William Havu Gallery
Artists have been using recycled materials ever since Marcel Duchamp took a urinal, turned it upside down and dubbed it "Fountain" nearly a hundred years ago. But lately the cause has gained a new urgency. Highlighting this trend was Alchemy, at the William Havu Gallery, in which three artists used non-art materials to create their work. Coloradan Stan Meyer wove roofing tar paper into wall hung constructions. Ann Weber, a California artist who is also into weaving, used old pieces of cardboard cut into strips to make freestanding sculptures, some of them quite large. Finally, Marta Thoma, also from California, strung up old bottles to turn them into suspension sculptures. There's no LEED certification for artwork, as there is for buildings, but if there were, Meyer, Weber and Thoma would obviously qualify.
Singer Gallery
Although he was frail and seriously ill at the time, Dale Chisman was still able to hold court over what would turn out to be the final solo show of his lifetime, Recent Paintings by Dale Chisman. From a comfortable seat in the office, he greeted a throng of well-wishers at the opening reception who had formed a line so that they could talk with him. Even in bad health, Chisman's powers as a painter were still as keen as ever, as evidenced by the work all around him. When Chisman died just a few months after the show closed, Denver lost one of the most accomplished artists it has ever had.
Charlie's Denver
At Charlie's, it's like the (gay) stock show is in town every night. Since 1981 — before some of the studs who frequent the bar were even born — Charlie's has been the place to meet up, boot, scoot and boogie. If you're not into the cowboy way, there's a separate dance floor with plenty of flashing colored lights and Britney Spears. Charlie's also features karaoke two nights a week (half-price for guys in their underwear), Tuesday-night trivia and cheap well drinks for shirtless hunks on the weekends. But the joint is also lesbian-friendly, and not at all intimidating for straight friends who secretly want to dance to Britney and ogle the bare-chested guys drinking $2 Miller Lites.
M Uptown
Keith Garcia
Finally! A straight-friendly safe haven where hamburgers are the only meat that patrons want to eat. At Hamburger Mary's, the intimidating bare-chested bar hunks have been replaced with super-friendly, pot-bellied bears who've been trained to speak without a lisp. And the clientele is a heterosexual man's gay dream come true: just a smattering of preening Cherry Creek hairdressers amid a roomful of gay men and lesbians who dress like cable installers. Yes, Virginia, gay men do wear baseball caps indoors while snarfing down half-pound hamburgers — just like you! This place is so good at welcoming heterosexuals, and their allies, that it has become a regular stop on the campaign trail of every straight male Colorado politician. What other gay bar could Ken Salazar walk into wearing that twenty-gallon white cowboy hat and not have a dollar bill slipped into his jockeys? It could only be Mary's, where everyone's hands are already filled with charbroiled beef.
The games Guitar Hero and Rock Band have made far too many people of all ages think that playing guitar well is easy. Good thing someone as diversely talented at the instrument as Cole Rudy lives in Denver to show us how to do it right. Educated in jazz guitar, Cole is probably best known for his stints as the guitar wizard of Wetlands and Mike Marchant's solo material, but he's also contributed to the indie pop of Chuck Potashner and performs regularly with a jazz ensemble at hotels. The guy can play any style of guitar better than most people can play, period, and our scene is richer for it.
Looking to map your chakras over chai, mix some magick into your mocha or just dabble in a little tea-time tarot? Point your broomstick right at Witches Brew, a charming little cafe overlooking Berkeley Lake that's become a gathering place for area pagans. Whether you want to join in an equinox celebration, stock up on crystals, candles and other ritual supplies or just enjoy a Fair Trade cup of joe, this is a joint that will surely warm your cauldron.
The CELL
The Center for Empowered Living and Learning, aka the CELL, is the world's first terrorism museum. Funded by local real-estate mogul Larry Mizel, the place is a Disneyland of death and dismemberment: realistic replicas of suicide bombs, clips of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on permanent repeat, a multimedia experience in which visitors enjoy a make-believe terrorist attack on the Civic Center. Whoopee! The point of the museum is to educate the public about the roots of terrorism, but you'll be so shell-shocked by all the violence that you might miss that part.
Colorado rapper A.V.I.U.S., producer Es-Nine and DJ Cysko Rokwel each had their own thing going on before they came together as 3 the Hardway: Cysko Rokwel was taking out DJs nationwide in the DMC Championships; Es-Nine was producing for local and national artists; and A.V.I.U.S. had just dropped his solid debut album, Patience. But with all three talents combined in one package, you couldn't ask for a more thorough project, from Es-Nine's hard-hitting beats and A.V.I.U.S.'s heart-on-his-sleeve lyrics to Cysko making the DJ essential in hip-hop albums again. If you cop one Colorado hip-hop disc all year, this is the one to get.
The L.I.F.E. Crew is a small collective of Colorado hip-hop artists who blew the doors off the scene in the past year. First up, Ichiban won Best Hip-Hop Solo Artist at the 2008 Westword Music Showcase, then dropped a slammin' debut album, Psycle Analysis, a few months later. That album was followed by ManeLine's sophomore effort, ...And Sew It Seams, a rock-solid project that cemented the trio's relevance in Colorado hip-hop. Then the Pirate Signal dropped a first-class mixtape, Of Gods and Gangsters, Vol. 1, rocked the Warped Tour and opened for 3OH!3's national tour. Is there a crew that has put in more work in the last year? We think not.
For the fans who've played out the Pirate Signal's EP from 2006 like it was the only CD they owned, the duo's mixtape Of Gods and Gangsters, Vol. 1 was a breath of fresh air. The tape, entirely mixed by DJ A-What!, features Yonnas spittin' over original beats as well as beats used by M.I.A., 50 Cent and Kanye West, but rocked with a pure Pirate Signal energy. Yonnas and A-What! had been performing selections from the mixtape at their shows, so for the fans to finally get their hands on a copy to listen to in their cars and iPods was a good thing.

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