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Thursday, April 29,2010

Best of Boulder 2010: Entertainment

Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA)
1750 13th St., 303-443-2122
Runner-up: Dairy Center for the Arts Honorable Mention: Art & Soul Gallery

The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art has been showcasing excellence in the local artistic community for the past 38 years. And after closing for several months last year for renovations, BMoCA reopened with its “Pure Pleasure” exhibit that featured an array of pieces from well-known Colorado artists. Other well-received shows in the past year included photography from Andrea Modica, paintings from Heather Wilcoxon, and currently a powerful exhibit featuring the work of painter Beverly McIver is on display. But the museum doesn’t only show photography and paintings. It goes beyond the expected with the current “Ropes” exhibit by Pattie Lee Becker and Steve Steele’s “Relational Fabric in Space and other works for the Dark,” an installation that includes 333 objects, bulbs, platforms and wood panels in a darkened room. But the best part about BMoCA is the affordable price of entry. Our runner-up, the Dairy Center for the Arts, has played host to a wide variety of superb exhibits and events in its McMahon Gallery, while Art & Soul Gallery hosts some of the finest arts, crafts and jewelry in Boulder County.

Mountain Sun/Southern Sun Mountain Sun, 1535 Pearl St., 303-546-0886 Southern Sun, 627 S. Broadway, 303-543-0886
Runner-up: West End Tavern
Honorable Mention: Conor O’Neill’s

Marky Mark may have said, “It’s such a good vibration,” when he chilled out at one of these pubs, and Simon and Garfunkel may have said, “Feelin’ groovy.” The workers at Mountain Sun and Southern Sun speak proper “hippie.” Sweet. Never was there a better place to talk about good vibrations, good times and awesomeness. Music, gnarly brews, psychedelic murals, and totally rad people make for the perfect environment to sit and sip. For entertainment, there are jam bands every week, not to mention stand-up comedy. Board games, too. That’s seriously groovin’. And the food? It’s killer, too. And, whoa, what’s that? My server may be my chef tomorrow? That’s totally radical. Seriously though, it’s just a good feeling place, and you don’t have to be a “hippie” or a dude to enjoy it. If you want to get a little more hardcore, but still chill, the West End Tavern has got it going on with more than 50 deluxe bourbons to choose from and a rooftop patio. Conor O’Neills is also seriously awesome for $2 Bloody Marys and $2 mimosas on the weekends, not to mention a wee pint o’ Guinness.

Boulder Philharmonic 2995 Wilderness Pl., 303-449-1343
Runner-up: Colorado Music Festival Honorable Mention: Colorado Symphony Orchestra

Ok, let’s face it. In this economy, one of the first things that people cut down on is the discretionary money for the arts. But that is one of the most important things to invest in to keep a place like Boulder County the vibrant, cultural mecca that it is. Places like Dubuque, Iowa — we can see them taking it down a notch when it comes to their local orchestra. (No offense to the Dubuque Symphony — we’re sure they’re a fine group.) But Boulder? The Boulder Philharmonic is a top-notch selection of musicians, and they perform in Macky Auditorium. Let’s work together to make sure that our local symphony can pay the bills. Plus, it’s a great value, given the caliber of musicians and guests that play in our hometown guild. The conductor is talented and charismatic, and the musical selection is fantastic. As for our runner-up, the Colorado Music Festival, where else can you get everything from chamber music to orchestral performances in a setting like Chautauqua? The honorable mention goes to the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, which regularly earns big accolades for its performances.


Boulder Creek Festival
Downtown Boulder, along Boulder Creek
Runner-up: Boulder County Farmers’ Market
Honorable Mention: Frozen Dead Guy Days

Every Memorial Day weekend, more than 350,000 people come out to the Boulder Creek Festival to celebrate the start of the summer. Right along the shore of Boulder Creek in downtown Boulder, vendors and exhibitors set up shop and provide all types of food, activities and entertainment. One of the highlights of the weekend is the Annual EXPAND Duck Race, where thousands of little rubber ducks are dropped into Boulder Creek. Fans line the creek shore cheering on their $5-sponsored ducks, with the first 50 ducks across the finish line getting a prize. Last year there were more than 7,000 ducks racing down the creek with all proceeds going towards EXPAND, a City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Department program that provides recreational opportunities for children, youth and adults with disabilities. It’s a fun event to kick off the summer that also gives back to the community. Our runner-up, Boulder Farmers’ Market, isn’t technically a festival, but it certainly can feel like one with fresh produce, entertainment and lots to see and do. Nederland’s Frozen Dead Guy Days takes honorable mention this year. Where else can you participate in coffin races, zombie parades and attend the “Grandpa’s Blue Ball” dance?

KBCO Studio C
4695 S. Monaco St., Denver, 303-444-5600
Runner-up: Puttin’ on the Leash
Honorable Mention: Chocolate Lovers’ Fling

It all began on a whim. KBCO Studio C got its start on June 15, 1988, when Melissa Etheridge dropped by KBCO to personally thank the staff for being one of the first radio stations to play her debut album. Etheridge brought her guitar in from the car to protect it from the mid-June heat. With an up-and-coming artist standing in the studio, guitar in hand, a live performance was almost inevitable. KBCO audio engineer Mike Wiley set up a few microphones, and Melissa performed live on the radio in what later became known as the first KBCO Studio C session. The first album of Studio C recordings was released in 1991, and proceeds from the 4,500-album sale went to the Leukemia Society of America. The studio has released more than 20 Studio C albums over the past two decades, featuring artists such as Sting, Stevie Nicks, Dave Matthews, Robert Plant and Sarah McLachlan. Since 1995, Boulder County AIDS Project has been the beneficiary of the sales, and the CDs typically sell out on the day of their release. Not bad for a tradition that started on the spur of the moment. The folks at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley welcome hundreds of guests to their 1920s-themed gala fundraiser, Puttin’ on the Leash, now in its 18th year. Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence has been making fundraising deliciously sweet for 29 years with their annual Chocolate Lovers’ Fling.

Boulder Theater
2032 14th St., 303-786-7030
Runner-up: Red Rocks
Honorable Mentions: Fox Theatre, Chautauqua Community House

For its size, Boulder is fortunate to have its fair share of respectable bands come through town. We have a small and a mid-sized venue that attract national acts, as well as a slew of bars and coffee shops that showcase local talent. All in all, Boulder’s a pretty sweet place for music lovers. For the third year in a row, Boulder Theater beat out the competition to take the title of Best Music Venue. The 1,000-person venue opened as the Curran Opera House in 1906 and shows no signs of closing any time soon. It offers not only concerts but film screenings, community events and more. The historic venue offers old-time charm combined with modern sensibilities, and its sound system makes sure that your favorite band comes through crystal clear to all corners of the venue. It also offers a friendly neighborhood bar next door, complete with all the right drinks and its own friendly ghost, George. Don’t forget Red Rocks, a Colorado landmark. And then there’s the Fox Theatre and the Chautauqua Community House, which both offer a variety of different entertaining events.


St. Julien Hotel & Spa
900 Walnut St., 720-406-9696
Runner-up: Oskar Blues
Honorable Mentions: Nissi’s, The Laughing Goat

If in search of the ideal spot to relax, look no further than the swanky lobby of the St. Julien Hotel & Spa. With its clean, welcoming décor, chic T-Zero Lounge and appetizing menu of food and drink, it offers an ideal balance of tranquility and excitement. But undoubtedly, the hotel’s nightly live music enhances the entire St. Julien experience. From Brazilian jazz to blues to music of Zimbabwe, evenings are filled with unique sounds at the downtown hotel. Stroll into the chic T-Zero bar to select one of the tasty martinis or a glass of wine. Peruse the bistro menu for an array of delicious bites to satisfy your taste buds, and enjoy chef Laurent Mechin’s culinary expertise. Live music provides an excellent backdrop for the luxurious experience at the St. Julien. For a listing of nightly bands, visit www.stjulien.com. Oskar Blues has some of the best brews and tunes in town, and Nissi’s offers up great food along with a lineup of hot musicians, including local faves Face. For a delicious latte — or a cold bottle of beer — with your jazz, head over to The Laughing Goat.

Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000
Runner-up: Colorado Shakespeare Festival

Can`t decide whether to eat before or after the show?

Worried that a gourmet dinner on one side of town will make you miss the first act on the other side? Then make it an all-inclusive evening with Boulder’s Dinner Theatre. Since 1977, their performers have been wowing audiences with Broadway-quality entertainment, with productions that have included Little Shop of Horrors, Cats and The Producers. Critics have been pretty impressed, too. Boulder’s Dinner Theatre has nabbed Ovation Awards for best musical, best actress in a musical and best director of a musical, and Henry Awards for outstanding actor and actress in a musical, outstanding director and outstanding production, in addition to a slew of audience-choice awards. The dinner portion of this dinner theatre experience is worth a standing ovation, too. Selections include their popular chicken cordon bleu and homemade seasonal pies baked locally for dessert, and patrons can also enjoy premium wines and cocktails. Boulder’s Dinner Theatre also caters to the littlest audience members with their Kids Kabaret series, perfect for kids ages 3 to 10. And for some Bard under the stars, check out the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, called “one of the top Shakespeare festivals in the U.S.” by Time magazine.

Zip Code Man
Runners-up: Hosea Rosenberg, Hazel Miller
Honorable Mention: Gregory Alan Isakov

David Rosdeitcher, aka the “Zip Code Man,” is simply a Boulder original. You’ve all seen him on the Pearl Street Mall, with his incredible memory and his chain in the shape of the United States. What’s best is heading down to the Mall when you’ve got out-of-town guests — especially guests from Podunk, N.D., who might have a slight chance of stumping him when they tell him their zip code. This former juggler from New York curled up with a zip code directory almost two decades ago and committed the thing to memory after realizing that he wasn’t the best juggler on the Mall. His act, in which he tells people where they live (and the best restaurants in their neighborhood) after being told only their zip code, became the most popular of the Mall’s myriad busker acts — even better than that dude who can squeeze himself into a small Plexiglass box. Our favorite is when he tells some hot chick that he will produce her name after she gives him her phone number. Not. Runner-up Hosea Rosenberg is the heralded man with the pan at Jax Fish House, and co-runner-up Hazel Miller’s gilded vocal chords have been wooing Colorado crowds for decades. Gregory Alan Isakov, one of Boulder County’s rising folk-pop stars, gets honorable mention.

Yonder Mountain String Band
Runner-up: Devotchka
Honorable Mention: Face

Hailing from Nederland, the Yonder Mountain String Band continues in their constant touring. This year alone they have planned shows with the likes of The Blind Boys of Alabama and The Dave Matthews Band. They will share the stage with musical greats like Furthur, Widespread Panic and George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic. Last year the band also released their fifth studio album, The Show, which received some praise from Rolling Stone, Billboard and The Washington Post, and got them an appearance on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. But one of the greatest things the band did in the last year was launch YonderMountainLive.com. The new website offers fans the opportunity to download all of the band’s recent live shows in great digital quality for reasonable prices. Currently on the site is every show from their Cabin Fever Tour, classic shows from the past 12 years and, of course, all of their live and studio albums. It’s heaven for the hardcore YMSB fan. This past year was probably the biggest for Devotchka, the indie gypsy punk band, which enjoyed multiple TV appearances, nonstop touring and all-around media domination. We say congratulations on their well-earned success. Even though Face, our favorite a capella group, was voted out early on NBC’s The Sing Off, they’re still loved and appreciated around these parts.

Humane Society of Boulder Valley 2323 55th St., 303-442-4030
Runner-up: Ecocycle
Honorable Mention: KGNU Community Radio

A lone puppy is born in the streets to an guardian-less mother. This puppy, with a spot on its left eye and a bushy black tail, is forced to fight for scraps of moldy day-old bread with the other street animals just for the basic sustenance its emaciated mother can’t provide. Life on the streets has given our puppy — let’s call it Spot — a seemingly permanent coat of oily black grime and a couple of scars from some territory battles, but he scrappily claws his way to survival each night. One day, the puppy is corralled by the Boulder wildlife cops and placed in the back of a van to the kind hands at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, where the saintly staff give Spot a good washing, get him immunized and place the pup up for adoption. Life for Spot is good. While the previous story is completely made up, it’s not too far from the truth about the invaluable work the Humane Society does for animals in Boulder County. Equally important, but less cute, is the work done by Ecocycle, which does its best to protect the environment from all of us. And KGNU Community Radio continues to produce independent programming for Boulder radio lovers, presenting news and views you can only get from independent media.

Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
1750 13th St., 303-443-2122
Runner-up: University of Colorado Museum Honorable Mention: Boulder History Museum

If your idea of visiting an art museum is tiptoeing through silent halls lined with massive oil paintings done by a bunch of dead white guys, then you’ve obviously never been to the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. Founded in 1972 by a group of local artists, BMoCA (beemocah — or however you want to say it) is Boulder’s foremost visual arts gallery for artists, both local and national.

While it’s red-brick fašade and neat, green-trimmed windows might look quaint and old-fashioned, the galleries on the inside have hosted a collection of thoroughly modern projects like the Urban Chicken Coop Project by students from the University of Colorado and collections of Chinese avantgarde art. They also host events ranging from formal to funky, like the digital arts and music festival Communikey. But don’t take our word for it. On the CU campus, stop by the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History and take a gander at their assortment of more than 4 million objects in various collections, including anthropology, botany and paleontology. The Boulder History Museum, located in a historic landmark, the Harbeck-Bergheim House on University Hill, preserves and shares the continuing history of the Boulder region.

Boulder Shambhala Meditation Center 1345 Spruce St., 303-444-0190
Runner-up: Unity of Boulder

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Shambhala is a hidden kingdom located somewhere in Inner Asia, reachable only by a select few. Alternatively it is seen as a spiritual state, rather than a literal geographical location. Those more interested in the spiritual journey to peace and fulfillment, rather than a physical trek across the Himalayas, can visit the Boulder Shambhala Meditation Center. Established in 1974, it is part of an international community of 165 meditation centers founded by Ch÷gyam Trungpa Rinpoche, one of the 20th century’s pre-eminent teachers of Tibetan Buddhism. Members at the Center practice and teach the Shambhala Buddhist path, unique in the world of Western Buddhism, combining the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism with elements from Zen and Theravadin traditions. Shambhala Buddhism is characterized by a strong emphasis on mindfulness, contemplation and meditation. The roots of sitting meditation stretch back over 2,500 years, and this practice is at the heart of the center’s activities. Groups or individuals can attend daily public meditation times or attend weekly introductory talks and meditation instruction, all free and open to those of any background. Other classes at the center include ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arranging, contemplative photography and an ancient form of archery known as kyudo, among others. For those who haven’t visited the Shambhala Center yet, the Sunday Open House at 10 a.m. offers an introduction, meditation instruction, discussion and a social. Unity of Boulder, a nondenominational church, encourages everyone to live fully in the present and to see the good in all things.

St. Julien Hotel & Spa
900 Walnut St., 720-406-9696
Runner-up: Fox Theatre
Honorable Mentions: Round Midnight, Boulder Theater

What`s more fun than dancing the night away in downtown Boulder? Not much, really, especially when the digs are chic and fancy. You can feel just a little bit like somebody important when strolling into St. Julien Hotel to get your samba on a Saturday night. Live bands in a hotel feel so like the jazz era or some other grand time, when people entertained people in classy joints all over the U.S.A. The event calendar for the St. Julien is full and bright, with an array of world rhythms to get you moving to the beat several nights a week. Tuesday nights are even happening in this fantasmic world of rhythm and fun. The international and classy flavors make this a place worth mucho bailando to come with your comrades over and over again. The Fox Theatre earns well-deserved runner-up honors this year with its intimate dance floor. Going to a show there is the next best thing to dancing to a live band in your living room. Round Midnight has long been a classic disco for hip hop, pop and now dancehall. Whether you’re into hip hop or noodle dancing, Boulder Theater manages to keep it ever alive with a range of talent hitting the stage from all over the world and such a wonderful hardwood floor.

The Laughing Goat 1709 Pearl St., 303-440-4628
Runner-Up: Amante Honorable Mention: The Cup

As if the art, bands, or any other innumerable happenings at this shop weren’t enough, The Laughing Goat just makes it so easy to like them and to want to be there. It is going be a feat to top the ambience, customer service and super Internet accessibility here. Top it off with Kaladi’s coffee, and you’ve found the next best thing to not ever working at home, especially when the hours are so conducive to both early birds and night owls. There is often quite a bit going on at this place, but there is also plenty of space with different areas to explore. Thank you, Laughing Goat, for helping us connect and keeping us connected. Want to get a bit more hipster classico? Head to Amante, which offers so many things a wi-fi café connoisseur enjoys, including adult beverages. Down the block lies The Cup, where the artistic atmosphere and organic products make you want to stay and wi-fi all day.


Sundown Saloon
1136 Pearl St., 303-449-4987
Runner-up: Catacombs Honorable Mention: Dark Horse

To play pool you need balls — 15 balls to be exact. And who has the best balls of them all? Boulder has picked the one and only Sundown Saloon as the best place around to have some fun while shooting pool. The underground hideaway is a great place to kick back and relax, especially for people who are sick of the typical bar scene in Boulder. You can take part in some healthy competition with six pool tables open for free play until 10:30 p.m. The fun bar atmosphere brings people together with a jukebox and great drinks. Locals love this place because it is the perfect dive joint for any Boulderite. You can also take a “cue” from Catacombs, which has a casual yet spirited ambience and a dynamic nightlife with pool tables in one area, as well as foosball and arcade games.

Another place to work on your pool skills is the Dark Horse. With antique features, this Boulder landmark has offered great entertainment with TVs, pool tables and games since 1975.

Shining Mountain Waldorf 999 Violet Ave., 303-444-7697
Runner-up: Alexander Dawson

Receive the children in reverence, educate them in love, and send them forth in freedom.” Those are the words of Rudolf Steiner, who created what is now known as the Waldorf method of teaching, in 1919 in Stuttgart, Germany. Steiner envisioned a curriculum that is adapted to the different stages of a child’s development and a learning environment that encourages creativity and independence. Shining Mountain Waldorf has been recognized year after year for providing children from prekindergarten through grade 12 with just such an environment.

Fully accredited by the Association of Colorado Independent Schools and the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, Shining Mountain was founded in 1983 by a group of Boulder parents passionate about education. In that first year, the school had 80 students from preschool to fourth grade. Shining Mountain’s eight-and-a-half acre campus now accommodates more than 300 students. The Alexander Dawson School in Lafayette prepares students not just for college — after all, that only lasts four years, give or take — but for their rest of their lives.

Boulder High School
1604 Arapahoe Ave., 720-561-2200
Runner-up: Fairview High School

Ok, so we don’t really know how Boulder High School keeps on winning this thing. Now, we might have a slight bias, being Fairview High grads, but come on! Fairview offers both AP and IB programs, as well as a stellar basketball team that hasn’t lost a regular season game in more than two years. The football team wasn’t bad this past year, either. We guess it must be that Boulder High students are among the most socially and politically active in the county. BHS also boasts an AP program of its own, as well as some respectable arts programs. Its mascot, the Panther, is a common Boulder resident, unlike Fairview’s Knight, which is mythical. What BHS lacks, though, is a stellar lake/ foothills view from the senior parking lot. But, then again, Fairview lacks a football field. Call it even. Maybe someday the tides will turn and Fairview will finally win this category. Until then, we will grudgingly admit that our readers have spoken and give credit where credit’s due. Next year, Fairview, next year.

Boulder Theater 2032 14th St., 303-786-7030
Runner-up: Century @ 29th Street

Although the Boulder Theater is mostly known for hosting some of the city’s best shows and performances, it used to be a movie theater. Remember going there to see the original One Million Years B.C. with Raquel Welch? Some of us do. Of course, Boulder Theater still shows flicks. At least once a month, the venue invites the public to come out and join them for a movie. Most of the films shown at the theater may have been out a few months at the discount theaters or on DVD, but the experience at Boulder Theater comes with a sense of community. It’s like watching a film with a bunch of your neighbors. Everybody will boo the villain, cheer for the heroes and clap at the end of the film. Other nights, the Boulder Theater will host an all-out event by showing a film, having a Q&A with the filmmakers and ending it with a surprise musical guest. The Boulder Theater may not have the 35-foot screen, stadium seating or THX Digital Sound, but it does have the community atmosphere and camaraderie that’s missing from your mainstream theater. Which do you value more? Our runner-up is Century @ 29th Street. For the latest and greatest blockbuster flicks, where else would you go?

Boulder Community School of Integrated Studies
3995 Aurora Ave., 720-561-6500
Runner-up: Casey Middle School

There`s a lot of debate over which style of teaching is the best for children, and there’s not even that much agreement on what “best” even means. At Boulder Community School of Integrated Studies, teachers take inspiration from several of the most recognized and respected educational traditions in the world, including the Waldorf method of schooling, the multiple intelligences paradigm of Howard Gardner and the familiar skill-building techniques of traditional Western education. Based on this combined foundation, the curriculum at BCSIS includes art-integrated education as an essential part of the school’s holistic approach to learning. The learning environment at BCSIS is designed to nurture the “head, heart and hand of each child.” BCSIS also cares about the environment and strives to educate students about nature, conservation and sustainability. The school has implemented the Garden-to-Table food program to teach children about gardening and healthy eating, and in 2009 the school was awarded a solar panel system grant from the Center for Resource Conservation. At Casey Middle School, built in 1924, students will start the fall 2010 semester with brand-new facilities after a complete overhaul of the original building.

Frequent Flyers
3022 E. Sterling Circle, Ste. C, 303-245- 8272
Runner-up: Boulder Ballet Honorable Mention: Lemon Sponge Cake Contemporary Ballet

The Frequent Flyers crew has been soaring and flying for more than two decades, and the dance group continues to grow and get stronger. In January, they opened a new dance school where they’re able to teach flight skills to kids 5 years old and up, along with hosting a two-week summer camp called Flying High and Acting Up. The dance group is also in its 12th year hosting the Annual Aerial Dance Festival, a two-week event that features classes, lectures/demonstrations, discussions, networking and performances. But one of the most wildly popular performances that the company puts on is its annual Theatre of the Vampires. Around Halloween, the group’s members don white make-up and fangs and swing and swoop around their Aerial Dance Theatre and add a little fright to your fall evenings. For close to three decades the Boulder Ballet, our runnerup, has been bringing class and beauty to Boulder’s major venues. In addition to sounding tasty, Lemon Sponge Cake Contemporary Ballet has made a name for itself with its excellent mix of modern and classic ballet and continues to inspire and innovate.

CU Continuing Education CU-Boulder campus conted.colorado.edu
Runner-up: Naropa University Extended Studies
Honorable Mentions: Front Range Community College, Culinary School of the Rockies

CU`s Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies was created in 1911. Of course, back then, class titles included Farming in Semi-Arid Soil 101, The Promise of Flight and Should Women be Allowed to Vote? Well, they’ve come a long way over there at the old tri-Delt sorority house on University Avenue. Now they offer a host of credit and noncredit courses in everything from technology to business to sustainability. And while many take advantage of CU Continuing Education coursework for professional development, others choose personal enrichment classes in art, creative writing and other courses they didn’t have time — or their parents’ permission — to take during college. At runner-up Naropa University Extended Studies offers innovative, programs such as its Authentic Leadership Certificate and its Wilderness Therapy Symposium. Front Range Community College offers courses in almost everything under the sun, and the Culinary School of the Rockies really sizzles when it comes to spicing up your cooking abilities.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival
Runner-up: Colorado Music Festival
Honorable Mention: RockyGrass

It may be a seven-and-a-half-hour drive to Telluride, but Boulderites sure love their bluegrass. The Telluride Bluegrass Festival celebrated its 35th year in 2009 with Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Bela Fleck and a host of others on the stage. This year the festival looks just as good, maybe even better, with Alison Krauss, Lyle Lovett and Leftover Salmon, among others, playing their hearts out June 17-20. And if you can’t afford to get one of those fancy lodges starting at $150 a night in town, just grab a tent and a sleeping bag and get a spot at a campground for around $50-$60 for the four-day festival. What’s better than heading back to the outdoor crib after the last act to chill or keep the party going by a campfire with some newfound friends? This year the Colorado Music Festival, our runner-up, will celebrate its 34th year with classic music throughout the entire summer. Lyons is home to the excellent three-day RockyGrass music festival, this year’s honorable mention. RockyGrass will feature Patty Loveless, Doc Watson, Tony Rice and others July 23-25.

Lazy Dog Sports Bar & Grill
1346 Pearl St., 303-440-3355
Runner-up: Dark Horse Honorable Mention: Walnut Brewery

The Lazy Dog’s motto is “every drink, every meal, every customer, every time,” and they have won Boulder’s Best Sports Bar every year since they opened in 1997. The Lazy Dog Sports Bar & Grill lives up to their esteemed reputation by being “the” place to watch sports in Boulder. The friendly staff and numerous televisions do not hurt when it comes to a great place to grab a drink and watch the Buffs, no matter how bad the game. The rooftop deck and downstairs game room create a fun, entertaining place to hang out. With nights featuring live entertainment and trivia, it is the perfect place to gather with friends and have a good time. The Dark Horse comes in batting second for the Best Sports Bar in Boulder, with great drink specials and more than 25 TVs on which to watch your favorite teams — not to mention great burgers. Walnut Brewery, with its easy downtown location and selection of fantastic brews, takes honorable mention this year.


YMCA Summer Camps
2850 Mapleton Ave., 303-442-2778 2800 Dagny Way, Lafayette, 303-664-5455
Runner-up: CU Science Discovery
Honorable Mention: Colorado Mountain Ranch

It`s no secret why the YMCA of Boulder Valley has the best summer camps — because there’s so much to choose from! Whether you choose the Fun in the Sun Summer Camp for the field trips and swimming trips, or the Camp Chief Niwot for the hiking, climbing and Survivor-themed weeks, it’s guaranteed there will be something the YMCA Summer Camps offer that your child will enjoy, even super-active kids. The Skateboarding Camp helps those kids dreaming of being the next Tony Hawk with structured clinics, exploring different terrain and getting free skate time at local skate parks. There are also cycling camps, fine arts camps and science and technology camps that feature an emphasis on building robots with LEGOs. Is there anything cooler than that? The camps range from day camps to overnight camps, but rest assured, the kids will have a blast. CU Science Discovery is the perfect camp if you want your child to continue learning during the summer and have fun doing it. Colorado Mountain Ranch offers classic summer fun, like horseback riding, archery and jumping on a trampoline. Why do kids get to have all the fun while we grown-ups work?

The Laughing Goat
1709 Pearl St., 303-440-4628
Runner-up: Conor O’Neill’s Honorable Mention: Oskar Blues

For up-and-coming poets who want to share their poetry with an audience, getting the courage to stand up in front of everyone is a feat in itself. Every Monday, Boulder County‘s bravest souls head over to The Laughing Goat as part of the “So, You’re a Poet” open mic night, the well-known poetry reading series formerly hosted at the Penny Lane Café until it closed in 2005. It’s a community event where poets can join and share their written words. And on some nights, the folks at The Laughing Goat will invite well-known, published poets like Andrew Schelling and Jim Cohn to share some of their published works and hobnob with the locals. Singersongwriter Danny Shafer hosts Conor O’Neill’s weekly open-mic night with singing, poetry or whatever your soul is feeling at the moment. Every Tuesday, bring your instrument to participate in the open stage bluegrass jam session at Oskar Blues. Or just go to watch and enjoy the beer.

Boulder Theater
2032 14th St, 303-786-7030
Runner-up: Dairy Center for the Arts Honorable Mentions: Macky Auditorium, Boulder’s Dinner Theater

Perched over there on 14th Street like a skeptical diva watching the mall out of the corner of her eye, the Boulder Theater hosts live music, film, comedy, spoken word and dance with equal aplomb, hitting that tricky balance between a traditional uptown theater venue and sticky-floored nightclub; usually too casual for the former (quick, what color is your best tie?) and too historic and poised for the latter. The sound is great. There isn’t a bad seat in the house (we’ve caught some of our best shows from the risers Camps behind the balcony seats, barely three armlengths from the forgotten upstairs bar), and there’s usually parking if you don’t mind a block-or-two-walk through some of the nicest historic neighborhoods in the time zone. Sadness and joy and lurid tales of Boulder’s nightlife history all resonate within its art deco walls. Props as well to the Dairy Center for the Arts, which has grown to be one of the most dynamic arts venues in the state, and the estimable Macky Auditorium (where we’ve walked out on Keith Jarrett and stayed for Johnny Rotten), as well as the inimitable Boulder’s Dinner Theater, with its live shows and terrific food.
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