Off Limits

It's my party and I'll lie if I want to: Now that the elections are over, you can once again answer the phone at dinnertime, secure in the knowledge that it's probably some annoying in-law rather than a candidate's computerized whine. You can safely turn on the television without fear of secondhand smote from the Wayne Allard/Tom Strickland attack ads. You can pick up your mail without encountering some grinning pervert dug up by Joe Rogers's campaign.

Yes, the elections are over, and certainly no one's breathing a stronger sigh of relief than B.J. (Betty Jane) Thornberry, former deputy state treasurer, former aide to governor Roy Romer, former BLM bureaucrat and current executive director of the Democratic National Committee. Since national party chairmen Christopher Dodd and Donald Fowler were busy campaigning right up to the end, it fell to Thornberry to not only field press inquiries, but to shoulder what she termed "full responsibility" for questionable campaign contributions to the Democrats.

And that's one heavy load. Last month FEC records showed that 37 donors--who gave a total of nearly $300,000 to the party--had listed the DNC headquarters in Washington, D.C., as their address. Then there was the $20,000 donation to the DNC from convicted drug smuggler Jorge Cabrera, who got a dinner at the White House--and a nice photo commemorative--in exchange. And let's not forget up to $5 million in donations from Asian-Americans collected after John Huang joined the DNC as vice-chairman for finance (read: fundraiser) in December, four months before Thornberry came on board.

In an interview with the New York Times last Friday, the previously way-behind-the-scenes Thornberry acknowledged the DNC's failure to follow certain procedures in screening donations but blamed the lapse on the party being buried in cash.

With a congressional investigation into the fundraising under way, Dem bones will no doubt rise again. And Colorado could be looking pretty good to Thornberry right now.

The scales of injustice: Randy Weeks, head of Denver Center Attractions, got the Patsy Cline song all wrong--that's "I Fall to Pieces," not "I Brawl to Pieces." Weeks admits he had a "snootful" when he got into a heated discussion with actress Beth Flynn, one of the stars of Always...Patsy Cline, the two-woman show now into its second year at the Galleria. On October 16, Weeks was drinking in the theater bar when Flynn came out after that night's performance; he started pestering her about her weight, ultimately grabbing her lapels. Flynn wrested herself free--shouting, "Let go of me, you fucking bastard," according to one witness--but the show wasn't over. She's since filed assault charges against Weeks. Flynn, who was initially the understudy for the role of Louise, took over officially last November; her contract is up at the end of December. And then she could be walking, after midnight.

Ironically, the other star of the two-woman show, Melissa Swift-Sawyer, has lost so much weight since the run started that she now must pad her costumes in order to play a convincing Cline.

Don't look a gift horse...: The Denver Broncos' victory over the Oakland Raiders Monday night convinced many doubters that the team is a legitimate contender--but it'll take more than a road win on national television to convince the makers of The Simpsons, who continue to see the Broncos as the best running gag in professional sports. In the show's season opener Sunday, Pat Bowlen is proven right: A new owner (megalomaniac industrialist "Scorpio," voiced by Albert Brooks) moves the Broncos out of town--by giving them to Homer Simpson, the family patriarch. As Broncos players race across the lawn of the Simpsons' home, located in mythical Springfield, Homer grumbles about the gift. And when his wife suggests that the present isn't all bad, he replies, "Marge, you just don't understand football."

A site for sore eyes: America OnLine last week celebrated the launch of Digital City Denver, AOL's eighth urban online resource featuring news, sports, weather and other info (including several Westword features). But as he surveyed the party scene, Rich Grant, longtime spokesman for the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau (its site--www.denver.org--is on DCD, too), noticed that something about DCD's office decor wasn't quite as plugged in to Denver as its site is supposed to be. And Grant was in a position to know: He'd taken several of the photos that had been turned into large wall murals--and accidentally flipped in the reproduction process, moving the Rocky Mountains east of the city. Ski Kansas, everyone!

 
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