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From the week of 3/8/2007

"Panhandle With Care," Adam Cayton-Holland, March 1



Too Hot to Panhandle

Having read "Panhandle With Care," I can rest my inner curmudgeon and say: Hot damn, that was funny. Now, I'm not just saying this because I think I saw my car in the Speer Boulevard picture; I honestly found myself giggling like a schoolgirl while reading it.

I loved it all. From the spray-bottle tease, to Super Mario's potty mouth, to the crazy drunken guy near the 16th Street Mall's H&R Block. Adam's struggle to find just the right sign was great, too. Hobo-chic? Fuckin' gold. And not only was the article funny, but it also raised some good questions, like: "What should we do about our city's downtrodden citizens?" "Does giving to panhandlers help or hurt the situation?" and "What's my dad doing on the 16th Street Mall before 3 p.m.?"

But seriously, "Panhandle With Care" deals with an issue that even the most anally puckered conservatives and bitchy douchebag liberals can agree on: getting rid of dirty people. Of course, this is a dangerous topic for me and my giggling schoolgirl friends (or "hobo bait," as we are sometimes called), but Adam teases it out with style, charisma and an excellent sense of humor. The only weak spot is the beginning, where Westword's less sarcastically inclined readers might be confused by the very dry humor. But once Adam gets on his hipster-razzing, bird-watching, potato-chip-crunching roll, it's all gravy. Sweet, Jim Beam-spiked gravy.

Well done, Adam. I know there will be many a pleasantly amused hobo sleeping in your article tonight. Well done, indeed.
Walter Kovacs
Denver

I can't quite articulate how integral Adam's writing is to my respect for Westword. It just is. From the first time I nearly wet myself reading his column, I have been enamored with his wit and intellect. For a person to have such a gift with the written word is rare, and "Panhandle With Care" is another example of this. So I just wanted to say please keep the Adam factory churning. His column is one of the reasons I pick up the paper each week.
Jesse Temple-Trujillo
Denver

I just finished reading Adam Cayton-Holland's panhandling story. He had me cracking up on the bus to work. His style reminds me a bit of David Sedaris. Thanks for the laughs!
Sarah Klug
Denver

Update from Adam Cayton-Holland:Much to the chagrin of that town's beefcake firefighters, last week the Castle Rock Town Council voted 5-2 to ban panhandling at intersections. The move comes as a devastating blow to the "Fill the Boot" campaign -- an annual Labor Day event during which firefighters collect change for the Muscular Dystrophy Association -- as well as innumerable homeless panhandlers whom the town council informs us are omnipresent, yet no one has ever seen.

"The Transformers," Luke Turf, February 22



This Ain't No Party

I really enjoyed "The Transformers," but I have to say that the whole macho bullshit of the "gangstas" makes me sick. I am continually amazed at what lengths people will go to "fit in." Also, many of the "gangstas" peddle the poison that had me addicted for seventeen years. It's an unnecessary evil. The crack peddlers had me and my friends wrapped around their little fingers, and we were willing to do anything for the next hit.

I hope the programs to get the fellas out of the "gangsta life" work. Gangbanging leads to three places: hospitals, institutions and the cemetery. I am reminded of an old bumpersticker that read "Listen Up, Smarty -- This Ain't No Party. Don't Gangbang."
Steve Stalzle
Denver

I was born and raised in Park Hill. Although they weren't from my neighborhood, there were Brick City members on the streets at least by 1980. The way I remember it, we had Crips showing up from L.A. about that same time. The "Boyz" had a rally in what used to be Skyland Park; about 200 members showed up, and that event made the local papers. Crack cocaine was all over the streets of Denver long before 1987.

The article was an interesting part of Denver history -- just not the way I remember it.
Laven Bleem
Denver

I'm the sister of Fredrick Abram, the man Luke Turf interviewed. I just want to thank you for letting my brother's voice be heard, for his point of view, and for letting society know that people can change for the better. Now society knows that there are people who are able and willing to leave gangbanging and who want to become productive citizens in society. "The Transformers" also lets society know that these young men are not a lost cause; all they need is unconditional love and support from family and friends.

I want you to know that I have always loved and supported my brother in everything that he was and what he has become. I'm just finally happy that he has grown up and given up gangbanging. Your article touched me and my family deeply, and I'm sure it touched society as a whole. Thank you, and please keep up the good work.
Natira J. Abram
Denver

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