By Alan Prendergast
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DJ Rockstar Aaron
1390 South Colorado Boulevard
Like most professionals, DJ Rockstar Aaron goes to work every morning. But since his office consists of the entire city, he can be a little tough to track down.
You might find him getting his nails done (pink this week) at Posh in the Cherry Creek mall or eating barbecue at Brothers on Sixth Avenue. In the evenings, he's almost always behind the decks at one of five different clubs where he DJs. And once a month, on Wednesdays, Rockstar Aaron chows down on wings at the Hooters on South Colorado Boulevard, where he never forgets to check in on Foursquare.
"Most people are too embarrassed to check in there," he says. "But I love wings, and they have a really good deal on Wednesdays: All-you-can-eat wings for $9.99."
Rockstar Aaron, who is one of Denver's most recognizable DJs, is also well known on Foursquare, the social-media game that allows participants to "check in" at locales all over the world from their smartphones. Once they do, their Foursquare friends instantly know where they are and how to find them. People who check in at a particular spot more than anyone else become the "mayor" of that place.
And Rockstar Aaron goes by Hizzoner at about 25 spots, depending on the week, including Hooters, Posh, Brothers, Famous Dave's, Bar Standard, Beauty Bar, Independent Records, the Bluebird, the Shoppe, R Bar and Matthew Morris Salon.
"My professional and personal life crash together so much, it's a good way to remind people who want to come see me of what days I deejay and where," he says. "I have a lot of friends who use Foursquare, so it's a good way for them to find me, too.
"I'm embarrassingly proud of being the mayor at Hooters," he adds.
One of his latest conquests was Einstein Bagels at Ninth Avenue and Corona Street, where he has checked in only three times but is still the mayor. And Rockstar Aaron is always jonesing for barbecue. "I'm from the south [Jacksonville, Florida], and since I moved to Denver, I haven't been able to find a perfect barbecue place," he says.
"The only place I don't check in is the bank. It's too boring, and I don't want people to know the boring part of me — or where I bank."
Foursquare players also earn points and badges. The Crunked badge is for checking in at four places in one night; School Night is for checking in after 3 a.m. on a weekday; Overshare means you've checked in ten times in twelve hours. You can also check in somewhere even if you're not really there, but the GPS system in your phones will know, and Foursquare won't give you points. Plus, you'll be mocked for being a poser.
And then there's the competition. Rockstar Aaron trades the mayorship of certain places back and forth with other big users like the ubiquitous Colfax J, who rules the roost at more than twenty places, including Gabor's and the Ogden Theatre.
"Colfax J is the mayor everywhere. I'm competitive with him, but I don't know him," Rockstar Aaron says. Colfax J recently ousted Aaron from Planned Parenthood.
You have to move fast on Foursquare, because Foursquare changes quickly. "It's not as big as Twitter yet," Rockstar Aaron says. "It's a little ahead of its time."
490 South Colorado Boulevard
Leesa Simone sits in a metal chair in the basement of Shotgun Willie's, facing a counter loaded with boxes of cosmetics. It's 8 p.m. on a Monday, and she's watching the score of a nail-biting Nuggets game fluctuate on her iPhone. Loud '80s rock seeps down from the strip club above, and thong-and-bra-clad dancers flit around the room, which is long and skinny and lined with lockers pasted over with bumperstickers.
One dancer blasts her spiked hair with AquaNet. Another borrows some super glue from Simone in an attempt to fix the sole of a broken stiletto. Yet another counts her money, mostly twenties and singles.
Simone is a freelance makeup artist at Shotgun's four days a week, where she does dancers' hair and makeup for a fee: $30 for the full face, including lashes; $5 for a tattoo cover-up; $20 to straighten and tease the hair.
In addition to working fashion shows and weddings, she also freelances at La Bohème, alternating days and nights at each club.
She's the Foursquare mayor of both.
"Dorkiness is what this is," she says, laughing and fiddling with her phone.
At 29, Simone is friendly, cute, and quick to make a joke. Though her business card features a sultry picture of herself in an off-the-shoulder black dress, tonight her brown hair is pulled into a ponytail and she's wearing a sweater. Her three passions are the Nuggets, "making girls feel pretty" and her dogs: Boden, a sweet-faced two-year-old golden retriever, and Belle, a five-year-old sheltie. Her iPhone is full of pictures of them.
Simone joined Foursquare a few months ago, after her BlackBerry was stolen and she replaced it with an iPhone. She was hooked immediately. "Once I started using it, I was gung-ho. I was like, okay, I'm in it!" she says. She started checking in everywhere: the grocery store, the vet, the dog park. Her first mayorship was of her Lakewood home. Her second was of La Bohème. In both cases, she was the first person to claim the title.