It was like the first day of school if the buses came loaded with blue tubs of Miller Lite. And then there's the fact that we weren't really going to school. Instead, we took the bus around to listen to local music, make puppets out of paper bags and dance in the streets. But Hup's Hoopty's Discover the Districts Tour was educational for some of the 200 or so people who took the ride.
ReVera started things off with a set in the alley outside of the Alley Cat in Broad Ripple.
Hup's Hoopty is the invention of young entrepreneur and partier Ryan Hupfer. Very tall and very likeable, Hupfer - with the help of several others - pulled off the biggest Hup's event so far in excellent fashion. Sure, there were glitches: People drank too much, too early, without any food to eat; restrooms were sometimes in short supply - resulting in the occasional outdoor leak. But those little things don't overshadow the benefits of bringing this crowd to the cultural destinations the city has to offer.
Several times through the night - after the tour had moved south from Broad Ripple and away from Circle Centre - I heard people say "I've never been here, this is really cool."
Drunk or sober, doesn't matter, they were exposed to an art gallery in Fountain Square and a theater on Mass. Ave. They learned something about the city that they can file away in their minds and, next time they're thinking about something to do, try something new that they discovered.
The tour was also valuable in that it threw various people together in close quarters. The bus ride, for instance, made people become neighbors - handing beers off to each other, chatting it up between locations. Once off the bus, strangers walked together to the venues, sat together, packed into the same small rooms and listened to the same bands.
Hupfer made music the connecting link for the night - a wise choice. The highlight was Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band playing their foot-stomping blues music along the canal. The crowd loved it - dancing and clapping and singing along. This is exactly the perfect music for an outdoor setting and the Rev. and his wife, Breezy, seemed to soak up the energy of the crowd and feed it right back to them. Fantastic.
In the end, my only wish for the night was that it didn't take people being drunk to loosen up and have fun, to try new things, to get close to each other. Of course, I was drinking ,too. But about halfway through, my wife and I slipped off to the Bourbon Street Distillery for a pulled pork sandwich and some fries. Instead of a beer, I drank a Coke. Instantly sobered up, the drunken bunch around us became far less appealing. Still, the event, its intentions, its execution, its end results all remained something I felt very happy - both personally and for the sake of my city.