Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

John Hickenlooper: Denver mayor turned governor-elect no longer name-checked at DIA

You know you're back in Denver when you hear that bossy voice admonish you for "delaying the departure of this train" at DIA. It belongs to 9News' Adele Arakawa, who replaced original admonisher Reynelda Muse. Likewise, the cheery "hold on" now comes from Alan Roach rather than the late Pete Smythe. But who's the third speaker?

Up until this weekend, that fellow welcoming you to Denver and advising you about the baggage claim identified himself as John Hickenlooper, mayor of Denver. But on Monday, on my way home after a weekend in New York, I noticed that the ID was gone and the message had returned to the version added to the train messages -- technically a piece by sound artist Jim Green -- back in 2007. The line bugged me at the time: Why bother having John Hickenlooper address passengers if they don't know he's the mayor?

DIA ultimately recognized it was silly, too, replacing that message in August 2008 with one in which John Hickenlooper identified himself as the mayor. But now, with Hickenlooper moving from City Hall to the State Capitol, he's once again gone undercover.

"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 We plan to use the old version of the recording until we settle on something new, as this one won't sound outdated once the mayor leaves office in January."

All aboard!

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "John Hickenlooper plays politician in Casino Jack, cousin George Hickenlooper's swan song."

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun