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Off Limits

X marks the spat: Jamal X, the Los Angeles import who came to Denver to head the local Nation of Islam (and stand guard at Wilma Webb's recent press conference on the State Capitol steps when she announced she wouldn't run for Congress), says his after-school gathering at East High Thursday night is open to all. But we're betting that doesn't include former local Nation of Islam leader Jeff X.

Last Wednesday night, when the controversy over Jamal X's earlier appearance at Montbello High was at full-boil (no female students had been allowed to attend the all-male assembly, and historical accuracy was also missing in action), KBDI-TV devoted ninety minutes to a live show focusing on Denver's upcoming Million-Man gathering, slated for Mile High at the end of April and headed by Jamal X and city appointee Alvertis Simmons. Channel 12 producer Barbara Jabaily, who worked on the project for over a month, took considerable pains in setting up the ten panelists and the topics they'd discuss. She knew, for example, that Jeff X, a Five Points businessman who remains active at the grassroots level, and Jamal X do not get along, and planned to put them on separate panels. For that matter, she knew that Jeff X and Simmons aren't all that friendly, either, since Jeff X attacked Simmons's flair for publicity in a recent issue of Urban Spectrum. She explained the show's setup to Jamal X and Simmons, and "they agreed in advance that would work for them," Jabaily remembers.

But when the duo showed up at the Channel 12 studio last Wednesday night and learned Jeff X was in the building, "all of a sudden it wasn't okay," Jabaily says. Along with local Rainbow Coalition chairman Chet Whye, they left the station. "The show was built around them being there," says Jabaily, who adds that she'd appreciated much of Jamal X's message about getting out of the "gang-banging mentality" and taking responsibility. "But he has too many rules for someone talking about atonement."

The broadcast went on without them--and with Jeff X. "They missed an hour and a half of free airtime," says Jabaily.

Somehow, though, Jamal X probably will get his share in the near future.

To grammar's house we'll go: The latest children's production at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities is giving proofreaders--and literary purists--fits. It's called The Jungal Book and, yes, author Edward Mast adapted it from Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Why did Mast chose such a peculiar spelling for his piece? The folks at the Arvada Center, who contracted with the playwright for the rights, don't have an official answer--but it just might have something to do with copyright laws. It certainly violates all laws of logic, and Arvada employees keep fielding phone calls from calendar editors trying to correct a typo. "It makes me insane," says publicist Karan Pond.

But then, it's a jungal out there.

Get a life: The Rocky Mountain News came up with a winning slogan--"If you live here, you get it"--that nicely glosses over the fact that the paper has drastically reduced its circulation area. But does anyone get that winter-golf ad? It's enough to make you nostalgic for the nitwitted pitchwoman for the News who rambled on about her "Rocky flats.

 
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