Pop culture

Grunge match: Seattle, Denver face off in a pop-culture battle royale

Feb. 1, 2014 at 8:11 AM ET

The bluest skies you'll ever see are in Seattle, sang Perry Como, but others think there's nothing to rival that Colorado Rocky Mountain High. (Make your own legal marijuana joke here.) The Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks will decide football supremacy on the Super Bowl gridiron Sunday, but the battle for pop-culture precedence is a lot less violent. Here's a look at what each city has to offer.

Music
Seattle: The Pacific Northwest city is as loud as cornerback Richard Sherman when it comes to tunes. If you're old school, Jimi Hendrix is your man, or maybe Sir Mix-A-Lot. if you're into more modern music, the ceiling can't hold Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who just claimed four Grammys. But when you think Seattle, you think Nirvana, and Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden, and pretty much every grunge band that dominated 1990s radio.

Denver: Denver's no musical slouch, though the man who bears the city's name, John Denver (really Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr.) was born in New Mexico. More modern Denver acts include — hey ho! — the Lumineers and the Fray.

TV
Seattle: Don't go to the doctor in Seattle. "Grey's Anatomy" docs like Meredith and McDreamy are much too concerned with their love lives to worry about you. If that distresses your mind, you could see psychiatrist Frasier Crane of "Frasier," but he retired (or his show did) in 2004.

Denver: "Dynasty" (the one without the ducks) spanned the 1980s with its enormously shoulder-padded soap-opera queens Krystal and Alexis. And many of the "Perry Mason" TV movies were filmed and set in Denver (the TV show was set in L.A.).

Movies
Seattle: Start with the most famous, "Sleepless in Seattle." How many women moved to Seattle looking for Tom Hanks living in a floating home? When it didn't work out, they could watch "Singles..." over and over (also set in Seattle), or dream of a John Cusack boombox moment, like in Seattle-set "Say Anything." 

Denver: It's tough to find major movies that claimed Denver as a setting, but spread the net wider and you can catch "Red Dawn," based in Calument, Colo., and "The Shining," set at the isolated Overlook Hotel somewhere in the Colorado Rockies (remember the twins?). But there's no question about the setting of 1995's "Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead."

Books
Seattle: "Twilight" was set in Forks, Wash., which is 100 miles from Seattle, though teen vampire Bree Tanner, who stars in a companion novella, stalked her prey in Seattle. And for good or for ill, the racy "50 Shades of Grey" series is set there, too. 

Denver: Jack Kerouac's famed "On the Road" has a Denver portion, and Beat writers, including Neal Cassady, made their mark there. The city is immortalized in Allen Ginsberg's famed poem "Howl," where he writes of those who "who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who came back to Denver & waited in vain, who watched over Denver & brooded & loned in Denver and finally went away to find out the Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes." And if you want to tie it all together, Kristen Stewart starred in both the "Twilight" films and the 2012 adaption of "On the Road."


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