Best Of :: People & Places
Back in the '70s, when the specter of school busing was scaring the double-knit pants off of suburbanites, Colorado passed the Poundstone Amendment, to prevent the City and County of Denver from annexing land. As a result, while other metropolitan areas swallowed suburbs (and their tax revenues), Denver suffered from stunted growth and seemed doomed to never pass the half-million mark in population. But now, with new-urbanism projects at Stapleton and Lowry and more infill in the Platte Valley and RiNo, Denver's growing again. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, it's now the fourth-fastest-growing county in the country, with a population of just over 600,000.
Leadville doesn't get a lot of attention these days — so the adopted home town of Jihad Jamie Paulin-Ramirez really didn't appreciate being labeled "nothing to write home about" and a "dirtball town" by a local reporter characterizing the place for Fox. Local lawmakers fought back by offering to host "A Day in a Dirtball Town" that would include tours of Leadville's art galleries and historic sites — including spots visited by Oscar Wilde in 1882. And he did write home about the town, reporting at one saloon, "I saw the only rational method of art criticism I have ever come across. Over the piano was printed a notice — 'Please do not shoot the pianist. He is doing his best.'"
When America voted Lilly Scott off this season's American Idol, our hearts sank. Scott, a Littleton resident who previously fronted the band Varlet, was a breath of fresh air on a show otherwise known for churning out (with a very few exceptions) a steady parade of unmemorable artists who, in turn, produce mainstream pabulum. And while we were being unrealistically optimistic to think she'd make the finals, we couldn't help pulling for Scott. For the first time in years, she made Idol worth watching. We couldn't wait to see what songs she'd pick next: From "Lullaby of Birdland" to "Fixing a Hole" to "A Change Is Gonna Come" to "I Fall to Pieces," she kept things interesting. But that last song eventually proved to be her undoing; Scott's voice, which recalls Joanna Newsom's, was a bit too much for most folks. Your loss, America.
Now that texting while driving is illegal in Colorado, the legislature really should do something about drivers who listen to Caplis & Silverman while behind the wheel between 3 and 6 p.m. This odd couple of the airwaves can be dangerously distracting. While you're wondering just why former DA Craig Silverman doesn't execute a citizen's arrest for Caplis's shameless boosting of the University of Colorado, for example, you could wipe out a fleet of RTD buses. Still, it's almost impossible not to tune into their show during rush hour, and the impressive lineup of guests they book apparently all feel the same inevitable pull, because just about every politician and newsmaker in the state winds up yakking with these talk-show hosts.
He's still finding his voice on morning radio, and his attempt to click with players sometimes comes off a little shmoozy. Still, Channel 4 sports anchor Vic Lombardi overcomes these and any other faults you might be muttering about with his undeniable natural knowledge and feel for Denver sports. He was born with it: He's a native of Denver's north side and interned with the station as a student. But he balances his obvious fandom with honest, astute observations and a geniality that oozes from your flat-screen.
Colorado's real capitol dome is in trouble. It is rusting, rotting and cracking, and fixing it will cost millions. But a scale model of the building, made entirely of canned goods, is doing just fine. Located inside the dome museum — known as Mr. Brown's Attic — the replica is a version of one originally created for the 2004 People's Fair by Intergroup Architects of Littleton as part of Canstruction, a yearly contest held by the Society for Design Administration. Made from a variety of containers, including soup and tomato sauce cans and sardine tins, it's topped by a plastic water bottle. Canstruction projects are typically built as fundraisers, and the food is then donated to food banks, but this one is on permanent display — which may be more than we can say for the real thing.