Interstate 25 is more than just a road in these parts: It's also a vehicle for moving urban culture in and out of the state. As it bisects Colorado, it transports the ideas of myriad fine artists along a path extending from Cheyenne to Albuquerque. Gallery curator Jina Pierce, at Pueblo's oft-bypassed Sangre de Cristo Arts Center, saw the possibilities in this linkage. And from her perch on the I-25 corridor, she reached out to a select group of curators of similar non-profit venues up and down the artery to create a visually diverse exhibit that brings together equally diverse works in a paean to Colorado's lifeline. "They introduced us to a lot of great artists we'd never heard of before," she says of her fellow gallery directors, who each chose favorite artists from their particular stretches of the road.
The resulting who's-who show, I-25, which opens today, will join four adjunct exhibitions (including a reunion show by members of the I-25 Artist Alliance, a disparate group that originally shared ideas along the pipeline over thirty years ago) at Sangre de Cristo. The convoy offers everything from traditional Western art to a wall-projected video work by Colorado Springs fixture Atomic Elroy, who traversed I-25 with a camera attached to the hood of his car. Pierce hopes the formal reception, set for June 13 -- the same evening Pueblo throws its serendipitous B Street Bash street party -- will attract viewers from the entire span represented by the exhibit.
The arts center is at 210 North Santa Fe Avenue in Pueblo; for details, call 1-719-295-7200. -- Susan Froyd
Out of the Box
Wyoming lit-noir author C.J. Box says his newest Joe Pickett yarn, Winterkill, is slightly longer and a little darker than the two books that preceded it. But it sticks to the same standards: Pickett, a humble yet brave game warden in the Bighorns, picks his way through crimes powered by ecological and political issues unique to the West while remaining a devoted family man. He's constantly torn between the big and small pictures -- think High Noon, only with bad guys (in this case, a band of hard-core survivalists) holed up like a pack of wolves in the wilderness. Box hits area bookstores today and tomorrow. He'll be at High Crimes, 946 Pearl Street, Boulder, tonight at 7 (call 303-443-8346); and tomorrow he'll migrate from Denver's Murder by the Book, 1574 South Pearl Street (5 p.m.; call 303-871-9401), to the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 East First Avenue (7:30; call 303-322-7727). -- Susan Froyd
Prairie Dog Love
Prairie dogs: Love 'em or suck 'em up. That's pretty much how folks are split on one of Colorado's most contested wildlife issues. But you can put all that aside to make a statement in the KGNU Prairie Dog Project, an ongoing art undertaking sponsored by the Boulder public-radio station. Fifty of the two-foot-tall, unscathed polyether resin rodents have already been meted out to local artists, organizations and schools to be decorated; the finished dogs will go on display this summer before being auctioned off in September. Now the rest of us are invited to follow suit: KGNU is seeking participants for a Citizens' Category. Interested parties can purchase a pristine prairie pup for only $100 (to cover material costs); for details, call 303-449-4885. -- Susan Froyd
Robots rule at Automated Infidels
In the mood for something crunchy tonight? Automated Infidels will satisfy anyone with a taste for torque, as Studio Aiello and the Motoman Project, a group of sculptors, artists and computer gurus who collaborate to create mechanized mayhem, present an evening of full-metal carnage that includes robotic wars, cyberkinetic demolition and turbo cannon blasts. "We are trying to show people that there are other ways to view art," says Joe Riché, a Motoman founder. "Art doesn't have to be hanging on a wall."
And how. For the Infidels show, radio-controlled devices with winding blades and grappling claws will face off with synchronized air-cannon booms and Tesla-coil-created lightning in an experimental exhibition. "The machines are physical, and you can't just force them," says Eric Dewine, another of Motoman's core members. "The performances come out very organic."
"It's not [Comedy Central's] BattleBots," adds Riché. "These are full-scale, larger-than-human-life machines."
Motoman welcomes audiences of any age and creed. However, the machines are equipped to spout and spray liquids, so spectators are warned to dress for mess (liability waivers are required for entry). "We look at industrial waste as something that can be functional again," says Dewine. "We give our machines new life. But we are messy; there's just no getting around it."
Besides the Project's rowdy robots, Automated Infidels will entertain and self-destruct with the Crispy Family Circus, video projections by Kris and Bird, tonal installations by Hyland Mathers, and a crash-and-bash finale by Smash Club. The fun begins at 9 p.m. at the Tarpit, 3525 Walnut Street; admission is $12. For details, visit www.motomanproject.org. -- Kity Ironton
Boulder Film sizzles in summer
We all live in a yellow movie theater, a yellow movie theater.... Okay, maybe not, but if The Boulder Film Alliance has its way, you'll be spending plenty of time watching flicks this summer. Formed as an ongoing partnership among five local and independent film exhibitors -- the Boulder Public Library Film Program, Boulder Outdoor Cinema, the Boulder Theater, the International Film Series and the Chautauqua Film Series -- the BFA is offering a jam-packed schedule of weekly film events now through mid-August.
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"Instead of competing, we share, which allows us to put out a lot more variety," says Pablo Kjolseth, director of the International Film Series.
The group is focusing on two themes this year: Rivers and conspiracies.
"Given the current events both here and abroad, these themes seemed appropriate," Kjolseth adds.
Tonight at dusk, the BFA will show Yellow Submarine, directly behind the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, at 1750 13th Street. Log on to www.kinophile.com or www.boulderoutdoorcinema.com for information. -- Julie Dunn