Now Showing: A Westword guide to the arts in Denver

Now Showing: A <i>Westword</i> guide to the arts in Denver

The aspen aren't the only things that turn golden in the fall. The cultural scene also glitters, as arts groups large and small, high-brow and low-, celebrated and secret, start their new seasons.

To get straight to the art of the most exciting events in the months ahead, we went to the experts — the people who spend their days or nights, and often both, creating their own art or running their own arts organizations (and often both). But somehow, in their non-existent spare time, these people still manage to stay on top of the amazing contributions of other artists/arts organizations. And so we asked them to share their thoughts on who is making the most interesting contributions to the cultural scene right now.

We didn't stop there, either. We also asked them to suggest the single thing that could be done to improve the local art scene over the next year. And then, just for fun, we asked what they like to do when they're out on the town. Join them, won't you?

Erica Baum&rsquo;s &ldquo;Examined,&rdquo; part of Postscript, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.
Erica Baum’s “Examined,” part of Postscript, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.
The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, now showing at Curious Theatre Company.
The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, now showing at Curious Theatre Company.


Adam Lerner is the "director and chief animator" at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, which will open Postscript: Writing After Conceptual Art on October 12.

Aside from your organization, who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? I don't know if it counts as "interesting work" work, but Forest Room 5 is now, more than ever, part bar, part art installation, and entirely out there. When I noticed a typewriter in the water feature one day, it made me imagine how great it would be to have a world run by artists.

Otherwise, the band Zebroids is amazing, especially the guy who runs around with a zebra head. Again, interesting work? I don't know. Is comedy punk a category? Oh, there is also musician/artist Laura Goldhamer. She is a gem. No, that's too sweet. She's a dynamo — whatever that is. She's a little insane, so listening to her perform for an hour makes me feel good about the youth of America.

Wait — was I supposed to talk about institutions? I don't really love institutions. Though Buntport Theater is great. They're barely an institution.

When you go out on the town, what's your favorite cultural activity? Out on the town? Ha. I'm usually stuck at fundraising events. When I'm not, I like to have a drink at a bar, which is sort of a cultural activity, especially with bartenders like Jason Patz, at Williams & Graham. I enjoy listening to live music, though I am definitely too old for the scene. I had a great time at the "Down N Derby" roller disco this summer. Strangely, not too old for that. And I like to go to gallery openings, especially if I can ride my bicycle to get there. Otherwise, I like to watch American Dad! on TV.

What's the one thing you'd like to see happen in the next year to improve the local arts scene? It would be great if local artist John McEnroe could have a major museum exhibition. Never mind, we're already doing that. How about a monorail? That would be fun.


Meredith Strathmeyer is a company dancer and the communications manager for BNC | Ballet Nouveau Colorado, which will open A Dangerous Liaison November 3.

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? I can always count on the work pouring out of Denver's Lighthouse Writers Workshop to ignite my inner poet. They have classes to nurture any level or genre of writer, and the artists affiliated with their program produce some incredibly inspiring works. The students of BNC recently collaborated with their Young Writers Program with the intent to ambitiously meld movement and writing; the teens ended up yielding pieces of performance art that defied their ages. That's the kind of up-and-coming art that gets BNC excited!

When you go out, what's your favorite cultural activity? Denver's music scene has this totally unique folkie/alternative feel that inspires me to seek out the locals. I love that every bar and coffeehouse gives these bands a place to kill it.

What's the one thing you'd like to see happen to improve the local scene? I hope we can continue to be as adventurous and open-minded as our audiences have been this past season. There's a fiery spirit in Denver, and I think we feel it in our bones when we come across innovative new art. I hope as a community we will keep trying to find new ways to be moved.


Dan Landes is the owner of WaterCourse Foods, WaterCourse Bakery and City, O' City; he's landlord to the community event space Deer Pile and also active in the art nonprofit Art Plant. His first novel, Joonie and the Great Harbinger Stampede, will be released October 16, with a signing at the LoDo Tattered Cover the next day.

Who is doing the most interesting work in Denver right now? Itchy-O: What a marching brass band is to New Orleans, Itchy-O is to Denver. An ambulatory mass of drum-centric, theremin noise madness that tames dragons and titillates the nubile.

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Don't show artwork at Forest Room 5. I had pieces in there years ago for a special show and they lost half of them. There staff didn't seem to care either. Avoid St. Mark's Coffeehouse as well to hang art. Their baristas are rude basically throw your art in the trash.