Best Place for Community Discussions 2017 | Shop Talk Live | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

In African-American communities, barber shops and beauty salons have long served as gathering places to discuss issues of importance without fear of censorship — or worse. In Denver, an organization called Shop Talk Live is keeping that tradition alive, holding multiple meetings each month in barber shops and beauty salons around Aurora. The discussions are deep, inclusive and topical; recent examples are "President Trump. Now what?" and "Race and Islamophobia: the Intersection." Two of the monthly meetings are co-ed and moderated by Theo Wilson, who broadcasts them live; another meeting is female-only, allowing for exploration of gender-related issues. All of the gatherings are free and open to all, with an emphasis on respecting people's opinions, no matter what their views.

Best Source for Up-to-Date Traffic Information — City Go Denver

Go Denver

Waze and other phone apps can be absolute lifesavers (or at least time-savers) when it comes to navigating Denver's streets. But a lot of the information from which most of these services draw is collected by city agencies — and why not go straight to the source? Go Denver, from the City of Denver, lets users choose their preferred ways to travel to assorted destinations, compare alternate routes, plan trips to new places, see detailed views of how to get there, and even track commute history to find out if what once seemed like the best approach has gotten worse.

Readers' Choice: Google Maps

Best Source for Up-to-Date Traffic Information — Highway


Coloradans love hitting the road, but there are plenty of factors that can turn a freewheeling adventure into a nightmare, including road construction, changing conditions, storms that overstay their welcome — and did we mention road construction? To help drivers avoid such issues, the Colorado Department of Transportation's COTrip provides free e-mail and text-message alerts plus route information and interactive maps complete with access to live cameras located across the system that let folks see in real time the pitfalls they're about to encounter.

Readers' Choice: Google Maps

Best Source for Up-to-Date News Information

Denver Post

Like most daily newspapers, the Denver Post has been hit with an onslaught of economic challenges that have caused its staff to shrink. But it remains the largest news operation in the state, and its outreach via Twitter is truly impressive. The Post has dozens of Twitter accounts beyond @DenverPost, including @DenverPostBrk (breaking news), @TheSpot (political news), @DpostSports (sports news), @DenverEntertain (entertainment news) and even @DenverPostLite, for those who only want to get information about the biggest events of the day and would rather not be burdened with the other stuff. At this time in history, we need a strong media more than ever, and supporting the Post with follows and clicks is one way for Coloradans to do their part.

Best Source for Up-to-Date Political Information

Complete Colorado

Courtesy of Complete Colorado

For a while, Complete Colorado didn't seem long for this world. When driving force Todd Shepherd stepped down late last year in favor of a position with the Washington Examiner in the nation's capital, plenty of fans feared the site would go the way of so many other Internet destinations. But, no: Under Justin Longo, Shepherd's longtime partner, Complete Colorado remains a great one-stop destination for anyone who wants to know what's happening in this state. The frequently updated assemblage of links, from media sources of every description, includes plenty of politics. And while many of the voices come from a conservative perspective, the results are hardly one-sided: No fake news here.

Readers' Choice: Denverite

Many major media outlets in Denver offer weather apps, and all of them do the basics of letting users know when the atmospheric conditions are about to get ugly. But our favorite is Pinpoint Weather, from the combined forces of Fox31 and CW2, which is designed for practicality: It's clear, straightforward and easy to navigate, and the alerts that go out follow suit. Users aren't flooded with extraneous "breaking news" about the third day in a row with a forecast of sunny and 75 — but when something major is actually about to happen, Pinpoint Weather is ready.

Readers' Choice: 9News

Kyle Clark, a longtime 9News anchor currently helming the weeknight program Next With Kyle Clark, is not only a frequent tweeter, but a hilariously snarky one. Recent examples include, "Not saying we always see eye-to-eye, but at least @AdeleArakawa has never pulled a gun on me on set," "I'm told being the #1 show in your time slot is overrated" and "Come for the journalism. Stay for the passive aggressive commentary on the state of the media." That's one invitation you won't regret accepting.


Even those who may not be as politically progressive as Boulder-area rep Jared Polis will find plenty to like in his Twitter conversations, which address current events and developments in a notably lively and plainspoken way. In response to a tweet quoting a source who claimed that if the House failed to pass its replacement for Obamacare, President Donald Trump would go crazy, Polis tweeted, "Too late, he already is." After Moonlight scored a surprise triumph at this year's Academy Awards, he responded, "Yeah, but La La Land won the popular vote." And after news broke that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had used the name "Wayne Tracker" as an e-mail alias, Polis slipped in a coy Anthony Weiner reference: "What I really want to know is did Wayne Tracker catfish Carlos Danger?" That last joke is a lot hipper than anything that would occur to most politicians, which is argument enough to follow Polis's lead.


"Protest is the new brunch" in the age of Trump, according to one pundit. Indeed, it seems like every weekend, there's a major demonstration going on somewhere in metro Denver. Not all of them have been permitted or gone smoothly, however, and that included the first protest against the new president's "Muslim Ban" in the Great Hall at Denver International Airport, when cops threatened demonstrators with arrest because they hadn't obtained a permit. (Protesters say they tried, but weren't able to because the rules called for a week's notice.) But now you can take advantage of a recent ruling in federal court that requires DIA to honor expedited permit requests. Outraged by a new executive order and want to demonstrate the next day? No problem: File for a permit with DIA and then head for the airport. Not only will you be able to reach thousands of members of the traveling public while you enjoy the comfort of the all-weather facility, but you can also grab some beer or food from one of the terminal's eateries during a break in the action.

Readers' Choice: Civic Center Park

It's ironic that CATS — the Canine Airport Therapy Squad — is all about dogs, but there's no question that airports can be stressful places. Sometimes you work your way through the TSA line with your bare feet and plastic baggie full of toiletries only to find that your flight's been bumped back by three hours. When that happens, you just want to stare into a puppy's eyes and get a little of the lovin' that only man's (and woman's) best friend can deliver. And there's nothing ironic about that. Over the past year, the Denver airport's squad of certified therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers have roamed the concourses, offering harried travelers dog hugs and sweet relief. The program has been so successful that it's been more dogs, not cats.

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