Japanese painter Yumiko Kayukawa has earned a global reputation for fusing balance, harmony and...' 80s butt rock. Inspired by a deep childhood connection with nature and her passion for bands like Cheap Trick and Motley Crüe, Kayukawa mixes lotus blossoms, kanji (Japanese calligraphy), quirky animals and a post-punk group of Asian betties to create her paintings in acrylic on illustration board. "I just love the fantasy of hanging out with animals in my paintings," Kayukawa says. "I am always hoping humankind and animals can share the earth more graciously.
"Actually, the first time I painted kimono flowers was from a picture of a Hanoi Rocks album cover. The bass player from the band was wearing a kimono, and it was a really cool one. I love kimonos, and they are the right style for the girls in my paintings."
For her Colorado exhibit, which opens tonight at D.C. Gallery, Kayukawa has painted a special Western gal; the piece's working title is "Reins." A beautiful woman resembling Kayukawa dons cowboy boots, denim jeans, a white-lace bustier and a flannel shirt while holding tight to a bucking bronco. "This one is kind of about romance," Kayukawa explains. "In Japanese we say 'Hold your bridle' or 'Keep your reins,' which means 'Control your mind, and don't lose yourself.'"
Like her brave, bold manga gals, Kayukawa seems to be successfully finding herself. Her pretty pop paintings have stunned collectors around the globe; some galleries have sold out before the exhibits even opened. D.C. will sell originals in a wide price range, including a few signed and numbered giclees. Kayukawa's opening reception runs from 7 to 10 p.m. at the gallery, 125 Broadway; for more information, call 303-733-4401 or go to www.dc-gallery.com. -- Kity Ironton
The Museum of Outdoor Arts is lightening its load with the opening of Luminosity: The Quality of Radiant Light in the Indoor Gallery Space. While the museum in the Englewood Civic Center, 1000 Englewood Parkway, is best known for its heavy-metal sculpture garden, the new exhibit features bright, intriguing photographs and paintings by artists Randy Brown, Anne Arden McDonald, Jason Musgrave, David Sharpe and Daniel Sprick. "It is beyond the photography, beyond the painting," says MOA director Madden Leitner. "Every single one of these artists transcends their technical abilities and reaches a place within their work from which light radiates." The show's six-month run begins with a reception tonight from 5 to 8 p.m., featuring a live presentation of Japanese Taiko drumming at 6. For more information, call 303-806-0444 or visit www.moaonline.org. -- Kity Ironton
Robots are happening. First there was I, Robot on the big screen; now there's Robots; and let's not even talk about the recent flood of children's books inspired by the mechanical entities. Hyland Mather has long been ahead of the pop-culture phenomenon, and he is now celebrating the fifth annual Kinetic & Robot Show at his Andenken Gallery. Joseph Riche, of Motoman Project fame, is back, as are a host of other collaborators and some new talent. The show opened last Friday, but it stays up through May 28. Andenken Gallery, at 2110 Market Street, is open Friday through Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.andenken.com or call 303-292-3281. -- Amy Haimerl
Juvies exposes life behind bars.
Last December, filmmaker Leslie Neale visited several Denver public schools to show the students her new documentary, Juvies. In it, she profiles the lives of twelve adolescents she met while teaching a video-production class at Los Angeles Central Juvenile Hall. Each of the teens were being tried for crimes as adults. Six are now serving life sentences without parole -- something kids as young as fourteen can face in Colorado. "As I began to listen to the stories and they began to talk to each other, I realized, 'Oh, my God, what is going on in this country?'" Neale says. "The film really takes you through how the juvenile justice system has turned back 100 years. It's a look into the eyes and souls of children prosecuted and imprisoned as adult criminals."
Mos Def and Mark Wahlberg lent their voices to the project; Def reads poetry, and Wahlberg narrates the 65-minute exposé, his interest stemming from a year he served in adult prison when he was sixteen. The film, which wrapped in 2003 and has been touring the country, arrives at the Continental Theater, 3653 Monaco Parkway, tonight. The evening is a fundraiser for the Colorado Springs-based Pendulum Foundation, a juvenile-justice advocacy center. Tickets for the film and question-and-answer period with Neale are $10, or $25 with a meet-and-greet and silent auction before the screening at 7:30 p.m. For more information and tickets, visit www.blacktie-colorado.com or call 303-832-2903. -- Luke Turf
Make it a stiff one for the Denver Drunk Club.
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As if there aren't enough excuses in the world to go tie one on, now we've got another: The Denver Drunk Club. Unlike the city's other favorite imbibing group, Ladies United for the Protection of Endangered Cocktails, the DDC is open to boys and encourages -- nay, revels in -- downright drunkenness. Tonight the gang of 298 (that might be a drunken miscalculation) will be at Forest Room 5, 2532 15th Street, starting at 6 p.m., swigging and recruiting new members. You can't miss them: They're the ones shooting tequila, savoring Scotch, downing vodka and enjoying scintillating conversation on the subject of kinetics.
"In my position, I hope to enhance the Denver Drunk Club with my extensive knowledge of different types of adult beverages, a variety of Denver bars, and many, many drunks," says the recently elected vice president, Betty (last names have been withheld to protect the not-so-innocent). "I have big plans for the Denver Drunk Club, and they all involve drinks."
Cheers to that!
The Denver Drunk Club meets on the first Thursday of every month at the nearest bar members can stumble to. To find out where that is, or for more information, visit www.denverdrunkclub.com. -- Amy Haimerl