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A Slew of Shows 

BAC, Bridge Gallery, Plantera and GCA offer up more of what Colorado Springs is coming to expect

click to enlarge Self-portrait by Charles Parness
  • Self-portrait by Charles Parness

It's hard to keep up with the art scene these days. New galleries seem to cropping up faster than cops at a Krispy Kreme opening while the old mainstays keep delivering the goods.

The Plantera Group, now hosting its fourth art show, is proving its dedication to local artists and the arts community by offering the walls of its office space at 517 S. Cascade Ave. to the curatorial fancies of Jeff Brown, a teacher at Fountain Valley School.

For the current show, Brown invited woodcut artist Jean Gumpper, sculptor and visual artist Rodney Wood and painter Christy Callaham to hang a group show that puts another punctuation mark on the wide diversity of talent and vision of local artists.

Gumpper's woodcuts include a series of four new abstract, brighter and more traditionally frontal landscapes that complement a gathering of her earlier works exploring the complexities of color, texture and field in pools of reflected water.

A radiant smattering of pink poppies against a gradiant of periwinkle and blue-gray dopes the viewer into a lotus-eating bliss in "Poppies -- Memory & Desire," just one of her masterfully executed reduction woodblock prints.

In "Transitions," one of her older prints, Gumpper allows the night sky and stars to linger on the leafy, still surface of a pool where a whole spectrum of unlikely color neighbors is flattened into an improbably precise chaos.

Rodney Wood, working in colored pencil on paper, delivers a glimpse of his sci-fi imagination in a stylized Russian pallette of reds, grays and whites. A figure at the base of an electric tree seeds the ground with an alchemical fire where cocooned figures hang dormantly amid the roots in "Mystagogue."

Some of Christy Callaham's paintings suffer from a strained tension between a kind of muralist's graphic populism, and a freer style reminiscent of the great colorist Milton Avery. But two of her dreamscape paintings stand out: "The Transformation," a dreamscape in which a woman holding a skull-child flees the shadowy scene of a murder on a path of books toward a field of grass and crystals, and ""Blue Monkey Tree," which is what it says.

Series, opening at UCCS' Gallery of Contemporary Art is a characteristically inspiring show with a few glaring exceptions. The show highlights works by artists who work in series, including the "new landscape" works of white trash landscape artist John Hull from Denver, Stephen Lack's doom works (that includes the 1992 masterpiece series "Vacationing Couple Exploding"), and Charles Parness' many eerily jolly self-portraits with masks.

The Eye Test, hosted by the Bridge Gallery, is a solo exhibition of John Venezia's work. Using colored pencil, Venezia darkly adds himself to the ranks of the defiant new local landscape art scene with the ominously titled "This Is How You Remind Me (Of What I Really Am)" (care of the annoying Nickelback song of the same title). Something is happening at the shadowy bend in the river ... but what is it?

Carbon-Based Life Forms, hosted by the Business of Art Center, is an open-entry exhibition that brings together "works about (carbon-based) human and/or animal forms using (carbon-based) media including pencil, chalk, charcoal and/or ink." Though it's another solid show for talent, sadly lacking is a diversity of subject matter. The majority of pieces are skilled figure drawings that fit, but narrowly interpret, the theme. Most notable are Beth Collier-Fogdall's spooky "Black Cows at Night I & II."

Get out there and gawk ever'body!

-- Noel Black

capsule

Christy Callaham, Rodney Wood & Jean Gumpper at Plantera

click to enlarge Boulder-based Joseph Brenna
  • Boulder-based Joseph Brenna

June 5 - July 31

Opening reception: Wednesday, June 12, 4- 8: p.m.

517 S. Cascade Ave.

Call: 886-0456

Series

Gallery of Contemporary Art at UCCS

Opening reception: Friday, June 7 from 5-7 p.m.

Through August 2

Call: 262-3567

The Eye Test

Bridge Gallery

218 W. Colorado Ave.

Opening reception: Friday, June 7, 5-8 p.m. Through June 30

Call: 329-1574

Carbon-Based Life Forms

Business of Art Center

click to enlarge Theater for kids,Beauty & the Beastat the FAC
  • Theater for kids,Beauty & the Beastat the FAC

513 Manitou Ave.

Opening reception: Friday, June 7, 5-8 p.m.

Call: 685-1861

06 Thursday

You may not get lucky, but you'll at least see some skin at this month's First Thursday program at the Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St. Held in conjunction with The Art of the Ring exhibition, the evening features live tattoo and piercing demonstrations, henna body art, and Rich Tosches from the G waxing long and poetic about body adornment, and how it makes him feel on the inside. As always, there's food, drinks and live music -- this month, by Egamufin. Admission is $4-$8, it begins at 5 p.m. You can find out more by calling 634-5583.

The Colorado Music Hall (3475 E. Pikes Peak Ave.) lives up to its expectations with a raging show of metal and other various forms of hard-core music tonight at 8 with Blister 66, N.Y.C, Aggressive Persuasion and ZEROFACTOR. Tickets are $5-$7 and the show is all-ages. Call 447-9797.

07 Friday

Joseph Brenna's performances are loaded with adjectives like "inspired," "canny," "interesting" and "resourceful," but we'll leave it up to you to make up your own description of the Boulder-based acoustic guitarist playing tonight at the Acoustic Coffee Lounge, 5152 Centennial Blvd. Admission is $3 and the show starts at 8 p.m. Call 268-9951.

08 Saturday

They've been ridden by Caesars, fought in the Crusades, were liberated by General Patton in WWII and now they travel the world showing off their balletic dressage. The Lipizzanner Stallions perform at the World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Blvd., today at 2 p.m. and again at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $19.50-$24.50; call 576-2626. For details and in-depth history of the Andalusian breed, visit www.lipizzan.net.

Ah. The first day of the renaissance fair up in Larkspur. Now you can relax and finally be around other people who understand why you wear a codpiece and think your co-workers beslubbering skainsmates. Call 303/688-6010.

Jared is more than just an American success story -- he's an icon. He inspires thousands across the land to get up every morning and try a little harder, to look upward and dwell not on their monotonous existence, to find the strength within to stand up and lead a better life! Only in America does a 22-year-old college student become a pop-culture hero for losing 235 pounds on a chain restaurant diet. But still, Jared of Subway fame does inspire and enlighten, and this is your chance to take one of his infamous walks with him. Subway is a sponsor of the American Heart Walk, which happens today in Cheyenne Caon at 8:30 a.m. The walk goes to Seven Falls and back and also features a heart festival. Leashed pets are okay. For details, call 635-7688.

09 Sunday

We all know acoustic music is a long, tall, cool drink of water for the soul, right? Right. Hence the Summer Acoustic Showcase at the Fine Arts Center (30 W. Dale St.) this evening. Regional favorites Phil Volan, Black Rose and Joe Uveges perform beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5-$7; call 578-0254 or visit the Black Rose Acoustic Society's Web site at: www.blackroseacoustic.org/news/ summer.htm. This concert is just the first in a series that will continue through August.

click to enlarge bd6e_livelong-6180.gif

11 Tuesday

Once again, the Fine Arts Center Repertory Theatre Company get kids prepared for the world of grown-up theater -- like, say, Cabaret and Urinetown -- with daytime performances of the classic, not-so-torrid love story, Beauty & the Beast. Beauty runs at 10 a.m. and noon through the 15th and tickets are a whopping $3. Call 634-5583.

-- Kristen Sherwood

12 Wednesday

For all those party people who can't wait until Friday night to get out and dance, Party Zone, 3958 N. Academy Blvd., has booked live music for Wednesday nights that will cure your party blues. Headlights is a unique seven-piece group with three high-energy singers who know how to get people on their feet. Playing classic and contemporary dance music, funk and R&B, Headlights rocks with classics like "Brickhouse," "Shakey Ground" and "Chain of Fools." Wednes-day nights through June, 8:30-11:30 p.m. Cover is $4. Call 591-7890 for more.

--Sunnie Sacks

When in Doubt, Publish a Book

The Mountain Gazette anthology explained:

"My good friend Tom Jones Jr. -- author of the official guidebook to the Colorado section of the Continental Divide Trail (if you've used his book and become disoriented as a result, I have Tom's home phone number, and I will gladly share it with you) -- calls them 'forehead slappers.' The forehead-slapper in question took the form of a man who we'll call Bear phoning me up out of the blue on an otherwise fine and beer-filled High Country autumn day to suggest that we put together some sort of Mountain Gazette book. Had I been sober enough to process a decent battle plan, I would have instantly stolen the idea and run like the wind, forevermore denying that I had ever even heard of this wicked profligate named Bear.

"As it was, I was decidedly not on my toes and, the next thing I knew, I was ass-deep in this book project that I can't for the life of me believe: (1) I didn't think of it myself and (2) didn't steal it so fast Bear's head would still be spinning like a gyroscope on speed. The only reason I haven't ripped my eyes out in forehead-slapping shame is that I have in my possession a large stack of seriously incriminating photos of Bear taken at P.T.'s Emporium in Denver during the tag-team bikini jello wrestling finals, and I know, one day, the idea for this book will magically become mine not only legally, but historically. ...

"We have been heartened at how supportive just about everyone has been. Many of what we call the 'Gazette alumni' -- including George Sibley, Dick Dorworth, Royal Robbins, Bob Chamberlain, Karen Chamberlain, Bruce Berger et al. -- have been gracious enough to send words and images our way, and a whole slew of other notable writers and photographers -- among them John Nichols, Charles Bowden and Katie Lee -- have jumped aboard. And others -- including many old Gazette writers and photographers whose work appears in this volume -- have given us what they could, including not talking too badly about us behind our backs when we make horrible mistakes.

"I hope you enjoy the book, if for no other reason than that I consider it one the best ideas I ever had."

Excerpt from "Guilty as Charged," the introduction to When in Doubt Go Higher: The Mountain Gazette Anthology by MG editor and publisher M. John Fayhee. The Mountain Gazette, named Best Alternative Regional Publication by Utne Reader, is published monthly in Montezuma, Colo. For a year's subscription send $12 to: Mountain Gazette, 5355 Montezuma Rd., Montezuma, CO 80435.

capsule

M. John Fayhee signing When In Doubt Go Higher: The Mountain Gazette Anthology

Mountain Chalet, 226 N. Tejon St.

Hosted by Chinook Bookshop, 635-1195.

Thurs., June 13, 8 p.m.

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