and fashion emporium, Hub also carries funky tops, hip purses and suave shoes by all the cool names -- from Michael Stars to Seven to Jay Lindburgh. Catering to both lads and lassies, the Hub may seem a tad pricey, but if you're looking to impress, walk this way.

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