When verse comes to worse: The beat went on...and on...and on last week, as the Rocky Mountain News--which just happened to sponsor the event--devoted endless amounts of ink to "Beats and Other Rebel Angels," the Naropa Institute's tribute to Allen Ginsberg, poet and poster child of the North American Man-Boy Love Association. (Kudos to Bill Husted and Jackie Campbell, just about the only News staffers to deflate the hype report.)
For a more up-to-date--and certainly more on-the-planet--vision of life on the road, hop aboard The Majic Bus. Author Douglas Brinkley was a young history professor at Hofstra University when he decided the best way to help his students understand American culture was to let them see it for themselves. The prof and his seventeen young fellow travelers encountered "The New Age, Buddhism, and Boulder" about midway through their six-week trip in the summer of 1992, dropping by Naropa where "we meditated with great earnestness for fifteen minutes, trying to free our minds from the frenzy of the New York mind-set," Brinkley writes. "The students took the meditation exercise seriously and mocked neither the practice nor its teacher."
Later, however, some told Brinkley that they found the "institute's curriculum hopelessly idealistic and considered the student body a flock of lost Buddhist sheep with yogurt for brains and alfalfa sprouts for hair who wouldn't know a good hamburger if it came up and bit them."
Denver offered the class more meat. Brinkley's crew found echoes of that "great American pool-hall-blinking-Beat-neon-burlesque Denver night" in lower downtown: at 15th and Larimer, where they encountered the Reverend Father Martin Philips (that's "Father Phony" to you), and at El Chapultepec, where owner Jerry Krantz told of young Neal Cassady's nightly visits.
Concludes Brinkley: "Denver makes ghosts of people and neighborhoods quicker than any city I know."
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Strike while the irony is hot: The O.J. Simpson story apparently hits close to home--in more ways than one. The Colorado Domestic Violence Coalition reports that calls to its office have gone up by 30 percent since Nicole Simpson was slain--and the flood of inquiries is almost more than the office can handle without more staff and phone lines (read: contributions). Most of the increase can be attributed to cries for help from both men and women, but a significant number of calls have been coming from the national media, too.
Among the desperate dialers: Newsweek, which in its recent cover story used a Colorado couple to show that domestic violence is no stranger to the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Exhibit A was the ill-disguised "Amy," actually Carmen Bernick, ex-wife of ex-University of Colorado regent Richard Bernick.
And the answer is...: Even Alex Trebek can be wrong. On the Jeopardy episode that aired last Thursday, this clue appeared in the "Colorado" category: "Denver International Airport, which opened in 1994, replaced this airport..."
The reply "Stapleton" was good for $500.