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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Total Ghost's Randy Washington on living in Japan, Haruki Murakami and SNL

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.

Randy Washington may be more commonly know as Chön, the frontman of German pop sensation group Total Ghost, whose latest album, Electrosexual, was released on September 13. Total Ghost has a busy schedule ahead, performing at Park House with Chella Negro and the Charm at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 26 and at Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 6 for the Greater Than Social Club. Since it would be against character for Chön to read, Westword caught up with Washington to discuss our shared loved for Haruki Murakami, living in Japan and the internecine squabbles at Saturday Night Live.

See also: Author Dave Prager on Delirious Delhi, Chinese food and monkey fights

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Author Dave Prager on Delirious Delhi, Chinese food and monkey fights

Author Dave Prager and his wife, Jenny, pose for the cover of his book.
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.

Dave Prager is an author, humorist and copy writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, and on NPR and the BBC. He's a former son of Denver who has lived in some of the world's largest cities, including New York, Singapore and Delhi, and his new book, Delirious Delhi: Inside India's Incredible Capital, was released stateside by Arcade Publishing in early June. In a refreshing departure from other India travelogues written by Westerners, Delirious Delhi is not a navel-gazing tale of spiritual development set against an exotic backdrop that the writer never really permeates. Rather, Prager's book is a personal account of his and his wife's experiences, which were rich and varied due to their willingness to try anything, including learning key Hindi phrases and indulging in bhang at the Holi Festival of Colors. Westword recently met up with Prager to discuss his book, Indian politics and seeing monkey fights in Old Delhi.

See also: Westword Book Club: Author Beth Groundwater on grammar, mysteries and whitewater rafting

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Montbello high school drumline is headed to Takayama, Denver's sister city in Japan

Categories: Travel

Montbello High School's drumline will be flying high next week, when its members take one of the first Dreamliner trips to Tokyo in order to visit Denver's sister city of Takayama, Japan. In preparation for the trip, on Saturday the students went through an orientation organized by the Japan Exchange Teaching Program and the Mayor's Office.

See also:

- Seven ways that Japanese culture has influenced Denver over the years
- The Montbello drumline drums up business for Make Music Denver
- Montbello drumline on the 16th Street Mall

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A guide to DIY comedy tours with the Fine Gentleman's Club

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Interstate comedy tours have typically been the métier of famous names capable of drawing big crowds and veterans of the club circuit. Many obstacles stand in the way of aspiring comedians eager to earn their living on the road, from bookers who are unwilling to take a chance on an unknown commodity from out of town to the financial constraints of travel. For most novice comedians, a "tour" of open mics and free showcases in other states amounts to little more than a road trip taken at their own expense, which is fun but fiscally unsustainable.

See also:
- The Fine Gentleman's Club fights tragedy with Too Much Fun!
- Lucky '13: Comedian and Fine Gentleman Sam Tallent
- Too Much Funstival comedians on how Denver's scene has evolved

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Trinidad film fest gets down and indie this week

Categories: Travel

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A scene from Pig, one of this year's entries.
Film festival season in Colorado kicks off every September with the oh-so-glamorous parade of celebs and their pet projects through Telluride, followed by a chain of lesser festivals aspiring to such glory across the state. But if you crave truly independent cinema; if you long for the days when film festivals were about mavericks screening distinctly non-Hollywood fare, rather than stars declaring themselves "indy" and scoring distribution deals; or even if you long for a world without Ben Affleck -- then Trindiefest might just be for you.

See also:
- Threesomes at the Toronto Film Festival: Critic Karina Longworth weighs in
- Best Film Festival: Mid-Winter Punk Film Festival

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Croatia, here we come: Jennifer Wilson signs Running Away to Home tonight in Boulder

Categories: Books, Travel

You've heard of running away from home. But author Jennifer Wilson, after losing her savings to the stock-market crash, gathered up her family in Des Moines and ran away to home, or at least that's the way she characterizes it in her memoir/travelogue Running Away to Home.

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kART Across America explores the meaning of American art with insight and humor

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Courtesy of No Shame Productions
Christine, Jeremy Make and Andy Raney return to Colorado at the end of their documentary.
If you missed kART Across America at the Denver Starz Film Festival, the time you have left to see it on the big screen is limited. So if you can avoid your holiday plans for one more day, see it tonight. The film, directed by Denver natives and thoughtful funny men Andy Raner and Jeremy Make, concentrates the concept of personal art -- and the quest behind it -- into an 83-minute odyssey predicated on a disastrous, ridiculous and surprisingly successful gimmick: a golf kart named Christine, in which they spent 100 days traveling the United States in in 2008.

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kART Across America: What happens when two men travel the country in a golf kart named Christine

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Courtesy of No Shame Productions
Jeremy Make and Andy Raney stand with Christine, the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang of vintage golf karts.
Call it a quarter-life crisis: Andy Raney does. Because before watching the documentary that resulted, it's slightly difficult to imagine why two adult males -- Raney and co-creator Jeremy Make -- would travel the United States in a used and dilapidated golf kart named Christine for a hundred days, moving at a brisk and booming 35 miles per hour. Christine's sputters could -- and maybe should -- have been a sign, since the kart broke down in the first five miles. Somehow, they weren't.

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Colorado ski areas dominate Ski Magazine's 2011-2012 resort rankings

Photo by Jeff Cricco, via
Vail makes #2 in Ski Magazine's annual Western U.S. Resort Rankings.
Eleven of the twenty resorts profiled in Ski Magazine's reader's choice list of the top twenty ski resorts in the Western Unied States this year are from Colorado, including six of the top ten. And while Utah's Deer Valley takes the top spot in a snub that just might force us to embark on an investigative field trip to Utah, we can't argue with Vail as the #2 choice or writer Deborah Williams' gushing about the bowls and Blue Sky Basin.

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