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In June last year, there was a show called Denver Does Denver that featured musicians and bands from a broad spectrum of the scene covering their favorite musical compatriots — or at least those whose music they found interesting or amusing to perform. For starters, Slight Harp and Safe Boating Is No Accident covered Pictureplane, which covered 3OH!3, and Mike Marchant covered the Pseudo Dates.
For those who attended, it stands as a memorable experience. Behind the event was Yuzo Nieto and his partner-in-artcrime (and onetime Westword contributor) Adam Gildar — who co-founded Illiterate magazine with Nieto. As proponents of local culture and the arts, the pair has consistently dreamed up inventive ways of building and strengthening a community by bringing together creative types from as many walks of artistic life as possible.
This year, high-profile bands like Flobots and Houses are getting in on the fun, along with a host of other noteworthy luminaries in the Denver music and art community. We spoke with Gildar at Illiterate Gallery about the event and why it's being held at the Meadowlark.
Westword: Whose idea was Denver Does Denver, and what was the concept behind it?
Adam Gildar: It was Yuzo Nieto's idea. He was the music editor of Illiterate magazine at the time, and he was one of the founders of that magazine. We were thinking of different ways we could reach out to the community in a conceptual way that would be different from just a concert. Yuzo had the idea that local bands could play the music of other local bands.
In 2009, we had the event at Old Curtis St. and Carioca Cafe, which was an interesting place to throw a mini-festival. It was the most engendering -of-positive-energy event that we've done. What better way to put a smile on people's faces or pay compliments to each other and build those connections than to say, "I like your stuff so much that I'm going to utilize it in something I'm going to do"?
This year we decided to take that and add a visual component to do it. Now that we have a gallery, it just makes that much more sense, now that we're more connected to part of the visual art world in Denver. So we posed that same challenge to visual artists that we posed to musicians.
Why did you choose to have the event at the Meadowlark?
Jonathan Bitz is someone we targeted to do the event with because he's someone who is such an important beacon in the Denver cultural climate. What he's built up over at the Meadowlark is pretty impressive in a short amount of time. He does such amazing things with the space as a music venue, but then he's also showing art down there. He also happens to run one of the coolest online publications out there, Denver Syntax. The people who are involved with him know that what he does is important, but on a larger level, he's one of our unsung heroes.