Twist & Shout
Ken Hamblin III

Over the years, record stores have come and gone — these days, mostly gone. But Twist & Shout just keeps on rocking. It had already been going for two decades as Underground Records when Paul and Jill Epstein, both high-school English teachers, bought it at a tax auction in 1988, on the very first day of spring break. They didn't have much time for teaching after that. They moved the store to one spot on Alameda, then another, and in 2007 made the big leap — a big leap of faith, given how the music industry was imploding — to the Lowenstein project on Colfax Avenue. And somehow, they managed to make a thriving business out of a dying business model. Paul was way out ahead of the vinyl revival, stocking records, turntables and cartridges; Twist & Shout also has big DVD and Blu-ray departments and an incredible selection of music. But Twist & Shout is much, much more than a record store. It's a mainstay of the music scene, bringing in big national acts for in-store appearances, championing local groups and serving as a community gathering place. (The cool toys and clothing also make it a great gift shop.) With the Tattered Cover and the Denver FilmCenter just a few feet away, Twist & Shout has fueled a cultural revolution on Colfax. Long may it rave.

EZE Mop Complex

Technically, yes, EZE-Mop, a short block of shops, and its companion coffee and teahouse, Grindhaus, located in an adjacent house, make up their own cozy little urban strip mall in the city. With an emphasis, that is, on urban. The work of inner-city booster couple Stephanie Shearer and Chris Bacorn, the row includes Peppermint boutique, which focuses on one-of-a-kind women's clothing, accessories and jewelry by local artists and designers, the hip men's boutique Soul Haus and the spectacular flower shop Babylon, forming a shoppers' oasis where your visit might happily end with a board game over a cuppa.

Trim, handsome and in her sixties, ravishing redhead Judith Boyd starts the day by picking a hat to wear, and from there she builds an outfit; it's her style credo, in a way, and to prove it, she keeps a room just for hats in her home. It's one thing that keeps her going, and by osmosis, it keeps us, her readers, going, too. And while Boyd's Style Crone musings aren't always just about style, they do offer a unique and serendipitous take on life. After reading them, don't be surprised if you find yourself setting aside a room in your house for hats, too.

Thinking of their beautiful home state while brainstorming their infectious designs, Danny Bristow and Dan Werling created a T-shirt that screams green. If rocking apparel made of organic cotton or recycled polyester doesn't do it for you, consider this: FLUIDIAM also donates 5 percent of its yearly profit to the Lynx Restoration Project, which works to re-establish the lynx population in Colorado. These shirts were designed to do more than just clothe the masses in edgy styles, so put one on and wear it proudly.

Monkey Fist Tattoo

Rule: Pretty much everything is better if you add a monkey to the equation. And a fist is pretty much the most badass part of the monkey, so that only helps. Owner Ortavio Griego thought of the name when a friend told him his hand looks like a monkey's fist when he's tattooing. Monkey Fist is also a type of knot and a kung fu style that uses monkey-like movements, which conjures images of monkeys tying knots and doing kung fu. What's not to like?

Cajun's, named for a one-eyed orange tabby who originally roamed the place, has long been dealing used clothing and other merchandise in support of the Cat Care Society. But its incarnation of the last few years, since doubling the store's space in 2005, really shows what good management can do for a place: The current regime not only shows off an excellent eye for quality, but it's also done much to build up the shop's stature, with delightful seasonal displays, great deals and a veritable used book store set up for perusal in the back room. Discounts are offered for donations of canned cat food, and it doesn't hurt that the funds raised there go to help Cat Care Society denizens at the adjacent no-kill, cage-free shelter.

Tomboy Tools are pink, practical and, in the case of their signature magnetic hammer, designed so you don't smash your finger while building shelves or hanging photos or kicking ass and taking names. Started by two local women who hatched the idea over beers, Denver-based Tomboy Tools aims to empower ladies to do it themselves with their line of pink power tools, pink jumper cables, pink paintbrushes and pink garden shears. Don't know how to repair drywall? No sweat! Tomboy Tools will teach you fix-it basics at one of their Tool Parties, which are just like Tupperware parties, only way less lame.

Bus fares keep rising, but the Regional Transportation District offers various discounted annual passes through employers, neighborhood organizations, colleges — even a community-wide bus pass for residents of Lyons. An internal debate has brewed at RTD for years over whether these Eco Passes make economic sense for the agency, but they're definitely a bargain compared to individual annual passes — and good news for the region as more commuters tired of battling traffic and high gas prices climb aboard.

Lesley Temple makes tutus for little girls. But she makes them for big girls, too, and not necessarily for ballet dancers. Nope, Temple is totally egalitarian about her tutus: As far as she's concerned, anyone should feel free to walk through life in cloud of tulle, in any color of the rainbow. That said, you're as likely to find her fluffy skirts at Kazoo & Company as you are at Cali & Mo. Hey, baby — and we mean that in every sense of the word — get dressed!

Lollicup Denver

Purikura, the ultra-cute Japanese take on the old-fashioned photo booth, was tailor-made for thirteen-year-old American kids, especially girls, and it's hard to understand why it hasn't swept the nation yet, in this age of the photo-booth renaissance. But in Denver, you can have your purikura at Q Club, a little bit of Tokyo located in a Colorado Boulevard strip mall. Just step inside the extra-large booths, which can accommodate a fairly large group of brace-faced giggling girls, and take your shots. But the fun really begins afterward: The photographed gaggle moves to a screen where they can embellish pictures with glittery backgrounds, clip art, drawings and other delightful nonsense. That done, the machine spits out pages of the sticker-backed photos, which come in sizes from ultra-teensy to wallet-fitting. Scissors and other cutters are provided, and the cutouts can be affixed to cell phones, in photo albums, on foreheads or wherever else a silly photo might be desired; if needed, copies are available for an additional price. Finish the experience with a round of candy-colored boba drinks and some foosball at Lollicup, which is just a few doors away.

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