PEOPLE & PLACES
part 2 of 2
Best Local Radio Talk-Show Host
Scott HastingsKTLK-AM 760 You don't have to be a jock to appreciate Scott Hastings, whose sports-talk show with Dave Logan provides some of the most lively conversation on the airwaves. The former Denver Nugget handles callers smoothly, knows his stuff and, most important, actually has a sense of humor about the games--that's games, sports fans--that he gets paid to talk about.
Readers' choice: Ken Hamblin
Best Name for a Local Radio Talk-Show Host
Bob HecklerKNUS-AM 710 You don't like Bob Heckler and his more-right-than-Rush worldview? Get a real job, pinko!
Best Crackpot Radio Guest
New World Order, congressional corruption, subversion, perversion, CIA, DIA--all plots thicken before your ears when your talk-radio dial lands on Stew Webb. Whether he's pontificating on Christian radio or conservative radio, everything fits together in a cosmic oneness. Webb's five-minute-long sentences may leave you wobbly, but at least you'll have figured out why the world is so screwed up.
Best Curbside Newspaper Vendor
Twyman Brown can be found practically every morning at Speer Boulevard and Auraria Parkway hawking the Rocky Mountain News, a handicap he overcomes with the force of his relentlessly upbeat personality. Rain or shine, Brown greets every driver he encounters with a wave, a hearty "good morning" and a broad smile, whether they're buying anything from him or not. And he's always willing to direct traffic if a tie-up develops.
Air Jordan's retirement
Mike Monroe, Denver Post
Veteran Nuggets beat writer Mike Monroe is well connected in NBA circles, so when a former head coach ("Not Doug Moe," Monroe insists) tipped him two days before the bombshell that Michael Jordan was about to quit basketball, the reporter listened carefully. Quietly, he checked other sources (except for Chicago media types, of course). The next day NBA commissioner David Stern laughed when Monroe posed The Question via long distance. But the day after that, Bulls coach Phil Jackson wasn't laughing. Retirement story confirmed. Monroe filed his Jordan copy many hours before the cat jumped out of the bag at the White Sox playoff game. The Post leveraged credit for the scoop on the Associated Press wire but had to share it with two pretenders--the Chicago Sun-Times and NBA cash cow NBC. Monroe was the man, though.
Best Newspaper Feud
Woody "Fatboy" Paige vs. Norm "The Notes Clown" Clarke
Woody Paige and Norm Clarke, rival sports columnists for the Post and the News, just couldn't stop loathing each other, and it showed. Paige sniped at Clarke while Normie-boy--who coined his enemy's infamous "Fatboy" moniker during a confrontation with his rival around a California hotel pool some years back--did a slow burn. Readers could only sit back and enjoy the view.
Best Broadcast Feud
Bob Enyart vs. Mason Lewis
Bob Enyart, of KWHD-TV/Channel 53, promotes himself as television's only homophobic talk-show host. Mason Lewis is the openly gay news director at radio station KNUS. Enyart publicly charged Lewis with endangering fellow KNUS employees by inviting them to a staff picnic without telling them his lover had hepatitis. When Lewis's attorney fired off an angry letter, Enyart read it on the air, after first spraying it with disinfectant and removing it from a cage with a pair of surgical tongs. It's good to see media types working out their differences so professionally.
Best High-Brow Feud
Judith Albino vs. the Board of Regents
Is it a gender thing? A case of incompetence? A personality problem? No one really knows, but the dramatic--make that melodramatic--struggle between CU President Judith Albino and her detractors reached the bombastic proportions of a professional wrestling match. After all the hoopla, Albino still clings to her presidency--but a group of consultants hired by the regents says she should get the boot. Let's get ready to rrrrrumble!
Best Monument to a Feud
This beauty is said to have been the capper in a game of civic oneupsmanship between banker Joseph Addison Thatcher and fellow bank official Dennis Sullivan, himself responsible for the Sullivan Gateway looming off Colfax Avenue above East High's esplanade. Donated to the city in 1918 by Thatcher, who was reportedly engaged in a grandiose public sculpture competition with Sullivan, the neoclassical work by Lorado Taft is a triad of statues, each depicting an aspect of better character--learning, loyalty and love. Seventy-six years later, it's still a noble gesture.
Best Newly Dedicated Monument
The Dalton Trumbo Free Speech Fountain
University of Colorado-Boulder
Naming the fountain area on the Boulder campus after Dalton Trumbo, a Colorado native who attended CU in the Twenties, was an inspired idea. After all, the fountain has long been the preferred place in Boulder for speakers to rant and rave and harangue any and all who pass by. The late Trumbo, a free-speech advocate, novelist and blacklisted screenwriter, would approve.
Best Tabloid Trial
Crystal Cartier vs. Michael Jackson
This trial had everything: a superstar defendant fresh from settling a child molestation suit; a plaintiff who came to court in a tight, tight, tight black leather outfit that bulged as much as the eyes of those who saw it; a cranky judge who admitted knowing nothing about music; and a circus atmosphere of the sort seen far too infrequently in these parts. Michael Jackson's special guest appearance--made just prior to a ruling by the jury that the King of Pop had not stolen the song "Dangerous" from Denver songwriter Crystal Cartier--was the ideal capper for an exhibition that made The People's Court look like Masterpiece Theatre.
Best Tabloid College Course
Journalism 4871-810: Topics/Issues in Gender Media
University of Colorado-Boulder
Students probe pop star Madonna (intellectually, of course) in this summer journalism class. Described in the syllabus as exploring "the presentation of gender in costuming, gesturing and movement," the course also seeks to instruct students in such postmodern skills as "reading gender code and spectator response." Assignments include analyzing videos and films from Ms. Ciccone herself, in addition to the scrutiny of assorted "scholarly" essays. Does the campus bookstore sell Playboy?
Best Tabloid News Flash From Colorado
Weekly World News
In an urgent item datelined Denver, the supermarket tattler reported that "lamebrained" Colorado salesman Denny Setzwick was beating the blues by giving himself shock therapy with a cattle prod.
Best Colorado Connection to the Tonya-and-Nancy Story
Shawn Eckardt, Tonya Harding's 26-year-old bodyguard implicated as the hitman in the January clubbing of skate queen Nancy Kerrigan, was once expelled from an Aspen security school called Executive Security International. Unfortunately for Eckardt, the training center for professional muscle, which offers courses in "defensive shooting," escape and evasion driving, unarmed defensive tactics, observational psychology, profiles of terrorism and "principles of protection," didn't have a class in deep knee bending. According to ESI director Bob Duggan, the pudgy, disheveled Eckardt "fostered a James Bondian fantasy about himself" during his days in Colorado.
Best Colorado Connection to the Heidi Fleiss Story
Samantha Renee Burdette
Cherry Creek High School graduate Samantha Renee Burdette (class of '86) made a name for herself working as a high-paid fashion model, but she may be best known as a handmaiden to Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss. Burdette, who according to police was a "very trusted employee" of Fleiss's, was arrested last June after agreeing to have sex with (and provide several other willing ladies to) an undercover Los Angeles police officer. The cost: $1,500 a head. So to speak.
Best Appearance by a Coloradan in Playboy
A waitress at the downtown Hooters restaurant, Casey Gray appeared in Playboy magazine's perky "Girls of Hooters" tribute in April--and more than lived up to the name.
Best Appearance by a Coloradan in Playgirl
Arvada native Greg Lane didn't let his appearance as Playgirl magazine's "Man for March" go to his head. The beefy centerfold, who owns his own striptease company, cheerfully sold autographed copies for twelve bucks a pop--and at last word continued to eat lunch every day at the Country Buffet restaurant in Westminster.
Best Self-Proclaimed Former Part-Time Prostitute
Roseanne Arnold, who got her start in Denver, made some interesting revelations last year. Among the most provocative was her claim that she occasionally performed sexual acts for cash in cars parked near local comedy clubs. Arnold hasn't presented any evidence to support the tale, though, and no one has yet stepped forward to announce that he--or she--was the beneficiary of Rosie's sexual favors. Talk about your repressed memories.
Best Hooker History
Phil Goodstein has written the history of Denver's Jewish community, unearthed the annals of Capitol Hill, and in his most recent book, The Seamy Side of Denver, chronicled the city's brothels and madams, tossing in plenty of scandals and other related historical mayhem for your added pleasure. And all for just $16.95 a throw.
Best Flying Object in a Local TV Commercial (Human)
Doug Moreland, who owns Cherry Creek Dodge, Colorado Chrysler Plymouth and Colorado Jeep/Eagle, isn't what you'd call a telegenic guy. But he's got something even better than charisma: a willingness to make himself look stupid. Moreland has soared through the air as Superman and earned A's in historical shtick by portraying George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Move over, Jake Jabs.
Best Flying Object in a Local TV Commercial (Nonhuman)
Franklin D. Azar's car
After attorney Franklin D. Azar addresses the viewer about the finer points of personal injury law from a posh office setting, an automobile plummets into the frame and wipes out his desk. A viewer could get whiplash!
Best Balloon Payments
Pearl Street Mall, Boulder
If you've been to the mall on a Saturday, you've seen him. He's the tall, bearded fellow doing strange things to balloons. Look closer, however, and you'll discover that Bongo is an artist of rare talent and good humor, able to produce balloon swords, balloon hats, balloon animals and God knows what else--and all without suffering an inflated ego. You may wind up forking over a dollar for a one-cent balloon, but when the man with the balloon is Bongo, you won't mind a bit.
Sure his competitors bemoan John Malone's stranglehold on the 500-channel vision of the future that he and his henchmen at Tele-Communications Inc. created almost single-handedly. But let 'em gripe. He may be a robber baron, but he's our robber baron--and as long as we get our interactive TV before the rest of the country, to hell with 'em.
Best Capitalist Punishment
A few pesky speed traps are still slowing down cruising speed on the information superhighway--the Federal Communications Commission, for one. In a recent interview with Wired magazine, John Malone suggested that telecommunications travel could move much faster. "All we need is a little help," he said. "You know, shoot Hundt!" FCC chairman Reed Hundt--who's been busy slicing cable rates--was not amused. Malone apologized.
Best Arms Export
Soldier of Fortune
For years the Boulder-based bible of American paramilitarists had the Soviet Union in its gunsights, briefing its readers on the gory details of anticommunist insurgencies and singing the praises of free-world mercenaries who were willing to take on the Russkies. But the times they are a-changin'. When the magazine was distributed in the evil empire itself this year, sales exploded with the force of a well-placed cluster bomb. All 24,000 copies sent to Moscow in the initial shipment sold out; SOF executive editor Tom Slizewski noted that the Russians he and his comrades had been fighting against for years were especially interested in the publication's detailed information about firearms.
Best Disarmament Campaign
Felix L. Sparks
General Felix L. Sparks lived through World War II to lead the U.S. Army brigade that liberated the Dachau concentration camp. Nearly fifty years later his sixteen-year-old grandson was shot to death on the streets of Denver by another teenager with an automatic weapon. The general, also a former Colorado Supreme Court justice and director of the state's Department of Natural Resources, became active with the group PUNCH! (People United--No Children's Handguns!). For his efforts, he was named the 1994 winner of the Community Champion Award by the Civil Justice Foundation in Washington, D.C.
Best Visiting Dignitary
Colorado has hosted some exciting visitors lately: Pope John Paul II, President Clinton, Curtis Sliwa. Alas, they were all so...temporary. Fortunately, that's not the case with former Missouri attorney general William Webster. He'll be around at least until the end of 1995. That's because he's in stir at the Florence medium-security federal prison, serving time after pleading guilty to having state employees do personal work for him.
Bagpiper Gordon Speirs
Garden of the Gods
Gordon Speirs, a cantankerous Londoner-turned-Coloradan, learned to play the bagpipes at a World War II orphanage, where he was sent after his mother was killed in an air raid. The unwieldy instrument became his ticket to fame: Speirs was one of the premier pipers of his time, and his compositions came to dominate bagpipe repertoires worldwide. After this grand old man of the genre died of cancer at 56, his colleagues from the Pikes Peak Highlanders were on hand in full regalia as his ashes were scattered over the Garden of the Gods. We can't think of a more fitting--or mournful--memorial than a last hurrah of "Amazing Grace" among the eerie rocks.
Best Candidate for a Funeral
In February Rocky Flats manager Mark Silverman floated a novel idea for dealing with the bomb factory, where nuclear-weapons production has at long last been marked for shutdown by the federal government. His tongue-in-cheek plan: Clean it as well as it can be cleaned, then bury it--at least--six feet deep. Critics, including Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary, immediately questioned the environmental soundness of putting the world's largest supply of plutonium under grass (the worms crawl in, but they don't crawl out). But given the ignominious history of the operation, there's something attractive about putting the Flats--most of which now has a half-life of 24,000 years--in a symbolic grave.
Best Move by a Dead Guy
Major William Cooke Daniels
When local mercantile legend Major William Cooke Daniels died in 1918, he wanted to rest in pieces. Accordingly, half his ashes were placed in a lead box on the fourth floor of his famous Clock Tower on 16th Street (historians aren't sure what happened to the rest). Daniels was known as a world traveler in his day, and his remains kept up the tradition. When the clock tower was refurbished in 1980, the Major moved up to the company store at 16th and Tremont. When May D&F, the conglomerate that succeeded Daniels's original company, opened up its new store in the Cherry Creek Mall, he went uptown, taking up residence in a small vault specially installed at the swank establishment. Last March Daniels's wandering came to an end when Michael A. Blatnik, director of restoration for the clock tower, announced plans to bring the Major's better half back home this summer--and even reward him with a new bronze urn.
Best Deathbed Confessions
Funny, sad, tragic, mundane, horrifying, sexy, pathetic, heroic--Lenny Jaramillo, who pens the "Living With AIDS" column for the local gay publication Out Front, touches all bases. As the disease digs away at him, Jaramillo never seems to descend into apathy, and he knows how to describe the fear and anger--as well as the humor and irony--that cross his path. This is not sugarcoated.
Best Sacred Visit
The Ganden Jangtse Tibetan Monks
The nine holy men from India spent a week on the grounds of the Denver Art Museum creating an intricate sand mandala--something akin to a Native American sand painting--by painstakingly placing colored sand, a grain at a time, on a design five feet in diameter. But the mandala was intended as more than a work of art--it was also meant to serve as a mystical healing agent that would help cleanse the Mile High City of endemic gang violence. Couldn't hurt.
Best Speed Trap
Emerson Street, just north of I-25
If you think you'll turn off onto this one-way residential street during the morning rush hour and simply zoom northward toward downtown, forget it. The neighborhood will beat you long before you beat the traffic. The speed limit is 30 mph--that's why residents are standing outside their houses holding up signs asking you to slow down, pal! And if you decide to shrug that off, cops are often waiting just around the corner. The traffic moves well on Emerson, so relax and go with the flow.
Readers' choice: Speer Boulevard (assorted locations)
Best Road Construction Project
Forget that traffic's still snarled a few blocks to the north while Denver attempts to build its own Chunnel where Speer once crossed Broadway. From 5th Avenue down to Ohio, it's now smooth sailing--love those synchronized lights!--along this major thoroughfare. In fact, the Broadway resurfacing project went so well that the American Concrete Paving Association honored it with this year's National Excellence in Paving Award, citing the city's "holistic" approach that maintained local business access along the street while at the same time keeping traffic and work crews moving--on budget and on schedule.
Readers' choice: Speer Boulevard/Sixth Avenue underpass
Best Construction Site
Baseball fans lucky enough to drive by Coors Field on a daily basis have been amazed by its gradual and majestic transformation. The rising shell inspires a mood of hope and innocence looming over the dusty streets of lower downtown. Its natural-grass diamond and old-time ambience will be ready for our local boys of summer by next spring--and it isn't much of a stretch to already hear the cheers.
16th Street Viaduct
The dilapidated 15th and 20th Street viaducts have both already come tumbling down, and this spring it was time for the 16th to follow suit. The change brought about by the demolition was amazing to watch--as the bridge slowly disappeared, everything else reappeared. It's sunny again in lower downtown.
Best Missing Link
RTD's Light Rail
It's had the downtown streets torn up for months, it travels a route nobody needs to travel, and critics say taxpayers have been hoodwinked about the ultimate scope of RTD's "demonstration project." But as it nears completion, we can hardly wait to climb aboard. If the big MAC works half as well as the streetcar system the city tore out in the Fifties, it'll be worth it.
Best Place to Watch Trains
The farming community high up in the state's northeastern corner is the only Colorado town on the main line of the fabled Union Pacific, still the busiest railroad in the country. From the town park, well equipped with playground equipment and conveniently located hard against a super-elevated curve, you can see everything from ballast-burning stack trains to grain drags and mixed freights--many of them equipped with the biggest, meanest locomotives on the UP roster. If you bring the kids, the engineers (the nice ones, anyway) will still toot the horn for them.
Best Place to Watch Trains From a Porta-Potty
The view of the busy joint-line tracks of the Santa Fe, Southern Pacific and Burlington Northern is first-rate. As long as you're standing up.
Best New Old Neighborhood
The collection of family-owned businesses, modest homes and red-brick warehouses that rings the southern boundary of Coors Field in north downtown is in the midst of a mini-revival. Twenty-four blocks of streetscaping are going in, newly planted trees are popping up on sidewalks once notable mostly for their Ripple stains, and Rockies baseball threatens to replace transient hopscotch as the sport of choice. Thankfully, the heart of the neighborhood remains Larimer Street, where the spirit of urban renewal has left room for the Mexican groceries at Johnnie's Market and the locally famous chicken tacos--still available every Thursday--at the Mexico City Lounge.
Best Save by the Rockies
Union Pacific Headhouse
19th and Wynkoop streets
It's only right that the handsome "headhouse," nerve center of the giant railroad yard that once stood where Coors Field is being built, was spared to serve as a symbolic bookend to the ballpark. Developer Dana Crawford, who performed a similar rescue mission for the Icehouse across the street, plans to put office space, restaurants and retail shops into the old building--and perhaps even a railroad museum in the basement.
Best Reprieve From the Wrecking Ball
Rocky Mountain Consistory
1754 & 1770 Sherman St.
The fanciful Moorish building built in 1907 very nearly met destruction when the Scottish Rite Cathedral Association, which has been quietly trying to unload it, had trouble finding a buyer. But when Historic Denver got wind of the plan to topple the temple for a parking lot, there was a welcome uproar. In came the Eulipions, who are now negotiating to purchase the building--said to sport a dance hall adorned with stenciled Moorish patterns and a 550-seat auditorium--for a new cultural center.
Best Neon Sign
Benjamin Moore Paints
2500 Walnut St.
Grandfathered in when Denver's highly restrictive sign code went into effect, this bright-red beauty is one of the few rooftop giants left in the city. Originally erected in 1938, it blazed away in the evening sky until the energy crisis of 1973 forced the paint company to pull the plug. The galvanized metal relic gradually wasted away, propped up with occasional coats of automobile paint, until plant operations manager John Huss began a conservation campaign. Today the hottest new glow in NoDo stays on all night long, a comforting beacon to drivers on the 23rd Street Viaduct--and, hopes Huss, a king-size night-light for fans in the bleachers at Coors Field.
Readers' choice: The Cat Hospital, 2110 S. Holly St.
Best Appearance on Letterman by a Colorado Human
The seven-year-old winner of the sheep-riding contest at the National Western Stock Show, Amanda Archuleta told Dave she'd trained for the "Mutton Bustin'" event by riding her grandmother. "I couldn't get my legs around the sheep, and I couldn't get my legs around Grandma," she said.
Best Appearance on Letterman by a Colorado Dog
Miniature dachshund Racer did a mean imitation of a Doberman pinscher for "Stupid Pet Tricks," scrunching up his snout, growling and glaring demonically. His owner, a woman who egged him on by shouting in his ear, was pretty scary, too.
Best Appearance on Letterman's Property by a Colorado Human
The pride of Crawford, Colorado, Margaret Ray continued her reign as the Energizer bunny of celebrity obsession--and as the butt of David Letterman's jokes. Though she's been arrested at least seven times for barging onto the TV star's Connecticut property, she keeps going and going and going...
Best Letterman Top 10 List Devoted to a Former Coloradan
"Ten Signs You're in Love With Secretary of Transportation Federico Pena"
10. You read nine newspapers in hopes of seeing his name.
9. You believe his speeches are filled with secret messages to you.
8. You hate other cabinet members for holding him back.
7. In your new wallet, where it says, "In case of emergency, please notify," you filled in "Federico Pena."
6. You don't mind that he's just a secretary.
5. You've put posters of him up right over your old posters of former transportation secretary James Burnley.
4. Your two cats are named Fed and Pena.
3. You break into his house claiming to be Mrs. Pena.
2. You drive 55, hoping he'll notice.
1. You come to after being hit with a two-by-four and say, "Forget about me. How's Federico Pena?"
Best Resurrection of an Historic Trail (Urban)
Reportedly the longest city street in the country, Colfax Avenue stretches from the foothills to seemingly clear out in Kansas. Along the way, it embraces some of Colorado's honkyiest tonks--from the ZanzaBar to the Bugs Bunny Motel. In honor of the strip's glorious, if goriest, history, this year the Colorado Legislature--itself located on this neat street--passed a resolution declaring Colfax "a heritage corridor." Supporters argued that the street was as worthy as Route 66, even if it didn't have a TV show named for it. Responded one lawmaker: "Sure it did. They called it Dragnet."
Best Resurrection of an Historic Trail (Rural)
Old Spanish Trail
While the rest of the country celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Oregon Trail, the Old Spanish Trail Association, with San Luis Valley historian Ron Kessler in the lead (and Senators Ben Nighthorse Campbell and Hank Brown pulling from Washington, D.C.), labored to gain historic designation for a far older route. The Old Spanish Trail not only spans 1,200 miles of spectacular scenery but centuries of history as well. And Colorado accounts for a significant cut of the action, since the northern branch--which approximates the 1776 route taken by early Spanish explorers Dominguez and Escalante--leads north through the San Luis Valley and Saguache before turning west and heading into Utah. Vaya con Dios.
Best Colfax Avenue Memory
Eddie Bohn's Pig `N' Whistle
For decades, boxer Eddie Bohn's Pig `N' Whistle motel/restaurant was the most fabulous stop on the Fabulous 40 strip. But after I-70 drew off the tourist traffic and this stretch of Colfax turned into one used-car lot after another, Bohn was fighting a losing battle. His place closed up almost immediately after he died several years ago; the last remains of the Pig are scheduled to be auctioned off this summer. In the meantime, let's drink a brandy flip to Eddie and recite this ode in his honor:
Notes Upon Driving Down West Colfax on a Foggy Night at 2 a.m.
I thought I saw the ghost of Eddie Bohn
Walk through the Pig `N' Whistle grounds, alone,
Where once his pink adobe rooms were rented
To pugilists he (in the past) tormented.
His pink motel was gateway to the West!
The murals on his dining room--the best!
His curios were rad, his themes were piggish,
His hands, his ears, his feet, all were biggish--
As was his son, Punch Bohn, the loud, the kind,
Who often asked: "Who gives a rat's behind?"
I thought I saw his beehived consort, Janet,
Who if you had a party, she could plan it
With Pig-Upon-a-Bun for ten or twenty
And always beer and brandy flips aplenty.
I thought I saw the Pig when it was hopping
With Bronco fans who, for the weekend stopping,
Would pal about with Eddie on the links
Or later, in the cocktail lounge, for drinks.
Oh, Pig `N' Whistle, wherefore art thou lately?
Your neon dimmed, your mass no longer stately
Inside you not a quipper nor a kidder
Your whole shebang sold to the highest bidder.
When next the auctioneer comes 'round I pray
That whosoever purchases you that day
Will steel him or herself with stalwart nerve
To treat you with the honor you deserve.
end of part 2
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