Mercury Cafe, December 1982

The Mercury Cafe Calendar for December 1982
The Mercury Cafe Calendar for December 1982

For over 33 years, Marilyn Megenity and her crew at the Mercury Cafe have been providing Denver with healthy, organic, local food and a venue for an incredibly wide range of music and performance. There were legendary shows at the old location at 13th and Pearl, including X, Black Flag, and the Dead Kennedy’s, and great local musicians ranging from Johnny Long to Kenny Vaughn to the Aviators and The Young Weasels.

And they’re still at it at their current home at 22nd and California, offering everything from poetry slams to tango lessons, documentary film to Vox Feminista, jazz piano with Joe Bonner to the experimental sounds of the Super Secret Messengers (who will be playing a concert this Thursday, December 4th at 9:30pm).

Check it out at

11 Replies to “Mercury Cafe, December 1982”

  1. I never went to the old Merc on pearl – my first experience with one of marylin’s places was eating at Fatz City next to wax trax. Bob’s Tofu Burrito, great deal for breakfast.

    And then, there was heatley’s teahouse at downing and alameda for performance art (Dr. Antonioni’s Imaginary Disease, for instance)

  2. I remember Marilyn Megenity’s first restaurant in Denver – around 1974-75? It was Elrond’s on 13th Avenue. She was two doors down from my spot YesStudios [1973-1979] which was in what is now WaxTrax’s 2nd store at 620 E. 13th Avenue. Marilyn was always very gracious to me. In fact, years later – at the current Mercury cafe location, Marilyn let me use her space for memorials to two Denver artists: Jon Howe [d.1998], and Kip Farris [d.2005] Of course, Kip Farris had moved to the Bay area [CA] in 1989, but had left an memorable legacy in Denver.

    Me? I’ve lived in San Francisco since 1989, and whenever I get to Denver [to see my mom] I try to stop at least once by The Mercury to say hello to marilyn, and to [maybe[ catch Joe Bonner.

    G’bye for now – [Jerry De la Cruz and Renna Shesso told me about

    Mondo Jud Hart

  3. The old Merc did have an amazing run of great shows during a great time for rock & roll. One highlight for me was The Birthday Party on April Fool’s Good Friday, 1983. Nick Cave was on the cover on NME that week, but a sizable portion of the crowd seemed unfamiliar with the band, apparently having shown up just because it was a Friday night. I remember some idiot yelling “Play some fuckin’ music” between songs.

    Pix here:

  4. Boy, does THIS bring back memories. I was working at Berardi & Sons Restaurant at 1525 Blake Street (funny, what you can remember) at the time. The Aviators, The Young Weasels, Rare Silk, The Rob Mullins Band. Saw them all…many times. Kelly McGinnis who’s playing on the 21st on this calendar was a friend of mine. Is Joe Bonner still playing there? He’s the real deal. Thanks for posting this!

  5. Love these memories. I worked with alot of these bands, setting up and tunning guitars for the aviators, mau mau 55, lunch, pink, & bop street just to name a few. I remember most of those wonderful times. Sunday breakfast at the merc cured a long saturday night. Zypher was a Great show, My heart went out to marilyn when Candy died. Thank you for bringing back some great memories. Wishing everyone who shared those times a wonderful life.

  6. Like a shockwave, something like this shakes loose memories that have laid buried under the detritus of the every day life of 27 years… Pretty cool.
    Always wondered too, what happened to Val Vadeboncoeur.

  7. Some great early 80’s shows at 13th & Pearl Merc – Dead Kennedys the day Henry Fonda died (August 82) – five fire trucks showed up between sets – no fire though.
    And Halloween 1982, Commander Cody – I was 8 months pregnant, looked like a giant tomato dancing my feet off – the Commander still rocks but that was something!
    And a month later my son was born to boogie…

  8. I was a dishwasher at the Mercury Cafe around that time … Miss Marilyn was a very good person and had a big heart … a really bad recession going on and nobody could find work, Xmas day we all gave each other candy bars. I was pretty hungry so I went looking for work and I went by the Mercury & Marilyn gave me a job.
    I do remember everyone was called a tron, dishtron, waitron, etc., and I remember that the punk rock concerts were difficult to work, the kids threw up and acted rowdy sometimes, the musicians sometimes wore no underwear and went to great lengths to let you know. The food was excellent, the cook’s name was Marco, I believe.
    I had grown up on a farm, I must have been about 19, 20, it was a wild scene & I loved it.

  9. I had so much fun playing at the Merc with The Aviators, Young Weasals, and Crankcall Loveaffair.. Magical times to be sure..left in ’85 for L.A. and am still here. But I’ll never forget how cool Marilyn was to us all and how she really made the scene.

    Thanks so much to everyone from that time.

  10. I was a medical resident in Denver 1982-85 and remember some amazing performances at the Mercury Cafe, including neighbor Rosanne Barr doing her famous domestic goddess routine, which wasn’t yet famous) and Allan Holdsworth playing at a Chinese Restaurant perhaps on Colfax somewhere which was deemed the new Mercury for a week or so… Great years for art!!

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