Take Your Best Shot
Ethan Wenberg

Take Your Best Shot

A quintet of twenty-somethings will throw down -- and maybe throw up -- on behalf of Hurricane Katrina survivors this weekend. The tenderhearted tipplers have concocted the Katrina Relief Drink-a-Thon set for Saturday, September 24, at Lodo's Bar and Grill, where they'll toss back their favorite cocktails for charity. "This is something that people our age can get involved in and will actually do and support," says Julie Oncken, one of the organizers. "Getting people our age to get involved is very tricky."

To get involved with the Drink-a-Thon, all you need to do is donate a flat sum to a favorite boozer or pledge $1, $10, even $50 for every drink that he or she consumes. "Most of the older crowd is doing the lump sum, usually $50," notes swiller Bill Walsh, "while the younger crowd, who have an easier time accepting the unorthodox nature of the event, are donating around $10 a drink."

Since these do-gooders claim to be professional boozers, if you're not careful, you could wind up emptying your wallet at the same time you fill charity coffers. To help even the odds -- and stave off economic headaches -- Off Limits convinced the Drink-a-Thon troops to spill some secrets.



For starters, Walsh's favorite drink is Red Bull and Jägermeister. "I can only do probably four or five safely," he confesses, "and that depends on if I'm doing shots or drinks. Am I a professional? Well, that's a little too close to Mickey Mantle, but I like a cold beverage as much as the next guy."

Oncken likes any cocktail that comes her way. "Free is my preferred drink," she says, "but in the name of alcohol, I won't be drinking any random thing. It'll probably be Jack and Coke. I'm not going to do anything to make me puke. I plan to have fun but keep it safe. How many does that mean? Well, maybe five."

Jasmine Listou's favorite drink is Stoli Orange and 7-Up. "How many can I drink? Well, if it was a good night, I probably wouldn't remember," she notes. "But for the Drink-a-Thon, I'll start out with a good dinner, and I'll pace myself and shoot for seven as a goal. I'm trying to keep my seat for the Olympics, so I have to stay amateur."

Ryan Eaves goes for vodka and tonic. "Oh, I don't know how many I can drink," he hedges. "I guess it varies on the night. But I'd say I'm a top-seated amateur. Everybody's going to drink as much as they can and end up killing themselves, but that's not what I want to do. Maybe eight drinks for me."

Lucas Johnson swears by Tanqueray and tonic, and shots of Jäger. "I've been drinking Tanqueray and tonic for about two years," he allows. "I like drinks that are acquired tastes. The most I've ever had? Well, I drank a bottle of Tanqueray Ten one night. For the benefit, I plan to do at least fifteen Tanqueray and tonics, but I have higher hopes than that."

Remember, give 'til it hurts -- them, not you.

Sole survivor: Dick Lamm can pound the pavement. Over the past three-plus decades, he's put more than 400 miles on his tennis shoes and hiking boots, always for a good political cause. In his 1974 run for the governor's seat, challenger Lamm walked 340 miles as he campaigned across the state. John Denver, Colorado's most famous adoptee, trudged through the snow alongside him on the last mile to the State Capitol.

Last Friday, the former Governor Gloom again donned his hiking boots and traipsed down Broadway on a leg of the Colorado Walk for Referenda C&D, a forty-day march from Wyoming to the New Mexico border led by state senator Ken Gordon. Some strange political bedfellows have thrown on their Nikes to just do it for the November 1 ballot measures: Both Lamm and current governor Bill Owens spoke on behalf of C and D on the Capitol steps that day, explaining why voters should allow the state to keep all the revenue it collects for the next five years rather than return it under the tight spending caps imposed by the circa-1992 Taxpayer's Bill of Rights. (The day before, Independence Institute head Jon Caldara and his date, Sue, the Special Interest Swine, had stood on those same steps to denounce C and D as so much pork for politicians.)

While the referenda are hot topics in the political world, many of the walkers found their fellow Coloradans to be completely clueless about the upcoming vote. "I've been surprised by the number of blank faces," says Jenn Berg, who quit her job in order to walk all 350 miles. "ŒWhat's that?' has really been the most common refrain." Another surprising discovery made by the Boulder vegetarian: "the number of places with dead animal heads on their walls."

Lamm's initial walk proved so winning with the electorate that many other causes have tried the gamboling gambit. Even before Gordon's group hit the road over Labor Day weekend, Coloradans had seen some interesting animals on the hoof. For example:

On August 20, Rick McKinney finished off a 900-mile walk that started in Idyllwild, California, and ended in Woody Creek, where he hoped to catch the private memorial service for Hunter S. Thompson. "I'm walking toward Hunter's funeral to raise awareness of depression and the high rate of suicide in the United States," he told Off Limits last month.

On July 4, Jeff Robinson completed his 1,336-mile pedestrian journey from Galveston, Texas, to Denver, which was designed to raise money for homeless youth in the Mile High City. He celebrated with beer and pizza at Shakespeare's pool hall.

In June 2004, Jake Chambliss and Joe Giron, of Housing Justice, walked across Colorado to promote affordable housing. It's still in short supply in this state -- but the two reported that they enjoyed many potluck dinners.

Flights of fancy: The Alliance Center, at 1536 Wynkoop Street, is home to just about every hip organization in town, including Common Cause and the Colorado Environmental Coalition, so it was a fitting place for ProgressNow -- the political outfit founded by former Westword intern Michael Huttner that also offices in the building -- to celebrate its second birthday last Thursday. But ProgressNow was the one giving the present: www.ProgressNowAction.org, a new technological platform that "provides any progressive-minded individual in Colorado the opportunity to use the most powerful political tools on their issue for free," says Huttner. "Just contact the office to learn how."

And ProgressNow just keeps handing out the goodies, including a transcript of Senator Wayne Allard's glowing testimonial for Michael Brown, then up for the FEMA deputy-director post. After Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell endorsed Brown, Allard offered this: "Mr. Brown brings strong family values to this job. He lives in a community not far from where I live known as Longmont, Colorado. He is a Coloradan. He has lived there for eleven years. He has two children, Amy and Jared, and he travels back to Colorado almost every weekend, as I do. I can understand the difficulty of flying all the time as official duties permit."

So much for Colorado's disastrous contribution to disaster relief. Guess Brownie thought that all those New Orleans folks would just fly out of town.

Scene and herd: Another infamous export, Boulder boy-made-good (or -bad, depending on your point of view) Jello Biafra, founder of the Dead Kennedys, will host the eleven-hour Operation Ceasefire concert this Saturday, September 24, at the Washington Monument. The "Get US Out Now" rally on the State Capitol steps (it's amazing those things aren't worn out by now) at 12:30 p.m. that same day won't have the same star power, but former Senate candidate Mike Miles should be able to fire up the crowd. ... Last September, Denver hosted the premiere of Silver City, John Sayles's movie shot here in the fall of 2003 that made Denver look all golden and George W. Bush (played, sort of, by Chris Cooper) look like a bumbling idiot. Now the city's playing host to another movie crew, as local filmmaker (and Academy Award winner for her documentary A Story of Healing) Donna Dewey oversees the three-week shoot of Looking for Sunday, the first feature she's produced. The crew took over the Whiskey Bar and the 2200 block of Larimer for two days last week; this week it was shooting at a church in Capitol Hill. But one set in Highland really gave neighbors a start: They thought the old Olinger Mortuary had returned to its roots, but it turned out the Taft Mortuary sign on the (slowly) redeveloping building was just a leftover movie prop. ... Finally, an Off Limits operative reports that after sitting through Denver City Council's discussion of the new Main Street Zoning code last week, she went to celebrate its passage -- and the end of an endless council meeting -- at the Red Room. On her way, she saw a bum direct-fire a full beer can at the head of another bum. Our operative quickly pointed out that she was not the culprit. "I know," the man replied as he walked off. "He's just pissed because I wouldn't buy his dope." Ah, Colfax.


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