Alamo Drafthouse Cinema - Sloans Lake
Alamo Drafthouse

It used to be the worst part of seeing a flick at the theater: sitting through the elevator music in the semi-darkness, trying not to finish your popcorn before the previews. Alamo Drafthouse has changed all that by producing pre-show entertainment that's actually entertaining and directly related to the movie that you've paid to come watch. It's so good that even though Alamo theaters have reserved seats, many patrons still show up early on purpose just to catch all the trailers. Reely.

Fashion West rode onto Denver's fashion scene in August 2021. The forward-thinking fashion show was founded by Charlie Price and inspired by the raw spirit of the American West and the fashion sense of the creatives who give it style — not to mention Price's experiences at Milan Fashion Week and on the reality TV show Shear Genius. Working with talented models, stylists, makeup artists, photographers and more, they showcased the city's fashion designers both on the runway and in partner publication Fashion West magazine. Cowboy boots were optional.

fashionwest.org

University of Colorado Boulder dance educator Helanius Wilkins likes to say that he'll most likely keep tweaking his current project, Stitching the Geopolitical Quilt to Re-body Belonging, until he dies. It all began when the pandemic lockdown collided with the murder of George Floyd, when Wilkins would walk alone for up to sixteen miles a day, gathering his thoughts about being a Black man, a dancer and an artist seeking both his place and a realization of social justice in an unstable world. That led him to visualize a project akin to sewing a quilt, which has developed into a process that begins by hosting conversations with communities of marginalized people across the nation. Each group's unique stories culminate in a movement performance choreographed by Wilkins. It's a beautiful cycle, and it's only just begun.

helaniusj.com/the-conversation-series
Best All-Ages Playground
Claire Duncombe

Junkyard Social isn't just a playground for kids; it also serves as an organized date-night drop-off spot, a STEAM laboratory, a summer camp, a family disco and a hands-on art project workshop. But Junkyard Social is also a playground for adults, who are welcome to join their children on the jungle gym or just hang out with a coffee from the cafe. It offers yoga, live music and a grown-up storytelling group, and you can rent it for a party. Why go anywhere else?

junkyardsocialclub.org
Art District on Santa Fe

Every First Friday of the month, the Art District on Santa Fe Art turns from a ghost town to a full-blown festival, with arts lovers walking the street to catch gallery openings and live painting, or just to see and be seen. You can drop some dough here, if you're looking to start or expand your art collection, but just being able to experience the fruits of Colorado creatives' labor — and be among others who appreciate the work — is enough to make for a fantastic Friday.

The Vance Street Art Hub, anchored by coffeehouse/cafe Mint & Serif, isn't so much an arty block as it is a little taste of old Lakewood's mom-and-pop hospitality, though the cafe does host art exhibitions. It's joined in the area by tattoo shop Solstice Ink, an outlet for anime fans called Otaku Attic, Purple Greens Vape & Glass and, inside Mint & Serif, All Its Own, a purveyor of succulents, air plants and gifts. Stop by on First Friday, when the gallery receptions down the street become packed.

In the age of TikTok and selfie museums, [email protected] aims for a better selfie experience. This one comes with more than 25 selfie stations, complete with backdrops and props to titillate imaginations, encourage family reunions and birthday parties, and simply get friends together for an afternoon of stupid, silly fun for $20 a head. And because it's located at Stanley Marketplace, the fun doesn't end when selfie-snappers emerge: There's food and drink, shopping and people-watching waiting.

selfieatstanley.com

Diving into the entrepreneurial market can be scary for a newbie, but Diana Sabreen has a coaching technique that's so fun, clients don't even notice how much they're learning. Sabreen's Boulder-based creative incubator, the Big Dream, not only offers one-on-one consultations to get you up to speed, but it also hosts group playshops and retreats that immerse people in activities that demand creative thinking and encourage team-building and interaction with fellow seekers. Coming up this summer in Boulder: the Imagination Collaboration creativity accelerator, with speakers, workshops, performances and more.

thebigdream.life
Best New Public Art
Evan Semón

If you're driving along East 39th Avenue heading to Steele Street, you'll see a curling ribbon of steel swirling in an arc overhead. No, it's not an errant part of the Interstate 70 project; it's a great piece of public art installed in 2021. Denver Public Art commissioned the work from acclaimed sculptor DeWitt Godfrey, who took a stark departure from the stacked, conical works he's known for to create this cascading sculpture. But what makes the work so compelling is its metaphorical acknowledgment of its surroundings: The metal materials point to the industrial history of its environment, while the structure serves as a portal to discovering the potential of your surroundings.

denverpublicart.org/public-arts/eastgate

Sure, it's nice to stroll the streets of Denver, whether you're on an urban hike or just a mindless meander, and see all the wonderful street art and murals that grace this city's walls. But it's also nice to know what you're looking at, the background of the artist who created the piece, and the history of the neighborhood in which you're walking. And that's what the Denver Graffiti Tour delivers, at 10 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday, along with an acknowledgement of the gentrification issues that many associate with the murals. As co-owner Erin Spradlin told us last year, "We noticed it and were really bothered by that, so we started to speak about it in the tour and noticed people really responded to that."

denvergraffititour.com

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