Off Limits

Walk softly and carry a big shtick

Boulder high school teacher Ramsey Brookhart remembers the night Michael Jackson unveiled the moonwalk for a television audience in 1983. "I was at my grandma's house in Littleton," he says. Jackson's stunt held the then-seven-year-old spellbound. "It's the perfect attention-grabber," he explains. "That's why Michael Jackson did it."

And that's why Brookhart, today a 28-year-old teacher of astronomy, literature and Spanish, will frequently do the moonwalk for a classroom full of otherwise bored students. That's why his best friend, Adam Hall, who lives in San Francisco, does it, too.

When the two met at the University of Colorado at Boulder, they realized they both had more than a passing interest in environmental activism, booze and the dance moves of Michael Jackson. "I took breakdancing lessons in the third grade from this fat white guy," Hall says proudly. Surely, they thought, there must be a way to connect their interests.

A new look at iMi Jimi.
A new look at iMi Jimi.

They discovered it in 1999. Pleasantly smashed and unable to drive home from a Boulder bar, they challenged one another to a moonwalk race. There they were, at 2 a.m., moonwalking side by side down the middle of an icy street. Not long after, they founded Moonwalk for Earth to raise worldwide awareness of the importance of renewable energy sources. They do this through feats of moonwalking -- as when Hall, Brookhart and a third friend set the world record for a moonwalk relay when they trekked from Boulder to Denver in October 2002. "We're more pranksters than activists," says Hall, "but our pranks have turned into activism."

Last month, they decided to break the Guinness World Record for longest distance moonwalked in under an hour -- set by Hall himself, when he moonwalked 1.5 miles. The plan was for everyone to walk normally across the Golden Gate Bridge, then for Hall to moonwalk back while the others recorded history. Only two official witnesses were required; one of them was our Off Limits correspondent.

As Hall danced down the walkway, a few passersby could tell that he was trying to break a record of some kind, but no one guessed that it was for moonwalking. By the time he was three-quarters of the way across the bridge, he was dripping with sweat and in pain. His hip was giving him trouble, as were the balls of his feet, which were covered in old-school checkered Vans. "My calves are good," he explained, "but the balls of my feet -- that's what's taking the hit. It's like, 'Boom, boom, boom.' Vans don't have much padding. I'm taking one for the team for style points."

Hall finally crossed the imaginary finish line -- 1.6 miles in 45 minutes -- to little fanfare. As our eyewitness noted, moonwalking around the world in the name of renewable energy may be lame, but it's a hell of a lot better than just attending the occasional protest. As Brookhart puts it, "It's something so ludicrous that you have to pay attention."

'Clothes encounters: That 13th Avenue institution, iMi Jimi, is getting a makeover, with new owners and a new look.

"We're changing to be a little more price-friendly for the neighborhood," says Jodi Ulrich, the shop's new manager. "We're doing more street-friendly, as well as some of the higher-end stuff. We're still going to carry Free People and some of the other lines, but we're also bringing in some lower-priced points like Juicy."

In early July, Kendra DeHaven, owner of Thrifty Stick and Thrifty Stick II, bought the store from Stephanie Fast, who's left for the balmier (if sodden) climes of Florida. Fast had taken the reins from Christina Hollar, who ran the store for nine years after her husband, Tom, was murdered in 1993 near the King Soopers at Ninth Avenue and Corona Street. Remarried, with a child, she now lives in L.A. Meanwhile, Tom's killers, Stephen Dwayne Harrington and Shane Damone Davis, were sentenced to life plus 208 years in prison; their crime was one of the most infamous episodes in what became known as the Summer of Violence.

"The store will not be significantly different," Ulrich says. "We're keeping the same name, and the history. You wouldn't believe how many people still come in and want to talk about Tom and talk about what happened. People are constantly coming in with memories of this place."

'Scene and herd: Mayor John Hickenlooper may have removed himself from his own restaurant empire, but other restaurants aren't shy about putting the arm on Hizzoner. At the new Wholly Tomato! in the Beauvallon, diners can get their hands around a Hickenlooper -- "veggie deli slices topped with fresh tomatoes, melted Swiss cheese and a light honey mustard dressing," according to the menu. Why that combo, and not, say, the Cajun-spiced steamed salmon sandwich? "I guess it's because he's kind of a turkey," explains proprietor Stephen Anson. "The veggie deli slices we use are veggie turkey slices." ...The fare was considerably more upscale -- if less planned -- when David Byrne and his entourage mountain-biked and, in one case, rollerbladed over to Marczyk Fine Foods for an al fresco dinner before Friday's concert at the Ogden Theatre. A Byrne operative had stopped by the market to pick up some supplies and was so enamored of the spot that she brought the whole gang (who keep their alternative means of transport in the touring truck) back for dinner. Fortunately, owner Pete Marczyk already had the grills going for burger-flipping Friday. On Sunday, Byrne played the Denver Botanic Gardens -- where Hickenlooper himself, along with son Teddy, were spotted in the crowd. ...The crowd was much larger at Saturday's CU-CSU showdown in Folsom Field, but it was still easy to spot Carmelo Anthony strutting down the CU sideline, then across the back of the end zone in front of the student section. Unannounced over the loudspeaker and sporting an all-white, game-day jumpsuit, Melo pimp-limped his way to the west side of the stadium, then up through the stands, high-fiving surprised fans before disappearing onto the concourse. Guess we're not in Athens anymore.

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