Off Limits

Brew-ha-ha

The people of Denver may have spoken last week and said that yes, yes, they really want John Hickenlooper to be their man, but the people of Playboy gave him no such props. The July issue of the moribund men's magazine featured a taste-testing of what it deemed the nation's best microbrews -- and the Wynkoop Brewing Co., Hickenlooper's flagship venture, was nowhere to be found. Instead, Colorado was represented by Longmont's Left Hand & Tabernash Brewing Company and Deep Cover, its English brown.

But Left Hand isn't gloating. "We definitely like John and are glad that he won for mayor," says Dave Watson, vice president for sales and marketing. "But this is great for us. I think more than anything else, Playboy just selected catchy names and logos. We take it for what it's worth."

As does Hickenlooper. "This is just another example of the entertainment and media establishments continuing bias toward politicians," he says. And laughs.

And here's more evidence. The June 6 installment of late-night yakker Conan O'Brien's show featured the latest installment of a running gag titled "New State Quarters," which purports to reveal the images that will turn up on future coins. The Colorado model? A woozy-looking skier holding a booze bottle, beside this slogan: "Thin Air = Fast Buzz."

Mamma mia!You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but thanks to Amazon.com, you can certainly judge a city by its reading list. In fact, the site's city-by-city book and music bestseller rankings -- based on what's being shipped to various zip codes -- make for hysterical reading all on their own. Below, a sampling of the current top-ten lists for some of Colorado's most definitive places.

Aspen

Books: Babar's Yoga for Elephants; The DaVinci Code; Life of Pi

Music: Hotel Costes 5, Mambo Sinuendo, by Ry Cooder; Come Away with Me, by Norah Jones

Boulder

Books: Reclaiming the American West; Turning the Mind Into an Ally; The Architecture of All Abundance: Creating a Successful Life in the Material World

Music: Beethoven: Middle Quartets; Dave Matthews Band Live at Folsom Field; The Process of Relief, by Bad Religion

Colorado Springs

Books: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (not yet released); Bush at War; The Last Jihad: A Novel

Music: The Christmas Album, by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; Christmas Eve and Other Stories, by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra; and Mamma Mia!

Denver

Books: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; Stupid White Men...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation!; The Secret Life of Bees

Music: Riviera, by Big Head Todd and the Monsters; The Christmas Album, by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; and Mamma Mia!

Littleton

Books: Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons; Fearless Living: Live Without Excuses and Love Without Regret; The Joy of Juicing: Creative Cooking With Your Juicer

Music: Riviera, by Big Head Todd and the Monsters; The Christmas Album, by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; and Mamma Mia!

Really mean streets: Just a month ago, Jeanine Smidt, the mean Jeanine behind Mean Jeanine's Bookshop, was full of new plans. To fill the void left by the closing of Pandora's Toy Box, she was expanding her Erotica for Women section. "While we won't be carrying the toys or togs, we are stocked with some choice literate smut," she explained. "Selections include anything from Tropic of Capricorn -- Henry Miller is such a pig; I could not put it down -- to Slow Hand: Women Writing Erotica and the like."

But apparently, Mean Jeanine's, with its bright yellow facade, had already climaxed.

Less than a year after moving the shop from the Platte Valley to Sixth Avenue and Marion Street, Smidt lost her lease -- and after 25 years in the book business, she's not interested in finding a third location. "The hair place next door is moving in," she says. "I believe they were working behind the scenes to get in here. In the flier about my business, I say I can do anything but help you negotiate a lease."

Now the whole kit and caboodle, minus a storefront but including the name, is up for grabs starting July 1 at the low, low price of $25,000. "It's almost like a freeze-dried bookstore for sale," Smidt says. "You pick the location and add water, and I'll set you up in a nice established business with me for four to six weeks of intensive training."

The new owners might want to lay off the smut -- it's got some bad Denver mojo right now.

More from the war: In this installment on the fashion feud that visiting Floridian GManstarted between Denver and the greater Miami area, we at Off Limits can't help but point out that all of letter writers have been...men! It seems that Western gents are a bit more insulted at being told to toss their ballcaps than our ladies are at being asked to get a new dress and put on some makeup.

Still, many of the boys agree that Denver is in a sartorial drought. "What a relief to read an article on the disaster that is considered style in Denver," writes one reader who asks to remain anonymous for fear of retribution from his friends. "There simply is no fashion sense or hipness to be found. Drop your typical Denverite into a city like Miami, Minneapolis, Boston, etc., and they wouldn't get away with the trashy, lackadaisical style for too long. Why? Because other cities get it. Funny how I can love the natural beauty of a place so much, yet on the other hand swell with pride when my fiancée and I are told that we don't look like we are from Denver."

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