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Penryn’s outlaw barkeep ordered freed from Placer jail to widespread media buzz

Travis Kevie has charges reduced but faces misdemeanor illegal alcohol sales count
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Outlaw barkeeper Travis Kevie was ordered released from jail today with the buzz of media attention spreading his exploits to a widespread audience. But in the eyes of the law, he’ll still have to belly up to a misdemeanor charge of illegal alcohol sales. Kevie, 29, was arrested Tuesday after four days of bamboozling about 30 customers a day into believing that he had re-opened the recently vacated Valencia Club in Penryn. The story of a homeless man entering a vacant bar and buying a six-pack from a convenience store to get business started soon turned from a local story into a regional one – and then a national one on the internet and TV. Sacramento TV stations set up shop in Penryn on Wednesday and that story was soon re-telecast in Southern California. The Los Angeles Times picked it up, as did the Seattle Weekly. The Drudge Report website was an early poster. The blogosphere sent the story into orbit, with praise for Placer County Sheriff’s Detective Jim Hudson sniffing out a rogue drinking establishment eclipsed by Kevie’s audacity – even if some of that kudos come with tongue firmly planted in cheek. “Can’t this guy get a little credit for his entrepreneurial spirit,” Rightcelebrity posted. Gawker.com concentrated on the bizarro humor in Kevie’s four-days of bartending. “A delightful, real-life Steve Guttenberg comedy,” Gawker stated. “Events that should form the basis for the plot of a 1980s comedy constantly on Cinemax.” The bar opening was a well-constructed ruse, with the homeless Kevie starting the pseudo-business up with a six-pack he bought at a convenience store across the street. The bizarre entrepreneurial hoax was bottled up after Hudson spotted Kevie in a photo Tuesday that ran with a Journal story on him running the Valencia Club. Hudson checked and found no liquor license had been issued to Kevie. Kevie, who told the Journal Monday that the bar reopening was “a dream come true,” was led away in handcuffs and the bar closed down Tuesday by a property manager representing its Southern California owner. Adding to the “wow” factor, Kevie did fairly well financially in a short time. The Sheriff’s Department said a large amount of alcohol and cash was confiscated at the Valencia Club after Kevie’s arrest. The oddball tale was too good for many media outlets to resist. Badattitudes.com called Kevie “an example for us all.” “His only capital – a mere six-pack of beer – was used to open a small business that was apparently off to a successful start,” Badattitudes.com posted, lauding Kevie for “vision, guts, initiative and determination.” The cable Fox Business Channel’s national telecast weighed in with a segment Thursday on the Valencia Club and Kevie, describing it as a “less-than-legal burst of entrepreneurial spirit.” Seattle Weekly’s website picked up on the humor of a four-day illegal bartending binge that is now playing out in court as a misdemeanor charge for Kevie. “Sometimes it takes a guy like Travis to go out and live his life as though it were a half-hour sitcom,” the Seattle writer said. But any attempts to drum up a “Free Travis Kevie!” campaign – as Badattitudes.com was pushing for – were premature. After two days of being held in the Placer County jail on allegations of felony burglary and illegal alcohol sales, Kevie was arraigned on a single misdemeanor charge of selling alcohol without a license. Superior Court Judge Colleen Nichols ordered that because of the misdemeanor charge and what was described as a minor criminal record, Kevie could be released from jail later in the day. He’s to return to court Aug. 19 in Roseville to enter a plea.