Cafe Society

The astounding BBQ problem of Andrew Novick

Andrew Novick is probably best known as a dude with a lot of stuff. The local electrical engineer and punk-rock trend-setter (he was a member of the legendary Denver band the Warlock Pinchers and co-owner with his wife, Janene, of the Asian pop culture boutique Gimme Gimme Pillow Toast) earned that reputation after the now-defunct Lab at Belmar exhibit space hosted a show last year titled "The Astounding Problem of Andrew Novick."

The exhibit, curated by Michelle Baldwin and Adam Lerner, showcased a fraction of the very strange items this collector savant has accumulated over the years. Like clown paintings. And tape recordings of telemarketer calls. And lots of things related to teeth. Like we said, the guy has a lot of stuff.

Now, however, Novick is hard at work creating a whole new reputation for himself: He's a guy with a lot of barbecue stuff.

For First Friday tonight at 8th Avenue and Santa Fe Drive, Novick will be out grilling up a storm on the side of the street. He promises to "Grill any food item people bring me," quite the adventurous proposition. He did the same at last month's First Friday and a spontaneous s'mores party broke out.

"I am smoking out the block so it gets the attention my way," says Novick. "You can smell it all down Santa Fe."

It's all to promote "The BBQ Show: A Meatrospective," the exhibit Novick put together for the Fu Collective + Gallery, 810 West 8th Avenue, Unit 103, that's running through mid-September.

It all started when Eric Isaac, the Fu Collective's director, saw the Belmar show and asked if its subject would be interested in curating his own exhibit. What Novick came up with was an installation that includes various photos he's taken of food on the barbie over the past twenty years, plus lots of other carcinogen-tastic "Barbecue-abilia" he's accumulated, like BBQ restaurant T-shirts, artistic images of meat and fliers Novick made for the various grilling parties he's hosted, like his annual Easter Peeps barbecue and his regular birthday Breakfast-B-que.

"As you can see, I am very focused around barbecuing," he says. "What grilling does it is makes cooking into a social event. Something about the act of grilling is part of the social interaction. It is all inclusive: The cooking and the discussing and the photography and everything is all part of the same conversation."

To keep that conversation going this evening, Novick will have his trusty grill fired up all night long -- and promises marshmallows will definitely be on the menu.

After all, he says, "Any good barbecue should end with s'mores."

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Joel Warner is a former staff writer for Westword and International Business Times. He's also written for WIRED, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Bloomberg Businessweek, Popular Science, Slate, Grantland and many other publications. He's co-author of the 2014 book The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny, published by Simon & Schuster.
Contact: Joel Warner