UPDATE 11/14/12: All right, now this is just disappointing. As you can see from the photo above, sometime between our last update last night and this morning, some unscrupulous person(s) defaced the new Jerry Garcia mural on the east wall of 314 East 13th Avenue, the former home of Bender's Tavern and the current home of Quixote's True Blue. While many folks were clearly displeased with the fact that the iconic rendering of Johnny Cash that previously adorned the wall had been painted over (and expressed as much on Facebook), it's hard to imagine that even as upset as folks might've been that someone would willfully vandalize someone else's artwork -- especially considering that marring the current mural isn't going to bring the original one back. If you haven't been following this saga, continue on to read our original items and to see more photos.
See also: - The First Four: Quixote's True Blue grand reopening - Quixote's True Blue slated to move into Bender's Tavern space - Bender's Tavern gets new owners - Club 314 has followed Club Onyx into the darkness - Quixote's True Blue celebrates 15th anniversary - The Bianchi brothers break up their empire and come full circle with Quixote's True Blue - Tommy Nahulu: The Denver scene says goodbye to one of its biggest fans
Keep reading for our original items and photos of the other murals.
UPDATE 11/13/12: As you can see from the photo above, which was just snapped moments ago, the east wall at 314 E. 13th Avenue, the former home of Bender's Tavern and the current home of Quixote's True Blue, is no longer blackened. A fresh mural of Grateful Dead icon Jerry Garcia has been added to the building in place of the previous murals that were painted over this past weekend. It's unclear whether work is finished yet or not, but we suspect the latter, as the mural hasn't been signed yet. Keep reading for the original items and photos and for a bigger view of the new mural.
Keep reading for our original items and photos of the other murals.
UPDATE 11/12/12: In case you missed it on Friday, we noticed that a new Jerry Garcia mural had been added to the east wall of the former Bender's Tavern space at 314 East 13th Avenue, now the home of Quixote's True Blue. As you're undoubtedly aware, it replaced an iconic rendering of Johnny Cash painted by esteemed longtime scene booster Tommy Nahulu, who now lives back in Hawaii. We posted a short item about the piece (below) that drew a flurry of heated commentary on Facebook.
After the new mural appeared, Tommy says he was beleaguered with phone calls and texts alerting him to the new piece. After seeing all of the ire-filled comments, he weighed in in typical diplomatic fashion on his Facebook page. According to a Facebook comment left by Kenneth Hughes, a talented artist in his own right who painted the Garcia mural, it wasn't finished and he'll now be starting fresh. "When it is redone, it will be its own thing," he writes. Keep reading for our original item and to see his thoughts, as well as photos of both pieces, including the most recent one before it was painted over.
UPDATE: 11/10/12 Art critique aside, when we drove past the new mural, it struck us as a sort of visual metaphor representing a changing of the guards as it were, with one icon relieving another, both literally and figuratively, as both Bender's and Quixote's are/were beloved Denver institutions. Judging from the subsequent vitriolic outpouring on our Facebook page, though, hardly anyone else saw it this way. Many were incensed that rather starting fresh, the new mural appeared to have been painted over the top of the previous one. While the discussion may continue, the point is now moot, as the mural has since been painted over.
[Orig. Item: 11/9/12] If you haven't seen it yet, there's a fresh mural on the east wall of the former Bender's Tavern, now the home of Quixote's True Blue. Mirroring the real-life narrative of Bender's and Quixote's -- namely, one icon being replaced by another -- Jerry Garcia has officially relieved Johnny Cash of his duties watching over the beloved 13th Avenue institution on Capitol Hill between the intersection of Grant and Logan. As previously reported, Bender's went dark last week after an eight-year run, as did Quixote's True Blue at its former location at 21st and Lawrence. The latter is slated to host its grand reopening this coming Thursday, November 15, with Magic Gravy and Wonderlic.
Keep reading to see Tommy's original mural and read his thoughts on the situation.
It was a long work day for me away from my computer, but yesterday my phone was buzzing with texts and notifications all day. Happy now to have the time to sit down and share my thoughts on an unfortunate event that has affected me deeply.
It all began with a notification of a post shared on my fb wall from a good friend that read, "Sad day!". In it, was a photo of someone painting over a very special image of Johnny Cash I painted 8 years ago. What began with a deep sigh, ended with profound sadness. Aside from the obvious reasons of artistic consideration, who could have imagined the amount of hatred and polarization that was expressed in one day, coming from what was meant to be a beautiful (Re)creation.
Allow me to begin by acknowledging that I spent many childhood years as a Hippie, thanks to my mother and many of her beautiful friends. In those years, grew up loving, not hating. In those years, I grew up appreciating art and music. In those years, I grew up believing in communities that got along peacefully.
The posts I am reading this morning have me wondering about 2 things in particular. First, how sadness and frustration was expressed with so much hate and disgust. Second, how this polarizes our love of music and it's creators. Jerry Garcia vs Johnny Cash? Jam music vs Country and Rock? All of this has left me understanding why this weeks general election was so divided, even more. We are a society of individuals that love and care about what each of us want for ourselves, and don't consider the things others may need or want. Well good for you, and too bad for them.
All that said, allow me to express my feelings about the decision to paint over my work. It all begins with my undying gratitude for having the chance to paint it. It was a dream come true. When my friend Tyson and his partners bought the building, it gave me the opportunity I've been dreaming of after years as a Capitol Hill resident. A chance to paint a mural on that wall. It not only became my personal favorite, but a work that was enjoyed by a community much larger than I expected. Over the past 8 years, I've received photos of people taking pictures of them with it, seen it in papers and magazines, and even in a music video. Over the past 8 years, I felt the love. This work had also led to many great projects that would not have happened had this not led them to me. I can only express gratitude.
It seems like it was only a couple weeks ago, when a friend told me that Bender's was sold to a new owner. When I heard it was Jay Bianchi, I smiled. I've known Jay for years. Bigtime music lover, and successful club owner/talent buyer. I was happy to see it go to someone I believed would keep it a live music venue. Discussion was emerging over what would happen with my mural. Jay was widely known for his love for Jam bands (inspired by his love for the the Grateful Dead). Those who have patronized his clubs, know his love for art as well. My fb friend Lauri Keener is the one I thought would be the one to repaint something on that wall. Her work on Jay's other buildings are something I've admired very much. What I am seeing from yesterday's work is far from that vision.
With much respect to Jay's decision, I personally feel it lacked forethought. With much respect to the artist, I myself, would have preferred starting over completely, rather than attempting to paint over a decent work of art. Perhaps this artist did not know how well loved it was in this community. I can't help but see this as anything other than someone drawing a Salvador Dali mustache on picture of a face. The intent may have been more of a creative challenge, but still one I would have passed on, respectfully.
My initial ideas to re-create a new presence for the new establishment included having Cash remain on the wall and adding Garcia (and or other music legends) to join him. In closing, through all the comments made on the posts dedicated to this unfortunate event, I found a lot of support and love from friends along with the sadness they shared. I love and appreciate every one of them. Mahalo. Just know this...I am at peace with the changes. As a muralist, I don't expect any work on public walls to stay forever. It's the nature of all murals whether we like it or not. The ones we cherish the most will remain in the pictures we take and share.
Thanking the universe for the 8 years it was there, and the many who got to enjoy it. Wishing you, and the music and art loving community of Denver, all my best!
Tommy Kaui Nahulu
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