Jonas Claesson's New England Seasons

Jonas Claesson (Jonas Draws as he is also popularly known), has brought smiles to our collective faces at Levitate and across the world for many years. This past winter we worked together to apply Jonas' unique style and soul to classic New England scenes.  Please enjoy “Tucked In” and “On Island Time” available now in stores and online.

We’re grateful to the talented Jonas Claesson for capturing two sides and moods of the New England coastline.  Levitate is incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to bring his original artwork to life, as well as having the opportunity to catch up and ask him a few questions. Click the link in bio to read “How to Levitate - 5 questions with Jonas”.  We  are stoked to reveal his two original works in limited edition prints, 2 locally-printed, organic cotton tee shirts, and more!

"Tucked in"

"On Island time"

Watch jonas bring the original watercolors to life

Tell us a little backstory about yourself, where are you from? How did you get started with creating art? Where do you live now?

My name is Jonas, I live in Australia for the past 20 years. I grew up in Sweden, where most of my family still lives.

I started drawing from a really early age like most people, but kept the interest through school, took extra art classes where I could, and after high school I ended up going to a one year art school program.

After that, I really wanted to surf more, and I moved to Australia to do a design degree on the Gold Coast where there's also happens to be really good surfing. Now I live in a place called Freshwater on the Northern Beaches outside Sydney. It's a cool little community with a local bar, a few cool restaurants, a nice surf beach and lots of fun people around.

What has your journey with your art looked like? Are you self taught? Has your process/approach changed at all along the way?

I think I'm a mix between self taught, and art school taught. As I said earlier I did one year of full art school which introduced everything like oil painting, acrylics, photography and design. Then I also did a three year bachelor's degree in product design in Australia. So, I guess I am not really self taught. I always like learning new stuff and usually just give it a go. Recently I've done a few courses online with talented watercolourists. If there's something I want to figure out how to use or do I usually try it first and then if I get stuck, look up how other people do it.

The landscapes that you create are perfect, daydream-level surfing surrealism - are there any places in particular that constantly inspire you or particularly move you? How much do you base off of the imaginary versus real-life experiences?

Thank you. I get a lot of inspiration from the surroundings where I live and travel. Australia is such a beautiful country and I'm so blessed to live here. Within a couple of hours south and north, I can get to some amazing surf spots, camp, surf empty beaches and immerse myself in nature. I think my upbringing in Sweden also gave me a love for the cold and mountains.

I think I combine those two things, in my art, it's not really something I plan to do or actively think about, it just happens.

The presence of your signature animal characters is so incredibly magnetic to everyone from kids to adults - what originally inspired you to include them?

I started drawing animals doing fun stuff that I enjoy around 10 years ago. It started with drawing a bear with a skateboard for my friend’s Swedish surf brand. After that, I guess I was hooked because it's a lot more fun for me imagining animals do fun stuff than humans.

In what ways do you feel that being a surfer has changed your approach to life and to your art? What elements of surfing do you find inspire you the most that you try to capture in your work?

Surfing is my number one passion. And I get a lot of joy and happiness from being in the water. Not just the surfing part. I feel like when you enter the water it's like you're entering another element which enhances all the surroundings. What inspires me the most are small, clean, beautiful days with just a few friends. I'm not much of a big wave surfer, or like to surf with a lot of people so usually when the surf is good and everyone's talking about it, I go do other things like mountain biking, hiking, or climbing. I really like to smaller clean offshore days when you can find a little peak or reef to yourself or with a few friends. That's what inspires me the most.

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September 17, 2021
World Premier of The Elovaters Newest Single: "Margaritas"

World Premier of The Elovaters Newest Single: "Margaritas"

To celebrate the launch of their newest song, and in conjunction with the Rexicana's canned margarita release this week, we sat down with Jackson and Nick from The Elovaters and asked them a few questions about the growth of the band and their journey along the way.

It's no secret that we've got an affinity for a little tequila and lime juice at Levitate...tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind "Margaritas" and how it came to fruition.

NICK: For this new album we had 16 days in the studio to write and record. We had a lot more free time for the creative process so Johnny Blaze was writing guitar riffs in the kitchen while Jackson and Cosmic were mixing up Margaritas. Jackson immediately came up with a few melodies and the song came together pretty naturally from there.

Polaroids from the recording of The Elovaters newest album at Great Stone Recordings

It has been a pleasure watching you guys continue to grow and evolve from your homegrown roots - what can you say about your journey and how it has shaped your approach to music and life?

JACKSON: Our growth has been the most exciting moments of my life. It’s taught me that if you jump into something with both feet and work tirelessly, build a team with the same vision, you can really achieve some amazing things in life. It’s taught me that you really have to be passionate about what you invest your time and energy into.

NICK: We started writing songs in a garage on the South Shore 6 years ago. It’s surreal to now travel the whole country and have fans sing our songs back to us from the crowd. I’m so proud of how much hard work, dedication and sacrifice each member of our team has poured into this band. The thing that blows my mind the most is that this is only the beginning. We all plan on doing this for the rest of our lives. Playing concerts, writing music and having a tight knit family and support is system is all I can really ask for in life.

From a South Shore garage to sold out shows.

What has been the most inspiring moment or experience for you guys over the years? Anything that has really altered where you are today?

JAX: For me its setting and achieving milestones & goals. Certain bands we want to tour with, certain venues we want to play, fan base growth, personal music growth.

NICK: There have been a few moments that really stand out which opened my eyes wide to see the potential of this project. One of those moments was when Rootfire called us to tell us they wanted to release our album Defy Gravity on their label. At that moment I knew our path would never be the same. Touring nationally with one of my favorite bands Pepper was another one of those epic moments.

It's been so rewarding to have built many special memories over the years between Levitate and the Elovaters - are there any memories that are particularly fond in your minds?

JAX: Yea Levitate has supported us since we were The Cornerstone. I have loved all of our moments and each Levitate Music Festival has been so special. The smaller Backyard shows stand out because they feel more intimate and allow us to get creative with the Levitate community on a more one on one level.

NICK: Every time I see our band's name on the flier for Levitate Music Festival I feel a huge sense of reward. Hitting the stage at Levitate in front of our hometown fan base is one of greatest feelings I’ve experienced as a musician. I have a life long gratitude for every opportunity that Levitate has given us and I consider everyone at Levitate friends - from ownership all the way down the tree to the guys and girls that work in the surf shop.

Epic times over the years.

Levitate Backyard in 2019. Full house.

We couldn't be more proud of these guys and are so excited to continue to watch them grow. Listen to "Margaritas", maybe while sipping a canned marg from the Rexicana's first batch ever, and tell your friends to do the same.

It's gonna be a great summer.

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Los Muertos Tie Dye - Levitate

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April 22, 2021
Bringing Food Closer to Home

Bringing Food Closer to Home

When we opened the Levitate Backyard & Rexicana Surf Cantina, we had lofty dreams of serving our community the kind of food we found on surf trips across the Caribbean and Central America - local, fresh, and simple. For years we were grappling with the state of the food industry and the processed and pre-packaged food that we all eat, and had dreams of building a local/regional food supply chain to find the food we wanted to eat.


We wanted the Rexicana to serve tacos options for multiple reasons: the ingredients and final product are generally healthy, the quantity of ingredients is low and therefore could be controlled, and many of the ingredients can be sourced locally and regionally. And of course, as surfers we spend our off season surfing across Central America, the Carribean, and other warm locales with preserved regional supply chains, and we craved bringing this to our hometown.

With this premise, we dove headfirst into the weird and wild world of food sourcing and regional food politics.

The challenges

- The commoditization/homogenization of products to extend shelf life. Have you ever heard your Grandma say that tomatoes used to taste better? Over many years of mass-production, many commercial products have genuinely changed in genetic makeup, as well as being picked/harvested early to promote longer shelf life, which has resulted in bland flavors and appearance of products available in the mass market. Depletion of soil quality and use of fertilizers has contributed to the issue as well.

- De-regionalization of local flavors in the mass market. Produce, meats, etc. all have unique flavor profiles from region to region based on a variety of environmental factors. When food is sourced from mass-market sources, these local flavors are lost in the shuffle. Chefs in many restaurants, and increasingly customers, mourn the loss of regional flavors.

- Loss of the regional culture of cultivating and sharing food. Cultivating and enjoying regional and local foods together as a community brings people together based on a shared love for the labor and love that goes into creating something that people can be proud to grow, cook, and eat. As more and more farms and fisherman in New England go out of business or the owners tick towards retirement without a successor, this culture runs the risk of disappearing entirely. If you want to read more about the problems that farms in New England are facing check out this article here.

- Price. Our tacos, burritos, and salads cost a bit more than Taco Bell or Chipotle. (A 2 taco plate with sides is 12.00, a 3 taco plate with sides is 16.00). For the most part we’ve been fortunate to have a fan base that appreciates the efforts and added costs and is willing and happy to pay the difference.   Nonetheless, a giant benefit of mass produced and homogenized food industry that dominates grocery shelves is the proliferation of affordable, shelf stable food which has greatly reduced world hunger and allowed for a massive population boom globally for the past 50 years. Now we seek to find a way to enhance the benefits of the nation's large scale food distribution and supply chain by augmenting and replacing portions of it by reinvesting locally and regionally to re-build and support regional flavors and cultures and land in a happy medium from a price perspective.

the fruits of our labor

Over the past 2 seasons, we have hunted high and low for ways to bring our concept to life, and have come to realize that cultivating a regional supply chain is pretty damn hard. We have developed partnerships that we are extremely proud of on both a regular and seasonal basis for staple items, and are slowly preparing to start growing/raising ingredients we are unable to find a local or regional partner for.

Fish - Mullaney's fish market (scituate)

Both images credit Greg Derr.

Mullaney's has been pulling lobster and fish for over 30 years right out of Scituate Harbor, and still buys direct from the boat every day. They operate the only processing facility in the South Shore, and provide us with regular deliveries of haddock every day. Mullaney's has helped us to reduce the time that the fish spends on ice by the time it reaches your plate and were able to offer us fresh, in season fish at a competitive price based on our volume requests. Unfortunately, and due to no fault of their own, 95% of restaurants on the South Shore do not serve locally caught seafood, and we’re hugely grateful to Mulaney’s for making this possible for Levitate.

If you're interested in learning more about the state of the local fishing industry and Mullaney's, check out these great articles here and here.

Tortillas - Brahmall's country store (plymouth)

Bramhall's is a legit family-run business stretching back to the 1820s. The Bramhall family has cultivated an amazing culture in Chiltonville surrounding farming, fresh food, and good people. Bramhall's produces thousands of hand-pressed corn tortillas for us, using their own masa, sourced from corn grown in Hadley MA, that they produce, grind, and press in house. Milling and producing corn products is steeped in tradition in Plymouth, and Bramhalls produces their masa just a few miles down the street from some of the oldest grist mills in the nation built by the pilgrims.

We landed on partnering with Bramhall's after searching around New England for locally produced tortillas. They have made their own corn tortillas for their own tacos for a few years, and were more than happy to scale up their own operation to budget for our needs.  

Microgreens - The garden of Easton (Easton)

Microgreens are a staple on all of our tacos - we use a blend of arugula, red cabbage, kohlrabi, amarath, and borroli micros, which provides an extremely diverse range of flavors. Micros are also an extremely plentiful source of vitamins and minerals, and we really end up putting them on everything, Micros are seriously sustainable because you can so closely monitor and measure their water usage to reduce waste, and their ability to be grown indoors is a serious key for New Englanders, like our microgreen grower Tyler who runs his microgreen business out of a small urban facility in Easton. Tyler grows all of his microgreens in a fully sustainable coconut coir, which is a renewable, pH neutral, and non-hydrophobic soil alternative to soil. If you are looking to grow some of your own ingredients at home, we'd seriously recommend starting with micros, they are easy to get going at small scale, cost effective, and yield some tasty rewards.

Seasonal offerings

As crops come into season in New England, the clock begins ticking on the time to strike on some of the best veggies in the world (in our opinion). Though the growing season may be short up here, the harvest is rich, and we have developed relationships with local farms to take advantage of the local flavors that make New England summers so sweet, like corn, tomatoes, red onion, radishes, and greens.

Corn

4 Town Farms - Seakonk MA

Tomatoes

Langwater Farms - Easton MA

Purple Bravo Radish

Langwater Farms - Easton MA

challenge items

Chicken

Chicken is the top-selling protein at the Rexicana by a long shot...but man has it been hard to find a local source for chicken. Turns out that based on strict MA regulations regarding chicken processing, there is a total of 1 permanent slaughterhouses in MA. Local farmers can choose to rent a "MPPU", essentially a slaughterhouse on wheels, or dump a serious amount of money into developing their own USDA approved facility. Beyond the headaches of the actual operation, farmers then have to navigate the permitting/licensing required by the state to even have the chance to operate. This has resulted in a severe lack of local options for consistent, local chicken. We are working on partnering with friends/farms (like our buddy Timmy below) to hopefully lock down a sustainable partnership - and hope to offer local chicken on the menu soon! In fact - we’ll be running a few nights within the next few weeks where we will be serving Timmy’s Chickens (Middleboro MA) as a test run for next season, during concert nights for Citizen Cope. If you want to learn more about the chicken industry in MA, check out this article here.

Beef

Beef has been another beefy headache that we have tried to work through over the past two years. Beef is widely known to be one of the most environmentally impactful types of meats, due to the land requirements and methane produced by the cows themselves. Our goal with beef is to simply reduce the length of the supply chain by moving towards choosing cows/farms where cows can be raised in the same pastures for the duration of their lives. This would hopefully reduce the impact on tracts of land and allow the cows to develop more naturally (slowly), which would reduce the impact of methane. Beef is a less integral part of our menu, but we are still excited to try and make a change in a small-scale, local way.

Looking forward

We are extremely excited to continue to work closely with farms, fisherman, friends, and family to grow and harvest as much of our food supply within our regional boundaries. We have some new lofty goals and rowdy ideas involving rooftop gardens, Marshfield-based cultivation, and so much more that we are excited to dig into in the coming seasons. Come by and sample some of these ingredients at the Rexicana, we can't wait to see you!


Check out everything we've got going on at the Rexicana and Levitate Backyard below!

August 18, 2020
Levitate Camps Midsummer Highlights

Levitate Camps Midsummer Highlights

Although this has been one of the strangest Summers we could possibly imagine, we couldn't be happier with the levels of stoke and fun that has been going down at each one of the Levitate Camps this Summer. Everyone: parents, campers, and counselors, has done an amazing job adapting to the situation at hand, and we want to take the time to thank everyone for their support and give some mid-summer updates!

Check out a quick recap of each camp below, plus amazing articles written by WickedLocal and some of the epic images that have been captured so far!


Creative Camp

Creative Camp has been going down in the Levitate Backyard every day with amazing groups of little creative creatures. We've loved seeing what these guys cook up each week on our favorite creative quests: hand-decorated enchanted walking sticks, natural tie dying, screen printing, flower pot pour painting, and musical melodic manipulation.

Check out the full WickedLocal article below!


Warrior/Waterman's Camps

The Warrior and Waterman's camps have been getting into some epic beach days down at Rexhame, enjoying surf, sun and a lot of fun.

Warrior has been crushing on the beach and in the water surfing if there’s even a hint of swell, going for ecological adventures to see old man Beadle, and embarking on marsh missions in the South River! Waterman’s has been doing a Waterman’s Grand Prix each week and the two groups have been competing in relay races/obstacle courses/paddle battles and long river swims.

Check out the full WickedLocal article below!


Skate Camp

Our skate campers have been shredding our backyard park to pieces. It has been epic to see all of these shredders improve their skills while gaining the confidence to rip around park. The groms have been working together to improve their own and each other’s skills as expert skaters and counselors Mike and Evan guide them through the learning process.

Check out the full WickedLocal article below!

August 07, 2020
Building a Backyard Music Venue

Building a Backyard Music Venue

The levitate backyard is the culmination of many years of dreaming about transforming the overgrown, poison-ivy ridden dumping grounds behind the marshfield shop into a space where the community could come together to share their love for surf, music, and art in a collective and inclusive environment. today, the backyard plays host to local and national musicians, kids art camps, fresh & healthy food, and more than a handful of hand squeezed margaritas. The process of creating the levitate backyard was many years and tears in the making, and to truly explain its creation, it is only right to start at the beginning.


Circa 2016 Backyard

"close enough construction" daringly tackled the most extreme construction project in levitate history: gutting and remodeling the back half of the surf shop and sprucing up the backyard itself. the remodel was like breathing life into a corpse, and might have driven steve hassett to live in his van for a period of time thereafter just to escape the memory.

"rough openings"

the first of many backyard hangs


Cantina Construction

after running small shows on a on an occasional basis in the backyard in 2018, featuring food trucks and self-run bars, it became obvious that a full time music venue/cantina/taco joint was the path forward. We all became obsessed with the concept of transforming the backyard into an oasis of music, food, drinks, and community. The construction process was monstrous: converting a barber shop to a cantina, somehow fitting a full scale kitchen and 6 bathrooms into the hold of the ship, convincing the power company to move a couple telephone poles, and also completely reimagining the backyard space. Big shout outs to Steve Hassett for running point, and completely dedicating his life to the space to life, straight through the music festival in 2019 - and to everybody at the festival who had to pick up the slack left in the wake of steve's absence at the fairgrounds for the three week build and strike of the Levitate music & arts festival.

Early days + heavy lifting

Twoey's speciality is in doing everything

hood going in...installing commercial kitchen equipment was serious business.

Many holes were dug, large and small. Mostly by hand.

Tile lifestyle - zephyr never came back.

Your new bar?

The beginnings of the best patio this side of route 3.

Finishing touches

A very special shout out to Nate Savje for our custom-made surfboard bar top. Nate shaped and glassed this monster at his house right down the road in marshfield, sandwiching together 3 SUP blanks and pulling off some very complicated laminations to give life to the coolest bar top around town. still no dings.

Another shout to chalk masters Kara Hoblin and Jess HassetT, who put in work to complete the chalk menus and murals down to the buzzer before opening.

AJ Hassett also put in the work until the bitter end as head sign builder, wiring and putting together all of our custom neon signs.


opening night

Opening night was a smashing success. Chadwick stokes of dispatch played an amazing set and the first of many tacos and margs were put down the hatch by a solid group of very special guests.

ribbons were cut.

Tacos and margies were for sure flowing.

Chadwick Stokes showed all of us a good time.

The opening weekend was a blur to say the least.


Letting the good times roll

Once the thing got up and running, there was plenty of time to sit back and let the good times roll in. No lack of trials/tribulations, but has been plenty of fun to go around for staff & guests.

epic shows

the elovaters came and ripped it for the second year in a row.

citizen cope

Donovan Frankenreiter

our amazing crew

We couldn't have pulled it off without the best kitchen, bar, and backyard staff ever...big ups to everyone for jumping into a first year project with gusto and pulling it off.

The biggest ups go to maria for holding all of it together at all times and being be most baddassest of all. Thank you for all you do.

après Beach delights

Another huge thank you goes out to each and every artist that has passed through the backyard and kept us rocking with live music every day.

fall fun

The fun didn't stop in the fall, we kept the ball rolling straight through spooky season and can't wait to do the same this fall.

back-stage kittens grew up: meet martha mae who is a girl not a boy

short-lived fire pit - replaced by gas powered variation per mfd.

more martha hangs

photo booth was supposed to be for the kids


Halloween blowout

After a long season, what better way to wrap it all up than with a hellacious halloween blowout? No lives were harmed but livers might have been...

A final thanks to our epic staff.

One of these is not like the other


Operating in 2020

After muscling through opening and our first half summer of being in business, we were extremely excited to rip it all the way from may-october in the backyard this year. 2020 has had it's dramatic curveballs and a late start - but the levitate backyard & Rexicana Surf cantina have been uniquely positioned to fulfill our mission of providing music, art, and community in a safe and fun way, straight through a pandemic and in full levitate style. Thank you all for your continued support, please swing by 3-9pm daily and enjoy.

Socially distanced jams with The elovaters

Backyard buildout round 1000000

Neighbor Ripping

Brand new mural thanks to alexis wells!

Ghost of Paul Revere came by and ripped it

We spent all winter tinkering with a new and improved food/drink menu that is loaded with locally grown goodness.


One final thank you goes out to every single one of you that has passed through the doors of the backyard over the past year. Your support and love has made the backyard a vibrant community hub, and we are so excited to keep on hanging out with you all for years to come.

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August 04, 2020
Northern Boat Trip

Northern Boat Trip

When we first saw Humberto on the charts, our brains started spinning through the regular possibilities: RI, ACK, NH, or down the street on the South Shore. Little did most of us know, but Dan had a plan for us that involved chartering a BoaT, packing our biggest boards, and bringing along the samples of our newest flannels for the grandest photoshoot of all time. We scored some waves, ate some lobster, wore some flannel, and overall ripped up the Northern Isles.

We wanted to share this tale in a slightly more unique fasion, so read on below to see some incredible photos from our journey and one not-so-incredible poem about the adventure.


"The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald"

A text from the boss,

Load up the car we’re gonna get lost.

6’10”, big fins, new leash

Hoping to catch a beast.

Chartered a boat,

Hoping it’s gonna float.

Caught up with Captain Buck

Seems like he don’t give a f*ck.

Whiskey and wine,

We’re gonna have a time.

Thinking tube thoughts,

But she only goes 8 knots.

Eggs on in the galley

Too many coffees to tally.

Eyes on the charts,

Hoping we’ve got some smarts.

Boils out on the rocks,

Pull out the blury binocs.

Short short ride,

Gotta be the tide.

A

A glimmer in the light,

Hope it’s not a right.

It’s not,

It’s better than we thought.

Hoping the anchor set,

Gave it our best bet.

Few head dips,

No big pits.

Little washier than we thought

Looks like Jonos gettin rocked.

Back on the Pearl

Jonathan managed not to hurl.

Veggie dogs on the grill

Took a few minutes to chill.

It’s bigger now,

We don’t know how.

Steve made some drops,

But now there’s some chop.

Caught inside,

Almost died.

Abandon ship,

Lips were just too thick.

Motoring west,

Everyone got some rest.

Found some right,

Just looked alright.

Better than it looks,

It’s actually on the cook.

Few tubes a couple turns,

Everyone’s arms starting to burn.

Pulled into an island town,

Not a soul around.

$20 for the night,

We’re all feeling alright.

Early morning,

push off the mooring.

A whole lot smaller,

still some worth a holler.

Sheet glass this time,

and still some long lines.

We’re all surfed out,

Ready to turn her about.

One more chance to dine,
Another round of wine.
Hate to see our time run short,
But we're headed back to port.

Headed back to the grind,

with tubes on the mind.


THANKS FOR READING! If interested, we are doing a presale for the flannel styles that we brought on this trip. You'll be the first to get them in your hands the second that we get them in ours. Check them out below:

October 02, 2019