It's been a big year for the arts in Denver, and Westword has covered every step of the scene's revival after a fairly dormant 2020, from the endless speculation over South Park taking over Casa Bonita to the opening of Meow Wolf.
Here are our most-read arts and culture stories of 2021:
"Ten Weird and Wonderful Colorado Attractions"
Road trips became popular again during the pandemic, and we profiled ten attractions you wouldn't want to miss as you traveled around the state. Colorado does have the hometown of Molecule Man, after all.
"Dueling Immersive Van Gogh Exhibits Come to Denver"
There are at least six immersive exhibits devoted to Vincent van Gogh, and two rolled through Denver. One is still in residence on Elati Street.
"Brutal! Denver Loses Channel 7 Building"
There was no love lost for those who despise brutalist architecture when the Channel 7 building was up for landmark designation this year. Although proponents of the structure pushed their case, Denver City Council didn't buy it. Soon the building on the corner of Speer Boulevard and Lincoln Street will make way for an apartment complex.
Ten Colorado Hot Springs That Are Real Liquid Assets"
There's nothing quite like dipping into one of Colorado's magical hot springs, so we put together a list of some of the best our state has to offer. Reader: Let Us Enjoy a Kid-Free Meow Wolf!"
When Westword reported that Meow Wolf would offer four kid-free events in early 2022, our readers rejoiced. As one commented: "Thank you, Meow Wolf…. It was getting rough tripping balls and experiencing 1,000 kids screaming, crying and not listening to any authority." If you plan to attend, here are five installations you won't want to miss — just don't spill your drink on the art.
South Park Creators Tell Polis They're Buying Casa Bonita"
Casa Bonita is definitely a local landmark, and thanks to South Park creators (and Colorado natives) Trey Parker and Matt Stone, it's here to stay. Think Ink: Eight Tattoo Shops With Friday the 13th Deals"
In the tattoo industry, Friday the 13th is traditionally a time to provide deals that draw crowds to stores. Given COVID, some tattoo shops held back in 2021, while others kept the tradition going. Take note: Friday the 13th will fall in May in 2022.
Scout, Denver's New Resale Clothing Store, Disrupts Fast Fashion"
The pandemic has given us time to think about how daily decisions affect our friends, families, neighbors and the planet. Fast fashion is slowly being swept out the door by the demand for more sustainable options, such as secondhand and vintage apparel. In 2021, Scout took over the former Broadway location of the disgraced Buffalo Exchange.
"Professor Fun: Why Casa Bonita Is Better Than Meow Wolf"
While the fate of Casa Bonita was still in limbo, Westword joined Dave Thomas, aka Professor Fun, for a tour of the pink eatertainment palace, learning all about its "psycho-geography" that illustrates "walking into a dream" and makes for big fun.
Remembering Alicia Cardenas, Who Made Her Mark on Denver"
The December 27 shooting spree that killed five ended the life of one of Denver's legendary tattoo artists, Alicia Cardenas, who was a rising street artist. Westword had interviewed her only a week before she was shot. You can support her family's GoFundMe here.