Best Of :: Shopping & Services
Do you love art? Do you really love weed? Artist Don Varga and life partner Tootie bring the two together with folk-art pieces made with real weed (pressed marijuana leaves and flower) and "real love" on beetle-kill pine, augmented by paint and varnish. They have several in-stock pieces that would make perfect gifts for all your friends who wish they lived in Colorado (and are easier to ship across state lines), but they'll also make art to order. Look for them in Civic Center Park on 4/20.
Every year, we find more reasons to love the Denver Public Library, which not only offers vast collections of books, films and albums you can borrow, but also serves as common ground in a rapidly changing city, a place where people can feel at home despite the redevelopment all around them. And this year, the DPL has made the best better yet, by getting rid of overdue-book fines, a backhanded fundraising scheme that's terrified borrowers of all backgrounds since the very dawn of the public-library model. Yes, if you lose a book you'll be charged...but in the meantime, you're free to read, watch and listen to everything you want, without fear of being dinged if you return it a few days late.
Readers' Choice: Denver Free Fun
Your flight came in a few hours late, your bag arrived even later, and you've finally reached your car at the Pike's Peak lot...only to find that it has a flat tire. What to do? Call 303-342-4645; that airport line is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will dispatch someone to not only change your tire, but give your battery a jump if you need it. Forget where you parked? That number's got your number, too. The services are free, but you'll still need to pay the $8 daily fee to get out of the lot.
When you're trying to leave the streets, clean clothes can provide a big leg up on leaving the itinerant life behind. And folks who aren't interested in moving up and out quite yet might still appreciate wearing gear that's not grimy. While the nonprofit Bayaud Enterprises is focused on getting the indigent into the workforce through training and job placement, its leaders recognize the role that clean clothes play in their mission. So this past year, they stepped up their services and sent laundry trucks to strategic locations around town, including the Denver Central Library, which is on a regular schedule. It pays to tidy up.
At Humanity, a clothing store in Five Points, everything is free — a priceless perk for people experiencing homelessness. Run by Impact Locally, a Denver nonprofit providing a spectrum of services, from sack-lunch distribution to free haircuts, Humanity solicits clothing donations, then fills the storefront's racks with no-cost apparel that customers are free to choose, try on and then take home...wherever home may be.
Erika Righter's Hope Tank, a retail store with a conscience, has been giving back to the community since day one by putting aside a percentage of all sales for a nonprofit of the maker's choice. But Righter's interest in the public good and shop-local movement doesn't end there. She recently created the Hope Slinger's Guide to Denver, a branch of her charitable Hope Slinger Fund. It's an online directory not only to other businesses with giving-back programs similar to that of Hope Tank, but to local small businesses run by women, people of color and/or members of the LGBTQ community. Let Righter steer you in the right direction.
Reverend Canon Broderick Greer invites legislators, academics, faith leaders and community activists — past guests have included Representative Leslie Herod and Dr. Jennifer S. Leath of the Iliff School of Theology — to join him in the library of St. John's Cathedral for intimate conversations about their lives and work. Weaving theology into personal discussions about social justice, ethics and LGBTQ life, Greer takes a warm and welcoming approach to complex issues. Denver is lucky to have a progressive and fearlessly honest theologian like Greer, who has also written for the Huffington Post, Teen Vogue and the Washington Post on topics ranging from Aretha Franklin's legacy to his own experience being a pro-choice priest.
At first blush, a podcast about communing with nature seems contradictory — plugging in to hear about people unplugging. But the folks at Colorado Backcountry Adventures, led by Brian Galyon, Barron Link and Craig Coleman, manage to make this unusual concept work beautifully. Since the podcast's launch in August 2018, this trio and plenty of other contributors have gathered regularly to discuss aspects of the outdoors life that go beyond the ordinary: loneliness when on solitary excursions, for instance, as well as dealing with aggressive dogs, and even psychedelic therapy involving peyote and more. The tone is friendly and relaxed, and the structure broad enough to encompass current events and locations that go beyond state lines into other accessible glories of the West.
Readers' Choice: ProCO360
No matter where you are, it only takes a few clicks and a pair of headphones to tap into the mindspace of the Mutiny Information Cafe. A favorite haven for collectors and creatives, the venue is now home to Mutiny Transmissions, a podcast network comprising shows covering a wide range of interests, including nerd culture (Motherf**ker in a Cape), local politics (Hello? Denver? Are You Still There?) literature (Mutiny Book Club) and performance and storytelling (Queen City Companion). While listeners can access the archives on a variety of platforms, we recommend joining the hosts at their live, in-bookstore recordings for the freshest experience.
Yes, Denver International Airport is a mess, now that the renovation of the Jeppesen Terminal is under way; finding your way through the barriers is more frightening than the look in Blucifer's red-laser eyes. But at least airport officials have a sense of humor about the traffic snarl they've created, explaining it with signs placed around the suddenly blocked spaces that play off all the conspiracies about the airport. "Are we creating the world's greatest airport? Or preparing for the end of the world?" asks one. "Learn the truth at DENFiles.com." The answer is out there....
"Get your head out of your apps." When we spotted that sign on a digital message board above a Colorado highway, we almost crashed our car...which was certainly not the goal of that one-liner created by Sam Cole, communications manager for the Colorado Department of Transportation. Instead, he's on a mission to reduce traffic fatalities by using witty messages to remind drivers to stay alert...and obey the rules of the road. As Cole would say: "Buckle up, Buttercup."
For decades, Colorado Public Radio was overseen by Max Wycisk, who turned the operation into a state-spanning behemoth. When Wycisk announced that he would retire at the end of June 2018, CPR hired Stewart Vanderwilt, previously the general manager of legendary Austin, Texas, signal KUT, as his successor — and the change in approach has been notable. Rather than sticking with the tried and true, the station began airing seventeen new shows in January, supplementing its lineup with the impressive likes of The Daily (a podcast by the New York Times), The Takeaway, 1A, Latino USA, The Moth and more. No older programs were cut to make room for these offerings; instead, repeats were reduced. These moves, coupled with the operation's bold acquisition of the online news website Denverite, suggest that Colorado Public Radio is entering a new and vital stage. The local media scene, and CPR listeners, will be the better for it.