If the title New World My Eye sounds a tad polemical, don't be daunted: The group exhibit debuting today at the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council may cast a critical Chicano eye on the dominant American culture, but it's intended to educate rather than to incite conflict. With that in mind, a multicultural audience would be just the ticket for tonight's reception. "With new census data coming out showing how Chicanos have become a force in the market, maybe it's time to start revisiting the issue of how we're perceived as a group," says show organizer Jerry Vigil, also a participating artist. Though the ironic juxtaposition of stereotype and reality is a familiar and recurring theme at CHAC shows, it's the star of this one, revisited in many ways this time around. Vigil, for instance, contributes a simple trio of skeleton carvings that depict standard Mexican-American archetypes: a revolutionary, a migrant worker and a cholo. "They will mean different things to different people," Vigil notes, hoping to encourage a dialogue between those viewing from the outside and those viewing on the inside.
Other contributions range from Sean Rozales's staged and digitally enhanced photographic re-creation of Mexican great Diego Rivera's image of a nude with flowers. And painter Tony Diego approaches the theme with an abstract triptych, symbolic of how dominant cultures throw a veil over subcultures, seeing but not understanding their alternate realities. Filmmaker/artist Daniel Salazar uses humor as a tool with his "weselloutsoyoudonthaveto.com" website, and Carlos Frésquez follows suit with his unstretched, grommeted canvas depicting a scene of the Taos Pueblo, where his great-grandfather lived, overlaid with two windows representing credit-card logos. They're labeled "Manifest" and "Destiny."
New World My Eye opens tonight with a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. and continues through September 25; CHAC is at 772 Santa Fe Drive. For information, call 303-571-0440 or go to www.chacweb.org. -- Susan Froyd
See Them Roar
Anna Graham believes that with a palette and a pencil, you can illustrate an entire community. The Other Side Arts, of which Graham is co-director, is a non-profit art center and gallery that offers support to women at community centers through art education and instruction. "I think it's something that anyone can participate in," says Graham. "It offers another tool for problem-solving, and it is a great way for these women to connect themselves with the greater community."
The result of their efforts, Entwined: The Third Annual Women's Show, showcases over 200 pieces of individual and collaborative works, and opens tonight from 6 to 11 p.m. at The Other Side Arts, 1644 Platte Street. The exhibit hangs through September 24. Admission is free, although donations are accepted. Call 303-561-3000 or visit www.theothersidearts.com for more information. -- Kity Ironton
Born Into Privilege
"One of the reasons I came to Denver was because there's such a great music scene here," says Privilege Films founder Josh Jones. "But there's no market for the bands. The radio doesn't play them; they're not going to get videos on MTV. I figured, let's make music videos for them and put on a show." Voilà! The Washington Project was born. Tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Gothic Theatre, 3263 South Broadway, performances by local punk groups Misunderstood, Ember, Bold Type and Grace Like Gravity will be featured. Music videos, made for the first three bands by Jones and fellow Privilege members Jeff Kline and Casey Capper, will be screened, along with a short snowboarding movie and a few spare skits, all filmed with mini-DVs.
"We're trying to make this a unique spectacle, to get people to recognize music videos for the great mini-stories that they are," Jones says.
Tickets to the all-ages show are $5 at the door, and 21-and-over comp tickets are available at 303 Boards in the Colorado Mills mall. A board from Lucid Notion Snowboards will be among the items given away. For information, call 303-587-1374. -- Adam Cayton-Holland
Kids Gain Exposure
Photography focuses on at-risk kids
Local photographer Anna Newell blends in perfectly at PlatteForum, where she's just completed a year in residence at the lower downtown gallery dedicated to combining art and education for a young and often at-risk constituency. Newell's natural, unposed images tell you right off the bat that she's a photographer of the people, with a candid eye for bubbling humanity. That's all made clear in her closing show at the gallery, I Am I, a collection of three-by-five-foot prints overlaid with writings by her subjects and collaborators, a group of girls from the Rocky Mountain Mutual Housing Authority. "Most have never been to a gallery downtown. It's given them an opportunity to see something outside of their world," Newell says of her charges, who gracefully stepped up to the challenge of learning more about themselves through journal writing, picture taking and the creation of artist books. The exhibit gives a face to that self-expression. "It's so brave of the artist to let the girls paint on her prints," PlatteForum director Judy Anderson adds. The result, Newell knows, is stunning.
I Am I opens today with a reception from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and continues through September 24 at 1610 Little Raven Street, Suite 125; call 303-893-0791 or log on to www.platteforum.org. -- Susan Froyd
A Sputnik Sighting
The Copper Nickel gets a launch
Tonight's release party for the second edition of the Copper Nickel, the University of Colorado at Denver literary journal, is a frat-boy dream come true. For starters, in lieu of a formal recitation, local DJs Sara T., Kyle Cantrell and Thee Underwearwolf will enhance the ambience by spinning music with recordings of poems from the newest Nickel. And instead of the traditional cookies-and-Diet Coke lobby reception, the soiree will be a booze-infused get-together at Sputnik, 3 South Broadway.
The atypical celebration is fitting for a commuter school like UCD. "We have a lot of students who come from different backgrounds, who are older, who are married," says senior editor Sara Whelan. "The average age is 27."
Whelan says the student staff, which also accepts submissions of art, poetry and prose from non-UCD affiliates, is "trying to respect all the different perspectives and voices we find in the city this publication lives in."
The bash starts at 7 p.m. Admission is free; the Copper Nickel will be available with a suggested donation of $5. Call Sputnik at 720-570-4503 for more information. -- Caitlin Smith