On Sundays I reflect. This week I’m a little behind. This past week has been spent recovering from the trip.
I did drink alcohol last week. I was able to moderate myself and I’m glad it didn’t get out of hand. It was a big week.
I’ve been listening to a jam called “Journey to the Plains” by *shels primarily. It’s a pretty heavy one overall, but the guttural screaming over syncopated rhythms is probably what does it for me.
Last Saturday was the first ever Connecticut Cup Collectors Club at Stoked in Bridgeport. I can say it certainly won’t be the last.
I spent a night in Denver with our cup community down the hill before my trip began. We got dinner at a food hall and played mini golf at a bar downtown. It was one of the first times I’ve been able to just hang out with our squad and not feel the pressure of working an event.
I flew to NYC and spent a few days seeing friends and eating good before the big show. We got to stop by a newer spot on the Upper East Side called Degenerate Art Gallery and meet Max, a young kid with a vision to elevate our scene. Max has a great selection of drinkware and other glass art and is definitely worth the stop next time you’re in the city. Make sure to reach out and set an appointment.
Eric met me in the city and we took the train up to Connecticut together. The crew at Stoked made sure we had everything we needed and we spent all afternoon Friday preparing for the show. Snic and Coyle were our demo artists so we got them set up and caught up before heading to a very special dinner arranged by the Stoked squad.
I feel like an idiot but at this dinner I learned that Connecticut is basically on the Ocean which was our background for dinner. I didn’t vibe with the shellfish but the rest of the meal was delicious. I’m meant for the mountains but sometimes it’s nice to get out into the world and try something different.
I still hate the fucking beach.
So before I go on about the show, I’ll share a list of thank you mentions and I know I’ll forget someone so please know I’m doing my best to get everyone who made this the best show I have ever been a part of producing.
To the Stoked Squad: Zac and Charlie have been discussing this show with me for two years. Thank you for believing in the vision with me and bringing it to life. Tasha kept over 75 artists and over 100 submissions organized and made sure all the logistics for the show flowed smooth. Ryan must have been sleeping at the studio because every time I needed something on the ground like a toothbrush after a dog ate mine he had me covered. Emma made an amazing sign featuring the lizard who drinks outta cups. Bruce and RJ crushed it on photo and video content up until the last minute before showtime documenting almost everything that came through. Kyle had us covered with graphic design and his flyers came out great (and taught me the shape of Connecticut). Nate was there for the show set up and I think he got everyone’s signatures on a shirt but I’m still waiting to see it. Will is the new guy and I had no idea when I complimented him for being so on top of things I assumed he had been around for years. Diego had the drinks flowing all night. I’m overwhelmed by your support in making this show such a huge success. Thank you all.
To our demo artists Coyle and Snic along with special guests Taffy and Avant Garde - you all crushed it at the show and it was amazing watching you work. To the studio squad at Stoked - Henry B, Peter The Doge, Alec Bures, Dante, Kenji, and Mary - thank you for accommodating all of us in your space - especially the demo artists.
I was also finally able to hire a friend, Mike Grattaroti who was one of my early supporters. Mike came through and got pictures day of my show and captured everything going on and then some! It was awesome to have him involved and hope to work with him on more shows in the future.
To our sponsors from beer to food to hash and more - y’all made this one very special. Thanks to Helios Hash, Taco Macho, Tribus Beer, Rise Coffee, Yerba Star and Polar Provisions. We couldn’t have accommodated all of our guests without your help.
To the artists and collectors who showed up and made this event the most fun it could have been a special thanks. It is rare that I can really just enjoy myself at a show with all of my responsibilities but I value the time I got to spend in Connecticut with all of you. This was truly the most fun show I have ever been a part of producing.
As I looked around the room I saw my heroes standing in every direction both downstairs and upstairs. I’ve been in rooms with this many of the top artists in the industry before but never on an occasion like this where all of them were there because of something I helped make happen. I left feeling extreme gratitude and a little bit of star shock. For the last decade I’ve looked up to the artists who built the scene we have today before I got here. The pioneers that led the way when it was a crime to make pipes are the ones I most admire and having them as my peers and contemporaries today is a true honor.
The last time I can remember seeing this many cups of this caliber in one room was the COPA show at Witch DR back in 2017 which featured over 200 of the most impressive cups at the time. Fast forward to last weekend at Stoked and I truly saw the most incredible collection of brand new cups in one place I’ve ever seen.
My friend Seth pulled up and as soon as he found me he said “there are like 50 people upstairs with heady cups waiting in line for drinks” as we watched people make their selections from the show downstairs. People brought their own cups from home to show off, and bought new ones to use at the show. People came from more than 5 states driving up to 4-5 hours to attend the show and really proved that there is a strong cup community across the country.
My friends from NYC showed up. This was a real highlight for me, being able to share our community with my friends from outside the scene. It was such a good feeling to show Yoni and Margarita a world they’ve never seen. Years ago when I was homeless in NYC, Yoni put me up and he hasn’t left me hanging on subsequent trips to the city. Joel “Savage” Seigle came too, representing the design world as a furniture maker in Brooklyn. For many years I have tried to show Joel our scene and come up with ideas for collaboration. It felt like this event really showed Joel what we are building. Then Whickey Craig came with Mike and Julie. Craig was another one of my hosts back in 2014 when I was homeless in NYC and for the first time at Stoked I really felt the success of what I’ve been building with my friend’s support over the last decade since my NYC days. I couldn’t have gotten here without the crew believing in me (and feeding me and not making me sleep outside).
Another highlight of the weekend was seeing our show featured on Channel 12 CT News which hopefully brought more attention to our culture in the mainstream.
I just want to thank everyone who supported this show and believed in me getting here. It’s been years of hard work and the results are everything I hoped for. Now I’m planning our next Denver Popup as well as the Summer Show at Bat Country Studios.
It is a real privilege to know and be involved with the artists responsible for creating this underground art movement. Our community is very special and I am grateful to be a part of it.
Now I need to call my mom for Mother’s Day (and you should call yours too) before I head into the studio for Sunday Specials. I think I’ll get on the torch a bit today, and I’ll definitely be going live on Instagram to show you all some specials.
Make sure to jump over to stokedct.com to see what’s left from the show and add a piece of history to your personal collection.
As always thanks for tuning in and enjoy your Sunday!
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