Colfax Avenue has long been the place to go when guys are looking for a little action. But in this Johns TV era, some of the business has moved uptown. Way uptown.
Recently, an Off Limits correspondent was approached by a man in the Westminster Plaza Safeway, who wanted to know if she'd ever considered an exciting career in prostitution.
While comparing the nutritional benefits of a PowerBar and a Clif Bar in aisle seven of the grocery store, our gal ran into Jim, who tried to woo her with his (decidedly lacking) health-food knowledge. She politely excused herself, but instead of letting her go, the robust gentleman -- wearing greased black hair and a Texas-sized belt buckle -- brushed her wrist with the back of his hand and told her to call him. In that awkward moment, she discovered she'd become the proud recipient of his hot-pink business card.
To her surprise, Jim didn't want a date; he was offering her his "managerial services." His card for Colorado Wild Foxes explained that he was "now hiring" prostitutes for his "cash only...in & out calls" and "private shows." Scribbled in the margin of the card was his employment offer: She'd earn $100 an hour.
That's what Jim offers all his prospective girls, he told Off Limits when we called in our pal's place. (No deception here: We told him we were in the writing field and wanted to know if prostitution paid better. Duh.) He approaches a woman he thinks might do well on the street (how he assessed our friend's potential she'll never know, since she was wearing baggy pants, a T-shirt and no makeup), gives her his card, then conducts an interview if she calls.
"I have them come over and fill out everything and go over how it works," he said. "It doesn't really matter where you're at. I work with girls all over."
Over the phone, Jim didn't get into specific job responsibilities (nor did he discuss how he handles tax deductions), but if he's legit (well, legitimately illegitimate), he pays better than the average pimp. According to the World Sex Guide Forum (www.wsgforum.com), which hires "volunteer researches" to dish the skinny on worldwide prostitutes, Denver street gals typically make $20 for a blow job and $40 for a full-service operation. "Higher-quality" girls take in $40 for a BJ and between $60 and $80 for a back-seat tussle.
"Denver hookers tend to dress average and warmly, especially in the winter. Not many wear skirts or sexy clothes," darknite303 posted in April 2002, when the Denver thread started. "Most are in jeans and T-shirts. They pretty much only walk along the street. Sometimes they sit at bus stops. Quite a few walk with another girl or a man to avoid police harassment and for protection. About half are using or have used drugs excessively. Others are fairly clean, and some are very good quality.
"The best action is actually between 2-4 in the afternoon. Rush hour, 4-7, is harder to find girls as they are picked up very quickly. After 7, girls are fairly sparse and it is hard to find them. I have picked up girls as late as midnight and 2 a.m. I've also picked up girls as early as 9 a.m., but it is not very common. If you are looking for [transvestites], Denver is not the town for you. There is occasionally one or two around town, but it is extremely rare."
For any men out there who decide to follow Jim's siren call -- or just hit the streets themselves -- darknite303 has these words of advice on how to avoid mugging for Channel 8's audiences as a cast member of Johns TV: "If you have doubts, there is a full proof test for knowing if the girl is DPD or not. If you pull up to them and they insist on talking to you prior to getting into the car, just drive off. DPD will not get into your car. If you negotiate price and location without driving around, you will get yourself busted. I don't care how hot the girl is, never do this. Almost all Denver hookers will immediately get into the car once you motion them over."
The Denver Police Department isn't nearly so free with its information. "We won't talk about what tactics we do and don't use," says spokesman Sonny Jackson (after consulting with the vice squad). "We conduct ourselves so we're close enough that we're in the law -- but obviously, if we were completely within the law, we wouldn't catch anybody."
The Westminster Police Department also plays its cards close to the chest -- although one officer said he'd be happy to take Jim's number. (We declined.) As for Safeway, the manager of that location says she's unaware of any contraband goods for sale at her store.
This space for rent: The trains between the DIA concourses and the main terminal are pretty speedy, but this past Sunday the trip took long enough that when we left Concourse B, Wellington E. Webb was still the mayor welcoming us to Denver -- and when we emerged into the terminal, we were greeted by a photograph of downtown Denver in the dusk, with a flip-side shot looking at the mountains from City Park. Webb was nowhere in sight -- but then, neither was current mayor John Hickenlooper.
Hick's making good on his pre-inaugural promise not to stick his name and mug everywhere in town -- including the airport, where he wants visitors to feel welcome, not frightened. So far, only the terminal signs have been changed; Clear Channel donated the work, which was approved by Denise Montgomery, director of the Denver Office of Art, Culture and Film. There's no schedule yet for updating the concourse signage, according to DIA spokesman Chuck Cannon, because that will have to be done at DIA's expense, and money's tight right now.
There's also no ETA for when a photograph of Hizzoner will grace the third-floor corridor of the Denver City & County Building; right now, the gallery of mayoral portraits outside the mayor's office ends with an empty frame. "We've had some pictures taken," says spokeswoman Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, "but we're still trying to finalize our choice. With the budget crisis, it hasn't been a top priority."
Besides, she adds, "The mayor's been out so much in the community, we're confident everyone knows what he looks like."
It's a mud, mud, mud, mud world: "I miss Colorado," sighed the San Antonio cabbie who was taking us from the hotel to the airport so that we could catch that flight back to Denver on Sunday. He wishes he'd never left his home in Aurora -- but his computer-class teacher said there were great jobs in Austin, so once he graduated, he moved there and got one, only to lose it a few weeks later when the recession hit. Now he's driving a cab in San Antonio, which he likes okay, thanks to all those tourists flocking down to the Riverwalk.
That's the 2.6-mile diversion of the San Antonio River right in the center of town, lined with restaurant after restaurant after restaurant. "Glendale's thinking of creating a Riverwalk," we informed our cabbie ("The Glendale T&A Party," January 20, 2000). He laughed so hard he almost mowed down four Shriners. The Riverwalk works, he pointed out, because the area's so concentrated, with sidewalk cafes just feet from the canal itself.
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Not to worry: That portion of the river is only three feet deep, and every February, San Antonio holds an annual Mudfest, draining the diverted river and picking out the trash -- mostly beer bottles, but probably also a tourist or two.
Denver held its own river cleanup this past weekend: NIMBYfest, the eleventh annual volunteer sweep of the Platte. But according to coordinator Barbara Gibson (who also heads LoDo District Inc.), while the troops worked hard, they didn't make many juicy finds. Last year's housecleaning, for example, netted a giant pair of fuzzy pink slippers, and an earlier outing was rumored to haul in a fake leg -- but this year they didn't net anything more interesting than a hockey stick.
"And it didn't look like a really good one," Gibson says. "The days of finding really cool junk are probably past, because we're keeping the river pretty clean."
All success comes at a price...