Best Young Theater Company 2015 | Black Actors Guild | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

"Doin' the most" is the motto of the Black Actors Guild — and its members live that out, mounting plays and multi-disciplinary performances weekly, and hosting and organizing regular improv and standup nights year-round. Born out of a high-school production, the company comprises teenagers and young adults, all working together to write, produce, direct and act in politically engaging and universally funny and original work. The Black Actors Guild is more than just a theater troupe; it's a company that aims to represent the many ages, cultures, communities and experiences that make Denver what it is — a melting pot for artists from all walks of life.

In an age of on-demand domination and overwhelming options, it's a pleasure to wander into this cozy film mecca and find a manageable mix of fresh new programming to choose from. And the Sie FilmCenter is tended entirely by locals, so the neighborhood vibe shows in every thought-provoking documentary, mini-film festival, head-scratching foreign film or repertory classic. The awesome staff also watches every movie shown at the theater, and they're happy to chat you up for that very important post-film discussion.

Readers' choice: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Watching a film and taking in a meal is the bread and butter of the Alamo Drafthouse, and its menu is still the best for food and drink in the dark. Hot popcorn, compact burgers, leafy salads, crispy pizza, at least 32 beers on tap and more are just an order card away, and you'll barely notice the ninja-like waitstaff whisk by with your food during the best parts of the film. The Alamo has upped the ante recently, adding in more "craft dinners" — special dishes and craft-beer flights paired with the perfect retro film.

Readers' choice: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

You don't often think about the comfort of your favorite movie house until the action on the screen shifts your focus to the pain in your back or just how close that popcorn-gobblin' stranger is to you at a sold-out show. And getting up to visit the restroom in the middle of the flick? You might as well just step on everyone's feet before the film to save them some grief. Thank heaven for the design gods of the Sie, who provided seats that cradle and support you, removable arm rests (for snugglin' with your honey) and plenty of leg room.

Readers' choice: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

For the past half-decade, Tammy Brislin has overseen nearly every aspect of this growing women's film festival, which each year brings bigger movies, more star power and plenty of discussion to the table as a great way to honor National Women's Month. Female empowerment is on the rise in the film world, and with a fest like Voices, our eyes will be privy to every new vision as it rolls in.

As cozy as the hamlet of Estes Park but as huge and foreboding as the hotel it is named after, the Stanley Film Festival is the right festival at the right place and time. This is the only horror film festival you'll ever attend where the creepiness of the top-notch programming doesn't stay only on the screen. The setting itself, in the Stanley Hotel — the inspiration for Stephen King's The Shining — makes you feel like you could be bumped off at any moment walking in the dark. Big, important horror films and high-caliber guests from the genre made last year bloody good, and this year promises to be a cut above.

Readers' choice: Starz Denver Film Festival

David B. Weaver thinks small. His project-in-a-trailer, Davey B. Gravey's Tiny Cinema, seats four at a time for 8mm screenings and rolls to wherever the action is — from the Boulder Outdoor Cinema to the Starz Denver Film Festival — to entertain guests with silent films and live ukulele accompaniment by Weaver, who dresses in vaudevillian garb. Now the Tiny Cinema is on the road across America, with a new sense of purpose: Aside from visiting festivals like SXSW, Weaver is heading to West Virginia to shoot a new (but old-school) Super 8 film — something about an alien on a farm and the girl who finds him. We can't wait to see where the road takes Davey B. Gravey next.

A little-known secret about the Esquire, the beloved arthouse at Sixth and Downing, is that it has always housed one of Denver’s largest movie screens, which makes it the perfect place — with the help of the theater’s specialty film series — to catch up on some of the great Cinemascope classics of yore or just any larger-than-life movie that will make you say, “They sure don’t make ’em like they used to.” From Lawrence of Arabia to Gone With the Wind and dozens in between, you can catch a matinee or evening show at a sweet discount price, to boot.

Musical wunderkind Paul Buscarello has a way with improvising fresh, unique scores for some of cinema’s silent classics, and he’s reinvigorated such gems as The Phantom Carriage and Pandora’s Box with a young sound that polishes the dust right off the screen. His talents aren’t tied to a specific venue in town, but woe be to the place that doesn’t explore a monthly series with this young master.

John Golter brings great local shorts and feature films to light at Glob — a DIY superspace and performance venue — once a month. This fresh series has heralded some quiet geniuses, serving as a great place for amateur filmmakers to work through their burgeoning visions with the help of an audience of eager viewers ready to offer up advice or admiration.

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