Leave it to Queen of Collectibles Dana Cain. When her boyfriend, artist Peter Illig, was scouring estate sales for vintage stereos, she was inspired to create the Vintage Voltage Expo. "It's sort of like a cross between a vintage guitar show, a record show, an electronics flea market, an old audio store and a radio swap meet," Cain explained last year. The first Expo was a complete success, featuring approximately 75 vendors and a contest area where collectors could show off pieces to win "voltage bucks." Turntable demos and talks on subjects such as Nikola Tesla were also part of the mix. This year's Vintage Voltage Expo is scheduled for Sunday, March 30, at the Ramada Plaza Convention Center in Northglenn.
Vintage Modern
James Thurber once said, "One martini is all right. Two are too many, and three are not enough." The same could be said of barware: A martini, after all, is a modernist drink, and its classic streamlined accoutrements — a product spawned in the industrial 1930s — are most befitting (and ever so cool). What aficionado wouldn't prefer to shake, not stir, a perfect cocktail in something sexy and succinct? For the mixologist who needs everything, this SoBo antique shop showcases some beautiful bar sets along with several pieces of smooth-looking Danish Modern furniture upon which it would be swell to serve a martini. And the olive, the finishing touch? Lee Alex also offers a fine collection of vintage cuff links. That other James — Bond, James Bond — would surely approve.
Divine Feline is a true labor of love: Begun in 2003 with a donated van by veterinarians Susanna Russo and Erica Rambus, the mobile cat clinic delivers spay/neuter services and vaccinations to those living in the disenfranchised feral colonies of urban catdom, the lowly alley cats who are often so untouchable that it would be impossible to trap them and get them into a regular clinic. In cahoots with the Rocky Mountain Alley Cat Alliance, the gallant pro bono professionals also seek out and work to socialize and find homes for feral kittens, sometimes with assistance from at-risk youth from the Bridge Project. And as for the incorrigible, they can now live long and prosper with help from Divine Feline — without reproducing. A spay a day keeps the kittens away.
Canland Recycling Center
A candy-colored beacon on Federal's most run-down row, Canland Recycling Center is nothing short of magical. Wooden cutouts of blue cans with smiley faces flank the entrance to the family-owned center, while two kiddie rides from the old Elitch Gardens serve as flowerpots. Started by longtime recycler Ed Pearman thirty years ago, Canland accepts aluminum cans, copper, brass, magnesium and more, and pays you based on the weight of your goods. It's like a real-life board game for the environmentally aware.
Something about searching through the Denver Public Library's online database of 120,000 digitized historic images is like wielding a jerry-rigged fusion of Google and Mr. Peabody's trusty Waybac Machine. Whether it's photos of bombed-out gangster cars from the 1920s, close-ups of decorations on Mattie Silk's famous brothel, vistas of the curious pre-World War II swastikas that once graced business signs downtown, or a glimpse of your Capitol Hill neighborhood a hundred years ago, the web-based catalogue allows anyone easy access to intriguing nuggets of historical trivia.
Colorado Convention Center
Taxpayers spent millions building the Colorado Convention Center and floated millions more in bonds to pay for the Hyatt Regency Denver across the street. Now we know why: Their bathrooms are easily accessible and stay open late for anyone who's been kicked out of a nearby bar, doesn't want to use the alley, or needs a toilet quick. The first-floor loo at the convention center is usually open until 9 p.m. on weekend nights when something's going on there. After that, use the always-clean privy (the concierge insists on calling it a "restroom" rather than a "bathroom") in the Hyatt, which is in a spot where no one will notice that you're not a guest. Talk about tax relief!
CU math instructor Delsie Khadem-Ghaeini noticed that most women, including herself, seemed to prefer a stretched-out T-shirt and shorts to most of the overpriced, body-squishing fitness wear out on the market. So she put two and two together and came up with VivaDiva, a comfortable, wearable women's sportswear line that she "re-engineered," as the scientific Khadem-Ghaeni likes to say, rather than designed. Fashioned from moisture-wicking and anti-microbial yarns, the resulting tops and bottoms are ultra simple, functional and roomy without being frumpy, and they come in solid colors that anyone can live with.

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