Muddy's Chronicles: Memoirs from the Last Great Coffeehouse

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Press: Centipede Press (April 1, 2009)
Author Name:Stevens, Bill


Philosophical coffeehouses, those hotbeds of liberal ideas, poetry readings, strange cigarettes, and all-night jazz sessions, were a hallmark of the Beat era.Muddy's Java Cafe hosted the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, and virtually all of Denver’s mayors and Colorado’s governors during its illustrious career. 
As a sometimes-halfway house for runaway teens, Muddy's was also home to jazz musicians who came and jammed after their regular gigs and a place to talk politics or Nietzsche in a convivial, relaxed atmosphere.
Muddy’s was more than a coffeehouse: it was a Denver institution for nearly twenty years.Bill Stevens has created an uproariously funny, nostalgic, and melancholy look at one of the West’s best-known java joints.
Places like Muddy’s existed in large cities all across the United States, and its stories are universal.


Humor & Entertainment,Pop Culture,General,History,Americas,United States,State & Local,Politics & Social Sciences,Social Sciences

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Comment List (Total:6)

  •     Being a former, minor denizen of Muddy's (I only actually got to share a table with Bill once), I found this to be delightfully nostalgic, and nicely written.I have never found another Muddy's since I left the Denver area, and have always felt a loss over having broken my relationship with the place. And I don't even like coffee.The country is a much more pointlessly sterile place for the loss of places like Muddy's and its ilk.
  •     It's too bad Bill didn't think the younger generation at Muddy's worth more than a paragraph, because there were vivid lives, loves, and tragedies there as well. However, his musings on the serendipitous, mercurial, and mythic history of Muddy's itself and its older crowd are engaging, diverse in nature and frank in the telling. Muddy's was indeed a Great Coffeehouse, and it's nice to see some memoirs preserved from those days.
  •     In the late 70's and early 80's Muddy's was my home away from home. Arriving around 11pm and staying until 3 or 4 in the morning was a typical night with friends. Drinking a pot of tea & steamed milk while solving the world's problems with friends, playing a game of chess, and browsing through Arnold's used bookstore were all usual activities at Muddy's. Bill Stevens chronicles the multiple levels of this great coffee house/bookstore/theatre with the love only a person intimately involved with Muddy's could accomplish. The closing of Muddy's seemed like the official end to the 60's in my mind.
  •     I remember you Trask!!!! and look for your name often when doing my searches for new info on Muddy's. I was in the younger group, so we didn't get in the book, but I still loved the read and I long for those days.Zenith
  •     Muddy Waters was a unique, almost iconic Denver landmark, combining arts, literature, and coffee and conversation. It was open from 8 p.m. - 4 a.m. six days a week (closed on Tuesdays). You could go there almost anytime and have difficulty finding a table. It is a shame that so little was written about Muddy's so that it could live on in Denver local history. This book is the only one I could find that does this job, and it does it well. The only thing I regret is that there are so few photos.
  •     Bill, You did an awesome job capturing the feel of the cafe and the personas that were involved. Even if i am not mentioned. For those who thought the original Starbucks or original Arabica coffee houses were cool they were nothing compared to the two Muddy's. This is the best way to learn about some of the characters that were there and what it was like. I miss the Slightly off Center Stage theater and the bookstore from the first Muddy's and the second a grand home and Pinn's bookstore was great too. Thanks for the look back. Trask

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