DIY

Denver DIY space Mouth House shut down, two of its tenants due in court today, a month later

Exactly a month ago today, the Mouth House was closed, and two of its tenants are due in court today facing charges of distribution of alcohol without a license. On Saturday, October 26, just as the first band was starting its set at the DIY house venue, two undercover cops (one reportedly in a Dropkick Murphys t-shirt) infiltrated the show and shut the place down. Since then, all of the folks living there have been asked to vacate the house at 2828 California Street.

See also: Best of Denver 2012: Best House Shows - Mouth House

"Over the summer, the cops were showing up to some shows," says one of the tenants, who asked to remain anonymous. "So they put together a little sting operation on us. We were planning on having a big Halloween show, and they sent in two undercover cops -- just as the show was getting started.

"They were vice cops," the tenant goes on. "So guess they were looking for drugs and alcohol. They gave two tickets to two of the roommates -- then, because of this whole mess, our landlord gave us a week to get out." The landlord was purportedly fully aware that Mouth House was being used as a living and show space. There were nine people on the lease, which was month-to-month.

There were a few incidents with events at Mouth House in the recent past evidently that did get out of hand, enough so that the landlord intervened -- but again, she was well aware of its use as a DIY space, and the agreement was that tenants were going to tone it down and not destroy the place.

"We've been living here for like three years now," says the tenant, "so she definitely knew who we were and what we were doing." Apparently as the raid was going down -- which included several cop cars and more than a dozen officers -- the tenants were told that the police had been following Mouth House via social networking.

"They said they were using Facebook and a website [presence] we didn't create -- Songkick," says the tenant. "The cops said that Songkick was a big part of it because it looked like we were 'selling tickets,' although none of us listed the show on Songkick ourselves." Tickets were never sold for any shows at Mouth House, actually, nor was there a required amount of money owed at the door -- all shows were donation-based.

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Bree Davies is a multimedia journalist, artist advocate and community organizer born and raised in Denver. Rooted in the world of Do-It-Yourself arts and music, Davies co-founded Titwrench experimental music festival, is host of the local music and comedy show Sounds on 29th on CPT12 Colorado Public Television and is creator and host of the civic and social issue-focused podcast, Hello? Denver? Are You Still There? Her work is centered on a passionate advocacy for all ages, accessible, inclusive, non-commercial and autonomous DIY art spaces and music venues in Denver.
Contact: Bree Davies

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