Thirst Fridays

A mellow mix of booze and art goes down easy at First Fridays.

It's not that Jack Pappalardo means to be a party pooper, but a year ago, a river of booze was running through the monthly First Friday celebration at Denver's ArtDistrict on Santa Fe, and the district's 55 members finally stopped serving free drinks in order to reverse what had become "a mini-Bourbon Street." Now, says district president Pappalardo, "the art buyers are back and we are selling art again, as opposed to being bartenders."

So while he appreciated Representative Jerry Frangas's proposal to create a loophole in the state's liquor code that would allow galleries to serve free alcohol fifteen times a year — starting with, say, a dozen First Fridays — Pappalardo had some problems with HB 1105 as it was originally written. Frangas represents the Tennyson Street arts district, where the crowds have been more modest. But Santa Fe's First Friday in October attracted 7,000 people — and that could translate to a lot of liquor. "With those large numbers comes responsibility," Pappalardo notes. In response to his district's concerns, on Friday the bill was amended to allow fifteen permits a year to galleries that "shall not intentionally allow more than 250 people on the premises."

And that satisfies Pappalardo. "Wine can be served at traditional openings," he notes, "but not at massive events without a regular event license." In fact, he's going to encourage galleries in his district to stay dry on First Friday, when they get an automatic crowd, and use their fifteen-night quota to serve booze at non-First Friday openings. "Our ongoing endeavor is to get people there the other thirty days of the month," he explains.

The bill will soon move on to the Senate. And if lawmakers there do the right thing, First Fridays could soon return to their rightful status as one of Colorado's most liquid assets.


Sex cells! Democratic congresswoman and stem-cell research champion Diana DeGette has written her first book, and she couldn't have picked a better time. The luridly, if tentatively, titled Sex, Science and Stem Cells is due for release this summer, just a few weeks before Representative DeGette plays host to the Democratic National Convention in Denver. The 256-page, $24.95 book — published by Lyons Press, which typically specializes in nature and fly-fishing manuals — is described as "a steamy adventure into the heart of the repressed Republican psyche"...uh, wait, scratch that. It's actually billed as "a blistering indictment of the Republican positions on sex education, birth control, abortion and embryonic stem cell research."

Assisting DeGette is prolific author and ghostwriter Daniel Paisner, who has worked with Whoopi Goldberg, Anthony Quinn, Geraldo Rivera, George Pataki and others, according to his website. Although DeGette won't have a signing booth at the convention, she will participate in a national author's tour, according to her office. But as a member of Congress, she can't receive an advance for the book.

Jackie Collins, watch out!


Scene and herd: Yes, that was Phil Keating, former Channel 9 reporter and Denver heartthrob, crossing the heartland on a fifteen-day mission to take the political temperature for Fox News. His 3,500-mile journey ended Monday in Los Angeles — and though one Fox anchor announcing the start of the stunt had suggested that Phil might spend the night at fans' houses, his notoriously tousled bedhead appears to have escaped unscathed.

 
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