Linda Eastman McCartney, who died of cancer in 1998, became famous as a shutterbug of the '60s rock pantheon. She was already on a roll before she met Paul McCartney at a 1967 photo shoot; her first break as a photographer came in the form of an invitation to a reception on a yacht for the Rolling Stones. From there, she learned as she went, capturing countless other musicians -- Jimi Hendrix, the Who, B.B. King, the Mamas and the Papas, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding and more -- as a house photographer at the Fillmore East and an early staff member of Rolling Stone. All of this happened before she married the Beatle and gained new fame as his devoted wife, mother of four, vegetarian activist and marginal singer for Wings. As many have noted, the real secret of McCartney's photographic candor and, ultimately, her success as a photojournalist was in how she forged friendships with her subjects: She hung out with them and treated them as equals rather than popular curiosities. Her style was relaxed and organic; she never forced her subjects to work before the camera. "I had no idea they'd all become so famous," she once said of the icons who moved in and out of her viewfinder during the '60s. Ironically, her own historical significance seems more a product of her marriage than of her stellar career as a photographer.
Linda McCartney's Sixties: Portrait of an Era -- a touring collection of 51 images first organized by her estate five years ago in cooperation with the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut -- puts such nonsense to rest, while capturing with clarity an era of popular history. The exhibit, a crowd-pleaser wherever it goes, comes to roost tonight at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, during a members-only opening reception from 4 to 7:30 p.m. ($10 one-day-membership passes will be available at the door); it remains on display through April 10. In addition, two short films, a biography, Linda McCartney Behind the Lens, and The Grateful Dead: A Photofilm, a montage of McCartney's thirty-year-old Dead photos compiled by her husband after her death, will be screened continuously for the duration of the show.
The Fine Arts Center is at 30 West Dale Street, Colorado Springs; for details, call 1-719-634-5581 or log on to www.csfineartscenter.org. -- Susan Froyd
Tales of Miami and the Caribbean come alive
Though Ana Menéndez never lived there, Cuba occupies her soul. The American-born daughter of Cuban exiles, she grew up with the island's stories and after-stories -- those of the anti-Castro Cubans who left the island behind -- that percolated inside her. As an adult, she embarked on a journalism career at the Miami Herald and the Orange County Register, eventually landing in Cuba on assignment, which changed her life. Flooded by mixed feelings, Menéndez switched from non-fiction to fiction, eventually writing the culture-laced stories for her acclaimed first book, In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd. Her second book, Loving Che, a novel that juxtaposes the contemporary groove of Miami's Little Havana with the decaying old-world atmosphere of pre-revolutionary Havana, continues the author's quest to make sense of the Cuban milieu. The novel revolves around a Miami-raised daughter who uncovers her Cuban mother's long-ago affair with Che Guevara, and brings to life Menéndez's own bittersweet background.
A read this good can only come from a person who's equally as interesting. Hobnob with Menéndez today at a noon Book Beat Luncheon at the Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Place. Admission is $15 to $18; call 303-571-5260 for reservations, which are required. The author also appears this evening at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 East First Avenue in Cherry Creek. Call 303-322-7727 for details. -- Susan Froyd
Ceramics Break Ground
Ornamental terra-cotta topiary structures and digitally detailed porcelain tiles are among the works in Because the Earth Is 1/3 Dirt, a ceramics exhibit at the University of Colorado at Boulder's art museum. "It's an international exhibit that addresses the potency of ceramics as a medium and its metaphoric relationship to the Earth," says Lisa Tamiris Becker, director of the museum and co-curator of the exhibit.
On display until March 19, Because the Earth Is 1/3 Dirt will feature works by Leopold Foulem, Wim Delvoye, Lawson Oyekan, Annabeth Rosen, Johan Creten, Walter McConnell, Backa Carin Ivarsdotter, Kristen Morgin, Pieter Stockmans, Ted Muehling and Saint Clair Cremin.
The show opens tonight with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. A free symposium tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. features a panel discussion with participating artists and CU faculty members.
The CU Art Museum is in the Sibell-Wolle Fine Arts Building, room N141. For more information, call 303-492-8300 or log on to www.colorado.edu/cuartmuseum. -- Julie Dunn
"Curable" homosexuality exposed as a myth
Activist author Wayne Besen, a onetime national spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign and a frequent political TV talker, spent four years delving into the world of so-called ex-gay ministries and built a case against money-backed claims by so-called reformed homosexuals. The movement was sponsored by what Besen refers to as the "Religious Reich" of the reverends Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Bolstered by some of his more astonishing revelations -- he photographed ex-gay advocate John Paulk in mid-cruise at a Washington, D.C., bar, and exposed the secret life of HIV-positive right-winger Michael Johnston, one of Falwell's vociferously anti-gay inside men -- he compiled his findings in Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth, a comprehensive treatise on everything that's wrong with the idea that homosexuality can be cured by faith. Besen, who meticulously researched methods used in reparative therapy and the failings of those who exercise them, is the authority on the subject. He'll have plenty to say about the topic at 1 p.m. today when he signs the book, officially outed for National Coming Out Day, at Relatively Wilde Books, 42 South Broadway. For information, call 303-777-0766; for details about Besen and his book, log on to www.anythingbutstraight.com. -- Susan Froyd