Artists and the Hells Angels have a long and storied history. In 1965, freelance journalist Hunter S. Thompson introduced Ken Kesey to a few of the Angels he was writing about at the time. The grizzly road soldiers were smitten with the wide-eyed piper and accepted his invitation to join him at his home in La Honda, California, for an acid test. Thompson was worried that things would turn south once the Angels took LSD, but legend has it that the night was a success. A rip-roaring, hallucinatory debauch that at times bordered on bat-shit insanity, but still a success. The Angels rode off peacefully in the morning and continued to participate in events with Kesey's Merry Pranksters in the years to come; Thompson was nearly beaten to death by the legendary biker gang a year later.
Some artists pass the bikers' litmus test; others do not.
Choppers Art Show
Things should run a little more smoothly at the Choppers Art Show, on display tonight from 7 p.m. to midnight and tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Andenken Gallery. After all, a local chapter of the Angels is putting on the show to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver. The two-day event offers a wide variety of chopper art, from pin-striping to paintings, along with a chance to view custom-built bikes made by people who have a love affair with one motorcycle (as opposed to the mass-produced kind).
"It's a rare opportunity to take a look at the underbelly of our art community," says organizer Nikolas.
Bring a helmet.
Andenken is at 2110 Market Street; for more information, call 720-273-2670. -- Adam Cayton-Holland
Artist Ray Young Chu mixes Yummies with anime.
Ray Young Chu is back with his latest installment of the Yummies, the cartoonish characters that live in his paintings. But in Studies, they have made some new friends: anime figures. In one image, Chu has Donut David teaching several of the newcomers the Robot.
"Studies are emulations of anime, toys and art that I'm a fan of," says Chu. "I've put the Yummies characters alongside familiar anime figures in their environment. They are considered studies due to the learning process of painting to look as close to the original as possible."
Meet Chu and the whole crew tonight at Plastic Chapel, a new toy store located at 8 West Ellsworth Avenue, during an opening reception for Studies. The party starts at 7 p.m., and Mascot Mannie will be there rapping alongside all the other crazy cats and hard-to-find toys. It promises to be an otherworldly good time, but if other First Friday events keep you away, the entire menagerie will be on display through October 20.
For more information, visit www.rayyoungchu. com. -- Amy Haimerl
Denver artist Rodney Wallace might not be breaking any new ground, but his paintings, based on the pioneering photographic motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge, are at least cheeky, Warhol-ified updates of the familiar frame-by-frame images. Instead of following racing horses through their paces or Victorian-age women climbing up and down stairs, Wallace paints modern businesswomen dragging suitcases on wheels, space-walking astronauts, muggings and TV-watchers. Maybe he's serious, maybe he's not, but he's funny in a studied kind of way.
Wallace's new show, The Modern Muybridge Series, opens with a reception tonight from 5 to 9 p.m. at his studio/gallery, KOUBOU a Deux, 757 1/2 Santa Fe Drive, and continues through November 5. Call 303-203-1944 for information. -- Susan Froyd
Mike Romoth won't hide behind his masks.
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Once upon a time, there were the Denver Mudmen -- a performance-art group whose members wore gigantic tribal masks, loincloths and lots of mud, and set out to wreak havoc on this city's daily routines. Those were the days.
The Mudmen are long gone, but Mike Romoth keeps some of their renegade spirit alive with his own masks. The artist/owner of Apocalypse Boutique handcrafts a series of leather whimsies each year, just in time for Halloween. This season's line debuts tonight in Season of the Mask at Apocalypse, 108 South Broadway, from 6 to 10 p.m.
"I've always liked masks," Romoth says. "I try to do tribal design, some that are sexy, and I've got a bunch that are themed on the final battle of the devil versus angels, with angel armor and devil armor and vampire armor. Plus, there are some that are nature/spirit-oriented, such as pixies and fawns, and bird creatures."
The forest is on display -- and sale -- through November 15. For more information, call 303-777-3218. -- Amy Haimerl