Fitz Blog: Bisbee

2013-09-16T10:00:00Z 2014-01-31T13:57:08Z Fitz Blog: BisbeeDavid Fitzsimmons The Arizona Daily Star​ Arizona Daily Star

I enjoyed our weekend in Bisbee. We were there to enjoy a rocking blues festival and count the ponytails held in place with orthopedic hair bands.

Bisbee is an awesome mining town where miners mined copper and artists mine the tourists for gold. It is located southeast of Tombstone, a little east of 1973 and two blocks west of Haight Ashbury.

Bisbee was named after either a Phelps Dodge Vice President or the inventor of macrame weaving. Bisbee, the town too hip to die, boomed on a copper based economy for one century and in this one it lives on a granola based economy where 2 Birkenstocks and a vial of Patchouli oil can buy you a room for the night.  We settled in at the Copper Queen and happily explored San Fran-Woodstock. What I found was a thriving artistsand writers enclave hopping with great music and a doberman wearing a pink tutu.

Strolling down Main Street I  saw a  bumper sticker that summed Bisbee up: ”Mayberry on acid”.  I’m pretty sure I saw Floyd the barber sporting a ponytail and yes, that was Opie channeling Bob Dylan on the street corner for pocket change.

Check out the library, the museums, the pit mine, the art deco courthouse and the magnificent Catholic Church that features turn of the century stained glass that is exquisite down to each apostle’s eyelash. Thuy’s Noodle Shop is the best Vietnamese restaurant west of Cam Ranh Bay, Cafe Roka is the classiest 5-star restaurant west of Sardi’s and nothing beats chilling in your vintage trailer at the Shady Dell watching Lucy and Ricky on an antique TV while listening to 1953 piped in over your radio live. There’s a zillion fabulous and distinctive bed and breakfasts, motels and hotels and if you're out luck I'm sure there's room in somebody's dredlocks for a family of four to chill.

Saturday we biked over to the farmer’s market in Warren and saw God’s cornucopia of glorious home grown fare and this we discovered is where th epeople live. Mostly friendly townsfolk that are a cross between refugees from the '68 Chicago riots and the cast of the Milagro Beanfield War. The place is Portland with sunshine and copper canyons, only weirder and drier--save for St. Elmo's which is where I found life sustaining moisture. Literally cooler than Tucson, Bisbee offers the funkiest gilded age architecture and atomic age kitsch south of Bobby Darrin’s halo. If it was a borough of NYC it would be Bong Island. If it was a burb of LA it would be Melrose Gulch. Make that Groovy Gulch. If it was Seattle the latte's would be stirred with Mesquite twigs and served in lava lamps. It’s a time warp, a silver-haired afro preserve for vintage hipsters and hippies and hip replacement candidates. I felt right at home.

Bisbee is Arizona’s Far out Fargo for the Cheech and Chong in all of us. Bisbee rocks, man. And in the words of the barkeep,"Peace, dude."

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About this blog

David Fitzsimmons is the Star's editorial cartoonist.

To reach Fitz call 520-573-4234 (office) or email him at tooner@tucson.com.

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