As a curator, artist Eric Matelski likes to have fun. And he likes to put affordable art up on the wall and plan a party around it. Add to that a seasonal tie-in, and you've got the second annual Bogeyman Art Show, a group exhibit that's both fun and a little deep, because it asks us to explore the underlying legends and stories that drive us during the spooking hour.
The show opens tonight at the MacSpa with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m., complete with tricks, treats and vintage Halloween cartoons, as well as a $5 haunted LoDo walking tour led by local vampire-mystery author/artist Mario Acevedo, beginning at 8 p.m.
But if you can't make it tonight, there'll be another chance to party with Matelski and friends at the MacSpa from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 20, during pre-downtown Zombie Crawl festivities. Maybe you'll be inspired. Visit the MacSpa online for details.
As part of the exhibit, Matelski asked the artists to document the storys/myths/old wives' tales behind the images, and brochures will be available at the receptions. A few of the tall tales and artworks follow.
"Energy of the Dead" by Chris Schranck
At my art studio I have three rooms. One is mine and the other two I rent to other artists. The smallest of the rooms, which is the one I am always trying to rent, has a closet door that opens on its own. When it does, things happen: lights shudder, things fall off the counter, and all kinds of noises happen from soft to loud. I do art work at night, so one night I come into the studio to paint. I turn on the lights, I look into the small room as I pass to go to my room, the closet door is closed. Then all of a sudden I feel a very negative, evil energy that seems to surround me. I see a flash. Out from nowhere a cabinet door slams into my head, knocking me so hard that my feet fly from underneath me and sends me across the floor. I land in front of the small room. I look up from my daze to see the closet door is open. That closet door now remains locked, I still paint as I always have, but with a new found respect. The painting I did about this experience is about that negative, evil energy that surrounded me that night.
"Phantom of the Ballpark"by Kyle Banister
Before there was a Lakeside Amusement Park there was White City. A beautiful place designed and built for the entire family. On the south side of White City was a Baseball Park. A marvelous Ball Field that seated thousands in a wooden grandstand painted to match the rest of the park.
This Ball Field was home to many local players and it's rumored that it even attracted the likes of Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth. But no one played more games on this field or loved it more than "Whitey" Picket. "Whitey" played defense like a wall, and when he swung his mighty lumber, it is said you could hear the crack of his bat all the way to Englewood.
In 1938 the old amusement park was sold and it was renamed "Lakeside". They still played Baseball there but the new owner added something else: automobile racing. Even though racing was a great addition to "Lakeside", it played hell with the surface of the Baseball Field. "Whitey" hated it.
On one fateful night in late 1938 tragedy struck. "Whitey" was chasing down a long fly ball, when he caught his foot in a rut left over from a race the night before. He was running after that fly ball so fast and so hard, when he hooked his foot he lost his balance, resulting in a head first crash into the grandstand. The sound his head made going through the wooden wall was sickening. "Whitey spent what was left of his life trying to make it back to playing Baseball on that field he loved so much. He would often tell his friends and caretakers he'd make it back or die trying.
The new owner of Lakeside had found something very profitable, Automobile Racing. So in early 1939, in an effort to attract more race cars to his facility, he did the unspeakable. He paved the race track, ending any chance of playing Baseball on this field. It broke "Whitey's" spirit, and he passed away on the 4th of July, 1939. The same day Lou Gehrig retired at Yankee Stadium. But before "Whitey" died, he swore he'd play on that field again one day.
Some say he has. Many a race car driver has hit the wall at Lakeside trying to avoid ol' "Whitey" as he chases a Baseball across the track. Many others say the amusement park is haunted. The Fun House closed when "Whitey's" image started showing up as reflections in all the mirrors. And as you ride the Cyclone and hear the cracking of wood beneath you, do you wonder if it's the ride, or the crack of "Whitey's" bat?
They say, "Build it and he will come." I say, "Whitey is already here." And the only way the amusement park returns to its glory days, is to restore the Ballpark and let "Whitey" play.
"Jimmy Longjaws" by Rogelio Quinones
Jimmy Longjaws is a creature whose fearsome visage belies its true intent. He roams suburban areas at night checking window latches. If he gains entrance into a wicked child's window he will kidnap said child for a month and a day ,and through processes unknown, will rehabilitate the young one. Jimmy Longjaws will not eat any children, as it is a vegetarian, but will scare the wickedness out of any ill-behaved child.
"Sammomaeus" by Jesse Buchholz
(During the summer of 2004 I experienced numerous strange and creepy dreams. I kept a dream journal and wrote whenever I could. This particular summer had an overabundance of earwigs and moths, which seemed to not only invade my house and gardens, but my dreams as well. This is a short story compiled from those dreams.)
Back in the days of the Druids, there lived a man named Sammomaeus. While most druids utilized plants, trees, and wild animals to predict the future and produce medicines, Sammomaeus chose to focus on insects. He frequently wore an antler on one side of his head, and wore tattered grey robes. He persuaded seven others to join his cause, and they called themselves the Sammotheans. As the cult grew secluded from the other Druids, they developed their own system of prediction. By viewing patterns on moth wings and studying how earwigs scattered, the Sammotheans claimed to foretell fertility, sickness, luck, and one's day of impending death.
Eventually, the remaining Druids grew aggravated with the renegade cult. A decision was made to purify the community by sacrificing Sammomaeus and his followers into a bonfire. It is said that eight oversized moths and earwigs were seen escaping from the ashes the next day. Years passed, and the local townsfolk began experiencing strange dreams of antlered figures pursuing them. Each time, the sufferer would wake to find numerous moths fluttering around the area, as well as earwigs scuttling on the floor. Rumors gathered over many years, and the belief now is that the Sammothean moths place frightful images into our minds by bumping into our foreheads during sleep. Dreams are made worse still by Sammothean earwigs whispering horrible things into our ears. If a dreamer were to be captured by an antlered figure during a nightmare, the victim would fall into a deep coma, never to wake again. This tale serves as an explanation of why moths gather around light sources-it is actually Sammomaeus using them to block out as much light (which he despises of) as possible.
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