The holiday season is a busy one, but poet and editor Brice Maiurro took a few minutes out of his day to tell me about his favorite bookshop, and it sounds like an amazing place. Take a look!
Favorite Bookshop: Mutiny Information Cafe (Denver, CO)
1. How did you discover the shop?
I discovered Mutiny Information Café in what I imagine is the way that most people discover Mutiny Information Café. I was walking down South Broadway with some friends one night and we passed by Mutiny and through their big open glass windows I could see crowds of people crammed up against counters and at tables and mixed in with their records all watching a comedian perform. It was magic, of course, to feel a heartbeat like that. South Broadway is magic in general. I’ve seen so many incredible bands and events all over that long mile, but there amongst the bars on what I’m sure was a Tuesday night or something were people creating space for art. I wandered in and found what space I could amidst the huddled masses and listened to some comedian. I could be wrong on this, but I think it was Jordan Dahl too. I don’t know if this is just a Denver thing or a comedian at large thing but damn, Denver comedians are some of the most self-deprecating, nihilistic humans I’ve ever met. They’re also very funny.
2. What part of the shop is your favorite? Give us a walkthrough of what it's like to browse around at Mutiny.
Mutiny is a living, breathing thing. It’s constantly evolving. I’ve seen performances go from the front windows for passerby’s to see, now tucked intimately in the back surrounded by books, biographies and vintage copies. The pinball machines this week have their own aisle. The record collection is encroaching on the book section and the comic book section is encroaching on the records. They have this beautiful golden display case upfront which clearly must have harvested fancy chocolates or something similar at some point and it’s now filled with any Little Debbie or Hostess snack you might crave on a weeknight bender down South Broadway.
I’d have to say my favorite part of Mutiny is the back. I will never forget the feeling of wandering into Mutiny to a seemingly low-key scene and sneaking to the back space to find anything from an anarchist puppet show to an ambient light event to a fashion runway to an open night magic night. I’ve seen cyphers in the back of Mutiny, I’ve seen some of Denver’s most prolific punk bands in the back of Mutiny. I’ve kissed women in the back of Mutiny. I’ve seen some of the people I’m closest to strip down to their underwear, covered in the hateful words that people have thrown at them in the back of Mutiny. So yeah, I think the back, surrounded by all those biographies of people who time may or may not forget. That’s gotta be my favorite part of Mutiny.
There’s also outside of Mutiny, a dozen of the same dregs smoking weed no matter if it’s 75 and sunny or -10 and dead cold.
3. What books have you bought there in the past?
I think the two most memorable books I’ve bought at Mutiny are “Coyotes” by Ken Arkind and “Retrospect/ed”, an audio poetry collection by Charly Fasano. Those two dudes are always in the spirit of anything I do in Denver. Seeing the names of people I saw around the city on a shelf in a bookstore is what made me myself realize two things. One, that I could do it. That I could someday get my book out onto the shelves at Mutiny, and two, that being on a bestseller list or getting a book deal with Simon & Schuster could be really gratifying, but I realized there was so much talent just lurking up and down the streets of Denver, and I’ve been so blessed to witness all of it.
4. What is it about Mutiny that makes you love it? What really sets it apart?
I asked Jim Norris, who owns Mutiny Information Café along with his business partner Matt Mega C one night how he came to own Mutiny and he told me how he came up through Denver’s music venues and at some point, he wanted to step out of the craziness of those venues and bring that same energy into a book shop. Mutiny has some great books. Early editions of Vonnegut novels, Hemingway novels, Kerouac novels. To call Mutiny a book store alone would be limiting. Mutiny is a safe haven for art that is done for the passion, something that Denver believes strongly in. Denver is notorious for having free events. Even so many live music shows I know are $5 suggested donation.
Mutiny Information Café has been a space that has helped me to find some grounding. I’ve hosted open mics there, Matt Clifford and I decided to start Punketry there. If I really like someone, I take them to Mutiny. I had my book release party at Mutiny. I’ve been in Mutiny on a Sunday morning and was lucky enough to have the opportunity to read Dr. Seuss to a room full of kids. I’ve been in Mutiny at the witching hour when the pinball machine plays reverend and I confess my sins to Ghostbusters in multi-ball. Mutiny is this big family of weirdos and the only rules I’ve gathered to be kicked out of that family is being a hateful or violent person.
My friend Squidds, Daniel Madden, told me that the intersection outside of Mutiny is the nexus of Denver, the zero-zero point of the city, and I believe that because I can’t think of a more resetting place. Mutiny is church, and it’s meant a lot to me.
BIO: Brice Maiurro is a poet and writer from Denver, CO. His work has been featured by The Denver Post, Boulder Weekly, Horror Sleaze Trash and Birdy Magazine. He is the Editor-In-Chief of South Broadway Ghost Society. You can find him at @maiurro on Instagram.