Art

Paint It Black: Jerry Garcia Mural Covered by New Tenants of Former Quixote's

Paint it black, indeed.

Black Box, the new tenant of the music venue at 314 East 13th Avenue, has painted over the colorful mural of Jerry Garcia that's glowered from the side of the building since 2012. With fresh black paint, the venue bids a final "fare thee well" to its previous incarnations as jam haven Quixote's True Blue and, before that, rock club Bender's.

As the venue changed hands and concepts over the years, the mural itself evolved and also sparked controversy. When Bender's was in residence, the wall featured a large mural painted by Tommy Nahulu, depicting Johnny Cash smoking a cigarette and casting a mean side-eye toward 13th Avenue.

After an eight-year run, Bender's closed, and Jay Bianchi opened Quixote's True Blue in the space in 2012. This venue was dedicated to fans of the Grateful Dead and other progressive and jam-band music, and the mural was revised to reflect these concerns — by transforming Cash into Jerry Garcia.

This evolution didn't sit well with some neighborhood art critics, who defaced the Garcia mural with buckets of paint. The mural was repainted with an original image of the Grateful Dead guitarist and vocalist — this time with a considerably darker look in his eye.

Four years later, and it seems it was once again high time for a change at the venue. As Westword reported last month, Nicole Cacciavillano and her Sub.mission dubstep brand have taken over the space and are turning it into a dance-centric club called Black Box. One of the first steps is going black — creating an anti-blank canvas by painting the interior and exterior black. The crew is also cleaning out the space, as evidenced by the debris around the building's dumpsters.

So goodbye, Jerry, and goodbye, Johnny. We doubt that the new paint job will be as controversial as the murals were, but let us know if you'll miss the music icon's watchful gaze.


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Katie Moulton is a former Westword music editor. She's written about culture for alt-weeklies since 2009 and has also worked as a venue manager, radio DJ/producer and festival organizer. Her go-to karaoke jams are "Flagpole Sitta," by Harvey Danger, or "Ride Wit Me," by Nelly, which tells you a lot.
Contact: Katie Moulton