Creative co-operation

The art of keeping it local

Krystal Baugher | Boulder Weekly

What do you get when you mix Marxists, socialists and communists? A cooperative housing unit in the heart of Boulder known as Chrysalis. And what happens at coops after the collective gardening and cooking and cleaning gets done? Pure, enchanted creativity.

Or what they’re calling their upcoming Friday the 13th show, “A Night of Sibylline Prophecies.”

For the past five months a CU history and art alum and Chrysalis social events coordinator, Gregory Allan Davidson, has been organizing multifaceted art shows. These events offer a range of imaginative expressions; the upcoming show is no exception, with experimental music, poetry and visual and performance art from Boulder and Denver artists. The set list includes Pythian Whispers, Last Eyes, Cerealman, poets Lindsye Law and Anna Avery, and many more.

The co-op is part of a nonprofit founded in 1995 called the Boulder Housing Coalition, which formed to provide co-operative housing in Colorado. Masala was the first co-op started by the BHC, which is still active and located on the hill. Chrysalis is home to 13 people; they work like a democracy, with everyone voting on all major decisions regarding the house. They hold nightly vegetarian meals and work in community gardens for their organic food. And utilize energy from solar panels.

The art events are a way for them to connect and engage with the larger Boulder community.

And the Boulder community needs it. Since the closing of Astroland this past September, the D.I.Y. art scene’s public accessibility has drastically faded. The co-op members, as well as some other dedicated people, are doing their part to make sure local artists get to share their work.

“It’s vital for artists to have this opportunity,” Davidson says. “We should give these artists a boost. We have the space here; we should share it with others who appreciate what we’re doing.” The major problem local artists have is lack of venue spaces to perform. Most venues have to bring in well-known musicians and artists to make enough of a profit to cover expenses. There also seems to be a divide between the youth culture and long-time, admittedly privileged residents.

Due to lack of space and encouragement from the community, many local artists, well known or not, have never gotten to show their work in Boulder.

“There’s just not as much focus on and support of youth culture, avant-garde art and experimental music as there could be,” Davidson says. “There are plenty of older people with privilege in Boulder who have been supporting the same kinds of generic art that people have been making for the last 150 years, but the youth culture isn’t being supported.”

The youth culture events are usually in houses, with guests being informed via word of mouth (or social networks). This is more than fitting for a cooperative space where the environment embraces connecting over each other’s creative capabilities (and not over the amount of money they can bring in).

The theme for the night, “A Night of Sibylline Prophecies,” is a play on the paganistic appeal of Friday the 13th as well as a play-on-words with the headlining band, Pythian Whispers, with ideas of ancient myths, sibyls, prophecies and trances coming to life.

“I am looking forward to experiencing the DIY scene from a Boulder perspective. I like how each of the the bands’ approach to music is very atmospheric and outside of the box, perhaps even unsettling to some people, ” says Emmanuel Calvin Luna, better known as Cerealman. “Gemini Trajectory uses field recordings and seem to create a very abrasive atmosphere. Pythian Whispers is very improvisational, utilizing circuit-bent instruments, weird guitar sounds, synthesizers, disembodied vocals.”

The event promises to be noisy, weird, cutting edge, raw.

“This is about making work that’s honest, true to you, bringing something more pure than you’ve ever made before,” Davidson says. “It’s about creating experience. Sharing experience is the best way to build community; it brings us together in these hard times.”


On the Bill:

A Night of Sibylline Prophecies takes place at Chrysalis Co-op on Friday, Jan. 13. Show starts at 9 p.m., donations suggested.

Featuring music from Cerealman, Last Eyes, Gemini Trajectory and Pythian Whispers. Also featuring poetry from Lindsye Law, Christopher Pugh and Anna Avery. Visuals from Justin Trammell and Jordan Lee. With a performance by Gregory Allan Davidson and Skye Hughes. 2127 16th St., Boulder.