Arts Street pays teens to go to class -- and learn real-life skills

Categories: Classes, Media

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Caleb Williams
Student-made mural outside the Arts Street entrance.
Arts Street has implemented the dream plan of generations of public school students: getting paid to go to class. Thanks to the Adolph Coors Foundation, NOFA and Xcel Energy, the educational nonprofit has received new funding to not just offer local teenagers classe instruction in real-life skills, but a stipend for their time in the weekend classes.

See also: Moxie U offers eclectic classes for art enthusiasts

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Festivus Film and Laugh Track festivals call it quits

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Tim Sorensen
Two bastions of Denver's DIY scene won't be back in 2014. The Festivus Film Festival, which was founded in 2007, and the Laugh Track Comedy Festival, which spun off the FFF, both ceased operation at the end of last year. Beyond providing many local comedians and filmmakers with a valuable opportunity to network and hone their craft for a hip audience, the festivals also helped grow that audience, paving the way for other ambitious events, such as last August's High Plains Comedy Festival. We reached out to the founders and organizers of both festivals for their thoughts on the end of their brainchild; read on for their quotes and clips of highlights throughout the years.

See also: Eleven memorable lines from the Laugh Track Comedy Festival

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Five most Cusackian John Cusack movies -- celebrate the actor tonight

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Say Anything, Gracie Films
Join These Things Matter hosts Kevin O'Brien and Taylor Gonda tonight at the Lost Lake Lounge for These Things Matter Night, a live podcast recording dedicated to the films of John Cusack, whose Rob Gordon character in High Fidelity inspired both the title of the podcast and the obsession with pop-cultural minutiae that keeps it going. "Cusack was one of the first things Taylor and I bonded over," says O'Brien. "I've discovered there is a whole legion of man-boys and lady-dudes who, like myself, spent [their] teen years trying to replicate Cusack's angst." To celebrate the career of the actor who continues to inspire them, Gonda and O'Brien have programmed a full evening of Cusack-related entertainment, with screenings and musical performances from SPELLS and Lisa Prank. They'll also be conducting brief interviews with any guest who wants to lionize Cusack for the podcast. Explains O'Brien: "We figured, why not hear from all the other Cusack-philes out there?"

In honor of tonight's event, Westword revisited the filmography of John Cusack and hand-picked his most definitively Cusackian roles. These movies are each thoroughly entertaining on their own merits, but together they illuminate the precise nature of Cusack's appeal. Old-school Cusack fans may notice the conspicuous absence of his broader '80s comedies. Unlike the man himself, Cusack movies like Better Off Dead have aged very poorly. 1985's The Sure Thing is a film that, like promise rings and the music of Rush, is strictly intended to entertain virgins. True fans can hardly begrudge this list, however, as it covers every shade of Cusack, and includes a legitimate masterpiece, two beloved cult classics, a half-forgotten potboiler that deserves a critical reappraisal, and a movie that features what is arguably the best boyfriend of cinema history in its ranks.

See also: Five cult classic horror movies inspired by books -- and available now!


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Five worst journalists -- in the movies, at least

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Dreamworks Pictures
Ron Burgundy
The Stop the Presses series at the Alamo Drafthouse, which celebrates the media in movies with screenings of such classics as Sweet Smell of Success and concludes with the premiere of Anchorman 2, has inspired a lot of conversation about the relationship between journalists and the films that portray them. While inspirational tales of dedicated investigators may go on to win awards and persuade young idealists to pursue a career in the news, movies about journalists who suck at their jobs are often much more entertaining. The worst newsmen in cinema are united by their blinkered narcissism, which bleeds into their work life in fascinating ways. Read on for a list of movies that herald wildly unprofessional behavior -- and stay classy, Denver.

See also: Six best journalists -- in the movies, at least


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Six best journalists -- in the movies, at least

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20th Century Fox
Gregory Peck in Gentleman's Agreement
The Stop the Presses series at the Alamo Drafthouse, which celebrates the media in movies with screenings of such classics as Sweet Smell of Success and All the President's Men, has inspired a lot of conversation about the relationship between journalists and the movies that portray them. With barely enough titles to qualify as a subgenre, films about the news can serve as indelible documents of the time and place that created them, going on to win Academy Awards and inspire future generations of filmmakers and reporters alike. However, many films about the news tend to gloss over the un-cinematic tedium of the work itself -- which is understandable given how much of a journalist's life is spent sitting at a keyboard. The qualities that make a movie character dramatically compelling are often totally at odds with the qualities that make a good journalist, so when a truly entertaining movie about an admirable journalist gets made, it deserves some attention. The following list celebrates movies about journalists -- both real and fictional -- who live up to the highest ideals of their profession.

See also: Alamo Drafthouse celebrates the news, from All the President's Men tonight through Newsies


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Alamo Drafthouse celebrates the news, from All the President's Men tonight through Newsies

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Sweet Smell of Success, United Artists
The Alamo Drafthouse only opened in March, but it's already become an indispensable resource for Denver-area cinephiles. Engaging with the local film and comedy scenes through events like Mile High Sci-Fi, the Drafthouse supports this city's creative community and provides a calendar filled with events suited to every type of film buff, from the snobbiest cineaste to the inexplicably carefree sort of person who loves singing along to musicals. And throughout December, the Alamo Drafthouse has scheduled a slate of cinematic programming that celebrates a rapidly shrinking niche: the news.

See also: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema welcomes Keith Garcia as he says goodbye to the Sie FilmCenter



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Can Aereo become the next player in the broadcast business?

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Alex Brown

It was a sad day when television switched from analog to digital. People had to go out and buy antennas and converter boxes just to watch basic television that had been free forever. Those antennas were never quite reliable, though, and while cable was more consistent, it was also more costly.

Enter Aereo, a new antenna service that is giving consumers another option for TV service. Today Aereo hosted its official launch in the Denver market at Galvanize, and we were there.

See also: Photos: Ten best places to find a job in Colorado

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Bedloo lets the world tell you what to wear

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From Bedloo's Facebook
Bedloo founders Vince Plummer,Todd Jones and Daron Destiny at their New York launch party.
Decisions, decisions. All day long, we struggle to make decisions: what to wear, what to eat, what to watch. We used to have to make these decisions on our own -- until we realized the power of social media. Now, thanks to the new app Bedloo, we never need to fret over decisions again.

See also: The ten best geek events in September in Denver

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Kinyarwanda screens today at Mercury Cafe

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A still image from the film Kinyarwanda.
In 1994 there was a mass killing in the central African country of Rwanda, where the two main ethnic groups, the Hutu and the Tutsi, were in conflict. After the assassination of the country's president, the Hutu population began a systematic attack on the Tutsi; the deaths over over 500,000 people on both sides of the conflict resulted.

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- Starz Denver Film Fest attendance, revenue up.
- The movies to know from Sundance and the year ahead
- What you need to know from Sundance 2013


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Photos: Colorado's first Alamo Drafthouse opens with a Pam Grier party

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All photos by Byron Graham.
Last night, during the grand opening of Colorado's first Alamo Drafthouse theater, badass actress and Denver native Pam Grier got personal with an audience of cinephile strangers. Grier, a funny and engaging public speaker, freely discussed a wide array of topics including moving accounts of her personal struggles and tragic early victimhood and lighter subjects such as shooting women-in-prison exploitation films in the Philippines and famous exes Kareem Abdul-Jabar and Richard Pryor. The night's host, Devin Faraci of Badass Digest, guided the evening through many of the highlights of Grier's film career. Throughout the evening, Faraci occasionally wore the starstruck expression of man sharing a mental high-five with his 12-year-old self -- especially while Pam Grier straddled his lap during an anecdote.

Aside from screening first-run movies and offering a wider array of food and beverage options than your average concession stand, events like these are what make a boutique franchise like Alamo Drafhouse stand out -- events that celebrate cinema while elucidating the humanity of those behind and in front of the camera. Continue reading for more photos of Alamo's first night.

See also:
- Alamo Drafthouse offers bargain movies Friday, Pam Grier Monday, Signature Events
- Photos: Alamo Drafthouse will open Monday; here's a sneak peek
- The top 5 ass-kicking Pam Grier roles


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