"It's really hard to categorize," says Andenken curator Ryan Riss, who is struggling to come up with a moniker to classify the five nationally recognized artists he's assembled for MyMyHeyHey, an exhibit that opens tonight and runs until September 23. "I don't want to say 'street culture,'" he says. "It's not just graffiti." Maybe not, but the genre is heavily inspired by the tagger aesthetic, just as it is by comic books, science-fiction figurines, tattoos, zines, pop iconography, cartoons and skateboarding.
One of the artists whose works are in the show is San Francisco-based Jeremy Fish, who earned his credentials as an illustrator for Think Skateboards and as the founder of Silly Pink Bunnies, a sort of Illuminati gang of skateboarders complete with its own yearly convention. Fish and his playfully surreal paintings, screen prints and new book, I'm With Stupid, will be on hand at tonight's reception, which runs from 7 to 10 p.m. at Andenken, 2110 Market Street. Also appearing in person will be contributing artists and frequent collaborators Mel Kadel and Travis Millard of Los Angeles. Although both are illustrators whose distinct styles seem fit for some morose storybook, they refuse to let viewers sink into dark waters, opting instead for a whimsical, almost childish take on the world. As the proprietor of Fudge Factory Comics, Millard will also present some of his zines, including the hilarious Right-Wing Conservatives Getting Racked series.
Other featured artists will be Andrew Jeffery Wright of Philadelphia and Canadian Derrick Hodgson.
Riss is excited about bringing together a group that represents a cutting-edge style of contemporary art which has gotten big play in coastal hubs but has yet to be significantly recognized in Denver. "I just wanted a fun show," he says. "That's it."
The Westcliffe film fest is a down-home weekend getaway.
"There are a lot of film festivals, and to start a new one seemed like a ludicrous idea," says Kenneth Wadja, director of the Westcliffe Digital Film Festival.
But he did it anyway, and the result is a seventeen-film, three-day festival like no other. The two-year-old labor of love is touted as the anti-Sundance with "no sponsors, no gift bags and no four-star hotels." Even the seating arrangements are on hay bales. The whole festival is run by two people -- one to operate the projector and one to sell tickets -- and all of the profits are pooled so that participating filmmakers can apply for grants toward future projects.
The pixels roll tonight at 8 p.m. at the Westcliffe Train Depot, though the festivities officially kick off with a pre-party at 5 p.m. at Poag Mahone's Pub, 215 Main Street. For people making the two-and-a-half-hour trek south from Denver, Wadja recommends the Saturday-night screening program, which will showcase this year's short films. "These are the kinds of films that independent digital filmmakers are really taking control of, from start to finish," he says. "They have an easier time completing a good short than a feature."
Tickets to all screening programs and panel discussions are $5. For more information and a schedule, visit www.west cliffedigitalfilmfestival.com. -- Amber Taufen
If you don't make any of the other Boulder International Fringe Festival events, be sure to catch the Fringe Finale, starting tonight at 8 p.m. After the evening's last theater productions, musical presentations and workshops, everyone's heading over to the Boulder Theatre, 2032 14th Street, to see the Mariposa Collective throw an all-out multimedia dance party to celebrate the fest's first year of turning heads and changing minds in the People's Republic. Onye Ozuzu's Butoh installation and video projections by Dennis Flippin get things started, followed by performance art by Kim Olson, Christy Harris, Betsy Tobin, Mary Kite, Ana Baer, the Meta Skateboard Team and Gretchen Sprio's Tumblebones. There will also be a fashion show and breakdancers as the clock strikes midnight. Tickets are $13 to $15. For information, log on to www.boulderfringe.com. -- Amy Haimerl
Super Donkey Kong Contra Duck Hunt
It's all good with old-school NES.
Remember when you finally figured out how to navigate the graveyard in Zelda? Of course you do. It was legendary. You immediately abandoned your console and tore out of the house and down the block as your mother screamed, "Look both ways before you cross the street, goddamn it!" You didn't even pretend to hear her. You rang the doorbell at your best friend's house and proceeded to arrogantly show him how to complete the level, because the two of you had that intense bet going. God, what a day.
Rise Nightclub, 1909 Blake Street, will relive that magic, albeit in more adult form, during its Old School Nintendo Party, starting at 9 p.m. tonight. The bash will include a costume contest with prizes available for best NES look-alike; there's no cover, and drinks are just $1. If that's not enough to make you love Nintendo, nothing is. Old-school Atari nerds need not apply.