I admit it, I’m stoked to be included. Not once, but twice by name, and a third time by association. Of course, free advertising means a lot to a struggling small business and I’m grateful for the help. Thanks Westword for looking out for the buddies. I also feel flattered to be recognized by my peers. It makes me feel like I’m doing something, um, good with my life. May I be able to do this for the rest of it (please, universe, please!) So, here’s to tooting my own horn a bit and shouting out some other Denver buddies who were also highlighted in this year’s Best Of.
Best New Independent Record Store: Growler Records
Tucked in the back room of Yellow Feather Coffee is a tiny record store run by Molly Zackary. Some people might remember Zackary for her long-running distro bearing the same moniker, or from running into her at punk and hardcore shows in years past at Double Entendre, Monkey Mania and elsewhere. Her friendly and gracious demeanor and sheer knowledge of the niche she’s cultivating with her inventory is impressive. Growler is also one of the few stores in Denver to carry metal and hardcore vinyl. The record player in the corner is available to sample most, if not all, of what’s in stock, and the small-press books and zines are always pleasantly surprising.
Best Film Festival: Mid-Winter Punk Film Fest
While other punk film festivals feature such predictable fare as The Filth and the Fury and The Clash: Westway to the World, capitalizing on the bands and the stories everyone has already heard, Mid-Winter Punk Film Festival organizers Sarah Slater and Molly Zackary embraced the true DIY nature of punk rock and gave us something completely unexpected yet ultimately delightful. Offering films like Downtown 81, Kill All Redneck Pricksand Born Into Flames, this series presented gems that had slipped through the cracks of history, only to be located by two true believers willing to forgo a commercial audience in favor of attracting those truly interested in discovering something new. Oh, and it all went down at the best little record distro in the city, Growler. [Westword forgot to add that the fest was co-sponsored by Titwrench Fest via Sarah Slater, dig it.]
Best Alternative Venue: Yellow Feather Coffee
When Yellow Feather opened its doors, it was the kind of coffee shop that offered not just solidly great coffee with a choice of milk and milk substitutes, but a community-minded space, as well. While not a traditional music venue, Yellow Feather has hosted touring artists along with local bands looking to have their release shows at an intimate venue where people of all ages could go and feel welcome without the pressure of alcohol or ticket sales. The shop has also hosted classes through Free School Denver, and its relaxed environment on an otherwise busy street is welcoming to crust punks, artists and businesspeople alike.