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Axios Denver

It's Friday, and a beautiful weekend awaits. It's peak fall foliage in most of northern and central Colorado, so get out there.

  • The weather: All sun all weekend. Friday's high will reach 77°. Expect mid-80s Saturday and Sunday.

🏈 Situational awareness: The Denver Broncos home opener against the New York Jets starts at 2:05pm Sunday.

  • It's the first full-capacity game at Empower Field at Mile High in two years.

Today's newsletter is 798 words — a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Denver debuts business brand to lure jobs

The Denver skyline in 2016. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/Denver Post via Getty Images

For two years, Denver-area economic development leaders studied a simple yet ethereal question: What makes Denver, Denver?

Why it matters: The slogan is designed to help Denver differentiate its business spirit from other cities when wooing employers to the region — a competitive space that's increasingly important in the pandemic-era economic landscape.

Courtesy of the Denver Metro Economic Development Commission

What they're saying: The final product helps "explain this special sauce of metro Denver," the new Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce CEO, J.J.Ament, told Axios Denver ahead of the launch.

  • "This is something that we want everybody to latch on to when they are describing business in our region," he added.

How the brand came together

2. ☕ Our favorite coffee patios in Denver

A quiet morning at Steam Espresso Bar. Photo: Alayna Alvarez/Axios

Coffee shops have become a remote-work destination amid the rise of "third workplaces," and patios present prime real estate to socially distance.

We're sharing Denver's top coffee shop patios to soak up the final drops of summer and sip some warming beverages before winter hits.

Steam Espresso Bar
  • Nestled on South Pearl Street, the quaint and playful patio feels like a secret garden with its twisting trellises and lush greenery. The airplane fuselage on display is retro — and a big hit with kids.
  • Plus: Dogs are welcome!

See our Top 12

3. Donors wanted to cover Griswold's security costs

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold speaks during a press conference in August. Photo: RJ Sangosti/Denver Post via Getty Images

A political committee aligned with the national Democratic Party and backed by unions tried to cover the cost of private security for Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold after she received online threats.

But the state's Independent Ethics Commission rejected the request from the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State, Colorado Politics reports, saying it would amount to an improper gift from political donors.

The other side: Griswold leads the association as chair, but she did not respond to questions from Axios Denver about whether she supported the donor-funded security arrangement.

Threat level: As the state's top election official, she has been the subject of numerous threats on social media and elsewhere related to the 2020 election, particularly from supporters of former President Donald Trump.

  • Griswold received a State Patrol security detail for two weeks this year. Other requests were not granted because the agency did not consider the threats to be credible, the association's attorney told state officials.
  • More recently, Griswold spent $25,000 from her office's budget to hire private security guards to accompany her to public events and a recent conference in Iowa.

What's next: The secretary is exploring alternatives and may seek dedicated money for security through the state budget process this year.

4. Nuggets: New political maps issued
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Data: Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions; Map: Thomas Oide/Axios

🗺️ A new and possibly final draft of Colorado’s congressional maps came out Thursday. It would give Democrats a 4–3 advantage over Republicans and create a competitive new eighth district. (Colorado Sun)

🚨 Ryan Call, the former two-term chair of the Colorado GOP, will lose his license to practice law after mishandling hundreds of thousands of dollars from a pro-Trump political action committee. (Colorado Politics)

😷 Colorado K–12 schools without mask mandates are yielding higher COVID-19 transmission rates than those that require the face coverings, new state data shows. (Denver Post)

💸 GOP U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, of Rifle, paid rent and utility bills for the restaurant she owns with campaign funds in violation of federal campaign finance law. (Axios)

5. Immersive art draws fans and investors

Photo Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP via Getty Images

How much would you pay for an immersive art experience that is "a sleek, if pleasantly confusing, package of moods" as Denver's Meow Wolf was described?

  • The answer, according to the current market-clearing price, seems to be about $35, Axios' Felix Salmon writes.

Why it matters: Investors are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into ticketed experiences — immersive, interactive gallery-like spaces without the "do-not-touch" stuffiness of traditional museums.

Driving the news: Meow Wolf, a venture capital-funded art collective (now, that's a phrase you wouldn't have heard 10 years ago) opened its biggest installation yet in Denver on Sept. 17.

  • At 90,000 square feet, it cost $100 million — the price of a large studio movie or an early Picasso.
  • Immersive Van Gogh experiences, including two that came to town, now span the world. One operator, Lighthouse Immersive, claims to have sold 3.2 million tickets.

The dynamic changing the art world

6. Where to find your snow stoke

A skier in TGR's "Stoke the Fire."

The ski season is closer than you think, and this year's crop of ski movies will surely get you excited for the return of snow.

Why it matters: Coloradans love hitting the slopes, so why not get inspired and watch the best skiers and snowboarders slash the big screen with outrageous tricks on death-defying runs?

Of note: The Warren Miller production team's latest, "Winter Starts Now," features a number of Colorado connections: the National Brotherhood of Skiers at Snowmass, the ski jump at Howelsen Hill and Steamboat local Noah Elliot.

See the Colorado tour schedules

Our weekend picks:

🍺 John is drinking this local Oktoberfest beer and planning to watch all those ski movies.

🌮 Alayna is scouring the city for the best breakfast tacos. Send your recs!

Enjoy your weekend, friends.