Best DVD/Blu-ray Selection 2015 | Twist & Shout | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
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.

It's becoming a do-it-yourself world — and that's not a bad thing. Especially not for stonemason Jonathan Fessler and educator/artist Delanie Holton-Fessler, a couple who are banking on DIY as a livelihood. Together they opened the Craftsman & Apprentice, a 700-square-foot workshop-for-hire in City Park West, where they offer workshops and camps for all ages; they also invite people to book their own craft parties here, taking advantage of the shop's well-stocked library of tools. There's a retail component to the space, too, where the owners showcase a select array of roughhewn, handmade work by local craftspeople. Craftsman & Apprentice is open by appointment, workshop or chance, and if they happen to be around, Fessler and Holton-Fessler love chatting with the curious.

Want to learn how to craft a quality skateboard or master every detail of preparing a gourmet meal? Soulcrafting is the brainchild of entrepreneur Bryan Muir, whose DIY switchboard aims to connect people hankering after new skills with those who can teach them. Through this one-stop marketplace, you can hook up online with bicycle builders, home-brewing geniuses, motorcycle mechanics, gardening professionals and just about any other expert you can think of; they set their own prices for specific experiences. Can't find what you're looking for on Soulcrafting's extensive web page? Muir also offers a concierge service that can help you track it down. From there, it's strictly DIY.

In one fell swoop, Blake Adams made the flea market more man-friendly — in a unisex, fun way — with the Denver Flea (, which pops up in different locations and collaborations to suit the season while mashing up its merchandise with free craft beers at the door (to all who RSVP in advance) and good eats to cure the mid-shopping munchies. This is no garage-sale flea market, either: Quality vintage items and handmade crafts by local artisans are what's on sale, and those snacks come from a fleet of the city's better food trucks. And the fun doesn't stop there: Along with its vendor booths, the Denver Flea has built-in activities for all ages. This is definitely a market catch.

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