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Toga! Toga! If the Governor's Mansion is Animal House, who's the real party pooper?

Why is it that all marijuana actions are scheduled for 4:20? That's when Mason Tvert, founder of SAFER and father of Amendment 64, showed up outside the Governor's Residence at the Boettcher Mansion last Friday to call Governor John Hickenlooper a hypocrite for installing craft-beer taps there and turning it into Colorado's version of Animal House. But while Tvert's protest outfit -- a bed-sheet toga -- was intentional -- he swears the timing was a coincidence. After all, the members of the Colorado Brewers Guild who paid for the tap system and the governor himself weren't showing up until 6 p.m., so Tvert was all alone except for a few cameras.

"To be honest, we generally never do anything at 4:20," Tvert says, "but we got our release out at 2 p.m., and I wanted to give extra time to make the point that the governor will express outrage over people using marijuana one day a year, but has installed beer taps so booze will flow every day of the year."

Mason Tvert outside the Governor's Mansion
Mason Tvert outside the Governor's Mansion

As for the Animal House theme, Tvert explains: "The governor is basically making our top official residence a partying headquarters...and it really brings up the image of a fraternity house. Whenever someone puts a beer tap in their home, it certainly raises the memories of fraternity parties."

In fact, the last time Tvert was in front of the Governor's Mansion, it was to make political hay off of one of then-Governor Bill Ritter's sons hosting a keg party at the mansion; photos made it to Facebook. But young Ritter had to bring in his own beer.

Hickenlooper will have three Colorado beers on tap, and in kicking off Colorado Craft Beer Week -- and the new draft system -- he touted an industry that pours $826 million into the state every year. :The goal is to have geographic diversity from breweries all over the state," says Hickenlooper, who co-founded the Wynkoop Brewing Company in 1988. "We'll try to have a lighter, more accessible beer on the first tap -- like a lager or a pale ale or a wheat beer. On the second, we'll try to always have something bolder, like an IPA or something a little more feisty. And on the third tap, we'll have some experimental beers."

For failing to point out that marijuana, too, is contributing to Colorado's economy, Tvert goes so far as to compare Hickenlooper to that notorious killjoy, Dean Vernon Wormer of Faber College. "How can he justify his promotion of alcohol ause, while meanwhile he's continuing to condemn those adults who would rather use marijuana?" Tvert says of the governor.

But if Hickenlooper is really turning the mansion into a frat house, wouldn't he be a member of Delta Tau Chi? (Or nomination: earnest-yet-geeky geeky president Robert Hoover?) And isn't Tvert the one who's the party pooper?

John Hickenlooper...or Dean Wormer?
John Hickenlooper...or Dean Wormer?

Beer is definitely the vice of choice in Animal House, set in 1962, although there is some pot; pantless professor Donald Sutherland smokes a joint.

But really, maybe Tvert is just lucky that Hickenlooper simply put the draft system in a room that long ago had been turned into a bar when it was a private home, rather than decide to restore the giant marble fountain that once stand in the middle of one of the mansion's most formal rooms, and reconfigure it to spout beer.

Now, that would be a party.

More from the Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "A century and a half later, the wounds of Sand Creek are still fresh."

Have a tip? Send it to patricia.calhoun@westword.com.


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