Guys, 2013 ruled! I don't know about you, but I fell in love, went tanning, went to Starbucks a lot, visited a porn palace in San Francisco with my family, continued my quest for landmark status of Casa Bonita and entertained the idea of writing about how Dunkin' Donuts is no big deal to Denver natives (but then transplant Westworder Samantha Alviani did too good of job refuting my annoyance over the excitement with a great case.)
As the year winds down, I thought I would recap some of the life lessons I learned through this column, because after all, what is an egocentric writer's job in life but to be publicly introspective?
Denver is going to keep changing, and natives like me have to accept it
This year, I've written about Smiley's Laundromat, Kitty's East and Gunther Toody's in almost-Glendale closing, the demolition of the first Hooters this side of the Mississippi (which was housed in a mid-century-modern marvel of a structure) and the general loss of some of Colfax's creepy charm. The strange structure that encased the indoor Ferris Wheel at Funtastic Fun was also given a death sentence, and I railed at 7-Eleven for not doing its part to keep Denver looking less temporary and crappy.
But I also learned that you can't stand in the way of progress -- I want to draw a parallel to Denver's growth and the ragged and permanently pregnant alley cat that was living in our yard this year until we had her spayed and she ran away. But you can't catch Denver in a squirrel trap and stop it from populating. It's also not the city's fault that I from suffer from nostalgia and have a hard time understanding a lot of modern development's purpose/charm. I guess I either need to move or shut up about it.
You can't intellectualize the strip club
On my second trip to a strip club ever, I learned that I am uncomfortable in a place that openly invites creeps to get their male gaze on. I also battled with the insane amount of jealously I experienced when seeing a stranger put her butt at chin-level with my boyfriend's face. But as a feminist who believes that dancers and sex workers have the full rights of anyone else to do their jobs/whatever they wish to do with their bodies, lives and time, I found myself being mentally pulled in too many directions.
Then I realized I was over-intellectualizing a visit to the nudie bar, especially considering I was there with my own sister, who not only loves strip clubs, but has a considerably higher IQ than me.
Feminism is not dead to me
Speaking of feminism, though I pulled back and chose not to write about it, I definitely had a moment where I was ready to abandon feminism altogether. Feminism's international Internet conversation seemed to shift toward infighting, even though we were supposed to be a force uniting for a common cause. (Just google "feminism" and Miley Cyrus, Lily Allen or Beyonce to read what I mean about the division.)
But I decided to focus on the feminism I know, and talk about issues like icon appropriation, the history of sexism in rock n' roll, DIY feminism and slut-shaming during Halloween costume season, which landed me a spot on HuffPost Live, which was the feminist equivalent of Sports Shouting. My belief in the cause was reaffirmed.
All-ages and DIY art and music spaces are important to a lot of people, not just me
After DIY house-show venue Mouth House closed in November, I was given a reason to talk about something really important to me: the necessity for accessible, all-ages art events and places for them to be held. The response to my piece was not only awesome to see, it was galvanizing -- I have already heard from several active members of Denver's large DIY-minded creative network that there are big plans for new spaces in 2014.
I knew I wasn't alone in feeling passionate about the idea that all art should be accessible, but seeing conversations happen and plans be made for the future of Denver's DIY community was inspiring and so necessary.
The weather in Colorado will always be interesting to people
I have a general list of beats I cover for Westword daily: feminist stuff, art stuff, gay stuff, Jewish stuff, drag stuff and any stuff related to the mall. But looking back at this year, I realized that I also have an overwhelming amount of things to say about the weather -- which is a good thing, because people like to talk about it.
I was at Target yesterday trying on bathing suits for my impending Christmas vacation to a paradise of no snow, and I overheard a woman in the fitting rooms talking about how she moved here from Chicago and was lied to about how cold it actually was in Colorado. Meaning, we've got nothing on Chi-town's freezing-ass temperatures -- snow may rule, but it can also be an afterthought, as I explained in my tips for transplants post. We still have yet to see an epic winter snow dump, but don't be fooled: Winter is a sneaky fucker and will probably ruin your May 2014 outdoor wedding with a surprise blizzard.
Well, I'm off to Hawaii with my boyfriend and his family, who will hopefully be impressed by my cancerous tanning bed sunburn. Later, shitty ice-cold temperatures, and happy holidays to all!
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