Everyone's selling something for the Democratic National Convention. Are you buying it?

The flier being passed around at local churches isn't advertising Bible study — but anyone who gets involved may need to pray as they go. "Democratic National Convention Outreach Training," it advises. "An estimated 40,000 prostitutes will be brought into Denver for the Democratic National Convention...Find out how you can help reach out to them!"

Among the suggested ways: 24-hour outreach, hotline, personal intervention teams, safe house, long-term placement in programs — and remember, "24 hour prayer support is essential!" So is attendance at two mandatory three-hour meetings "if you want to help with this outreach!" the flier says. (But don't make the mistake of confusing outreach with outcall.) "We must be well informed and well trained to reach these women without putting them or ourselves in danger."

The woman listed at the bottom of the flier as contact for further information declined to provide further information, since "we don't want to have anything in the media that will talk about the specific agencies involved," she said. So we're withholding names to protect the innocent.

Location Info


16th Street Mall

1001 16th St.
Denver, CO 80265-0003

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: Downtown Denver

The very innocent.

Forty thousand prostitutes? Many adult businesses enjoy a spurt during conventions, but no official has ever mentioned a number anywhere close to that in connection with the DNC. "They must be renting rooms by the hour, because we don't have that many rooms available," laughs Rich Grant of the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Buttoned up: At high noon, the 16th Street Mall is packed. And if it's jammed now, just imagine how crowded it will be when the Democratic National Convention is in town — unless, of course, people are frightened by the notion of 40,000 prostitutes chasing after a fraction of that many delegates. Greenpeace is out in force, offering us a chance to save the polar bears (and heaven help those critters if they're out in the 90-degree heat). A few steps away, the Jesus Saves crew is a better bet for helping those bears reach salvation. The night before, a member of the 9/11 Truth Squad was holding down the same corner, wearing a "We are change Seattle" T-shirt.

While the mall is loud and noisy and fun, inside the Denver Pavilions it's cool and quiet. Especially in the store that opened just last week, with a sign outside that pronounces "Official Democratic Convention Merchandise" and a shelf-life that's decidedly limited. Because inside, the place is stocked with nothing but political souvenirs — all union-made and all official, although only the ones that bear the mark of the Democratic National Convention are approved in advance by the Democratic National Convention Committee. "We licensed our logo to the merchandiser, Financial Innovations," says the DNCC's Natalie Wyeth. "They do DNC meetings, state conventions. We just sign off on the convention-specific products."

Which means that DNCC officials probably haven't yet seen the T-shirt with "Obama" in a cool, AC/DC-like design on the front, or the big button that says "Democrats are sexy — who has ever heard of a good piece of elephant," or the lapel pin with a donkey doing an elephant. But those items — and so much more — are available right now, and will also be for sale at the Pepsi Center, the Colorado Convention Center, perhaps even Invesco Field at Mile High once the convention gets under way. And any minute now, the shop is expecting another shipment, this one with mugs and more T-shirts and more buttons.

The big sellers? "I've been told buttons, buttons and more buttons are traditionally the most popular item at conventions," says Wyeth. Our favorite (thus far): "One Nation Under Surveillance."

Around the corner, at the much more permanent Best of Denver shop — where Broncos paraphernalia is already 50 percent off (lose one pre-season game and see what happens?) and sweatshirts made in Pakistan hype a Denver founded in 1861 (either 1858 or 1859 is acceptable) — the souvenirs get a little more rowdy. But many of these are official, too, since they're from a merchandiser who has the blessing of the Denver 2008 Host Committee. Here you can pick up packages of Republican Elephant Poop (red candies) or Democratic Donkey Poop (blue candies), as well as more buttons and T-shirts and water bottles and hats and playing cards. Host-committee authorized items are also available at www.denverdncgear.com, a couple of airport shops, the Denver Broncos Team Store at Invesco, local Conoco outlets and several other souvenir stores.

But for the really raucous and thus eminently collectible items — the Obama bobbleheads and the good Bush/bad Bush T-shirts (you can guess the illustrations) — you have to hit stores and carts up and down the mall doing a booming business in unauthorized souvenirs. While the Obama and Bush names can't be trademarked, the DNCC does watch out for unauthorized use of the logo. "There is some policing," Wyeth says. "We can't go into details."

One Nation, Under Surveillance.

One for the road: Lakewood resident Barbara Dodge followed politics closely for more than forty years — right up until her husband, 74-year-old Earl Dodge, "stepped from Denver International Airport into heaven" on November 7, 2007. "The day he died, it's like none of that stuff was important to me anymore," she says. "Earl was the most important person in my life. That's why I liked to cook and take care of the home. The party was important to him, but not to anyone else."

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