Best Rebound 2011 | Denver Zine Library | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Have zines, will travel. The Denver Zine Library has gone from a garage in the Baker neighborhood to a storefront in Highland to the Other Side Arts on Platte Street into limbo, shutting down in the summer of 2009 when it could no longer pay rent. But a year later, the underground project resurfaced: DZL co-founder Kelly Shortandqueer has unpacked the boxes of DIY music rags, public diaries, comix, chapbooks and other low-tech literary matter at 27 Social Centre, a gathering place and workspace for left-leaning businesses and organizations. And once again, DZL is on a roll, hosting readings with touring zinesters and looking forward to the next chapter.

Plastic Sound Supply has not released a bad record. That's pretty damn admirable, even though the label is only on its twelfth release. But packed inside those dozen albums are some of the best sounds ever to come out of Denver, and like a Fat Cat Records or Warp Records, the label produces a wide variety of music, everything from experimental to folk and electronic. Keenly aware of the state of the industry, Plastic Sound not only releases free streams of all of its records, but also bands together for multimedia efforts, contests and more. It's clear the folks at Plastic Sound Supply are above the curve when it comes to the talent they release, but what truly sets them apart is their penchant for amazing design and promotion.

Molly Martin

Not so long ago, no one would have predicted that these shows would ever have happened. But Andrew Novick and Daniel Wanush put aside any rancor still outstanding from the Warlock Pinchers' 1992 breakup and performed a one-off collaborative show with Wanush's dancehall group, Murder Ranks. When that proved to be entirely too much fun, the Pinchers pulled together all the original members and played a surprise show at the Lion's Lair, followed by three gala shows at the Gothic, proving that reunion shows don't have to just be nostalgic — they can be as great or better than the first chapter.

Best Reunion of a Band That Never Broke Up

Mr. Pacman

At no point did Mr. Pacman actually toss in the towel, but the bit-pop group certainly disappeared for a long while. Then suddenly last year, Mr. Pacman emerged again, this time as a solo act, with a controller and a keytar. Although the band's raw, ridiculous energy and costumes were all intact, one man now had the reins — and as a result, the reinvented Mr. Pacman was something completely new and different and special, even if it featured a lot of the same songs that Denver has come to know and love. And the moon boots, of course.

It's easy to dis a gallery run by the young and penniless. They're young and penniless. They don't know what they're doing. They're taking a gamble on unproven artists. But Illiterate is proof that all you really need to survive the gallery jungle is an unwavering commitment to promoting those very artists who might not otherwise find a niche. And that's just what Illiterate director Adam Gildar, with help from Joe Wall, Sander Lindeke and a bunch of friends, does at this gallery: He's created a welcoming place where young artists can stretch their wings, make a splash and, with luck, even make a sale. By offering studio residencies that culminate in exhibits, the folks at Illiterate support their ideals with real movement and wonderful shows. Illiterate won a Westword MasterMind award this year, and with good reason.

Brandon Marshall

For one of the most important exhibits ever presented in Denver, Moore in the Gardens, curated by Anita Feldman, a substantial group of monumental pieces by Henry Moore, the greatest modernist sculptor England has ever produced, were brought together. The large works, which looked sort of like three-dimensional versions of Picasso's surrealist paintings, were artfully scattered around the beautiful grounds of the Denver Botanic Gardens. During the Blossoms of Light holiday display, it was possible to view them at night and covered with snow — a stunning sight. But even better was the view in the spring, when the gardens bloomed not just with flowers, but with art, too.

A suave, handsome Hitchcock hero in The 39 Steps; the harassed playwright-carpenter Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream; Adam, a self-effacing academic, in Mariela in the Desert; a brilliant and famous London playwright watching his life spiral out of control in Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing: Sam Gregory is nothing if not versatile, as he showed in the Denver Center Theatre Company's most recent season. Understated, often sardonic, he's one of those skilled actors who knows when to focus attention on himself and when to cede it to others, and who will fit himself into a role rather than twist every role to fit his own persona.

Alicia Dunfee graces the stage of Boulder's Dinner Theatre often, most recently imbuing the title role in Hello, Dolly! with charm, wit and style, and bringing a signature mix of showmanship and wistfulness to all of her performances. But Dunfee, who's been a steady presence at BTD for fifteen years, does more than act, dance and sing. She directs, and she's also largely responsible for one of the most important elements of a musical: choreography. If you notice the way the big numbers show off the stronger dancers while skillfully deploying the less fleet of foot, you're seeing Dunfee's work. And when everyone's hoofing it up like crazy and you can't stop grinning because both you and the cast are having such a great time, you have Dunfee to thank.

With its white pillars, square of green and blue patch of water, as well as foliage-shadowed trellises to the side, John Iacovelli's exquisite set for the Denver Center Theatre Company's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream played on the contrast between hyper-civilized Athens and the wild woodlands beyond, in which all kinds of sexy and supernatural things could happen.

First-rate Shakespeare is very rare in Colorado, and that's why we were so excited by the Denver Center Theatre Company's glowing, intelligent production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Visually beautiful, smartly directed and with strength in every corner of the cast from top to bottom, it both brought new insights to this much-performed play and emphasized old pleasures.

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