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The state of the city, as it's commonly coined, can be assessed in lots of ways: a politician's talking points, a review of economic data, the vibrancy of the arts scene.

We believe one take on it also can be found in the Independent's Best Of Colorado Springs voting, now in its 14th year. The categories imply questions, some essential ("Why should we vote this November?" "Who's bringing can't-miss shows to town?"), some less so ("Where can I nail a karaoke version of 'Crazy Train'?).

Over a voting period of four weeks, nearly 5,000 readers answered, making this our biggest year yet in terms of participation. In this issue, the first of two issues with "Best Of" honors as the centerpiece, you'll see your choices in food and nightlife.

To help you find these and our regular weekly features, here's a brief table of contents:

pp. 7-28: Letters, columns, news, endorsements

pp. 29-36: Food, culture, The Break

pp. 37-102: Best Of

pp. 103-107: Film

pp. 108-112: Music, books

pp. 113-119: Listings

pp. 120-136: Weekly features, comics and sports, classified

Enjoy. And thanks for sounding off on the state of the city.

Kirk Woundy

  • One way to assess "the state of the city."

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