When Adam Lerner, MCA Denver's director and Chief Animator in the Department of Fabrications, took on the task of curating Denver Night, the culminating blowout party for the Biennial of the Americas in Civic Center Park, he hoped to sculpt an event that both met the challenge of an international audience and accurately expressed what he thinks of as the spirit of Denver.
"We have so many things here that are quality yet lack pretense," he explains. "So how could we do these things that are good but not highfalutin?" Well, with help from co-curator and sound artist Chris Kallmyer, he dipped into a whole bag of tricks to produce Denver Night: Music for Animals, which seamlessly blends spectacle, traditional favorites (from a barbershop quartet to an acoustic performance by members of the Fray), interactive installation art, world music, the avant-garde, sing-alongs and even a performance of Tragedy on the Sea Nymph: An Operetta in Three Acts Starring an All-Dog Cast.
You heard right: An opera for the dogs, though it's actually created and performed by human beings, including members of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. "There's something awesome about the fact that you can have a serious musical experience while holding on to your dog," Lerner says. "That's the spirit of what I love about Denver."
Additional music and events will all adhere to Lerner's credo of "art without the pain," but the opening salvo -- Nick Cave's HEARD•DAM -- is more than certain to buoy the crowd. "The chance to collaborate with the Denver Art Museum on Nick Cave's HEARD performance is an amazing opportunity; just imagine sixty dancers in Soundsuits in the park," he adds. "That's what Nick Cave is as an artist; he's all about the human spirit of play and experimentation." And in between acts, partiers can carry on that spirit of play by visiting a barn for artist Viviane Le Courtois's Human Grazing Experiment or creating patterns in light on Jen Lewin's interactive installation. What to expect as the night unfolds? One surprise after another.
Celebrate Denver Night from 6:30 to 11 p.m. tonight in Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Avenue; admission is free, and all are welcome. For information, visit biennialoftheamericas.org.
Fri., July 19, 8-11 p.m., 2013