Arts and Culture

Mojo to Go: Jami Duffy Is "Ride or Die Denver"

Jami Duffy: Ride or die Denver.
Jami Duffy: Ride or die Denver. Youth on Record
<i>Has Denver lost its mojo? The city that was considered the coolest in the country a dozen years ago has gone cold; the spirit of the Mile High City is deflated. In "Denver Has Lost Its Mojo: Here's How to Get It Back," we served up five reasons why people should celebrate Denver now, and five ways to help get that mojo back.</i>

<i>We also reached out to other members of the community for their ideas. First up: Jami Duffy, the executive director of Youth on Record, now a co-owner of next weekend's Underground Music Showcase. A Denver native, her great-grandpa opened Duffy's Irish Tavern and the Cherry Cricket, her grandpa went to East High School, and "I have no ambition to live or serve anywhere else," she says. "I'm ride or die Denver." And so we asked her: </i>

Has Denver lost its mojo?

Not quite. Mojo is found in individual communities and scenes — so it's not lost as much as it is siloed. When I see things pop up like the night market in Sun Valley, new comedy fests hosted by Christie Buchele, the sober music series Clear Heads hosted by Jen Korte, new menus and life breathed into legendary places like the Mercury Cafe, and new co-ownership of Denver's Underground Music Showcase, I know there are so many people committed to making Denver a place we all can love. The question I ask is, how can communities and scenes merge more often and share their mojo?

What would help?

A city without artists has no mojo — so more opportunities for artists to make thriving wages will keep them here, and keep them creating. Youth on Record and UMS have new thriving wage artists minimums, for example. The Denver Music Advancement Fund is doubling its awards for musicians. Others who haven't moved their wages for artists, or increased their funding for artists, need to look at doing that.

You know what else we need? Candidates for mayor who people are excited about — bold visionaries who will tackle climate change, support small business and build workforce pipelines for the future; candidates who will double down on arts and culture investments; people who can galvanize people and businesses to take part in finding solutions for our unhoused community and housing crisis; leaders with personality, stamina, a sense of humor, grace and grit!

We need leaders with mojo!

This is my home, and my community, and I want to do what I can to make it the most just, fair, fun, engaging, vibrant and livable city in America. I also want to help young people find some pride in where they live. You can't save (or won't save) what you don't love.

I want to help build a city they love so they'll step up and help save this whole damn democracy!

Do you have ideas for how Denver can get its mojo back? Send them to [email protected]
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