Pirate: Contemporary Art celebrates 33 1/3 years with an experimental music soiree

Thirty-three and a third isn't just the number that School House Rock introduced you to back in fourth grade. And it's more than the culmination of a film trinity that made an entire jury say, "Hey, wait a minute. Funny OJ from those Naked Gun movies? Let the man walk!" It's so much more than that. It's the number of resolutions per minute of a typical record. It's how old George Harrison was when he recorded his legendary album Thirty Three and 1/3. And this Wednesday, May 1, it's the moniker for Pirate: Contemporary Art gallery's most celebrated birthday yet.

See also: - Colorado Dark Expo: CoDE-13 brings eccentric performers and artists together - 100 Colorado Creatives: Mark McCoin - Two intelligent solos at Pirate are worth a look

Pirate opened its doors on January 1, 1980, and has been delivering its unique brand of skull-and-crossbones flair to the local scene ever since. For co-founder Phil Bender, one of six masterminds behind this rebellious Highland spot, aging gracefully is for housewives who can't afford Botox. Pirate's birthday bash won't be graceful or mild-mannered or politically correct. Instead, it'll be a good, old-fashioned kegger with loud music and cool art.

"Pirate is getting older," Bender says. "We decided to throw back to vinyl for this weird celebration."

The party starts at 8 and kicks off with dozens of DJs experimenting with the Ramones' influential punk hit "I Want to Be Sedated." The DJs will start by cueing up and lifting off simultaneously, attempting to play the song in unison. Next, they'll toy with a round, staggering the music so it stays in time as different parts of the song are performed at different intervals. Finally, the DJs will cue off half a second apart, creating what's sure to be a bizarre, harmonic sound.

Pirate comes with a rich musical history.

"When we first started out, we were doing a lot of benefits with music, and we had bands at all of our openings," says Bender, who was strongly influenced by the punk-rock era.

After the DJs manipulate the music, they'll take turns spinning until the keg runs dry. And guests will be invited to preview two upcoming shows that don't officially open until Friday, May 3: Craig Robb's celebrated and symbolic sculptures will be displayed in the main gallery, and Jason Theel's seriously intriguing piggy banks will fill the back room.

Pirate's 33 1/3 celebration starts at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1, at Pirate Contemporary Art. If you're a DJ interested in spinning, contact Phil at 303-458-6058. For more information on the event, visit Pirate's website.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jamie Siebrase is a Denver-based freelance writer, and author of the forthcoming Falcon Guide Hiking Wth Kids, Colorado: 52 Great Hikes for Families.
Contact: Jamie Siebrase

Latest Stories