The East Colfax Avenue land grab has spilled off the strip and onto the web. Six months ago, ColfaxAvenue.com (not to be confused with www.colfaxave.com, the Colfax Business Improvement District's site) launched as a portal to all things Colfax, from its easternmost point to the spot outside Golden where it disappears altogether. Then last month, Bluebirdbeat.com went live as a portal to all things Colfax that happen to fall between Madison and York streets.
"It's a labor of love," says Anastacia Barber, who started ColfaxAvenue.com with Chris, her husband (and Elvis impersonator). "We absolutely love Colfax, and have for years and years. Our romance blossomed on Colfax. When we'd go on dates, we'd romp around on Colfax." Right now their site doesn't offer much except for history and some news snippets, but the Barbers hope to eventually grow their passion into a magazine for the street. "We want to cover stories about the Colfax lifestyle. Interview interesting people, showcasing America's wickedest street," Anastacia says. "We want to snapshot it and preserve it. There's a certain level where, yeah, there's room to clean it up and make it a safer environment for people, but we don't want to see it completely gentrified with rows of Starbucks and Qdobas."
Bluebirdbeat.com has more going on, with events calendars, restaurant specials, maps and paid advertising -- but then, it was created by Don Novak and his marketing firm, Propaganda Labs, which happens to be located on this stretch of Colfax. "All the neighbors coming and saying, 'What can we do to help the businesses, let's do some fliers, let's do something,'" Novak explains. "But the small business couldn't afford that, so we started the site. We figured that whatever is going to make it the best strip for everyone is what we wanted to do."
East Colfax Avenue
Ask and ye shall be answered: At 12:01 a.m. on August 1, Colorado Day, the Ask Colorado site -- a free, 24/7 information service provided by the state's librarians at www.askcolorado.org -- shut down for eight hours for an upgrade. Staffers were probably still exhausted from the Off Limits query of two weeks ago, concerning the immensely vague interpretation of what constitutes a cigar bar under the new Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, and which entities are charged with enforcing that immensely vague interpretation of what constitutes a cigar bar under that law. Off Limits had sent the same query to Denver's new 311 help-line service, which directed the questioner to the state for a full interpretation, and Off Limits' snippy observation about how wrong this was earned us a chiding from a librarian (we could just see her putting finger to lips to shush us): "The new Denver City 311 service is not designed to answer the type of question that was asked. It is not designed to answer questions about newly implemented State laws. It is designed to answer questions about City services."
True. Except that under the state smoking ban, it's up to local governments to enforce compliance. According to the handy brochure printed up by SmokeFreeColorado (your tobacco dollars at work) to help restaurants and bars understand the requirements: "If you observe a violation, you can call the non-emergency telephone number of your local law enforcement agency."
In Denver, that's the Denver Police Department, which must love getting calls about potentially illegal stogies.
For further information, the brochure advises contacting "your local public health agency." In Denver, that means the Department of Environmental Health. Which is figuring this out as fast as it can. As is the Department of Public Works, which has to deal with the aftermath of the smoking ban. "One of the biggest components of street trash is lots of cigarette butts," says Dan Roberts, director of street maintenance. "Probably more so after the smoking ban, because people go outside to smoke and flick their butts into the street. It's really hard for a street sweeper to pick up a piece of trash that small."
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In response to the July 20 Off Limits item, several AskColorado librarians also helpfully supplied the state motto, since our request for it some time ago had gotten lost in the ether. Officially, it's Nil Sine Numine, translated as "Nothing Without the Deity." Which is fine (if you can swallow that non-separation-of-church-and-state bit), but we were really going for whatever the state considers its slogan. We know the nickname is "the Centennial State," and we're completely good with the decision to leave "Welcome to Colorful Colorado" on the signs at this state's borders, the compromise in a contentious battle earlier this year. But surely there must be a catchier way to promote this state than with the hideous "Fresh Air and Fond Memories Served Daily" that greets visitors to www.colorado.com, the official tourism site.
Oh, why, AskColorado, why?
Scene and herd: While Off Limits is on the subject of unfortunate marketing, surely we weren't the only ones bemused -- and mightily amused -- by the placement of the Beaver Creek logo in the ad for the Beaver Creek Arts Festival that runs through next weekend. It's always a good idea to feature art in an arts-festival promotion, even a cubist figure of a woman -- but one with the Beaver Creek insignia slapped in her crotch? That's one way to get a leg up on the competition ... Boca Room, at East Colfax Avenue and Marion Street, is also going for some signage one-upmanship. The awning over the front door reads "piano bar" "smoke" and "patio bar," leading passersby to believe they can actually smoke inside. Alas, just below the sign is one of those now-ubiquitous blue-and-white no-smoking placards.