Anne Valby never stops. She’s driven.
If you didn’t know that before, all you have to do is set foot into the newly expanded Penny Lane Café (10255 Main Street) and watch her in action. When we visited yesterday, she was a blur of motion – constantly cleaning, unpacking, hanging, decorating – all the while pouring drinks at the bar and keeping a dozen conversations going with patrons.
“This was the actual steering wheel to Prudence” she says one moment, referring to the “hippie bus” she once owned. The bus, in fact, is the theme of her expansion, or rather the back of the bus. “It’s where all the cool people hung out and where all the fun happened,” Valby explained. When the space opened up next door we were already trying to figure out where to put a stage. That was the solution. That space became ‘BoB’ – the back of the bus.”
The new stage is indeed the back of the bus – literally. Valby painted the bus herself, and added touches like a Beatles scene from Yellow Submarine in a rear window, reflectors for tail lamps and diamondplate alone the base of the stage.
To Anne Valby, everything is art, and nothing is too obscure to save and repurpose. Every inch of wall space is simply a canvas. Rows of bottle caps with unfamiliar names like “Loka” and “Norrland’s Guld” adorn the end of one wall, and Valby of course has a story. “Those are from Norway” she says. “We took a trip to Europe and all I had the money to bring back was junk.”
Music has it’s own art too, album covers. “Take a look in there” Valby says, pointing to a milk crate filled with vinyl album covers. “I bought that whole thing for $4.” The crate is filled with vintage album covers, including Led Zepplin I, IV, and The Song Remains The Same, Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced?, Ten Years After and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Nuthin’ Fancy.
All will at some point become assimilated into Penny Lane Café, as have dozens of vintage Rolling Stone magazine covers which adorn the bathroom walls. Penny Lane is a constant visual overload – an amp’ed-up explosion of creativity in images and textures, light and sound – that’s also a popular bar and restaurant.
Although there had to be a point where the expansion would be open to the public – this morning’s sold out 97 Rock Beatles Brunch was that point – you can be sure that there will always be something new being added.
If some is good then more is better seems to be the recipe. It’s impossible to overstate the just how much there is to see here, and everything has a story behind it. Penny Lane Café doesn’t just house works of art, it is one.
Be sure to check it out for yourself.