Best Return to the Stage 2009 | Lucy Roucis | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
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.
In 2008, Aurora Public Art Program manager Deana Miller got a call from development company Trammell Crow asking whether the city wanted an old sculpture for free or whether it should simply go to the scrap yard. Miller researched the piece and discovered that the monumental red and yellow steel spike, installed in an office park, was the work of Lyman Kipp, a prominent Chicago minimalist. The sculpture, called "Alto," dates to 1984 and is one of only two pieces by the artist in Colorado. The Kipp was removed from its original site and will be erected later this year outside the Hoffman Heights Library, at 1298 Peoria Street in Aurora.
If you remember, As You Like It's Celia is one of those forgettable roles, cousin and sidekick to the far more vivid and poetic Rosalind. But Jamie Ann Romero made Celia real, listening with deep sympathy to her cousin's problems, cavorting about the stage when things went well. This Celia was so funny and charming that she almost romped away with the entire production.
There were many art events scheduled during or in conjunction with the Democratic National Convention last summer, but some of the most relevant were mounted and paid for by local artists. Two of the best were Hijacked, a Susan Goldstein installation about the need for abortion rights, and Gayla Lemke's Enough, which took on the topic of the transfer of wealth from the middle class to the rich during the Bush years. Although it's unlikely that many of the delegates made their way to Edge, we wish they had.
In the spirit of such acts as Dashboard Confessional, City and Colour and Bon Iver, Danielle Anderson opted to go with the clumsy Danielle Ate the Sandwich rather than her given name. Fact is, with a bewitching voice that sends shivers down any listener's spine and a lyrical sensibility and sense of humor that recalls Kimya Dawson, the Fort Collins-based chanteuse could call herself Bob the Freaking Builder if she so chose and she'd still have folks eating out of the palm of her hand. Her primarily ukulele-driven odes are as awkward, clumsy and personal as they are charming, poignant and affecting — as the number of views of her homemade YouTube videos can attest.
Eric Gruneisen
Of course we know where the smoke-easies are, but we'll never tell. Not here. Not ever. Nobody likes a narc. We can reveal, however, that if you're a smoker and looking to get your country-music jam or line-dance on, you need look no further than the Tobacco Shop at the Grizzly Rose. A well-ventilated, closed-door room off the eastern alleyway, the Shop sells smokes and chew, boasts recliners and frequently emptied ashtrays, and is a helluva lot better than quickly ripping butts in the parking lot, where you're guaranteed to miss all the action. As long as you tip the employee for putting up with your filth and close the goddamn door behind you, there won't be any problems.
Molly Martin
The Fainting Goat took over a building on Broadway that's been a half-dozen restaurants and bars over the years, giving it a good cleaning, fixing the elevator and introducing a menu with an Irish accent. But the best innovation so far has been the bar added to the rooftop patio, which saves the servers (or customers) from having to run down three flights of stairs every time they need another round. And not only does this secluded sky-high spot offer a lovely view of the mountains, but it has wi-fi and ashtrays, since this patio is definitely far enough from the front entrance for smoking to be legal. Not only is this the best rooftop patio in Denver, but it could also be the best place to find your employees playing hooky.
Last fall was a terrific time to visit the Arvada Center, because one of the region's acknowledged masters was the subject of an enormous show there. The exhibition, which sported a four-volume title — David Yust: Looking Back/Looking Forward: 1970s — 2008: Explorations in Symmetry and Inclusion Series: Circles and Ellipses — sprawled over the capacious spaces of the Lower Galleries and was expertly installed by designer Collin Parson. It showcased thirty years' worth of Yust paintings and prints, all of them abstractions, and every one created to the highest aesthetic and technical standard. It was a great show and, hopefully, a model for future exhibits at the Arvada Center.
Colorado artist Lorey Hobbs has come into her own in the past few years. Her efforts in painting and works on paper, as seen last winter in New Works by Lorey Hobbs at the Carson/van Straaten Gallery, have a distinct look highlighted by remarkable color combinations ranging from moody and dark shades to toned-up, dazzling ones. Her subject matter is hard to discern in these pure abstractions, but there's more than a little hint that views of nature are partly behind them. No longer just an emerging artist, Hobbs is on the cusp of being an established one, and strong exhibits like this are sure to move her reputation in the right direction.

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