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Rock On

On Monday, the state Senate approved House Bill 1201, which would put close to $20 million annually into Colorado's tourism-promotion budget. But while the Senate and House versions of the measure must be reconciled before the bill moves to Bill Owens for his signature, the governor and fellow business boosters were already tossing cash around New York City earlier this week, touting the state with "Fresh Air and Fond Memories Served Daily." That's the slogan now playing on www.colorado.com, the state's official tourism website, a line only slightly less gag-inducing than the one it replaced a couple of days ago: "Where Restless Souls Come to Chill Out."

While in NYC, the guv might want to drop a state guidebook off at Hunter Public Relations, which is now hyping the "Here and Now Edition" of Monopoly put out by Hasbro. The final game will feature attractions from 22 cities, including Denver (They like us! They really like us!). People can vote for their favorite local landmark through May 12 at www.monopoly.com, with the site that gets the most votes landing the coveted spot that traditionally belongs to Boardwalk. The trio for each town was chosen by a committee that researched the areas, says Hunter's Marc Fehlberg, and in Denver's case came up with Larimer Square, LoDo and Red Rock Amphitheater.

Red Rock? How much research would it take to determine that the world's top outdoor concert venue has more than one rock?



"That's a bummer," says Erik Dyce, marketing director of Red Rocks, when he learns of the blunder. "We need more than one rock. We have Ship Rock and Creation Rock and, of course, we have our stage Œrock,' and many, many more rocks in the park."

Even worse than the singular rock, though, is the picture that Hasbro chose to illustrate Red Rock, which looks suspiciously like the Maroon Bells by Aspen. Which are not red, but are definitely plural. "This naturally occurring rock formation can accommodate up to 10,000 spectators and welcomed countless bands," reads the copy below. BYO lawn chair. And band, for that matter.

"There's a few other mistakes," sighs Fehlberg, "but this is definitely the biggest one."

Rich Grant, director of communications for the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, heard about the snafu while he was in NYC selling the state with Owens. "You're talking about a city that was named after the territorial governor, who'd already resigned," Grant points out charitably, "a city whose main claim to fame is three markers on the Capitol steps, each claiming to be a mile high."

Hasbro did get the picture for LoDo right, saying the area was "arguably the most eclectic and trendy spot in all of Denver." Trendy, sure, what with The Real World taking up residence there next month. But eclectic? Boardwalk doesn't have anything on East Colfax Avenue.

In announcing the imminent arrival of The Real World two weeks ago, Denver mayor John Hickenlooper noted that "this is a tremendous opportunity for Denver to showcase our cultural and recreational vibrancy." Not to mention our very fast permitting processes: Other downtown developers have been a little suspicious of how quickly renovations are going at 1920 Market Street, the former home of B-52 Billiards that will turn into MTV's newest crash pad. With other building projects taking months, sometimes years, to get city approval, how come The Real World gets to move so fast?

Because the world being created for the show isn't real, explains the city. According to the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs, The Real World renovation permits are fast-tracked largely because the project "falls under the special-events policy in the Building Code 162A," which allows for greater flexibility in occupancy and construction for temporary use of the building. A public safety inspector and fire department officials went through the space and signed off on the plans March 28; the seven cast members should be ensconced in their new pad by the middle of next month, with the Denver installment -- the eighteenth season for The Real World -- airing next fall.

Those who just can't wait to see Denver on TV can tune into Wheel of Fortune next week, when segments filmed at the Colorado Convention Center last month start their run -- a run that may never end, judging from a warning sign posted at the impromptu studio that advising audience members that their names, likenesses, etc., could be used by the show "in all media, now known and hereafter devised, in perpetuity through the universe."

Today, Red Rock. Tomorrow, Uranus.

Another unknown Rockie: The first question most people ask about the 2006 Colorado Rockies is, why aren't they sucking as hard as most recent Rockies teams? That's generally followed by this question: Who the hell are these guys? With the exception of Todd Helton, this year's supporting players aren't exactly big names -- and even the folks who operate the Coors Field scoreboard seem to have trouble keeping up.

During the Rockies' April 22 loss to Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants, for instance, when little-used utility outfielder Ryan Spilborghs came to the plate, the JumboTron displayed his photo, but he was listed on the team roster as "UNKNOWN."

Spilborghs failed to get a hit -- but at least no one knew who to blame.

Fish tale: It takes all kinds at the Denver Municipal Animal Shelter -- including four run-of-the-mill, goldfish-looking swimmers in residence this week. "Most of the fish we get are from evictions or methamphetamine busts or other types of police actions," says shelter director Doug Kelley. "We get called out to assist the police department a lot of times, and that's where we get a lot of really unique pets."

Roosters, for example: Kelley's menagerie currently includes twelve of the loquacious Lotharios and three hens that his staff rescued from an individual who was breeding them to fight. The birds will either be adopted by someone who lives where they're legal -- Denver requires a permit for fowl -- or given to a rescue group. The fish are already gone, snapped up for just $40, tank included.


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