From live game shows in the elevator to an elementary-school librarian reading children's stories -- also in the elevator -- to an ambient violin performance by Frieda Stalheim of Munly fame and retro DJ's on the rooftop balcony, the MCA is offering something fresh on Friday nights for Denver's abundance of culture-devouring nerds: original cultural programming to open your mind and throw a bucket of rainbows and unicorns into your weekly routine, so to speak.
"We're the other [art] museum, and the building is black, so the name just made sense," said visitor services director and member of the Denver Kickball Coalition, Andrew Lynes, the mind behind Black Sheep Fridays, about the title of the museum's understated Friday evening schedule. "We are doing something a little different on Friday nights."
The MCA may be the underdog art museum to the DAM, but having something to prove goes a long way, and the MCA has certainly made a name for itself in the Denver culture scene by consistently creating quirky and fun, art-related evenings, with wonderfully catchy titles, I might add. On top of that, in a generous nod to alliteration, they are offering a five-dollars-after-five-on-Fridays entry deal. What more could Denver's overqualified and underpaid workforce ask for on a Friday night?
"I'll have the organic one."
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This past Friday's event witnessed James Yardley of Snake Rattle Rattle Snake (who also slings drinks at the MCA) and James Cromwell Holden of Astramoveo sending danceable vibrations into the cool evening air. Accompanying the smooth, 80's new-wave jams were the "bargain fireworks," which any moderately astute fan of the sauce might have deduced to mean half-priced drinks, but actually means you can view the Friday-night fireworks of Coors' Field through an ample gap between two office buildings from the MCA's strategically appointed rooftop balcony. Once I got over the disappointment of having my free booze hopes dashed, I warmed up to the idea of pirating Coors' fireworks, and had to hand it to the MCA for their ingenuity and good planning. And, in fact, the drinks are moderately priced.
Waiting in line for a beer, I met James Cromwell Holden, who shared with me his vision for the DJ project he and James Yardley are pursuing. "We're both into romantic, dancy dark shit," said James, "Everyone these days is doing mash-ups of mash-ups and remixes of remixes, but we're purists and wanted to go back to the roots of '80s post-punk and new wave." And yes, they were using actual records for their set, a refreshing departure from the ubiquity of laptop DJs. The duo will be bringing their version of the DJ set to Beauty Bar the second Saturday of every month, starting November 13th.
Admittedly, dueling DJ's is the least quirky of the happenings Black Sheep Fridays has staged so far. As for what's in store for the coming weeks, Lynes put his expectations succinctly: "There will be some weird stuff happening."