They're still there, under wraps in greenHAUS Boutique and Gallery, the former home of the infamous 307 drag bar, and the onetime re-election campaign headquarters of former Mayor Phil Gordon: a pair of murals by the late Ted DeGrazia, one of Arizona's highest-profile exports to the world at large.
Best known for the paintings of big-eyed, primitive Native American tykes popularized in the '60s in a greeting card line launched by UNICEF, DeGrazia reportedly painted the long-covered-up, giant murals in the 1950s to pay off his drinks tabs when this building housed a series of fly-by-night cocktail lounges.
Both of the untitled murals, which are painted on plywood across the full length of 40-foot walls in browns and yellows on a field of deep khaki, depict the history of grain alcohol production, beginning with cavemen fermenting roots and ending with farmers bootlegging the stuff while prairie-skirted angels fly from the sun, clutching martini glasses and a pair of showgirls do high kicks of vodka-inspired joy.
So, why haven't the murals been rescued, restored, and moved to Tucson's DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun? Some say it's because the murals are painted directly on the space's interior walls, and removing them would destroy the ancient building. Others say it's because decades of cigarette smoke and cheesy repairs to the murals' peeling paint have rendered them valueless.
Our favorite story is this one: The murals are haunted by the ghost of DeGrazia himself, and every time someone begins poking around his old wall paintings, his ghost turns up and starts wagging his finger at anyone with big ideas of moving them.