Best Doll House 2015 | Turn of the Century Antiques | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

From the name alone, it would be easy to assume that Turn of the Century Antiques has the same type of inventory as so many other shops along Antique Row: vintage furniture and housewares. But assume that and you'd be wrong. Because when you step inside, you're just another face in the crowd: This store is packed with French, German and American dolls from the past hundred years, along with beautiful apparel to fit each tiny figure. A South Broadway mainstay for more than forty years, Turn of the Century is run by the mother/daughter team of Diane and Rachel Hoffman, who are happy to share a wealth of information about their stock. They also offer appraisal services and full-service, museum-quality restoration of dolls.

Ryan Kvande's kinetic sculptures make for attractive objects even when stationary. But start spinning these elaborately carved, mandala-like wooden wheels within wheels, and the soothing effect is, as Kvande puts it, "like getting lost staring at a campfire." Each piece is meticulously handmade, dyed rather than stained to highlight the grain, and mounted with instrument-grade stainless-steel bearings to keep the fire whirling as long as possible.

A community abounds inside Level 7, where gamers can play, discuss and geek out safely and securely. So when a thief wandered into the store in early December and brazenly snatched an expensive video-game system, owner Elijah Taylor calmly gave warning and then used some simple self-defense moves to take down the punk and restrain him until police arrived. The moment was less a video-game-styled episode than a human response from the keeper of a safe home for fans.

Ken Hamblin III

Looking for an obscure, culty or important work of cinema on Blu-ray or DVD? The first stop on your shopping list should always be Twist & Shout, an independent home for music and movies whose shelves are stacked high and deep. Big-box stores have nothing on Twist & Shout when it comes to connecting you with the latest entries to the Criterion Collection or as thorough a catalogue as you desire for a certain genre. And if the store doesn't have what you want, the staff will order it for you. Drop by after taking in a movie at the nearby Sie FilmCenter to continue expanding your cinematic horizons.

If poster design is one of the final frontiers of art these days, then Jay Shaw is our Jean-Luc Picard, boldly taking posters where no posters have gone before. Inspired by the style of certain Polish artists who find subtle and clever ways to advertise a film and leave a haunting mark, Shaw has made waves with his work on Mondo ( and has drawn the attention of the Criterion Collection (his Repo Man art is a professional far), Drafthouse Films, major film studios and even first-time filmmakers (some guy named Ryan Gosling). Check out Shaw's work at and you'll never look at poster art the same way again.

Joe Oliver, Joe McGrory, Matthew Therrien, Jeffrey Kristian Morris and Kelly Brown aren't household names — yet — but these creatives are ready to save the world with their imaginations and their pens. Thanks to their new collective, Laser Party, which is as strong as a Voltron cat, the young artists are spilling ink on great posters for films, events, comics and more, printing "fine-art collectibles" by rad people, for rad people. Get ready to party, folks.

Launching a bricks-and-mortar bookstore in the Age of Amazon requires an abiding faith in the idea that price isn't everything — that serious readers care about community, selection and ambience, too. Father-son team Kevin and Ben Gillies have crafted City Stacks around a collection of intelligent fiction and nonfiction, with an emphasis on urban living and design. They've also stocked their espresso bar with high-quality products from local suppliers, including Cake Crumbs scones, Corvus Coffee and some killer hot chocolate from Ritual Chocolate. With so much good stuff on their side, it's easy to read global, buy local.

Lois Harvey is captain of a beautifully chaotic ship at West Side Books, where piles of books and magazines stretch from floor to ceiling. Don't see what you're looking for? Harvey will look through her stacks of paper treasures for you — because chances are good she has a first or second edition somewhere in this modest literary haven. If the desired book is nowhere to be found, Harvey will happily order it for you and then kindly contact you the old-fashioned way — via telephone — once it arrives. Whether you're stopping in to pick up a specific title or just wandering in on a lazy Sunday to browse, both the inventory and the environment at West Side Books are worth a lengthy visit.

An impressive array of equipment and software awaits innovators of all ages on the fourth floor of the Denver Public Library's Central branch — as well as workshops to help you figure out how to use it all to make your own videos, games, music, crafts and more. You can Photoshop and sew, record and edit, even make use of a 3-D printer to turn designs into reality. The lab is open to different age groups at different times — and you don't even need a library card to participate.

Steve Fast is about to become a brewhouse-hold name. You can spot Fast's work not only in the Barrel Room at Denver Beer Co., but also in the tap room of the recently opened Ratio Beer Works. For both locations, Fast hand-carved most of the tables, chairs and other small wood items, such as the magnetic check-holders. His unique and original carvings are perfect for the city's burgeoning craft-brewery scene and the spirit of artistic collaboration engendered there. Also a creator of handmade clocks, children's furniture and cabinetry, Fast has talents that extend far beyond the brewhouse — but as long as people need places to sit while enjoying a lovingly crafted IPA, his skill and attention to detail will keep brewers knocking at his door.

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