Off Limits

Mattel, which has kept Barbie dressed for success for over forty years, recently sent its 2004 models sashaying down the runway, complete with a Giorgio Armani-dressed doll and a Fashion Designer Ken. And while the company has shown no inclination to repeat 1998's CU Buffs Cheerleader Barbie, one as-yet-unidentified Internet jokester has a host of suggestions just ready to tap into that lucrative Colorado market. The list is so good that we have to share:

Boulder Barbie: This Barbie actually comes in two variations. One has long gray hair and archless feet, sandals with white socks, no makeup and a mutt. The other version has frizzy hair, a dingy white tank top, low-cut jeans and scratch-n-sniff armpits.

Cherry Creek Barbie: Yuppie Barbie comes with choice of a BMW sports car or a souped-up Hummer 2, Starbucks cup, credit-card organizer and Shallow Ken.

Colfax Barbie: This recently paroled Barbie comes with a 9mm handgun, a Ray Lewis knife, a low-rider Chevrolet with oversized wheels and tinted windows, and Meth Lab Ken. Otter Pops optional.

Commerce City Barbie: This white-trash model comes in Wrangler jeans two sizes too small, big hair, a six-pack of Coors Light and a Hank Jr. CD set. She can spit over five feet and kick Ken's ass when she's drunk. Also available: pickup with Confederate-flag bumper stickers.

Englewood Barbie: This trendy homemaker Barbie comes with your choice of Lexus SUV or Ford Windstar minivan, gets lost easily and has no full-time occupation or secondary education. Traffic-jamming cell phone sold separately. Optional matching gym outfit.

Highlands Ranch Barbie: This princess Barbie is only sold at the Park Meadows Mall. She comes with an assortment of Kate Spade handbags, a Lexus, a lapdog and a cookie-cutter house. Options include tummy tuck, face lift and Workaholic Ken.

Texas Transplant Barbie: This bitch of a Barbie comes with a Ford SUV (Texas plates), a knife to stab other Barbies in the back and tons of makeup. Prairie Dog Hunting Ken sold separately.

16th Street Mall Barbie: This is the same model of Barbie that was released in 1982. She comes with shoulder pads, dark polyester skirt, white pantyhose and a bad haircut. Options include Broncos shirt, Wal-Mart purse and outdated shoes.

Our compliments to the anonymous author, who we've tried to track through more than six degrees of e-mail separation. Come out, come out, wherever you are! And in the meantime, please accept two humble additions to the roster:

Lakewood Barbie: Comes with GED, NASCAR T-shirt, Bush/Cheney bumper sticker and NRA membership card. Guns, ammo and Laid Off From Qwest Ken sold separately.

Platte Valley Barbie: The ensemble is designed by Stella McCartney, with shoes by Manolo. Collection of reconstructed hair-band concert T-shirts, low-rise Seven jeans and Metrosexual Ken sold separately. Price available upon request.

The lost colony: Boulder, the town that refers to pet owners as "animal guardians," has gone to the dogs.

The "Prairie Dove" -- one of sixty four-pound, two-foot-tall fiberglass sculptures on display throughout the People's Republic as part of KGNU's Prairie Dog Project -- was stolen two weeks ago from its perch at the Magnolia Crossroads Commons Theater. "First it's penises," KGNU development director Joanne Cole says, referring to the infamous sculpture of twelve hanging penises in the Boulder Public Library that lost one of its members to a well-publicized pilfering, "and now the prairie dogs. Is nothing sacred in Boulder?"

While Cole tries to locate her lost dog in time for a September 20 benefit (see page 42), Paul Burns, who started Denver's Steer Around Town art project, is taking no chances. He's moved his herd of life-sized fiberglass bulls into the Tabor Center for safekeeping. "We haven't scattered them outside," he says. "We were having problems with vandalism; keeping them indoors has avoided that problem."

The project still faces other challenges, however. Burns had hoped to have a downtown "moo-see-um" of bovine beauties by this summer, with fifty to a hundred available for auction at the 2004 National Western Stock Show. So far, though, fewer than a dozen companies have bucked up the $4,800 sponsorship for a pre-fab steer canvas ($1,000 of which goes to the artist). Unlike Chicago, where the streets were overrun with support for the Cow Parade; or Jackson, Mississippi, where fiberglass catfish were served up on every corner; or even Boulder, where animal-loving amateur artistes called KGNU to buy their own dogs so that they could supplement the colony, much of corporate Denver has steered clear of getting involved in Burns's endeavor.

That could change, he thinks, if people get a chance to see the sculptures on the streets. "So once we get the go-ahead from the City and County, we'll move them outside and just have to deal with the vandalism," he says.

Round 'em up and moooove 'em out.

Getting to 3rd base: Last year, when the Democrats needed someone, anyone, to run against Representative Scott McInnis in the 3rd congressional district, Denis Berckefeldt reluctantly -- very reluctantly -- stepped up to the plate. In fact, unbeknownst to him, he was nominated by some colleagues he'd been talking with earlier that day at a political confab about how the party simply couldn't leave that line blank on the ballot. (For reasons why, see Tracy Baker, the incumbent -- and all-too-often recumbent -- Arapahoe County clerk, a Republican who was opposed only by a Libertarian who happened to be an avowed Wiccan in November 2002.) Despite his reluctance to run and a lack of campaign funds (much less a campaign), Berckefeldt managed to secure 65,000 votes and win four counties.

But he won't run again in 2004, even now that McInnis has opted out of a try at a seventh term. That's because the former spokesman for the Senate Democrats has already found real work -- as director of communications for City Auditor Dennis Gallagher, working out of the sumptuous Wellington E. Webb Municipal Building.

That building lost its phone service one day not long ago, shortly after Berckefeldt sent out an auditorial announcement that he was sure would inspire calls. "Maybe we need to audit Qwest," he quipped. Too late! The feds are already doing that.

But their investigations are unlikely to turn up this tidbit -- okay, perhaps apocryphal tidbit -- from a survivor of the Joe Nacchio era. Whenever a senior executive left Qwest's employ, this fellow swears, Nacchio would gather his top execs together, grab the dearly departed's ID badge, punch out the eyes with a hole punch -- and then pocket the eyes.

Take your best shot: Sometimes it's not who you know -- Randy Gifford is proof of that. He's the son of Jackie Tancredo, wife of Congressman Tom Tancredo (and a damned fine French and Russian teacher). But that got Gifford no special favors from the screening committee for next month's Denver International Film Festival. He submitted his feature-length comedy, The Second Degree, for consideration but was turned away -- as were the other Denver films submitted in that category. And when Gifford spoke with other filmmakers around town, he discovered that they all felt the same way: that the home team was being shut out.

"I don't want to bash them; I just want them to look at their policy," Gifford says. "We don't get a lot of chances to show. I don't want to come across as the guy who whines to get in, but I would like Denver filmmakers to get some attention in their home state. I mean, it's ten days; it's not like it's a three-day festival. There are plenty of screens in Denver."

And there are plenty of movies, including some homegrown models, that will make it to those screens, responds Britta Erickson, spokeswoman for the Denver Film Society and Denver International Film Festival. Of the 900 films submitted to the festival this year, only 37 were from locals, and only three of those were in the feature-length-fiction category, she says. And while neither Gifford's movie nor the other two feature-length films were chosen, 24 of the 37 local submissions will screen (either as shorts or documentaries) at the 2003 festival.

"We get this a lot from the local filmmakers," Erickson says. "They see 'Denver' in our name, and Denver is the location, but the key word is 'International.' We want to bring a diverse array of films from around the world so Colorado can experience these different cultures.

"What I would note is that Randy's wasn't shot here, and he doesn't live here anymore," she adds. "One was from a previous filmmaker who's been in year in and year out. But your chances are better as a Colorado filmmaker to get in."

Gifford concedes that he now lives in California and that his movie wasn't made in Colorado, but he points out that the Second Degree script was written for Denver -- he just didn't get the grant money to film here. And as a consolation prize, his movie took second place for best comedy at last weekend's Breckenridge Film Festival, which has premiered such films as American Beauty, Billy Elliot and Like Water for Chocolate.

Maybe next year, Randy, you need a better plot. Focus, say, on a conservative congressman from Colorado who decides to commemorate 9/11 by holding a protest against this country's lax immigration policies. It's a guaranteed laugh riot!


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