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Off Limits

Muddy's gets a facelift.

Although the space at 2200 Champa Street was empty for seven years, there was always hope that somehow, someday, someone would bring back Muddy's Java Cafe, the coffeehouse that helped two generations of Denver youth define themselves. But now that hope's dried up. The building was purchased last year by Andy Mansfield, who's been steadily turning it into a two-story gay and lesbian nightclub, Evolution, slated to open next month.

Mansfield moved to Denver six years ago, so he never got the chance to spend any time in the hallowed -- if grimy -- halls of the Muddy's on Champa, much less at the coffeehouse's original incarnation, in the 2500 block of 15th Street. "I've heard plenty about it," he says. "I've even talked with the grandson of the man who built the building. But the whole thing is being rebuilt; we're only keeping about three walls of the original. It would have been much cheaper to just rip it down and start over, but it's such a beautiful building."

Former Muddy's owner Joe DeRose, now proprietor of the Carioca Cafe, agrees. "I'm glad to see the building being saved," he says. "It was such a piece of shit, I figured it was going to be torn down."

All physical reminders of Muddy's may be gone, but the memories remain as strong as that last cup of coffee at 4 a.m. Have a Muddy's story? E-mail it to muddys@westword.com; Off Limits will serve up the most stirring anecdotes in honor of Muddy's final days.

Clothes encounters: Two words: see-through catsuit. That was the best outfit at last Saturday's Fashion Forward show at Rise; unfortunately, the forward-looking statement was made not on the runway, but in the audience. As the models walked by with their I'm-so-bored looks, wearing clothes that would inspire just such a sentiment, Denver Museum of Nature & Science volunteer coordinator Jacqueline Close was providing a much-needed one-woman spectacle in beige.

Judging from the display on stage, the height of fashion for men in Denver is jeans, square-toed shoes and a button-down shirt, untucked. It's a fine look, a look that most men can carry off without fear of being labeled stray (straight-gay) or metrosexual, but at a fashion show that bills itself as "forward," you hope for something a bit more than walk-of-shame casual.

For women, the look was -- you'll never guess -- strappy sandals, short skirts and sexy blouses. True, there were some fabulous pieces from Eve and Bolderdash, but by inherent definition, anything currently hanging on the racks isn't "forward." And thanks for the great lingerie, SOL, but bare butts haven't been shocking since Victoria began airing her Secret on prime-time television.

In a town just popping with designers, it's a shame that no up-and-comers were included. We're not talking about society fave Gabriel Conroy -- he's way past arriving -- but designers like BaSheBa Earth and Nicole Beckett and Lynne Bruning, whose fashion is far more interesting than another Nicole Miller dress or Cosabella thong.

Organizer Kevin Larson did display a few moments of true inspiration, including a vignette in which the models were decked out all in black trimmed with neon-green el wire. The swoosh of a tiered hoop-like skirt illuminated by the faint glow of the wire was breathtaking. And while such truly avant-garde fashion may be completely unattainable for the average workaday woman, part of the joy of haute couture is creating the fantasy.

It was a good event for a great cause (the Gathering Place), but Fashion Forward shouldn't be billed as a night of "imagination, fashion and intrigue" if the most intriguing fashion is sitting in the spectator seats.

Scene and herd: Georgetown's former mayor, Koleen Brooks, is back on the pole at the Penthouse Club. "Her Honor," as the nouveau-riche strip joint is billing Brooks on its sign, has returned to her chosen profession after a brief interlude as a pol. At least her new clientele is happy to ogle her womanly assets, unlike the Georgetown residents who recalled Brooks in 2002, after a series of escapades that included flashing her much-enhanced breasts at a local bar ... Get ready for yet another fifteen minutes of fame: Informed sources say the next Real World city will be either Boulder or Austin. On September 21, folks between the ages of 18 and 24 can show the good people of MTV that Boulder has the potential for trashier story lines than even Days of Our Lives. Just show up between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Foundry Billiards Club, where Tom Arnold and The Best Damn Sports Show Period filmed two weeks ago.


What's So Funny?

By Adam Cayton-Holland

When gold was discovered at the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek in 1858, the find inspired a massive influx of fortune seekers to what had been the buffalo-hunting grounds of such Plains Indian tribes as the Cheyenne and Arapaho. Some natives fought the newcomers, others worked for peace. Cheyenne chiefs Black Kettle and White Antelope traveled to Washington, D.C., to plead for their land, receiving a large American flag and a medal from President Abraham Lincoln as thanks for their efforts. Still, tensions mounted. In 1864, with their tribes squarely divided, the chiefs came to Denver to meet with Territorial Governor John Evans and Colonel John Chivington. After a day of peace talks, the chiefs and their entourage moved on to Sand Creek, where they set up camp under the promised protection of Fort Lyon. The following dawn, Chivington and his Colorado volunteers descended on Sand Creek, slaughtering and scalping any man, woman or child they came across, while Lincoln's flag flapped proudly in the wind. By the time the dust settled, nearly 200 Indians had been massacred. The remaining Cheyenne and Arapaho were rounded up and shipped off to Oklahoma.

In 1965, we gave them $15 million as an apology.

Problem solved, right?

Wrong.

Now those pesky Indians want a casino out by DIA. In exchange for the 27 million acres they say were stolen from them -- an area that includes Denver, Colorado Springs (hell, take it) and everywhere north and east of Salida -- the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma are willing to settle for 500 acres where they can put a casino, a luxury golf course, a hotel and an American Indian cultural center. Proposal pusher Steve Hillard (Cheyenne for "He who profits from others' misery") claims the project would create 10,000 jobs and over ten years give the state a billion dollars for education programs. Another $100 million would return to the destitute Oklahoma reservation, where the unemployment rate is above 50 percent.

"Blackmail," cries Bill Owens, arching his eyebrows for the cameras.

(Oh, come on, Bill, how can you know you won't like it if you haven't tried it? Look, you're busy, I'm busy, but let's grab a night and go to Vegas together. Strippers, coke, a little high-stakes blackjack. It'll be awesome! And I'm willing to bet you'll leave wishing you could have all that right here in the C to the motherfucking O.)

The mud-slinging continues -- and it's not that fancy, Indian-spa-type mud, either. Everyone from former Colorado secretary of state Gale Norton to Senator John McCain is weighing in on the issue, and years of painful litigation loom. Unless, of course, the state gets smart and offers the angry tribes a few of these compromise consolation prizes, thoughtfully provided by What's So Funny.

First crack at 35 to-be-determined debutantes

Highlands Ranch

$250 gift certificate to Bead It

The return of Ralphie from CU

Official renaming of Colorado Boulevard to Our-Bad Road

Park Place, Baltic Avenue and Water Works

You know that the Coors brewery is in Colorado, right? Maybe we can work something out there.

If all else fails, though, fuck those Redskins. Didn't we already give them Clinton Portis?