Colfax Avenue: SOUL OF A CITY (Michael Jacobs and Daniel Silverstein)
It was four or five years ago when I saw the cover of the Faithless CD, Sunday 8pm, which featured the marquee of the BlueBird, the inspiration for their album’s title. I remember looking at that and wondering what the place was like, its history, what it was and what it had become.
Little did I know at the time that it was located in Denver, and that years later, I would live in walking distance of the venue, in a neighborhood brimming over with cultural diversity.
Colfax Avenue educates us and answers some of my questions while raising more in the process. Little did I know that Colfax was once a fancy boulevard, lined with the homes of the wealthier Denverites of the time. Progress and I-70 changed the look and heart beat of the longest commercial street in the nation, and with it came a rush of art, ideas, activism and yes, the indigent.
Local filmmakers Michael Jacobs and Daniel Silverstein have not only proven themselves with the production and their approach to chronicling the life that is Colfax, but with the compelling interviews with the people of its streets.
There’s the painter Steve Wilson and the publisher and poet Ed Ward who talk of the beatnik days. They tell us of the Ogden Bookstore where the hooker and junkies, painters and poets all came together, or how a stranger would open the door in searching of what was “happening.” Yes, the famous beat poets Neil Cassidy and Jack Kerouac were also Denver residents. But it was the homegrown variety that continued to make a difference in the city’s vibe.
The present day shows us plans to clean up the neighborhood, to make it nice and pretty like LoDo, removing the people and the colors that make it one of Denver’s last funky neighborhoods. The questions arise on how the city will support its people, those that live on the streets or struggle to make it day by day in no-win situations.
Colfax Avenue is a testament to Colorado’s growing filmmaking talent and a must see for anyone who lives here, and even those that don’t. It’s about real life in a city dealing with growth, how this affects its people, and how others are struggling to keep the boulevard from becoming a gentrified street, Anytown USA.
The movie’s first screening a few weeks ago sold out. For those that missed it, another screening will take place at our holiday event at Forest Room 5 Sunday, December 19.