Colfax chronicles: Fabric Lab is on the move.
Colfax chronicles: Fabric Lab is on the move.
Brendan Harrington

Off Limits

While Ingrid Vachier, a 35-year-old Coloradan who's originally from the Dominican Republic, was getting the works for ABC's Extreme Makeover, she had no idea her husband was cutting a rug with another woman.

Ingrid was in California for two months, where plastic surgery was done on her face, breasts and belly; her teeth were whitened and her frizzy hair styled. Meanwhile, husband Elvin was getting a crash course in some fancy footwork. Roberta Farley, who owns Denver's Shut Up and Dance, was hired by the show to teach him salsa dancing and the merengue -- and how to lead a woman with a strong personality.

In March, Extreme Makeover hosted Ingrid's "reveal" at La Rumba, the popular club at 99 West Ninth Avenue. But it was Farley's revealing little number that caught Ingrid's eye that night. She was the only person there that Ingrid didn't know, and when Elvin told her that Farley had taught him how to dance, Ingrid stormed over. "You will never dance with him again," Ingrid said, waving her index finger in her face.

But then Elvin took Ingrid out on the floor, where the couple danced together perfectly. And after that, Ingrid thanked Farley.

Farley cried.

To find how much of this drama ABC caught on camera, you'll have to tune into the Extreme Makeover episode airing July 14.

Street dreams: The Bluebird District of East Colfax Avenue is getting an extreme makeover, too, as some of the new tenants that transformed the blocks between St. Paul and Cook streets a few years ago start changing their looks.

For starters, Fabric Lab is getting a whole new face. The locals-only clothing boutique is moving from a dungeon-like space under Hairspray salon to its own digs a few doors down, at 3105 East Colfax Avenue. "We're getting tons more new designers," says owner Tran Wills. "Like thirty, from starting at eight. The space is a little bit more, but it's worth it. I'm going to be able to do more events because I couldn't do that when I was in the basement. I thought about leaving Colfax and maybe finding something cheaper, but I knew I'd rather stick it out here and make Colfax better." She's planning an open house at the 600-square-foot shop from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 9, and then a "big, big opening" to benefit the Colorado Hip Hop Coalition July 30.

Also smoothing out some wrinkles is ArmAzem Bookstore & Café at 3215 East Colfax, Westword's Best New Store Anywhere on Colfax this past year. "We're doing really good," says head book slinger Blair Dunn. "Somebody came and wanted to purchase it, possibly. I don't know if they'll change the name. But if we bring somebody in, I want to be an investor, more of a silent partner. The person we're talking to loves the coffee, books and community aspects. I'm so excited about the Bluebird District, and I'll always be a part of it."

If only collagen were so permanent.

Scene and herd: For those of you rubbernecking along Speer Boulevard this past weekend, those white sheets tied around the trees were advertising "ONE is a new effort by Americans to rally Americans -- ONE by ONE -- to fight the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty," the website reads. "The ONE Campaign is engaging Americans through a diverse coalition of faith-based and anti-poverty organizers to show the steps people can take, ONE by ONE, to fight global AIDS and poverty."

And one by one, city workers cut down the white bands on Monday.

On the Record

Denver Public Schools are out for the summer, but the learning curve's just starting for Michael Bennet , mayor John Hickenlooper's former chief of staff who was named DPS superintendent late last week. We raised our hand to ask him a few questions.

Q: Why would you want to be the superintendent? People are so passionate about education that it seems like it would be the worst, most political job.

A: People are so passionate about education. I can't think of anything they're more passionate about. Yet the results we continue to see don't reflect the passion people have and the interest they have in their kids' success. My hope is we can harness the community's interest.

Q: What is your first priority?

A: The first thing is to assemble a leadership team that will consist of some people who are there and some who are new. Particularly a new chief academic officer.

Q: What are you looking for in a new CAO?

A: Ideally, I'd like to have somebody who demonstrates an ability to raise student achievement. Someone who has done that in a reform context. But it could be someone who has done it across the district or in a school. Someone who is a gifted implementer and not a finger-wagger.

Q: Now that you're gone from his office, do you have any funny stories about life with the mayor?

A: Every day there is a funny story about life with the mayor. The great thing is that he doesn't have a lack of imagination and he has a sense of possibility, so it can be pretty interesting to be there.

Q: Cole Finegan's name is being bandied about for your old job. Who would you recommend?

A: We're not sure what we're going to do. I'm going to spend some time this weekend trying to reflect on names.

Q: Do you have any advice for your successor?

A: My advice to anybody who takes the job would be to recognize what an excellent team of people the mayor has around him. Be ambitious about what can be achieved.

Q: What's the story behind your rumpled style of dress?

A: It's just the way I've always been. I haven't seen a reason to change.

Q: Do you ever wear the cowboy boots you bought at Cheyenne Frontier Days, or was that just for show?

A: I do. Just not in the summer.

Q: Do your kids go to DPS?

A: My oldest one starts kindergarten at Bromwell this fall.

Q: You worked for Philip Anschutz. Have you seen any of his movies?

A: Yes.

Q: What makes you excited and passionate when you get up in the morning?

A: There are a lot of people who have said to me, in that polite way of saying it, "Congratulations -- if that's what you really wanted." But I see this as the opportunity of a lifetime. I can't see anything more important to work on.


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