Oh, thank heaven? Hardly: 7-Eleven, you make Denver look tacky

Vacate a perfectly good store, just to build the same thing across the street? Way to go, 7-Eleven. You get the neighborhood jerk award.
My earliest childhood memories of 7-Eleven are all positive. Growing up in the pseudo-suburban area of southeast Denver known as Virginia Village, I spent many summer days scrounging for enough change to buy a Slurpee and three or four pieces of Bazooka bubble gum at the nearby 7-Eleven. Because way back in the late '80s, you could do that -- buy a full, cavity-laden meal for under a buck, each one a mini-celebration of school being out forever.

But now that I'm an adult, I see my closest 7-Eleven and I want to throw a brick through the window with a note attached that reads: "Hey, you forgot to knock down that eyesore of an old 7-Eleven across the street before you built this new, fancy one." But I wouldn't be getting the point across to the right people. Because the regular folks working at 7-Eleven are not the ones who made the crappy decision to blight a neighborhood in an unabashedly Walmart kind of way by not cleaning up their own architectural mess.

See also: Virginia Village: I'll be out reppin' my transitional neighborhood like a mascot

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Ten best businesses along 13th Avenue in Capitol Hill

West side of City, O' City, with art mural by Sandi Calistro.
Often overlooked for its bigger, brasher cousin, East Colfax Avenue, the quaint little strip of 13th Avenue between Downing and Sherman streets is one of the few remaining arteries of pedestrian shopping, historic buildings and authentic culture in the Denver area. Its lack of recognition may actually be the secret behind its success, so perhaps publishing a list of this area's furtive treasures could seem counterintuitive. But we're going to take that chance with this love letter to some of our favorite, often overlooked boutiques, pizza joints and record stores along Cap Hill's greatest little three-lane avenue.

See also: - The ten best stores on Broadway

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Pueblo Creative Corridor focuses on reinventing the city's economy with a new arts base

Under the Certified Creative Districts program enacted in 2011, areas all over the state of Colorado have a chance to apply for financial and organizational aid to help grow their artistic communities and creative economies. The Pueblo Creative Corridor was one of the fifteen chosen for initial funding and development -- which only complemented the city's creative industries-minded plans that were already in motion.

In advance of big events for this month's First Friday activities in the Pueblo Creative Corridor on September 6, Westword spoke with Susan Fries, executive director of the Pueblo Creative Corridor, about Pueblo's certification as a Creative District, and what that designation means to the city's growing arts community and industry.

See also: Colorado Creative Districts showcase growing arts communities across the state

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Mid-Century and Modern in Wheat Ridge Home Tour celebrates unique architecture

Scott Dressel-Martin of Dressel-Martin Mediaworks
A home from the 2011 Wheat Ridge tour.
Celebrating the often-overlooked segment of beautiful architecture in Wheat Ridge, this weekend's Mid-Century and Modern Home Tour highlights some of the area's best preserved and painstakingly remodeled homes. Organized by non-profit Wheat Ridge 2020, this one-day only tour runs Saturday, September 7 from 1 to 5 p.m., when doors of private residences built from the late '50s to mid-'60s will be open to the public.

See also: Heather Purcell Leja of Design OnScreen talks architecture and modernist preservation

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Saturday's NE Walkfest encourages walking as a healthy form of alternative transportation

When thinking about alternative forms of transportation, Stapleton Transportation Management Association Director Angie Malpiede saw an opportunity to talk about walking. "I went to CDOT and said, you know, transportation-demand management has always been about taking transit -- carpooling, van-pooling and even biking -- but I want to add walking to the equation," says Malpiede.

Joining forces with Jonathon Stalls of Walk2Connect, a local neighborhood walkability organization, Malpiede instituted a safe walking program in the five neighborhoods that her association oversees -- Stapleton, northeast Park Hill, greater Park Hill, east Montclair and northwest Aurora. To build on that program, this Saturday, August 24, they will launch the inaugural NE Walkfest, a free walking activities-oriented event aimed at getting neighbors out onto their streets.

See also:
- Urban explorers are directing traffic at the old Stapleton airport
- Larimer Associates buys Montclair Plaza, home of the Thunderbird, Kassai Sushi and Moongate
- Crips burned down the Holly in Bloods territory, but can peace emerge from the ashes in northeast Park Hill?

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Colorado Creative Districts showcase growing arts communities across the state

A scene from the Telluride Creative District.
It takes a lot of work to be creative. It takes even more to become a Certified Creative District in Colorado. But for the areas that are successful, it's worth the effort.
Born out of a 2011 state law, the Certified Creative Districts program allows areas all over Colorado to apply for financial and organizational help in order to become more economically and artistically vital to the communities they serve.

But it's not easy to become a Certified Creative District. With the program's inception came more than 140 applications from all over the state. So far, only fifteen of those have been chosen for development; the Pueblo Creative Corridor, Corazon de Trinidad, North Fork Valley Creative District, Ridgway Creative District and Telluride Creative District were certified this summer by Colorado Creative Industries, a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

See also:
- Aurora still reeling from Gaylord development pull-out, but Pueblo's rolling
- 2012 Mayor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts: Denver's Art District on Santa Fe
- Murals, Murals Everywhere: Santa Fe Arts District gets a facelift during Denver Arts Week.

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Better Block Project sets its sights on Five Points -- and Sonny Lawson Park

Jennifer Koskinen
A scene from last year's Better Block Project.
What could a fresh coat of paint, live music and a comfortable place to enjoy a meal outdoors do for a block in your neighborhood? Residents of Five Points could find out this Saturday, May 11, when Denver's second Better Block project focuses on the 2400 block of Welton Street -- home of Sonny Lawson Park. The one-day mini-makeover of a city block will also include dance performances, food vendors, gardening demonstrations, walking tours and more.

Last year's edition focused the Jefferson Park area, and the block of West 25th Avenue where the event was held is indeed looking better. In advance of Saturday's block party, Westword spoke with Gosia Kung, director of WalkDenver, the organization behind the project, about last year's success and this year's goals.

See also:
- Photos: Better Block project transforms Jefferson Park spot
- Five Points community gets to the point at cultural potluck today
- Photos: Corner House opens today with chef Matt Selby behind the burners

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Tracy Weil takes the wheel at the Aurora Cultural Arts District

Tracy Weil in his urban-farming guise, with a cameo by his coonhound Silo.

Tracy Weil is a master at the art of breathing life into ideas. He calls it branding, and that's the business end of his skill, but it's also about being engaged in the community, which is what makes it so special. An artist, urban agriculturist, designer and Westword MasterMind, Weil is part of the brain trust behind the booming RiNo art district, an area he pioneered before it had a name. He helped put a face on the Denver County Fair and shared his acumen again as a consultant when Lakewood created its 40 West Arts District.

See also:
- Meet the MasterMinds: Jill Hadley Hooper and Tracy Weil, River North Arts District
- Best New Idea, 2011: Denver County Fair
- Get In The Spirit: The City Spirit Cafe Reunion

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RedLine's Artist's Studio series celebrates resident artists

Artist Laura Shill's strange and beautiful installation at RedLine
In the '60s, art happenings were all the rage. People got together to experience unique cultural gatherings that would never be repeated. Now RedLine is planning to provide Denver with a modern version of these aesthetic landmarks with its Artist's Studio series, which will feature events designed and facilitated by resident artists on Second Saturdays throughout 2013 and 2014.

See also:
- RedLine's group photography show is earning double takes
- Material Engagements highlights the work of RedLine artists
- RedLine Brings the House

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The ten best stores on Tennyson Street

Tenn Street Coffee and Books
It's ironic that nearly all the businesses mentioned when we named Tennyson Street the best neighborhood shopping district in 2011 have left the block or closed their doors (see the link below), including some that were strangled by prolonged street construction in the heart of the district. But now that the street's been put back together, the new Tennyson is blossoming with both new and renewed businesses. Healthy commerce is returning to Tennyson, and here are ten reasons why.

See also:
- Best Neighborhood Shopping District - 2011: Tennyson Street, Berkeley
- The Bookery Nook, an independent bookstore and ice cream parlor, is closing
- Tennyson Street businesses creating promotions to offset disruptive construction

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