The Writing's on the Wall

Maybe the City of Denver isn't as backward as Marc Ecko and his attorney, David Lane, thought it was. The pair threatened to sue the city for First Amendment infringements if officials didn't overturn the anti-graffiti ordinances in time for a proposed graffiti festival. Maybe Lane got busy with all of his other cases — Jay Bennish, investigating the closure of Manual High School for the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance, Ward Churchill — but his self-created deadline of April 17, by which time Denver was to drop its ban on juveniles possessing spray paint or broad-tipped markers, came and went with nary a press conference. Instead, on April 19, Lane sent a letter to City Attorney Cole Finegan stating that if the city promises not to bust minors for making art at the fest, then Ecko will would go ahead and grace the Mile High City with his urban hipness on June 18 ("Art of War," April 27).

Somehow Finegan refrained from telling Ecko to ride his culture-peddling high horse back to New York, that Out West we don't take kindly to arrogance or being bullied — even if we agree that graffiti is a viable and appreciated art form. Instead, he calmly responded to Lane in a letter dated April 27, calmly explaining that perhaps Ecko should actually apply for a permit for the event before making much ado about nothing. Finegan didn't prohibit deny the festival, nor did he promise that the cops wouldn't be out waiting to take down budding artists. He did, however, mention that the city's ordinance provides numerous scenarios under which such a festival could happen. He even invited Lane and Ecko over them for a sit down.

Now we just wait to see if anyone finds a horse's head. -- Amy Haimerl

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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