Goodbye, Paris on the Platte. We Will Smoke One Last Cigarette in Your Honor.

The scene inside Paris on the Platte when I stopped by Saturday for one final latte.
You hadn't been able to smoke inside Paris on the Platte for several years now. But the cigarette-supporting coffeehouse was one of the last holdouts after the smoking ban went into effect in 2006 -- its legal status as a "cigar bar" let the smoking indoors continue, until the spot finally gave in and went smoke-free at the end of 2009.

Still, as word spread quickly through social networks that the spot simply known as "Paris" would have its final coffee service on Saturday, January 17, my newsfeed was flooded with cigarette memories. First cigarettes, late-night cigarettes, shared cigarettes -- they all happened at Paris on the Platte, a bastion for youth with nowhere else to hang out, bumping elbows with a cadre of adult-like Denver types who considered the place an urban oasis in an estranged cowtown.

See also: A Love Letter to Denver, the City I Used to Know

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Photos: The National Western Stock Show Parade Stampedes Downtown Denver

The National Western Stock Show got off to an unofficial start yes with the traditional sashay through the streets of downtown Denver yesterday, with b-ball star Chauncey Billups leading the way as the 2015 Grand Marshal. Photog Brandon Marshall was there to capture all the longhorns, cowpokes, prancing ponies and rodeo queens as they brought back a taste of Denver's cowtown past; keep reading for more images.

See also: Gallery Sketches: Three Shows in Denver for the Weekend of January 9-12.

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Caryn and Peter Boddie on Colorado's "Lost" Ski Areas -- Stories as Old as the Hills

Archival photo courtesy History Press
"We couldn't believe how much emphasis there was on ski jumping from the beginning: It was really the extreme sport of its day," says historian Caryn Boddie. She and her husband, Peter Boddie, wrote the book Lost Ski Areas of Colorado's Front Range and Northern Mountains, and they'll be sharing stories about what our state's nascent ski industry looked like a century ago at Tattered Cover Colfax tonight. "We found stories of as many as 20,000 people coming to see one of Carl Howelsen's ski-jumping demos in Denver," Boddie continues. "That one was promoted by the Denver Press Club."

See also: The Edge, 2014-2014 Winter Activity Guide

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Why the Highland Vs. Northside Debate Is All About Gentrification

Longo's Subway Tavern, a former northside staple.
Back in August, I wrote a love letter to Denver, the city I used to know. Though my intention was to remember the good things about my city that are gone now, it was also, perhaps, a thinly veiled criticism of the way progress is going in Denver. Recently, there was a "blog" (I say that in quotation marks because the person who runs the site identifies as a real-estate agent on Twitter) floating around Facebook about the debate over whether the north section of our city is called Highland or Northside. While this enraged me and many other natives for a lot of reasons, the biggest issue raised in the online conversation was this: The name game in Denver isn't about our written history. It's about gentrification.

See also: A Love Letter to Denver, the City I'm Getting to Know

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Sid King's Crazy Horse Bar neon sign needs help to light up the night again

Light Up the Night Collection.
When photojournalist Corky Scholl started the non-profit Save the Signs in 2012, the first sign he wanted to save was the neon, Googie-style wonder that had graced Sid King's Crazy Horse Bar on East Colfax Avenue until the place closed in 1983. Two decades later, Scholl found it for sale on Craigslist -- and to keep the sign from being sold to an owner who might not publicly display it, Scholl created Save the Signs and started a fundraising effort to buy the icon.

Though unsuccessful at that first attempt, Scholl convinced owners Mike Brown and Melissa Kostic to lease it to him until he could make another attempt to save the sign. This week, Scholl and friends launched a new Indiegogo campaign, and now they need your help to get this neon beauty back out on Colfax where it belongs.

See also: Will Sid King's Crazy Horse Bar light up Denver again?

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Sands Theatre in Brush makes the leap into the digital age with a new film projector

Anthony Camera.
Joe Machetta, owner and operator of the Sands Theatre since the late 1950s.
The new projector that Joe Machetta has been waiting for has finally arrived. The owner of the Sands -- focus of the cover story "Can the Sands Theatre survive digital conversion?" -- was looking at a questionable future for the movie house he's been running in Brush since 1958. But with the helping hand of local nonprofit Downtown Colorado Inc. and its Save Our Screens campaign and the robust support of the Brush community, the Sands recently made the pricey conversion to a digital cinema projection system. And now the lights will stay on.

See also: Save Our Screens wants the show to go on at rural cinemas, like the Sands in Brush

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Celebrate the save of the Mayan Theatre at a free program Friday

With Broadway now the center of the hipster universe, it's hard to remember that time thirty years ago when Denver's once gleaming "Miracle Mile" -- a stretch of streamlined stores and car dealerships -- had devolved into a malevolent mile of boarded-up storefronts, decrepit hotels and vacant lots. The area was so bad that the Mayan Theatre, an art-deco masterpiece that was one of Denver's premier movie palaces when it opened in 1930, was in danger of demolition.

And then the Friends of the Mayan stepped in.

See also: Photos of the Landmark Mayan Theatre's eightieth birthday party

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Ten things you didn't know about Lakeside Amusement Park in Lakeside, Colorado

Courtesy of Tom Lundin/The Denver Eye.
One of Lakeside's most famous rides, the Wild Chipmunk.
More than just a spot to enjoy an inexpensive evening of roller-coaster rides and soft-serve ice cream, Lakeside Amusement Park is a place packed with living history. Built in 1908, the beautiful park has stood the test of time -- and in some areas within its gates, time has actually stood still -- retaining much of the end-of-the-Victorian-era charm that makes it a unique summertime destination for locals and visitors.

We can give you a million reasons why you should visit Colorado's oldest amusement park before the season is over, but instead we've compiled a list of some not-so-well-known facts about one of the area's most mysterious, most fascinating summer attractions.

See also: The Denver Eye's Tom Lundin talks mid-century modern and Lakeside's Masonic roots

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June was a bad month for elephants in Colorado -- and not just the political kind

Bodhi is one of several elephants living at the Denver Zoo.
This will be a bad week for some of the elephants in Colorado's Grand Old Party: three of the four candidates -- Tom Tancredo, Mike Kopp, Bob Beauprez and Scott Gessler -- running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination will be sitting on the sidelines after Tuesday's primary, while one will get to charge ahead toward November.

But June was a bad month for real elephants in Colorado, too, the ones not involved in politics. Although bison are this state's largest and most storied native mammal, elephants have have a 150-year-old connection to Colorado as well.

See also: Joyride Brewing will make up for lost Edgewater mural with craft beer, great views

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The Denver Eye's Tom Lundin talks mid-century modern and Lakeside's Masonic roots

One of architect Richard Crowther's many designs.
Tom Lundin is an accidental historian: Through blog and The Denver Eye, his Facebook page, he shares images of the Mile High City's fascinating past. Lundin's collection is a curated mix of images that tell the story of a great city, with everything from hundred-year old photos of Lakeside Amusement Park to snapshots of Colfax legend Sid King flanked by beautiful women to newspaper ads for the first King Soopers, which opened in the '40s.

Many of the photos, magazine clippings and postcards he shares are from his own collection; some are from his journeys through the archives at the Denver Public Library (which he is meticulous about crediting). Westword recently spoke with Lundin about his keen eye for Colorado-centric imagery, how he goes about sourcing the photographs and paper artifacts he displays, and what he's learned about Lakeside Amusement Park's not-so secret historical link to Freemasonry.

See also: Mary Voelz Chandler on Denver's demolition history and her updated architectural guide

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