It started out on Colfax in a rundown motel which we wish had the sparkly, ambience of a rundown David Lynch movie. We couldn't do much for the outside, but we made the inside a thing of beauty. I went to the frame store everyday and tried to frame everything to save as much money as I could. The frame guy finally felt sorry for me and said he would give me the discount regardless. This was the beginning of a place called Quixote's True Blue. It got its namesake from Don Quixote and the spirit of imagination and adventure that he embraced which encapsulates the Grateful Dead experience. It got the other half of its name from a Vince Welnick song which he told me about in a letter he wrote to me in response to my letter I wrote because I was worried about him:
"No fear, no hate could be greater than the size of, The love that I am seeing deep in the eyes of, All of my friends, True Blue."
I called my brothers, and as in any great heist movie, they looked at me smiled, and said "You son of a bitch Jay, I'm in." I didn't bother to point out that the statement as they said it was self-reflexive and an insult to their mother as well as mine, but I digress. This was not a time to play semantics.
We ran an ad stating DEAD FREAKS UNITE. And they responded. We all needed this more than we ever knew.
We were all in and we transformed this little bar into a launching pad for so many bands: Zero and Steve Kimock, Umphrey's McGee, The Motet, STS9 and Dark Star Orchestra to name a few and a home away from home for so many Deadheads. We would listen to "sweet songs to rock our soul" over and over as the bar launched off and traveled to so many worlds. It was a VFW for Deadheads and Phil Bianchi would hold court everyday. We shed tears thinking about Jerry Garcia, we laughed, we cried and we became a family with all of our patrons.
But the little bar that could was pretty small and we needed to "grow into feet." We went down the road a bit and we found another home at 741 East Colfax. This place became Sanchos Broken Arrow, you may have heard of it. Sancho Panza was Don Quixote's trusty companion and tried to ground him when he flew too high as he was very wont to do. The "Broken Arrow" came from the time I requested the song for my dad who was dying of cancer. One day he was being a real jerk and he left the house and slammed the door, he came right back a half hour later with a slab of ice on a piece of cardboard and said "Margie do you need some ice?" We started laughing immediately because it was so ridiculous, but we knew he brought that ice, that "broken arrow" as an apology for his behavior. It did the trick, we forgave, and he didn't actually have to apologize. I wrote a letter to Phil Lesh and told them this story and requested the song. I handed the letter to Dennis McNallly and he said he would give it to Phil, but told me the band does does not do requests. When the song came on during the show, my dad appeared and someone came by and said "I need to take a picture of this because 'I know something is happening, but I don't know what it is.'" It was an awesome moment! On the plane ride back, Dennis McNally recognized me and said " You are the kid who wrote the letter, I want to tell you Phil Lesh read it and he was very moved and he absolutely, positively played that for your dad. I smile-cried.
Sancho's Broken Arrow with Phil Bianchi at the helm and strategically positioned by the Fillmore Auditorium became the best place to be before and after anything. He kept the place clicking with his overwhelming energy and it still runs on his fumes.
It had an overwhelming inertia that kept people in there for hours and hours and years and years. "They forgot about the time," but they created many a fine memory. It was a force to be reckoned with. There was no happier place on earth and
"There ain't no place I would rather be!"
Meanwhile, Quixote's True Blue started to hopscotch around Denver and moved to Broadway. A young kid named Scott Morrill stopped by and suggested we open another place. I suggested a place that I drove by everyday on the way home on a street called Welton in a notorious place called Five Points. I was not scared because we already "spent a little time on Colfax Ave, spent a little time on the hill" and I knew that our good vibes would always overpower the bad vibes. It was a wild and dangerous place and I almost got shot twice. This place became Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom and it was a thing of beauty. It was the pinnacle of all my creations so far. I named it after the author of Don Quixote's and it was a shining example of all the work I had done so far. It was the crown of my creations, my ultimate masterpiece, or so I thought.
In the meantime, we opened Dulcinea's 100th Monkey right next to Sanchos Broken Arrow on Colfax. Dulcinea was Quixote's princess who he imagined to be a beautiful princess, but she was an old hag. This bar represented the way to see the beautiful in the ordinary. The 100th Monkey is the theory that once you reach a critical mass of thought then it will spread like wildfire. Others who had no concept of your way of seeing things will just get it. This place is where Phil Lesh ended up playing on my mom's birthday after she died earlier that year on Easter. This place was dedicated to my mom and it was not just a coincidence that Phil Lesh played his first free show since the sixties by a member of the Dead on her birthday, and it is not a coincidence that the power went out at the Fillmore Auditorium that date, just as it is not a simple coincidence that the power went out their on Jerry's birthday so many years earlier and Dark Star Orchestra ended up playing at Quixote's so many years before.
From the high road to the low,
So many roads, I know
Sometimes, I get ahead of myself!
I was "Dancin' in the streets" with Leftover Salmon / Steve Kimock/ Dark Star Orchestra and I ended up out on the streets. My wings were clipped and I started over on 2151 Lawrence Street with Owsley's Golden Road which quickly became Quixote's again. I know, I know! So fucking many roads.
I am not even going to mention The Oriental Theater on 44th and Tennyson!
Then we moved to 13th and Grant and was like finally again. And then there was the Dark Star Lounge on Federal and there were oh so many roads and memories.
And then there was Broadway and Pleasant street in Boulder with Owsley's Golden Road and Sancho's Boulder Arrow. And then I got fed up with so many Quixote's and so I opened a brand new place called Be On Key Psychedelic Ripple on 1700 Logan, a cavernous, labyrinthian mecca of music. And that should have been enough, I am getting exasperated describing this, but no, I added Owsley's Crazy Diamond to the ripple because I love 2 stages and I might be just a little bit crazy. Plus it faced 17th, so it was another road to add to this story.
To top it off, I guess I decided to reopen Quixote's True Blue on 2014 South University. If this all seems a little manic, I won't be the one to argue with you about it. Meanwhile my brother-my best friend died and perhaps, just perhaps I went a little bit crazier than my usual self.
Wind inside and the wind outside
Tangled in the window blind
Tell me why you treat me so unkind
Down where the sun don't shine
Lonely and I call your name
No place left to go, ain't that a shame?
And then came 2020 and put a drastic stop to everything, Sancho's closed down, Be On Key burned down and Quixote's trudged on. I was at the end of my road. I was being tested, and the only thing that kept me going was a quote from Ken Kesey, Author --" Always stay in your own movie!"
I decided what I always knew-- I control my own destiny.
So I decided to design my own destiny.
So many roads I know
All I want is one to take me home
From the high road to the low
So many roads I know
So many roads, so many roads.
All I need is one to ease my soul!
This is the one.
This is the place.
This is serendipity encapsulated!
As I type these last sentences, Row Jimmy is playing and I look to my side and I feel my brother's presence next to me. And I tear up and smile cry, and he smiles back at me. And we row together, "going to get there, I don't know, row. . ."
I present to you my finest accomplishment to this date - So Many Roads
This is our October surprise.
We will be open tomorrow October 21, 2020 at 4:20 for you to tour and enjoy this absolutely, fantastic culmination of 24 years and also, talk about serendipity, to celebrate Brent Mydland's birthday!
- Sanchos History -
"Look, sir," answered Sancho Panza,
"those which appear yonder are not giants, but windmills;
and what seem to be arms are the sails,
which whirled about by the wind make the millstone go."
"It is very evident," answered Don Quixote,
"that thou art not versed in the business of adventures."
When I was young and when many other people were young and very good at expressing themselves they would give something like a wad of paper or a rubber band to somebody they liked. The recipient would, in turn, say "thank you, I'll treasure it forever" and they certainly meant it for the wad of paper was really something to give. However, they soon got old and forgot what the wad of paper meant. They forgot that they would treasure it forever. They demanded and gave bigger and better things or so they thought because bigger and better things do not necessarily mean bigger and better. Bigger and better things are easier to give because they only involve the sacrifice of money not the heart. The wad of paper was more important because it was not the wad that the person gave or recieved, it was the heart--it was love and that cannot be bought.
Love is harder to give and recieve than any present in the world. The song that I believe best represents the gift of the heart is "Broken Arrow" and the lyrics go like this--"Who else is going to bring you a broken arrow, who else is going to bring you a bottle of rain." Now seemingly, these two things are not worth a lot, but when you think about them you realize that they are the only things worth while.
My father has brought me many broken arrows and many bottles of rain, both apparently useless in the world of commerce and conspicuous consumption, but both brought as peace offerings--a very valuable thing to give.
A specific instance comes to mind on a day that my mother and I were quite upset with my father--the reason fails to reveal itself. My father left the house in an uproar and we were glad to get rid of him. He came back ten minutes later with a bottle of rain; not exactly, but a piece of cardboard with a sheet of ice on it, saying "Margie, do you need some ice." That was the end of that squabble, peace was at hand because it is quite hard to stay angry when you are laughing. During the middle of summer to find a large amount of ice is quite a feat, but to bring it back is something else entirely.
Once again it is the heart at work rather than the mind. Buying something would destroy the feeling, it would be contrived, it would not be a bottle of rain--it would be an arrow armed and ready, ready to shoot--only a temporary calm rather than a real one.
Sometimes we must look back and remember that as children we knew everything and as we grow up we forget what is really important. My father has shown me the value of the child that i have occasisionally tried to lose, that is why when he was dying I took him to Deer Creek on my birthday to see a "Broken Arrow."
We must always remember what the fox said to the little prince holds true - - 'what is essential is invisible to the eye and that only with the heart may one see rightly.'
Today, my gift to you is "Sancho's Broken Arrow."
With it, I wish you peace and love and that all your dreams come true.
Jay M. Bianchi
Stay True Blue
This place is dedicated to our mother, Margaret Ann Bianchi, who maintained the practical there by making it possible for us to dream the impractible. -
-Quixote's History -
Quixote's True Blue, established by three brothers, Jay, Philip and Aric/Dante, as a gathering for deadheads and kindred spirits after Jerry Garcia laid down his weary head one last time, is a bar dedicated to music. The derivation of the bar's name is twofold. Quixote comes from the Miguel de Cervantes' picaresque novel of the same name. The fictional figure Don Quixote was a man dedicated to the spirit of imagination and adventure that was inherent in the long strange trip that so many of us have and continue to take. Don Quixote was a character who found the magical in the everyday. He was also my father's favorite literary figure. Thus, the bar is partly dedicated to my father who succumbed to cancer the day before his birthday September 24, 1994. Both my father and Jerry Garcia were on a quest to bring a smile and higher awareness to all of those they encountered. Since the history of Jerry's travels is more commonplace knowledge, I will submit a brief history of my father and his personal, quixotic journey.
Philip A. Bianchi is an artist with a vision. He has created art since his youth. His hobby has become his life's work. He spent years in the art-steeped climate of Northern California, running a gallery near Mendocino. He has since moved to Denver and finally settled in the desert Southwest of Mancos, Colorado where he has set-up his Best of Quixote studio.
Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote has had a profound influence on Bianchi's life and his work. He sees himself as a man struggling with Quixote against the "windmills' of society. His art makes a bold statement: "It's the picture that's there when you take all the bull out of contemporary existence, the very essence. Their true meaning is reverence and grace. It takes me days and days to get to that place." His rich and complex work draws observers into themselves: "You won't have to ask what the work means, because you'll be a part of it. If you put good stuff around you, good stuff comes out of you. I believe art can save the world."
Philip A. Bianchi lived a lot in the short time he was here as did Jerry Garcia. Although they traveled in different circles, they proceeded on the same path. They brought joy to the people around them through their art. The vehicles they used as their canvas were simply different.
Jerry Garcia used music as his vehicle to "take the bull out of contemporary existence." Thus the second part of this establishments' name is derived from a song. Not a song by Jerry himself, but a song that he made come into being. A song that looks back as it looks forward. "True Blue" is a song written by The Grateful Dead's last keyboardist. It is about life after Jerry. The song details a personal struggle Vince had dealing with the death of a man who in such a short time had such a profound effect on him. His letter best encompasses the feeling that gripped our community when Jerry Garcia died.
Jerry was a patriarch of a loosely woven community. His death, although sad, has united a community. A common tragedy becomes a common thread weaving through our community. We become "tangled up in blue" and we become stronger. My father's death intertwines with Jerry's death. They become one as all the years combine. We become one.
Fare thee well,
Our love will not fade away,
Thank you, Jerry.
Thank you, Dad.
- Cervantes’ History-
Spirit is Something That No One Destroys