By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
By Michael Roberts
By Melanie Asmar
On November 10, patriot-cum-vandal Robert Rowan ("El Dildo Bandito," aka "El Dicko") made off with 21 ceramic penises that had been the focal point (and how!) of artist Susanne Walker's "Hanging 'em Out to Dry" ("How's It Hanging?" November 15). And this past Monday, another freelance art critic absconded with a second piece from the show, a sculpture of a nude female torso. At this point, there may be nothing left by the time the exhibit is scheduled to be taken down from the Boulder Public Library on November 26.
Nothing but another bizarre chapter in Boulder history. Not to be outdone by Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, who'd sent the library a letter of protest along with a flag, Congressman Tom Tancredo has introduced legislation that would prohibit any local government or company that bans the American flag from collecting federal funds -- and Boulder is number one on his hit parade. After all, the whole phallic flap didn't raise its ugly head until library director Marcelee Gralapp refused to hang a large flag in the library entrance (never mind the numerous flags already displayed outside the building), explaining that it might offend patrons. Unlike penises, for example. "One of the advantages of being in Congress is when you get ticked off, you have this opportunity," Tancredo admits. He was already peeved about Berkeley's anti-flag policies, he says, "and then I find out about Boulder, and it's literally a gift from God. You could not have painted a more dramatic picture of this issue."
The police, who'd taken the penises into evidence, have now returned them to the artist. The whereabouts of the sculpture are still unknown -- but you can bet that torso will emerge wrapped in a flag, like so many controversies these days.
Meanwhile, at the Denver Public Library, the controversy isn't over dildos, but rather who believes they're getting screwed by librarian Rick Ashton's reorganization plans ("Cheese Wiz," November 8). From requesting -- firmly -- that all 500 employees at this institution devoted to critical thinking read the insipid Who Moved My Cheese?, to moving many of those employees from their longtime posts, to decentralizing the power of the Central Library, Ashton's making a lot of changes. Library patrons will get a chance to discuss those changes -- lumped together under the Ashton-designed rubric "Your Library in a Changing World" -- at the first in a series of Town Hall meetings, set for 7 p.m. December 5 at the Virginia Village Branch Library. "We are developing plans and pursuing actions that will help us survive as a viable, useful organization, today and tomorrow," says Ashton. "In order for the library system to remain viable, we must remain relevant and useful to the community."
And the cheese stands alone.
Also seeking public input are Denver Mayor Wellington and First Lady Wilma Webb, who last week announced a contest to determine where the city's "Salute to American Courage" plaque, dedicated to the crew and passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 ("Local Zeroes," November 8), should go.
No fair answering the obvious: Pennsylvania.
Even though Westword's own contest, "My DIA Horror Story," has officially ended -- the winner, Kathy Cottrell, received a gift certificate to Victoria's Secret, where she can pick up some non-underwire, screener-friendly bras -- the entries keep trickling in. And that trickle could grow to a flood this weekend, judging from the recent Travelocity survey that elevated Denver International Airport from having the third-worst wait in the country to the absolute worst. But while Denver is a town that prides itself on first-place finishes -- Best city for pets! Best city for kids! Best city for kids with pets! -- this is one honor DIA could do without.
Even Denver City Councilman Ed Thomas, who soundly criticized the disastrous situation at DIA in October ("Life in the Slow Lane," October 25), is standing up for Denver. This time. "The truth is DIA was, and is once again, the most efficient airport in the world," he says.
Even so, travelers this weekend should expect some frisky business. Hmmm, that Boulder torso might make a good breast shield...