Denver Direct: The Naysayer of the Month

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Naysayer of the Month

(The Naysayer is a print-only monthly penned by Denver historian Phil Goodstein, who graciously gives us permission to publish it here. The Naysayers next meet on Saturday, March 6, Enzo’s Pizza, 3424 Colfax (between Cook and Madison) 5:30 PM)

In face of mass opposition to his policy of sealing off the city’s parks to private interests to stage profit-driven, admission charged events, Mayor John Hickenlooper created a packed commission to study the subject a couple of years ago. Even while it has pondered the issue and how to get around charter provisions specifying that the city’s parks are public spaces, not private venues, the administration went ahead with a scheme to fence off the Civic Center so the film elite could drink and dine there this summer while watching movies to which tickets cost $15 to $20 each. Amazingly, four members of city council had the wherewithal to say no to the project. Eight others acted in their usual role as rubber stamps—one member was absent. Meanwhile, the promoter had barraged the public with rather illiterate Promotional pieces while asserting that the destruction of the Civic Center as a public space is actually an epochal step toward Denver’s emergence as a world-class arts city. Despite getting everything it has wanted from the Hickenlooper administration, US OpenAir of Massachusetts, the company behind what has been billed as the OpenAir Cinema, has announced it will not be able to close the Civic Center as promised in 2010. After receiving the green light from city hall, it had to concede that its finances are so shaky that it lacked the adequate sponsors and the preparations to get a liquor license. (The all-so-sophisticated arts crowd cannot think of having any event without alcohol even as the righteous decry drinking by “undesirables,” i.e., the poor in the Civic Center.) Consequently, OpenAir has postponed its abominable scheme for a year. For so showing its inability to deliver on a really bad promise, it is the Naysayer of the Month.