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From the week of March 3, 2005

Funky, Funky Broadway

Street dreams:The February 17 "Give Our Regards to Broadway," put forth by a staff of fine writers, was great. We live in old Englewood and can enjoy firsthand the variety that the boulevard offers in just a five-minute walk. One slowly comes to appreciate what relatively low-cost commercial space can do for a neighborhood, as opposed to some of the more blandly homogenized parts of town. We have learned to take the bad with the good.

Michael Paglia's contribution to the Broadway story was isolated from the rest and tucked away under the Artbeat banner. He tells the tale of the Commercial Federal Bank building, which is in the process of being destroyed. It will soon be too late for the city to appreciate the historical gems in its midst; there are precious few left.

And so, even as we watch the destruction of a Broadway landmark, we can still take pleasure in the lively competition between the many nearby used-car dealerships, try to make the tough decision of which tattoo parlor to patronize, and drop in to Cigarette King for their low, low prices.

But most of all, we can still gaze with pleasure upon Englewood's pride and joy: the Hilltop Motel. God forbid this cultural treasure should ever be taken from us.

Franklin Boyd
Englewood


When It's Blingtime in the Rockies

Broadway melody: Wanted to congratulate Westword for not going overboard on All-Star coverage. While I enjoyed the pieces by Adam Cayton-Holland and Dave Herrera last issue, I was particularly pleased by the excellent "Give Our Regards to Broadway" cover the week of the games. Denver may still be a cowtown, but the writing in that piece was world-class.

Joel Grant
Denver

Bright lights, little city:Two weeks ago, Westword's Backbeat section glistened with the grace of the hip-hop glitterati coming for the NBA All-Star festivities. That's right, for all of you who wouldn't be caught dead at the Church on a Friday night with Front Range civilians, P. Diddy took out two different half-page ads. But most of the weekend's tourists could not have cared less about our One City or its attempt to read One Book. These heads were here to P-A-R-T-why? Because that's hot! (Thanks, Paris!) That's why.

For those of you who weren't on the guest list, or the best list, or the worst-dressed list, here are some highlights from Denver's lesser-known All-Star parties:

• Guys Nicknamed "Fat" Night at Monaco Lanes.

• Carmelo's BYOB at City Park (Bring Your Own Bag).

• Coach-Karl-Has-Better-Things-to-Do-Than-Teach-Your-Lazy-Overpaid-Ass-How-to-Play-Defense-and-He's-Not-Very-Happy Hour at the 17th Street Marriott lounge.

Schlessman YMCA "All-Stars Dunk With a Trampoline for Mitzv-ah-thon" featuring Schlomo Wiseman, Yacob Goldengold and L'Trell Gonzalestein-Steinberger.

Doug Moe's First Annual BBSBA (Bacon-n-Beef-Smothered-Burritos Anonymous) group meeting.

• $10 a ticket NBA All-Star fan-appreciation gathering in Niwot, featuring Charles Barkley's niece conducting a left-handed lay-up clinic

Bill Hanzlik, locked in a padded sanitarium but visible on closed-circuit TV, engaging in an entire full-court basketball game by himself, complete with trash-talking and bounce passes, while never leaving his seat.

• Eighteen holes of golf at Inverness sharing a cart with Bryon Russell while he reminisces about guarding Michael (all weekend -- no reservation required).

• Puffy and Shaq's Monday Morning Waffle Brunch Send-Off (after an expeditious multi-denominational prayer service, there was an impromptu can-you-rhyme-with-bitch?-off, with no one permitted to use the word Œunhh' at the end of a line).

Jeff Bzdelik's All-Star Watch Party (which was actually held in Des Moines, where Coach B spent the evening diagramming plays on his new dry-erase board).

P.S.: Adam Cayton-Holland's columns are great. He gives mid-'90s DPS graduates a brief distraction before our quarter-life crises.

David J. Winkler
Denver


Pay as You Go

Funny money: Regarding Luke Turf's "Payday," in the February 24 issue:

Now I have read it all. You're telling me there is an organization that helps illegal aliens get paid for working illegally in the United States? So when an illegal alien comes to our country and is hired illegally by someone in this country, and then complains that he is not paid illegally, he can go somewhere to complain?

Last time I applied for a job, I had to show my Social Security card, birth certificate and/or driver's license so that I could be hired legally by my employer, who follows the labor laws of the country. For this I don't get all my money, either. I get to have 30 percent of my income taken by the United States and the State of Colorado to pay for the illegal aliens to go to school and for their health care.

I think that El Centro Humanitario Para los Trabajadores, the organization that helps illegal aliens, should notify the INS when they come across someone in this country who does not belong here. Then these people can go work in their country and not have any of the problems they complain about when they're here. Or else El Centro should be closed down right away.

Mike Thomas
via the Internet

A little help here:Regarding Luke Turf's "Payday," in the February 24 issue:

Here in Arizona, J.D. Hayworth and company are trying hard to throw the immigrants out of the country. Back in the '50s and '60s, when what's now Phoenix was all mostly farmland, all the farmers welcomed the migrant help -- and ripped them off at the same time. Since Phoenix has gone metro, the moral majority want them out as long as no one discovers that their housekeeper, landscaper or dishwasher is an immigrant.

At least Denver tries to help. Proud to say I'm from there.

Herb Greasham
Phoenix, Arizona

Shame is the name of the game: If you're going to put names in "Payday," why don't you also put the name of the companies? Maybe, just maybe, if these companies had their names and phone numbers in Westword, some of your readers could help with a simple phone call.

Robert Romero
Denver


CU in the Crosshairs

It's academic:Regarding Michael Robert's "Mash-Up," his Message in the February 24 issue:

Isaiah Lechowit, president of the CU College Republicans, having missed out on the glorious heyday of McCarthyism, must be channeling former CU Regent Joe Coors, circa 1952, if Michael Roberts quotes him accurately. "Communist-oozing faculty" -- how unfortunate for the College Republicans that we no longer have the pre-1956 sedition laws so that "controversial" professors can quickly be purged. Lechowit's media-craving cries of "We want him (Churchill) out!" were quickly picked up by the Rocky Mountain News's David Kopel, inexplicably enjoying sacred-cow status as an arbiter of all that is "fair and balanced" in journalism, even though he has plenty of his own baggage, such as his continual reference to "Bill Clinton, serial rapist."

Rockyeditorial-page editor Vince Carroll, Denver's very own Inspector Javert, would rather not remember his own pre-Iraq invasion columns filled with exaggerations and outright falsehoods. But he's more than willing to let professors lose their jobs over controversial passages in essays that have nothing to do with their classroom duties.

If anyone thinks that the "reformers" will be satisfied with Ward Churchill's head, they are incredibly naive. Emboldened by that triumph, they would bring out their tape recorders to monitor every targeted professor's word, pick through decades-old essays and launch more purges. I doubt that the Young Republicans would find much to disagree with in this 1953 statement by J. Edgar Hoover at the height of the anti-academic hysteria: "Some professors have aided the Communist cause by tearing down respect for agencies of government, belittling tradition and moral custom and by creating doubts in the validity of the American way of life." They would rather not acknowledge that some of those traditions included overthrowing elected governments (Iran, Guatemala, Chile), as well as segregation and widespread hunger.

Educators, if you don't stand up for academic freedom now, you may be next on the list.

Robert Ellis
Aurora

He's got your yak:In the February 17 "Road Show," Westword's media critic posthumously taking Rocky Mountain News media critic Michael Tracey to the woodshed is like closing the sty door after Napoleon and Snowball are already sleeping in the main house. Say, if Bill O'Reilly is a "professional provocateur," what does that make a guy who calls anyone to the right of Noam Chomsky big fat liars who tell big fat lies?

If I didn't agree, it'd be hard to take Michael Roberts's criticism of Tracey seriously, coming as it does on the round heels of twenty column inches of obsequious fawning over fellow media lefties that leave the reader feeling as if he's occupying a seat recently vacated by Pee-Wee Herman. Is it news that Denver's "progressive" radio is hitting respectable numbers? Sure. Is it news that another lib (gee, ya think?) is joining the Air America lineup and marking the event by appearing at and (gasp!) filling a tiny theater in Boulder? I don't recall Roberts waxing giddy over Denver's AM 710 airing syndicated conservative yakker Laura Ingram, a former White House staffer who was in Denver Valentine's Day last, or a single word about former Secretary of Education (looks better on the ol' resumé than "forced to devolve into liberalism by his bread-winner wife") Bill Bennett, who regularly visits our flyover state.

Golly, I guess all radio yakkers are equal, but some are more equal.

JM Schell
Arvada


Ban on the Run

The smoking gun:In his letter published last week, when Craig Steinmetz chastised Jason Sheehan and Dave Herrera for comments regarding the encroaching nanny-state bans on smoking in restaurants and bars, he unwittingly disproved the need for such a ban. His letter declared that Racines and the Buckhorn Exchange are among many other popular venues such as Benny's and Dulcinea's 100th Monkey that have chosen to go smoke-free -- the key point being the free choice of business owners to decide how to run their establishments. If consumers wish to frequent non-smoking businesses, more power to them; the same right of smokers to frequent businesses that allow smoking seems equally fair. The market appears to be handling the smoking issue without draconian, one-size-fits-all government mandates.

City governments have bigger issues in which to designate limited resources than enforcing health fascists' pet projects -- like keeping serial rapists off the streets.

Mark Blaising
Denver

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