Top of the Town
EDITORS and READERS Matt Holliday
Sure, we're only three months away from this year's Fall Classic, but the Rockies' remarkable playoff run in 2007 will not soon be forgotten. And the catalyst for it all was Matt Holliday, the 28-year-old bomber nationally known for his lip-first slide to end the playoff-play-in game versus San Diego. Not only did Holliday pound 36 homers and drive in 137 runs in 2007, en route to National League MVP consideration, the now-fifth-year outfielder has assumed the mantle of one of Major League Baseball's true elite.
EDITORS Michael Bennet
Though the bookish superintendent of the Denver Public Schools system wasn't elected to office—and hasn't shown any inclination to run for one—we think he's one of the savviest politicians in the city. In April, he used the newspapers to unveil his proposal to use student progress to reward and punish principals and teachers—neatly sidestepping objections of the teachers' union. Bennet, who was the former chief of staff for Mayor Hickenlooper, also publicly supported the appointment of Republican Bruce Benson as president of the University of Colorado at a time when most Democrats were attacking him. Bennet's not immune to missteps—he was blasted for closing Manual High School in 2006—but he's a quick learner. Last fall, he reopened Manual, placing Rob Stein, the widely respected former principal of Graland Country Day School and a former Manual grad, at the school's helm. If he's able to enact his plan for the Denver school system—and it succeeds—he'll be able to run for any office he wants.
READERS John Hickenlooper
Our humble, boyish-looking, slightly goofy mayor continues to earn the love of Denverites—he's won our readers' choice award five years in a row—for his progressive, pragmatic style of politics. Under Hickenlooper's leadership last year, Denver voters approved ballot amendments earmarking nearly $550 million to rebuild the city's infrastructure and enhance its cultural institutions. It appears that the mild winter this year—along with beefed-up snow removal crews—removed the bad taste from 2006-2007's disastrous snowstorms. Next month, the mayor—who's been tagged as a rising star in the party—gets to show off his city to the rest of the nation's Dems. We'll all be watching to see how he's received.
Loudmouth in Need of a Muzzle
EDITORS and READERS Douglas Bruce
Let's be honest. "Loudmouth in Need of a Muzzle" is just a family-friendly way of saying "Jackass of the Year." Put that way, it's hard to think of a more worthy nominee than Douglas Bruce, the convicted slumlord and anti-tax crusader (see story on page 76). Not content with crippling the government's ability to do what it's obligated to do with his now-discredited TABOR amendment, Bruce wrangled an appointment to the Colorado Legislature, where he promptly began embarrassing the state at every opportunity—kicking a photographer and slandering legal Mexican workers as "illiterate peasants." Douglas Bruce, on this issue readers and editors speak with one voice. You, sir, are a jackass.
EDITORS Eli Gottlieb
You could say it's been a good year for Boulder-based writer (and 5280 contributing editor) Eli Gottlieb. His second novel, Now You See Him, was published in February and received a starred review in Publisher's Weekly, was optioned to Hollywood producer Jeff Sharp, whose previous credits include Boys Don't Cry and You Can Count on Me, and, as of press time, has been on the Denver Post's local best-seller list for more than 10 weeks. We could go on, but let's just say: The guy can write. From Now You See Him: "This sense of continuity felt like a unique accomplishment, and if there was real ease when we finally fell into each other's arms, there was a touch of relief as well—relief at the thought that the entire humiliating audition of running to and fro in the world with your heart in a lockbox, praying for a living soul to find the key, was over." Precise, generous, humorous, and poignant—Gottlieb can do it all.
EDITORS Curious Theatre Company
For 10 years this theater troupe has tackled taboo modern themes: economic disparity and corporate evil, to name a few. Which means either you'll end up weeping over the implications of driving lessons or you'll bust your gut laughing about the misfortune of corporate millionaires. Some of the best performances lie in the middle, in purely masterful performances like The Denver Project, which weaves the art of hip-hop and beat-boxing into a powerful commentary on the homeless. 1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524, www.curioustheatre.org
Local Band About to Get Big
EDITORS The Flobots
With a quirky, funky sound, a broadening fan base, and a summer tour schedule that will see them sharing the stage with numerous big-name acts, the Flobots are about to follow the Fray and DeVotchKa into the national music spotlight. The band's unusual mix of hip-hop, rock, and classical influences was on display on the Carson Daly show in May, and they followed that with opening gigs for Cypress Hill, the Kooks, and others. Catch these locals this month at the Mile-High Music Festival. www.flobots.com
EDITORS Dale Chisman
What do we love about Dale Chisman's abstract paintings? He has, in a series of brushstrokes, the ability to create both calm and chaos that coexist in shape and color. These are paintings that can be studied endlessly, each time giving up something new. And that's certainly the reason this Denver painter's pieces are part of the permanent collections of the Denver Art Museum, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and the Kirkland Museum. Right now he's working on pieces for a 2009 show at the Museum of Contemporary Art. www.dalechisman.com
EDITORS Tim Marquez
The son of two public-school teachers, Colorado native Tim Marquez has never forgotten his roots. Last year, Marquez (an oil executive) and his wife, Bernadette (a nurse), put up $42.5 million in stock to establish the Marquez Foundation, which addresses educational and health-care issues. If that weren't enough, the couple donated another $50 million in 2006 to create the Denver Scholarship Fund, which aims to give scholarship money and laptop computers to all Denver Public Schools grads who need assistance.
Radio Talk-show Host
EDITORS and READERS Jay Marvin
Jay Marvin's isolation as one of only a few left-wing voices on the local radio dial reminds us just how laughable the idea of the vast liberal media has become. And while Marvin (mornings on AM-760) wears his liberal views on his sleeve, he differs from his conservative rivals in another important way—he remains one of the last radio yakkers willing to have a conversation.
EDITORS E. Stanley Kroenke
If you watch sports in Denver, chances are that you're either rooting for a Stan Kroenke-owned team (Avalanche, Crush, Mammoth, Nuggets, Rapids, or even the St. Louis Rams) or catching the game on Stan Kroenke's television station (Altitude). In the last two years, the Missouri-native-cum-Denver-sports-mogul (and son-in-law to the late Wal-Mart cofounder Bud Walton) pulled the trigger on the deal that brought Allen Iverson to the Nuggets and built a soccer-only stadium in Commerce City for his Rapids. (By the way, have you checked out those adjacent rec fields?) A major player in the real estate market nationwide, you can find Kroenke's projects throughout the metro area, such as the Pepsi Center (where he also has a home). Plus, he's been chosen to create a line of merchandise for Denver's 2008 Democratic Convention Host Committee. He just keeps going and going and going.
EDITORS Al Lewis, Denver Post
OK, so the goatee's gotta go (we kid only because we love), but Denver Post business columnist Al Lewis can't be beaten in the fave-columnist category. What other journalist can wax poetic on the stupidity of Sharper Image, on the sex life of a local judge, and on the kicking ability of a certain Colorado Springs Republican ("Doug Bruce kicks like a little girl.")? Yeah, we thought not. He's a straight-talker, and if you're not reading him you're missing something special. http://blogs.denverpost.com/lewis/
READERS David Sirota
A transplant from Montana, Sirota is the up-and-coming voice for populist Democrats nationwide. Though the Los Angeles Times recently referred to him as a "liberal activist and former congressional aide," Sirota's columns run in at least two newspapers statewide and have put policies of both President George W. Bush and Senator Hillary Clinton in its crosshairs. In addition to his newspaper-writing duties, Sirota is a blogger and a best-selling author. His newest book, The Uprising, was released in May. www.davidsirota.com
READERS The Denver Egotist
We have to admit that it's hard not to ignore our readers' choice, the Denver Egotist (www.thedenveregotist.com). Committed to "helping Denver suck less," particularly Denver's advertising and marketing communities, the anonymous Egotist often crosses the line with criticism that forsakes being constructive for pettiness, but at its best he/she speaks truth to an all-too-complacent creative community.