Among all the characters in Eccentricities of a Nightingale, a passionate, sometimes overwrought play, the protagonist's insane mother comes closest to old-style Southern Gothic, and Erica Sarzin-Borillo played her large and theatrical in this Germinal Stage Denver production. But she also acted with such precision and emotional richness that her very staginess hinted at inarticulable and otherwise unreachable truths.

BINDERY Space

After rehearsing for eleven months, Aluminous Collective — a company formed by director Colleen Mylott and a group of onetime Naropa students — brought Charles Mee's Big Love to Denver. It's a fascinating play: The plot, liberally based on Aeschylus, concerns fifty sisters who have been promised by their fathers to fifty grooms and have fled from Greece to Italy to escape these marriages. The company's approach to this script was imaginative and full of resonant images: a four-man band; women in wedding dresses walking slowly, one by one, toward center stage, each carrying a sieve full of water; a couple expressing their love in a gliding, swooping dance on roller skates. Here's hoping we'll see more of Aluminous soon.

Last summer, the women behind Black Box Burlesque — Reyna Von Vett, aka Cora Vette, and Westword contributor Michelle Baldwin, aka Vivienne VaVoom — experienced some issues with the space they'd been renting at the Denver Civic Theatre. And by "experienced some issues," we mean they paid $2,500 in monthly rent to the facility's sub-leaser, and when said sub-leaser was evicted for not paying his rent to the landlord, Black Box Burlesque had to go, too. But now the ladies are back on their high-heel-clad feet and better than ever: They made a deal with Bender's Tavern to put together themed burlesque shows, and you can now catch Cora, Vivienne, Petra Puse, Annabella Lafontaine, Frangelica Love and others strutting their stuff to seasonal and always-amusing themes. The ladies encourage catcalls and other such hooting and hollering; head to Bender's every Thursday in April to experience the latest installment, Girls in Space: 2010, A Burlesque Oddity. It's bound to be a booty-shaking good time!

Lindsay Thorson of Dream Wagon isn't exactly a household name. For that matter, she's not that well known, even in Denver's underground scene. But she deserves to be, for her innovative Denver Show and Tell Project alone. Launched in May 2008, the project took shape as Thorsen solicited songs from fellow musicians, offering different themes each month. So far, the roster of contributors has included Littles Paia, nervesandgel, BDRMPPL, Pina Chulada, Dang Head, Emily Frembgen and other adventurous musicians with a sense of playfulness. Thorsen continues to be excited about each installment, and a more interesting sampling of local songwriting creativity would be difficult to find. More of Denver should know about this Show and Tell.

We love music. We love free stuff. So it stands to reason that Danny de Zaya's One Track Mind has become a daily destination around here. Every day, One Track Mind offers a free, legal MP3 download of a new track from some hot new band or artist, in styles ranging from electronic to indie. Every track is reviewed and rated, so you know what you're getting. And once a month or so, all the tracks get packaged up in an easy-to-download zip file in case you're too lazy or forgetful to visit each day. Plus, there's a monthly podcast. And as if all of this wasn't already an embarrassment of riches, the blog is also beautifully designed.

The world is getting wise to the ways of the big labels, and the ways aren't working, anyway. Which paves the way for enterprising little bands like Candy Claws, which started with the one thing you absolutely must have before any self-promotion technique has a shot: great music. In the Dream of the Sea Life, released last year, is a record with beauty and depth, and the act debuted music videos for each song on a different music blog around the world. Something's working — the group signed with Indiecator Records in Dublin — and we're guessing the sleeve has not been emptied of tricks.

Sarah Slater, a longtime stalwart of the underground music scene, was the mastermind behind Titwrench, a completely independent festival featuring musical projects in which women had strong, if not always exclusive, creative input, and featuring experimental projects from Colorado and beyond. The enthusiasm of the crowds each night was infectious, and attendance was strong even though there was another music festival across town. Given the success of this first effort, Slater and other organizers are now holding fundraising shows at the Meadowlark (called Surfacing) for the next Titwrench (July 9-11 at Glob). Do yourself a favor and catch these DIY gigs.

Since the infamous Warlock Pinchers broke up in 1992, it's been rare to find Daniel Wanush and Andrew Novick in the same room. Still, the split apparently didn't involve much acrimony, because in September, Novick's Get Your Going project performed Crispin Glover songs with a puppet show on the same bill as Wanush's heavy dub band, Murder Ranks. After the Ranks set, Novick came up on stage and performed a number of Pinchers classics with his former colleague. Since then, a bona fide War lock Pinchers reunion has been rumored to be in the works. We can only hope.

Bar Standard

Over the past three years, DJs Low Key and Sounds Supreme (aka Justin Green and Nate Watters) have built the Solution, their underground hip-hop night, into the best weekly party in town. The club night got its start at Milk, then moved to the Funky Buddha, and recently relocated to the roomier Bar Standard, where the DJs can make good on their plans to bring in national acts. They've more than succeeded in their original goal of creating a night they'd want to attend themselves: Now anyone who wants a guaranteed good time knows that the Solution is the solution.

Lion's Lair
Jon Solomon

There's always been plenty to say about the Lion's Lair. From the artists on the stage to the cast of characters who occupy its dark corners at all hours, the Lair is one of Denver's most storied haunts. Yet the conversation got more interesting when Matthew Hunter, the Lair's longtime manager, launched a bi-monthly series of art exhibitions last spring. Hunter, a painter, sculptor and bass player for local bumcore combo Slakjaw, invites artists to contribute works under a broad theme: A recent show featured ruminations on barns; another was a sublime and squirm-inducing homage to Christ. Hunter's own work, which blends a trampy innocence with dark humor and found objects, is intriguing, unsettling and original. Hunter's exhibitions prove that art can live anywhere — even nailed to the crackling red plaster of a Colfax dive.

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