Thus the Rats’ Nest Run-In, Duvaloois’ own car show, was born. Held in a field behind his shop on King’s Highway, the show celebrates the Grease-meets-The Road Warrior aesthetic of the “Rat Rod.” Rat Rods are hot rods – vintage frame, slightly less vintage motor – but not the dazzling high-dollar works of art that reside in climate-controlled garages when they’re not on display (behind a velvet rope) for envious onlookers at a traditional car show. Rat Rods are more likely to come in primer gray than gleaming candy-apple red. Pop the hood and, instead of custom chrome, you’ll find duct tape and baling wire.
For Duvaloois, the Rat Rod is a celebration of ingenuity over money, and a way for the young and broke to get into the hot rod culture. “It’s a throwback to what hot rods were in the ‘40s and ‘50s,” says Duvaloois, “young kids picking up old pieces of crap, sticking the hottest motor they could find in there and having fun with it.”
That old-school-for-the-young vibe extends to the entertainment at the Rats’ Nest Run-In. Duvaloois, a 60-year-old self-described Jack-of-all-trades, knows everything about engines, but not much about music. So he turned to local music promoter and club-owner Travis Myers, whose own tastes lean toward the retro-chic aesthetic of Sailor Jerry tattoos, traditional barbershops and pin-up art. Myers sees the Rat Rod phenomenon as part of a larger trend: young people looking to the past for an alternative to an ever-shallower and more materialistic pop culture. “It’s a very American, classic American thing that people are drawn to,” says Myers. “It’s a rejection of the whole Jersey Shore mentality.”
The bill reflects that with a range of acts that draw on a blend of punk, rockabilly and straight-ahead American rock ‘n’ roll. There’s also Charmed and Dangerous, an Albany-based burlesque troupe that puts on a classic hot-pants-and-go-go-boots-clad song-and-dance routine with a comedic edge. Myers describes the act as slightly risqué, but appropriate for a family-friendly car show: “Nobody’s naked, there’s no pasties, just good clean fun.” There’s also a sideshow, beer, homemade lemonade, food from local favorites All Smoked Out BBQ and even rockabilly haircuts courtesy of Pugsley’s Traditional Barbershop.
But the real stars of the show are the Rat Rods: the kind of handcrafted, unfussy classics that got Duvaloois turned away from the gate at a car show and prompted him to start his own. “It’s a very punk/rock attitude: ‘Hey, you don’t want us at your party? We’ll have our own and it will be cooler,’” says Myers. “These are just real cars for real guys.”
The Rat’s Nest Run-In will be held at 1087 King’s Highway in Saugerties on July 9 starting at 11 a.m. It is open to all pre-’65 American cars and trucks. Admission is $10, but kids under age 12 and active-duty military get in free. The entertainment lineup includes Pitchfork Militia, American Pinup, Wicked Whiskey, High Five Revival, Charmed and Dangerous Burlesque, Forbidden Oddities Sideshow and deejay Tony XMas. For more information go to Rats’ Nest Run-In on Facebook.