“We’re in Boulder, baby. This is how it goes.”
While I’ve never been to Boulder, I have visited the Denver, CO area and experienced its college town atmosphere for the 30-40 sect looking to escape corporate suburbia for a bit of fun after the work day. I also talked to people who seemed genuinely discouraged by the fact tourists keep visiting and deciding to put down roots—much like they did considering 80% of those I met migrated to the city themselves—because their secret society of measured chaos was becoming exposed. It was like a completely different universe from the normalcy of my Buffalonian life, one where my not being in costume on Halloween made me the weirdo in comparison to the overflowing hoard partying like it was the end of the world.
Suffice it to say, the imagery Western New York band Well Worn Hat’s lead flutist The Plainsman has captured in his documentary BUMRUSH! Boulder, Colorado was anything but surprising to me as his journey with a digital video camera progressed into inebriated insanity. When the frame isn’t filled with the filmmaker’s own mug continuously calling out the city’s name in his drunken and profanity-laced, conversational way, we’re allowed to spy upon buskers making over a hundred bucks for a few minutes work; a newly transplanted resident operating a taco truck; a quartet of high co-eds spewing on about the “new hippie movement”; and even a young North Tonawanda native walking the streets. It may not be the Boulder its tourism board wants shown, but it’s definitely the Boulder people want to visit.
The film is a disorienting vision of The Plainsman’s vacation as he jokingly plays around with people by causally interviewing them and laughing with/at them while getting wasted in the process. Edited to mimic this feeling, we shift through time with incongruous jump cuts and callbacks overlaid by sound bits faintly playing in the background before actually seeing the owner of the voice say those words again later on in context. It’s less a film in this way than an experimental piece depicting a lifestyle of weed, love, and happiness. It’s badly cropped, low quality, and almost entirely in extreme close-up with split-screen montages and loud music to surround our self-proclaimed “dumbass” of a guide as he takes us into the free-spirited nightlife of kindred souls having fun because they can.
It possesses a spontaneity that surely accomplishes the filmmaker’s goal to run wild in a new city while capturing a section of the scene no stuffy documentary crew would ever find. In that respect it’s an intriguing piece of propaganda for the ever-growing portion of Americans basking in the glow of Never Never Land existences devoid of consequence and responsibility—yes, that’s super judgmental of me while also being at least partially true. The Plainsman could make a series of these short videos across the country, pinpointing exactly where those in search of a celebratory orgy of earth-loving, peaceful jesters and troublemakers can find their next fix. A fun project for sure, I’m not certain someone as far from that targeted demographic as I am could ever truly see it as anything more.
Watch it for yourself on Vimeo.