Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

PETA to City of Denver: Pluck you

PETA isn't chickening out on its push to put "McCruelty," a 250-pound, bloody and bandaged chicken sculpture, on the 16th Street Mall -- and today could be decision day for the City of Denver.

PETA has filed all the required applications for the "temporary display of a sculpture...as part of PETA's free speech activity."

This would be McCruelty's test flight, and so PETA's lawyer has provided a handy, pre-emptive letter to help sway the city, pointing out all the other pieces of temporary art that have been placed on the mall, including the parade of cows. If Denver can put up with cows, why not one sad chicken, standing watch right by the McDonald's where his colleagues are being served up on a bun, slathered with a special sauce?

For the record, PETA does not stand for People for the Ethical Treatment of Artists -- if it did, we might be able to really get behind this move, since the 16th Street Mall could only be improved by an increased display of art -- ideally local art, the kind now featured in the Pop-Up store in the Denver Pavilions.

The Department of Public Works says a decision is due today. If the city decides that the arguments for the sculpture fly, we have one recommendation: Make sure that every bad Mall busker and beggar is stationed around McCruelty.

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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