Ethan Wenberg

Off Limits

Thank the Supreme Deity of Sweets for Denver City Councilwoman Jeanne Raab. She always remembers the doughnuts, which is crucial, since a good sugar high is mandatory to get through public hearings. And that's double-chocolatey true for Saturday-morning conclaves.

Drawn in part by pastries, some thirty people met at the Temple Events Center last Saturday to hear senior city planner Katherine Cornwell enthuse about the Blueprint Colfax East committee's vision for Denver's thirty-mile stretch of hopes, drunks and dreams. The committee has been meeting for nearly two years, but this is the first in a series of public hearings to showcase the group's initial proposal. The plan isn't a "regulatory document" -- meaning it means nothing if city council doesn't approve the proposed zoning changes -- but participants still have sugarplum visions of high-rise developments, boutique hotels, mixed-use buildings and walkable streetscapes dancing in their heads. Still, some like the mix of sweet and sour.

"We need to talk a close look at Colfax," says Brad Cameron, a vice president of Capitol Hill United Neighbors and a lawyer in Attorney General Ken Salazar's office. "There are a lot of aspects that many of us like, and we certainly don't want to lose those desirable elements."

How "desirable" is defined, however, is relative. Cameron suggested the possibility of demolition and redevelopment of the Fillmore Auditorium if "there's more density created."

That pulled us right out of our sucrose-induced coma.

"He was expressing a concern that if there was a mad scramble for land, whether the Fillmore would be at risk since it's not a designated historic site," explains Dave Walstrom, executive director of the Colfax Business Improvement District and a leader of the Blueprint Colfax endeavor. "I think half of Colfax would chain themselves to the building if something like that was proposed. I think he used that as an example that there are some buildings on Colfax that really do need to be looked at in terms of historic preservation."

And not to sugarcoat things, Chuck Morris, senior VP of Clear Channel Entertainment Rocky Mountain Region, who brokered Clear Channel's purchase of the former Mammoth Events Center in 1999, says tartly, "We feel like we're one of the first people to put millions of dollars into that area. It's a crown jewel of the community. We're proud of what the Fillmore has meant to the Colfax community. We hope that people can see the vision for Colfax that we saw four or five years ago. I think we have done it the right way, and I hope that other people will follow."

Pass the LaMar's before things get sticky.

Love bloat: The only reasonable explanation for Marilyn Musgrave, our marriage-minded congresswoman, is that she needs to get laid. And we've got a love connection for her.

Bill Miller, from Dolores, Colorado, is looking for a lady -- one to six of them, actually -- who would be willing to have one to fifteen children with him. Sure, sure, Colorado's 4th Congressional District representative has a husband, but he's obviously not keeping her distracted enough to save the state from continued sex-ploitation. And besides, Miller's willing to share.

On his website,, Miller "presents an idea that I would like to realize concerning the establishment of a family. I know exactly what kind of female I want. While I can and do like and appreciate many women of varying personality types, the type of which I speak are special to me.... I would like to give one or more of these a home. A place where they could live, or could stay from time to time, and interact with others like themselves."

Really, could there be a better come-on for the self-anointed queen of family values? She could be leader of her own cult of mini-Musgraves. But would the sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment live up to Miller's high expectations? You bet.

White? Check.

Child-bearing age? At 55, she's a bit past her prime, but with medical advancements, her own four children and cloning, we're sure something can be arranged.

Average height? Check.

Non-smoker? Check.

Non-drinker? Check.

Small breasts? We'll leave that to Miller.

Blond hair? Check.

Athletic, muscular legs? There have got to be some physical advantages to leading all those angry mobs.

Round, compact buttocks? She's definitely a tight-ass.

Despite Musgrave's prominent status in the community, Miller, who declined to be interviewed, requires a personality test before he'll consider her for his social experiment. So, as a friend, we took the liberty of filling out the Advisor Team's Temperament Sorter II for her.

It turns out that Musgrave is an SJ, or Guardian, in the Jung-Meyer-based test. (Sorry, we wouldn't shell out the $14.95 for the more specific analysis.) But the free report is pretty spot-on: "Guardians value belonging to a group or community," according to the test results. "They maintain stability through responsible, conservative, traditional behavior. Guardians sometimes worry that respect for authority, even a fundamental sense of right and wrong, is being lost."

And now she has the opportunity to go and create that world and spawn other homophobic, busybody blabbermouths -- all within the confines of Dolores. Plus, she and Miller have some common interests: Musgrave holds a bachelor's degree in social studies, while Miller is finishing his first novel, which is part science-fiction, part social commentary; Miller owns a lawn-care/landscaping business, and Musgrave grew up "in rural Weld County, a place where a wide blue sky meets fields of corn, hay and other agricultural staples."

We tried to pitch her on the idea after the Federal Marriage Amendment rally at the State Capitol on February 20, but she was too busy shouting down members of the Pink Bloc and an activist carrying a sign reading "Musgrave Licks Bush." So now we implore Miller: Do it for your country, for the red, white and blue.

From sluts to slots: The ghosts of Cripple Creek's legendary prostitutes must make room for a casino, which has taken over the circa 1896 brothel that's been operated as the non-profit Old Homestead Museum for 46 years. Already the dining room -- which recently sported a madam's pink chandelier -- is off limits, and now museum supporters, who use the building rent-free and at one point had tried to buy it for $350,000, are intent on saving the remaining nine rooms and such vintage artifacts as a hundred-year-old condom.

"I argued against this with the owners," says Charlotte Bumgarner, the museum's volunteer director. "I'm scared the casino people are going to destroy the inside of the building to redecorate."

But a spokesman for the Wild Horse Casino just says "Whoa!"

"There's been a lot of rumors, but we want to get the truth out," says Steve Siegrist. "We want to preserve the building -- and we'd like to see the museum open even more." Wild Horse, one of seventeen gaming enterprises in Cripple Creek, already owned the building next door to the old bordello; it acquired the Homestead in July 2002. When the 367-machine casino opens this spring, Siegrist swears, his company will use the museum's dining-room office, a dilapidated space he likens to "a broom closet," only for as long as it takes to launch the second phase of the operation, which could include building a structure above the Victorian brothel "to help preserve it from the elements."

Bumgarner concedes that the operators "said that eventually we'd get it back." But museum supporters aren't resting easy. They fear that if the casino expands again -- say, to one of the bedrooms that still have antique, $100-a-roll English wallpaper -- more than the sexy spirits will suffer.

According to Larry Manning, Cripple Creek's director of planning and historic preservation, the building's owners don't face review on anything done in the interior, and the only obstacle to expansion "is the court of public opinion."

"If we lose this, we're losing one of the landmarks that gives this area its historical meaning," says Cathy Knis, a Cripple Creek graphic designer.

Despite its racy past, the building -- one of only a handful of vintage brothel museums across the country -- is a point of civic pride in this town of 1,250. The annual Pearl's Follies, named after Cripple Creek's most notorious madam, raises thousands of dollars to support the museum. This year's fundraiser is set for March 5, and Siegrist insists the Wild Horse owners will be there to boost the bordello.

Otherwise, those lusty ghosts could get screwed -- again.


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