Best Midnight Drink Deal 2009 | Zephyr Lounge | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
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.
Other Denver musical collectives have smartly put together bills and showcases of like-minded acts at various venues. And while Hot Congress has a similar agenda, its roster is impressively diverse, including bands as decidedly different as Action Friend, Widowers and the Jim Jims. This more inclusive approach seems likely to succeed where past efforts have not, especially since the collective intends to release a series of compilations featuring its artists. By supporting bands both obscure and well known, Hot Congress appears poised to make Denver known for more than a small handful of musicians.
Amid the thunderous chords of "Come Look at the Freaks," the first number in Side Show, the cast formed a ragged circle at the perimeter of the stage. Although their expressions varied — blank or determined, resigned or defiant — they were all looking at us, the audience. You, they seemed to say, you, sitting comfortably in your plush seat, you whose muscles move smoothly over bone, whose voice emerges from your throat uncracked and whose body responds unhesitatingly to your barely conscious demands. Perhaps it's you who's the freak — because of what you don't know, and the blind, heedless way you move through life, complaining when the bus is late or your coffee's a little bitter. Defiance, rage, even a hint of exultation — they were all part of this fierce, powerful number.

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