Peeping Toms get clicking for art's sake
The technological trend of "moblogging" (sharing mobile-phone images on the Internet) has prompted legislation that, if passed, would deter seedy Kodak moments from being snapped in places like restrooms and fitting rooms. The law could allocate a whole new value to photographs: A picture could be worth a hundred thousand dollars -- in fines. Until then, there's "Digital Voyeurs," a new photographic installation from Ben Popken and the EYECANDYMAG arts collective. When Popken and company invited covert cameramen to participate in the project, risk-taking shutterbugs armed themselves with cell phones and other gadgets in a quest to snap saucy images of the unsuspecting. "Everybody is a cell photographer these days," says the group's Ray Romero. "Word traveled fast; it's a digital world out there."
Popken, who's adding a few of his own pics to the project, says the motivation for the budding phone photogs was "the idea of the hunt -- and ultimately getting the prize." According to organizers, the submission-based installation differs from amateur pornography because, they say, the collaborative piece is meant to be a "peek through peepholes and locks," with an emphasis on what the viewer cannot see. "We're not looking to catch a girl with her panties down," Popken maintains. "We are looking for photographs that are more captivating and titillating."
"Digital Voyeurs" will be projected at EYECANDYMAG's second annual gallery show, Nothing's Sacred, tonight at the Den Gallery of Photography. The show is a "multi-sensory experience" that explores dance, sculpture, performance and installation art, with music by DJs from Danger Crew Productions, Radio 1190 and Popken's own Cardboard Monsters.
"Along with the other delicious offerings at the show, 'Digital Voyeurs' is an explicit statement," Popken says. "We are shockingly aware of the potential and implications of the new technology out there, and it is amazingly beautiful, frightening and, ultimately, completely compelling." Adds Romero, "We want to continue to push the envelope of what people see as art. I mean, in today's society, what is sacred anymore?"
Nothing's Sacred will flash the First Friday faction from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Den, 774 Santa Fe Drive; admission is on a sliding scale. For details, call 303-298-8143 or e-mail comcast.net. -- Kity Ironton
Antiquarian Book Fair opens
People with a passion for the printed page are promised a good romp between the covers by organizers of this weekend's Rocky Mountain Antiquarian Book Fairat the Denver Merchandise Mart. "This is a chance for book people to talk to other book people," says coordinator Lois Harvey. "I see it as a book lover's idea of a great night out." "From cowtown to booktown" will be the mantra at this year's market, where wordsmiths will attend author seminars and collector chats while eyeballing thousands of used books and maps stacked on nearly a hundred dealers' shelves.
Procurers of page-turners will delight in such works as a barely touched but signed first edition of Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms for just $16,500, or the $22,500 original of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale. But Harvey assures the wary that not all of the offerings sport such hefty price tags. "There are books from five to five thousand dollars," she says. "This is just a chance for book people to put a classic in someone's hands and talk about it. It's a bit of an abstract pleasure."
The pages start flipping tonight from 5 to 9 p.m.; the fair continues tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $6 per day, or $10 for a weekend pass. The Denver Merchandise Mart is located at 451 East 58th Avenue; for more information, call 303-480-0220, or visit www.rmaba.org. Kity IrontonHeady Mixture
sat 8/7 "You can watch a guy paint over here, or check out the fashion show, or you can dance and get down, or you can do all of that at the same time," Denver DJ Bobby Collins says of the entertainment possibilities at tonight's Cluster III. As the Roman numeral indicates, this is the third in a series of "clusters." Collins began organizing the events last October with the help of some friends at local underground art magazine Sherbert. As he puts it, the idea behind a cluster is to combine "as much interesting stuff as possible" in one venue. Tonight's multimedia rave will feature twelve painters, an ambient fashion show, three DJs (including Collins) and live video art that Collins says will "make you feel like you're on drugs."
Cluster III will also throw political ideology into the overstimulating mix. A self-professed liberal, Collins hopes to have an all-out anti-Bush show closer to Election Day, but for now, he's settling for voter registration and anti-Dubya merchandise vendors.
Doors open at 8:30 p.m. at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom, 2637 Welton Street; the cover charge is $8. Call 303-291-1772 for details. Caitlin SmithRock Pile
Concerts for Kids breaks out two shining stars
fri 8/6 One thing about big benefit concerts: They make donating to a cause so painless that your often-aching pocket barely feels a ripple. And in this case, it might have something to do with the fact that your booty will be having so much fun, you won't notice a lighter wallet. Denver-based Sage Hospitality celebrates twenty years in business tonight by hosting a Concerts for Kids, featuring Chicago and Earth, Wind and Fire, two bands Sage head honcho Walter Isenberg magnanimously calls the "finest in the world." No wonder: Combined, the double bill shares at least a gazillion Grammys, earned for such hits as the former's "Saturday in the Park" and the latter's "Shining Star." But tonight's performance at Universal Lending Pavilion is more than a concert. Proceeds will benefit three local children's charities, including Children's Hospital and the Make-A-Wish and Denver Public Schools foundations.