Top of the Town 2010
Our most comprehensive (and easily most fun!) look ever at the best of the Mile High City.
When we read Brice's second novel, Children of the Waters (One World/Ballantine, June 2009), we were thrilled that her lay-it-all-on-the-table sense of storytelling had only grown more compelling with her sophomore work. But not until we realized that Lifetime Movie Network's Sins of the Mother (March 2010) is actually the screen adaptation of her fiction debut Orange Mint and Honey (One World/Ballantine, February 2008) did we understand how much her writing resonates with larger audiences. The film, starring singer-songwriter Jill Scott, became the second-most-watched and second-highest-rated original movie in Lifetime Network history. Not bad for a first go-round at fiction. www.carleenbrice.com
Well, we can't argue with your reasoning here. Denver entrepreneur Streeter McClure took three things "Menver" loves—beer, food, and single dudes—and put them all together in a tome that could become every Colorado bachelor's best friend: The Single Man's Guide to Cooking with Beer (Phoenix Books, May 2010). It's stuffed with creative recipes that put your fondness for ale to good use in innovative ways, from traditional Beer Battered Onion Rings to the more mysterious Brew Stew. This was McClure's first stab at authorsville. Looks like he found the way to your heart. www.thesinglemansguide.com
Any track on which Justin Timberlake guests has gotta have a pretty heavy name behind it—which is why we think Denver singer-songwriter Matt Morris, with his achy Jeff Buckley-esque voice and lush melodies, might just be the next big thing. He's currently riding the momentum of his debut CD, When Everything Breaks Open, on Timberlake's label, and has already played on Letterman. And he's also cowritten plenty of tunes for pop icons like Christina Aguilera, JT, and Kelly Clarkson. Catch him at next month's Mile High Music Festival (Aug. 14-15). www.mattmorris.net
Hazel Miller Band
The ubiquitous Hazel Miller has been wowing Coloradans for nearly 25 years with her booming blend of soul, R&B, gospel, and pop—a constant crowd-pleaser in Denver's perpetually evolving music scene. www.hazelmiller.com
You've certainly seen his work around town: striking, graffiti-style murals at Snooze, Qi Athletic Clubs and Spin-Yoga Studios, Juno Salon, and along Larimer Street. Or maybe you've seen his installations or live art shows at the Meadowlark and Arvada's D Note. Munro has been perfecting his "no rules" style of art since his youth in Idaho Springs—and Denver's hotspots are starting to take notice. www.munromasterpiece.com
This part-time Coloradan and prolific sculptor wooed readers with his sublime creations shaped out of marble, wood, bronze, and stainless steel. Certain pieces can be ordered in different sizes and stances, making it easy to fit intriguing pieces like "Double Dancer" into everyday life. www.sohocki.blogspot.com
Politician to vote out of office
Last year, state Senator Schultheis opposed a bill that, among other provisions, made HIV testing available to pregnant women. By way of reasoning, he said just about the most reprehensible thing we've ever heard: "What I'm hoping is that, yes, that person may have AIDS, have it seriously as a baby and when they grow up, but the mother will begin to feel guilt as a result of that. The family will see the negative consequences of that promiscuity, and it may make a number of people over the coming years...begin to realize that there are negative consequences and maybe they should adjust their behavior." Translation (forgive us if we're oversimplifying): He thinks babies with HIV should serve as punishment for their promiscuous mothers. Sayonara, Schultheis. www.daveschultheis.com
Enough readers are upset with President Obama's policies—we're guessing it may have something to do with that health-care bill—that they'd like to see him booted out of the White House. If Coloradans are that upset with the prez, his Democratic colleagues up for re-election this fall—including Senator Michael Bennet and Congresswoman Betsy Markey—ought to be worried. www.barackobama.com
Despite his diminutive stature—the Denver Broncos' defensive end is smaller than many quarterbacks—Dumervil has become an NFL star by spending most of his career in the opposing team's backfield, sacking QBs (he led the league last year), forcing fumbles, and generally unleashing chaos that helped transform the Broncos' D. But we truly admire the role he's played—via public appeals for assistance—for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti, where dozens of his extended family members still live.
Maybe it's just a coincidence, but since this Park Hill native returned home in 2008 to be the Denver Nuggets' on-floor leader and emotional rock, the team has evolved from a ragtag band of entertaining underachievers into legitimate title contenders. Well done; let's hope he can keep working his magic, for George Karl's sake.
It's commendable when a sports columnist looks beyond the box scores, cares about what's outside the lines, and attempts to remind us that life ain't always about the winners and losers. Few do it as well as Krieger does for the Denver Post. He dogs Nuggets head coach George Karl for all the right reasons—and we like that. But he compassionately gets it right, too, when Karl is fighting for his life, or when Willie Clark is on trial for murdering Darrent Williams. And we like that even more. www.denverpost.com/krieger
A compelling voice, an informed point of view, someone whom you believe advocates for the right side even though it's not always your side—this is what Mike Littwin presents three days a week in the Denver Post. He almost always takes on the serious without taking himself too seriously, and he never pulls punches. Not long ago, Littwin let loose with "kickback," "the right thing," "gutless," and "sleazy," all in a single column. Indeed—say what you gotta say. www.denverpost.com/littwin
Douglas Jackson of Project C.U.R.E.
Since the earthquake hit Haiti in January, the Centennial-based Project C.U.R.E. (Commission on Urgent Relief & Equipment), helmed by president and CEO Douglas Jackson, has sent 20 shipments of medical relief supplies (worth around $8 million) to the devastated nation. What's noteworthy is that Project C.U.R.E. doesn't actually operate hospitals and clinics within other nations; it collects the materials to donate to existing infrastructure, putting the responsibility—and the trust—on the local community. www.projectcure.org
Karen Sugar of the Women's Global Empowerment Fund
For the second year in a row, Karen Sugar and her team have earned your respect. Sugar's nonprofit fund strengthens Ugandan communities by offering microfinancing and education for the region's underserved women. The fund has provided more than 1,600 microcredit loans for business startups, and nearly 100 women participated in literacy programs in 2009. Last October, the organization hosted a drama competition as a means for women to tell their life stories and challenge their communities, no stigmas attached. www.wgefund.org
"Channel 31 stars go from anchors to skank-ers." C'mon! For that headline alone, Westword blogger Michael Roberts is worth putting atop your bookmarks. Plus, the guy is consistently right where the story is, before most of the town even knows there is a story. His tone is conversationally appropriate, his instincts spot-on, his reporting impeccable, and he's never met a sacred cow that wasn't worth tipping—even, at times, his own parent company, Village Voice Media. www.westword.com/authors/michael-roberts
It's fitting that Laura Dombrowski launched her blog, CoutureColorado, this past Valentine's Day—what with it being an online resource to help couples plan their weddings. A recent bride herself, Dombrowski has created a constantly refreshing site that's kind of like a friend with good taste who's spent weeks scouting venues, talking to florists, listening to lame bands, and sampling cake so you don't have to. (OK, maybe you want to try the cake.) www.couturecolorado.com
Radio Talk Show Host
He writes books and columns. He puts on a sport coat and a layer of righteous indignation to do the TV pundit thing. And weekdays from 7 to 10 a.m. on AM 760 Progressive Talk, David Sirota brings it all to his radio show. He wrangles interesting guests—recent shows have included U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff and the Marijuana Policy Project's Steve Fox—and treats them with respect, mostly. And when he doesn't, well, maybe it's deserved. He occasionally brings the funny. More often than not, he's pretty pissed off—but he'll still recommend a good microbrew. www.davidsirota.com
For the decade-plus that Saunders has been our morning man on 97.3 KBCO, he's been an unequivocal crowd-pleaser; the dude with you while you're stuck on I-25; the Sage who has the answer most every damn time, yet not so smarty-pants that he won't admit when he screwed up (no, Cary Brothers isn't a band; he's a solo artist). And we still love him. www.kbco.com/pages/bco_morningshow.html
Tie: Charles Ergen and Brett Mosley
We're torn. Our sources tell us that local satellite TV mogul Charles Ergen—the guy who brought us DISH Network and landed a spot on the Forbes 2010 list of "The World's Billionaires"—is the power player to know. However. A more nascent example of ground-up entrepreneurship recently caught our eye: Three years ago, Brett Mosley founded Denver-based BuyMyTronics.com, a company that pays you for used and broken electronic gadgets to keep them out of landfills. It was a one-man operation from his home. Today, he's been featured on MSNBC, CNNMoney.com, and more; his employees have doubled to 13 from six just a few months ago; and he's even developing a charity fund-raising program. www.dishnetwork.com; www.buymytronics.com
Loudmouth in need of a muzzle
Editors' and Readers' Choice
We're all together on this one. Where, oh where, to begin? Public debate is one thing, but this former U.S. congressman from Colorado says soooo many colossally stupid, offensive, bigoted things. Take this snippet of a speech Tancredo gave at a Tea Party convention in Nashville in February: "People who could not even spell the word 'vote,' or say it in English, put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House.... His name is Barack Hussein Obama." Really? Really?! Puh-leeeze. Any muzzle or balled-up sock will do. www.tancredo.org