Off Limits

Want to know how to talk a girl out of her shorts? Here's some advice from our favorite pitchman, Kid Rock (aka Bob Ritchie), who tells all in the March issue of Blender, the Maxim spinoff: "Have a account. And a lot of liquor! That's why I drink all the time. Also, it's a cliche, but a sense of humor doesn't hurt -- just don't try too hard." And the liquor of choice? Coors Light, of course, since Kid Rock is one of the local brewery's celebrity spokesdrinkers.

While the stars-and-stripes-wearing Kid got some face time at the Super Bowl, he was sadly overshadowed by Janet Jackson and her boob-time "wardrobe malfunction." Where he was most sorely missed, though, was during the commercials. The game carried nine spots for Budweiser, the official beer sponsor, but not a one for Coors -- which meant no sign of either Rock ("Someone's gotta feel this," he sings in one ad that Coors says "reminds us the hardest hits are in the NFL") or the Twins, lead cheerleaders in the fight for that desirable young male demographic. Sadly, Elaine and Diane Klimaszewski, who rated their own Maxim Super Bowl party last year, had to resort to promising that they'd be at the "hottest" parties in Houston on their website,, which also touts an upcoming appearance on Hollywood Squares.

But despite his halftime-show setback, the Kid's still doing his bit for the brewery. Pamela Anderson's boy toy tells Blender that he loves David Allan Coe, Better Homes and Gardens, his 1962 Impala and his '68 Lincoln with suicide doors. But the best perk of stardom is his gig with Coors. "Being a rock star is the best job in the world," Rock says. "The only job that's better is being the spokesman for Coors Light. I hate to sound like a dick, but I get paid to drink beer. If I called Coors right now, they'd have ten cases in this room by tonight. They said I wouldn't amount to shit in school. Well, I get paid to drink beer."

Someone's gotta feel this!

There ghost the neighborhood: For many years, Jim and Nancy Weisman shared their turn-of-the-century Victorian home at the corner of 22nd Avenue and Ogden Street. They just didn't know who -- or what -- they were sharing the place with.

When Jim, a realtor and renovator, bought the building in 1977, it was an abandoned dump with no windows, no heat, no running water and no electricity. But the house had plenty of energy. "People would say, 'Wow, what a spooky place,'" Jim remembers. "It had been vacant, and it was such a complete disaster that I should have been running the opposite direction as fast as I could. But I moved into the bedroom on the second floor with a kerosene heater and camp stove. It felt like somebody was here with me, and it was very warming and welcoming."

Nancy moved in with Jim in 1982, and she, too, was content to let their unknown spirit friend have the run of the place.

Several years later, a Canadian television crew knocked on the door. "They believed that the young woman who was kidnapped and later murdered by the American Indian Movement had spent some time in the back of the house -- that maybe she was even kept here for a time," Nancy recalls. "It got us thinking."

Before then, the Weismans hadn't heard of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, the thirty-year-old American Indian Movement activist who was murdered in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, in 1975. But the house had been filled with AIM detritus when Jim had moved in, and he'd heard that at one point the building had housed the Denver chapter of AIM. While there was no evidence that Pictou-Aquash had been held against her will there before being driven to her doom at Pine Ridge -- she'd been abducted from a triplex on Pecos Street months before her body was found -- she could easily have spent time in the Ogden Street AIM office in the early '70s.

The Weismans replayed some of the stories they'd been told by friends and neighbors, who'd sworn they'd seen a thin woman in a long black dress, usually hanging around a back stairwell that once led to servants' quarters. One colleague of Jim's had been so shaken after an encounter with the apparition that she'd left a dinner party early. Could it be that the ghost of Anna Mae had returned to seek clues in her own murder?

"At the time we were first told of these encounters, of course we were thinking, 'Aha! She's a Victorian!' Now we started thinking that it could be this Indian maiden," Jim says. "It didn't really go along with what we came to understand about what happened to her, because we always got a warm-fuzzy feeling from whatever spirit, or spirits, lived with us. But you never know when you're dealing with something like this."  

Whether the apparition was the murdered activist or another disembodied spirit -- or simply the result, as Dickens would say, of a collective case of undigested beef -- the non-spirit world will never know: Jim and Nancy awoke one morning to discover that their ghost had left the building.

"One day it was just gone. It was like somebody turned off a light switch," Jim says. Since the phantasm fled around the time he finished up the house's renovation, a project that had taken well over a decade, he speculates that "maybe they, or she or whoever realized that I would take good care of the place. They were ready to leave."

Or maybe they realized that Anna Mae would someday see justice done. Earlier this month, activist-cum-street bum Arlo Looking Cloud of Denver was found guilty in Pictou-Aquash's murder; he's expected to receive a life sentence when he's sentenced this spring. His alleged accomplice is currently fighting extradition in Canada.

Main Street USA: Colfax Avenue is never really quiet. Vacant, yeah. Derelict. Dull. But never entirely quiet. As we discovered during last month's blanket smotherage of the thirty-mile strip ("Just the 'Fax, Man," January 22), cars are always racing the lights, people are always walking the street, businesses of all kinds are always welcoming customers at all hours. Still, a person needs a reason to be out after 3 a.m. -- a good one. There can only be so many drunks, so many insomniacs, so many emergency births, so many desperate middle-of-the-night errands. So in this, the first installment of our "Chronicles of Colfax" series, Off Limits discovers one of those other reasons.

3:30 a.m. Monday, February 16, 14107 East Colfax: Outside the Waffle House, the bum in the parking lot is working the bar rush. No one saw him come. He blew in with the wind, quiet like a hallucination, and then was just there -- wild-eyed, head-to-toe thrift, a fistful of greasy fried chicken in his hand. He delicately sets his dinner down on a napkin on the sidewalk every time he launches into another towering, flailing, Jesus-based entreaty for spare change, a ride or someone to join him in prayer, then goes back to it when his preaching is done.

He bangs down onto his knees in the gravel and damp to extort a couple of straight-up gangsta types -- hard boys, late rollin'. The bum, he throws up his hands, calls down a bit of silent hellfire, pounds his chest, whips off his secondhand jacket and holds it up to them like an offering. The hard boys laugh, pat pockets, slide him a bill, and he knee-crawls after them, thanking them, blessing them in passing.

At this hour, the Waffle House is anti-glitz, the sort of location Hollywood dreams about. A place where most folks keep their eyes on their own business. But when the bum is working, everyone watches through the big front windows like this is the best TV ever. It takes the bum maybe an hour to work through the bar crowds, and -- maybe because the guy isn't drunk, doesn't smell or drool or twitch except in his pantomime of religious ecstasy -- no one calls the cops or goes outside to chase him off. For sixty minutes, give or take, he's the best show in town...even if he's about the only show in town at this hour. And he never fails to score. No one passes him by without giving a little.

Later, when he comes inside, he takes a seat at the counter among the moonlit dregs and begins counting his take -- folding bills into one pile, counting change into another. He buys himself coffee and a sandwich and eats between lapses back into his act -- rising to pat himself down, to stroke the jacket that's been blessed by the Lord, to ask the cook if he believes in the mercy of Jesus Christ. But as dawn approaches and the crowds disperse, the lunatic energy bleeds out of him. He slumps, folds himself into a night-owl hunch with hands wrapped around his coffee cup and sags into the counter. Out of the spotlight glow of the sickly yellow Waffle House sign, he's just another midnight boy, an actor without an audience, grime smudged up around his eyes like missed traces of greasepaint.

He looks up, then says to no one in particular, "Jesus, there's got to be an easier way to make a living."

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