From the silly to the political, Pete Lazare's folk-artsy banners outside of Grab-a-Java were always sure to stoke a conversation. His wife officially owned the local caffeinated treasure before they handed it off to new ownership, though Pete would often work there himself, having invented a stool-based espresso press and regularly telling customers to, "Have a pretty good day," in his signature dry-humored style. He died in 2018 after a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. A new book catalogs his banners including ones of Karl Marx with the words, "Drinkers of the world unite!" and a coffee-mug-shaped constellation with the word, "Heavenly." Peppered throughout the book are remembrances from those who knew him best: family, friends and Grab-a-Java employees past and present, including Virginia Ferguson who said, "Pete was a visionary and mad scientist." The book will be for sale at an upcoming reception, and a print with photos of 25 banners will be included for the first 100 buyers. The photos were taken by Rich Saal. There will also be limited edition prints of individual banners for sale. All the proceeds will benefit the Sierra Club of the Sangamon Valley and NPR Illinois in Pete's memory.
Not your average Joe
Friday, March 20, 6-9 p.m.
Myers BuildingOne W. Old Capitol Plaza