Mom, we know you want to toss them in the trash, but just hold your horses (and your nose) and listen up: Old sneakers can be recycled into a resurfacing material used at athletic facilities and playgrounds. It doesn't matter what they smell like; ChaRM will pulverize them and turn them into something useful, free of charge. There are some guidelines: Shoes with metal cleats, zippers or spikes or covered in mud won't make the cut. And if they look like they might have a chance at a second life, the folks at ChaRM suggest giving them to one of several local athletic-shoe stores participating in the Shoes for Africa donation program. Phew. What a relief.


Loft living is still the rage in Denver, and Paris Loft is keeping all those tony abodes supplied with an abundance of style and romance. When co-owners Kim Burney and Maria Fair opened their brick-walled home store last year, they stocked it with classics both modern and retro, then mashed it all together. The combination gives the place the feel of a hip granny's attic. Here you'll find color-washed Leonardo Swing drinking glasses paired with antique tin canisters, be-ribboned black Scottie-dog soaps, a bright-red wine bar masquerading as a British phone booth, cigar-box handbags, tapestry lampshades and satin pillow frames ringed with a poofy feather fringe, for starters. Listen, loft-dwellers, they're speaking your language.


Does size matter? When you're trying to furnish a 5,000-square-foot loft with three-story ceilings and still retain some of its drama, we'd have to say it does. Trouble is, there just aren't that many places where you can just pick up a ten-ton marble fireplace surround or a sculpted stone ram the size of an elephant. But at Belcour, you can. Not everything stashed in this spacious retail warehouse of decorative antique folderol (some dating back to the seventeenth century) requires a crane to be carried out -- but every piece carries the weight of Old World elegance.


Walk into Room and prepare for a look that's both warm and austere. If mid-century design appeals to you, you'll feel right at home in the corner-bodega-turned-furniture-store, which recently joined other Uptown businesses catering to an influx of new residents. Owner Merlin Parker, who honed his search-and-rescue skills at Larimer Street's huge Architectural Antiques salvage emporium, has put together an airy selection of sleek blond-wood bureaus and Danish Modern living-room sets punctuated by handsome teak floor lamps, brightly colored molded plastic chairs, curvy abstracted figurines and other fitting accoutrements. We like the view in this Room.


A gift shop tucked away inside the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, QuiltMarket is anything but trendy. But that's part of its charm: You'll find things here -- old-fashioned, grandma-pleasing, Little House on the Prairie things -- that you won't find anyplace else. Run by, catering to and representing quilters, the market is hung with affordable handmade quilts; also for sale are small wall hangings, porcelain miniatures celebrating classic quilt designs, books and quilting supplies, including patterns, pre-made tops and blocks. It's a little patch of joy in the material world.
Cathy Kimmal created her own little secret garden in the French Flat, a French-country-style salute that sucks you into a different time and place the minute you amble in the door. It could be the way it smells -- like lavender and pear -- or the quaint tromp l'oeil details painted across the walls and floors by Kimmal's talented daughter, Keri. There's something delightfully handed-down about the place, which is crammed with French-made candles, well-placed antiques, tarnished garden ornaments and fragrant topiaries. The French Flat is definitely a family affair: In addition to Keri's murals, works by husband Will include miniature working greenhouses and gardener's cold frames built from old, weathered windows. Quelle jolie.


File sharing? Absolutely not, say the creators of Beatport. But this much they promise: They won't sell your e-mail address, and they have a zero-tolerance policy on spam. Beatport also boasts one of the most impressive collections of drum and bass, breaks, trance and hard house on the web. Designed by Denver DJs and launched in January, Beatport offers downloads of its general catalogue for 99 cents each; new releases are $1.49. The site's stated target market is "end users" -- that is, "club goers and dance music enthusiasts from around the world," not other DJs. Whatever you say, man. All we know is, if you bring us Boulder tribal producer Jon Nedza for a buck and a half a pop, we'll pack our iPOD with his tracks.


Picture the cover of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band: the Beatles wearing satin uniforms, surrounded by flowers and a bouquet of bright minds, including Aleister Crowley, Marlene Dietrich, Sonny Liston, Lenny Bruce, Carl Jung and Bob Dylan. That's sort of the feel that comes through in group photos of the Twist & Shout staff, a colorful strata of music lovers who man the store's racks of new and used titles, multiple listening stations, large magazine and book collection, boutique, trade counter and special-order desk. It takes a capable, close-knit crew (if not a village) to keep a business like Twist aloft, and a special touch to make customers feel comfortable. Many of the store's counter jockeys are musicians who know that music is a deeply personal thing, so they won't shame your purchase, whether it's Seven and the Ragged Tiger or The Best of Sweet. Is it possible that Twist is getting better all the time?
Though the 45 isn't the hippest musical format on the market, those seven-inch slabs of plastic are still coveted by collectors across the country. As such, stores catering to this clientele continue to exist in most major cities, with prices for used singles generally starting at several dollars and skyrocketing from there. Wax Trax, however, contains box after box after box of 45s priced as low as a quarter; most of the others are fifty cents. The charges for long-players are usually on the low end of the scale, too, which helps explain why vinyl lovers who travel to Denver make a beeline for Wax Trax. Those of us who live here have a lot less distance to cover to take advantage of a local treasure.


If a craving for a shot of Fellini and a mocha frappé strikes at the same time, head to Juma's DVD, which squats in the back of the Bohemian Bean Internet cafe and coffeehouse. Browsable in person or on the web, Juma's rental catalogue includes a bit of everything, from Luis Buñuel to Jack Black, Disney to DeMille. Once you've rented something, you won't have to hock your jewelry to pay late fees if you can't return the goods on time. And because the place keeps coffeehouse hours -- 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day -- it's likely to be open whenever you desire a dash of La Dolce Vita.


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