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It's the Real Thing

Matt Lawrence spends a night in the tank for being too real.

Jim Narcycould have warned Matt Lawrenceto be careful in the 1900 block of Market Street. Two months ago, when the Westwordphotographer ventured out to take a picture of the building at 1920 that was being transformed intoThe Real World Denverheadquarters, someone called the cops on him. For taking a photograph from a public right-of-way.

True, Lawrence went a little further on Monday, July 10. But then, he wasn't on assignment, and alcohol was definitely involved -- as it is on so many nights in LoDo. Shortly after 10 p.m., Lawrence was taking the long way toward his home in Highland -- deliberately heading up Market -- so that he could see what was going on at the Real Worldhouse. "I'm much too old to actually enjoy the show," says the 33-year-old, "but it's kind of perverse, so I find it entertaining."

What he saw was a lot of "commotion" at the front, with about fifteen people gathered behind the gate leading from the house to the sidewalk. "At the front is a young woman with a baby in both hands," he remembers. "The door is ajar, I grab hold of it to pull it open so they can leave." They filed out, and he continued on -- but Lawrence didn't get any further than El Chapultepec when he felt someone grab him from behind.

The off-duty uniformed Denver police officer doing security for the show ordered Lawrence to face the unmarked police car in front of the Real World house while he did some paperwork -- and then issued Lawrence a ticket for disturbing the peace. He'd been "observed staggering down Market St.," the report reads. "As parties were exiting the residence, the RWD film crew was filming the parties. [Lawrence] made his way over to the gate as parties were exiting, took hold of the gate as exiting parties were opening it, and stood in amongst them, interrupting the filming. [Lawrence] then made his way up the block and was contacted." Contacted, cuffed, ticketed -- and sent to detox.

"Public intoxication is a problem," says DPD spokesman Sonny Jackson. "If you are, you can go to detox for it." And in fact, a couple of weeks ago the cops busted a soused member of The Real World cast. "He basically had been arguing with his girlfriend, then it continued on outside," Jackson explains. "They went ahead and called detox."

"It seemed like overkill," Lawrence says of his own forced dry-out. After all, he was already walking home -- and doesn't having someone interrupt the filming of The Real World just make it more, well, real?

That's not a point that The Real World crew is interesting in discussing. "Denver is a wonderful place to work and shoot," says Jim Johnson, who'd called Westword back in May to find out just what, exactly, Narcy was up to. And that's about all Johnson offers.

Jonathan Murray, executive producer of The Real World, had more to say to the New York Times, which ran a piece Sunday called "Reality TV, the Unwelcome Guest." In that story -- which prominently featured Westword's own Jared Jacang Maher discussing our fake Real Worldprank (see the video at www.westword.com) -- Murray said that all the attention hasn't been a problem for the Denver shoot, now in its seventeenth week. As he told the Times, "It's flattering that there are so many people who are intrigued by what we're doing that they're setting up Webcams and writing daily blogs about us."

Just don't open any gates. On public sidewalks. After you've had a couple of cocktails. On August 9, Lawrence plans to tell the judge all about it. "The situation's frustrating and silly," he concludes. And all too real.

Scene and herd:Making for even more real reality TV, the state's most famous murder case was invoked last Wednesday night on Project Runway. When Heidi Klum told hopeful designers they'd be making a Miss Universe pageant dress for Miss U.S.A. Tara Conner, Jefferey (the one with the tattooed throat) seemed nonplussed, explaining that "the word 'pageant' to me has weird connotations, you know, i.e., JonBenet Ramsey." His creation didn't win -- but then, neither did Conner.

It's like band camp -- only better. Since Dan Crane,a.k.a. Bjorn Turoque, first participated in the U.S. Air Guitar Regionals (Beatdown, June 17, 2004), the hometown hero has channeled his invisible passion into national exposure. Crane is one of the stars of Air Guitar Nation, a new documentary that traces the rise of air-noodling since 2003 and is set to screen at the Edinburgh International Film Festival next month. The 35-year-old Denver native also recently released a book, To Air Is Human. But to shred is divine.

Particularly if you're at the Denver Skate Park. Professional skaters Corey Duffel and Chet Childress and a few other members of Team Sessions stopped by the park this past weekend. Besides setting up local crumbsnatchers with a bunch of free Sessions gear, Duffel and Childress both commented on how sick the Mile High City skate scene is. Not only are there plenty of places to skate that are open late, they said, but unlike on the Left Coast, kids aren't compelled to wear pads and helmets at the park.

Skate or die, yo.

 
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