Muhammad Ali Hasan, the wealthy Muslim Republican, filmmaker and flashy former candidate for House District 56, made quite a name for himself when he was running for office in 2008. His political style stirred up conflicting opinions within the state's Republican Party — particularly after his former girlfriend and campaign manager filed a restraining order against him (later dropped) — but he also knocked on thousands of doors in his well-do-to district, and writes a column for the Vail Daily.
Now the 29-year-old's name recognition has traveled even farther. "In knocking on 20,000 doors and skipping film festivals, I didn't really realize how far my name was propelling in Hollywood," he says in an e-mail.
Even without him there to promote it, Hasan's first film, Rabia — a short about a female suicide bomber — took the film-festival circuit by storm, winning 35 awards in 2008. His second is still just a screenplay — one he wrote in the weeks after losing the election — about the life of Benazir Bhutto, but the script recently won two writing awards and has attracted interest from financiers, Hasan says. He's also been signed by an agent.
That doesn't mean that Hasan has given up on politics, though. In fact, he's taking a serious look at running for Colorado treasurer in 2010. He already has a detailed campaign plan in place and expects to make a decision by early fall.
"I am severely conflicted in the best way," he writes. "Deep down in my heart, I know I would do a tremendous job as a state treasurer — empowering TABOR, re-shuffling our investment portfolio, and getting a monorail system built with little taxpayer involvement...However, the idea of becoming a great film director...could not be more attractive. If I could do both, I would love to — it's all a matter of decisions."
What a political thriller that would be.
Palin the way: Sarah Palin's inexplicable announcement that she'll step down as Alaska governor eighteen months early distressed many of the GOP faithful. But it didn't upset Adam Brickley, the Colorado student blogger credited with helping to land Palin on the 2008 ticket alongside John McCain. "Palin Actually EXTENDED Her Influence in Alaska Today," Brickley insists on his website, www.the-brickyard.blogspot.com, by heading off a competitive GOP primary in Alaska and the risk of the "Good Old Boys Club" retaking power there.
"Sarah Palin did not give up on her reforms today — she institutionalized them," Brickley writes. "Now, they will not leave office with her, but rather continue under [Lieutenant Governor Sean] Parnell." Whether Palin will actually spawn an army of Palinites powerful enough to retake the White House remains to be seen. But there's no doubt Brickley will be cheering from the cyber-sidelines for the woman he started supporting — from his mom's house — before almost anyone else. (For a Q&A with Brickley, go to the Latest Word blog at westword.com.)
Scene and herd: The late TV pitchman Billy Mays, who got his start with Orange Glo when the company was still in Denver, may be gone, but he's not forgotten — at least by local musical comedian Chad Neidt, who wrote a tribute to Mays available on YouTube.
Check out these lyrics to "Billy Mays Is Dead": "Yea, Billy was the Chuck Norris of salesmen/Cause he could kick your laundry's ass and then some/No pitchman was better than him/He could sell a Bible to a Muslim/Very energetic and a bit insane/It's like he mixed up his OxiClean with cocaine."