Best Smoking Area — Inside 2009 | The Grizzly Rose | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
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.
When the blaring disco and bitchy drama of gay bars gets you down, it's time to take the show on the road to Harry's. And you don't even have to get on a plane. This '60s, space-age lounge is located in the corner of the Magnolia Hotel and can easily be accessed by light rail, should you not score the lucky invitation to spend the night upstairs. Not all of the patrons are lonely, jet-setting businessman with male-model beauty who want to have a local gay man answer their French-accented questions about the mystery of Denver's appeal while they eat their jalapeño-basil shrimp and sip their pinot grigio. There are also plenty of conventioneers from Ohio and happy-hour holdovers from the 'hood. If you enjoy people more than posing, Harry's puts the "style" back into the gay lifestyle.
Being dubbed a "supergroup" can be a bit of a curse, but when your band includes members of local luminaries such as Bright Channel, Space Team Electra, Moccasin and Monofog, that term seems somewhat justified. But it would be meaningless if the resulting music was one iota less powerful, uplifting or sonically inventive than the music of Moonspeed. With eleven members, this band could easily have been an unholy mess ready to go off the rails. Instead, the group is a well-orchestrated affair, with all members contributing significantly to the beautifully textured, soothingly hypnotic yet exhilarating tapestries this outfit weaves at every performance.
In the Denver Center's sizzling production of Glengarry Glen Ross, David Mamet's play about a shabby, ruthless subculture, Ian Merrill Peakes played conscience-less super-salesman Roma, and he had every gesture, every seedy predictable inflection down exactly right. This was the salesman of your nightmares, callow and impermeable but wielding a perverse and frightening kind of power.
Kim Staunton had only one brief scene in Doubt, as the mother of a boy who may have been abused by a priest at his Catholic school, but it proved pivotal. This mother's response to the accusation was both surprising and inevitable. She had been so beaten down by life that she had learned to accommodate in ways most of us could never imagine. Kim Staunton gave a subtle, multi-layered and deeply moving performance, communicating both the mother's love for her son and a slow, sad, inexpressible truth that was all her own.
The DCM is dead. Long live the DCM! In actuality, the Denver Community Museum is on its last legs, but that's part of its beauty. The brainchild of design-community mover and shaker Jaime Kopke, this pop-up museum was never meant to last, at least not in its present form. Yet in its short lifetime, the DCM, which debuted in a Platte Valley storefront just last fall, has given a creative voice to people who wouldn't normally think of making art (and, conversely, to some who do), through monthly themed "challenges" and their resulting exhibits, as well as participatory community events. The last exhibit, Wonder Room, a subjective celebration of Denver the city, will open and close in April, with a gala silent auction of donated artifacts topping the whole thing off. And Kopke hints at plans to stage a collaborative show with folks from San Francisco sometime this summer, if the funds and space become available. The DCM is dead. Long live the DCM!
The brainchild of artist John Nava and printmaker Donald Farnsworth, California's Magnolia Editions has been creating tapestries using digitized looms for the last ten years. During that time, Magnolia has produced works by significant artists such as Chuck Close, Deborah Oropallo, Lewis deSoto and Leon Golub. The results of translating paintings or prints into tapestries are stunning, and the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art wowed us by putting more than a dozen of them on view last summer.

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