“What I envision is an event that brings the local creative community together to get to know each other and expand the possibilities of collaboration. “
When one chapter ends another begins. It started back in August 2013 when I was riding a bus on warm afternoon. I had just gotten out of work at my soul sucking job at Aspen Media, a Boulder telemarketing company. Something had to be done to nourish my being as an artist. As the bus turned onto old Pearl Parkway I became nervous not sure what bus stop I was supposed to get off at to reach my ultimate destination, 303 Vodka. It passed one bus stop, then another. I turned to one of the other riders asking if they know what bus stop I should use. No one was sure so I made a guess and pulled the gray chord hanging in a half crescent across the large tinted windows. The bus slowed to a jerky stop at 49th st and old Pearl Parkway. I scrambled towards the doors and entered the muggy August afternoon. Slowly I strolled down the street weaving through parking lots while using my phone to find the precise location. After about a 10 minute walk I was finally at 303. The garage door was wide open and I was greeted with a warm welcome from the bar tender. I told them that I was here for a meeting with Terri whom I had been in touch with via email. They disappeared in the back behind a wall of doors that have been bolted together. After a few minutes they returned followed by Terri. I greeted her with a hand shake and we took a seat at one of the high round tables scattered around the space. After a moment of gathering ourselves I launched into my idea.
“What I envision is an event that brings the local creative community together to get to know each other and expand the possibilities of collaboration. I want it to be multi-genre with poetry, music and interviews. It is intended to be a hub from which new relationships can emerge while supporting the local art scene.”
She responded with great enthusiasm and gave me the green light to bring this dream to life. It was soon after this that I reached out to Max Toast, because for this to be a success I needed someone that was stitched into the fabric of the local art community, and I was a transplant, active but not tapped into the main vein. Toast then contacted Dustin Huth of Bus To Show who took on sponsorship calling the event New Basics Wednesday. New Basics being an affiliate of Bus To Show that is a non-profit organization supporting artists. Thus it was that the first incarnation of Wednesdays became manifest with our first show the first Wednesday of September 2013.
The 2nd Wednesday the skies opened up and released a mighty down pour. It was also the week that Toast brought on another member to the team… He showed up with her in tow, shamelessly sharing her sparkles, adding an aesthetic presence that would ground the event for creativity to flourish. That night as I was catching the bus home it had to ford deep puddles of water. It was the last bus out of Boulder for days as this was the beginning of The Floods of 2013 (which Jonathan Montgomery, formerly The Taxi Cab Poet now The Professor, loved and if you are lucky will one day hear his ode to them. ) Hanging out at home over the next few days I told my wife about this amazing woman named Zoe who came on board of this project. Instantly my wife, who was a former Boulderite having attended Naropa in the mid 2000’s before she moved to Iowa City, IA where we met, knew who she was and had been one of her most favorite people when living here. The circles of my life danced together manifesting the strange dreams that pull me deeper into mystery.
After about 8 months of being New Basics Wednesday it was time for a new chapter. New Basics needed to take the fork in the road for personal reasons, and so it goes as life bends to its own design but the pages keep writing themselves. In the midst of the shake up Toast suggested that we brand it as StarWater, which is the brain child of Zoe, because we had just thrown some epic parties at Apex Movement and this would be a good way to further develop our community. Thus it was that New Basics Wednesday changed to StarWater Wednesday. Just as the seasons turn upon themselves cycling through bouts of life and death the journeys of our lives must shed its skin to provide room for new growth. For another year and half we would hold it down every Wednesday, except those that fell on a major holiday.
For over 2 years we showed up every Wednesday, bringing all kinds of expert weirdness and consistent yet varied musical acts of such a high quality one wonders why we don’t have our own radio station.
It was the first Wednesday of 2016 around noon and I was at Natural Grocers with my wife. I get a text from Brad one of bar tenders and son of the owners of 303.
Brad: Dank it’s Brad
Me: What’s up?
Brad: Hey do you know what’s going on about tonight?
Me: Wilson Harwood Project is playing. Not sure abut interview.
Brad: Tonight’s going to be the last night we’re open.
Me: On Wednesdays?
Brad: Long story short we’re shutting the doors
Me: Fucking a, it happens. Lots of love, sending positive vibes.
Brad: So let’s have a crazy night tonight.
Me: We will bring it all.
As soon as I got in the car I called Zoe to ask if she knew what was happening. She had talked to Terri and the word was that 303 was going on hiatus for 6-8 months and would be reopening their doors in a bigger and better location. That night all the stops were pulled out. The open mic was wide open with enough time to fill even the most gregarious mic hoarder and we kept the music bumping all the way till 2 where as we usually shut down at 11. The emotions were high as we told our stories about 303 on the mic and the space it occupied in our hearts. At one point I was sitting at the bar next to a fine gentleman named Patrick who was a regular of 303. After ordering his last drink he filled out his receipt and he slid it over to Chris, Brad’s brother in law and fellow bar tender, saying split the tip. Chris picked it up and looked in shock asking “Are you serious?” With tears in his eyes Patrick said “Absolutely you’re like family.” This is 303 Vodka in a nutshell “family” For over 2 years we showed up every Wednesday bringing all kinds of expert weirdness and consistent yet varied musical acts of such a high quality one wonders why we don’t have our own radio station. As Diggs our philosopher in residence says “you have to come every Wednesday because you never know what you are going to get.” As we downed the last whiskey and purchased the last bottles, history passed before our very eyes forever claiming 303 Vodka as place of Boulder legend.
It was the very next weekend that I was at an epic house party at the Liberty Lodge a place of many epic house parties, who’s address you will know if you are meant to know. As I was in the middle of the Dance floor grooving to Double Dragon a man danced over to me.
He said, “ I love how hard your whole crew throws down”
I replied, “Thank you so much. We did have a regular Wednesday event that consisted of live interviews, open mic and featured music but our venue just decided to close it’s doors for a period of time.”
He responded, “I would love to have you guys at Sancho’s Boulder Arrow. I think you would fit in really well there.”
I asked, “What is your name? I will contact you tomorrow.”
I pull out my phone and set an alarm for myself with his name so I could be sure to find him on Facebook tomorrow, and that is how the universe guides down the halls of eternity when one throws themselves under the bus of creation. The next day I found him on facebook and sent him a message with Zoe’s email so we could work out a relationship with the new venue. As the week rolled on he never contacted Zoe. We took that Wednesday off to regroup and take a breather. The Facebook group StarWater Wednesday at 303 Vodka blew up with cries of woe asking when we will be back. The next week we still hadn’t heard from our contact. We posted up on the Facebook page that we would be undertaking a small mission to observe the venue and recruit a small team to feel the space out.
The bartender was hip to our creations, and the few who were there that weren’t part of our crew had fire in their eyes, for they had just experienced creative human expression, one of the greatest marvels in all of the cosmos.
That night my wife was taking a handstand workshop and I rode the bus to Broadway and Arapahoe. As I was walking up the street past Alfalfa’s I got a phone call. It was Zoe saying they just passed me and would pull over at the next block so I could catch a ride the last few blocks. We arrived at Sancho’s above Cosmo’s Pizza and the No Name Bar. The place was pretty much empty. Zoe and I went to the bar and introduced ourselves to the bartender, a lovely woman who is more then happy to hear about what we do. We ordered a few drinks and when I turned around I knew I was at home as there was a mug shot of Neal Cassidy, wheel man of Furthur and the mad man that pulled the spirit of Kerouac On The Road. With our drinks we went to sit by the pool table. Over the next 10 minutes a few more of our people wandered in. A game of pool began, quarters were placed on the rim of the table calling next game, cues were chalked and angles examined. After about 30 minutes the bartender said she would be cool with us doing an un-mic’d open mic. We hung out for a bit longer then I pulled out my tie put it around my head to transform from mild mannered Matt Bovard into Dank P.h.a.r.t. The Pirate Poet. I got up on stage and let the whole place know that StarWater was here and we had no intention of going anywhere. I dedicated my opening poems to the creators that have inspired me to the work I do. I read poems about Kerouac, Ginsberg, Kesey and how I would rather be an acid head and listen to the Dead then be an alcoholic. After me we had Jim The Man Of Steel, B.T., Diggs our philosopher in residence and Zoe anchoring as she explained what is we do and why we had come. The bartender was hip to our creations and the few who were there that weren’t part of our crew had fire in their eyes, for they had just experienced creative human expression, one of the greatest marvels in all of the cosmos. After we were done throwing down, a reggae band set up and brought the irie vibes. Soon my wife called and said she was almost there to pick me up. As I was getting ready to go, I chatted with Zoe about the potentials of this space and she dug it as much as I did. I said my final farewells and rode back home with amazing loving family.
Over the next few days Zoe contacted the owner to work out a relationship. By the next Wednesday we were fully on and ready to rock. We will be setting up shop every Wednesday for the foreseeable future at Sancho’s Boulder Arrow above Cosmo’s pizza and No Name Bar (1325 Broadway). Holding it down for the local community to come together to share their creativity and build friendships that will carry beyond the doors of this mystical bar covered with paintings and photos of so many great shoulders upon which we stand tall. The future is ours if only we decide to make it.
Matt Bovard AKA Dank P.h.art The Pirate Poet is the the regular host of StartWater Wednesday’s. His debut book of poetry, heART rEVOLUTION, was released in November 2015. You can get your copy and more at dankphart.com
Check out StarWater Wednesday’s Facebook page to see who’ll be featuring each week and more!