The LGBT community is an active producer of independent film. But not many titles make it to the major theaters. Fortunately Denver has a viable outlet for queer cinema. Now in its sixth year, the Cinema Q festival (formerly Seeing Queerly: The Denver International GLBT Film Festival) creates a local outlet for cutting-edge celluloid dyke dramas, queer comedies, sexy shorts and everything in between. Presented over a three-day weekend, Cinema Q screens local entries as well as films from around the globe. In addition to opening- and closing-night parties, symposiums and discussions are scheduled between film blocks. Come wine, dine and shmooze with directors and actors while discussing the flicks that changed your life.

When Denver-based movie director Alexandre O. Philippe came across a copy of Hamlet that had, according to its cover, been restored to the "original" Klingon text, it opened a door to a strange world called the Klingon Language Institute, whose members study and speak the made-for-TV tongue that linguist Mark Okrand created for the iconic series Star Trek. Like Gene Roddenberry's wrinkled warrior geniuses, the KLI faithful are ruled by codes and wonders, and Philippe's profoundly weird, highly engaging documentary does them every justice.

A native Denverite and devoted alumnus of East High School, actor Don Cheadle has impressed movie audiences in everything from Devil in a Blue Dress to Ocean's Twelve. But when he starred as the quiet manager of a four-star hotel in Hotel Rwanda, last year's troubling drama about genocide and conscience, he earned a Best Actor nomination from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and new respect for all of his work. In the film, Cheadle's Paul Rusesabagina sets up a haven within the hotel's walls for Hutu and Tutsi fugitives, which keeps them safe -- at least temporarily -- from massacre. His compelling performance is the centerpiece of a heart-wrenching film.

Landmark's Mayan Theatre continues to expand its commitment to good eats and drinks. Longtime patrons can still snatch up old faves like the big, fat bagel dogs, Odwalla juices (try the Mango Tango) and Alternative Baking cookies (Explosive Espresso Chip suits us fine). But if you've never sprinkled your popcorn with soy sauce or Spike multi-seasoning, get right on it. The new Dazbog coffee flavors ("Russian-born, Denver-roasted") are top-notch, and a Lindt classic white-chocolate bar suits a screening of Sideways as well as any Pinot.

UA Denver Pavilions 15
Generally speaking, a 'plex is a 'plex. But the fifteen-screen Denver Pavilions in downtown Denver offers a couple of advantages over its suburban counterparts: free underground parking (with validation) in a roomy adjacent structure, and the proximity of good food and drink in many establishments on Denver's 16th Street Mall. Otherwise, the Pavilions' stadium seating is as padded-rocking-chair comfortable as at any other multiplex, the concessions are acceptable, and standards for sound and film projection are uniformly high. Whether you're in for three hours of The Aviator or the quick yuks of Be Cool, the Pavilions gives them to you in butt-soothing, eye-pleasing comfort.

Sie FilmCenter
The best thing to happen for Denver-area film buffs in decades, the Starz FilmCenter at the Tivoli presents a year-round selection of art-house fare, independent features and revival screenings that rivals the best offerings in cinema-rich cities like New York and San Francisco. Recent programs have included a series of five contemporary French comedies, a three-film series honoring the great Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu and new features from Denmark, Bhutan, India, Iran, Argentina and Italy, among other nations. The FilmCenter's education arm is expanding; meanwhile, its signature event remains the Denver International Film Festival, which screens for ten days each October and offers more than 200 films.

Best Program at the 2004 Denver International Film Festival

An Evening With Morgan Freeman

In the course of a long and illustrious movie career, the star of Driving Miss Daisy, Glory and The Shawshank Redemption has intrigued audiences with his versatility and his gift for nuance. So when Morgan Freeman visited the Denver International Film Festival last October, ticket-holders were in for a rare evening of artistic assessment and warm personal reminiscence from a craftsman who said, "I was born to act; I was born to pretend." Soon after his appearance at the Buell Theatre, Freeman was nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting-actor performance as a weary old boxer in Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby. When he finally won his long-overdue Oscar, Denver festival-goers must have been especially pleased.

John Sayles's elaborate political fable Silver City was less than boffo at the box office, and its cautions about the corruption of the electoral process didn't fly with a weary public amid the bloodiest, most divisive election-year brawl America had experienced since 1968. But this dark comedy about the nitwit machinations of a fictional Colorado gubernatorial candidate gave Sayles plenty of opportunity to train his cameras on Denver. The City and County Building, the Oxford Hotel, Union Station, early morning at a bar on the seedy end of Larimer Street, even the interior of the Westword office on Broadway all have cameos. Want to catch another glimpse of our dusty cowtown? Get thee to the video store, pardner.

The Colorado Convention Center has bigger fins than a '57 DeSoto and is lit up like a laundromat at night. So it can be hard to notice the fabulous rusted-steel sculpture sitting out front, "Indeterminate Line," by international art star Bernar Venet, that's situated on the lawn along Speer Boulevard at the Stout Street tunnel. It's a large, elegant twenty-ton scribble depicting an oval that's been rendered organic and geometric at the same time. Venet, who was born in France, has lived for decades in New York, and his work has been installed throughout Europe and the United States. We're lucky to have "Indeterminate Line," one of the best outdoor sculptures in the city.

Last August, Mayor John Hickenlooper got everyone's attention with the announcement that the City of Denver had agreed to receive the paintings and drawings in the estate of abstract-expressionist master Clyfford Still. The multimillion-dollar gift from the estate's trustees was made in exchange for a promise that the city would build a museum to display the collection. So far, no architect has been selected to design the building, nor has a site been picked out. But fundraising is well apace, and Dean Sobel, former head of the Aspen Art Museum, has been hired as director. Sounds like a wish is rapidly becoming a promise.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of