Vintage Theatre

Vintage Theatre has come up with a clever scheme to solve the where-do-we-eat-before-the-show conundrum, partnering with Copacabana Grill Catering so that play-goers can order anything from full meals to appetizers to dessert and coffee, and eat — comfortably seated at a table in the lobby — before or after the show. This is not your typical dinner theater, and the food is just as adventurous. Theater offerings include musicals and dramas; entrees range from Brazilian-style lamb chops to bacon-wrapped chicken breast. Perfect combinations are possible.

At first the idea of a death cafe might seem morbid — a place designed for goths and very sad people. But in fact, the Denver Death Cafe is not like that at all — instead, it's a healthy forum where people can talk about death in self-actualizing ways. The free Sunday-afternoon meetings, part of a global movement that started in London in 2011, unfold over coffee, tea and cake at changing locations every month, and are meant to be life-affirming rather than the opposite.

PlatteForum

We plop down our dollars to drink wine while creating identical paintings, but deep down inside, don't we know that's not really art we're making? PlatteForum's make.workshops go the extra mile by pairing creative drinkers with storied members of the art community to create projects of lasting value. Past instructors have included painters, sculptors, fiber artists and more, leading such projects as jewelry making, sun printing, poetry writing, felting and collage. Fees benefit PlatteForum's real reason for being: programs pairing underserved youth with artist-mentors.

Seventh Circle Music Collective
Anthony Camera

When Aaron Saye took over the space formerly known as Blast-O-Mat in August of 2012 and renamed it the Seventh Circle Music Collective, he had some impressive boots to fill. Fortunately, the gregarious filmmaker and music fan had organizational skills honed during his years of tour managing, and he competently took on the challenge of helming a DIY venue. Saye brought together an invested group of volunteers and established a booking policy that welcomes all styles of music. As a result, most shows feature solid bands that are still below the public radar, and young people who have yet to navigate the realm of bars or other commercial outlets have become regulars here. For these reasons and more, Seventh Circle offers an essential resource in a thriving music community.

Curious Theatre Company

You can't go wrong with season tickets for Curious Theatre Company: Give them to friends, and they'll be thinking about you with gratitude several times over the course of the year. Curious brings the best and most-talked-about contemporary work to Denver — plays you've read about with interest but assumed you'd never get to see — and stages them with skill, artistry and integrity. The price for a five-play season ranges from $115 (for seniors) to $210, and there are added perks, like getting a discount on the second ticket if you bring a friend and — if you buy the expensive package — opening-night parties where you can mingle with the actors.

Calatrava%27s+light-rail+station+complex+with+the+Jeppesen+Terminal+in+the+background.

The extensive art collection at Denver International Airport has paid for itself in publicity alone. There's "Mustang," the all-but-fire-breathing stallion by Luis Jiménez that still inspires fear in the timid, and the enigmatic Leo Tanguma murals that have spawned a thousand conspiracy theories. But there are also works with a quieter presence, like Betty Woodman's sumptuous "Balustrade," which many travelers miss because it's on level six of Jeppesen Terminal. Woodman has taken the baluster shape and put her own signature spin on it, creating rows of them out of expressively worked ceramics.

Best Reason for the Biennial of the Americas to Return

Denver Night

The Biennial of the Americas returned this past summer, an odd three years after its debut, and Denver Night alone was reason to welcome it back. Masterminded by the MCA's Adam Lerner and sound artist Chris Kallmyer in the spirit of blurring the edges between art and fun, the climactic gathering, which qualified as a "happening" of major dimensions, included an opera for dogs, an interactive light installation by Boulder artist Jen Lewin, Viviane Le Courtois's welcoming Human Grazing Experiment and, most notably, a fine finale to Nick Cave's stay in Denver — HEARD•DAM, which let loose an army of Cave's flowing horse Soundsuits into the park, to the delight of all. It was a world-class evening for a world-class town.

Pablo Kjolseth of the International Film Series is more than a curator: He's a man with a mission who juggles a mixture of new and old art-film and pop-culture oddities, current sleepers and cult favorites on IFS screens every fall and spring semester at CU-Boulder. And the series has only gotten better over time: With new digital equipment, Kjolseth can present the contemporary films everyone's talking about while still offering the celluloid classics and archival prints that have always been the backbone of the series. Kjolseth loves film, and it shows in every knowledgeably sculpted schedule. Long love the IFS!

Larimer Lounge
Jeff Davis

After singer Shawn Strub left 40th Day in 1993, the band struggled on for another couple of years before splitting. And while its influence could be heard in bands like Space Team Electra, 40th Day faded into almost complete obscurity. Then, in 2012, bassist James Nasi and guitarist Neil Satterfield played a show with a set list that included a handful of 40th Day songs, and from there, the plucky Nasi contacted the remaining members from the band's heyday, finding all but original drummer Sid Davis available to relive the Denver classics found on albums like Lovely Like a Snake. With Davis's blessing, the group got together with Sympathy F's Tony Morales on drums and made 40th Day's hard-edged yet ethereal music feel anything but dated.

There's no better place for a sculpture show than at the Denver Botanic Gardens, what with all those curving walkways, clearings and water features. And exhibitions director Lisa Eldred has used the grounds to her advantage, mounting one great exhibit after another. The most recent one was Catalyst, devoted to pieces by some of the top contemporary sculptors in Colorado, including James Surls, Linda Fleming and Robert Mangold, along with mid-career masters Emmett Culligan, Kim Dickey, Nancy Lovendahl, Terry Maker, Andy Miller, Patrick Marold, Pard Morrison, Carl Reed and Yoshitomo Saito. All were working in abstract and/or conceptual modes, with nary a bronze cowboy or marble ballerina in sight.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of