The Whole Package

SAT, 10/11

Why would a stock-car designer ever concern himself with a bustle? What in the world would a welder know about hemlines? The answers reveal themselves tonight at Body Packaging III: Identity Crisis, presented by the Pikes Peak Arts Council and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. The avant-garde adventure will showcase over 35 collaborative creations from a variety of Colorado artists who have stretched, sewn and fabricated elaborate artwear to transform models into living, breathing sculptures. Using choreographers, dancers, lighting designers and even the Opera Theater of the Rockies, the show is like a fairy tale come to life through imagination and fiberglass. "Body Packaging began in 1997 with the idea of how we adorn ourselves and how we choose to present ourselves to others," says producer Varya Tudor, one of four founders of the concept. "It's a celebration of the human spirit."

"Identity crisis" is the starting line for the custom creators and their drawing boards. "The artists have interpreted the theme as religious, cultural, sexual, personal and political," explains Tudor, "and we certainly have all of these themes in this show."

The body builders of Body Packaging -- ceramicists consulting with costumers and metalworkers fashioning hip couture -- promise to craft a multimedia masterpiece. "This show is about playing and imagination," says Tudor. "It gives the artists a different and unique medium and allows the work to come off the walls of a gallery and come alive."

Doors at the Colorado Springs City Auditorium, 221 East Kiowa Street, open at 6 p.m.; tickets, $20 to $25, are available at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center box office, with discounts for students and seniors. Body Packaging is recommended for audiences ages twelve and up. Call 1-719-634-5583 or visit Art: It does a body good. -- Kity Ironton

To Die For
Th'Ink Tank takes on the grim reaper
SAT, 10/11

Th'Ink Tank Tattoo Gallery gets into the ghoulish spirit of October with Death Becomes Us: The Art of the End. "It's not something that we planned," says Th'Ink Tank owner and tattoo artist Jeff Kopp of the exhibit's morbid theme. "We're celebrating the fact that we have more to offer the art world than just tattoos."

Death Becomes Us, which focuses on the symbolism and iconography of human mortality, comprises the work of more than forty tattoo artists. "It's not about skulls and daggers; it's more gentle," explains Kopp. "People are being very poetic about the subject. None of the paintings even really look like tattoo art; I've gotten impressionistic pieces, a great surrealist piece."

Many of the participating creative spirits will be in attendance at tonight's opening reception, held at Th'Ink Tank's downtown art gallery/tattoo parlor, 1518 Wazee Street, from 7 to 10 p.m. The show hangs through November 7; for information, call 720-932-0124 or visit -- Julie Dunn

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Julie Dunn
Contact: Julie Dunn
Kity Ironton