Ten best (and strangest) arts and culture experiences in 2012

Categories: Lists

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Impromptu dance party at this year's Nan Desu Kan anime convention.
Denver, you've got it going on. This year, I was lucky enough to be a part of many incredibly cool events involving local and national artists, musicians and performers. Combing through the past year of Westword stories, I compiled this list of the best (and strangest) arts- and culture-related experiences from 2012.

See also:
- Ten most interesting interviews of 2012: Feminist scientists, comedians and queens
- Slideshow - Nan Desu Kan 2012: Bronies, Lolitas and Dreamers
- Lucky '13: Cortney Lane Stell, RMCAD gallery director and curator

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10. T-Pain: A painful live experience.
This might have been one of the worst concerts I've ever been to, and I've been to hundreds. T-Pain took his audience inside the Ogden Theatre hostage as we sat through hours of his ego mania -- teasing the crowd with thirty-second snippets of his hits, he did not finish a single song.

Instead, he rallied through dozens of tracks in three-plus hours, stopping and starting as he pleased, talking about himself between half-singing and half-rapping. It was a true disservice to fans -- if he had any left -- and by the time he finally finished his set in Denver this past February, more than half the venue had cleared out. For the record, I was a fan. I am not anymore.

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9. Mary Elitch's "chair."
A chance assignment brought me in contact with the Elitch Gardens Historic Theatre Foundation, which offered me the opportunity to tour the century-old venue. The gentlemen who gave me a tour of the building were hesitant to speak about anything remotely close to a ghost story -- but there was definitely some spookiness happening in the cold and ancient space.

A chair set up in the box reserved for former theater owner Mary Elitch until her death in 1936 only added to the haunted vibe. But it wasn't a feeling of terror -- it was clear that anyone still hanging around the Elitch Gardens Theatre in less-than-human form was there in good fun. (And according to one of my tour guides, he did hear laughter coming from the unoccupied balcony once upon a time.)

Closed to the public since the mid-'90s, the organization has worked to preserve the building and hopes to raise enough money to not just fully restore it, but open it once again. I hope so -- even in a state of disrepair, the place is gorgeous.

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8. Playing in a cover band.
I hate cover bands. I think it is a stupid concept that serves the musicians playing in them and a fan base that can't move on. But this past summer, I was in a Hole cover band -- and I loved every minute of it. Nothing allows you to escape adult reality quite like playing pretend, and being a live derivative of Courtney Love was as close to my teenage dreams as I could get.

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