Curtis “Shell” Shelton had no idea he just sauntered past a crime scene ’til he pulled up his coffee table to scroll a bliggity and click on the six o’clock news. He was right there, in front of the Federal Theater. He swore he saw one of the rabbits that took down the Beasley Downs Racetrack, the biggest, boldest cash heist in the city’s recent history.
Trevor Rabbit, with a duffel bag holding two million dollars in banded stacks of hundreds, approached the theater box office where Diego Iguana sold him a ticket for the horror movie The Hideout. All Diego could recall was a tall rabbit with an athletic build carrying a heavy duffel bag. Trevor entered the movie theater, sat in the front row near the exit, and waited until his pick up arrived in the back alley.
Mother rabbit, Sabrina, and her daughter, Heather, were on their way from the nail salon when they noticed a rabbit leaning against the tequila advertisement on the corner of Federal and West Denver Place. “He was looking at his phone, breathin’ heavy like he’d been running.” Sabrina explained to authorities more than an hour later after the suspect had disappeared.
Officer Frost had been there, too. The first wolf at the scene, he knew that the Beasley Downs Heist had occurred only thirty minutes prior. Frost had the instinct to exit his cruiser and take a look around that area of Federal. But his hunch ran cold when he stepped back into his vehicle to patrol the surrounding neighborhoods, not knowing that the suspect had already entered the movie theater. “I knock myself for not inquiring with the box office attendant. We could’ve had him. I was right there.”
Trevor Rabbit is still at large. Likely reconvened with his partners in crime. Probably fled to the next state. And that is all we know, in a city teeming with wild animals.
This video features the Red Briefcase, a basic timing package from Zybek Sports that allows a coach or technician to set up and run a Standardized Athletic Test.
Zybek Sports offers precision physical and athletic training equipment for talent identification and standardized athletic testing. Schools and professional organizations use their measurement products for training, recruiting athletes, and performance development.
In 2012, SpringHill Suites Marriott partnered with Denver Metropolitan State University to provide students in the Hospitality, Tourism and Events Department a professional learning environment and real-world experience in their field. Denver-based Sage Hospitality runs the SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown, a 150 room hotel, which is part of Metropolitan State University’s Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center. It prepares Metro State students for careers in the field with hospitality training through on-site, paid jobs and semester-long internships.
This video was made to celebrate a particular group of students who have gone through, or are soon to graduate from, Metro State’s Hospitality, Tourism and Events program. It was an honor to interview these thoughtful young people for a celebration banquet presented on Thursday, October 13th, 2016.
The score was going down. Everyone stood in their spot. Race number three had only to start. Every spectator’s eye locked on the greyhound starting box. A rabbit in aviator sunglasses cracks a military-grade red smoke canister under his sweatshirt and drops it hissing at his feet. He walks away. The crowd of gambling animals suddenly erupts in panic.
The Rabbit siblings needed the money. Mama was hurt in a serious car accident when a reckless alligator lost control of his car and slammed into Mama’s Neon on a wet, rainy Interstate 95. The lucky reptile walked away without a scratch, but Mama Rabbit got the worst of it with a broken clavicle, ribs, a perforated lung, and fractured vertebrae from being thrown through the windshield. And that wasn’t all. Her pension from forty years of teaching in Florida public schools wasn’t enough to cover the hospital costs and the insurance company was nothing but the typical runaround.
But Fred, the eldest Rabbit sibling, had a plan. The idea came to him after losing his entire paycheck betting on a miracle for Mama at a dog track called Beasley Downs. Before placing this last losing bet, the door to the racetrack’s money-counting room opened and he spotted two flamingos hunched over a table, counting stacks of cash. It was later, while sitting in his 1971 Challenger, that he made the decision: he would pull a heist. Fred had little to lose and Mama Rabbit was all he had left. Wouldn’t it be poetic to take back from the place that had given him nothing but $100 losing stubs on 50 to 1 long shots?
When he pitched the idea to his little brother, Trevor Rabbit, Mama’s golden boy with a full ride track and field scholarship to the University of Florida, Trevor didn’t hesitate. Trevor had everything to lose, but loved his Mama more than anything in the world. And he would have done anything his big brother asked because he practically raised them when daddy, Lou Rabbit, decided to take that one way trip on the methamphetamine express. Fred, thoughtful brother that he was, conveniently planned the score during Spring Break so Trevor could get back in time for class on Monday.
Jackie, on the other hand, was not eager to do it. Jackie was the female, the reasonable middle sister of the three, and she had just escaped a bad relationship with another good-for-nothing hare when she got the phone call from Fred. All she wanted to do was sit on the couch, eat fried carrot chips, and watch trashy TV. The last thing she wanted to do was play cops n’ robbers with her brothers. But because she didn’t want to see them get killed and it was all for their poor mother, she said screw it.
The idea was basic, but good. After the first two races of the day and everyone had already placed their bets for the third race, Trevor would release a military grade smoke bomb to distract the crowd. Fred and Jackie would stand by the exit door to the betting teller room, tap on the door, and the second someone opened it, they would push in at gun point and rob the money counting room.
After releasing the pop smoke, Trevor was supposed to run to Fred’s ’71 Challenger in the parking lot, bring it around back to the food services loading dock, and wait for his brother and sister to emerge with a black bag full of money.
And so now there they were. A hot, humid Saturday at Beasley Downs. The plan all set. Jackie and Fred, dressed like tourists, standing outside the betting teller room door. Now only race number three had to start. Trevor’s eyes locked on the greyhound’s starting box. Inside his sweatshirt pocket, the cylindrical smoke bomb turned in his sweaty palms. A cold Uzi strapped to his chest.
This painting,Last Defense, is inspired by the visions I’ve seen for the cyberpunk feature film I’ve written, Snow Ghost. It is a combination of scenes, concepts, and sensations that have lingered from the writing process. Because movies are so labor intensive, so expensive to produce, there is no guarantee they will ever be made. A writer is often placed in the tragic circumstances of spending a year or more writing a feature only to have her story languish in her laptop. So Last Defense is my artistic protection against that effort, some small insurance against the oblivion of an abandoned story idea.
Last Defense also represents what I feel to be a showdown against the attackers of art. I like the idea of using art to battle those who are threatened by it. Those who seek to destroy art, undermine it, impede it, and make sure it stays in its proper place are in my crosshairs, that is, those who spend no time in the inception, execution, distribution, exhibition, or consumption of art whatsoever. Those easily offended by violence, language, sexuality, and original ideas are often the same types who want to keep art in its place.
When we actively seek out original works of art, that art will reward us in return. But to find art that speaks to us requires some effort and cost. Many of us are happy being spoon-fed art by the powerful corporate machines that are in place. I speak of the mainstream, the Internet, the television, the movie theater, even the bookstore.
Original art is not often experienced anymore. Consider the the formulaic cinema and music we consume, the name brand clothing we wear, even the ready-made foods we eat. Also, please consider, the last work of original art that you consumed. What creative endeavor did you spend your money on? A music album? A movie ticket? A novel at the bookstore? Or perhaps the holy grail of all art endowment, a painting, print or photograph?
This painting has become my defender against the systems that seek to slow or stop the creation of original art. Ever since moving to Denver, I have come up against forces both real and perceived to limit my creativity and keep me in my proper place, even by those closest to me. And so it is only natural that I fight back.
Art provides its creator with insight into truth. After practicing enough of it, the artist has enough energy for the truth alone. A keen awareness of anything forced or false. The same is true for the consumers of art. People who make an effort to bring original art into their lives will benefit far more than just possessing a pretty picture to hang on the wall. Art is a Last Defense against the forces of evil.
Doughnuts! Recently moving to Denver, Colorado and adapting to a new job and living arrangement, I wanted to create a series of quick and simple paintings. I needed something to take my mind off my all-consuming cyberpunk screenplay, Snow Ghost, and the voices of the twenty seven nine-year-olds in my 3rd grade classroom. I don’t care about making realistic paintings. I just want to have fun filling in lines with bright colors. As acrylic paint is basically liquid plastic, it worked well for the pink frosting and rainbow sprinkles. And these paintings, like a spike of sugar in the middle of the workday, have given me a joyful jolt. Have a doughnut!
A short film made for the Denver 48 Hour Film Project competition by Denver, Colorado based, Lake House Productions.
This film was shot and edited within a 48 hour time period. The genre drawn for the contest was Vacation or Holiday. The elements required to be in the film were a character named Russell Powers, a coach, a straw and the line of dialogue: “Let’s keep it in the group.”
Sojourn has successfully reached the “Best of” round and will be shown at the Esquire Theater on September 5th, 2012.
An immigrant reflects upon his predicament while a naturalization officer tracks him down. Based on the masterful poem by Suzi Q. Smith.
Suzi Q. Smith
Ferry Boat Films In Association With Sacred Cows Films
Note: This film was shot for the 2012 Spoken Word Cinema Challenge. It was disqualified for its use of footage outside the parameters of the contest rules, but was graciously presented to a live audience, June 19th, 2012, at the Nomad Theater, Boulder, Colorado.
I have had an intense connection with loss and betrayal and I have wondered about the concept of loyalty. How are we loyal to one another? How much are people willing to sacrifice to stay loyal to one another? I’m a fan of heist films. I love movies like Ocean’s Eleven and Heat and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, where the heroes or heroines must plan a job, break in, find the treasure and escape with it. In those films, there are double-crosses and the characters either get the treasure and they get away with it and ride off into the sunset or sometimes they don’t, and usually there’s a twist at the end. My movie has all the characteristics of a big heist film and it’s exciting, but as I was writing I found I was more interested in the two main characters, their relationship and their need for each other.
I started thinking, “what if there was a heist film that took place where I grew up in the Rocky Mountains, but it was also an intimate look at loyalty and friendship?” Sydney Valentine, the heroine of my screenplay, Diamond Life, is a forty one year old high school math teacher who is fired from her job and loses her husband to divorce. But when Dela Barraza, her former partner and protégé, gets out of jail with the plan for a massive diamond heist, the opportunity arises to get back together and go at it again, just like old times.
The only problem is the unfinished business between Dela and Sydney concerning what happened at the botched job three years before when Dela was caught and thrown in jail. Once the truth is out about where the money went, this puts the new score, their loyalty and friendship all at risk. So Diamond Life is about a couple of diamond thieves with a chance at a big fortune, but mostly it is about an opportunity to absolve a past betrayal and hold on to the most precious thing of all: their friendship.