Best Artisan Jeweler 2020 | Balefire Goods | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Jewelry maker Jamie Hollier, owner of Balefire Goods in Olde Town Arvada, proactively supports the small-business community at large, as well as local Colorado metalsmiths and artists. Right now, though, she's focusing on staying afloat so she can help others, by sharing live social-media messages ( and offering personal appointments, online shopping with free delivery and 20 percent-off promotion attached, and a curbside pick-up option. And the show will go on: Balefire's scheduled international exhibition for April, titled "Brooching the Subject," is going online beginning April 3.

Best Store for Your Home-Quarantine Crafting Needs

ReCreative Denver

Courtesy ReCreative Denver Facebook page

There's only so much binge-watching we can do before we go bananas, and ReCreative Denver knows how important it is to keep our hands and households busy. This nonprofit, recycled-art-supply shop and gallery is offering "Curbside Crafting," a no-contact option that allows you to pick out and pick up ingredients for the perfect art project. Just go online to peruse and snag a variety of materials, everything from crayons and pipe cleaners to a jewelry-making grab bag or a sack of leather scraps, then place your order. Within 24 hours, the store will have it ready for pick-up. If now is the time to discover your inner painter or quilter, ReCreative Denver is here to help.

The DIY maker crowd got all excited just weeks ago when Made Wkshop opened for business, offering classes for groups and individuals in a fully supplied industrial-arts shop outfitted for working with everything from welders and plasma cutters to textiles and wood, and much more. But while on hiatus, Made Wkshop has joined several other local businesses in offering FLIPSIDE Shop Local Gift Cards, specifically to buy memberships and various maker experiences available "on the flipside," when life becomes a little more normal for us all. Learn more on the Made Wkshop Facebook page.

There's nothing like perusing a stack of books while getting cozy on an antique couch at the Tattered Cover. Even when that's not an option — all locations are temporarily closed — you can still support the city's top independent bookseller by going online and ordering your next read. With plenty of local authors in the mix — whether Peter Heller, Kali Fajardo-Anstine or Phil Goodstein — you can buy your next hometown tome, or pretty much any other book you're looking for, on the website. All orders over $10 ship for free, and while you're online, pick up a Tattered Cover shirt or travel mug...and dream of the day that you can return to that couch.

Nothing can re-create the feeling of wandering the stacks of a used bookstore; that experience simply doesn't translate to the Internet. And given the way inventory comes in and goes out, it's not surprising that a lot of the city's best used bookstores lack a true online storefront. So it's exciting to see that Highland mainstay West Side Books is in the process of revamping its website to make it easier to buy gift certificates and books (both physical and audio); in the meantime, the store is taking orders for shipping or pick-up via its side door.

There are a lot of reasons that we've fallen deeper in love with the Mile High Comics warehouse this year. It's more than just a treasure trove of all things geek, a place to find both antique comics and the latest issues; a hub for gamers, toy collectors, poster aficionados and more. It's also been hosting the Drag for All Ages show, which has given up-and-coming drag performers a chance to strut their stuff. But even though the giant warehouse is closed to the public, Mile High Comics has a lot to offer. If you're looking to spend long days ahead catching up on your favorite Marvel and DC superhero adventures, is the place to go.

Colorado's high bar for quality, independent radio was raised yet again in 2019 when KUVO unveiled its newest station on the HD2 signal, The Drop. This listener-driven station focuses on hip-hop and R&B, digging into the genres' stylistic roots while celebrating the next generation of sounds. Program director Nikki Swarn (who also DJs on the station under the moniker Amerykah Jones) is a twenty-year Colorado radio veteran who pays special attention to the local scene, ensuring that those from the Denver area make it to the airwaves. The self-proclaimed "people's station for R&B and hip-hop" takes suggestions directly from listeners via social media, mixing requested tracks with the diverse tastes of hosts Bella Scratch, DJ Dif'Rent, Unique, Ontoneyo and Hakeem Furious.

Nobody serves up a Friday night get-down on the airwaves quite like KUVO's Latin Soul Party. Listeners are treated to both good jams and good times as Danny Valenzuela, aka "MC Cuervo," "Jammin Joe" Serna, "Jedi" George Murad and Ricky O throw down tracks and trade friendly conversation. From Tito Puente and Tower of Power to Selena and the Beastie Boys, Latin Soul Party delivers the perfect ingredients for a create-your-own dance party to jam out to at home, in the car or at the bar. The funky, Latin-influenced playlist is the initial draw, but the show's secret sauce is the banter between DJs, who carry on in their own Chicano-rooted Denver style. Hop in and turn up the bass.

Cruising Federal Boulevard has long been an act of celebration, solidarity and resistance for Denver's Chicano community. Now the car and truck clubs of the city have an official day to be loud and proud with the affirmed proclamation of "La Raza and Barnum Park: A Cruise Down Fedz Day." This City of Denver-recognized holiday goes down in August, with a gathering at La Raza Park followed by a procession along Federal Boulevard to Barnum Park. The symbolic route also puts a spotlight on the connection between the Northside and the Westside, two crucial neighborhoods representing Denver's historic Mexicano and Chicano neighborhoods.

Best Organization Serving Homeless Youth

Urban Peak

Urban Peak is a source of stability and comfort for Denver's unhoused teens, and these days the need for basic life services is only growing. The nonprofit has committed to continuing to provide overnight and day shelter, long-term housing solutions, street outreach, medical services, education and employment programming while keeping meals, showers, laundry services and case management available and uninterrupted. Beyond its usual services, Urban Peak has established a crisis-assistance fund to help with the expanded costs of support in this time, including helping to cover sick leave for crucial staff members, ensuring that the health and well-being of young people remains a priority. As always, Urban Peak doesn't kid around.

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