The Subterraneans

Denver has a real Beat/underground past, and no one preserves that lore better than poet/actor/artist/character Ed Ward, whose roots in the town’s cultural scene go very, very deep. That makes him a great spokesman for the three-day series of events tied to the June 5 opening of Mile High and Underground, an exhibit of art and ephemera from Denver’s bohemian substratum circa 1967 through 1987 on view at the Byers-Evans House Museum, 1310 Bannock Street, through June 30, as well as an art show by Steve Wilson, whom Ward calls a “real, old-fashioned beatnik,” at the Emmanuel Gallery on the Auraria campus.

Tonight’s culminating event at the Mercury Cafe, A Bohemian Extravaganza, really sums it up: A stirring montage of live music, art films, theater and poetry readings, featuring a subterranean Denver who’s who, the evening will explore why and how the city harbored such an active underground community. Ward says he was offered a more sophisticated venue for the event, but he axed the idea. “We couldn’t do a Bohemian Extravanganza there,” he says. “We’re going to put this on in Bohemia.” And the Mercury, Marilyn Megenity’s hipster landmark at 2199 California Street, certainly qualifies.

The Beat goes on at 5:30 p.m., with plenty of time for socializing between performances; admission is $10 at the door. For more details on this and related events, go to or call the Merc at 303-294-9281.
Sat., June 6, 5:30 p.m., 2009

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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