Ghost of a Chance

Let the spirit move you.

When Kendra and Brian Dehaven bought iMi Jimi two years ago, they took on an underground institution. Tom Hollar had opened the skateboard-and-clothing store at 609 East 13th Avenue in 1986, when the city was starved for urban cool; after Hollar's much-publicized murder in 1993, his wife -- who'd been attacked and badly hurt in the same car-jacking incident -- ran the shop before finally selling it in 2002 to Stephanie Fast, who later sold it to the Dehavens.

The Dehavens wanted to keep iMi Jimi's spirit alive -- but they got more than they bargained for. One day when Brian was in the basement looking through old boxes, he felt like he'd "connected" with the ghost of Hollar who, like Brian, had done screen printing and was known to befriend and mentor young skate rats who'd hang around the shop. "Then Tom started revealing himself to us a little bit in the store, and some weird stuff started happening," Kendra explains. A bell above the door would ring even though no one had opened it, speeding up and slowing inexplicably. Sunglasses would slide out of the stand and land flat on the shelf, guided as if by some unseen hand.

"I never believed in ghosts before, like ever, ever," she says. "I kind of thought that he wanted us to do something for him. But then he really freaked out one of my friends who was helping us one day, and I asked him to leave us alone, and he did."

Kendra speculates that Hollar's spirit might have traveled to California, where his former wife owns a clothing store. But if he should return to Denver, the ghost won't find iMi Jimi at its longtime home: Earlier this month, the Dehavens moved the store to 32 South Broadway, where it now shares space with their TS Board Shop. The move was based on finances, not fright. In fact, Kendra says she would be happy to welcome Hollar back -- if he can just sense his beloved store's new home.

"I don't know how that works," she says. "I don't believe in ghosts usually. That worried me about moving the store. What if he comes back to Denver and he can't find iMi Jimi?"

Anatomy of a hit: Fans of the Fray were psyched to hear "How to Save a Life" at the climax of Grey's Anatomy, ABC's popular hospital drama, two Sundays ago -- not that the popular Denver act needs any Band-Aid. The song started up just as those sexually active interns and their instructors headed into surgery, with Dr. McDreamy (played by the once-nerdy Patrick Dempsey) telling his team: "It's a beautiful afternoon to save lives, people. Let's have some fun."

The episode inspired a wave of praise from fans on the band's myspace message board. "Clever Isn't My Style" burbled this: "You have no idea how much I love your music. Grey's Anatomy is my favorite show, you guys are my favorite band. When you put them together, that's like 10 times as good as anything else in life." No surprise, then, when Clever revealed that friends think he's a George -- the sweet but irritatingly passive intern who never seems to get the girl.

The song was also set for a supporting role on the March 29 WB drama One Tree Hill. And on April 1, the Fray will perform both "How to Save a Life" and "Over My Head (Cable Car)" on CBS Saturday Morning.

At least with live performances, the band knows what it's getting into. "Song uses are hard," says Isaac Slade, the Fray's 24-year-old vocalist/pianist. "It's always some high-pressure L.A.-producer phone call for a scene we've never watched and they needed an answer yesterday. Then there's the dozen people on both coasts telling us that it's a great idea. Sure, it's a permanent marriage of our art with someone else's story, but the visibility is good, and the money doesn't hurt either."

Still, there are limits. One request came with this two-sentence script: "Interior shot, night, trashy motel. Kevin & Maxine's first romantic encounter after the wedding." Although the scene didn't sound that great, the band thought it was cool that the production company liked the song. "As we're dialing the manager to give the green light," Slade remembers, "the drummer notices the letterhead on the script: Y&R. We're all pretty sure it's the soap. We hang up."

Not so when the call came from Grey's Anatomy, a prime-time soap just as sudsy as The Young and the Restless -- but a lot better acted. The band loves that show, Slade says.

Who doesn't? McDreamy on.

He's keeping a list, checking it twice: Librettist Gene Scheer is a highbrow talent. His "American Anthem" was sung by Denyce Graves at the second inauguration of President George W. Bush; eleven months later, his adaptation of An American Tragedy premiered at the Metropolitan Opera. But for someone so high-falutin', he's willing to go low -- very low -- as he proved last weekend during a Colorado Symphony Orchestra performance of The Mikado, where Scheer, as Ko-Ko, offered a very Denver-centric "little list."

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