Reader: There's more to Denver than A to Z
"A to Zzzz," Patricia Calhoun,
I was so glad to see Patricia Calhoun's take on Denver A to Z. When I saw the exhibit, I could not believe how dumbed-down the content seemed — and the letters assigned to most of the topics were nonsensical. She did a good job of untangling the alphabet and making a more sensible list — even if the concept is still insipid, like much of what I've found at the History Colorado Center.
There were several oversights in your so-called improvements for Denver A to Z. Your choices are the same, just in a different order and, in most cases, a half-baked thought. How could your choices be less "Zzzzz" if they are the same as the originals? More detail of your flubs:
D is for Dinosaurs: Dinosaur Ridge is in Morrison, Colorado. Or did you just want to highlight Dinger, the "worst mascot in professional sports"? Maybe you should get his name right first, just a thought. The original choice for T is Triceratops, so there are your dinosaurs — they were already included.
E for Elitch's: Mary Elitch's bio is featured on the interactive Denver Smackdown. Elitch's is also presented as the choice for A (Adrenaline: Amusement Parks).
F is for Football: So you want the Broncos team to be highlighted, but not the "ultimate fan"?
I is for Indica: This exhibit was opened before the elections, hence before Amendment 64. Duh.
J is for Jaywalking: Okay, I get that having the Barnes Dance would be cool, but J for Jaywalking? WTF? That doesn't even make sense — why would you include jaywalking? It is the exact opposite of the Barnes Dance that you want to showcase (mass legally sanctioned pedestrian vs. one pedestrian crossing illegally).
K is for Ku Klux Klan: This is where it concerns me that maybe you have not taken the time to explore the entire Colorado Stories hall. In the exhibit Mountain Haven: Lincoln Hills, before you walk into the cabin, there are two glass cases that talk about the history of the KKK in Denver.
M is for Mountains and O is for Outdoors and P is for Parks: How redundant?! Again, you want to clip the HCC letter choice (Near and Dear Mountains) only to have the same thing mentioned with a different letter. In your choice for P is for Parks, you mention Red Rocks and City Park — both of which are included in the original History Colorado Center lineup.
R is for Railroads: So you want to clip U for Union Station? But you want R for railroads?
T is for Tabor: Um, the Tabor Bill is for the State of Colorado. Let me remind you again that this exhibit is about Denver. Maybe we could agree that Horace Tabor would be a better choice. He did, after all, build us an entire block in downtown and the first European-style theater house, the Tabor Grand Opera.
U is for Uranium: This story is already mentioned in the interactive time machines (under the Grand and Gunnison valleys marker).
W is for Water: Further research, and you would find out the museum has three more full-sized gallery spaces, and the next exhibit will be the Living West, in fall 2013. This exhibit's focus is how the water in our state has shaped our state history.
Z is for Zebulon Pike: I agree that having zombies to represent the bodies under Cheesman Park is a bit too hokey and sensational, but having Mr. Pike? What does that have to do with Denver?
I implore you to spend some more time at the History Colorado Center. It is obvious that you have not researched the exhibits enough or spent enough time there. I have read your previous articles regarding the Sand Creek Collision exhibit, and I understand your thoughts on that specifically. But to include it in Denver A to Z doesn't even make sense, since the event happened in Kiowa County, not Denver.
Thank you for your articles in print and online regarding the Sand Creek Massacre, and for bringing attention to the shameful behavior of History Colorado regarding this exhibit.
Do you know of any existing (non-native American) group trying to apply pressure to the museum to close the exhibit until it can be redesigned collaboratively with the Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho? I am interested in getting involved with others to protest the current arrogance of the museum and its curators.
Patricia Calhoun responds: The Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs may moderate a meeting between History Colorado and the Northern Cheyenne. You can send comments to the Commission c/o 130 State Capitol, Denver, CO 80203.
Letters About Ask a Mexican, March 14
I am a Denver native and dedicated reader of Westword; I love the fact that we have an insightful, well-written and mostly local newspaper. I have been brought to tears and learned so much from your publication!
But I have never been a fan of Gustavo Arellano. His writing style is poor, often insulting, almost always racist and sexist. He does not represent what Denver has come to stand for. I think this instance is just one in a long line of insults and dismissals in the name of culture. I was extremely excited to read a few months ago that Ask a Stoner, a local and relevant column, would be taking over, if for no other reason than just about anything would be a better replacement. Please do a better job of representing what this city stands for and do away with this outdated, racist, misogynistic column: You would make the city proud.
Jesse Martin Biggs
Editor's note: At the end of December, we added Ask a Stoner to Westword; it was never intended as a replacement for Ask a Mexican. You'll find it in the back of every issue — and on page 78 this week.
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