Little Horse got its start in Boulder but is now settled into three separate buildings in Louisville, where owners Mike Price and Adriane Hirsch reside. Each space has the feel of a collector's eclectic living room or attic, furnished with mid-century classics, vintage stereo equipment, antiques, curiosities and shelves of old books and vinyl records. Price and Hirsch, who also host vinyl nights at the nearby Por Wine House, have multiple enthusiasms to share with their customers. Drop by sometime and pull up a Bertoia chair.

Your taste isn't West Elm or Crate & Barrel, nor does it lean exactly toward South Broadway's antique chic. Mid-mod is cool but hard to do right, and American Furniture Warehouse just doesn't turn your head. If you're looking for something funky and ethnic and eclectic, head to Stapleton's Rare Finds Warehouse, which offers a global perspective on furniture that's refreshing and down-home all at once. The selection includes architectural salvage and both new and antique pieces from around the world, some repurposed for contemporary use, making this just the place to find furniture that's anything but run-of-the-mill.

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.

spunwheel.com

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.

Twist & Shout
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 (mondo-world.com) and has drawn the attention of the Criterion Collection (his Repo Man art is a professional best...so far), Drafthouse Films, major film studios and even first-time filmmakers (some guy named Ryan Gosling). Check out Shaw's work at kingdomofnonsense.com 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.

West Side Books & Curios

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.

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