Rhinoceropolis gets a new lease on life

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Rhinoceropolis founder Warren Bedell recently revealed that he's ready to move on from his position behind the decks at the famed venue after six long years of faithful service. The news might make for an odd front page headline, but the implications had DIY-ers across Denver wondering: What was to become of everybody's favorite art, party, and general rock-the-fuck-out spot? Would the space close? Where could traveling bands on a budget play on their way to Salt Lake City? Who could take the reins? Who would book the shows? Who... who would pick up all that trash?

But never fear, for that person has come forth. He is Chris Westin, a recent addition to the roommate roster at the space currently home to Bedell, Travis Egedy of Pictureplane, Kevin John Wesley of Hot White and others. Westin (also of Voices Of) is ready to carry the torch, signing on for a two-year lease on the warehouse at 35th and Brighton, which will keep Rhinoceropolis open into 2013 and help to preserve Denver's indispensable DIY scene. But what does that mean in terms of what Rhino has to offer its patrons?

As it turns out, this is less a shift in power than it is a lateral move. "It's going to be the same, but hopefully different, if that makes sense," Westin said. "We hope to bring some new energy to it, but it's going to be the same operation: trying to bring in really good shows, keep the DIY spirit alive, and support that kind of community."

Westin's also been brushing up on his booking and sound skills to help fill the void -- though Bedell's presence won't be entirely gone come May when the lease transfers. "It will be hard," Westin admits. "Warren is important, that's for sure. He built this place from scratch, so it's pretty crazy. But he'll still be around and booking shows. They've been showing me how to run sound and stuff, so that's good."

In the interim, Rhinoceropolis will continue to hold shows through the winter, starting tonight with a benefit to raise money for new sound equipment and to help pay for the space's upkeep. The show features an all-locals lineup of Rhino staples like Milton Melvin Croissant III, Mr. Pacman, No Funeral and more. As always, donations will be accepted at the door to help give Rhino a push head-first into an exciting couple of years -- and hopefully many more -- to come.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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