In 1994, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley Jr. were convicted of the vicious slayings of three eight-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Had it not been for two HBO documentaries, and help from such celebrities as Winona Ryder, Henry Rollins, Eddie Vedder, Supersuckers and Metallica, the world might have thought justice was served. But the camera revealed the two highly publicized trials to be bizarre, twentieth-century witch-hunts. The three teens were convicted with no physical evidence in what should have resulted in mistrials. The police botched the investigation, and lost evidence that might have exonerated the defendants. Echols awaits death by lethal injection in solitary confinement. Baldwin received life without parole, and Misskelley got life plus forty. To learn more about the WM3, visit wm3.org.
111 Minna Street Gallery will be hosting a reception for death row inmate Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three on May 12th. “Skeleton Key” will be premiering pieces by Damien Echols as well as several other artists to raise funds for his defense. This one-night-only event includes music, speaking, and poetry readings by punk legend Henry Rollins, veteran rocker Jonathan Richman, former Misfits front man Michale Graves, Penelope Houston of The Avengers, Jacob Pitts of Comedy Central’s Strangers With Candy, former San Francisco Supervisor Matt Gonzalez. Jello Biafra is tentatively scheduled. The gallery showing starts at 12:00 PM includes works by artists of international fame. Pieces by Grove Pashley, Shepard Fairey, Ford Minton, Chad Robertson and Emmeric Konrad are just a few of the exhibit’s many surprises. Local DJs Marco Vega and DJ Evil Justin will spin tunes between sets. Minimum $10 donation advanced tickets at Ticketweb.com. Visit 111minnagallery.com or call 415.974.1719 for more information.