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By Blake de Pastino

AUGUST 11, 1997:  CRIMINAL ART: The first tattoo gun was invented some 50 years ago in a California prison. The spray can came into existence at about the same time. Coincidence? I think not. Tattooing and graffiti have always had a tenuous, invisible link. Historically, at least, they've both been art forms for people who had no access to the usual channels, no inroad to gallery culture. And, maybe because of that, both have always been considered criminal kinds of expression. In recent years, these art forms have been vouchsafed at least some space in the high-culture scene. But never, to my knowledge, at the same time. Now, the Harwood Art Center and Tulane Exchange are sponsoring Paint on Walls--Ink on Skin, an exhibition of both skin art and spray-can design. Curated by local architect (and newly published poet) Bruce Davis, Walls/Skin displays a host of original works, while suggesting--with an ever so fine a line--the visual and social similarities between the two genres. Edgy, vibrant and a little criminal, Paint on Walls--Ink on Skin is a show of artworks that were never intended for any gallery.

Paint on Walls--Ink on Skin opens Tuesday, Aug. 12 at the Main Gallery of the Harwood Art Center, Seventh and Mountain. Opening reception with music, theater and tattoo demonstrations, Aug. 16 at 8 p.m. Runs through Sept. 4. Call 242-6367.

LESBO A GO-GO: And you thought it was safe to return to the theater. Well, let me warn you now that Family Values is back. Although they salted it away for a while, those often-talked-about players of Daida Mundo brought the production back out, due to popular--well--horror. A hallucinogenic kind of soap opera satire, Family Values features dueling kinfolk, fang-dripping drag queens and a dose of murder and espionage (for the men in the audience)--all underscored with live music. See, that makes it a musical! Oh, never mind. There's no sugarcoating this deal. Let's just say if you're up for an evening of sheet-gripping lesbian noir entertainment, Family Values is the show for you.

Family Values runs Aug. 8-9, 15-16, 22-23 and 29-30 at the Riverside Repertory Theatre, 116 Washington SE. Showtime 8 p.m. Tickets $8 regular, $6 students and seniors. Call 254-8393.

CEREMONIAL: For reasons that I'd prefer not to think about, The Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial has always had a peculiar, regrettable cast to it. Touted by white people with terms like "historical," "quaint" and--my personal favorite--"colorful," this 76-year-old festival of Native American culture has been treated by the mainstream media as some sort of cross between an anthropological exhibit and a P.T. Barnum big-top show. But the fact of the matter is the Ceremonial gives full flesh to the celebration of Indian life--both past and present--put into action by more than 30 tribes from all around North America. While the traditional dances and crafts shows have proven to be the real tourist-grabbers, there's also a host of other, less "colorful" stuff to help round things out--like a juvenile art exhibit, a rodeo series and a half-marathon for Native American athletes. No stereotypes. Just a pure observation of the richness of Indian culture.

The Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial takes place Aug. 12-17 at Red Rock State Park near Gallup, N.M. Tickets range from $10 (for the traditional dances) to $3 (for the outdoor market and midway). Call (800) 233-4528 for more details.

--Blake de Pastino

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