News

Denver Westword Newspaper
June 18, 2008

Won't You Please Come From Chicago?
Protesters stay in tune for the DNC

By Patricia Calhoun, editor

http://www.westword.com/2008-06-19/news/won-t-you-please-come-from-chicago/

Laura Kriho was only four when the Democratic National Convention came to her home town of Chicago and all hell broke loose. "But I remember the aftermath," she says, "and I had the song in my head." The song was "Chicago," which Graham Nash wrote a few years later to commemorate the events of 1968.

Kriho brought the song with her when she moved to Colorado, and it played like a soundtrack - "We can change the world! Rearrange the world!" - behind her own efforts for peace, for legal hemp products, for justice for a nineteen-year-old charged with possession of methamphetamine. Kriho, a resident of Gilpin County, was called for jury duty on that trial, and she wound up getting charged with contempt of court and obstruction of justice for failing to disclose during voir dire that she was opposed to the enforcement of drug laws in some instances. Her case went all the way to the Colorado Court of Appeals before all the charges against Kriho were dropped in 2000 - four years after the original case she'd served on ended in a mistrial.
http://www.westword.com/2000-08-17/news/juris-prudence/

But Kriho didn't give up on rearranging the world. "Basically, I've been an activist in Colorado for a long time," she says. "And I was really excited when Colorado got awarded the convention." Excited enough that she thought it would "be cool" if "Chicago" could be rewritten for the Denver convention, and contacted Nash for permission. Getting it was the easy part. Then she had to revise the song and record it with some friends, members of Freedom Kage, and make a video, sincere and slightly goofy, which features historic and current photos, including a quick cut from Chicago mayor Richard Daley to Denver mayor John Hickenlooper. And all that was still easier than the next part: Kriho started looking for a single place where all the information on the Democratic National Counter-Convention had been compiled. "I met with all the different activists," she remembers, "and no one really had a coherent, all-inclusive site." So she started creating one in March, and finally finished it just this week. The site, www.comeuptodenver.org, lists resources, outlines logistics, offers a calendar and reminds viewers that "The Whole World Is Watching." And listening, if they click on the link for the revised Nash song, now titled "Come Up to Denver."

Which reminds her of one more hurdle. "Singing was the hardest part," she admits. "Graham Nash did it in '72, and I'll bet he can't still sing that high."

The city could find out on June 26, when Crosby, Stills and Nash play at the Wells Fargo Theatre. Kriho and her very loose group will be there, handing out fliers and encouraging positive action in August, unlike the violence that the police unleashed in Chicago forty years ago. "We know there are people who might disrupt things, so we're putting the word out that we're going to control this," she says. "It is going to be everything under the sun. It's the biggest party that Denver's ever seen."

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