Denver Westword Newspaper
June 18, 2008
Won't You Please Come From Chicago?
Protesters stay in tune for the DNC
By Patricia Calhoun, editor
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.
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."
P.O. Box 5970
Denver, CO 80217
Fax: (303) 296-5416