“Mile High City”, Metropolitan Series, No. 75

I first fell in love with Denver back in the year 2000, when I was traveling from Chicago to Santa Cruz for the summer in a gold sparkling pickup truck I nicknamed “Liberace”. This was my first experience road tripping across America, and I was starry eyed and in consistent wonderment the entire time. For more than 20 years I really hadn’t experienced any kind of travel, and I saw Denver as this magical paradise thousands of feet up above sea level.

13 years later, in thinking back to that wonderful place, I decided to make Denver a part of the Metropolitan Series, and flew out there from my home in Los Angeles to draw a map of it around Mickey’s face. I had stayed with a friend from high school in Marietta Georgia, who gave me the low down on the entire city, and I spent 5 days walking and taking the train across the city to get a feel for Denver’s surroundings and inhabitants.

Out of all the cities I have visited, Denver’s aesthetic was the most unique. Most of the time I can pinpoint similarities in architecture influenced by geography and history in the US, but Denver was built on an entirely different platform. It wasn’t Southern, Midwestern, or Pacific. Denver.. .. was.. Denver… a mix of classic architecture infused with natural elements that reflected the mountains, forest, and rivers.

I was overwhelmed by the hospitality of Denver’s residents, who often reminded me of the easy going Northern Californians of Sebastapol and Southern Oregonians. The friends I stayed with wore costumes and rode bicycles through the town with thousands of other residents who did the same. The stress of traffic strained madness from Los Angeles somehow magically washed away, and I found myself whimsically walking down the street playing music in my ears and feeling that Denver was the cure from all the pressure and heartache over the years.

It was a dangerous feeling too, because I knew if I spent any time longer in Denver, that I would be packing up and leaving ASAP to become one of its residents.

Even now, when times get tough in whatever city I’m in, I think back to that week where I laid out in the park watching the sun set during a jazz festival with friends. When I’m sad I think about walking around aimlessly with no direction whatsoever and taking the RTD to 16th street. When I am uninspired, I think about the Denver Art Museum, which was one of the most INCREDIBLE museums I have been to on the planet… and getting lost in the random rooms of beautiful work that I have waited my whole life to see (IE: Sandy Skoglund “Fox Games”, Nick Cave “Sound Suits”)

In this piece, entitled “Mile High City” (in reference that Denver is actually a mile above sea level), goes over the attractions and districts of Denver. In the ears it says “Silver Boom” which goes over the Silver Rush that made Denver a prominent figure on the US map, and MTN life, which is about the culture of the city.

Here are the following attractions going clockwise from the lower left side.

1. Denver Art Museum
2. Little Man Ice Cream
3. Blue Bear Sculpture (Convention Center Sculpture)
4. National Western Stock Show
5. Tattered Cover Book Store
6. Mountain Views
7. Larimer Square
8. Colorado State Flag
9. Confluence Park
10. Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum
11. South Platte River
12. Botanic Gardens
13. Lakeside Amusement Park
14. “The Aliens” Sculpture
15. Union Station (Train Station)
16. RTD (Transit System)
17. 16th Street Mall.

Inside Mickey’s face are the following 68 districts:

1. Country Club
2. North Capulo
3. East Colfax
4. Speer
5. Belcaro
6. Cole
7. North East Park Hill
8. Washington Virginia Vale
9. Montbello
10. Hale
11. University Hills
12. Wellshire
13. Rosedale
14. Gateway
15. Green Valley Ranch
16. Montclair
17. Indian Creek
18. Virginia Village
19. Five Points
20. Cory Merrill
21. Lowry
22. Hilltop
23. City Park West
24. Union Station
25. Civic Center
26. Baker
27. Curtis Park
28. Chaffee Park
29. Skyland
30. Cherry Creek
31. Regis
32. South Park Hill
33. Sloan Lake
34. Cheeseman Park
35. Stapleton
36. Elyria Swansea
37. Platte
38. Clayton
39. Auraria Park
40. Hampden
41. Washington Park
42. Ruby Hill
43. Globeville
44. Sun Valley
45. Barnum
46. Whittier
47. Berkeley
48. West Highland
49. College View
50. University Park
51. Highland
52. Capitol Hill
53. Lincoln Park
54. Congress Park
55. South Platte
56. Kennedy
57. University
58. Sunnyside
59. Goldsmith
60. South Moore Park
61. Marlee
62. West Colfax
63. Bear Valley
64. Villa Park
65. Fort Logan
66. Marston
67. Harvey Park
68. Athmar Park

This is the 85th in the TENxTENxTEN Collection, and the 5th in the Metropolitan Series.

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