Best Of » Personalities / Local Folk

Best of 2008: Image Makers


  • L'Aura Montgomery

Place to Get Your Hippie On

Manitou Springs

In the Native American Algonquin tongue, Manitou means "spirit." In our own Manitou Springs, you will find a place to let your spirit fly free. Whether you wish to express your singularity by dressing like it's Halloween every day, or would rather hit up some live music in a tucked-away bar or art-filled café, you absolutely can. Get yourself some good earthy clothes and jewelry at a downtown store, and you'll be set. MM

Writers' PICK

Place to Watch Tourists Behaving Badly

Balanced Rock in Garden of the Gods

"Look, Billy. I'm holding up this really big rock! Quick! Take a picture of me before I drop it!" Minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, Balanced Rock withstands the stress of tourists doing what tourists do best posing for the camera. And when they're finished in the Garden, they drive up the Pikes Peak Highway, stand at the summit and pose for another pic in their new "I just hiked the mountain" sweatshirts. DA



Gina Bamberger, D.O.

1727 N. Weber St., 955-2495

Dr. Gina Bamberger knows it takes a village to raise a child, and she knows this village well. After several long, hard years of medical school, this Palmer High School and Colorado College graduate returned to her hometown in 1997. "I couldn't stay away," says Bamberger. "I had to come back." Today, her practice at Sunflower Family Medicine focuses on the entire family unit. "We see people of all ages from babies to grandparents," says Bamberger. "It's not just about the individual. It is about the whole family. I love that big picture." CF

  • L'Aura Montgomery

Movie Theater

Kimball's Twin Peak Theater

115 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 447-1945

If you've overdosed on this summer's superhero movies, sophomoric comedies, slasher flicks and sequels, head downtown to Kimball's Twin Peak Theater. It's been bringing variety to Colorado Springs' film scene and winning Best Of awards since 1994. "We can do things the megaplexes can't," says owner Kimball Bayles. Besides showing a selection of alternative and foreign films, the theater offers special touches like real butter on its popcorn, recycling for treat containers and the opportunity to indulge in a glass of wine, a beer or a martini instead of the standard soda. The theater is close to finalizing plans for a third screen, which Bayles says would mean theatergoers can enjoy "more local filmmaker stuff, more eclectic films and more multimedia stuff." Bravo. JT

Cultural Attraction or Museum

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center

30 W. Dale St., 634-5583

With new CEO Sam Gappmayer in place, and superb curators like Tariana Navas-Nieves and Blake Milteer, not to mention the staggeringly gorgeous, year-old, $28 million expansion to the one and only Southwestern Art Deco building the Fine Arts Center's livin' as large as a Dale Chihuly bowl filled with ice cream and sparklers. Not surprisingly, this most high-profile member of our scene has won the Cultural Attraction or Museum award in each of the three years we've offered it. It's embraced a more collaborative spirit in recent programming, even inviting local artists to create works in conjunction with the Life as a Legend: Marilyn Monroe exhibit. By the way, the FAC's not only the place to be for First Thursday wine tastings and gala show openings, but also for outstanding theater productions put on by the award-winning, in-house FAC Theatre Company. MS

Place to See Emerging Artists

Rubbish Gallery

17 E. Bijou St., Suite B, 440-5638

In 2007, Brett Andrus became co-owner of Rubbish Gallery along with one of the original gallery owners, Jon Lindstrom. Andrus brought with him business savvy, an unquestionable passion for the artists he shows, and disarming humility. "We've got an amazing amount of talent in this city," says Andrus. "We thank all of the artists we've shown this year: Lindsay Hand, Marc Huebert, Dave Voth. Without the artists, there's nothing to put on the walls." Next year, Andrus looks forward to getting more community support behind Colorado Springs' emergent arts scene. As a viewer, Rubbish provides more than just the opportunity to view and purchase gorgeous work: My cool quotient increases tenfold with every opening I attend. FG

  • Cayton Photography


Stick Horses in Pants

When "Artist" won "Category We Forgot" last year, we assumed Indy readers had a visual artist in mind. But, of course, you know what happens when you assume. It was a (pleasant) surprise when readers crossed over into performing arts and voted for local improv comedy troupe Stick Horses in Pants. SHiP delivers family-friendly laughs on a regular basis at the Colorado Springs School by blending improv games with its own brand of zany. The performers love audience participation, too, says co-founder Hunter Willis. "We're always looking for new suggestions to plug into new ideas." ALL

Alternative Art Show or Event

Smokebrush Gallery

218 W. Colorado Ave., #102, 444-1012

For the third straight year, readers who apparently lack the discipline to closely read a ballot have selected Smokebrush as their favorite alternative art show or event, though the gallery is clearly neither a show nor an event, but a building by simplest description. You don't write "Jiffy Lube" in for the Best Cheeseburger award, dear reader, so why in the flippin' acrylic art-lovin' hell do you continue this awful habit? Yes, we all love Smokebrush and its outstanding programming, but why not pick something like the world's longest yogic yang spiral (an event) or Revealing Character and Other Cowboy Tintypes by Robb Kendrick (a show), both organized by Smokebrush? Or not to steal Smokebrush's thunder an event that meets both criteria, such as April's unique collaboration between CC, UCCS and several area artists: 1440 Minutes: An Evening of Installation and Performance Art? Just sayin' ... MS

Artwork on the Street


So, rather than choose a single installation such as local artist Nicholas Ordahl's outstanding "Day Break," located across the street from Phantom Canyon Brewing Co. readers this year simply voted "Downtown" as their favorite. I'll take that to mean you dig the entire batch of sculptures brought to us by the Downtown Partnership for the 10th annual Art on the Streets series. With $30,000 paid to the Top 3 creators of 13 selected works, we all certainly should. Program coordinator Denise Schall aims to capture city-walkers' attention and to create dialogue. 2008 juror Adam Lerner, from the Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar in Lakewood, told the Indy back in June: "It's very important to look at art as part of an overall ecology of urban living." It seems as if readers indeed have. MS

Higher Education

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., 262-3000

Tuberculosis made many contributions to this city. Take the Cragmor Sanatorium, which began curing patients here in 1914. Now, its buildings comprise much of UCCS, which U.S. News and World Report has named one of the top universities in the West. Amazing (cough, cough) that Cragmor Hall and other buildings have turned out the likes of Mary Lou Makepeace, a graduate of the class of 1979, former mayor of Colorado Springs and current executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado. Other notable alumni include Yusef Komunyakaa, the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, and me. There might not be another time when I can add myself to a list of such important people. Ha! FG


Mimi Foster Feith, Vineyard Properties

419 E. Uintah St., 475-7570

Buying and selling homes can be tricky business, especially in the current market, where real estate agents and lenders push sales with an air of desperation. Not so with Realtor Mimi Foster Feith. This happy-go-lucky trendsetter is more interested in interpersonal relationships and happy homeowners than the bottom line. And that perspective brings her real estate company, Vineyard Properties, a loyal following. "Your home is where your life revolves," says Feith. "It is a very personal thing, and it has to fit your needs and your lifestyle." Her candid approach to the real estate business reflects her own personal values. "I don't care if the perfect house is the first one I show or if it's the 100th," she says with a smile. CF

Writers' PICK Use of an Overweight Guy on a Toilet

Theatre 'd Art

UCCS' Osborne Studio Theater, 3955 Cragwood Drive

The three UCCS grads who hung around their alma mater to create the next great stage company reveal unabashed delight in promoting a photo of actor Joe Kinnett lazing in an open robe with a screaming face projected onto his spacious belly. In January's Ubu, Kinnett broke buckle to sit, cherry-faced, over a toilet on stage just a part of the show's absurdist antics. It's what the group does best: surrealist, avant-garde works that no one else locally would touch. This month, Theatre 'd Art takes on classic French horror via Grand-Guignol, promising violence, gore and not just a pinch of sexuality. MS>

Realty Company

RE/Max Properties, Inc.

Multiple locations

In this failing economy, it's nice to know some things never change. Year after year, RE/Max rises to the real estate challenge, providing superior buying, selling and relocation services to clients all over Colorado. Broker/owner Joe Clement credits quality agents and staff (plus a recognizable logo) for RE/Max's success. He says staying competitive in this market is "challenging, but our focus is working hard with people who truly need to sell and truly need to buy." ALL

Day Care

KinderCare Learning Centers

Multiple locations

This year, we used a showdown to decide on best day care: The KinderCare kids lined up under the monkey bars, limp jump ropes falling out of their chubby little fists like chains. Children from last year's winner, Child Nursery Centers, lined up against the swing set. A 3-year-old girl in pigtails spit and hit the tetherball menacingly. The two rows of kids approached slowly ... OK, totally kidding. You voted, and this year, for the first time, KinderCare won for Best Day Care. Lisa Fernandez, director of Cheyenne Meadows KinderCare, says the Portland, Ore.-based company probably earned the local vote because of the teachers, who are "there for the families and care for the children." FG


Broadmoor Dental

830 Tenderfoot Hill Road, #210, 576-5566

Nicolas Pruett says Broadmoor Dental is "where you'll get the outstanding care you need and deserve." Its modernized facility was designed by Pruett himself to provide an array of services, including digital radiography, laser diagnostics, Lumineer technology, reconstructive cosmetic makeovers and general dentistry. Pruett is a cosmetic dentist with a passion to create phenomenal results for his clients, who fly in from various states even countries, he says for his reconstructive expertise. If that doesn't persuade people he's the best, it's hard to tell what would. LA


Vince Linden

111 S. Tejon St., #202, 955-0078

You can't say anything bad about lawyers, right? At least, you shouldn't if you've been toying with the law lately and need someone to get you out of a pickle. You won't find Vince Linden in a phone book; his two-person law firm operates solely on referrals. Specializing in commercial, real estate and small business cases, Linden employs a small-business-type philosophy: Don't expect to be billed for every phone call or e-mail from the lawyers. "Everything we do is beneficial for the client," Linden says. "We find a problem, and then we solve it." MM

Writers' PICK

Thing to Sing About

JAKES Theatre Company

Shows at the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado, 315 E. Costilla St., 433-9200

Boasting affordable (if sporadic) theater put on by talented local artists, JAKES has the Springs covered for outrageously entertaining and playfully informal cabaret. Comprised of the powerful lungs of Festival of World Theatre 2008 Singing with the Stars winner Jessica Gisin and four clever cohorts, the theater troupe shoe-strings together favorite Broadway songs into creative frameworks. August's Everything I Needed to Know I Learned from Musical Theater spanned themes of love to death to money to ... urm ... "Tits and Ass" (otherwise known as "Dance: Ten; Looks: Three" from A Chorus Line). JAKES' bright cast clearly has a lot of fun at shows; the good news is, it's contagious. MS

  • Cayton Photography

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