Best Art Opening (2002)

"Clown Town/Million Dollar Hotel"

They all turned out for the opening: clowns, artists, drunks, Santa Clauses, strippers…and none of those categories was mutually exclusive. Organized by Paul Horn and Dolan Smith (sporting a ringmaster costume), the one-night-only Vegas-meets-Ringling Bros. art extravaganza/bacchanal took over the entire 80th floor of the Holiday Inn Select, except for the rooms occupied by one unfortunate and horrified wedding party. In a staggering act of faith, the hotel rented the artists suites and blocks of rooms, saying, "Well, you can't be any worse than the drag queen pageant." It was a hell of a party, with art in the bathtubs, art hanging from the chandeliers and stolen art. Clowns played strip poker, pillow fights broke out, DJs spun and people watched porn in the art-filled guest rooms, all accompanied by inordinate amounts of drinking and smoking. Aurora Picture Show's Carlos Lama had a digital karaoke machine wired to his wheelchair and fronted a motley chorus line of bombed Kris Kringles, fat guys in streaked clown makeup and scantily dressed women with his inspired rendition of "I Love Rock and Roll" -- and that was all before 10 p.m.


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