BigView – Graffiti Summer 2019

The BigView
By Chris Murphy

The Graffiti Summer sprit of Modesto USA is so much more than classic cars and nostalgia. Who we are today and what we will be, comes from our culture, our people and our sense of community. Communities like Modesto, that have great stories and history, and have a strong art, music and cultural scene are the cities of the future. Our classic history and our amazing future makes Modesto a place people want to visit and live. Let’s celebrate being the #homeofamericangraffiti #homeofgeorgelucas #homeofstarwars and let’s et ready for Graffiti Summer

Classic Murals
Modesto USA is home to some of the best classic Graffiti themed murals anywhere. From the ’32 Deuce at 13th and J to the State Theatre inspired mural near 10th and J, there are big works of art to check out. Some of these murals may be at risk as two of the buildings have sold. So please get out and enjoy this while they are there and in the meantime, we will be looking for new places to place classic murals. You can also check out the hometown themed murals by Murals in MoTown. So many great things to see and show to your friends.

Is Graffiti Summer a go go go for the future? Let’s connect all of the dots and make sure that our classic car culture connects with the comic book world that was loved by George Lucas as a kid and inspired some of his creations. Love TV and movies? There are so many cool cars and retro movies that are loved by all ages and those fantasy inspired cars, many created by our own Gene Winfield are part of this culture. Rockabilly music has a great fashion look and there are “Dapper Days” that bring the art, fashion and the music together. And of course, Star Wars connects all of the dots. GraffitiCon brings all of these together on June 23 at Modesto Center Plaza<>

Classic Hits
George Lucas built American Graffiti around some of the best songs ever. The music was so important to him, that he spent nearly 10% of the total budget to make the film on music rights. It was the first movie to be built around pop songs as most movies and musicals had songs written for the story. To this day, the songs in the Graffiti soundtrack are some of the best. Graffiti fans will get a big treat this month as there will be some epic concert experiences.
The Platters June 1 – Gallo Center
Lee Rocker June 8 – Gallo Center
Rockabilly Wild Records Sampler – June 7 – The Hideaway on 10th
Franki Valli – June 14 – Fruityard Amphitheater
MAMA Motown Showcase – June 7 – 10th St Plaza

Classic Summer Treats
Just like when you go to a baseball game, it is all about the hot dog. When it is Graffiti Summer, it is all about the burgers, fries and shakes, and of course a good hot dog too. Modesto USA has some classic places to enjoy a meal, whether you are taking your car out, or going on a date. So peel out and check out some of these cool classic places to grab a bite.

Graffiti Dog
Three cheers to Linda and Rex who went right on to the 10th St Historic Cruise Route and opened up a gourmet hot dog shop and named it Graffiti Dog, There is a complete menu of Graffiti themed items, served up fresh and you can enjoy your food in a classic diner experience complete with a VW on the wall and classic car photos. My fave is the Cruise Route dog with sauerkraut. So yummy. You need to try each and every item and they even serve a delicious Beyond Dog. You can even get a Dole Whip. 10th St Paza

The 14th St A&W is one of the few originals left. The Papa Burger, the frosty mug of root beer, Coney Dog, and now even cheese curds all delivered by car hops on roller skates is the perfect Graffiti Summer experience. Pull up, press the button, turn on the radio and away you go. With regular car shows and Elvis karaoke on Friday evenings, it is a slice of ModsetoCana you need to experience. @awmodesto on Facebook 14th and G, Modesto

Sonic Drive In
Sonic is single handedly keeping the drive in restaurant and car hops alive across the USA. Sonic is a great Graffiti Summer hangout and when you pull up, roll down the window order up a SuperSonic Burger, tots, shake or a slushie and some tots through the speakerbox, you get a great Graffiti Date meal. Located at Orangeburg and McHenry, it is a perfect spot on your cruise experience. 1420 McHenry Ave<>

Scenic Drive In
One word – “Knockout”. This is the burger of burgers and the drive in that was a hangout for the guys at Foreign Car Service that included Allen Grant, George Lucas, Chuck Billington and Wes Gustafson and others is still one of the best drive-ins around. Order up a Knock Out, Fries and large fresh banana shake and you have a Graffiti-ready meal and you get to hang out in one of Modesto’s classic hang outs. You can call in your order at 209-577-4040 and beat the line. This is a Modesto do not miss. 1161 Scenic Drive<>

Sno-White Drive In
One of the most wonderful things is a chocolate dipped cone and you can get one at SnoWhite. There are two SnoWhites in Modesto one on 1841 Yosemite Blvd and the other on 911 Paradise Rd. They have a Colossal Burger, you can get customer numbers of patties and their shakes and floats are amazing. There are also locations in Riverbank and Oakdale.

State Theatre
The State was the place to be during the cruise, as the late movie would get out and the traffic on J was still running strong. Many a Modesto mover and shaker got their start working at the State. Today, the sound system is amazing and the theatre transports you to another time and it is as good as ever. Don’t miss American Graffiti showing June 1 and Grease Sing a Long on June 8 and make sure you order some popcorn.

Fast Eddy’s M.O.A.B.
Fast Eddie Gibson’s Meal On A Bun, M.O.A.B. has been making the great food the very same way since 1952 at the same location at 1223 Tully Road. Please check out our FoodView for the MOAB history on page XX.

If you haven’t been to the locally owned Perko’s in June, they celebrate Graffiti Summer in a big way. Many of the servers are dressed up, the menu is classic all year long and they have amazing shakes and burgers and there are many convenient locations.

Bob’s Giant Burger
Lincoln center got 10 times better when Bob’s moved in. These burgers are huge and the classic diner experience is the perfect break. They have a whole wall of counter seating and you will be so happy you stopped in. 1801 H St.

Hot Rod Diner
Vroom Vroom. There is a small chain that operates a classic diner with great entrees, milk shakes and a full service munu with entrees for everyone. All of this in a cool classic Graffiti theme. Plus they have meeting room spaces and they welcome our local Elvis tributes too with locations in Ceres and Turlock.

Run Around Sue’s
If you are hankerin’ for a little adult time on your Graffiti experience, we recommend Run Around Sue’s on Mitchell Road. Big menu of classic, and strong, cocktails served up in a fun classic environment and they have karaoke nearly every night of the week. 1419 Mitchell Rd

Best Movie Popcorn?
By Chris Murphy
I don’t care if I have just finished a huge meal, but when you walk into the movie theatre, I have this Pavlovian urge to get the largest popcorn possible. Movies and Popcorn go hand in hand. One of my and Becky’s all time fave movie popcorn experiences can be found at the Seattle Cinerama where they offer chocolate covered popcorn and you can get a 50/50 of regular salted and chocolate. Ermegerd. But locally, there is a truly hall of fame popcorn that you need to experience. The State Theatre is far an away the best local movie popcorn. Not that the popcorn at Brenden or the others are not good; the State Popcorn is stellar. How can this be? Well they make small batch runs and the secret weapon is REAL butter. We are not talking real simulated buttery flavoring, but real melted butter and then nicely salted. The State not only serves up a run of great 1st run indie films and great classics, you get classic popcorn. Now here is the kicker, you can get a cocktail. The Statetini is one of our faves and a wide variety of wines and beers. This is the way to watch a movie. Classic 1934 theatres have never been so fun. Well, maybe they were, but the secrets stay in the back row where these belong. Don’t miss the original American Graffiti on June 1 and Grease Sing-a-long on June 8.
Check out the showtimes at

Do you love Tailfins?
We do. Checkout our Instagram feed for our Tailfin of the day. Please post your tailfins and tag #modestoview so we can share and celebrate your classic car

Share Your Graffiti Summer
There are so many beautiful pictures from Graffiti Summer and please make sure you tag your pics #modestoview and #graffitisummer and #ModestoUSA and we will help share them too and we may even put them in ModestoView.

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About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.