Boulder high school teacher Ramsey Brookhart remembers the night Michael Jackson unveiled the moonwalk for a television audience in 1983. "I was at my grandma's house in Littleton," he says. Jackson's stunt held the then-seven-year-old spellbound. "It's the perfect attention-grabber," he explains. "That's why Michael Jackson did it."
And that's why Brookhart, today a 28-year-old teacher of astronomy, literature and Spanish, will frequently do the moonwalk for a classroom full of otherwise bored students. That's why his best friend, Adam Hall, who lives in San Francisco, does it, too.
When the two met at the University of Colorado at Boulder, they realized they both had more than a passing interest in environmental activism, booze and the dance moves of Michael Jackson. "I took breakdancing lessons in the third grade from this fat white guy," Hall says proudly. Surely, they thought, there must be a way to connect their interests.
They discovered it in 1999. Pleasantly smashed and unable to drive home from a Boulder bar, they challenged one another to a moonwalk race. There they were, at 2 a.m., moonwalking side by side down the middle of an icy street. Not long after, they founded Moonwalk for Earth to raise worldwide awareness of the importance of renewable energy sources. They do this through feats of moonwalking -- as when Hall, Brookhart and a third friend set the world record for a moonwalk relay when they trekked from Boulder to Denver in October 2002. "We're more pranksters than activists," says Hall, "but our pranks have turned into activism."
Last month, they decided to break the Guinness World Record for longest distance moonwalked in under an hour -- set by Hall himself, when he moonwalked 1.5 miles. The plan was for everyone to walk normally across the Golden Gate Bridge, then for Hall to moonwalk back while the others recorded history. Only two official witnesses were required; one of them was our Off Limits correspondent.
As Hall danced down the walkway, a few passersby could tell that he was trying to break a record of some kind, but no one guessed that it was for moonwalking. By the time he was three-quarters of the way across the bridge, he was dripping with sweat and in pain. His hip was giving him trouble, as were the balls of his feet, which were covered in old-school checkered Vans. "My calves are good," he explained, "but the balls of my feet -- that's what's taking the hit. It's like, 'Boom, boom, boom.' Vans don't have much padding. I'm taking one for the team for style points."
Hall finally crossed the imaginary finish line -- 1.6 miles in 45 minutes -- to little fanfare. As our eyewitness noted, moonwalking around the world in the name of renewable energy may be lame, but it's a hell of a lot better than just attending the occasional protest. As Brookhart puts it, "It's something so ludicrous that you have to pay attention."
'Clothes encounters: That 13th Avenue institution, iMi Jimi, is getting a makeover, with new owners and a new look.
"We're changing to be a little more price-friendly for the neighborhood," says Jodi Ulrich, the shop's new manager. "We're doing more street-friendly, as well as some of the higher-end stuff. We're still going to carry Free People and some of the other lines, but we're also bringing in some lower-priced points like Juicy."
In early July, Kendra DeHaven, owner of Thrifty Stick and Thrifty Stick II, bought the store from Stephanie Fast, who's left for the balmier (if sodden) climes of Florida. Fast had taken the reins from Christina Hollar, who ran the store for nine years after her husband, Tom, was murdered in 1993 near the King Soopers at Ninth Avenue and Corona Street. Remarried, with a child, she now lives in L.A. Meanwhile, Tom's killers, Stephen Dwayne Harrington and Shane Damone Davis, were sentenced to life plus 208 years in prison; their crime was one of the most infamous episodes in what became known as the Summer of Violence.
"The store will not be significantly different," Ulrich says. "We're keeping the same name, and the history. You wouldn't believe how many people still come in and want to talk about Tom and talk about what happened. People are constantly coming in with memories of this place."
'Scene and herd: Mayor John Hickenlooper may have removed himself from his own restaurant empire, but other restaurants aren't shy about putting the arm on Hizzoner. At the new Wholly Tomato! in the Beauvallon, diners can get their hands around a Hickenlooper -- "veggie deli slices topped with fresh tomatoes, melted Swiss cheese and a light honey mustard dressing," according to the menu. Why that combo, and not, say, the Cajun-spiced steamed salmon sandwich? "I guess it's because he's kind of a turkey," explains proprietor Stephen Anson. "The veggie deli slices we use are veggie turkey slices." ...The fare was considerably more upscale -- if less planned -- when David Byrne and his entourage mountain-biked and, in one case, rollerbladed over to Marczyk Fine Foods for an al fresco dinner before Friday's concert at the Ogden Theatre. A Byrne operative had stopped by the market to pick up some supplies and was so enamored of the spot that she brought the whole gang (who keep their alternative means of transport in the touring truck) back for dinner. Fortunately, owner Pete Marczyk already had the grills going for burger-flipping Friday. On Sunday, Byrne played the Denver Botanic Gardens -- where Hickenlooper himself, along with son Teddy, were spotted in the crowd. ...The crowd was much larger at Saturday's CU-CSU showdown in Folsom Field, but it was still easy to spot Carmelo Anthony strutting down the CU sideline, then across the back of the end zone in front of the student section. Unannounced over the loudspeaker and sporting an all-white, game-day jumpsuit, Melo pimp-limped his way to the west side of the stadium, then up through the stands, high-fiving surprised fans before disappearing onto the concourse. Guess we're not in Athens anymore.
Locals were surprised at how hot politics were getting in normally laid-back Evergreen: Over the weekend, a Ken Salazar for U.S. Senate poster that was hung prominently next to El Rancho was defaced with the word "Commie" in red spray paint. And a longtime Evergreen resident, who sports two anti-Bush bumper stickers, had a second anonymous note placed on his windshield. The latest read: "A vote for Kerry is a vote for Al Qaeda." Glad to see informed dialogue is alive in the foothills. As it is in Commerce City, where Pete Coors received a similar thrashing. A row of his campaign posters along Quebec Street were crossed out in red spray paint with the word "joto" -- or "fag," in Spanish slang -- emblazoned across them. Maybe Coors should rethink his stance on gay marriage.
Finally, former U.S. Senate candidate Rick Stanley will be back in court on September 10. But before Supreme Court Justice Joseph Quinn can hand down Stanley's sentence for threatening the two judges who heard a previous Stanley gun-violation case, he'll have to read California attorney Peter Mancus's 42-point brief outlining why Stanley is not only innocent, but a good patriot. Reason No. 25: "Rick Stanley is a patriot with big, bold, gold planted [sic] balls. He is certainly no limp dick. Instead, he is a boner. His Liberty Erection is firm, straight, and vertical. Stanley is a ramrod who stood tall and stands taller despite, and because of, the multiple convictions he has racked up in his pursuit of Liberty that has exposed Tyranny. His Liberty Erection points to an inspiring way to live: LIVE FREE OR DIE!"
What's So Funny
By Adam Cayton-Holland
When I heard a Boulder student yell, "Hey, you fucking faggots, let's get the fucking move on," I realized I was not in Kansas anymore. Up until that point, tailgating before the annual University of Colorado/Colorado State University match-up, my first-ever CU football game, had been pretty much what I'd expected: groups of college friends gathered in celebration, the hypnotic buzz of a rivalry born at the foot of the mountains, the pungent odor of cheap beer and low SAT scores. But then that statement, bellowed as it was by a frat-tastic, shirtless slab of moron in front of hundreds of people, shattered any notion that I'd fit right in with this crowd.
At my liberal-arts college, such a comment -- even if whispered between friends at the campus center -- would have been enough to induce seizures among certain waifish trust-fund hippies. The PC shock troops would have mobilized instantly, sparking protests, sit-ins, hunger strikes and vehement letter-writing campaigns. Offices would have been stormed, tears shed, friendships severed -- and the offender would have found himself at the center of a swirling shitstorm of confrontational sensitivity.
The CU student's friends simply shrugged their giant shoulders and lumbered off with him toward Folsom Field.
Before us was a swarming sea of undergraduates, a black-and-gold-clad army with occasional spots of green, like algae. Some held clever signs that said things like "CU=Guilty" and "Forget Tibet, Free Barnett." For the most part, though, they couldn't even hold their liquor. In a matter of minutes I watched three fights break out. I saw a trash can full of wet garbage bounce off the heads of several nearby CSU students before it was dumped on the event-staff worker trying to restore order. I heard a CSU fan tell a CU fan that he was going to kill him. There were more girls crying than at a seventh-grade semi-formal, and more cell phones than in downtown Tokyo. In front of me, two friends mock-wrestled. The bigger one put his smaller friend in a painful-looking hold, while the smaller one begged him to stop -- and then, in horrific slow motion, the smaller student's shoulder popped out of place. He cried out in pain, burst into tears and ran off, his bigger buddy shouting heartfelt, drunken apologies after him.
"These people are absolutely hammered," my friend Monty said to my friend Gabe. "How are they going to last the whole game if they don't serve alcohol here?"
"I don't know," Gabe said. "Good thing I swallowed that condom full of booze."
Soon my buddies and I were forced to leave our position on the sidelines, one that had afforded us the distance necessary for a lofty air of superiority, and plunge into the writhing bodies. Like the Blob, the mass took on a life of its own and moved us over toward Gate 6. Inside the tunnel, though, our forward motion halted. Angry students began chanting, pointing back the way we had come: Apparently the gate was now closed. Pandemonium ensued as our direction completely reversed. People were lifted off their feet; a child atop his father's shoulders covered his ears; two girls fell to the ground and were nearly trampled. I grabbed one by the arm and helped her up. She smiled at me, then looked at the people who'd pushed her down. "Fuck 'em up, fuck 'em up -- go, CU!"
Despite all the fuss of getting to our seats, once inside Folsom, we found things surprisingly calm. There were the usual "Fuck CSU" chants. (Betsy Hoffman wants you to know that "fuck" is a term of endearment.) There were the brazen CSU fans who waltzed through the CU student section, shouting their support of their school while getting pelted with garbage. But there were no riots, no fights, no fires -- just more drunk kids, struggling to keep their balance.
Swaying on a seat in front of me, somewhere between puking and crying, a girl yelled "Courtney, Courtney, Courtney" probably 37 times before Courtney, some three seats away, responded. The girl unzipped her North Face coat to reveal a T-shirt that said Old Navy. They both laughed so hard they fell over.
Behind me, a conversation went like this:
"Oh, my God, I can't find my cell phone!"
"Do you want me to call you?"
"Don't be such a retard."
Then, all of a sudden, it was the fourth quarter. A CU defender picked off a CSU pass and ran it back for a touchdown while the stadium roared. CSU, led by the impressively last-named Justin Holland, fought back but wound up losing the game after an inexplicably clueless bout of coaching by Sonny Lubick. The Buff players rushed the field. The yellow-jacketed security guards did their best to look daunting, but there was no question in anyone's mind that the Buffs fans were going on the field, too. I nervously anticipated what would surely turn into a nightmare mob scene of students trampling one another in senseless celebration.
What I saw instead was truly amazing.
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The students now exhibited a calmness that was almost frightening, given everything else I'd seen all day, as row after row of undergrads jumped over the edge of the stands and ran out onto the field. Those behind them did not push or shove; they merely awaited their turn before expertly leaping over like patient, happy lemmings. When it came time to honor their gridiron heroes, the CU fans showed remarkable poise, class and calm.
I watched one CU student wait for his turn. Shirtless and excited, he turned around to look at the students behind him who were waiting for the same opportunity. His gaze lifted to those higher up in the section, people like my friends and I, who were just watching the action. The look on his face was unmistakable.
"Hey, you fucking faggots!" it said. "Let's get the fucking move on!"