Art Head

THURS, 2/24

Cheech Marin chucks Chong and the bongs tonight for a bit of culture.

As the owner of one of the largest collections of Chicano art in the country, Marin is in town to participate in Leaving Aztlán: Rethinking Contemporary Latino and Chicano Art at Metropolitan State College of Denver's Center for Visual Art, 1734 Wazee Street. The show is an illustrated examination of Latino ethnicity that incorporates works by such renowned artists as Jesse Amado, Connie Arismendi, Javier Carmona, Alex Donis, Carlos Frésquez, Maria Michelle Gonz´lez, Diana Guerrero-Macía, John Hernandez, Benito Huerta, Chuck Ramirez, Juan Ramos and Rubén Ortiz Torres. "The main idea we are trying to express and explore is breaking and moving beyond stereotypes," says CVA communications coordinator Cecily Cullen.

Tomorrow the gallery will host a symposium titled "Leaving Aztl´n: Alternative Paths," with many of the artists and several campus scholars examining the role of the modern-day Chicano artist. "Many of these artists are classified as Latino artists because of their last name, but then find their work is considered too Chicano or not Chicano enough," Cullen says.

Guest curator Kaytie Johnson and Marin will speak at tonight's members-only reception from 6 to 7 p.m. One-night memberships are available for $10; after 7 p.m., admission into the exhibition is free.

Tomorrow's symposium will run from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is $20 for members, $30 for non-members and free to Metro State students and faculty. Reservations are required; call 303-294-5207. For more information, visit -- Kity Ironton

A Man Apart
Outsider art plumbs the depths of inner life.
TUES, 3/1

Robert E. Smith is a veritable poster boy for outsider art. His paintings reflect life as seen through the windows of a Greyhound bus, a unique melding of visualizations and thoughts on his inner existence. He's the quintessential unschooled visionary whose work rises from a pure and uncorrupted place.

No one knows this better than folk-art scholar Annie Carlano of the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe. Carlano brings her unflagging enthusiasm for outsider art to Colorado State University this week as a visiting curator. She'll give a public lecture on the genre tonight at 6 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Theatre, using examples from Smith's oeuvre, which is on view at the campus's Clara Hatton Gallery through March 11.

"It's quirky, oddball, weirdo stuff caught under the umbrella of non-mainstream folk art," Carlano says. "It's more than just self-taught; my grandfather picking up a piece of wood and whittling is self-taught."

No, outsider art comes from a deeper, spookier place than the work of your average artisan. It's the stuff of psychics, prisoners and people who've come back from near-death experiences. "It's alluring because it comes from a place that's egoless. It's really just the artwork that matters."

For more information, call 1-970-491-1989 or visit -- Susan Froyd

SAT, 2/26

Have you ever sat through an orchestra performance wishing you had a drink to accompany the music? The Colorado Symphony Orchestra UnStrung Culture Crawl & Wine Tasting brings you that pleasure tonight. The CSO's new group, UnStrung, is attempting to make the music less stuffy and more accessible to the general public while benefiting the CSO Guest Artist and Guest Conductor Fund. So come tour the art galleries of Cherry Creek and let the 44 different wines donated by the Sonoma County Wineries Association tingle your tastebuds as the sounds of the CSO's duets, trios and quartets delight your ears. The crawl starts at 7 p.m. at the Inn at Cherry Creek, 233 Clayton Lane, and ends with a silent auction and after-party at 9 p.m. at the JW Marriott hotel, 150 Clayton Lane. For information and tickets, $50 to $75, visit -- Corey Helland

Now You See Him
The Invisible Man takes shape at DU.
SAT, 2/26

It's easy to make a man invisible in the movies. Or in radio. Even television. But on the stage? That's a whole different production.

Somehow, the New York University-based Aquila Theatre Company will pull it off this evening during its one-night-only performance of H.G. Wells's sci-fi classic The Invisible Man at the Newman Center for Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue. The story of Griffin, a Victorian-era English scientist who discovers he can become invisible, is as much a compelling tale of fantasy as it is a parable about being unnoticed and worthless within society -- a concept Ralph Ellison would follow up 55 years later with his own Invisible Man.

For an hour before the 7:30 p.m. curtain, University of Denver English professor Eleanor McNees will discuss the tale and other aspects of Wells's intriguing life. It was his War of the Worlds, after all, that Orson Welles performed on radio in the 1930s, convincing the American sheeple that E.T. had landed -- and with some serious weapons of mass destruction.

Tickets to the secret of invisibility are $25 to $40 and available through Friday at the Ritchie Center box office or through Ticketmaster. For more information, call 303-871-7720 or visit -- Amy Haimerl

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd
Amy Haimerl
Corey Helland
Kity Ironton