Off Limits

Sic transit gloria

Stanley intends to appeal the decision, just as he did the Denver decision. (His next step in that case is to file with the Colorado Supreme Court on February 12.) "The reason I did both were acts of civil disobedience," he says. "It's not like I run around everywhere with a gun on my hip."

Colorado's judges may not be sympathetic to Stanley's cause, but 1,271 people have sworn their allegiance to his Million Gun March, to be held the first Fourth of July that he finds a million gun-toting compatriots.

Only 998,729 to go.

Steer clear: Denver is not a cowtown. Paul Burns is very adamant about this. We're a steer kind of place, he says.

That's why he eschewed CowParade -- which licenses the concept of auctioning off fiberglass bovines for charitable fundraising to interested cities -- and instead created Steer Around Town. Rather than the artistic cows that have been herded through Zurich, Chicago, London, New York and a host of other cities, Denver will boast life-sized fiberglass steers. "We thought about doing buffalo," Burns says, "but they just did that for the Salt Lake City Olympics, and it identified CU, so we backed off."

The choice also keeps Denver out of the litigious fray that has surrounded CowParade. The concept originated in Zurich in 1998, and a Chicago businessman fell in love with the idea of having businesses sponsor cows that would be painted by local artists, then displayed and auctioned off for charity. He brought the concept back to the Windy City, and a phenomenon was born.

But the Swiss originators sued U.S.-based CowParade Holdings Corporation, claiming it doesn't have the right to license or distribute the canvas cattle drives. In turn, the U.S. company is suing the Swiss. Not to be left out, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued then-New York mayor Rudy Giuliani's administration and the organizers of CowParade NYC 2000, demanding that a PETA cow be included in the project. Organizers had earlier rejected that submission, which depicted a butcher-shop cow covered with claims such as "Eating meat causes impotence."

"I wanted to stay away from the politics of CowParade and everything associated with it," Burns says.

Not to mention the licensing fees. Ringo Starr and Damien Hirst contributed designs to the London and New York shows, elevating the CowParade's popularity -- and the cost of bringing it to new cities. By starting his own event, Burns need only cover the cost of having his steers manufactured by a Rockford, Illinois, fabricator. "We're going to have two poses, and a local person is doing the second," he says.

Chipotle is the latest business to buy a $4,800 steer sponsorship (by contrast, a sponsorship in this year's Atlanta CowParade runs $7,500), which includes a $1,000 stipend for the artist creating the masterpiece. Burns says he has twelve others in the works and hopes to have a herd of fifty to a hundred steers on display in downtown Denver next January, when they'll be auctioned off at the end of the 2004 National Western Stock Show in a benefit for the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation.

In New York, a cow sold for $110,000 -- so we could be talking serious moo-la.

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