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Micky Manor and Shotgun Willie's Light Up

Signs of the times are changing all over Denver.

Since 1932, the Micky Manor had been a landmark on Federal Boulevard, a local watering hole that first drew the Italian community that had its stronghold in northwest Denver, then the Mexican families that moved into the neighborhood, and finally, the gentrifiers who've been transforming the area. Over the years, the tavern had seen a lot of changes – but none as drastic as that dark period last fall when the bar itself changed from the Micky Manor (an homage to Walt Disney's famous mouse, and a copyright-infringing one at that until the original "Mickey" lost an "e") to the Twelfth Man, with a blue-and-orange color scheme to match.

But this past spring, Fran Daly, who'd inherited the building at 2544 Federal that her father, Dominic Coloroso, had bought in 1943 from its original owners, took back the bar. She installed Michele Goss and her husband as its new managers, and together they set out to revive one of Denver's classic joints.

This June, the Micky Manor was back in business, almost as good as new – make that old. Except for this: The neon Micky and Minnie signs that had hung in the front windows for seven decades were among the missing, still stored in the basement where the Twelfth Man men had stashed them, sadly in need of restoration but too fragile for Goss to move herself. But after reading about the signs in Westword ("Of Mice and Men," July 26), Seth Totten came to the rescue.

"I like to see old Denver signs saved," explains the expert from Acme Neon. And he knew just how old these were, since he used to come into the Micky Manor with his grandparents, who'd lived in the neighborhood. So Totten stopped by the bar, retrieved the mice and put them back in working order. Actually, he wound up making almost exact reproductions, since parts were beyond repair. Time had been particularly harsh to Minnie, who'd "been broken over the years and lost the flower in her hair," Totten says. He replaced it with a bow and "remade her high heels and her skirt."

Last Friday, the results of Totten's labor of love (he charged only for materials) was finally revealed when Goss pulled the switches in the front windows of the resurrected Micky Manor and lit up Federal – proving that you truly can build a better mousetrap.


Honky if you drink Bud: Two weeks ago, Off Limits offered an impromptu Spanish class, noting that a Bud Light billboard in the heart of hispterdom, at Colfax Avenue and Monroe Street, promised that the beer was "tan bueno como la güera que te está mirando" – essentially, "as good as that honky woman checking you out." Now the billboard is touting the same light beer, with a new, less filling message. "Tan buena como viernes de quincena," it now reads, in a reference not to a woman checking you out, but that welcome mid-month Friday paycheck.

There's another sign of the times at 490 South Colorado Boulevard, where Shotgun Willie's has gotten rid of the too-family-friendly cartoon character out front. According to owner Debbie Matthews, kiddies sometimes got confused about the nature of the business. Today, all that remains on the sign is a single shotgun — and a rather limp one at that. But the girls inside know how to reload.


Scene and herd: Even the Demented Divas couldn't save the Cinderella Twin, which will turn into a pumpkin at the end of the month. Last weekend, Nuclia Waste and her fellow (?) drag queens performed a spirited musical protest on the roof of the concession stand, retelling the tale of Cinderella. But so far, no Prince Charming has shown up to ensure a happily-ever-after ending for the doomed drive-in.

 
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