Where There's Smoke, There's Ire

Off Limits knows the identity of #127 on the University of Colorado Police Department's hit parade of people caught smoking dope at Farrand Field on April 20, and we're not about to narc.

The proud mother of #127, a former Westworder, learned of her son's extracurricular activities when someone at her current job was perusing the surveillance shots that the UCPD posted last week on a school website (www.colorado.edu/police/420_Photo_Album/index.htm) and showed her the picture. "I thought it was a joke," she says. But then she looked further, and realized that the school was offering a fifty-buck reward for the identity of any individual who braved the no-trespassing signs posted around Farrand Field last Thursday to observe a time-honored, if unofficial, CU tradition: the 4/20 smoke-in.

"I was madder than hell," she remembers. "People have been doing this for years -- and now they're supposed to snitch out friends or even enemies for $50? He's a good kid, he's never been in trouble, he hardly even drinks. He just smokes pot every once in a while." So she called the UCPD Operations tip-line number listed on the site and registered her complaint. "I didn't hear back, of course," she says.


Boulder smoke-in

Nor did Off Limits, after we left a message asking for the rationale behind posting pictures of more than a hundred students doing nothing more worrisome than peacefully trespassing and toking up -- they weren't pouring grain alcohol down a frat pledge's throat, for crissakes -- and asking their peers to rat them out for such high hijinx.

So far, #127 has escaped identification by the campus cops. "I'm not surprised that they're doing something just to assert their power," the CU junior says. "If it escalates too much, students will find a way to revolt and let their voices be heard."

Power to the potheads.

By hookah by crook: Come July 1, it will be illegal to smoke just about anything indoors in Colorado -- pot included (although thanks to the passage of Ordinance 100 last November, you should be able to possess an ounce of the unlit stuff in Denver). Caught in the cracks of the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act are hookahs, Middle Eastern smoking instruments that are a popular accoutrement at a handful of local clubs and restaurants.

"My business doesn't depend only on hookah," says Ahmad Alkiteb, owner of Aladdin's Cafe and Grill, 2594 South Colorado Boulevard. "Our main business is food here."

But at Aladdin, as at Hookah Cafe on Downing and a handful of other Middle Eastern establishments, hookahs are an undeniable draw. And under House Bill 06-1175, which Governor Bill Owens has already signed into law, the only way shisha (hookah tobacco) smokers can continue to light up inside bars and restaurants is if the establishment generated at least 5 percent of its total annual gross income or $50,000 in annual sales from the on-site sale of tobacco products in 2005, a provision put into the measure with a nod to cigar bars.

Alkiteb says his shisha sales were right about at 5 percent last year, but he'll check that figure with his accountant. And if his place doesn't fit through the cigar-bar loophole, Aladdin's is still better off than other hookah hot spots, because it has a heated outdoor patio where puffing will remain legal.

One of the town's first hookah bars was Club Ra, at 11th and Lincoln (the former home of the Denver Buffalo Company), which disappeared in a puff of smoke two years ago, re-emerging as the Donkey Den. And how hot was that place when it opened exactly a year ago? So hot that it inspired picketers who objected to the venue's bestiality references. But now the kick has gone out of the Donkey Den, too, and the space will be reborn next month as the Vault.

Scene and herd: Once upon a time, the world thought all Colorado mothers were like the helmet-haired and shoulder-padded divas of Dynasty, the early-'80s soap allegedly set in Denver and starring battling broads Joan Collins and Linda Evans, who turned up, cadaver-like, on a reunion show Tuesday night. To Off Limits' cynical eye, their appearances were a lot funnier than those of two local comics -- Rubi Nicholas and Just Jay -- who've made the top ten of Nick at Nite's Search for the Funniest Mom in America 2, a five-part series that started in April and will name the mother of them all on Tuesday, May 9. According to our sources, Rubi will take home the crown.

Finally, after Off Limits whined to every city and state booster we could find about another insult to Colorado -- a Monopoly game touting landmarks in 22 cities but using a picture of the Maroon Bells to illustrate Red Rocks Amphitheatre (Off Limits, April 27) -- Hasbro went back to the drawing board. Now an actual photo of the world's top-rated outdoor concert venue illustrates the card -- but it's still referred to as Red Rock [sic] Amphitheater.

Everybody must get stone.


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