Denver Art Museum
Courtesy Denver Art Museum

Back in the '60s, when boomers began to experiment with drugs, particularly LSD, the effect was labeled "psychedelic" — and the altered perception colored the psychedelic posters used to promote concerts. A half-century later, those posters are considered art — and the Denver Art Museum has become a major collector of them, as revealed by The Psychedelic Experience, a super-popular blockbuster last summer. The show was put together by AIGA graphics curator Darrin Alfred, drawing from the first-class collection of material assembled by Boulderite David Tippit, and it appealed to both graphic specialists and old hippies — a veritable poster child for an exhibit that was both accessible and artistically impressive.

The Skin of Our Teeth, Thornton Wilder's play about human history, apocalypse and a whole lot more, is tricky to pull off, with its illogical, non-linear plot and crazy mixing of comedy and profound seriousness. The Aurora Fox production owed its success largely to the performance of John Arp as Antrobus, the prototypical human male at the center of the action. Antrobus rules his household, invents almost everything from the wheel to the alphabet to beer, is sometimes affectionate and sometimes furiously threatening — and Arp did all this with humor, conviction and warmth.

Hannah Duggan gets better every year. We could single her out for the high-heeled, mustachioed nurse she played in The World Is Mine, but we think recognition is really due for her versatile, smart, funny acting in Indiana, Indiana, the Buntport production in which she doubled as a nurturing mother and the touching, slightly mentally unhinged young love interest, Opal.

Curious Theatre Company

Over the years, there have been hits and misses at Curious Theatre Company, transformative plays that vibrated in your mind long after you'd seen them and others that slipped instantly into oblivion — or that you wished you could send there. Nonetheless, Curious is the most consistently interesting and risk-taking company in Denver, and that's because founder Chip Walton is that rare being: a highly competent administrator who's as uncompromisingly committed to the art of theater as he is to managerial and financial stability. And he's also a strong supporter of new work by both local and national writers. Other companies suffer identity problems or offer uneven seasons, but Curious, now in its twelfth year, provides theater that's always professional and, every now and then, transcendent.

The measure of a great promoter is simple: Do they bring in killer talent that you otherwise wouldn't see? When it comes to Sub.Mission, the answer is unequivocally yes. Now in its third year, this outfit is largely responsible for the dubstep scene in Denver. Sub.Mission has brought in names like Caspa, Skream and Shackleton, exposing longtime bass heads and new fans alike to some of the world's top practitioners of dubstep's wobbly future breaks and bass madness. Something tells us that both Sub.Mission and the dubstep sound are just getting started.

Dalton Lawrence Rasmussen should be given a key to the city for this detailed and encyclopedic compendium of Colorado underground music of the late '70s. Tracking down the songs and having them remastered took Rasmussen years, but all his effort paid off. The availability of Rocky Mountain Low on vinyl salutes an era when you could listen to these songs only in that format, and the companion booklet, with photographs, fliers and contemporary accounts of the scene, is an invaluable resource for anyone curious about a largely lost history of the counterculture in Denver and beyond.

From the instant you hear Summer, Houses sounds familiar. Maybe that's enough, and you'll be whoa-oh-ing in seconds. And even if you're skeptical of this level of warmth, of retro pop music this golden, there's no resisting the second of the band's three seasonal EPs. Andy Hamilton hits the perfect balance in these songs: They're generous without being naive, sweet but not sickly. And the band playing them is stacked seven deep with very, very good musicians who would rather be here than anywhere else.

Since its name suggests motion and lethal grace, it shouldn't be surprising that this band — which includes former members of Monofog, Red Cloud and Space Team Electra — would make music to match. Arch lyrics accompanying dynamic polyrhythms and hazily incandescent atmospheres combine in vibrantly fluid songs that are a marvel in blended contradictions. Frontwoman Hayley Helmericks cuts a figure both savage and sensitive while shifting between darkly melodic singing and forcefully declarative statements. Don't be surprised if this Snake stretches far from Denver over the course of the year: The act's talent more than measures up to its ambition.

Many bands do shows where they cover famous acts. But Denver Does Denver featured local bands covering the songs of other local bands. Across two venues and over several hours, you could hear Mike Marchant covering "Sleepy Shoes," by the Pseudo Dates, Pictureplane covering "Punk Bitch," by 3OH!3, Married in Berdichev covering Milton Melvin Croissant III and vice versa, and Safe Boating Is No Accident covering Pictureplane. Were the performances note for note? No, but that wasn't the point. Instead, the goal was to have peers of each band give new interpretations to great songs in a display of true community spirit.

Meadowlark

With a rotating cast of noteworthy curators, Tuesday night's open stage at the Meadowlark has seen its fair share of subpar or nascent talent. More often than not, though, you'll catch a diamond in the rough or an established musician testing out new material on a crowd that's far above coffeehouse class. This is one of the few outlets where an act's draw doesn't matter — only its courage.

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