Medium Rebecca Rosen helped me connect to my dead relatives and find my spirit guides

In the hours before my coveted appointment with Rebecca Rosen, a local medium and author with a years-long waiting list, I was in full-fledged panic-turned-tantrum mode. Though I had gleefully picked up the chance to get a once-in-a-lifetime reading with Rosen weeks earlier, that excitement had worn off by the time the date approached. Frankly, I didn't want to mess with my dead relatives; it seemed inappropriate. I talk to them all the time on my own through prayer and meditation and late-night freakouts, but I had never really thought about them talking back: It was a one-way street, and I was fine with that. (We control freaks see life this way.)

See also: Rebecca Rosen on fulfilling your divine purpose and looking to the dead for guidance

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Cheesman Park: Haunted by fun (and angry ghosts, probably)

Our cover story this week, Alan Prendergast's "Party in the Park," looks at how Denver's park rangers are gearing up for a busy summer season. In response, Westword writers are weighing in with appraisals of their own favorite Denver parks, continuing with Byron Graham's tribute to Cheesman Park.

Denver's park-going residents have long enjoyed wiling away temperate afternoons sunning themselves on the gently sloping hills of Cheesman Park. Whether you're strolling through the park's neoclassical pavilion, enjoying the view of the distant cityscape over the treetops, or happening upon an especially festive Quinceañera, you'll always find good times in Cheesman Park -- along with the occasional human skull.

See also: City Park: A stroll in the heart of Denver

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Jordan Wieleba on stealing a copy of War of the Worlds and coming out transgender

Crystal Allen Photography
Reading is about more than following a narrative or learning facts; it can also be a profound shared experience that culminates in a better understanding of ourselves and each other. In that spirit, welcome to the Westword Book Club, a bi-weekly feature celebrating the books that inspire Denver artists.

Jordan Wieleba is a comedian, musician, illustrator, GLBTQ advocate, cornerstone of Denver's comedy community and Best of Denver winner. Recently seen gracing the cover of Out Front Colorado, she also provided the illustrations for the book Sharing the Good News: A Positive Model for Coming Out as Transgender. Westword recently caught up with Wieleba to discuss helpful books for people struggling with gender identity, prescient sci-fi authors and her beloved stolen copy of War of the Worlds.

See also: Andy Thomas on Hell is in New Jersey, Etgar Keret and Shel Silverstein

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Filmmaker Guy Maddin on cinematic séances and the Brakhage Symposium

Guy Maddin
Filmmaker Guy Maddin resurrects the ghosts of silent cinema in his 2000 film The Heart of the World.
Filmmaker Guy Maddin says that watching a movie has more in common with a paranormal séance than meets the eye; he remembers the first time he realized that the French word for a movie screening is "séance," which translates into "a sitting." Both activities take place in the dark; both are enchanting; both evoke spirits from the past who have been separated from their physical bodies. Attempting to resurrect lost movies -- films improperly stored and turned to vinegar, destroyed to make room for new stock or abandoned in closets (in 1981, the original cut of Carl Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc was found in a janitor's closet in a mental hospital in Oslo Maddin says) -- the filmmaker holds public séances where he puts actors into a trance and shoots his own adaptations of missing films. He sees himself as a spirit guide summoning the sad souls of lost movies. "I've been shooting one film in public per day. I did three weeks in Paris, two in Montreal, and I'm always looking to shoot more. I wanted to shoot a hundred films for one hundred days, but it looks like it's going to be more like seventy," says Maddin, who will be performing a séance and participating in the Brakhage Symposium at the University of Colorado Boulder this weekend.

See also: The Weirdest Movie in the World: Nobody does nostalgic melodrama like Guy Maddin

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Lake Steam Baths, gnomes on the range, and more drops in the 2014 bucket list

Bucket lists, by their very nature, are a celebration of the ephemeral -- a wish list of fleeting activities to experience before the mortal coil goes into a death spiral. The following experiences, however, are united by a sense of enduring history, of continuing traditions that will persist past the expiration dates of our own lives.

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Cruising Colfax, Casa Bonita and more drops in the 2014 bucket list

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Comedian Andy Sell on Pablo Neruda, UFOs and meeting Ray Bradbury

Ben Semisch
Reading is about more than following a narrative or learning facts; it can also be a profound shared experience that culminates in a better understanding of ourselves and each other. In that spirit, welcome to the Westword Book Club, a weekly feature celebrating the books that inspire Denver artists.

Andy Sell is a Colorado native who moved to Los Angeles, where he performs standup, writes poetry and hosts the inventive podcast People We Know, which features Sell and his guests lionizing their favorite fictional characters. The prodigal Sell has returned for the holiday season, and has a slew of intriguing performances scheduled: from Too Much Fun tonight and Narrators tomorrow night at Deer Pile to Epilogue Comedy on December 28 at Mutiny! Information Cafe and Propaganda! on December 29 at Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret. Westword met up with Sell to discuss poetry, UFOs and meeting Ray Bradbury in an interview that was repeatedly interrupted by hug-seeking Denver comics.

See also: Comedian Roger Norquist on Paul Auster, postmodernism, and not having sex with people who don't read

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

Edith Scob in Eyes Without a Face
The entertainment industry, with its long-established allergy to new ideas, often mines the bestseller list for source material. Studios are more likely to greenlight a scary story after it has been officially vetted by the reading public. They're also less likely to interfere with a proven earner, which is why the most interesting and distinctive films are usually literary adaptations. In horror cinema, however, the filmmaker's vision of a story so often becomes definitive in the minds of viewers that it overshadows the books that inspired that vision in the first place (unless of course, those books were written by Stephen King).

With that in mind, the Westword Book Club has compiled a list of five cult classic horror movies that were inspired by novels and short stories, deliberately avoiding canonical works like Dracula and Frankenstein as well as blockbusters like The Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby in favor of slightly obscure titles that deserve more eyeballs. Then we Lars von Trier'ed ourselves into a corner by only selecting movies that are available to stream instantly, so readers can easily check out these great films before their Halloween spirit is buried beneath the snows of November. Read on, and enjoy your nightmares.

See also: Five best sci-fi/horror films to help a non-horror geek survive October

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Celebrate Halloween with Werewolf Radar at the Dairy Center

Jordan Doll-oween
There's an autumnal cornucopia of entertainment choices on All Hallow's Eve, including something special for comedy fans. Boulder's Dairy Center for the Arts has rapidly expanded its comedy programming calendar, making room for such unique events as the Halloween comedy showcase hosted by paranormal podcasters Werewolf Radar. The line-up features comedy performances from event organizer and standup James Gold, Ben Hutcherson, Aaron Urist and Eric Henderson, with a headlining set from WWR's own Jordan Doll. And after the performances, the Werewolf Radar crew will gaze into the hilarious abyss for a live podcast recording featuring a super-secret guest from the paranormal field, which should appeal to comedy nerds and ghost hunters alike. While Halloween is traditionally a busy night for paranormal investigators, the event begins at 8 p.m. -- well before peak ghost-hunting hours.

See also: The Dairy Center developing a standup comedy scene in Boulder

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Bogeyman Art Show blends image and story in a spooky exhibit

Eric Matelski's facebook
Prepartions for the MacSpa & ArtPimp- produced Bogeyman Art Show.
"You say boogie, I say bogey," says Eric Matelski, in response to questions about the pronunciation of the 'bogeyman' element of the Bogeyman Group Art Show now up at MacSpa.
Inspired by the fact that his family treated Halloween like Christmas in his youth, and in honor of Denver's multi-cultural heritage, Matelski has produced his third edition of this show -- a display complete with ten artists' renditions of the multi-form spook of their youth. And each visual piece is coupled with a short, written story.

See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Artist and Westword Artopia star Eric Matelski

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PlatteForum presents Joan Dickinson and celebrates the Hunters Moon

Courtesy of PlatteForum
The mystery of Joan Dickinson and the art of her students.
Joan Dickinson blurs genres to create works that span the mediums of drawing, literature, film and performance. The current artist in residence at PlatteForum, she will display genre-bending work inspired by the astrological and paranormal there at a show that opens today; she's been working with students from the West Career Academy, who will also be exhibiting pieces. PlatteForum supports contemporary artists, who in turn work with under-served youth who don't get the opportunity to have much art in their lives. "The artists are the creative spark for learning through the arts," says Judy Anderson, artistic director of PlatteForum, adding that Dickinson "has been guiding them through thinking about their lives."

And the results are remarkable.

See also: Author Jon Bassoff on the Hardy Boys, the politics of noir writers, and using a pseudonym

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