Although the folks at ManiaTV! haven't stopped inviting guests to appear on their Internet-television station, no one would blame them if they did. On August 14, the Denver-based outfit abruptly canceled a telethon with former Saved by the Bell oddball Dustin "Screech" Diamond; ManiaTV! reps had been unable to confirm the Screecher's claim that his house was facing foreclosure (Off Limits, August 17). Just days later, Vincent "Don Vito" Margera, a regular on the MTV reality series Viva La Bam, flew to town on ManiaTV!'s nickel to videotape segments for a personal web channel that the network planned to launch for him. But on August 18, Margera was arrested at Lakewood's Colorado Mills mall for allegedly groping two pubescent girls -- and it was no Jackass stunt.
Vincent "Don Vito" Margera
Despite the fact that much of the promotional footage they shot played up Don Vito's nasty image, ManiaTV! spokesman Jason Damata says Margera didn't do anything improper in the presence of network personnel. One scene was staged at La Bohème, the "gentlemen's cabaret" downtown: "We have some footage of him getting tied up with a dog leash and getting spanked there," Damata reveals. And at ManiaTV!'s studio, Damata continues, "We had him do a spoof of Paris Hilton's Carl's Jr. commercial. He had soap and water and a sponge and was wearing a blond wig. It was disgusting."
Once those sequences were in the can, a ManiaTV! staffer dropped Margera at the Colorado Mills skatepark for an autograph session with Tim Glomb, a skatepark designer and minor player on Viva La Bam who lives in Denver. Because the signing was "a separate deal" that had nothing to do with ManiaTV!, Damata says, "We weren't there, thank God."
What happened next is unclear. Glomb, blogging on his MySpace site, wrote, "I was shoulder to shoulder with [Margera] and never heard anything about this until we left the place. No one from the skate park said anything to us about this, mall security never came into the park. Even after the signing was done, we took photos with the staff for 15-20 mins!" But then police arrived, and numerous witnesses corroborated claims that a fondling incident had taken place, according to MTV.com. A cell-phone photo was taken into evidence.
The next morning, ManiaTV! exec Richard Ayoub got a call from Glomb informing him that Margera was in Jefferson County Jail. Before long, Rob Talbert, a ManiaTV! cyber-jockey, was sent to the clink for an interview. Talbert, who wasn't allowed to record the conversation or take notes, reports that Margera "seemed to be in disbelief as to what was going on. His tone was very serious and somber." Margera denied any wrongdoing, then asked Talbert "if I remembered how he took pictures with fans while we were out on our shoot. He would put his hands around guys' necks like he was strangling them and would drape his arm around girls' shoulders and put his hand in front of their breasts so it looked like he was grabbing them." At the end of their talk, Talbert recalls, Margera said that it was a shame all this had to happen, because he was having a great weekend, "and now the weekend is ruined."
Things didn't get better on Monday, when Margera was advised of a sexual-assault charge against him and ordered held on a $50,000 bond.
While ManiaTV! is getting some extra ink for breaking the story of Don Vito's arrest, Damata would gladly have traded the attention for one less celebrity-related problem. "We had a tough week when it comes to talent," he says. "We sure know how to pick 'em."
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E-i-e-i-uh-oh!: Off Limits would have to dress up to pass muster even on Casual Friday -- but now that editor Greg Moore has replaced those East Coast jeans with some authentic Wranglers, the Denver Post is determined to keep its new newsroom at 101 West Colfax Avenue looking good. And so the Post's moving manual includes this explanation of "attire" guidelines: "Employees should dress in clothes suitable for the workplace. Clothing should be neat and clean and should not be torn or frayed. Employees who are deemed by management to be dressed inappropriately (for example, clothes that are too revealing) will be sent home to change. Please remember that this is a place of business, not a resort, bar, gym, beach, nightclub, garden, farm -- you get the idea."
Scene and herd: The former proprietor of Room (Off Limits, August 14) has checked in. Although Merlin Parker closed his award-winning store at 11th and Broadway in April, he's still in town -- now with his real estate license. "I would like to extend a big thanks to the many fine and funky people of Denver who supported the vision of Room," he says. "Please continue making the extra effort to support small businesses, especially the mom-and-pop retail shops that contribute to the character of this town."
If you can find them. Last month, DJ Sara T moved her store, Chielle, from Broadway to the Bluebird District, at 3333 East Colfax Avenue, to escape rising rents. And now Relatively Wilde, the gay-and-lesbian bookstore that's occupied a storefront at 42 South Broadway for four years, is closing up shop. The building was sold, and owners Marc Crouch and Ron Metz report rent and maintenance disputes with the new owner, so they're packing everything up and moving out on August 30. They won't be reopening the store, either, so stop by and stay goodbye to them -- and take a long, hard look at one of Denver's most endangered strips.