Best Concert 2010 | My Bloody Valentine | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

No band could possibly live up to the hype surrounding My Bloody Valentine's landmark recording, 1991's Loveless, in a live setting, but Kevin Shields and company come close. Somehow, their handful of 2009 North American dates included a gig in Denver, and after a rocky start in the house mix, My Bloody Valentine performed a show that was, at times, as much a physical experience as a musical one. And to close out the night, the band assaulted the audience with a cascading avalanche of sound that made clothes flap with the sheer force of the clamor. Denver hearts MBV.

Not nearly enough people remember the band Facade. The act was a charming mixture of dream pop and jazz that played low-key shows for a couple of years right after the turn of the millennium. Then the band's singer, Kitty Vincent, dropped out of music for the better part of the decade, while guitarist Joe Grobelny went on to Jet Set Kate and the highly lauded Everything Absent or Distorted. Vincent and Grobelny really had something as a musical unit, though, and after EAoD disbanded, Grobelny and Vincent got back together as the atmospherically bombastic, energetic and engaging Le Divorce.

Like some kind of superhero venue, Theory + Practice lives a double life. By day, it masquerades as an art gallery, but once night falls and a sound system and a few lights are added, it transforms into the sweetest underground dance venue in town. It has a central location, nice acoustics, a fine floor for dancing — and it's just the right size to feel both intimate and spacious. Of course, the real kicker is that the promoters who favor it have done a fine job of bringing in top talent from the real underground, making for some great experiences at this dark knight of dance venues.

You want a top-notch clubbing experience in Denver, Beta is the first place you should look. It's been around long enough now to lose that new-club smell, but it's still got an unbeatable tandem of the finest sound system and best talent bookers in town. That means you're going to see the world's best DJs and dance artists here, and they're going to sound just about as good as they possibly can. Add in a bevy of beautiful people and maybe some bottle service, and you've got a recipe for a great night on the town.

When the Friends of Historic Riverside Cemetery wanted to raise money to help restore Denver's oldest cemetery to its former splendor, they brought a host of historical city figures back to life on Halloween. Period-clad reenactors revived such characters as Sand Creek Massacre good guy Silas Soule, turn-of-the-century temperance worker and police matron Sadie Likens, African-American social climbers Barney and Julia Ford, brewer Philip Zang and many others as tour participants trekked through the burial ground; afterward, an FHRC-sponsored Spirits of Riverside art show reception at the Wynkoop Brewing Company featured Riverside RIP Ale and Riverside-inspired works by local artists.

Where better to celebrate the Day of the Dead than in an actual cemetery, right beside the holiday's honorees? The Chicano Arts and Humanities Council and Denver muertos artist Jerry Vigil put on a grave event worthy of the ancestors in Crown Hill Cemetery last November, complete with a sugar skull workshop for kids, Aztec dancing, mariachi music, fiesta food and an art show and lecture by Vigil. Not only did the event put the meaning of the celebration in clear perspective, but it was also a heck of a lot of fun. Kudos to Crown Hill for adding this to its ongoing series of community celebrations and to Vigil and friends for making it happen.

Popcorn and hot dogs might be classic cinema foods, but sometimes you hunger for more. And for those times, Cinebarre is the place to go. The Thornton theater offers first-run movies with a full menu (and bar!). There's nothing too fancy on the menu -- just pizza, burgers, sandwiches, salads, desserts and appetizers -- but it offers a solid selection of quality comfort foods with movie-themed names. The prices are reasonable, and you even get to sit at a real table. And traditionalists can still get a bucket of popcorn to munch on.

Mirada Fine Art Gallery Facebook

Back in the '20s, when the foothills town of Indian Hills was marketed as a "mountain getaway" for Denver's elite, George Olinger erected the Indian Hills Trading Post to serve as a general store, post office and sales office for the new community, which quickly gained a reputation as an artists' colony. Today the renovated building again welcomes artists, as the home of Mirada Fine Art, a new gallery in a great old space dedicated to exhibiting contemporary art from across the region.

In order to present two solos in the same space, William Havu Gallery often pairs a painter with a sculptor. This approach was stunningly successful when Monroe Hodder: Painting Metabolism!, a show of gorgeous post-minimalist paintings, was put together with Michael Clapper: New Sculptures, an equally stunning exhibit of abstract three-dimensional works. Monroe Hodder, who divides her time between London and Steamboat Springs, creates luscious striped paintings with complicated palettes, while Michael Clapper ingeniously combines stone and metal to come up with his ambitious sculptures. Though the artists work in their own distinctive styles, their pieces were absolutely wonderful together, making for a gallery show as good as any museum exhibit this year.

Courtesy RedLine Contemporary Art Center

RedLine was founded by Laura Merage, an artist as well as arts supporter, and the facility combines studio space with one of the most impressive exhibition galleries in the region. Though there hasn't been a regular schedule of shows here, many of the exhibits have been first-rate — and that was certainly the case with You of All People! Here of All Places!, which highlighted the accomplishments of the studio artists. The curating was done by committee, but Jonathan Saiz took the lead; both he and Merage were featured, as were Margaret Neumann, Bruce Price, Clark Richert, Jeff Page, Virginia Folkestad and a raft of others. Nothing linked these artists beyond living in Denver and having studios at RedLine, and the result was an eye-popping assortment of art in a wide variety of mediums. Here's hoping the exhibit becomes an annual outing.

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