Muddy Waters on the Platte, better known simply as Muddys, first opened its coffeehouse/bookstore/theater in the block of 15th and Platte Streets in the late 70s. In a time that was intrinsically different from our modern era, whether you looked at it from the left or the right, Muddys was so many things to so many peo-ple back then: a throwback to the Beats, Denvers underground stab at the cosmopolitan, and a forgiving haven where anyone was welcome without judgment. The original place, with its smoke-filled crannies, late-late hours and North Beach-worthy java, cast a countercultural aura that shone upon downtown Denver from the antique and yet-to-be-discovered northern hilltops of Highland for years. Even after moving to its final resting place at 2200 Champa Street (it closed in 1997), Muddys had a rep among the raconteurs and chess players and poets and pretenders of the city that will never fade away. Bill Stevens, who years ago joined original Muddys proprietor Joe DeRose as a co-owner, knows why.
Stevens explains all in Muddys Chronicles, a little piece of Denver history published locally by Centipede Press ($22.95) that collects two decades worth of Muddys stories, interspersed with a personal memoir. Hell talk about the book and sign copies today at 2 p.m. at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street (an appropriate locale, considering that Stevens devotes a small portion of the book to the Mercs Marilyn Megenity, a kindred spirit and Muddys ally who carries on at least some of the Muddys legacy). Admission is free; for details, go to www.mercurycafe.com or call 303-294-9258.
Sun., Dec. 21, 2 p.m., 2008