An outlet for radical and revolutionary expression for over thirty years, P&L Press will open its first public infoshop this week. Located in the Jefferson Park neighborhood near the space occupied by the Denver Anarchist Black Cross and P&L itself, the store will provide resources on anarchism, prisoners' rights, indigenous movements and a heavy roster of other socio-political issues through books, DVDs, zines and more.
Although the store's formal grand opening -- complete with cupcakes -- won't take place until Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m., preparations for its launch began last month, when P&L leased the space shared by the Denver Community Health Center. Organizers approached Zoe Williams, a member of the DABC in addition to the Colorado Street Medics, to become the sole employee of the store, where she will work Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
"Denver hasn't had an infoshop in a while, and it's important to have a place where you can find revolutionary and oppressed voices that you don't see at Tattered Cover and Barnes & Noble," Williams says. "For me, it was really important to bring in books for kids and for families, young adult fiction and cook books and coloring books. That's where I see a lot of people get alienated, when they want to educate their children without buying them Disney princess stuff." As she speaks, Williams organizes the store's more than 200 new and used titles into piles on the floor in preparation for shelving them before the opening. She lays out sections devoted to gender and queer theory, indigenous struggles, regional issues, political prisoners. Inside a stack intended for children is a book devoted to those with handicaps: On a colorfully illustrated cover, the title is My Baby Rides the Short Bus.
In the center of the open shop is a table, hand-painted by Williams, displaying the recommendations of the P&L staff. Although it borders a shared community space with the DABC, the infoshop includes materials on anarchism without focusing on it.
"People don't understand anarchist history and theory." Williams admits. "If you go to most bookstores, you just see beardy white guys writing their views on state ideas, but there are so many options that make that culture more accessible now. And we want to be a part of that discussion."
Although the entire community space hosts joint fundraisers to allocate money toward rent, the P&L Press Infoshop is a self-sustained business, not a volunteer collective. Its peers on the scene include similar spaces such as Left Hand Books in Boulder and Hammer Time! in Fort Collins. Williams hopes that as the store grows, it will expand its reach both inside and outside the Denver community by attracting local artists and out-of-state visitors.
"As soon as we got the [27 Social Center] space, we saw a lot of improvements as far as the organizational barrier of sharing all of these voices without just being at someone's house," Williams says. "I think having a radical community space will bolster participation in these discussions even more, and I'd love to see more revolutionary views expressed."
At the moment, approximately 50 percent of the materials, including T-shirts and buttons and some books, are printed in-house at P&L, though most of the books are distributed by PM and AK Press. If customers are interested in ordering a specific title, they can work with Williams to do so. The store, housed almost entirely in one central room, shares a lobby with the Community Health Center, where clients of both can sit on a flowered couch and drink tea while they visit.
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As she organizes, Williams is drinking her own. Behind her, the heater releases a guttural growl, while the front door swings in the wind.
"There's a lot of work left to be done as it grows, and we want Denver to help us get it there," Williams says. "As you can see, it's a pretty open place. We want people to find value in the space."
P&L Press Infoshop is located at 2727 West 27th Ave., Unit C. For more information, visit the store's Facebook page.
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