Best Book About Animals by a Local Author 2008 | Animals MatterMarc Bekoff | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
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.
Just over a year ago, Paul Piciocchi and Charles Trujillo opened the sleek and sexy Sutra Room in the short-lived Donkey Den space, then added Left on Lincoln in the front. After trying to operate separate clubs that catered to different crowds, they decided to join the two spaces, in the process creating the best of both worlds. But they didn't stop there. To spice up the fun factor and change the energy on the dance floor, they put in two mini-stages and a mirror so that people could watch themselves dance. And they also added a swing and a stripper pole, presumably to boost the sexy factor. After all, the club is called Sutra.
The first two Hiccups sports bars are known for hot bartenders and waitresses wearing ass-less chaps with their panties. But when Hiccups III took over this former Brewski's location, the owners stepped things up, making this third spot the biggest and possibly the baddest of the bunch, with a big stage that attracts cover bands and the like (hell, even Jimmie Van Zant has played here) on weekends and Wednesdays, which also happens to be a good night for the ladies, who can drink free from 9 p.m. to midnight. And Monday through Friday, everyone can quench their thirst with five-dollar pitchers of beer. Let's see: hot chicks, cheap beer, live music. Sounds like a winning formula to us.
Jeff Davis
Lately, happy hours at the Larimer Lounge have gotten happier. In addition to daily happy hours from 4 to 8 p.m. with $1 PBRs and Miller High Lifes, $2 wells and $3 you-call-its, the club has reinstated its late-night happy hours: Sunday through Thursday, midnight until close, you can grab $2 PBRs and High Lifes. The club's also souped up its happy hours by adding a few attractions: Monday it's Ninja Bingo; Wednesday it's Courier Happy Hour, with free Benny Blanco's pizza; Thursday it's free Breckenridge barbecue; and on Fridays, you can catch Jim Yelenick (aka Sputnik Slovenia) singing and playing hilarious acoustic covers of the Clash, Turbonegro, Boomtown Rats, Madonna and Britney Spears.
After taking over the Toad Tavern this past August, one of Brice Hancock's top priorities was to build a new stage. Today the tiny spot in the corner that couldn't fit more than four people is no more; bands now perform on a better-situated platform that can easily accommodate at least a ten-piece act. And Hancock didn't stop there. He also raised the ceiling about eight feet and beefed up the sound system, doubling the number of speakers and power amps and effectively transforming a quaint suburban bar with a stage into a full-fledged music venue.

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