07/02/2010 11:17 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Denver Hosts the World

It's called "Colorful Colorado" and a brand new crayon in the box is revealed this week as Denver bursts at its Biennial seams. Conceived over a year ago as a celebration of all things Western Hemisphere, the Biennial of the Americas has arrived. The culture, ideas and people of the Americas will be on display as Denver plays to an international audience: citywide art exhibitions, round table summits and events featuring specialty cuisine of the regions are sure to have us talking. Parties abound, of course, with the big kick-off on Thursday night and lots of carrying on through the month of July. The energy took to the streets at last night's art feast on Delgany, and if that is any indication of the month ahead, prepare to be amazed. MCA Denver got a jump start with the opening of Energy Effects: Art and Artifacts from the Landscape of Glorious Excess with the members tour and cocktail party on the courtyard with the public joining in at 8:00.

"Energy Effects explores how abundant space, power, speed, effort and time become the raw material of art and industry." according to the exhibition guide. Simple me, I found it fun and stunning. Galleries expressing different uses of energy cohesively expand the mind with wit, grandeur and minutia: from the Titan V rocket engine to a series of woven sandals worn through a span of time, mankind's constant energy expenditure is laid bare. The Ward Shelley piece "Who Invented the Avant Garde?" stopped me in my tracks. I asked Director & Chief Animator, Adam J. Lerner if I could take it home for a week... he said no. So I'll definitely return.

Across the street is the Objectophelia exhibit, featuring primarily local artists, the use of everyday items and our obsession with thingdom. One thing about massive creative energy is it cannot be contained. The Denver Cruisers showed up in drag, guerrilla concert band Boba Fete marched in and supplied the rhythm as giant robots fought it out in the streets. You shoulda been there.

A special First Friday Art Walk takes place this weekend, showing us why the Santa Fe Arts District is a national model. And just when you thought the world was safe from "performance art," Plus Gallery will present a piece by noted performance artist, Gary Setzer. Seems as if Setzer himself grew weary of the singular performance style and created a phenomenal hybrid of his own, integrating video, music and performance entitled "Supralingual/Sublingual: The Tongue is the Terrain."

The geographic centerpiece for much of the Biennial is the renovated for the occasion McNichols Building at Civic Center Park. Bringing the citizens to the center is a stroke of genius and hopes are high that will shine with some jewels of its own. Saturday 9AM-5PM brings the Passport and Palette Paint-out where painters of all levels and mediums paint along side master painters, free of charge. The night of the third brings the Colorado Symphony out of doors for a city sponsored Independence Day concert and fireworks display at 8PM.

The cultural events will attract the usual suspects along with their friends and those who've heard the word. Round table discussions on health, trade, poverty reduction, education and philanthropy seek to provide insight, exchange of ideas and true dialogue between nations, giving us an opportunity to witness and participate in something potentially big. Browsing through the planned kids activities, they look to be a sight more sophisticated than face and finger painting. It's my hope that the scope is wide on this one, that we all turn out to welcome, create and learn.

Whew! After all of this I certainly will have earned my upcoming trip to Telluride for the fourth annual Telluride Playwrights Festival. That and a nap.