Activist community

Mutiny Information Cafe is back after community fundraising efforts

Not all stories have a happy ending. But Mutiny Information CaféDenver’s latest tribulation will be: Less than a week after being seized by the City of Denver for uncollected sales tax arrears, Denver’s counterculture institution will reopen its doors on Wednesday, September 28 at noon.

“We are relieved, as you can imagine,” said Jim Norris, one of Mutiny’s co-owners. “Relieved and humbled.”

Things moved quickly once news of Mutiny’s sudden forced closure broke. The locks were changed in the early afternoon of Thursday September 22. A GoFundMe campaign was launched late in the evening asking for the community’s help in meeting the emerging need to pay the municipal tax bill. The news was spread on Facebook and through media sources (including Westword) that the challenge was on, and several supporters from the arts community helped amplify the call to action. Once the outpouring of financial support began, it only grew.

Before the campaign was 24 hours old, enough money had been raised to pay the tax bill ($42,126) and more. The total currently sits at just under $60,000.

Norris admits he still processes the level of generosity the Denver arts community has shown, especially in such a short time. “I don’t know, man,” he said. “It’s an intangible thing, why so many people would stand up for the store. My best guess is just that people need a safe place for creatives of all kinds.

One of the biggest donors was another Denver bookseller – The Hermitage Bookstore to Cherry Creek, who donated $5,000. General Manager Sam Butler says the store did it by heart and duty. “The independent bookstore community is tight,” says Butler. “It would have left too big a hole in the city’s literary community if we were to lose Mutiny.”

“I’m blown away by what the Hermitage has done,” admits Norris. “When I first moved to Denver, with my English writing degree, I was staying at the old Tattered Cover. And they probably didn’t want a dirty kid like me coming there, but I also went to the Hermitage, so their support was a big and nice surprise.

Norris says he and co-owner Matt Megyesi plan to visit the store on Fillmore to say thank you in person.

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R. Alan Brooks in front of Mutiny…and the reminder: “Small businesses ain’t the fucking problem. Devour the rich.”

youtube.com/watch?v=YOborAfljz0

In terms of explaining the support of local artists, including Josiah Hesse, R. Alan Brooks and Hillary Leftwich, several of whom have been featured in various local news stories about Mutiny’s closure, Norris takes issue with it. “All I’ve ever encouraged anyone to do is not have a regular job,” he laughs. “Whatever it takes to do this, do it. Write, make music, whatever you can do.

To celebrate the reopening of Mutiny and the generosity of spirit that made it possible, Norris and Megyesi are planning a party on Saturday October 29 at oriental theater.

“It will be free, of course,” Norris says, adding that they are still working out the details. But there will be bands (all local bands, many of which have ties to Mutiny, including bolonium), a costume party and gifts. “It was really great of the Oriental to donate this space,” Norris says, “so we can really have space to do what we want to do and celebrate all the people who have helped us. .”

While the GoFundMe campaign has done its job, Mutiny Information Cafe still needs the support of the community in the continued effort to rebuild to full strength. Even before the tax bill was due, Norris and Megyesi hadn’t taken a paycheck since April in a bid to restore the store’s post-pandemic solvency, along with a serious health alert for Megyesi and more. a case of vandalism that is expensive to repair.

“All our usual stuff is back from now on,” promises Norris. That means Poetry Night, First Friday Pinball Night, Gundam Build Nights, and Mutiny Comics’ Whatnot Auction every Saturday.

This Friday, September 30 at 6 p.m., Mutiny will present one of the many author-focused events he has hosted over the years – an event that had to be temporarily canceled when the store was closed but is now back. . local writer Zack Kopp will launch his new book, Happinessand the evening will include readings, discussions, a musical performance by Molly Growler, vendors and more.

Norris describes Mutiny’s salvation experience as “the rise of the creative class. We can keep our money inside our own circles. I can sell a copy of a book and turn around and use it as a tip at a tattoo shop, and then that money can go buy art from a local artist. I encourage everyone to pursue this idea. That’s how we’re going to take care of each other.”

And in the end, this whirlwind started and ended with people, according to Norris. “We just want everyone to come back,” he says. “Come back and make yourself at home again. We will spend the rest of our careers working to repay that goodwill.

Mutiny Information Cafe, 2 South Broadway, opens at noon on Wednesday, September 28; starting Thursday, September 29, it returns to a 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. schedule. For more information about the store, check out its websitee.