A Federal Case

Cruising down the boulevard, Denverís avenue of schemes and dreams.

Why, I ask?

"Cops," he responds simply.

"Yeah, but they don't bug the car clubs as much," adds Rick Valles, our cruising partner. "If we're all together, they know we're just showing off our cars."

Anthony Camera
Rise and shine: Tariq Tariq at his 7-Eleven.
Anthony Camera
Rise and shine: Tariq Tariq at his 7-Eleven.

Valles and Valdez-Berriel started Reminiscing Car Club two years ago, and the pair go out every weekend to show off their rides. When a man on a motorcycle stops at a light, looks over and says, "Nice ride, man," Valdez-Berriel just smiles. With its opalescent white paint job, white upholstery and blue trim, the Buick is an eye-catcher, and he gets stopped all the time. The car is also a business card for his skills: He and Valles do all the work themselves.

We cruise down to Mississippi and then head back up to 84th Avenue, prime cruising territory. But nobody's around, not even in the Sonic parking lot up north or the gas stations that litter the strip. There's not even a cop. But the ride itself is glorious.

And as they drop me off at the gas station at 38th Avenue, finally, some action: Two red cars collide just past the intersection. It's a hit-and-run in progress, but we don't catch the license-plate numbers. "There you go," Valles says. "Something happened on Federal."

Still, not even a cop. -- Amy Haimerl

Saturday Night Live
7950 Federal
11:15 p.m.

Something seems different about this strip club.

Like at any other strip club, the guy at the door gives you all singles for change when you pay the $4 cover, as does the waitress when you buy a $4 bottle of Budweiser. On the four stages, there are plenty of girls with whom you can exchange one of those dollars for a moment's intimacy.

Still, something seems different.

Same clear plastic high heels. Same tattoos on the small of the strippers' backs. Same schoolgirl outfits, cheerleader uniforms, tiny business suits and bikinis. Same G-strings and the same cheap perfume. Same music, too.

But something's different, all right: All the breasts look real.

Reminiscent of an old-school Playboy, the breasts are big, they're small, and they're real. And the air-conditioner in the room is set just right to highlight Saturday Night Live's main attraction.

On one stage is Diva, the proud owner of a set of 38DDs. She's chewing gum, has a pierced tongue and long eyelashes, and is the mother of a six-month-old boy. She sports a tiny black dress -- too tiny. "Bad kitty," Diva says, spanking herself between her legs.

"Bad kitty," she repeats, as Snoop raps about being beautiful in the background. Diva goes down on my nearly empty Budweiser bottle, all the way to the label. She can shove a dollar behind a man's belt buckle and take it out with her mouth. Now she puts her finger in her mouth, and my money, too.

I think she really likes me.

An angry dancer comes over and tells Diva that she's pissed and it's time to go. A dude in sunglasses seems to be sleeping in the back of the bar. The bouncer has an ice cream cone in one hand and a tall blonde in the other.

The next round of dancers includes a thin Latina who's especially gifted at picking dollars off of faces with her breasts. She looks to be about a B cup, maybe a C, and she gets the attention of a couple of guys who step up and each shove a George Washington in her thong.

Across the stage from the Latina is a white girl in a white dress who lifts it up to her chest with an "oops" expression on her face. The dress goes up and down during a double batch of Tone Loc before it comes off for good.

I think she really likes me.

The only female in the audience not dressed like a stripper is a Vietnamese woman in tight jeans and a T-shirt. She's tipping the girls on stage. She used to work here but hasn't danced in three months. Something overcomes her on this particular night, though, and she goes back to put on a bikini and then steps on stage.

"I'm so nervous," she says as she starts her first dance. She then proceeds to do the splits, throw her legs over the crowd's heads, wrap her legs around a pole, pick dollars off of faces with her butt cheeks.

I think she really likes me.

The sign outside tells passersby that Cookie's still here. But new dancers are always welcome. -- Luke Turf

The Toad Tavern
5302 South Federal, Littleton
12:35 a.m.

Plunked down in suburbia at the southernmost end of Federal, the Toad Tavern stands out like a Broncos fan at Arrowhead. And in the witching hour, the only signs of life in this neighborhood are coming from the Toad.

As I enter the bar, Bruce Hornsby loudly beckons anyone within earshot to "listen to my heart break every time she runs away." Sorry, Bruce, but your earnest plea is falling on deaf ears. I've got some serious heartbreak of my own to contend with tonight. I came down to the Triple T to check out the live music and score some free Anthony's pizza. But as it turns out, the complimentary pizza won't be doled out until Friday's happy hour (natch), and the band has just finished playing. As the musicians -- who all appear much too young to be up so late on a school night -- stack their instruments on the edge of an empty dance floor, a lonely merkin ball spins silently, sparsely illuminated by a strip of Christmas lights framing the entryway to be the bar's makeshift VIP area. Across the dance floor, three guys hover intently around a trivia console as though they're hashing out plans for an upcoming bank robbery.

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