When a prestigious convention comes to Denver, public officials usually fall all over themselves to welcome the group -- particularly when media outlets from across the country are covering the event. But while there will be plenty of falling all over when the Modern Drunkard Convention pours into Denver this weekend, don't expect an official proclamation.
"I think it will be the most distinguished convention held on the 500 block of East Colfax this year," says Rich Grant, director of communications for the Metro Denver Convention & Visitors Bureau and a man who's been known to enjoy a cocktail or two. "If we can rename a street for Dale Tooley on St. Patrick's Day, the city can rename Colfax 'Coolfax' for this."
And what does the city think? "Oy vey," says Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, spokeswoman for Mayor John Hickenlooper, a brewpub owner in an earlier incarnation. Although Denver has no plans to offer an official Toast of the Town, surely all good citizens will salute the frothing bunch of fun-lovers here for what's being billed as "The Best Three Days You'll Never Remember."
We'll drink to that. Denver is a damn good town in which to imbibe, as Men's Healthrecognized last fall when the magazine named this the Drunkest City in America. And that ranking didn't factor in Denver's most liquid asset: Frank Kelly Rich, former Army Ranger and founder of Modern Drunkard, the hilarious monthly magazine now available on newsstands in Japan and England as well as numerous spots around town; author of the book Modern Drunkard, coming out in October; and the man who stayed soused for the entire inaugural Modern Drunkard Convention in Las Vegas last year.
The "jam-packed days of heavy drinking and full-bore entertainment are shaping up remarkably well, better than we expected," Rich says. "Last year the convention was a clusterfuck. We didn't know what we were doing. I was drunk the entire time; I was more in the meet-and-greet capacity. I didn't remember any of it until all the photos and the video came back."
What he saw was a good time being had by all, a drunken bash that broke all drinking records in Las Vegas -- the hang of such legendary boozers as the Rat Pack. "It's much more organized this time," he adds. "I don't think I'll have to be sober."
Festivities kick off at noon on Friday, May 13, with a mixer at the Lion's Lair, then move to the Ogden Theatre for a lineup emceed by Titsa Galore that includes Elvis impersonators, standup (and perhaps a little falling-down) comedy, burlesque with Satan's Sirens, and performances by King Rat and Marky Ramone. After that, there will be assorted parties -- including an after-hours, $10 all-you-can-drink event -- before delegates finally retire to pass out at the Ramada Inn or the Royal Host (just $40 a night), where, Rich recalls, he "almost got arrested once."
But the main event is the "Clash of the Tightest," a nightly drinking contest. In the finals, contestants get to choose beverages for each other, and "oh, it was insidious last year," Rich says. "Some would go for the really hard stock. Others were using the most disgusting thing you can imagine, just to throw their competitor's stomach off."
Final words? "It's going to be crazy," Rich promises. Not that anyone will remember anything.