Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

John Hickenlooper puts the colorful back in Colorado on the state's Tourism Day

Welcome to Colorful Colorado! On today, Colorado Tourism Day, let's revisit some of the greatest hits -- and far greater misses -- of the state's tourism efforts. Currently, the marketing theme at promises that "A world of scenic wonder awaits, in a Land Called Colorado."

So, by the way, does a hellish site glitch that had my browser stuck in an eternal roll-over.

"A Land Called Colorado" replaced the Joan Rivers-ish "Let's Talk Colorado" campaign, complete with an embarrassing (and misspelled) lexicon of Colorado terminology and a description of Rocky Mountain oysters that would turn a grammarian's stomach.

Earlier, there was "Colorado, Above All," which had a disconcerting ring of that Hitler-era "Über Alles."

Before that, in honor of East High alum Judy Collins, wistful would-be visitors were urged to hum along with "I Guess I'd Rather Be in Colorado."

We don't know what lawmakers will be singing when they gather at the State Capitol at 9 a.m. today, except perhaps "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?," since the tourism budget is in an eternal state of danger and already had $5 million hacked back by former Governor Bill Ritter. But that was before new Governor John Hickenlooper had the smarts to install longtime lawmaker Al White, a Republican, as the director of the Colorado Tourism Office, which should stave off further hacking.

And while it might not have added up to $5 million, Hickenlooper got a mountain of free publicity for the state just through the New York Times Magazine profile published two days before his inauguration, which makes Colorado look as colorful as it gets -- even if the profile was ostensibly about a pale, lanky, former beer-peddler of a politician.

Colorful Colorado: As long as the state lives up to that description, it's all the slogan we need.

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Illegal immigration debate at the Capitol could be a real education for John Hickenlooper."

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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