Live@Jack's
Eric Gruneisen
Skip Reeves isn't called the "Funktogolist" for nothing. Dude knows his funk, which becomes obvious when you listen to his Saturday-night show on KUVO, "A Funk Above the Rest." He's working overtime spreading the funk gospel, and in his quest to make Denver one city under a groove, he's been hosting the 1st School of Funk every other Tuesday at [email protected]'s. There, in addition to laying down everything from Larry Graham and Funkadelic to the Gap Band and Kool & the Gang, Reeves also brings in some the city's finest funk outfits, such as Soul School and Funkiphino.
Robischon Gallery
Last spring, Robischon Gallery put together a beautiful and coherent exhibit that highlighted a range of contemporary abstraction while showcasing the work of more than a dozen artists, each with a personal aesthetic vision. To create this dazzling show, the gallery started off with a series of works on paper by an international star, Ellsworth Kelly. Then, mining its stable, Robischon brought in a bevy of other notable artists, including Brad Miller, Kris Cox, Trine Bumiller and Scott Chamberlin.
Singer Gallery
William Stockman was on everyone's list of the most significant contemporary artists in Denver right up until he split around five years ago. He returned not long after, but quit making art while he made a living. In 2006 he went back into the studio, and it must have been just like riding a bike, because he picked it up again almost immediately, as proved by Nothing Is Hiding, his solo this past winter at the Singer Gallery put together by Simon Zalkind. Made up of poetically composed figural paintings and drawings created just since he relaunched his career, the show marked Stockman's triumphant return.
Colorado was a red state in the last presidential election. And it's also home to that other Focus organization — which means that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Coloradans find themselves living elbow-to-elbow with one of the most conservative groups (and, arguably, some of the most conservative people) in the country. What's that like? Matt Kailey, author of Just Add Hormones and staff writer for Out Front, wanted to find out, so he began collecting poetry, short stories, personal essays and experimental writing from 33 GLBT Colorado citizens; the result is this absolutely fabulous anthology. Each piece is different, but a common thread runs through them all: living day to day outside the straight-and-narrow gender and sexual-orientation categories in today's Colorado. Get out and be proud!
To some extent, actors are at the mercy of the productions in which they appear. An exciting show can make an okay actor look terrific; an excellent actor can seem weak if trapped by circumstances. So far this season, Trina Magness has emerged with honor from two productions that simply didn't work. She played the first witch in the noisy, ill-conceived Macbeth staged by Listen Productions, giving the harridan a sinuous and insinuating grace that chilled the blood. And in Red Herring at the John Hand Theatre, while the play lacked finesse, Magness came close to redeeming the evening with her Maggie, the stereotypical detective's doll, a role she played with dry and understated wit.
A multi-platinum band in an era when such a thing essentially no longer exists, the Fray has earned the right for its members to be pretentious jerkwads if they choose. Thing is, they're anything but. During their sold-out three-night stand at Red Rocks, the guys used all local support — Single File, Meese, Born in the Flood, Dualistics, Bright Channel and Flobots — when they could've given those slots to virtually any national act. And this past February, the outfit played three rare, intimate performances at the Bluebird, treating fans to a sneak peek of its new material. And if that weren't enough, several members of the Fray's road crew are locals. Love 'em or hate 'em, no one can accuse these guys of forgetting where they came from.
Denver Art Museum
Courtesy Denver Art Museum
Over the years, Boulder collector David Tippit has gathered up nearly 900 psychedelic rock posters dating back to the 1960s and '70s. In February he announced his intention to donate them to the Denver Art Museum's Department of Architecture, Design and Graphics. Included in the collection are examples by the biggest names in the movement, such as Rick Griffin, Stanley "Mouse" Miller and Victor Moscoso. Although the posters are not yet on display, the museum plans to rock and roll with them some day.
Sure, you say you like classical music and great literature, but that's usually just to impress the hottie at the bar. When was the last time you actually attended a classical-music show or literary reading? Yeah, we thought so. Fortunately, there's still hope for us lowbrow slobs, thanks to Telling Stories Music and Readings, the brainchild of local classical musician and writer Jennie Dorris. This merry troupe of young virtuosos is bringing high culture to the Facebook crowd, putting on casual presentations of chamber works and readings of original essays at venues like the Laughing Goat Coffeehouse in Boulder and the Mercury Cafe in Denver — places where the show can be enjoyed over a foamy latte or sudsy beer. Each event has a clever theme; one show, "Rockstars," featured all rock transcriptions. Get thee to Telling Stories, and the next time you say you like cerebral stuff, you'll actually mean it.
Headed by production maestro SP Double, the Boostwell crew boasts plenty of talent. Whether it's the banging beats of SP or Flawless, the one-two punch of On Point, the lyrical mastery of ManDaMyth or the rapid-fire flows of Catch Lungs and Purpose, the consistent quality of this crew's musical output is unmatched. This year, Boostwell will drop albums from Lost Gems (Myth, SP, Procise), On Point (Flawless, Fo-Chief), SP Double, ManDaMyth and mix tapes from Purpose and Catch Lungs, with contributions from other crew members EMB and Kontrast slated for the near future. While the crew may not be running the Colorado hip-hop scene yet, they're making moves.
Over the past few years, DJ Cysko Rokwel has become one of Colorado's elite DJs: He has a weekly residency at Boulder's Round Midnight, spins on Radio 1190's hip-hop-centric Basementalism show every week, and backs up local artists A.V.I.U.S., Es-Nine and The 6th Grade on records and at live shows. But his biggest accomplishment to date was placing second at the DMC USA DJ finals in Delaware, making him one of the best turntablists in the nation. And as soon as the video of his DMC routine hit YouTube, a heated competition between Cysko and a California DJ broke out in the comments section, setting the stage for a possible DMC battle this year. We got Cysko's back!

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