Best Underground Venue 2014 | Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Eric Gruneisen

It has no actual Mafia ties that we're aware of, but Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret, run by the inimitable Lannie Garrett, could certainly pass for a speakeasy. It sits on the 16th Street Mall, looking like nothing more than an actual clock tower. But when you walk downstairs into the cabaret section of the building, it feels like you've stumbled right into the 1920s. The lavish adornments and hushed atmosphere, along with the mood-appropriate food and drink, make the Clocktower feel like a secret hideaway for the classy set. Although Lannie's often presents burlesque and variety shows, it's also hosted local musicians including The Raven and the Writing Desk, Chimney Choir and Dan Treanor's Afrosippi Band, as well as national artists such as Suzanne Vega. Cool and comfortable, the underground venue is truly a world away from the busy downtown streets above.

Courtesy Denver Art Museum

Going to Untitled at the Denver Art Museum is kind of like going to your imaginary rich best friend's fabulous loft party. Rock and roll and fine art may seem like strange bedfellows, but the DAM has found a way to successfully marry the two. On final Friday nights of the month from January through October, the DAM opens its doors to all manner of artists, musicians and generally curious weirdos for what it dubs its "mixed media late night program." For the price of regular admission (free if you're a member), you can catch some of the city's best music — along with dance, theater and comedy — while sipping on a Fat Tire.

The doctor is in! You've probably seen Dr. Fart's work around the city — on electrical boxes, lampposts, the occasional dumpster. It's hard to miss, as the elusive Dr. Fart — the alter ego of an up-and-coming comedian — has found the ideal prescription for inducing a smile: writing "Dr. Fart" in very public places. In the ever-evolving world of graffiti, Dr. Fart's work falls under the sub-category of toilet-humor "tagging" or "getting up." And spotting another Dr. Fart eruption gets a laugh out of us every time.

Courtesy Denver Art Museum

Artist Nick Cave uses buttons — tens of thousands of them — along with bangles, sequins, doilies, pot holders and even animal statuettes to create his distinctive sculptures, and there were plenty of them in Nick Cave: Sojourn, the centerpiece of Spun, last year's salute to textiles at the Denver Art Museum. The biggest attention-grabbers, though, were his signature Soundsuits, luxuriously appointed hooded garments. Cave's over-the-top, more-is-more piss-elegant aesthetic makes him the RuPaul of conceptual art, with his sojourn in Denver clearly the artistic high point of last summer.

Courtesy Denver Art Museum

It's rare for a Colorado artist to be feted in a solo at the Denver Art Museum, so Bruce Price: Works on Paper: 2007-2012 was worth noticing for that reason alone. But the works on paper included here used patterns taken from swatches of gingham and plaid, and they fit right in with Price's idiosyncratic aesthetic — one that he developed after working with fellow artist Clark Richert twenty years ago. The show also dovetailed with the DAM's multi-departmental textile extravaganza Spun.

Jeff Davis

Compared to the vending machine at the Larimer Lounge, which offers a new pack of 100-percent-cotton T-shirts and socks, other vending machines just seem naked. The chance to go home to that special someone feeling fresh as a daisy after a show is worth way more than the few dollars you'll spend for said comfort. Puke, sweat, blood, gallons of spilled PBR: Whatever comes your way at the Larimer, you're prepared.

Best of Denver 2014: Arts & Entertainment

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