Through a Glass, Darkly

A special soused report

Maust recognizes that he's often fighting a futile battle against human nature: Some college-aged kids are simply hardwired to down 36 ounces of beer while standing on their heads, warnings be damned. "In our culture, it's very much a part of our literature, our art, our music, that this is the time for rebellion," he says. "Now is the time for rock and roll. That's the age group that we're dealing with. And part of that becomes substance abuse; it's not at all a surprise that gets woven in."

Still, Maust feels a minor shift in student views of drinking. Tonight, he points out, the Hill's coffee shops and record stores are as packed as the bars.

"I've talked with so many student leaders, many of them upperclassmen, who say, 'You know, this culture has got to change. It shouldn't just be a given, a norm, that there will be this much disruption just because we are a big university with a certain reputation,'" Maust says. "After the Denver Post story came out, we heard from so many students who said, 'That person in the paper who is falling down drunk: Who is that person? How did they distinguish themselves to get on the news as our spokesperson?'"

Toast of the town: Modern Drunkard's Frank 
Rich is on the job...always.
Mark Manger
Toast of the town: Modern Drunkard's Frank Rich is on the job...always.

Maust is involved in several of the task forces that have sprung up since the deaths of Bailey and Spady, including an effort in Fort Collins led by Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton, a graduate of CSU. CU has a study group of its own, as does the Boulder city manager; that task force will convene in December to discuss ways to curtail alcohol abuse, including changing zoning laws to limit the number of liquor establishments on University Hill. As secretary of the community group Hill Alliance, Maust encourages bars and clubs to support sane student drinking by not, say, offering penny drafts and two-for-one shot specials on a Tuesday night. In Maust's view, the community, as well as the university, has a role to play in keeping young people healthy and alive -- and that role may be defined as Boulder responds to the circumstances surrounding Bailey's passing.

"This young man's death can have that as part of his legacy," Maust says. "It's not a fair trade. But it's better than simply mourning."

A First Fatality
Boulder has a license to chill.
By Jared Jacang Maher

The War Against Drunks has claimed its first casualty: Tulagi.

Last March, rumors began bubbling in the primordial ooze of the Boulder music scene that the long-vacant Tulagi building would soon be repackaged as the republic's newest Gap outlet. The mere thought of Tulagi being converted into an outpost for the top symbol of corporate retail shill was blasphemous -- a fucking outrage! After all, this space had kept university kids well-marinated in cheap beer and rock and roll since the '60s and served as a stepping stone for musicians like Miles Davis and Arlo Guthrie.

So for three glorious weeks, the legendary venue sputtered back to life with a campaign called Save the Tulagi, featuring a slate of local acts. It was a noble effort, even if it was short-lived -- and the Gap rumor completely fabricated.

"We really wanted to pay the bands and do the things you really should do as a venue," says Sam Estes, who does the booking management for the property, which is owned by Rockrimmon Real Estate. But Tulagi lost its liquor license after the previous tenants, confronted with $18,000 in back sales taxes, bailed out of the space in 2003, and it was difficult to bring in enough crowds for all-ages (read: booze-free) events. "You know -- when you're only charging five bucks a ticket, and you're trying to get a very niche demographic that would rather go to a party or something like that," he explains.

It doesn't take an economics major to know that on a Friday night, the Hill's traditional demographic is looking to invest in only one thing: beer. Buckets of beautiful beer. Although the tavern has seen many incarnations in its storied, fifty-year existence -- who remembers when it was a disco club? -- Tulagi was always a reliable drinking buddy. But times change. People grow up. They get good jobs and nice cars. They give birth to kids and stock portfolios and start listening to smooth jazz. And then they buy houses in a neighborhood that's been populated by 22-year-old college students for the last forty years and bitch about how their community is too noisy and filled with house parties.

Over the past few years, the University Hill Neighborhood Association has done a tremendous job of putting bitching to well-organized action by arming the angry and middle-aged with reasons to blame students for garbage, noise, over-occupancy and drinking -- the root of all evils. Recently, a few dozen members of the group came out in force against a proposal by Pete Turner, owner of Illegal Pete's, to pour a million bucks into the Tulagi building to create a two-level, upscale Cuban restaurant called Atrevido, with a rooftop patio and live music and dancing in the back. After decades of hard partying, the space certainly needs a major overhaul. The dingy interior reeks of sour beer. The fish tank is gone, as is the sound-and-lighting system, and the railings are caked with grime and coming loose.

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