Etched in Stone

FRI, 7/16

"I became an architect because my girlfriend told me she wouldn't marry a forest ranger," recalls University of Denver architect emeritus Cab Childress. So he gave up scouting in the woods of Florida in favor of the drawing board and slide rule that his mother had given him at the age of fourteen, embarking on both a career and a marriage in one move. After arriving in Colorado with his wife, Penny, in 1957, Childress started a private practice that lasted 28 years. During that time, his firm, Cabell Childress Architects, worked on everything from corporate buildings to churches. Although the architect tackled a wide assortment of projects, his belief in doing the right thing at the right place at the right time remained an important theme in his work. He always emphasized pursuing the appropriate structure over style.

"A lot of architecture is about art," Childress explains. "A lot of it is about getting the right kind of concrete."

Not that Childress has anything against style. When brainstorming proposals for Central Wyoming College, Childress and a companion traveled to Toulouse in the south of France, eventually finding inspiration in the bright white, yellow and red stones in nearby fishing villages.

"What I love about architecture is that you get to watch every little detail," Childress comments. "I like when you get to see something through from beginning to end." Some of the projects that he was able to see through: the limestone Theatre and Dance Building at the University of Colorado, structures for the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind, and several newly erected DU buildings, including the copper-topped Ritchie Center.

Childress's long and prolific career will be celebrated in Poetry and Stone: Cab Childress Architect, a new exhibit at the Victoria H. Myhren Gallery at the University of Denver. Included in the retrospective are models and photographs of his buildings, pictures from his travels, sketches of structures from around the world, poetry, and a wealth of materials that have inspired him, such as copper, stone, fiber and wood.

A normally reserved and private person, Childress is unconcerned about the attention that this exhibit on his life's work may garner. "That's nothing compared to a building opening," he says.

The show opens today with a free reception featuring the architect himself from 5 to 7:30 p.m. The exhibit will remain open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through August 27 at the gallery, 2121 East Asbury Avenue. For information, call 303-871-2846. -- Adam Cayton-Holland

Loveland's Cherry Pie Celebration sure is sweet
SAT, 7/17

There are a lot of things folks can do with 150 cherry pies, like stuff the filling into their armpits to mask B.O. or play the always-popular game of pie Frisbee. In the past, visitors to the Loveland Cherry Pie Celebration have opted for a more conventional approach to the festival's featured dessert. And even if mastication isn't particularly innovative, devouring the pastry will continue to be the favored activity at this year's event. The sweet-yet-tangy comfort food will be coming from Schmidt's Olde Time Bakery, and baker Amy Schmidt promises that pie tasters will get quality along with quantity. "We bake like people bake at home," she says. "Typically, when people bake at home they use fresh ingredients, nothing out of a box or a bucket."

Along with plenty of refined sugar, people who make the trip to Loveland will find live Dixieland music, dancing in the streets and free access to the Loveland Museum/Gallery, in what celebration spokesman Tom Katsimpalis describes as a "small-town atmosphere." That ambience and all the planned activities, in combination with the high glucose levels, should be enough to make anyone forget about pie Frisbee. And that's a relief, because who needs a pie pan to the head at this altitude?

The celebration site is Peters Park, on Fifth Street between Lincoln and Cleveland avenues; activities run from 6 to 9 p.m. Admission is free, but the pie costs $1.50 a slice (a scoop of ice cream adds another 50 cents). Call 1-970-962-2410 for more information. -- Caitlin Smith

Splash It Up
WED, 7/21

Funktion Flux Productions will send some mighty big waves through Colorado Springs tonight at 32 Bleu, when Art Splash II -- a unique mixer of artists, musicians, poets and dancers -- fills the space. The party is the brainchild of Funktion Flux's Gwin Coleman, who hopes it will encourage the town's creative scene. And according to Coleman, last July's inaugural Art Splash went swimmingly. "The first one was such a success, I just had to do it again," she says. "If you buy local artwork, it encourages the artists to stick around." Art Splash II will feature over thirty performances, including prose from members of the Colorado Springs poetry-slam team, funk from Denver band Chronophonic, a Brazilian Capoeira exhibition and even a few tummy twitches from belly dancers Mahesha and Takka. Proceeds benefit the International Experimental Cinema Exposition, which will roll its members' films in an upstairs mini-theater throughout the night. The all-ages Art Splash II splatters from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m, and $10 tickets are available at the door of 32 Bleu, 32 South Tejon Street, Colorado Springs; call 1-719-955-5664 or visit www.32 for more information.

"Art Splash is the most entertainment you will ever get in one evening for just ten bucks," Coleman promises. -- Kity Ironton

Watts Happening
Mosley remains at the top of his writing game
FRI, 7/16

Readers who mistakenly believe all the great detective writers are dead should investigate Walter Mosley. The novelist has the moxie to set his series of Easy Rawlins tales in Los Angeles, which the late Raymond Chandler etched in memorably acid prose, and the talent to turn his narratives into an Afrocentric history of the community. Little Scarlet takes place in 1965, following riots that reduced large sections of Watts to rubble. Police suspect that a white man pulled from his car and beaten by a crowd eventually murdered a black woman who tried to help him; moreover, they fear that if this information leaks out, a new round of violence will erupt. While looking for the truth in areas inaccessible to Caucasian cops, Rawlins discovers that the riots sparked the beginnings of a racial power shift sure to shake the city for years to come. Mosley explores the sociopolitical dimensions of these changes, effectively stretching the genre into shapes Chandler might never have imagined.

Mosley will read from and sign copies of Little Scarlet at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Tattered Cover Cherry Creek, 2955 East First Avenue. The event is free; call 303-322-7727 for more information. -- Michael Roberts

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Adam Cayton-Holland
Kity Ironton
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts