Adrian Peterson, a running back for the Minnesota Vikings, was arrested for child abuse for allegedly hitting his child with a tree branch. It seems times have changed. My mother spanked me with a switch cut from the pussy willow bush, a branch from the maple tree, a wooden spoon, a plastic spatula, a hairbrush, her bare hand and a leather belt. I was spanked with anything my mother could quickly pick up to administer punishment. My brother and sister were spanked. All of my friends were spanked by their parents. It was a time before kids knew the phone number for child protective services. I’m sure the statute of limitations has expired so my mother can’t be arrested for past spankings.
Double A skipped services to join me on the art tour last night. Most of the openings were in the Golden Triangle which translates into high-end art, curated shows and people with money.
Our first stop was Havu which was showing paintings and mixed media works by Homare Ikeda ($900-9,000), sculptures by Nancy Lovendahl ($490-19,000) and smoke drawing (smoke is somehow made to print on paper) by Dennis Lee Mitchell ($2,800-12,000). This was the best show of the night and worth a second look when the gallery isn’t as crowded.
As we were leaving Havu, one of those $150,000 Range Rovers was parallel parking. Two fashionably-dressed gay guys jumped out and headed into Havu. They looked like they just rolled into town from fashion week. They ignored the riff-raff walking down the street.
After Havu, we walked across the street to Walker Fine Art were we found Billy, an art consultant, and his partner Johnny. Billy worked at one of best galleries in town but transitioned into consulting when the gallery closed. Walker had a great show which featured works by Bonny Lhotka, Norman Epp, Melanie Grein, Chloe Hedden & Patricia J Finley. My favorites were the mixed media pieces by Grein and the paintings by Hedden and Finley. This was also a pricey show.
The next stop was Goodwin Fine Art for a painting show of works by Beau Carey and Lanny DeVuono. These painting were beautiful and the two artist’s works complimented each other. I think most of the works were in the $2,000 to $5,000 range. I would buy any painting in this show if they were in my price point.
After Goodwin we walked next door to Von Tornow for Kim Allen’s Denver photographic retrospective (1985-1995). This was a great show. The black and white photos were reasonably price ($300-1,000, some framed) and represented images of Denver that are no longer around thanks to urban development.
The final stop in Golden Triangle was Sandra Phillips Gallery for Anna Kaye’s charcoal drawing show which was a nice exhibit but just didn’t wow me like the other shows.
It was time to head over to the Santa Fe Arts District to check out the opening at Michael Warren Contemporary. This was another good, but pricey, show which feature works by Stanley Bell, Angela Berkson and Teresa Booth Brow.
The final stops of the night were Core and Spark Galleries housed in the same building. Core had a member’s painting show while Spark had works by Sue Simon (paintings), Michaele Keyes (monotypes) and Susan Rubin (drawings). Sue Simon just closed a show at Sandra Phillips but had new works in this show. Sue’s works were my favorites.
It seems I wore Double A out as he called it a night after Spark. It was refreshing to see so many stellar shows in one night. This town has great art but some of it can be pricey.
The weather forecast calls for a steady light rain this evening transitioning to showers of rain and snow overnight. The temperature may dip down to 32° tonight. It’s been snowing in some parts of the high country. Summer returns for the weekend.
Hilly and Petal were friends who were almost always seen together. Hilly was the daughter of internationally known parents while Petal was a good Jewish girl from the right part of town. Hilly was in college when I met her. She was a tall, statuesque blond with long curly hair. Petal was short, dark haired and slightly overweight. Petal had graduated from college and was selling menswear at Neiman Marcus while she looked for a job as a fashion journalist. They were part of the gang that hung out at Herbie’s.
Hilly was a wild child while Petal was the voice of reason. Hilly and Petal were at all the parties and always in the clubs. They were a fixture on the scene. Petal knew how to network and work a crowd. Petal made a small fortune selling clothes to gay men and never passed up an opportunity to talk about new offerings at the store while she was socializing. Hilly didn’t need to work as her parents gave her a sizeable allowance every month. Hilly loved to go topless. She would often sunbath in Forest Park topless with the gay guys even though it was illegal and there was a sizeable pool at home. When the bars in Missouri would close the gang would head to Faces in East St. Louis, IL. It was not uncommon to see Petal driving Hilly’s convertible across the bridge on hot summer nights. Hilly would stand on passenger seat topless and scream at the top of her lungs as they drove over the Mississippi river. It’s a wonder Hilly was never arrested.
Petal eventually became a fashion journalist and later starting a casting agency. Hilly finished school and landed a job as an urban planner with the help of her parent’s connections. They were friends from a much cherished time in my life. I wish them well wherever they are.
Friday night was cool and misty. I welcomed the change in weather. It was a perfect night for jeans and a light trench coat.
Being First Friday I knew the Santa Fe street galleries would be packed with lookie-loos. Instead, I headed over to Navajo Street to check out the new shows at Next and Pirate. At Next, Catherine Carilli displayed large abstract geometric paintings and new inks on paper while Beatriz Pestana, showed Intaglio prints, lithographs, and drawings. I thought this was a good show to start the evening. I liked one of Carilli’s large paintings but it was out of my price range. I found the installations at Pirate intriguing but too abstract for my taste. The night was early so I drove over to RiNo to check out more galleries. The show at Ice Cube was one of the best all night. The photographs reinterpreting biblical narratives with modern imagery were stellar. The collages on the other side of the gallery investigated identity and how it is affected by social media. After Ice Cube, I walked over to Larimer Street to check out Michael Gadlin’s new show at Arthaus. The found object wall sculptures made this the best show of the night. The show was expertly hung and lit. My next stop was, Dateline, a space new to me which has been called Denver’s smallest but hippest gallery. I was the only one there. The show investigated self-definition in a variety of mediums by four artists. I wasn’t wowed by the works but I’ll be sure to check out future shows. My final stop required a drive under the railroad tracks to the more industrial section of Rino. Helikon’s modern space is located on the other side of tracks in the shadow of white monolithic grain elevators. The show consisted of digital photo collages, pastel works, and paintings by Patricia Barry Levy, Reed Weimer, and Chandler Romeo. The show displayed each artist’s unique interpretation of the classic prairie landscape of the American Midwest. This was a great show. I may have to go back for a second look when the gallery isn’t so crowded.
And with that the night came to a close. Once home, I opened up the windows to let the cool evening air in. After changing into sweat pants and an old cashmere sweater I caught up with a few TV shows on demand. Ferdinand announced his arrival home from his evening adventure by meowing at the door. It was getting late so I headed to bed.
The other day I heard the Donna Summer version of MacArthur Park on the car radio. I was instantly transported back to 1978. I had just come out and had my first boyfriend who worked at Gucci in Plaza Frontenac. He hung out with a group of gay guys from the affluent western suburbs and three young women, Rachel, Hilly and Petal who worked at Plaza Frontenac. I was soon adopted into his group of friends.
Rachel sold cosmetics at Saks. I had never met a woman my age like her. She was the polar opposite of the rock and roll stoner chicks I used to hang out who had feathered bangs and wore jeans so tight there was constant fear of a camel toe. Rachel was a glamour puss. She’s was a stunning beauty who dressed like the pages of Vogue. She often wore her long blond hair slicked back in high ponytail. Rachel had class, sophistication and perfect manners. I was both in awe of, and intimidated by, Rachel. I was a kid from the less desirable part of town who had never been around people like Rachel, who grew up in the lap of luxury, vacationed in Europe and hung out at the country club pool in the summer. That didn’t matter to Rachel. She became a good friend. I had a lot fun when I hung out with Robin. There was always a party to go to.
Rachel bought a new dress every week to wear out on Saturday night. Rachel never wore jeans, conversely, the stoner chicks never wore dresses. It was not uncommon for Rachel to spend more in a month at Saks than her paycheck. Her father paid her bills so it didn’t really matter what she bought.
It would take Rachel hours to get ready for a night out on the town. Her makeup application alone took almost an hour. Rachel called it painting for war. She always looked stunning, not overly made up. Heads would turn when she walked in the door at Herbie’s which was the St. Louis version of Studio 54. The gang spent every Saturday night at Herbie’s.
I lost track of the gang when I moved to Dallas in the early eighties. This was before social media made it so easy to keep track of friends. I ditched the boyfriend when I moved only to reconnect with him when he moved to Dallas. The rekindled relationship fizzled out after a few months. Rachel’s father died shortly after I left town. Her father was deeply in debt so there was no inheritance. Rachel soon withdrew from the scene. I later heard Rachel hooked up with a woman and moved to the less glamorous suburb of St. Peters. All but three of the guys died early in AIDS epidemic. I don’t know what happened to Hilly and Petal.
It was a time of my life that I will never forget and will never be replicated. I have such fond memories of those times. After experiencing the hell know as high school and getting involved with the drug crowd, coming out and finding this group of friends was like finding salvation. I finally found my people.
I ran into Peter on one of my Friday night treks through the galleries a few weeks ago. Peter is a local artist whose work can be show stopping. He gave me his card and invited me to come to studio to see his new works. I’m wondering if my favorite mom of three boys would want to come along. I haven’t seen her for a while so I think it would be fun to meet up. She recently started painting again so perhaps she would welcome some inspiration. Do you think her husband would give her a pass for a few hours on the weekend?