Late last year, artist Michelle Barnes decided it was time to end Exhibition Tuesday, a marriage of high art and bar culture that she'd brought to the Funky Buddha (776 Lincoln Street) one night a week for three years. Nearly 300 painters, designers and illustrators, most of them local, had their moment of fame on the venue's walls during that time, and some evenings drew hundreds of culture vultures to the club. Barnes had planned to continue the nights through December 2004, but then Funky Buddha owner Regas Christou, who'd sponsored the weekly exhibition and supplied its patrons with free champagne, beat her to it, pulling the plug at the end of November. "Regas is a businessman, and I respect that, and he had to make a decision based on what made sense from a business point of view," Barnes said at the time. "The bar venue was unique in a lot of ways, because it was a social thing, and people could come in and sit down and really look at the art -- unlike a gallery, where you kind of wander in and out in fifteen minutes."
Barnes is still busy plugging culture in Colorado, teaching four classes at Metro State and plugging away at her own art (her show with Sharon Bankert, Dual Nature, is up through May 21 at Ironton Studios, 3636 Chestnut Street). And now art has returned to the Funky Buddha -- but without Barnes. On Tuesday, May 10, the club will hold Artist Night, featuring an appearance by painter Alison Adams from 6 to 8 p.m. (not to mention $2 Stella Artois).
Another cultural institution, Marilyn Megenity, marked thirty years in the business on Saturday with a dusk-to-dawn party at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street, where her moveable feast finally landed fifteen years ago, after a dozen different locations in the preceding fifteen years. It was a magical night in a line of magical nights, including one just a week before. "Five young harpists playing big, gorgeous, sculpted wooden harps lined up across the front of the stage and played five tango songs," says Megenity, who booted more violent music back in 1996 in favor of more soothing sounds you could dance to. "They were young, not even teenagers. The woman who teaches them is world-famous; she's taking them to Dublin for a competition. People were crying all over the room while they were dancing because it was so beautiful, completely divine, an otherworldly experience."
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Thanks for the memories, Marilyn.