100 Colorado Creatives – Onus Spears
#94: Onus Spears
Onus Spears (that’s a stage name and Facebook alias) isn’t your typical creative. He’s been homeless at times, and he goes to AA meetings every day. He estimates that he’s had dozens of jobs — the number is in the hundreds, in fact — over his 49 years. But he is also a man of stories: a gabber who can’t stop weaving tales, whether as a standup comic or just a man on — no, from — the street. His love affair in life is with art and artists and all people who create something out of thin air and hard work, whether that product be a painting, a poem, an inspiring song or an especially tasty joke.
In recent years, Spears has made a name around town as a promoter of comedy shows, but his latest project is a whole different animal: Called Rawlitix, it’s a monthly live-talk show at Deer Pile that morphs into a house party, with a different cast of characters setting the mood of each session.
One month it’s low-key; another month it’s a huge benefit for an ailing musician. In March, Spears will sing with a band of strange bedfellows. Don’t ever think you know exactly what to expect — but it’s likely to combine the host’s gift for chatting and his penchant for wanting to expose the public to authentic local voices.
“My slogan and my dream is this: Get involved. Talk about it and f*&# shit up in a good way,” Spears says of Rawlitix. “I pick all the people involved. Then I tell the story of why that person is on the stage. I want my audience to understand what makes these guests so remarkable. It’s like when you go to a really good restaurant, and then you go home and you want to call your best friend and tell him about it. Even if people come to my show feeling low, they’re going to be high when they leave.”
And it’s a growing concern. Each show takes shape in its own unique configuration of the creative, musical and comic Rawlitix model. Spears is exploring the idea of broadcasting in some way in the future, if it feels right, and he’s lining up guests months in advance.
We asked Spears to tackle our Colorado Creatives quiz; continue reading for his thoughts on the creative life and the state of the arts in Colorado.