Slumdog Millionaire was a great film. But did you wonder what was up with all the spontaneous choreographed dancing? Welcome to the wonderful world of Bollywood, where popular Indian films and Top 40 songs are married into fast-paced, colorful dance productions reminiscent of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" (but with less groaning). And along with providing an excellent workout, the East Indian dance styles are wildly campy and just plain fun. More than a few Denver gals have become addicted ever since Bollywood West's Renu Kansal came to town from New York. Along with a regular slate of classes for all levels in Denver and Boulder, Kansal also leads the Bollywood West dance troupe, which made a splash last fall at the Denver Film Festival party for Slumdog Millionaire, co-hosts the occasional Passport to Bollywood dance party at Zen Ultra Lounge and helps promote Bollywood Movie Night screenings at the Regency Tamarac Square Cinemas. And, yes, that is our final answer.
Bud Shark opened Shark's Lithography in Boulder back in 1976. Twenty-some years later, he moved to Lyons, changed the name to Shark's Ink and has been there ever since. Shark is a master printer who has worked with many internationally known artists, some of them over and over again. In putting together this stunning show, outgoing curator Cydney Payton chose works that expressed those long-term relationships. On view are pieces by Betty Woodman, Enrique Chagoya, Don Ed Hardy and Bernard Cohen. Of particular interest are the three-dimensional works by Red Grooms, in which the prints are cut up to make sculptures.
Singer Gallery
Back in the 1980s, the late Fred Mayer and his wife, Jan, began putting together a collection of prints dating to the first half of the twentieth century, a golden age for the medium. Then, as now, the prints were relatively inexpensive, and that fact, combined with the Mayer family's great wealth and good taste, allowed them to assemble a world-class collection ranging from Ashcan School examples, works of social realism, and pieces that were part of the then-nascent modern movement. The couple acquired many big names, including Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood, Rockwell Kent, Paul Cadmus and Denver's own Vance Kirkland. Singer Gallery curator Simon Zalkind selected some of the best for Good Impressions, and his choices left a good impression on us.
Wax Trax Records
A Fluid reunion show seemed unlikely fifteen years after the band broke up, but fortunately for us, it happened. Even more unlikely was the reunion of one of the true punk-rock legends of the Colorado scene: the Frantix. Before Matt Bischoff and Ricky Kulwicki helped to form the Fluid, both were in the Frantix, an act whose infamous song "My Dad's a Fuckin' Alcoholic" earned lasting notoriety, even though the outfit broke up in 1983. In the fall of 2008, the band got back together for one show at Wax Trax to remind us that real, raw, ferocious punk rock happened in our town long before most of us ever got to hear it.

Best Rapper East of Colorado Boulevard

F.O.E.

While Jewell Tyme Music may be the best hip-hop label in Colorado, the star of the label has to be F.O.E. (Father of Enemies). Last year he dropped the excellent King of the Mountain mixtape, shined on the Music, Money, and Roundtables comp and kills every venue he's booked at. He's also been tapped by ManeLine, Diamond Boiz, Joe Thunder and other notables to appear on their projects, and he rips it every time. If that's not enough, his plate is full with a new album (A New Welcome), a mixtape with B Blacc (Return of the Drama Kings) and a mixtape with DJ A-What! (The Format), plus his hands are on everything Jewell Tyme puts out.

Best Rapper West of Colorado Boulevard

Whygee

The curious case of Whygee: He's an unaffiliated Colorado hip-hop nomad who wanders all around the city but is mostly found near the center. His unique gruff voice is instantly recognizable and, with his thought-provoking and brash lyrical prowess, he's one of the best MCs in Colorado. He's proven this not only during his live show, but also on the excellent Suicide Watch EP, a collaboration with rapper Sunken State and producer Kid Hum. He's currently working with Naeem Oba as N.O. Why, on a project titled You're Not One of Us, which is due out in April, followed by a new mixtape with DJ Sounds Supreme featuring DJ Low Key that will drop sometime this summer. After that, there's a hip-hop/soul collaboration on tap with singer charleyBRAND slated for sometime next year. And he promises it will all be free. Word, gee!
In the fall of 2007, investor Andrew Kalmar opened the elegant Gallery T at the corner of West Ninth Avenue and Santa Fe Drive and hired Ron Judish to run it. An art-world veteran, Judish was an early member of the Spark Gallery co-op and later ran two of his own galleries. When the second of those galleries closed some years ago, Judish thought his days in the art world had ended — at least until he met the young and brash Kalmar. Under Judish's guidance, T has shown a mix of local and international art stars. And thanks to Kalmar, we've got Judish's accomplished eye back on the local exhibition scene.
The original "Electric Fountain" was designed by Frederic Darlington for Denver's first Democratic National Convention, in 1908. Located in City Park's Ferril Lake, it combined acrobatic water displays with theatrical lighting shows, back when electricity was still fairly new. Sadly, the fountain was allowed to deteriorate over the ensuing decades and had become a ruined fragment by the time engineer Larry Kerecman found it in the 1980s. A few years ago, Kerecman mounted a campaign to bring it back, an effort that culminated just in time for Denver's second DNC, when the city unveiled a replica of the work, complete with state-of-the-art computerized technology. Clearly, the rebirth of "Electric Fountain" makes for a picture-postcard addition to the Mile High City.
Known for her luminous performances with Phamaly (Physically Handicapped Actors and Musical Artists League), Lucy Roucis suffers from Parkinson's disease. In 2008, she underwent the surgery she'd been thinking about for years, in which a battery-operated medical device is implanted in the brain to stimulate targeted areas and block abnormal nerve signals. As the medical staff worked, she found herself weeping for her father, who had died two years earlier. "I felt like he came to me and said, 'Toughen up. Get through this.' I felt like he was holding my hand." Since the surgery, Lucy's tremors have decreased markedly — and she's back on stage.
Calling 3 Kings Tavern a rock bar just hints at the entertainment to be found here. From hosting an array of dance nights, burlesque revues and art shows in the basement gallery to presenting a full calendar of top-notch local talent (including a rare appearance by Slim Cessna's Auto Club) and compelling national acts (Red Fang and High on Fire among them), this venue is almost always a sure bet. Couple that entertainment lineup with a staff that's as welcoming to the customers as it is to the bands (which are all treated like rock stars, whether imports or exports), and it's easy to see why this joint has so many fans — even if the sound occasionally leaves something to be desired.

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