Dana Perino talks for the president; her dad talks for the neighborhood

Leo Perino has the gift of gab. He knows many of his customers by name and chats them up when they walk into Lincoln Market, at 1704 East 25th Avenue, just a block from Manual High School. Perino, who has worked in education and human resources, in the airline industry and for a credit union, can talk on just about any subject, from classroom policies to neighborhood gentrification, race, politics, the economy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It's a trait he shares with his daughter, Dana Perino, who will soon be out of a job as White House press secretary and chief spokeswoman for President George W. Bush.

Perino and a partner bought Lincoln Market — which has stood at the heart of the Whittier neighborhood since 1925 — three years ago and turned it into a meeting place for longtime residents, high-school students, hospital workers and recent arrivals who've moved into new condos or historic older homes. "Since we're not on a main street, we know most all of them," Perino says.

And you can buy a little of everything here, from diapers and beer and pork rinds to pasta, milk and eggs, soda, cigarettes and sandwiches — even stuffing mix, gravy, frozen turkeys and foil roasting pans for Thanksgiving.

Perino won't be spending the holiday with his oldest daughter — there's too much work involved with the transition from the Bush to the Barack Obama administrations — but he'll probably get to see her more once her job comes to an end and she finishes some post-White House travel. After that, they'll finally get to talk turkey together.

For a Q&A with Leo Perino and a link to Michael Roberts's 2007 profile of Dana Perino, log on to blogs.westword.com/latestword.

Name game: Denver unveiled its newest piece of public art last week — John McEnroe's "National Velvet," which stands at the foot of the 16th Street Pedestrian Bridge. Westword art critic Michael Paglia takes a serious look at the piece this week — but the, um, anatomical-looking work has already inspired plenty of criticism from passersby. And many have offered up more appropriate names, such as "Wet Salami" and "Saggy-Boob Electric Penis." The resulting discussion inspired Mayor John Hickenlooper to defend the piece on the radio. (For our blog on this subject and more than fifty comments, log on to blogs.westword.com/latestword.)

Renaming public art is a time-honored tradition in Denver. For years, people referred to Larry Bell's "Solar Fountain," on the lawn of the Denver Performing Arts Complex, as the Giant Cup of Soup. Close to where that piece once stood beside Speer Boulevard are the Dancing Aliens (actually, Jonathan Borofsky's "Dancers"). Then there's Lawrence Argent's Big Blue Bear (officially called "I See What You Mean") peering into the Colorado Convention Center, and My Little Pony, the beloved piece by Donald Lipski that stands outside the Denver Public Library and is really named "Yearling."

But there's a special piece of art that makes "National Velvet" look like a thoroughbred: the grotesque, red-eyed death horse at the entrance to Denver International Airport. Dubbed simply "Mustang" by its late creator, Luis Jimenez, the 32-foot tall, bright-blue monstrosity definitely deserves a more descriptive moniker.

A Westword staffer's terrified children call the sculpture the Big Blue Booty. Can you think of a better name? E-mail editorial@westword.com, and you could win a little Big Blue Bear.

Got scoop? Contact editorial@westword.com.

 
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