Best Local Film Festival 2009 | The Shoot Out 24 Hour Filmmaking Festival | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Who says making movies is a long process? Participants in the Shoot Out in Boulder have a single day to assemble a masterpiece (or a facsimile thereof), and most of them manage to do so. Not all, though: Last year, 53 teams began the competition, but seven of them vanished along the way. Even so, the contest is a great way to get young people interested in making movies, as opposed to simply watching them — and in 2008, members of nineteen teams were under eighteen. The future of film is in good hands.
Many of today's most extreme Denver bands were influenced by Bum Kon without even knowing it — and thanks to Drunken Sex Sucks, they can now fill in the gaps of their musical education. Only five of the 25 cuts here received a proper release, with the remainder appearing on an album for the first time. Tracks like "Giving In" capture the spirit of '80s thrash that Bum Kon exemplified even as "Slow Death" and others point toward a future that other groups would eventually experience.
Two-for-ones on a Saturday night at midnight? Damn straight. While the morning happy hours have been a tradition at the Zephyr since it opened more than six decades ago, the place has two more happy hours that run daily, from 5 to 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. It's also one of the few places in town where when you order a happy-hour beer, they'll give you the second bottle in a plastic cup filled with ice to keep it chilled. The bar's slogan is, "The train that never leaves Aurora." But with booze specials three times a day and live music with no cover on the weekends, who would want to leave?
The Mayan's atmosphere can't be topped, but it can be topped off by the beverage of your choice. The bar's menu has no shortage of colorful mixed drinks, ranging from Ruby Red Cosmopolitans to Blood Orange Martinis, not to mention weekend specials such as $5 Bloody Marys and mimosas. And teetotalers also receive deluxe treatment, by way of rich Dazbog coffee and the finest flavors of Mighty Leaf tea. Oh, yeah: They show pretty good movies there, too.
When most of us watch movies at home, we don't eat fancy fare. Instead, we go for comfort food of the sort that's long dominated Cinema Grill's menu. Have a hankering for buffalo wings? The folks at CG offer them in one-, two- and three-pound serving sizes. The menu also boasts a large variety of salads, plus quite a few fancier dishes. But seriously, what would you rather munch on while watching Underworld: Rise of the Lycans: grilled trout fillet or a big wad of onion rings?
Does any theater in Denver even come close to matching the eclecticism of Starz? Sure, the FilmCenter programs plenty of well-known independent flicks. But it also spotlights obscure features, shorts and documentaries that earn screen time thanks to the archeological instincts of the dedicated staff. Also on tap are special series and events, including April's XicanIndie FilmFest and this summer's Young Filmmakers Workshop. No wonder anyone who truly cares about art and culture in this fair city is regularly seeing Starz.
Video may have killed the radio star, but it only serves to set Laura Goldhamer in a class of her own. Her distinctive voice and vocal style, serious skills on guitar and banjo and evocative and beautiful songwriting are special enough to mark her as an artist to watch. Goldhamer takes it a step further by actually being an artist to watch: She accompanies her music with surreal and entrancing stop-motion animated videos that add another dimension to her already wonderful work. The total effect is something enchanting and uniquely special.
Courtesy Denver Art Museum
Because it has a wide audience, the Denver Art Museum has to come up with a range of attractions, but certain kinds of shows are hard to come by, and expensive, to boot. That's what made Houdon From the Louvre, an in-depth look at the master of classical French sculpture Jean-Antoine Houdon, so memorable. Active before, during and after the French Revolution, Houdon was a super-realist who specialized in sculpting portrait busts of notable figures in Paris, including the visiting American ambassador, Benjamin Franklin. He also sculpted George Washington while on a trip to the United States. In celebrating rare works by an old master, shows like this remind us that museums are about more than just counting heads.
When Ground Fuse first appeared in the summer of 2008, it was pretty much just a stapled-together affair that you could only find at Wax Trax and Blast-O-Mat. Sure, it could have been better edited, but what made it important was the fact that someone was taking the time to write about bands that got little or no other coverage. Specifically, the grind/crust/hardcore scene was finally being documented by an informed and caring observer. But Olivia Ruiz, the zine's creator and primary writer, also took that rare step of crossing over into other sub-scenes and writing about them with the same love and dedication.
Woody Guthrie's was the voice of the people. And the songs we heard in Peter Glazer's eloquent musical — songs written by Guthrie in the 1930s — speak to us now: "I Ain't Got No Home in This World Anymore"; "The Jolly Banker" (who will help you out, then "come and foreclose, take your car and your clothes"); "Pastures of Plenty," which depicts the plight of migrant workers; and "Deportee," about Mexicans killed in a plane crash while being deported. Well acted and movingly sung, Woody Guthrie's American Song reminded us of one of this country's most important prophets, and of our obligation toward each other.

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