The last train to Clarksburg: The good folks of Clarksburg, West Virginia, never really knew what hit them. Late last year former Denverite JT Colfax, who dumped his given name of James Michael Thompson and took on the name of his favorite street when he moved to New York City several years ago, made the town of 18,059 the focus of his most ambitious piece of performance art, "Dear Clarksburg." Essentially, this unexpected honor devolved into Colfax sending unwitting Clarksburgians picked at random from the phone book graphic accounts of his homosexual activities, including his first encounter on a dirty Denver street.
Not surprisingly, they didn't appreciate their new pen pal, as was made abundantly clear in a lengthy June 25 Washington Post piece titled "Mail Aggression." For that matter, the Post's readers weren't thrilled, either. "I can think of a lot of other really deserving artists who could use some publicity about real art," chided one Post letter-writer. "What we have here," wrote another, "is the journalistic equivalent of kids scrawling dirty words on bathroom walls."
Close. Actually, assorted epithets and the name of one Officer Osmon, a cop who arrested Colfax in Hollywood as he left a gay bar there the "day Lucy died," are now scrawled on the wall of room 216 of the Parson Hotel, where Colfax stayed when he paid a call on Clarksburg.
And his travels might not end there: Colfax says he may soon head home. Denver, you've been warned.
Out at First: Robert Lewis, publisher of The Game Program, continues to distribute his free publication outside Coors Field--and continues to get hauled into the holding cell inside Coors Field as thanks for his efforts. But while Lewis may have few friends in the Rockies organization, he's a hit with fans of the First Amendment, including the ACLU. And after hearing Lewis on a local talk show last weekend, Jodi Jill of the Boulder-based Eden Literary Agency was so incensed that she started a letter-writing campaign to bring constitutional rights to Coors Field. "It angered me," Jill says of the Rockies' treatment of Lewis. "I've been censored before, and it's really hard for us to look the other way. If this were the East Coast, it wouldn't happen."
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This, however, is Colorado, where the people may have paid for the ballpark but the Rockies call the shots. "We believe this is a violation of freedom of speech and freedom of the press," Jill says in her own letter announcing the write-in campaign. "Writers, editors, literary agents and publishers work within these freedoms and we defend these freedoms." So much so, in fact, that Eden managed to collect 75 letters from outraged free-speech fans in just 24 hours.
Meanwhile, one baseball publication has ceased altogether: Coors Field Facts, which the Denver Metropolitan Major League Baseball Stadium District started in 1992. The June "final edition" of the newsletter thanks numerous people throughout the six-county district who helped create "The House the Fans Built," then notes that "now that Coors Field is open, the bulk of the work of the Stadium District is completed and the operating responsibility of the ballpark belongs to the Colorado Rockies."
The air apparent: At least the Colorado Rockies don't rule the air waves...yet. Otherwise, fans wouldn't have been treated to the plane-towed banner promising "breasts and buns" at a local bar, or last week's classic response from the surprisingly media-savvy Water World: "1,000s of topless men.