Fertility in fallow fields, part one

Boy, does this economy suck! If you're like most people I know, you were already broke before the market took a dump in September, and making your bills was hard enough then. Artists seem to always be up against challenges financially, but now, things are just plain ridiculous. Even people making good money or working in industries that are far less risky than the arts are taking on second and third jobs, pruning their social lives back and seeking creative, alternative living arrangements (i.e., moving back in with Mom and Dad). Situations like this can really bring a person's spirits crashing to the ground. However, as I found last night, it's doing little to dampen Denver's creative spirit. In fact, I was bombarded with so much positive creative energy that I can't cover it in just one column. For today, we'll focus on the first part of my night.

I started the night at the Meadowlark Bar, having drinks and brewing up ideas with singer-songwriter John Common. Of course, with remarkably original ideas like the People's Kazoo Orchestra, the Common Box Project and the upcoming Songwriter Death Match, Common always finds ways to do fresh things with words, music, visual arts and more. With money drying up, the man is still a nearly manic fountain of fun and fresh creative concepts. It's hard not to feel inspired around him.

While still at the Meadowlark, I also met a woman who owns a picture-framing store and gallery in Lakewood. Though it's a brutal time to be in business, she couldn't stop enthusing about the dreams she has of exciting multimedia events that draw both artists and patrons out of the city and into the suburbs. She wants to bring visual artists, performance artists, musicians and others to her space to cross-pollinate different arts and different arts audiences. In spite of the fact that it must be a challenge to make rent on her 1,800-square-foot store, the entrepreneur seems confident that the very human passion for arts and entertainment will sustain her. In an area like Denver that seems to be bubbling over with that passion, she just might be right. We should all pray to our gods and idols and Barbies and bobbleheads that she is.

In the next installment, we'll move up the street from the Meadowlark to the Larimer Lounge, where I found even more irrepressible artistic spirits.

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