Returning to Denver Monday, our Off Limits operative hopped on the train at DIA and heard the usual bossiness from Adele Arakawa about how she was "delaying the departure of this train" and Alan Roach cautioning everybody to "hold on." And then, as the train closed in on the terminal, another familiar voice chimed in — but the script had changed. Back in the spring of 2008, John Hickenlooper had re-recorded his bit to identify himself as the mayor of Denver, but now that ID was gone. Elected governor just two weeks ago, and already Hick's name has been erased?
"With the artist's permission, we did change the 'Train Call' sound installation back to a previous version on Saturday — the version in which Mayor Hickenlooper doesn't acknowledge himself by title," says DIA spokeswoman Jenny Schiavone. "Looking forward, DIA and 'Train Call' artist Jim Green will collaborate on a new recording, and any permanent change to the sound installation will have to be approved by Denver's Commission on Cultural Affairs. We don't yet know what the new 'Train Call' message will consist of, and we don't know who will be featured on it. We plan to use the old version of the recording until we settle on something new, as this one won't sound outdated once the mayor leaves office in January."
Reel life: The Starz Denver Film Festival partied in Denver for twelve days, and now the event's longtime host, Starz FilmCenter on the Auraria campus, is taking a nap — a very long nap. "We're saying that it is going into hibernation," says Keith Garcia, programming director for the Denver Film Society. Effective this week, the DFS has moved all of its programming from its longtime headquarters in the Tivoli building to the former Lowenstein Theater complex on East Colfax, now home to the Tattered Cover and Twist & Shout.
Starz will continue to be used by the colleges at Auraria for classroom space and special film presentations, Garcia says, and it will serve one final time as co-host of the film festival next year. The film society's lease expires after that, and the space will revert to Auraria, which hasn't made definitive plans yet.
As for its new home, dubbed Denver FilmCenter/Colfax, the DFS will make do with a smaller but more modern space. "We will be open seven days a week and have more showtimes," Garcia says. "There is a myth that a movie needs to play five or six times a day with no regard to what time an audience might come to see it." The film society's offices will remain in the Tivoli for the next year; after that, they'll move nearer to the Lowenstein. "We want to be close to home," Garcia notes.
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Shifting gears: On Tuesday the city hosted its fifth and final public hearing on Denver Moves, its "non-vehicular transportation plan" (read: bikes and pedestrians). Now planners hope to come up with new designs and better ways to weave cyclists and walkers into the city's fabric. And while New York City's transportation patterns are very different from those of Denver, city councilwoman Carla Madison and a couple of staffers got some ideas last month when they took a four-hour handlebar tour of the Big Apple.
"It's a lot different than it used to be when I lived there," Madison says. "Back then, the only people on bikes were messengers, and they were all crazy."
Today there are protected bike lanes — including ones called "cycle tracks" that run between the sidewalks and parked cars — and paths and signage that help people get around, explains Denver senior planner and bike expert Emily Snyder Kreiza. Although not all of what New York is doing would work in Denver, the trip was enlightening, say those along for the ride.
"New York is pushing the envelope," adds Kreiza. "But the intensity of people getting where they are going is so much higher. I wouldn't say biking in New York is comfortable, but it was safe. And if you can ride safe in New York, you should be able to ride safe anywhere."