On Friday I visited a bookshop here in Denver that I had not been to in at least 10 years, only to learn that Ichabobs Bookstore was bought and is now occupied by Mutiny Now, an art gallery/bookstore/coffee shop owned and operated by Jack Jensen, the artist who's work hangs on the wall of the store. A lot of interesting used books, but I instantly fell in love with Jack's art work, a little over a dozen pieces hung on the walls or on display in the front window. Simple pieces of pop art that carry messages that make one either think or slap you in the face. I did a quick run through the book shelves to see what categories he carried, but most of my short time there was spent admiring the rough paintings and their message.
Appearing on the walls and in the windows are images of skulls, singers and scantily clad women with guns, all done on Masonite boards. They're depicted with slashing lines in bright yellows, oranges and blues, and often juxtaposed with phrases such as "Who's making the rules anyway?" and "Dang, I forgot to get a job." The influences of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, as well as rockers Iggy Pop and the New York Dolls, are clear. Over the years, hundreds of the paintings have been sold, some reaching Tokyo, Berlin and Budapest. "I guess I'm world-famous," Jensen says.
When his works do find their way into the world, truth is often stranger than fiction. One of his pictures was at the neighboring Cherry Pit when the building burned last spring. Fire gutted the area, but his creation -- of a man smoking a cigarette and emblazoned with the caption "I won't be the one who's going to suffer" -- remained untouched. Any smoke residue will only add to its value.
Despite the popularity of his work, not everyone likes Jensen, a fact he cheerfully acknowledges.
"I'm the hated artist," he says, noting that other painters have urged him to raise his prices from the current $50 to $125 because his inexpensive offerings make them look bad. "I don't paint with my wallet in mind. I'd rather sell ten paintings to ten people for fifty bucks each than sell one for $500. I can make it up in volume."
It takes him no more than two hours to pound out a piece in his studio. He scribbles down things he hears and works the lines into his output. For example, when a boy and his dad came into the store, Jensen heard the man answer a question about his haircut by saying, "It takes a rocker to wear a pompadour." That became a signature line.
I went back to the bookstore Saturday morning intending to pick up a colorful piece to hang up somewhere in the house. I met Jack and we talked awhile about his art and what inspires him. Most of the messages on his painting are statements made by visitors to the store that he juxtaposes with interesting and odd images. As proof he pulls out scraps of paper from his pocket with quotes scribbled on them. He said he sells several hundred paintings a year with new ones going on display all the time. That means I will be driving down south Broadway often to see the latest paintings that come out of his mind.
Intending to purchase one painting, I walk out of his gallery with three in my arms. I love'em! Grace Jones is in my daughters room, the other two in the adjoining hallway. Considering how prolific Jack is, I will eventually fill all empty wall space with his art.
The remainder of the day was spent ripping dry wall from around windows I am preparing to replace when I reside that section of the house. I learned that the windows were shipped from the factory the day before, so the real work begins next weekend. Here we go!
A low pressure system was sending cold and rain to the Front Range of Colorado. Temperatures never rose out of the 50's, a steady drizzle falling all day and into the night. The kids' plan go to the carnival in Parker were postponed until Sunday (more cold and rain!).
We were all scheduled to see U2 perform at Invesco Field this Saturday night, but their 360 tour was cancelled due to Bono's need for surgery. Perhaps the cancellation is a good thing for us because the cold and rain would have made for a terrible time at this open air venue. As a substitute for the cancelled show, I downloaded U2's October 25, 2009 performance at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. And because of the rain, I had to rig the truck up with a trap so that I could do my thing standing outside in the mud. It turned out well, this new truck having better sound and arrangements for holding virtual concerts during bad weather.
Lets get back to our roots. First up was an excellent recording of Van Halen's live performance at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, England on June 1, 1978. Classic performance of their show opening up for Ozzy Osbourne's Black Sabbath during their trip to England, their "First UK Invasion". Excellent sound, excellent performance.
Tears trickle down furrowed cheeks
March on the long trail
As far as the eye can see
Heads bowed as they pass
The U2 recording was probably ripped from their recently released DVD of their 360 tour show at the Rose Bowl. Great quality and an awesome performance by the band.
Live Review: U2s 360 Tour At The Rose Bowl
October 26, 2009
"Enough of the folk mass!" declared Bono during U2's historic Rose Bowl performance Sunday, leading his band and the nearly 100,000 fans in the stadium out of a singalong and into a dance party. The 49-year-old singer/activist/life of the party has been making such quick metaphorical turns for much of his life, fronting a band known for transcendence but hardly immune to sensual pleasure.
Usually, Bono and his band mates travel from prayers to come-ons on the force of charisma and a sound that's ascendant and sleekly funky, structured around the Edge's stretchy guitar parts and Bono's dirty-faced choirboy cries. But for this tour, U2 has adopted another mode of transport: the four-legged circular stage rig known as the Claw, or the Space Station. This contraption is an extravagance with a big carbon footprint and an even bigger price tag. But in Pasadena, it proved worth every Euro, allowing this most ambitious rock band to genuinely reconfigure live pop performance.
After taking a lot of criticism for their ostentatious and overpriced "360 Tour," U2 broke its own attendance record.
Last week, U2 performed at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California to a record-breaking crowd of 97,014 people. This show broke the previous record of 86,145 concert attendees by a single headliner which was held by U2 for their "Joshua Tree Tour" show in Philadelphia.
U2's 360 concert tour--despite its popular attendance--has been receiving a lot of criticisms for its overpriced tickets and ostentatious stage appearance. Talking Heads lead singer David Byrne has been publicly vocal about his disapproval of U2's tour costs and the humanitarian band's hypocrisy:
"$40 million to build the stage and, having done the math, we estimate 200 semi trucks crisscrossing Europe for the duration. It could be professional envy speaking here, but it sure looks like, well, overkill, and just a wee bit out of balance given all the starving people in Africa and all."