Arcata's Breakfast All Day Collective

Aug 21, 2017

From left to right, Zev Smith-Danford, Alex Nordquist and Ryan Boyd talk with KHSU about the Breakfast All Day Collective and its all-inclusive center for art, music and creativity.​
Credit Natalya Estrada/KHSU

For nearly four years Zev Smith-Danford and Alex Nordquist staged music, art, culture, and creativity in the living rooms, garages and free space granted to them by generous friends.

"The first show that we ever did was like a really informal house show,” Norquist said. “That was really cool because all these people, people I knew, came over to this private residence and all the furniture was rearranged. (They) were really attentive and shared songs or poetry. I was like 'wow this is really cool. We should do this again.” 

Nordquist, who is a co-founder of The Breakfast All Day Collective said this year has been different because this year they launched Outer Space, a place where artists can thrive. Smith-Danford who’s been in the area for about nine years said he thinks it's difficult for many local bands to form because there have been so few outlets for people.

 “Why even spend all your time putting together a band if you can't find a place to even practice in this town?” Smith-Danford said.  “If we're able to create that space that's conducive to new art and people trying things out for the first time then yeah that's really amazing."

Guests at Outer Space watch performances by local musicians.
Credit Natalya Estrada/KHSU
Nordquist and Smith-Danford also joined with Ryan Boyd, originally from the Northeast, who runs the store outside of the venue. Boyd said when he moved to Arcata he there was a very vibrant DIY music community with people opening up their homes to live performances, but that there wasn’t always a great space for artists to perform in the traditional venues around the area.

Boyd also said living in a college town created made things seem temporary and constantly in transition. Since Outer Space opened, Boyd said the collective books shows and enables guests and audiences to feel comfortable expressing themselves.

 "It's really great even if you're just here for a short time. There's so many people that have so many different ideas and so many things to contribute and then they take this experience with them and they bring it with them wherever they go,” he said.

 Outer Space is not like traditional music venues. In fact, it’s got a few quirks that some might find a bit out there. Since the space is intended for art, music, and creativity for all ages, there is no alcohol or drugs allowed within the space. That was a rule based upon the inclusiveness of the performers. The collective wanted to make sure no one was left out of seeing their favorite shows because of an age limitation, whereas most venues have a 21 and over rule.

 "I started doing shows when I was around 15, because I was living in the east Bay, like pretty far out away from Berkeley and Oakland. And there weren't shows for a 15 year old that I was able to go to just on my own because I was the only person around that was interested in this kind of punk music,” Smith-Danford said. “It was at a pretty young age for me where I realized that things were happening that I and other people weren't able to go too. It's the same thing in Arcata."

Boyd said although Outer Space is a drug and alcohol-free space, that he thinks people understand that the intention of the place is to be about the art and the experience of appreciating it at any age.

 

"When you're in fourth grade or you know any age under the age of 21 it's really difficult to see the music that you like. There's people putting on music that is not in a bar, that's not geared toward a crowd that's 21 and up,” Boyd said. “ it really opened my eyes to this whole other world where you're just like wow these people are really excited about playing music for an all ages audience. Hearing that as a 15-year-old you're like wow cool someone recognizes me. You're not just a student in a classroom, someone values me.” 

Nordquist said she felt it was unfair that younger people are sometimes unable to see their favorite artists. “Young people should be allowed to have pretty unfettered access to feed their curiosity about the world and figure out who they are and what their beliefs and values are. I think that art is a really wonderful gateway to exploring different parts of yourself and the world around you,” Nordquist said.

 The Breakfast All Day Collective hosts shows, performances and features art by local and international artists at Outer Space. More information can be found on their Facebook page.