Off Limits

The rust is history: Currigan Hall doesn't get much respect these days--not since Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau bigwig Eugene "Big Is Better" Dilbeck became obsessed with tearing down the 1970 structure (which played the cloning lab in Woody Allen's Sleeper) and expanding the Colorado Convention Center (also known as "Tinkertoy Central"). But the building by Muchow, Ream and Larson has its fans--particularly at the Denver Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, which tapped the column-free creation for this year's "twenty-five year award," in recognition of projects that not only have withstood the test of time, but have improved in quality over the years.

However, winning the award is no guarantee that Currigan will survive the ultimate test of time, notes architect Paul Hutton, who served on the awards committee. After all, I.M. Pei's hyperbolic paraboloid won the same award in 1995--and came down almost immediately afterward to make way for Fred Kummer's goony bronze ballet dancers and expanded Adam's Mark.

That hotel project, of course, was made possible by the Denver Urban Renewal Authority and then-director Susan Powers, who mysteriously snapped up her own honor, the "Territorial Daughters of Colorado Award," from the Colorado Historical Society earlier this month. The nod was tied to Powers's work on the Denver Dry Goods Building, however--not her active role in leveling Pei's architectural landmark.

A matter of Coors: Denver's homegrown brewery has been so rehabilitated that on Monday, the Tattered Cover Book Store in Cherry Creek hosted a book-signing with Bill Coors, chairman of the Coors Brewing Company, and Russ Banham, author of Coors: A Rocky Mountain Legend. As you might gather from the senior Coors's presence, the volume was authorized to commemorate Coors's 125th anniversary. But this is no watered-down history of the controversial company. Amusing beer trivia and beautiful vintage photographs come with a stiff chaser: family feuds, the 1960 kidnapping and murder of Adolph Coors III, Joe Coors's founding of the Heritage Foundation, and even the infamous 60 Minutes visit to the brewery. And the very first words in the book are these, from 82-year-old Bill: "Why do some people consider it a sin to be a conservative and not a sin to be a liberal?"

"The image of the Coors family as a band of intolerant right-wingers isolated in the Colorado mountains is rather widespread," Banham notes, "a testament to the effectiveness of an AFL-CIO smear campaign in the late 1970s...Although the company later made amends with these organizations and today is routinely praised for its minority hiring programs, environmental activism and social agenda, it has not been able to entirely shake this right-wing image."

No kidding. Over a thousand miles to the west--well past Golden, the Coors company town where Coors: A Rocky Mountain Legend is conveniently for sale (at $18.95) in the Coors gift shop (or make your holiday purchases at's still a whole lotta shakin' going on over Coors.

The most recent shock waves followed a $110,000 donation that Coors made to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (the initial brewhaha was reported here November 5). In early November, the Claremont, California, Gay Pride Festival earned a Golden Shower Award from the Coors Boycott Committee for accepting $15,000 from the brewery. And on November 16, gay activists in San Francisco poured bottles of Coors down the sewer in front of the bar named for Harvey Milk, the city's first gay elected official, who'd pushed a Coors boycott before he was assassinated twenty years ago.

But GLAAD hasn't backed down. "Our decision to work with Coors was not made in haste nor in isolation," says spokesman Scott Seomin. "Through our work with the media and with community organizations on both the local and national levels, we've come to recognize that the voices which resonate best with the public come from people who have experienced things firsthand. As a company, Coors has experienced a learning process. It has made significant strides in fostering an internal corporate culture which now values and welcomes all of its employees--including those of us in the LGBT community."

Suspicions confirmed: "This is no ordinary town," proclaimed Sunday's Daily Camera, as the paper kicked off its "Boulderized" take on the The Twelve Days of Christmas. Day One featured a Seventies has-been in an evergreen: Yes, David Cassidy as "A Partridge in a Spared Tree." The series concludes Christmas Eve, perhaps with twelve jurors drumming their fingers while they wait for evidence in the unsolved murder of JonBenet Ramsey, which marks its second anniversary the following day.

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