Tim Van Schmidt
There’s a coffee shop/cafe in my neighborhood that I like to frequent — Cups Community Coffee, near Taft Hill and Elizabeth.
One day, I got to talking to owner Amy Snider about an article I had just published in the North Forty News/New Scene Weekly about the great NOCO band the subdudes.
When I asked her if she had heard of them, Snider proudly declared that she and her husband used a subdudes song — “Sugar Pie” — for their wedding dance. Apparently the band’s album, “Annunciation”, was on the jukebox in an area bar when Amy and her husband Matt met in college in upstate New York — and the subdudes became one of their favorite bands.
I knew I had met a kindred spirit.
In a later conversation, Amy credited Matt as “the musician and musical seeker of the two of us”. But she “goes along for the ride” and they have developed a taste for local music of all kinds.
“We’ve always sought out local music to watch and support,” Snider says. “We even built a stage in our backyard a few years ago to host music and have neighborhood parties. We have been missing those! We had planned to have live music at the shop but CO-VID hit, so we’ve not been able to do that yet — but someday.”
These are kindred spirits indeed.
Here it is a year after our first conversation and I find I am working with Cups to hang a show of my photos for a “Rockin’ 2022 Window Show”. My pieces are called “Time Capsules” — they are collages of not just my original rock and roll photos but also memorabilia to represent multiple stages in the careers of artists such as Page and Plant, Melissa Etheridge, Jethro Tull, Madonna, The Black Keys, David Bowie, and more.
The show is at Cups because, well, I just feel comfortable there, Snider is a friendly and welcoming shop owner — and I really liked their window.
There’s a big window back by the side door to Cups that sparked my imagination. I figured that, especially in the midst of a pandemic, it would be great if my “Time Capsules” could be displayed facing outside through the window, so that if someone wanted to see my stuff, they would have a 24/7 opportunity to do so.
Of course, there’d be more on display inside Cups as well.
This wouldn’t be possible if Snider wasn’t so supportive. She welcomed my kind of far-out idea of a window show, but then that just seems to be the kind of person she is. Often, when I stop through for my usual large Snickerdoodle drink, I watch Snider interact with other customers with the same welcoming attitude.
Snider says, “I believe I get just as much happiness from seeing my customers as I hope they do from me. There are so many interesting people to meet. I feel very fortunate to do what I do to get that in-person interaction. It’s nice to be around other people and find out what they are up to. When I’m busy and overworked at the shop at least I can get some vicarious living going on through the stories of others!”
This is only the second public show I’ve ever done with my work, so I want to get it right.
The first was a collaborative effort with Fort Collins’ longtime high-end audio dealer, Audio Alternative. The store, then on College Avenue, had a long hallway that just begged for some art — a little like that window at Cups.
In a world where photos are not even a dime a dozen — more like a dime a million — I felt like if I wanted to entertain a viewer with my rock and roll stuff, it would have to be about more than a few photos. That’s why I developed my “Time Capsule” designs, to give my show a bigger bang.
It was a real project. Just the diversity of artists I had to choose photos from was daunting, but I think I picked some interesting ones including Paul Simon, David Byrne, Roger Waters, Metallica, Neil Young, and Eric Clapton.
I also made some compilation designs, suggesting my own Hall of Fame, from Bjork to Stevie Ray Vaughan; one on musicians who have famous fathers, like Sean Lennon, Rosanne Cash and Dweezil Zappa; also a look at the great Lollapalooza Festival over several years.
That was only half of it. I also plumbed the depths of my concert scrapbooks to pick out appropriate ads, flyers, ticket stubs, and the like to back up the images.
For me, my “Time Capsules” show is a kind of summary of a lot of my work — if you can call rock and roll work. For Snider, it’s a perk for her shop.
But more, it is just another part of the community-building Snider is doing at Cups, serving up coffee and food and lending customers an ear — and a window.
Tim Van Schmidt is a photographer and writer based in Fort Collins. See his “Time Capsules” at www.ItsAboutRockAndRoll.com and on his YouTube channel at “Time Capsules by Tim Van Schmidt”– and, of course, see his “Rockin’ 2022 Window Show” at Cups Community Coffee thru January 31. Cups is located in Fort Collins at 1033 South Taft Hill.