Slinging Mud

Muddy Waters on the Platte, better known simply as Muddy’s, 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, Muddy’s was so many things to so many peo-ple back then: a throwback to the Beats, Denver’s 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), Muddy’s 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 Muddy’s proprietor Joe DeRose as a co-owner, knows why.

Stevens explains all in Muddy’s Chronicles, a little piece of Denver history published locally by Centipede Press ($22.95) that collects two decades’ worth of Muddy’s stories, interspersed with a personal memoir. He’ll 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 Merc’s Marilyn Megenity, a kindred spirit and Muddy’s ally who carries on at least some of the Muddy’s legacy). Admission is free; for details, go to www.mercurycafe.com or call 303-294-9258.
Sun., Dec. 21, 2 p.m., 2008

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd

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