Architecturally speaking, Mary Voelz Chandler loves every design triumph and structural flaw that makes Denver Denver. She spent years covering art and design for the Rocky Mountain News and used her expertise to compile the Guide to Denver Architecture, which saw a second edition released in 2013. What makes this writer most valuable, though, is not just her experience, but her insight: While she can lament the loss of an architectural marvel like I.M. Pei's hyperbolic paraboloid to demolition, she's hardly stuck in the past, since she also champions such modern builds as the Merchants Row housing development in Curtis Park.

RISE Comedy

Last year, the reigning madam of Denver's burlesque scene premiered Cora Vette's RestoMod at the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse. The Thursday-night extravaganza takes its name from car culture: A "restomod" is a vintage car that's been rebuilt for speed under the hood but maintains its classic appeal everywhere else. And Cora Vette has done just that with this production, which is a stylish meld of classic burlesque with the more modern offerings that have proliferated since the burlesque scene exploded here a few years ago. Attendees are treated to songs from the lusty gal herself (whose alter ego, Reyna Von Vett, held down major roles on Broadway before turning to the darker side of the stage curtain), as well as performances by the VaVaVettes and other special guests. It's the biggest, baddest burlesque night that Cora Vette's ever put together — and that's saying something. Wowza!

Town Hall Arts Center

Hair is a musical that doesn't have very well-defined dance numbers. Yes, there are big songs and dances, but at the Town Hall Arts Center, the entire production was a swaying, shimmying, surging celebration, with action and music so intertwined that director/choreographer Nick Sugar must have found both his roles merging into one. His fine cast brought Hair into the present while maintaining the ethos of the hippie '60s — easy sex, casual nudity, idealistic ideas and rebellious romances between black and white that were highly unusual in those racially tense years. Sugar's smart, sexy choreography, along with the exuberant musical direction of Donna Kolpan Debreceni, made for a transcendent evening.

Beta

A monthly club night that's been going strong for close to five years, Mile High Soul Club is the place where Northern Soul and Motown fanatics can share the dance floor with folks just looking to get down to the throwback sound. DJs Dogboy, Tyler Jacobson and Steve Cervantes rotate on the ones and twos, curating sets of well-known favorites by Aretha Franklin and the Five Du-Tones and more obscure tracks by the likes of the Showstoppers and Rita & the Tiaras. The DJ trio has recently started booking live acts under the Mile High Soul Club name, but the focus is still on providing the right sonic atmosphere for busting out the bird, the pony and the watusi.

Bar Standard

The rooftop patio on the building that houses Bar Standard and Milk Bar is rarely open for business. But when it is, it makes for one hell of a party pad. After climbing up the metal staircase to the top of the building, you'll find a tiered space with ample seating and a large shade to protect you from the sun, as well as a sound system that carries music to every corner. But best of all is the view: an unobstructed panorama of the Rocky Mountains that's particularly lovely during the summertime. On warm Sundays, the patio plays host to an array of local DJs, who wind down the weekend with gorgeous music. And the well-stocked rooftop bar almost always has drink specials on offer.

Club Vinyl

The rooftop at Vinyl is easily the coolest place in town to light up and party down. The spacious open patio includes fire pits surrounded by cushy seating, breathtaking views of the downtown skyline and Front Range, and bar service featuring cheap drinks and sexy bartenders. In this rarefied setting, you're sure to find kindred souls — or at least someone with a spare lighter. But even if you don't indulge, Vinyl's rooftop is one smokin' place to be.

Soiled Dove Underground
Eric Gruneisen

Good music deserves good drinks to go along with it, but not all venues offer great cocktails. Compared to the watery whiskeys and eight-dollar Heinekens found at many clubs, the Soiled Dove Underground is a booze-lover's oasis. Along with the venue's classic Colorado cocktails, all made with spirits from local distilleries, there's a beer roster heavy with local craft beers — and it's a good bet you won't find another music venue in town where you can buy a bottle of O'Lillo Super Tuscan wine. Fancy-pants drinks not your style? The bar also sells PBR tallboys and pours its well drinks nice and strong.

Curious Theatre Company

There's almost nothing as funny as watching people behave really badly — and though Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage doesn't have a lot of depth, when the playwright lets loose the force of her ferocious, unforgiving intelligence, there's definitely a lot of bad behavior. The two couples involved, Michael and Veronica and Alan and Annette, exhibit no real feelings; their rages don't make sense, their quarrels are meaningless, affection is non-existent. These people are like human bumper cars set loose on a track — and in the Curious Theatre production, with its elegant set and first-rate cast, their collisions were hilarious.

The Clocktower Cabaret
Eric Gruneisen

Those looking for laughs without a pesky two-drink minimum can find solace on the last Sunday of every month, when the glamorous Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret hosts Propaganda! At Matt Monroe's free comedy night, you can catch priceless sets by such local favorites as Adam Cayton-Holland and Ben Kronberg, as well as big touring names like Sean Patton and Beth Stelling. As a bonus, street parking is always free on Sundays — and Sexy Pizza even provides free-slice cards. This night comes just once a month, but you can laugh all the way to the bank in the meantime.

Ogden Theatre

Prince doesn't obey regular human rules. Last year, despite his arena-filling popularity, he announced that he would do a tour of small venues across the country, playing multi-night runs in each city. In Denver, that meant a three-night, six-show residency at the Ogden Theatre. The kicker was the $250 ticket price. But anyone who ponied up the money got to spend some relatively intimate time with the Purple One and his new band, the all-female 3rd Eye Girl. Drawing from the considerable breadth of his career, Prince treated audiences to alternate versions of classic songs in addition to more faithful renditions.

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