On Sundays I reflect.
I drank alcohol this week and last. It’s been two weeks since I’ve written here.
Last week was my birthday trip to NYC and Philly after not being able to make the trip the last few years due to the pandemic. It was quite refreshing to get back to the East Coast and a much needed vacation from my daily routine. So here is what happened on my trip.
I flew to Laguardia and my friend Yoni sent a driver who was waiting for me as I took the escalator down to baggage claim. Hamdi got me to Yoni’s apartment on the West Side of Manhattan where I had just shy of an hour to catch up with my old friend. Some of you may remember I spent a year homeless in NYC around 2014 and Yoni gave me the key to his apartment where he fed me and let me sleep on his couch.
Shortly after processing that I was back in the city, I walked a few blocks to catch the Amtrak to Philadelphia. Respect The Rail is an art project I have been working on and a motif from earlier in life when I spent three to five hours a day riding trains. Yoni booked me business class to Philly and I spent the ride listening to the GlassChat interview with Stephan Peirce which I highly suggest checking out.
I arrived in Philadelphia around 8PM and Germ was waiting at the train station with his girlfriend Ana and our friend Eva. We went out for Ethiopian food before retiring to their house. I was immediately transported back to 2015 or 2016 when I showed up in Philly and asked Germ and Slinger if I could sleep on the couch at Krushmore for a few nights with virtually nowhere else to go. Slinger felt so bad for me he took me back to his apartment and let me stay in his living room for a week that summer. He showed me how to do implosions. We talked about glass and life and the scene. This trip I would find myself sleeping just next door to that apartment where Sling let me stay so many years ago. It feels a lot different to be able to buy your friends dinner and give them gifts for staying at their home compared to being the guy from the meme that shows up and needs everything. I was that guy for a long time, and my friends never let me go without.
Germ took me to his studio the next morning where throughout the day I must have met with around a dozen artists. We stopped by old Krushmore and hung out with the young guns who have kept that space alive. I didn’t recognize it when I walked in due to their massive transformations but some of the core identity of that space is still there. Krushmore was an institution and I am privileged to have been able to spend time there when I did. We swung by JAG’s new studio/gallery and let me tell you that is an incredible space! We all got some Pho before Germ and I had to run to a few other meetings. One of those was an initial planning meeting to bring my show to Philadelphia at a gallery I will be able to share more details about once things are confirmed.
That night Germ hosted a fire in the backyard for my birthday (a night or two early) and the next day I was on a train back to NYC. Joel had bought us tickets for Jaimie Branch a phenomenal Jazz Trumpet player he had seen where we grew up in a Ska band when he was 16. He reconnected with her in the city over a decade later and told me it was a show not to miss. Joel and I have long played a game when we invite each other to join for plans based on trust. If Joel knows where I am and tells me to go somewhere I typically go without asking questions. When I come to the city I like to tell Joel a time and a place and leave the rest open to his imagination for the adventure. Sometimes he plays along. I trusted him fully on this one and he did not disappoint.
Oh wait, that’s not completely true. The opener for Jaimie and her band was not exactly a disappointment as much as it confused me. It felt kind of like a rock opera, with some jungle beats and also an autoharp being played with droning echo over the top as the single performer moaned and groaned into the microphone (also heavily echoed through her synth). At first I thought it was going somewhere, and I looked around the room to see if I was missing something others were picking up on. Maybe I was too close to the speakers I thought as I made eye contact with Joel who refused to break his act of being super into her jams. We moved to the front of the bar Baby’s All Right to sit in a booth and it became clear that what was happening on the stage was truly Avant Garde. I had never really experienced it before and i have to admit it might have even been too much for me. I got nervous about what to expect from Joel’s trumpet player after the opener and we got some hard Avant Garde Jazz JAMS! That was that spicy shit I was hoping for. That shit hit hard.
Sometimes you just have to throw yourself in the universe and see what happens.
So most of this trip I was listening to either “Monkey Gone to Heaven” or “Gouge Away” by the Pixies on repeat. My birthday was rainy. I walked around the city smoking joints. I went to Central Park. I took some calls from friends and family. I ate Ice Cream in Times Square. My friends were working. It was a nice day for reflection.
That night Yoni planned a lavish dinner to celebrate. Joel almost refused to come because of the selected venue and because after days of work he lost a project that morning when his equipment malfunctioned. After some hours he got over it enough to join us for dinner after his girlfriend Meghan told him he should get it together. I had not been expecting Meg to join as Joel told me she producing a shoot for a major designer that week and would likely be too busy. Yoni chose CATCH Steak for dinner which happened to be right next to where Meg’s shoot was and the four of us met for a magnificent meal. As soon as we were seated the staff greeted us and wished me a happy birthday. They know Yoni there and must have brought at least have a dozen rounds of food and drink above the enormous amounts of food we ordered on our own. It was the perfect celebration for me.
The next day I met my friend Hutsell at his restaurant 21 Grains for lunch. He introduced me to his partners and we caught up about cups. We reminisced about college when we were roommates and talked about big projects we both have on the horizon. It was brief as I had to run to another meeting. I was just happy to see my friend and his business thriving.
Saturday must have been the day I went up to Westchester to see another college friend. My dude Kroney bought a condo where there isn’t a single cup in the cabinets that isn’t handmade. He has been one of my biggest supporters and one of my best friends over the years. We talk most weeks. He got me from the train and took me out for tacos. I haven’t seen him in person in maybe five years or more. We went to his condo which he proudly showed me and we quickly decided to drive thirty more minutes to Stoked in Bridgeport Connecticut. I had never been but have been talking with Charlie and Zac about producing a Connecticut Cup Collectors Club event there and the plans are coming along! We hung out for a bit before Kroney needed to take me back to the train to get back to the city.
I spent part of the weekend at Yoni’s and the rest in Brooklyn at Joel’s new condo (still under construction). Joel took me to his shop and around Brooklyn before cooking another delicious meal for me which Meg again got to join us for. I was surrounded by friends all week and aside from a few meetings got to just enjoy myself thanks to them. I greatly cherish the rare moments I get to spend with my friends who live all over the country.
Monday morning I flew back to Denver and made my way to the mountains. I have spent the week getting situated back into work. It is hard to say what exactly that means besides for a ton of hours at the studio with Marta fulfilling orders and coordinating with artists and other vendors we work with. I also spent this week planning five or six more popup events, the first of which will be a Denver Cup Collectors Club in May with details coming real soon!
This week I have been listening to “Lifted” by Ardalan and Claire George on repeat mostly.
It snowed in Vail. I think it was Tuesday night and I got a circuit in on my board Wednesday. There was definitely some nice powder but it is very clearly Spring and the conditions are not the same as Winter. It’s HOT!
Around that night I began watching the Andy Warhol mini series on Netflix. I am learning so much I did not know before.
Thursday night Weed Wookie came to Vail to pick up a cup and get some laps in on the hill. It was his second time riding anywhere but East Coast and even though conditions weren’t great we got him down his first tree run and he sent a baby cliff in the woods! Huge progress for someone who is basically having his first year on skis. I took him around the mountain all day before we went back to the studio for his first visit to Bat Country. We talked about the market and some potential collaborations we’re brainstorming together. That night we went out in Avon to see Maddy Oneill and Manic Focus for an hour or two before wrapping up our time together.
Then yesterday I almost gave myself a break. It has been nonstop over here.
A few months ago I made it to Aspen for the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Aspen Art Museum. I assumed I would have time to get back between 6-10 times before the show closed and of course life got in the way. Today is the last day to see this amazing exhibition and last night was the Apres Ski Closing Party for the show. Around Noon I decided I couldn’t miss it regardless of how tired I was. Thankfully, my friend Seth wanted to join with a few friends so he did the driving. We got to Aspen around 4 and bounced around to a few of the galleries I frequent there. Raven Glass Gallery is always a treat and Skye Gallery is currently showing Spencer Hansen’s sculptures which I have watched evolve over the last few years from Aspen to Miami through Skye’s gallery. A few of his pieces in the current show definitely have my attention.
The art museum was a whole scene boasting three floors of galleries all showing Warhol and a rooftop terrace with a DJ that could be heard throughout Downtown Aspen. Views on top of the Gondola going up the mountain and a panorama of beauty. We bounced between the rooftop party and the galleries for a few hours. The people watching was spectacular! The work is massive and some of the most important works of art I have ever seen in person. Watching the mini series has provided much context for what I was looking at, making yesterday’s visit significantly different from my first viewing a few months back.
And today I am moving slow. I guess that’s ok. There is a big week ahead.
Whenever I make it to the studio today I will go live in Instagram and run some Sunday Specials. For now I think I will eat and nap before doing any more work.
Thanks for tuning in and enjoy your Sunday!
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