Mile High Makeout: Questioning the Answers

Sometimes, things happen that make you question all of your assumptions. We all operate within a framework of misunderstood half-truths and well-understood falsehoods. We know what we know, and we can extrapolate from what we know to understand things we don’t really know, if only within the limited confines of our own experience and knowledge.

If the week before last was about having my eyes opened, this last week has been about having my third eye opened. I operate within my own world of assumptions, half-truths and falsehoods, and for the most part, I like it. I like and understand shows that involve guitars and drums and keyboards and computers and horns and strings and singers and certain semiotic elements that let me know I’m watching a rock-n-roll show. But there’s so much more in the world – and in Denver – than that.

Last Thursday night, I went to Duos, a euphorically unique and original multimedia event that turned a bunch of assumptions on their proverbial ears. Organized by an artists’ collective called Win Wear at the Object + Thought Gallery, the happening included various duos of musicians, performing original compositions inspired by classic works of art. The folks involved are in bands like Fissure Mystic, Constellations, Widowers, and many more. While paintings were projected onto a bare wall, the pairs performed – on everything from guitars and harps to children’s xylophones and bicycle chains – to a packed house. The lucky few spectators who got there early took their seats on defunct Macintosh Classics. This event didn’t stop with music and painting though. There were fashion designers showcasing their work, an amazing vegetarian-friendly dinner created by chef Andre DiMattia, paired cheeses and beers, and even organic, vegan desserts by Maggie Gulasey. The event had all the loose ends and wild cards that could have made it a chaotic failure. However, thanks to the passionate energy and faith of everyone who participated – and everyone who attended – the whole circus went off beautifully. It was, by far, the most fun I’ve ever had in an art gallery, and that is not meant as faint praise.

The very next night, I was treated to a completely different kind of novelty. Instead of throwing their monthly Analog Space DJ party series at a warehouse or club space, Peter Black and Tyler Snow chose the tiny, austere environment of the Meadowlark. It’s not uncommon to find folks sitting cross-legged with eyes closed, listening to mellow singer-songwriters or improvisational jazz weirdos. But merely by flexing their record collections and mixing skills, Black and Snow – along with guest DJs Jason Roth and Derek Russo – transformed the sedate subterranean bar into a European disco. Bumping French touch, hard electro and plenty of spacey diversions, the gang had a hard time, at first, convincing a drinking crowd to dance. However, once the dancefloor cherry was popped by a handful of courageous (read: drunk) and ebullient (read: still drunk) women, the party got started, and didn’t stop until closing time. The DJs occasionally lost the crowd when they detoured off into adventurous territory, but the sets were consistently interesting and frequently lifted the crowd right up out of that dark basement bar and up into space dust, with third eyes open wide. -- Eryc Eyl

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Sean Cronin