The Houston Art Car Klub! celebrates its annual event, Saint Jack's Day, on WEDNESDAY, February 14th, this year.
7pm - Start gathering and visiting, Bobcat Teddy's Icehouse, 2803 White Oak Dr, Houston, TX 77007 (on White Oak near Studewood) - our first time to start at Bobcat Teddy's but it used to be Jimmies that closed last year and so technically we've been starting here for a few years . . . .
730sh pm - Blessing and consumption of the famous Saint Jack's Birthday Cake. Visiting.....
815ish pm - GROUP PHOTO SHOOT!!!! THIS IS A MUST FOR POSTERITY! ROLL WITH US TO THE GAZEEBO ON HEIGHTS!!! Illuminated or not, art cars will follow skaters, scooters, motorcycles (Saint Jack's other passion) and bicycles to the gazeebo on Heights Boulevard where we will have a group photo.
Following our annual picture celebration, we will roll on to Providence Bar, getting there about 9pm. 1308 West 20th, Houston TX 77008; providenceheightsbar.com
Kelly Blakley will have Saint Jack's Day candles for sale - first come, first served, contact her now to reserve your candle!
For those of you not familiar, Jack Updyke became the Patron Saint of Art on Wheels in 1995. Every year we celebrate his birthday with a joined party of art cars, art car artists, the Houston skater, scooter, cycle wheeled modes of transportation.
The Saga of St Jack by Bryan Taylor
Many years ago when the art car scene was blossoming in Houston there was a mechanic of great skill and greater compassion. Jack, also a member of the local skate community, would lend his assistance to Out Of Towner (OOTs) as they rolled into the Big H with their art cars. He would do repairs as needed, often accepting little or no compensation at all.
Once he even replaced a transmission and let the owner pay him after he returned to California. It was then that I performed my very first wedding between two art cars that had met at the Parade and fallen head over wheels* in love, Thorny Rock and Roll of Houston and the Grape of Simi Valley California.
Jack's skill with cars was remarkable. I actually saw him once make a car of mine run better and all he did was basically lay his hands upon it. My first art car "Gangway 4 God" was on its last legs. Headed for the great Scrap Yard in the Sky, Jack was nevertheless able to keep it appearing in the art car parade year after year after year. Amazing, simply amazing!!
Eventually for all of his tireless (except when tires were needed of course) efforts and selfless work, he was proclaimed to be a Saint in the Art Car pantheon.
A year or so later while relaxing (recovering, whatever) after a St. Patricks day event I realized that there had not been a New Saint type of holiday in many a year for the good people of Houston to celebrate.
I called St. Jack (there is nothing cooler than having your own personal Saint on speed dial) and inquired about his birth date, thinking that would be a good day to celebrate. When he told me it was Feb 14th I experienced an epiphany that left me woozy. And lets face it, few people know, understand or even appreciate woozy, as I know woozy.
It occurred to me that nothing could be more perfect. I imagined a huge alternative celebration for all of those who did not feel well suited for that other brand X saint festivities. Lets face it, the other saint day had become so commercialized so rampantly by the greeting card, flower and candy companies, it could actually became a downer for many folks who, for whatsoever reason, do not have a significant other at that time.
The fact that many of those attending might very well be female and single had absolutely nothing to do with my early planning. No, really.
So in, uhm, sometime in the early to mid 90's (much of the nineties are kind of fuzzy for me...don't ask) we had our first St. Jacks day celebration. We had food and beer and some blue punch that could make a Saint drop their drawers. (Again, don't ask.)
Many ask though, exactly what is Jack the Saint of, to which I reply, The Saint of Life on Wheels!!
Every year now the local skater and art car community gather in peace and harmony and traverse the streets of Houston, Illuminated against the darkness of night and proclaiming "Happy St. Jacks Day" to the bewildering looks of all we see.
And every year St. Jack himself leads the processional ("Its a Processional NOT a Parade") with his Magic Blue Lantern (blue being the official color of SJD). You don't see any live saints on any of those other saint holidays no do you? Pffft, no.
Some come on out and put illuminated wheels beneath you or just view from the sides of Heights Blvd as we spread the word of Good Wheel across the country.