New DIA artwork hasn't inspired any conspiracy theories yet

Yeah, yeah, everyone knows about the secret underground bunker at Denver International Airport where Barack Obama was supposed to hide out during his recent visit to Denver if Comet Elenin hit the earth — or he wanted to conduct a Defcon 1 "Cocked Pistol" maximum-readiness alert. We forget which.

It's what's aboveground at DIA that's new. The scaffolding that had obscured the former site of "Mountain Mirage" — the piece of public art that was supposed to shoot water in a silhouette of the Rocky Mountains but instead dripped down into the train equipment below, earning the piece the nickname "Wilma's Wet Spot," in honor of then-First Lady Wilma Webb, who was heading Denver's arts commission – has been removed, revealing a new piece of public art. One guaranteed not to leak.

Juane Quick-to-See Smith and Ken Iwamasa, who had a commission to design patterns in the terrazzo floor of the Great Hall when DIA first opened, were hired to do an artistic patch of the spot where "Mountain Mirage" once stood. The original piece was based on Arapaho parfleche designs, a kind of decorated rawhide suitcase; this time, they created a piece inspired by a Navajo rug, with the symbols for mountain and river subtly referenced as a nod to "Mountain Mirage," says DIA spokeswoman Jenny Schiavone.

Construction on the project began last November and was completed late last month at a cost of $246,000. And so far, no one has suggested that the new work holds a secret message about the New World Order — as conspiracy theorists have for the Leo Tanguma mural "Children of the World Dream Peace," which is just around the corner.

And DIA can't sweep that rumor under a fake Navajo rug.

Out at home? When he was growing up back east, Roland Green was a Red Sox fan, but he switched leagues and allegiances to the Rockies when he moved to Denver. That might have been a bad decision if Green was interested in rooting for a winner, but throwing out the first pitch in a World Series game would be a hell of a consolation prize. Green, who also happens to be the distribution manager at Westword, is one of four finalists — out of 2.5 million people who entered — in the Pepsi Max "Field of Dreams" Sweepstakes. "The prize is to throw out the first pitch of the first game of the World Series and play a baseball game against eleven Major League Hall of Famers," he says. "With the Rockies having such a sucky season this year, I'm psyched to get a chance to enjoy baseball again."

Out of the thirty nominees provided by Pepsi for the Field of Dreams team, Green came up with this lineup: Johnny Bench (catcher), Frank Thomas (first base), Rod Carew (second base), Mike Schmidt (third base), Cal Ripken Jr. (shortstop), Reggie Jackson (outfield), Tony Gwynn (outfield), Ken Griffey Jr. (outfield), Edgar Martinez (designated hitter), Randy Johnson and Dennis Eckersley (pitchers). In order to win, Green needs to acquire the most online votes at; voting goes through October 5, and according to some of Green's fans, you can vote up to fifty times a day.

"The game's going to be a big deal," says Robbie Tran, manager of sports marketing for Pepsi. "If Roland wins, it will be played in Denver. Tickets will be either given away or sold. It's going to be thousands of people — a really big event — so it's not just for him and his ten friends; it's really for the city of Denver."

Make that the state of Colorado. Because even if Green wins, the game may not be at Coors Field: That facility serves only Coca-Cola products, not Pepsi, which is a major foul for the contest sponsor. That's why the "Field of Dreams" rules just guarantee that the game will be played within a hundred miles of the winner's home.

That's close enough for us, though. Play ball!


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