The best part of the Mitchell Brothers' Theater was free

OK, sure, they revolutionized the Sex Work and porn Film Industry with Behind the Green Door and, even better (if not as popular), The Resurrection of Eve, both starring Marilyn Chambers, and their kickass movie Ultra porn that opened with the lines "To hell with socially redeeming values..." and went on to short pieces such as Hot Nazi's with a theme song by Mike Bloomfield.

But for anyone driving by, there was the wonderful full wall mural of marine mammals painted by Joe Silva in 1978, no charge, a gift to the city streets. (Silva painted another of a rainforest in 1985 and was at work on a third when Jim Mitchell shot and killed his brother Artie in 1989, which pretty much brought most of the operations to a halt.)

He once told me he was fascinated by Polar Bears, Crocodiles, and Great White Sharks, because "they're the only animals (aside from microbes and insects) that will go out of the way to eat human beings."

Silva is still painting walls in the East Bay, still giving people driving brief moments of joy and wonder.


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