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For the Benefit of Miss Larue

Denver artist Dede LaRue can’t help but be noticed for her colorful artwork. The self-taught superstar burst onto the scene years ago as a graffitist who randomly spray-painted pink flamingos on dumpsters. She then took up sculpting, creating increasingly sophisticated papier-mâché creatures. “Some of them are wry, funny and political, and others are just absolutely sweet,” notes Renna Shesso, a former Westword art critic and friend of LaRue’s. Now LaRue is battling cancer, and, like many with medical problems, she is plagued by mounting bills. To help, Shesso and other friends have banded together to host a benefit and art auction for LaRue tonight at the Mercury Cafe.

“Dede has a huge will to keep going,” Shesso says. “She’s got art bubbling over in her, and she just isn’t done.” The art, Shesso promises, is going to be stellar: “There’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t usually come to market. I think there are going to be some smoking deals to be had here.” And in the interest of contributing artists, including LaRue herself, the silent auction will be run on a fair model Shesso and cohorts invented more than a decade ago under the moniker AHA (Artists Helping Artists), which rewards artists for giving by allowing them to collect up to half the auction price for their works.“Psychologically, it makes a difference to an artist to not be asked endlessly to give,” she says. “People give nicer work if they have the option of retaining their selling price.”

And the music won’t be shabby, either, with a round robin of participants, including members of the legendary Mother Folkers, taking turns onstage. The music and bidding run from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Merc, 2199 California Street; admission is a $10 donation at the door. For more information and a sneak peek at auction items, visit
Fri., Sept. 20, 6-10 p.m., 2013


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