Local artist and arts booster Rodney Wallace hasn't been exactly glued to The Real World, but the producers were stuck on his bold, graphic paintings. They put five of Wallace's pieces in the Real World: Denver house -- the former home of B-52 Billiards on Market Street -- along with pool tables, elk heads, a hot tub, a ski-lift chair and a Jeep turned into a bar. Within hours of the art's appearance, Wallace was getting calls from would-be collectors across the country. Way to show them what the real Denver looks like!
Before season nine's high-profile conclusion at Red Rocks, three ruthless Amazing Race teams had to strip-search Golden's rustic Clear Creek History Park, amid the squawking heirloom chickens, for the final clue that would lead them to the amphitheater and the million-dollar prize. Though it's only a minor footnote in the pantheon of Amazing Race lore, Golden got a lot of mileage out of its fifteen minutes of fame on the CBS reality show. Sometimes nice guys do finish first.
Mixed martial-arts expert and tattoo artist Mike Nickels made his mark on Spike TV's The Ultimate Fighter. For several months, he lived in a house in Las Vegas with a bunch of bad-ass dudes, chatting for the reality-TV camera and jockeying for position. Nickels was finally knocked off the show in a bloody bout, but while he lost his shot at that title, he's still got plenty of fight left in him. And when he's not decorating Denverites at his tattoo shop, Twisted Sol, he's preparing for another round in the eight-sided ring.
Made you look! And that was the intention when Trinity United Methodist Church in downtown Denver placed an ad in the dailies headlined "Anna Nicole and Jesus" that offered this brief sermon: "Most feel pity for the short life of Anna Nicole Smith. She struggled and searched to find herself. Her loss of identity is a sad story with many twists and turns.... Jesus was tested in the wilderness. He was tested on his identity (...If you are the Son of God...'). He was tempted to power, material things, and the sensational. His temptations were Anna Nicole's and ours -- the temptations to prove who we are or to forge a new identity. Somehow he passed the tests. More would come...." Although Jesus somehow avoided marriage to that Texas bazillionaire, some people still doubt God's paternity test.
Ted Haggard should be so lucky as to get a gig with Demented Divas!, the Las Vegas-style comedy drag show that takes over Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret every Tuesday evening. Not only could Nuclia Waste give him a few lessons in being comfortable in his own skin -- even if it is silver and three-nippled -- but she could also have him promote Nuclia Waste's Evangelical Free Dating Service, a business she set up after Mike Jones went public with his story. As Nuclia pronounced on her website, www.nucliawaste.com, "It seems our church leaders just can't keep their hand out of the cookie and amphetamine jars these days...what a scandal! Nobody should ever have to PAY for sex."
Rita Bertolli was fresh out of film school in 2004 when she battled a housing project slated for a ravine behind her parents' Green Mountain home to a standstill. Last fall, she set her sights on bigger game, leading a grassroots group that challenged a developer's plan to trade a "drainage strip" for 22 acres of Lakewood park land. Despite heavy backing by the mayor and ample spending by the developer, the land swap was defeated at the polls by Bertolli's insurgents. And Bertolli's not done yet. The website she shares with fellow gadfly Mike Muller podcasts live from city council meetings and provides needed counterpoint commentary. Do we hear a future in politics calling?
Forget the Denver Boot, that dreaded clamp invented here more than fifty years ago that has since immobilized vehicles around the globe -- and inspired many choice epithets directed at the city of its origin. Today Denver has an export we can truly be proud of: the Denver Drill. This maneuver, now practiced by every fire department in America, was created in response to the 1992 death of Mark Langvardt, an engineer with the Denver Fire Department who was trapped in a small, second-floor storage room. To avoid repeat tragedies, the drill calls for two firemen to enter a closet-sized room through a second-floor window; one sits against the wall below the window while the other lifts the injured party onto the legs of the first, which are then used to lift the victim toward the ladder and waiting rescuers. Denver's reputation is saved.
This past year, Men's Health magazine evaluated the public water supplies of a hundred U.S. cities, examining the "most recent data on levels of arsenic, lead, halo-acetic acids and total trihalomethanes (linked to cancer), and total coliform bacteria, plus the number of EPA water-system violations from 1995 to 2005," and determined that Denver's is the best-quality water in the country. And it even tastes good. We'll drink to that.
Colorado's water may dry up, but John Orr will keep pouring it on. Orr, who works for the city's wastewater treatment department, started Coyote Gulch in 2002 as a blog about local and national politics but soon started posting about his passion, water. Although he still comments regularly on topics like Barack Obama's campaign and the Iraq War, more often than not he's spouting off about all things hydrated in the Centennial State: well shut-downs on the South Platte River; the thirtieth anniversary of the Big Thompson flood; a proposed Caon City whitewater park; sex-changing fish in Boulder Creek. If you thirst for knowledge, head to Coyote Gulch.
DenverInfill is a geeky love letter to the city of Denver -- a nostalgic testament to what it once was, and a joyous celebration of what it could become. Ken Schroeppel, urban planner with Matrix Design Group, has created a comprehensive and interactive guide to all infill development proposed or completed in and around downtown Denver. Through vivid maps, clear charts, a colorful blog and such creative forays as photo essays of LoDo's remaining painted commercial signs and a mix-and-match guide to cheesy subdivision names that lets you churn out such stinkers as "The Dominion at Buffalo Gap Knoll" or "The Sanctuary at Thunder Brook Butte," Schroeppel takes the obscure topic of urban planning and makes it understandable, even exciting. You grow, Ken.

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