Larimer Lounge
Jeff Davis
Though the idea of inviting completely inexperienced musicians, journalists, promoters and scenesters to get behind the decks seems like a bad one — especially at the Larimer Lounge, a venue that rarely showcases dance music — DJ Hot to Death (aka Monolith Music Festival's Matt Fecher) has turned his weekly event into the place to be on Monday nights. Sparkly electro-clubbers rub elbows with gritty rocker dudes and earthy singer-songwriters, while the music runs the gamut from contemporary country to hip-hop to metal. It's part dance party, part Denver music industry networking event and part DJ training ground. The drinks are cheap, the music selections are unique, the conversation is good, and you'd be hard-pressed to find more fun on a Monday.
Last fall, MCA Denver celebrated its first year in its spiffy David Adjaye-designed building at the edge of the Platte Valley. During that time, over 50,000 people made their way through. This response — not to mention the building itself — was orchestrated almost single-handedly by Cydney Payton, who served as executive director and head curator from 2001 through 2008. Payton not only oversaw the design process, but she ran the business end, as well, and programmed all the shows, which will continue to pull thousands of visitors into the place.
Some firefighters like to make movies. And what better topic for a firefighter's movie than, well, a fire? That was Rob Bieber's idea, anyway; the Denver firefighter and a cinematographer partner made Ricky's Rib Shack in order to convey to an audience what it's really like to be in the middle of a blazing inferno. Because Bieber was on the fire department at the time they were making the film, they had unprecedented access to burning buildings while following 24 recruits through an intense, five-month-long fire academy. They were so close, in fact, that some cameras suffered damage. That's hot.
To explore the subject of the American West, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center curator Blake Milteer put together a pair of conjoined solos that turned out brilliantly. In the back was Walt Kuhn: An Imaginary History of the West, and in the front, Place and Time: Reenactment Pageant Photographs by Edie Winograde. Kuhn, who worked in the early twentieth century, created blurry abstract paintings of cowboys and Indians, while Winograde, who is active now, takes photos of people playing cowboys and Indians. And because she used slow shutter speeds, her pieces were blurry and abstract, too. The combining of the modernist and the postmodernist was a terrific match.

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