Denver's D.C. Barns wins Star Wars: Force for Change contest -- and a role in Episode VII

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Director JJ Abrams announces the Star Wars: Force for Change contest.
A long time ago in a galaxy not so far away, Star Wars fan D.C. Barns decided to enter a contest that had as its grand prize a chance to be in the next installment of the Star Wars saga, Episode VII. And this week, Barns learned that in the longest of long shots, he'd won the grand prize: He'll be flown from Denver to London to perform a minor role in the film that JJ Abrams is directing.

See also: The Ten Best Geek Events in Denver in August

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Five Reasons Why the Fifty Shades of Grey Movie Will Suck

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With its terrible writing, dump truck-sized plot holes, horrible Twilight fan-fic dialogue and a plethora of downright ridiculous misconceptions about BDSM and kinksters, Fifty Shades of Grey, the first book in E.L. James's trilogy, made me want to faceplant into my Kindle. It's four hours of my life that I will never get back.

I get that this is a work of fiction, but at the same time Fifty Shades has become an influential book, and will continue to be with the first movie coming out. Which is why it's important to point out its shortcomings. Here's a list of reasons why Fifty Shades of Grey sucks -- and the movie -- due out next year -- will too.

See also: Screw Fifty Shades; check out the kinky work of local authors Reggie and Kasi Alexander

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Back in time: Modern in Denver recalls the last days of Cinderella City

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All images by Ron Pollard, courtesy of Modern in Denver and the artist.
When the Cinderella City mall opened its doors in Englewood in the '60s, it was state of the art in an almost Disney-esque fashion, all light and fountains and lofty arches, with a movie theater and the quaint Cinder Alley, a tchotchke lane where the hippie kids shopped. But, like many pop-culturey things, Cin City wasn't built to last. By the '90s, not only had the poorly built structure begun to crumble away, but the mall had lost business to more up-to-date shopping centers. It's gone now, replaced by the bustling Englewood City Center and light rail stop, but during the months before it was demolished, photographer Ron Pollard (who's made more recent news for his collection of what appears to be Russian avant-garde paintings) went in and shot images of the dilapidated palace of commerce.

Modern in Denver magazine printed a spread of the photos in its Summer 2014 issue and online; here's a sample that might jog a few memories of past suburban glory, along with Amy Phare's text from the article.

See also: Ruin porn: Inside the Gates Rubber Factory


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Photos: Hotrods and horsepower at the Denver Automotive and Diesel Center

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Spit-shined Mustangs, T-Birds, Corvettes and other automotive classics were the focal point Saturday at the Denver Automotive and Diesel Center's car show. Along with the stylin' rides, the event featured a rockabilly costume contest and other diversions. Feast your eyes on these examples of automotive style, taken by photographer Jake Shane.

See also: The 50 best Denver costumes of 2014 (so far)

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Artist House Tour: John Haley forges badass metal work in his Lakewood studio

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John Haley III
John Haley's metal shop studio in Lakewood, CO

Editor's note: Indie Design Blogger Jeanne Connolly loves to see how creative people put their houses together. In this series, she'll be sharing some of her favorite homes, taking us inside the unique private spaces of metro Denver and beyond.

John Haley III is one interesting cat. His art-nouveau-inspired metalwork can be found in artsy homes all around the world. It can also be purchased at johnhaleyiii.blogspot.com or at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival this weekend. You can see what we're talking about on the next few pages as we show his work displayed artfully throughout his midcentury-modern home in Lakewood. Read more to find out what inspires this fascinating metalworker.

See also: Artist House Tour: Featuring Mark and Kristen Sink


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The ten best geek events in Denver in July

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If Fourth of July picnics and World Cup hysteria aren't doing it for you, July has plenty of geek entertainment to offer -- whether you're looking to get your game on, enjoy Star Wars in the traditional Shakespearean form or just sit in the blessedly cool, air-conditioned embrace of a movie theater while watching science-fiction classics. Here are July's ten best geek events.

See also: From Basket Case to Raiders, the undying cult of genre film

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Photos: The costumes of Denver Comic Con

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More than 85,000 people walked through the aisles of the Denver Comic Con over the weekend, according to the folks behind the rapidly growing convention, and a lot of them were in costume. Con cosplay, after all, is an art unto itself, featuring hand-built costumery that can sometimes take months to create. Or not. Photographer Danielle Lirette brought back these images -- and more -- from the third annual event.

See also: Fans and celebrities at Denver Comic Con 2014

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Brad K. Evans

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Brad K. Evans, "Starkiss," stencil.
#79: Brad K. Evans

Brad K. Evans is a different kind of leader, one who casts a skewed entrepreneurial light upon all his pursuits -- of which there are many. And he does it all with a sense of humor and adventure. Artist, designer, dumpster diver, realtor and bike advocate, Evans is probably best known as the mastermind of the Denver Cruiser Ride, a weekly Wednesday night bike and bar crawl with costumes that attracts as many detractors as it does diehard fans. Regardless of where you stand on the cruiser-ride issue, Evans, who works with the authorities to establish safety rules for the hundreds of riders who show up for DCR's Denver Bike Night, is someone we all ought to know. Get acquainted by way of his 100CC questionnaire.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Katie Kruger


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Photos: Star Wars and Itchy-O spread the force at City Hall

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Denver's May the Fourth Be with You Star Wars celebration expanded to a three-day party this year, but Saturday's blowout at City Hall was clearly the high point, with a sci-fi costume contest hosted by Andrew Novick that featured the spectacle of the masked marching band Itchy-O. Photographer Brandon Marshall brought back these images.

See also: Geek Speak: Star Wars won't let me go!

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Photos: Tracks on wax at the Denver Record Collectors Spring Expo 2014

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Big K Productions, which celebrated its twenty years of putting on record shows last year, kicked off the Denver Record Collectors Expo's next twenty as fans stampeded into the ballroom at the Northglenn Ramada Sunday in search of musical holy grail. The platter-covered vendor tables served up everything from rare vinyl classics to hard-to-find bargains: Here are a few of them, as captured by photographer Ken Hamblin.

See also: The Denver Record Collectors Spring Expo is a music fan's paradise


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