‘Rural-Gothic’ is ‘kind of a big deal’ in Dolores

If you’ve ever been to the Sideshow Emporium in Dolores, you’ve been privy to one of the funkier and quirky secondhand stores this side of Broadway in Denver.

Its vintage clothing, used offerings and random knickknacks, from tacky hipster pins to local artwork, may be similar to stores of its kind around the country. But its double duty as occasional art gallery and music venue put it a notch above any big city kitsch store.

On Saturday, the Sideshow will host “Rural-Gothic: Music, Art and Video,” a collaboration of offerings from artist Rosie Carter, filmmaker Sam Lyons and photographer Dustyn Lyon. Music will be provided by The Holy Smokers, the duo of Chuck and Rosie Carter who play a Hawaiian take on the spaghetti western sound. Also on the bill will be singer songwriter Ole Bye, and Kustom Fronts, which is the solo work of Hardison Collins, one half of the Mancos-based reverb-drenched folk duo Baby Toro. This whole event is too good of a thing to keep La Plata County lovers of all things odd from making the hourlong drive to Dolores.

The man behind the event is Collins, a business owner, musician and show promoter of small concerts throughout Montezuma County. He has paired up on this event with Sideshow Emporium owner Heather Narwid.

“It’s us embracing the darker aspects of small town America, through film, music and art,” Collins said. “We’re exposing the underbelly and enjoying it for what it is.”

That underbelly, although not necessarily a seedy one, is an art exploration of rural America, an important subject and one that may get forgotten about in larger art communities throughout the world. But that doesn’t make them any less important, and at times can make for more compelling subject matter than anything found in art galleries in New York or Paris.

“It’s the juxtaposition of opposing things. To me, a gothic vibe would be thwarted endeavors, like trying and can’t do it,” Narwid said. “Opposing and intense emotions at the same time, creating tension and anger and darkness. We live these things every day, like the Hollywood burning down.” The Hollywood Bar, a legendary Dolores watering hole, burned in August.

That tragedy will be the subject of Lyons’ short film. After being a staple in the community for nearly a century, its demise was on the lips of everyone who ever tipped one back in its confines. The video will be not so much a why or how of the fire, but more of a video centering on the tragic imagery.

An event like this also is a chance for Collins to showcase his music in a nontraditional venue.

“I’ve wanted to set up a show to play new material I have,” Collins said. “I never want to play at a bar. I want to have a comfortable environment where people are interested in stuff other than what was on television. In many respects, I made it for me, but then there’s also these other friends and associates to pull in. So it’s turned out to be kind of a big deal.”

Liggett_b@fortlewis.edu. Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager.