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IC’s Luther Bangert surprised to find himself the subject of Lagunitas marketing campaign


Luther Bangert Beer Coaster -- Photo by Steven Weven
Luther Bangert Beer Coaster — Photo by Steven Weven

So a juggler walks into a bar and orders a beer, and the bartender pours him one, but he’s astonished by what he sees at the bottom of his glass — there on the coaster is the image of a man juggling beers while swallowing a sword, a man well-known to most eastern Iowans: Luther Bangert. Many Iowa City residents may remember when the Montrose, Iowa native broke the Guinness World Record in the Ped Mall by juggling the most objects (six) while simultaneously swallowing a sword.

The juggler in this true-story was Steven Weven, the bar was Mad Duck Craft Brewing Company in Fresno California, the beer was a Lagunitas and when Weven shared the image with Bangert, the world record holder was more than surprised.

“My friend Steven, old time juggler buddy who I know from the west coast scene, had posted a photo of something that had an image of me, swallowing a sword and juggling four IPA bottles, which I could distinctively recognize as Lagunitas,” said Bangert, who is currently performing in Scotland. “At first I thought it was a very well done sketch but then realized it was far too lifelike and must be taken from an actual photo; at least, most of it … I was instantly flattered but, also quite curious about the whole thing as no one ever asked me permission for use of the image.”

The likeness of Bangert is being used by the Lagunitas Brewing Company of Petaluma, CA as part of a promotional campaign for their “Beer Circus” festivals in Asuza, Petaluma, Brooklyn and Chicago. Little Village reached out to Lagunita’s marketing and events director David Green this week, but as of the time of publication no response has been offered by Green.

However, 4 years ago, while on tour with Wanderlust Circus, Bangert did perform at the Beer Circus at the Lagunitas Brewery in Petaluma.

“I remember doing a short photo shoot in the brewery aside from performing but not signing off so that these images were to be used anywhere. So, it may just be a simple misunderstanding, but I do feel some recompense would be just,” said Bangert.

Editor’s Note:
We believe it is essential to support those who make art for a living, for entertainment or personal joy. In that spirit, we are stoked to mention that the American Federation of Musicians Local 450 (Iowa City) will be hosting a fund-raiser at The Mill, this Sunday from 2 until 7 p.m. The event will feature local artists Soul Friends, Sweet Cacophony, Back Porch Swing, Dick Watson Group, Classical String Quartet, Threshold, Ray Kung Quartet and the Riverbank Jazz Band. There is a suggested donation of $8 and kids under 10 are admitted for free.


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