Shoot to Chill

Last weekend was shaping up to be a big one at the Denver Pavilions, which is now billing itself as an "urbanist" destination. After a private party the week before, Jazz @ Jack's -- a longtime fixture in the Platte Valley -- was going to unveil its larger, much snazzier Pavilions home to the public on Friday night. And on Saturday, the nightclub Beyond was going to unveil a new ladies' night, "Beyond Innocence."

But as it turned out, Beyond lost its innocence Friday afternoon -- apparently over the fallout from a very "urbanist" event: a shooting at 16th and Welton streets early Wednesday morning that left a man dead and a woman wounded. At 1:48 p.m. on April 7, Jennifer Rushford, director of marketing for Olive Us, the company behind Beyond and its companion club, Spy, e-mailed a note "setting the record straight. The incident (shooting) did not happen at Beyond Nightclub, nor was it a drive-by. The people involved in the shooting were not in the nightclub." The next morning, Rushford -- now noting that she was no longer with Olive Us -- sent out another e-mail: "The Denver Pavilions has closed our doors as of 4 p.m. Friday."

Although Spy is still open, Beyond will only host special events, explains Rushford, who's still doing contract work with the clubs (other employees were laid off). "The Pavilions had a knee-jerk reaction to what happened," she says.

"The Denver Pavilions and Beyond have mutually agreed to close," says Bethany Garner, Pavilions marketing/events director. "That's all I can tell you. Our third level is still an entertainment level, but we don't know what we'll be bringing into that space." Although Pavilions had some problems with the crowds drawn by hip-hop nights early on, Garner says the mall hasn't banned any particular kind of club: "Whether it's hip-hop or classical or Irish step -- it's all urban."

Ah, there's that word again. "I feel like this is what sets us apart from Cherry Creek or Park Meadows or Westminster," Garner says of the Pavilions' new label. "Here's how we're defining an urbanist: ŒOne who embraces the pulse of the city and engages in creating its beat.'"

Which is all well and good, but Off Limits had to ask when the Pavilions is going to have elevators that move to a faster beat.

"When the building was originally built, the proper elevators probably weren't put in," Garner acknowledges. "But some of those things are pretty much impossible to fix after the fact."

That's life in the slow lane.

The urbanist action outside the Pavilions wasn't the only game in town last week. Denver Nuggets rookie Julius Hodge was shot three times in the leg early Saturday morning as he drove away from Club Paladium, a hot spot connected to the Oasis Cabaret strip club in unincorporated Adams County. Nuggets and Broncos tend to frequent the place, according to club owner Gordon Sanchez. "They're a great group of guys, and we never have any problems with them," he says. "They've been more than cordial, and gentlemen." In fact, after Paladium hosted a party during the NBA's All-Star Weekend last year, Sanchez says, he received thank-you notes and photos from the likes of Shaquille O'Neal and Allen Iverson.

A former Denver deputy district attorney who left that job twenty years ago and now defends people accused of being major drug suppliers, Sanchez is no stranger to the law. It was almost five years ago that he triumphed over the opposition of local residents to build his club/cabaret empire on top of an old dump site.

Now, that's urban.

Scene and herd: "It's much smarter to roast a Republican," said one wag at the sixth annual Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation celebrity roast -- this time of Bruce Benson, one-time Republican gubernatorial candidate, all-time wealthy oil guy. Not only did Republicans prove that they're much more reliable RSVP-ers, but the April 5 event netted a record $235,000 for the foundation. But while the economic benefits were big, humor was in short supply. Mayor John Hickenlooper, who was roasted by the same group two years ago (last year's "honoree" was Maria Garcia Berry), let loose with a few zingers, but Governor Bill Owens used some of the same lame jokes he'd tried on Hickenlooper. "Well," explained gubernatorial spokesman Dan Hopkins, "if it worked once, it will work twice."

And if it didn't work the first time?