Tattered Cover Colfax Avenue
Some longtime Tattered Cover fanatics still miss the old Cherry Creek location, which was a bit roomier than the store's new digs in the Lowenstein Center on East Colfax. Still, today's TC is plenty praiseworthy: The design, which incorporates elements from the theater that once operated on the site, is fresh and fun, and if there aren't quite as many tomes as there once were, the supply remains impressive -- and the service provided by the legendarily helpful and knowledgeable staff couldn't be better. The store may not have earned classic status quite yet, but it's well on its way.
Nan Wigington named Miss Prothero's for the character in Dylan Thomas's "A Child's Christmas in Wales" who descends the stairs to ask, "Would you like anything to read?" There's more than enough here: Wigington keeps her orderly, pleasant shop stocked with hardback editions of literary titles, as well as a number of other interesting choices. She's also experimenting with a weekly yoga class and unusual book clubs, including a "whodunit" gathering where participants meet to try to guess the outcome of a partly read mystery. With its great ambience and comfy sitting area, Miss Prothero's is well worth spending time exploring.
Tired of paying high prices and library late fees for your favorite novels? Goodwill Industries is the place to go. In between the secondhand clothes and the well-worn furniture, you'll find the used-book section, where paperbacks are 99 cents and hard covers run $1.99. A patient and diligent search is sure to yield some hard-to-find gems, but the classics are plentiful, as are last season's bestsellers, chick lit and Stephen King. Happy hunting.
Alas, it's spring. And where in Mugglesville will you pick up your new Quidditch gear? Unexpectedly, you can buy it all -- Quidditch goggles, a fine broom, a flighty golden snitch, a Hogwarts banner and officially licensed house robes, scarves and ties -- in the back of this Littleton metaphysical shop. Then slap on a Mad-Eye Moody eyeball patch and gulp down a handful of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans or a Chocolate Frog while perusing the beautiful Alivan wands, character buttons and key chains, sorting hats, posters and collectible figures. And you won't need a bank full of Gringotts Galleons to do it.
Last year marked Colorado's 130th year of statehood, and what better way for the Colorado Department of Agriculture to celebrate than to dream up an imaginary feast, with the menu planned by residents? The Department put a call out for recipes made with Colorado-based ingredients, culled them and then published the best in 130 Years and 130 Dishes. Inside you'll find fava beans, steak roulade, noodle pudding, corn and poblano soup and much more. Here's your taste of Colorado.
Sweet William Market
Sweet William Market popped up last spring like its floral namesake, all pure and perky and lacking pretension. Owners (and Stapleton residents) Kim Kouba and Lizzie Kienast stitched together their open-air flea market by choosing a ripe collection of vendors offering lots of quality retro, refurbished, nostalgic and trendy merchandise in a relaxed atmosphere. They're coming back for a second season in May, but until then, you can find them at www.sweetwilliammarket.com. The picking promises to be good.
No+place+says+Denver+like+Civic+Center+Park.
If you love farmers' markets and you
work downtown, you've gotta love
this one, a weekly foodie fiesta in one of Denver's most secretly lovely parks. Civic Center's often spectacular summer gardens provide a bucolic backdrop for strolling among vendors of fresh, home-grown organic produce and specialty items, including garlic butters, organic beef, homemade root beer and sweet wildflower honey. Or you might choose to munch on al fresco fare from such restaurants as Steve's Snappin' Dogs and Big Kahuna BBQ. Whatever you choose, you can't beat the people-watching.
Dana Cain is so hip it hurts. She has that knack for knowing which old stuff is especially new again, and has used it to build an empire of totally entertaining collectibles expos. First, she's the entrepreneurial brain behind the Collectors Supershow toy extravaganza, which recently joined forces with the Majesticon comics show to provide a double whammy of happy pop-culture hunting under one roof. Last summer she launched the enormously popular Denver Modernism Show, an unbelievable mid-century blowout that will quadruple in size when it returns this August at a larger venue. And her newest take on collectibles-hawking was the recent Vintage Voltage Expo, an electronics-centric show that included everything from vinyl records to guitar amps to old-school audio gear. There's a packrat in each and every one of us, so go, Dana, go!
Design-forward couple Paul and Pifuka Hardt took a leap when they opened P Design Gallery in the RiNo arts district last summer. With the flip of a light switch over the showroom floor, Denver entered a brave, new modernist world that stretches from Brooklyn's burgeoning design enclave to European shores. There's Jason Miller's tongue-in-chic antler chandeliers and chairs patched with leather "duct tape," Tobias Wong's rubber-dipped lighting and infamous coke-spoon replica, Denyse Schmidt's edgy quilts, Takashi Murakami pop-art pillows, Tord Boontje's detailed etched-metal and feathered polyester lamps, and DoubleButter's witty locally made furniture. This is the modern world.
Remember when wearing skulls was a sign of rebellion, back before you could find them at Wal-Mart? Jen McMillan does, and her new gallery, Idle Hands Boutique and Gallery, showcases a wide range of all things counterculture. McMillan's hope is to bring back the meaning behind the symbols that have been cut up, refinished, polished and recycled into the mainstream. It's hard-core. It's country-and-Western. It's riding a Harley. It's riding rails. It's creative. It's impulsive. It's a helluva lot of fun.

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