DOLORES - There are dark undertakings among rural America. They hide under the rocky muck and mire - whispering to those who sympathize. The artists and musicians in these small towns are listening.
Sideshow Emporium and Gallery in Dolores is throwing a Rural Gothic Art and Music Show to uncover the murky, lingering effects of small-town life. Participating artists and musicians will convene on Saturday, March 23 at 8 p.m. to appreciate the artistic value of rural regions.
The show's theme was conceived by Hardison Collins, owner of the Beehive in Mancos and Heather Narwid, Sideshow Emporium owner. Collins grew up in Georgia, where he experienced a sense of past and present traditions grappling with one another. His relationship with Southern Gothic literature is what inspired the theme of the show.
"I grew up in this born again Christian revolution of sorts and it was difficult at times," Collins said. "I actually read a lot of Flannery O'Connor's work growing up and it was pleasant for me. It showed me that these things that I thought were weird have been happening forever."
Collins grew up a punk rock kid reading great American literature. The two concepts clicked for him. He sees these isolated regions as places where thwarted dreams and aspirations die. Places where certain things may happen that wouldn't necessarily happen in the big cities.
"This is about embracing the darker aspects of small town America," Collins explained. "But there are also little twinkling lights of talent and joy and it (the show) will focus on those twinkly talented lights."
Collins has been a retail shop owner for eight years. Narwid, whose quirky tastes and boutique's eccentric atmosphere, led Collins to proclaim his good friend's venue as the perfect backdrop for gothic art.
"Hardison (Collins) was sort of hinting around to like where he should have this themed art show and I said 'of course, here,' Narwid explained.
The show will feature mixed-media art from Rosie Carter that features a Hitchcock type essence. Her artwork is generally wrought with leafless trees, birds, iron fencing and moths - collectively draped against deep reds, blues and oranges.
Photography from Ole Bye will be featured in slides cascading down the walls of Sideshow. He will also be presenting a photography book full of images from the Appalachian coal mining country of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Dustyn Lyon will also be presenting photography that is tweaked and distorted to be boldly colored and unusually filtered. Prints from Collins will also be displayed and paintings from Lara Branca that focus on the belovedly lost Hollywood Bar will be present.
Most of the artists will also double as the featured musical acts for the night. The Holy Smokers - comprised of Rosie Carter and her husband Chuck Barry - will represent the house band.
"Everyone who comes wanders around," Narwid said. "The shop will remain open during the show so people can try stuff on and help others look around. We have an outside patio, couches - good way for people to groove together."
Narwid, who carries an array of vintage clothing, accessories, hand-made items and locally made items hosts events such as this every other month. She has made a small cult following of folks in Dolores, Cortez and Mancos who are loyal to her wares and dig on her store's vibe. Collins has maintained the same type of crowd. Narwid expects at least 70 people to come and go.
The music will be one night only but the art will remain on display through Thursday, April 4. The event will wrap up around 11 or 11:30 p.m. depending on the crowd.
"We don't ever issue an end time to these things because sometimes people like to stay just to hang out," Narwid said.
Collins is looking forward to entertaining the idea of light and dark sides of America's most unexplored places. To him, gothic does not represent the black lined lips of an angsty teenager, but more of a worn down existence.
"This place reminds me so much of Georgia because there are these empty spaces from the past that remain attached to this frontier concept," Collins said. "It's sort of like the past and present are competing with each other. This subject resounds with me."
Collins and Narwid will be at Sideshow Saturday night discussing more of their ideas regarding rural America and its hidden, often dark, characteristics. The show is free for anyone interested in experiencing the strange, dark, almost mythical aspect of small town America.