The National Cattlemen's Summer Convention is in town right now, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals responded in a way that only PETA could: by spray-painting a naked employee red and black and having her lie on a grill outside the downtown Sheraton, where the conference is being held. PETA's been "barbequing" humans for a while now, but a lack of originality wasn't the only problem with today's stunt.
The Sheraton is undergoing construction, and much of the Cattlemen's Conference was actually at the nearby Colorado Convention Center, which left PETA with no adversary in sight and relegated the whole protest to the level of a mere curiosity.
The press release promised a "bloody" chef and a small army of militant vegetarians, but all we got was Sarah McCluskey looking uncomfortable on the grill and Amanda Fortino politely attempting to get passersby to take PETA's literature. Fortino's sales pitch went from "would you like a magazine?" to "would you like some recipes?" -- and either way, she mostly just scared away the gawkers.
Many people did take cell-phone pictures, and most did double-takes at the sight. Still, the display left almost everyone bemused, which probably wasn't the reaction PETA was looking for.
And it seems exceedingly unlikely that any omnivores were converted.
Dave Holland, who runs a barbeque cart that happens to be located in front of the Sheraton, was unperturbed by the activities. If anything, he said, the PETA protest was "drumming up business. It's been a steady day, and everyone says something about it." At first, he'd thought even PETA might be protesting him specifically, since there wasn't a cattleman in sight. Still, he was gracious. "To each his own," he told me. "If that's what they believe, it's all good."
Fortino, meanwhile, continued to try to spread the word. "Would you like a magazine?" she asked a group of businessmen out to lunch.
"No, better not," one told her. As they were walking away, he turned to his friend and said, "Don't want to ruin the fun."