Sign Painters Shines A Colorful Light on the History of a Hidden Craft

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Faythe Levine and Sam Macon are the minds behind Sign Painters.

For filmmakers Faythe Levine and Sam Macon, an in sign painting was born one day when Levine happened to observe a sign painter changing the hours on a restaurant's window with a paint brush. Through the film Sign Painters -- which screens for one night only tomorrow evening, August 26, at the Sie FilmCenter -- the collaborators dug deep, interviewing active sign painters of all ages about this everyday occupation and art form. The oral, anecdotal history and visual impact of sign painting on the American landscape are equally explored in this documentary about a once-ubiquitous handmade trade.

In advance of the film's showing, Westword spoke with Macon about how he and Levine tackled the exploration of a craft that has very little written history available.

See also: Kevin Hennessy on making folk art and other signs of the time

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Five Life Lessons Learned at the Wake Up Festival

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Deborah Lopez
Elizabeth Gilbert brought down the Wake Up house on Saturday night.

A collection of visionaries, luminaries and live-your-best-life movers-and-shakers met at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park this past week for the Wake Up Festival, which is orchestrated every year by Boulder's own Sounds True media company. This year's lineup included Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love), k.d. lang, Jill Bolte Taylor, Rick Hanson, Seane Corn, Mark Nepo and many more. With keynote and session titles like "Tools for Peace," "Reduced to Joy" and "Filling the Hole in Your Heart," there were myriad lofty lessons to be gleaned from the teachings on hand; here are our top five.

See also:YogaDates delivers asanas and amore to Denver singles

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Fritz, a World War I Video Game, Explores the Darker Side of Conflict

Categories: Games

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Daniel Tschanz/Truceful Entertainment
Art from Fritz, currently in development.
Most war games begin and end with combat, and in upcoming indie release Fritz, players get to do their fair share. They control the titular German soldier as he charges across the battlefields of World War I and grapples with the French army in the trenches. But it's in between battles that the game's real action happens.

During those lulls, Fritz visits wounded friends in the hospital, and kills time on guard duty. He reads letters from home, and struggles with the trauma of life and death on the front. By putting the player in a soldier's shoes, developers Truceful Entertainment hope to do something few games have aspired to: put a human face on one of the world's most dehumanizing practices.

See also: Hot Tin Roof May Be Colorado's Best -- and Last -- Try at Video Games

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Three Poetry and Book Events for the Week of August 25-31

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Peter Van Buren signs The Ghosts of Tom Joad Friday at the Tattered Cover LoDo.
This week's featured readings feature exciting new voices in fiction and an author whose riff on the new economy unfolds in novel form. And in the slam poetry realm, competition among local poets vying to represent Denver at the Individual World Poetry Slam in October is heating up with help from a star wordsmith. Top off your summer with a stunning read -- or an evening of performance poetry at its best.

See also: Daniel Levitin: The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload


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Keith "Scramble" Campbell likes his art the way he likes his music: live and on the road

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Scramble Campbell
"I'm really not known at all in the art tribe," says Keith "Scramble" Campbell. "I'm more known in the music tribe, and I take my art like a musician does: live and on the road." Often referred to as the "guy painting at Red Rocks," Campbell has done more than two hundred performance paintings at the world-famous venue that inspired him to move from Florida to Colorado in 2000. While Red Rocks is Campbell's favorite outdoor studio -- and we can hardly blame him for that! -- during his decades-long career the prolific artist has painted over 2,500 pieces at nearly 1,000 musical events across the country. His portfolio isn't limited to live masterpieces; it also includes commissions, charity fundraiser gigs and corporate events. And while you can find Campbell's work in collections across the nation, he steadfastly (and quite awesomely) prefers displaying his stuff in independent and public settings like local restaurants and coffeehouses.

See also:Stay-at-home Mom Deyanna Lambert Likes to Get Spooky While Painting

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Three things to do for free in Denver, August 25-28

Categories: 3 for free

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There's plenty of free fun on tap this week, whether you're into learning, partying or both. Check out a '90s hip-hop space talk, dance like it's thirty years ago, or laugh at some comedy. You don't have to work hard to have a good time before Labor Day weekend.

If you're looking for other events, check the Westword calendar, and if we missed any good free deals, share them in the comments section below.

See also: Five Tips for S&M Newbies

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Root Yoga Benefits the Chanda Plan Foundation With Tonight's Yoga on the River

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For Root Yoga, utilizing its own community of yogis to raise money and awareness for nonprofits has always had a local focus. Studio owner Lauren Turnage says that while she often sees others in the yoga community raising money for global issues, Root's mission is to harness the power of its students by partnering with local foundations in need.

For the last three summers, the yoga studio has hosted its "Yoga on the River" outdoor summer class series and tonight's final installment for the 2014 season is raising money to support local integrative therapy non-profit The Chanda Plan Foundation.

See also: Alternative therapy could be the next step for those with spinal cord injuries

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Gallery Sketches: Three Shows for the Weekend of August 22-24

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Ryan Everson, "Drift," archival inkjet print, 2014. Gildar Gallery.
Summer's nearly over, as kids go back to school and vacations wrap up. This weekend, you can wander through a last summer festival before the fall grind commences, see what's new on the contemporary scene or catch up with the co-ops. It's all good. Here are some suggestions:

See also: Preview: Ink Lounge gears up for the 2014 ARTCRANK Denver poster show


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Five Tips for S&M Newbies

Categories: Events, Lists, Sex

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If you've ever wanted to get kinky, this is the weekend to start. Tonight Beyond the Bedroom will host Coming Out Kinky: A Grown Up Comedy at Shine in Boulder; tomorrow it will offer "Welcome to S&M: A Gentle Introduction" at Denver's Dangerous Theater, with discussion/demonstrations of masochism, bondage, discipline and submission. According to Beyond the Bedroom's Daka Dan, "This workshop will help people identify different areas they might be interested in playing with, how to get started with it and to understand that it is completely normal to have these desires."

S&M can be both scary and exhilarating for people dabbling in it for the first time, so here is our list of five beginner's tips for S&M. And a bonus sixth: Make sure to pick out an awesome safe word/phrase like "banana," or "liquid hot magma."

See also: The 10 best BDSM movies (Images are NSFW)


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Tonight: Diann Kissell, Daughter of Executed Killer, on Trauma and Healing

Categories: Books, Readings

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Diann Kissell.
Growing up in northwest Denver, Diann Kissell carried a terrible secret inside for more than half of her first thirteen years. Her father, an insurance salesman and the patriarch of a proud Latino family, had singled her out among his ten children for furtive and persistent sexual abuse. His demands became increasingly incessant and unbearable, until one day in 1963, when one of Diann's sisters intervened and threatened to call the police.

That night Kissell's father tried to cover his crime by obliterating his entire family. He beat his pregnant wife to death with a poker. He stabbed his eleven-month-old baby daughter, strangled a four-year-old son, bludgeoned a six-year-old son. Then, apparently consumed with remorse, he stopped and called the police.

See also: The Lifers Book Club: Of Mice and Men, Hopes and Regrets at the Limon Prison

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