Best Bet to Break Out Nationally 2008 | Flobots | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
If radio programmers, bloggers and hip-hop heads across the country react as favorably to Flobots as the folks here at home, this insurgent seven-piece hip-hop band could soon find itself the focus of nationwide buzz. There's certainly a lot to love about the outfit, which earned its local reputation by putting on massively entertaining shows featuring thought-provoking, message-driven songs. And the act puts its politics where its mouth is, engaging in community activism and urging fans to follow suit. With the Agency Group doing its bidding and a rumored record deal on the horizon, Flobots are ready to take on the world.
Reunion shows are generally intended as a celebration of days gone by for those who were there the first time around, a moment for grizzled old-timers to reflect on how good it was back in the day. But in some rare instances, these shows also serve as a primer for the new breed, showing them just how it's done. Such was the case this past September when three of Denver's fabled bands from the '90s — the Volts, Crestfallen and Christie Front Drive — got back together at the Marquis for Denverfest 3. Longtime fans were relieved to hear that their heroes hadn't lost a step, while others discovered these venerable acts for the very first time.
Michael Hornbuckle is a hell of a guitar player — though that's not too surprising, given that he's the son of the late, great Bobby Hornbuckle, a local legend and a killer blues ax-slinger. Every Sunday at Bushwacker's Saloon, Michael kicks off the blues jams, sometimes with his badass bass-playing brother Brian alongside, with a scorching set of his own tunes and covers. These blues brothers in action are enough reason to check out the weekly jam nights, but other local players also come by to strut their stuff before an appreciative audience that includes motorcycle guys and biker chicks who enjoy both the killer blues and the cool vibe.
Kinky folks are like vampires. No, they don't drink blood (most of them don't, anyway), but like those winged fiends, they do their best work at night. No wonder some of the hottest BDSM action around (suspension, floggers and electrical toys, oh my) goes down at the Masters & Servants After-Hours Party at the Sanctuary private dungeon club every second Saturday of the month. You have to be a member to get in, but it's easy to join (take an introductory class, attend three events, get sponsored by a member and shell out the $20 annual membership fee), and the all-night bang is definitely worth the buck. Rest assured that by the time dawn rolls around at the end of your first party, you'll definitely feel whipped.
Mice are empathetic, feeling each other's emotions. Rats are kind to one another. And whales possess spindle cells, the same cells that help humans and apes process emotions. These are all facts gleaned from the latest findings that Marc Bekoff — professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, member of the Jane Goodall Institute's ethics committee and co-founder (with Goodall) of the organization Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: Citizens for Responsible Animal Behavior Studies — includes in his book Animals Matter. The tome is not only a compendium of recent scientific findings, but also a call to action for animal lovers. Why, for example, does the United States Animal Welfare Act refer to rats, rabbits, mice and birds as "non-animals"? And what can be done to improve the lot of our scaly, furry and feathered friends? Animals Matter boils dense scientific studies down to an easily digested format, and also lists myriad ways we can better the lives of our non-human cohabitants on the planet.
Shane is just a small role in Contrived Ending, an original play by Josh Hartwell. He's one of those dopey, marginal little guys whom no one in his high school respected, and who gets put down constantly even after high school is over. He also invents all kinds of lies to make himself seem more important. In Conundrum's production, playing Shane as a muffled little dormouse who nonetheless possesses a spark of spunk and integrity, Steven J. Burge almost stole the entire show.
Despite the limitation of having just a small storefront for her modest gallery, Sandra Phillips has been noticed in the competitive Santa Fe arts district, and she's done it by showcasing noteworthy Colorado artists, especially those working in ceramics. The culmination of her ongoing clay promotions was last fall's Masters in Clay, done with Sally Perisho, which included giants of the medium like Paul Soldner, Maynard Tischler and Martha Daniels along with other talented artists such as Carroll Hansen, Katie Caron, Bebe Alexander, Julie McNair and Amy Chavez. By promoting the best, Phillips found success.
Boulder artist and University of Colorado professor Kim Dickey converted the Rule Gallery into a conceptual garden for Cold Pastoral last summer. Photos she took of gardens in France filled most of the walls, while the back wall of the gallery was covered with mirrors, giving the illusion of great space. These elements set the stage for the main attraction: gorgeous ceramic sculptures in the form of potted plants. Similar to the permanent ones Dickey did for the rooftop cafe at the new Museum of Contemporary Art, the sculptures at Rule were placed in two parallel lines, creating an allée. They were formally complicated, with a dizzying array of parts referencing leaves and finished in creamy glazes, making this "garden" one of the best places to beat the heat on a hot summer day.
Denver painter Homare Ikeda, who was born and raised in Japan, made his reputation with densely composed nature-based abstractions so methodically produced that it sometimes took years to complete one. But after receiving a fellowship to work at Omaha's Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Ikeda had a change of heart and decided to work much faster, creating more than 100 pieces during his few short months at Bemis. Surprisingly, kicking up his speed didn't affect the quality of his work in any way, and the prints and drawings in Homare Ikeda count among the best things he's ever made.
Bret Bertholf performs classic honky-tonk as the frontman for Halden Wofford and the Hi-Beams — and he definitely knows his stuff. The Long Gone Lonesome History of Country Music, which Bertholf wrote and illustrated, is a flat-out wonderful look at the country genre in all its tacky, quirky, irresistible glory. Thanks to charming illustrations of C&W heroes and heroines and whimsical prose about style, fashion and the music itself, Lonesome proves thoroughly entertaining and unexpectedly perceptive, offering the sorts of insights that even dyed-in-the-wool country fans can appreciate. Kids will love it — if they can wrestle it away from their parents, that is.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of