Are you interested in fine art, social purveying, and getting that tight lean sculpted buttocks you’ve always wanted? Well, you’re in luck! Allow me to introduce a fitness system that not only burns those unwanted calories, but also provides a full serving of culture, hip-ness, and sophistication.
I’m talking about First Friday (FF) and chances are, if you live near a metropolitan area, you’ve heard of something like it. The terms Open Studios, Art Walks, or Gallery Hops also get thrown around in the same sentence, but they all have one thing in common; on the First Friday of every month, you’ll have the opportunity to venture into your local art community and participate in an evening of fine artistic discernment.
Don’t worry, I’ll tell you how to find out if there is such an event going on in your area, but first I’m going to blab about the First Friday scene in Denver as a primer to all of you who are thinking about taking on my once monthly workout regimen.
When you live in Boulder as I do, trekking down to Denver’s First Friday is always considered a night on the town, and the art scene along Santa Fe Drive is definitely worth the thirty minute trip. However, I must warn you that FF is much more low key than your standard highbrow gallery opening, so as long as you don’t expect glass stemware, wine, and cheese, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the saltines and communal water jug that are sometimes provided. Seriously, don’t go for the free food/drinks, that’s what happy hour and portable flasks are for.
Between 5th and 10th Avenue, along Santa Fe Drive, you can meander in and out of any gallery that’s got an open door. You’ll find most places operate between the hours of 6 and 9pm, but I’ve been caught loitering in studios as late as 11:00pm. Often these late night venues follow an artist’s opening reception where the celebratory atmosphere will carry on late into the night with live music, performance art, illicit drug use, naked yoga, rodeo clown sex, and public urination.
Ok, Ok – you’re right…there’s typically no illicit drug use at these things.
During these self-guided tours, I always find at least two or three people whose names go on my “artists to watch/buy” list, and during this last visit to Denver, I stumbled upon the artwork of Ravi Zupa.
Sadly, I don’t know much about him, other than what I read in a Denver Voice article, which by the way, is a damn fine publication and you should go out of your way to buy one from a vendor sometime when you’re downtown.
Ravi’s work is very different from my own, but I have this innate attraction to everything he puts on the wall. In general, when I’m visually attracted to someone’s art, I’ll mentally dissect and reassemble it to create a meaning that’s important to me.
With Ravi’s work I always seem to drift off into a Shel Silverstein universe, where somehow I’ve found a way to incorporate his illustrations of disembodied Fu dog hearts and midsagittal cadaver planes into a potty training book for children.
In a nutshell, Ravi is the type of artist I always wanted to be, but I’m lacking the ability to see something in its perfect state of simplicity. His use of imagery and technical styling are things I’m constantly trying to mimic, but fortunately for Ravi, I will never come close to matching his near perfect achievements of assemblage, color, texture, and emotion.
Anyway, the point of this post is not for me to endlessly fantasize about my deep personal connection to Ravi’s artwork, but rather to encourage all of you to get out on a First Friday and discover a local artist who vividly stimulates your prefrontal cortex.
Unfortunately, I have yet to find a centralized database for all the First Friday type events happening around the country, so I’ll do my best to keep a regional list updated on Elephant. If I’ve missed an area that you hold near and dear to your heart (NYC is a great example), please send a link and I’ll be happy to get it posted.
Enjoy your workout!
Santa Fe – Pretty much a “First Friday” any given day of the week