Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cowboys and Indians

A Colorado senator - Salazar -(cowboy!) introduces Ute tribal leaders at the media party, and kick-off to the Denver National Convention. The senator reminded the audience that Native Americans have been at the forefront of America for centuries, including more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Both the mayor (Hickenlooper) of Denver and Governor (Ritter) of Colorado spoke. The governor said it was "very fitting" that the opening of the convention should take place at an amusement park, while the mayor reminded everyone that the first Denver convention opening, exactly one hundred years ago, was also held in the Ellitche's Garden - that we had come full circle.

The Native group was very striking - all were included in the parade around the park, and then an honor song was sung to officially open the convention.

The wierd thing about the party was that it was held in an amusement park that was packed - and barely a child in sight. I saw two children while we were there - and one of them was with us. I've also never seen so many grown men in suits and ties riding screaming rides.

One pretty obvious "difference" about Denver is the sheer amount of policing force present. Not surprising really, but it's still something to turn around everywhere and see a badge, including bomb-sniffing dogs at the airport and cops at the entertainment shows. They are everywhere - and our hosts Kim and Eric have filled us in on some of the major happenings, including shutting down rail stations going near the convention and attack helicopters performing practice takeoffs nearby.

Everyone who wanted a prize didn't have to work very hard to get one. The funnier part was seeing these polished news guys in black suits carting around big stuffed elephants.
One of the side-acts they had performing in the pathways was a really wierd group that described the 15,000 member media party as the "Drunk Reporter Convention." Very close to the truth.

Why a picture of a funnel cake? Well, besides the fact that they were wonderfully FREE (as were popcorn, cotton candy, soda, water, etc.) - I got a nice surprise as I attempted to throw my plate and fork away. I was at first disgruntled at the lack of the usual wastebaskets. There were all these portable recycling stations set up with volunteers standing by. When I talked to one of the volunteers, finally, she glanced at my "plastic" fork and plate and said, "Composte!"
She explained that the fork is made of some corn syruppy material or something that makes it decompose, and I didn't understand the plate, but it was also decomposible. I have been impressed at the length the DNCC is going to make it a "green" convention, but this amount of detail was great.

More free food. Along with the liberal (ha ha... get it?) amount of free beer and fair-type food everywhere, there were a couple of sections with a bunch of appetizer tables, and volunteers walking around offering mini-tacos and chocolate drizzled brownie bites.

The more "child friendly" rides weren't as populated as the big and scary rides, but I must say that those who hopped on the merry-go-round and teacups did it with enthusiasm and patriotism.

These were two Denver volunteers we met that were thrilled to hear we were from Alaska. They have a son who in Haines, and talked about the fishing, and how beautiful our state was. This made up for the comment by the governor that Colorado was the most beautiful land in American, possibly the world. I mean, I know he has to say it, but he has CLEARLY not been to Alaska.

Okay, this was the wierdest group ever. Like a poor man's Cirque de Soleil. The plot had something to do with a French man going to sleep after a fight to get his lights turned off, and then an American rollerblading couple performing on a platform in his bedroom, after which he turned into a pirate, sees some other things, then turns into a magician. I think. That's about the gist of what I got out of it.
There was neat acrobatics done, but I think they need to try and stay away from any kind of attempt at a story line.
There's video below of one of the pretty neat feats of an acrobat.

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