This Episode was brought to you by
Brian Gamel, Managing Director of Woodstock Arts
Brian grew up in the Woodstock area and has loved this town ever since. After going off to get his undergraduate degree in Theatre from Florida State University he came back home and became a part of the Elm Street Cultural Arts Village’s team, now known as Woodstock Arts.
Connect with Brian on LinkedIn.
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:07] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Woodstock, Georgia. It’s time for Cherokee Business Radio. Now here’s your host.
Stone Payton: [00:00:23] Welcome to this very special edition of Cherokee Business Radio, it is our Woodstock Arts series and you guys are going to get a chance to get an update and hear from our buddy Brian Gamel with Woodstock Arts. Welcome back, man.
Brian Gamel: [00:00:38] Hey, how’s it going, stone?
Stone Payton: [00:00:39] It is going well. I haven’t written down somewhere in a notebook, but your title? What are you like? Grand Poobah of Woodstock Arts
Brian Gamel: [00:00:48] Or something like that? The title is managing director officially, which means I get all the fun things like scheduling, budgeting and H.R., but also I. I am in charge of the concert series lantern series. So that is my department, my baby. But I get to keep my hands a little bit and everywhere else, and
Stone Payton: [00:01:04] I just love that lantern series. That is how we we being. Holly and I were introduced to Woodstock Arts before we ever came out here. I think it was a big part of why we eventually chose Woodstock instead of some other communities as we were looking to downsize for this, this chapter of our lives. I just love everything about it. Timing on that. That’s about to get cranked back up for too long.
Brian Gamel: [00:01:29] Yeah, that’s actually starting up March 19th with a with the concert I’ve been waiting for for years for our general public has been waiting to jam there. An Irish bluegrass group flying all the way in from Tullamore Ireland, which if you know anything about trying to get in stateside from outside of the country, it has been hard for the past two years, but they they’ll be joining us. St. Patty’s Day weekend, March 19 So
Stone Payton: [00:01:53] All right, well, color me and Holly there. Yeah, and anybody else? I can get my arms around and bring them over there. We’ll be there for you.
Brian Gamel: [00:01:59] And just so everyone knows that one because it has been, you know, postpone and postpone, it’s already close to being sold out. So OK, yeah, go ahead and get your table of six. Come and decorate it. Maybe want a chance to come to the next concert for free?
Stone Payton: [00:02:11] Sounds good. All right. So you’ve got you’ve got tables, you’ve got chairs. You’ve got you’ve got some different options there for ticketing, right?
Brian Gamel: [00:02:18] For yeah, for sure. We have tables of eight and six that are at different price points as well as just chairs. We sit out for you so that you can sit and enjoy if you don’t quite have six people to make a table full. But honestly, if there’s two of you at a table, it’s just a different experience. It’s so funny. We’ve we’ve seen a lot as a series started right where people were. Why would I pay for a concert and then, Oh, well, I’m going to pay. I’m just going to sit in the gold section. I’m just going to sit and it’s going to be me and my, my partner. We’re going to sit in the back and another, Oh, I have four friends coming. We have a table, we decorate it, we eat dinner. The experience is just different, you know, and it’s it’s so much fun to watch these people go from being bystanders and walking by and going, Oh, that kind of looks like fun, but I don’t know yet to being a subscriber, coming to every single concert, not knowing what they’re going to get into next month, what the genre is going to be, what what the style is. And then, you know, for us, it’s a total win. If they leave going, you know what? That was a lot of fun, not my style of music, but more often, not we get a ton of people going. That was so much fun. I never would have listened to Irish bluegrass or Afro Celtic funk or whatever it may be.
Stone Payton: [00:03:24] And for every Leonard series show, there’s always a second built in show that most people may not be aware of. It’s called the Black Airplane Show. Am I right?
Brian Gamel: [00:03:35] Yeah, they they are are presenting partner for that series is Black Airplane, and between David and Michael, they’re their owners and Michael being the mayor of Woodstock. They definitely make it a full show when when we think them there is, there is a full production that goes into them applauding for themselves. And also, if you’re lucky enough, you can see what their table decoration is, which more often than not is a bunch of phones put together to build a giant photo that’s embarrassing of myself or Christopher. It’s it’s always something,
Stone Payton: [00:04:08] And you’ll have you’ll have wine and beer there on site, right?
Brian Gamel: [00:04:11] Yes, we always have wine and beer on site. If you’re at the tables, you have tableside waitstaff, so you don’t even have to get up and miss any part of the concert they come to you. If you’re in those gold seats, we do ask if you walk over to the bar, we have station for you guys, but we’ll also have merchandise there. We’re hoping to get some Woodstock arts merchandise at this upcoming one. Yes. So we’re going to get that approved tonight at our board meeting, but we’re super excited to bring some Woodstock arts merchant to.
Stone Payton: [00:04:34] And so the three or four times that we’ve been we have we’ve brought some something to snack on, like will we’ll do like a fancy appetizer, eat stuff, bring some shrimp and stuff and that’s allowed.
Brian Gamel: [00:04:45] Yeah, you can bring anything that’s not alcohol, so you can even bring sodas, whatever, whatever suits you for drinking, that’s non alcoholic and food. We actually encourage food. We want you all to come in and have dinner. Enjoy the show.
Stone Payton: [00:04:56] Yeah, no. So it’s a marvelous experience. All right. So we’ve got that going on with the Lantern series. Always some great stuff happening over it at Reeves House.
Brian Gamel: [00:05:05] Yeah, the Reeves House recently opened Coded Realities is the name of the current exhibit. It is a intersection of art and technology. It’s a lot of fun. There are these really cool and unique pieces that I never thought I would see in Woodstock. I’m a lighting guy and there’s a couple of. He says where they use LEDs and frosted lenses, so where if you were looked behind that frosted lens, it’s just a bunch of, you know, glowing dots, but you put that frosted lens in front of it and it builds a picture, right? So it’s so cool with that. There’s one piece where when you first walk in, it’s tiles that there’s a camera that and it sees you and then whatever movements you’re doing, the tiles flip and it looks like almost shadow puppets in a way. The kids love that one. They’ll come in and stand in front of it for hours. And then we have this really cool piece. Once you go in and turn to the right by artist who is no longer with us. And he actually was an engineer and built every part of this piece. It’s a giant pink like feather piece that waves back at you. It’s a lot of fun. It almost reminds me of a giant flamingo, but it’s a it’s a lot of fun. I really enjoy this exhibit and we have some events coming up with that one as well. We’re going to have our first jazz night of the calendar year coming up at the very end of this month. This is the last Friday of this month. We’re back back with jazz nights completely free out on the back backyard of the Reeves house so soon.
Stone Payton: [00:06:26] So color us there for jazz night too, because I think that’s just before Holly and I and Uncle Howie and had Charlie go on our boat ride, we’re going to get to do that cruise. But I got to tell you, we had family in town this last weekend. We worked between, you know, family excursions seems to be the pattern. So the the pink feathered thing is now called Heather’s feathers. Because Heather came to town, Heather and Brad, Brad didn’t quite get it. He didn’t appreciate the feathers as much as he appreciated that thing. When you first walk in that you were talking about, but Heather just felt she must have spent like 30 minutes just in all watching this thing. Do you guys have got to see what we at the paint in the house call Heather’s feathers?
Brian Gamel: [00:07:07] Well, and what’s fun to? There’s always a piece or two that I feel like is underrated in an exhibit, right? So people get excited about the feathers or the tile flipping because they are. That’s completely warranted. Those are great pieces. I’m a data guy. I love looking at spreadsheets, and maybe I’m weird. I don’t know. But for you nerds out there along the wall where our bathrooms are, this this woman she like notated how she how talkative she was based off how many hours of sleep she got throughout the year and where she was. And it’s all like shown through these wooden blocks all across this giant wall, over by a restrooms. And I just love that piece. And it’s just really funny to look at and go, you were not talkative at the beginning of the year, and you know, there’s no correlation, but by the end of the year, you would not stop talking. So I don’t know what happened there, but it’s it’s really interesting to see the larger the wood blocks are, the more talkative she was that day and the smaller they were. At least, yeah, it’s very interesting.
Stone Payton: [00:08:03] It’s my definition of appreciation for art has expanded exponentially since moving here. I’d seriously it is. I’ve come to appreciate all these different what’s the right word media, the different, the different content areas and everything from amazingly talented kids, young people that have submitted some really interesting work to again. Holly, you know, really getting involved in the in the painting and all that also from the patent family. One of those visitors out of town visitors, Brian Mitchell. Apparently, it’s so interesting you learn more about the people with you when you put them in that context and you’d never know his name is Brian Mitchell. He is just such a fan of and apparently had some great experiences learning pottery. And so, you know, we went up to the Kish House and he he peered through the window, you know, for again, like 10 minutes. He was fascinated with all the work and talked about it.
Brian Gamel: [00:09:06] Yeah, I it’s it’s so much fun to see, especially because we we have the advantage of not being just a theater like we were for more than a decade. We we have all these different mediums of art. So there’s always, you know, we want to be able to have something for everyone, but not necessarily be for anyone, if that makes sense. So, you know, if pottery is not your thing, you’re probably not going to enjoy the Kish center because it’s a center for ceramics and pottery. But if you’re even interested at all, it’s a great place to go to take a class. Heather, who is our our studio manager over there, does a fantastic job not only teaching but also like taking care of that space, making it better for the students, making it better for the teachers. So she’s fantastic over there. Obviously, our staff over at the Reeves house and then we have the theater going on to, which has kick started back up pretty recently as well, right?
Stone Payton: [00:09:56] All right. So before you go there, yeah, say a little bit more about Jazz Night because I really think that’s going to work. Actually, I think again, we’re going to have Uncle Howard at Charlotte in, and I think that’s right before we go on our on our boat ride to, I feel like I don’t know if it was a jazz night or not, but we did something that we thoroughly enjoyed with the tent right behind the building. It was more of a wine tasting, I think was the last thing Holly and I did, but. The jazz night thing just sounds like a lot of fun, man.
Brian Gamel: [00:10:27] Yeah, yeah, so Jazz Night is on March twenty fifth. So that is the last Friday of this month. It’s normally on the last Friday of the month, but we normally have a jazz trio or quartet and they’re just playing music all night free. We’ll have the bar back there so you can get wine and beer, but you’re right, we do have to do wine tastings from time to time as well, right? But yeah, so jazz night is the is the the thing to close out the end of the month. But then also, I think you’re familiar with art on the spot. We have that coming up on March 18th. For those of you who are listening who don’t know what are on the spot is we. We have about three artists generally and they create artwork for you right then and there on the spot. Hence, the name and you can pay for a five dollar raffle ticket. And when you get a chance to win one of these pieces of artwork that are being created right there for you, so you can support these local artists very easily with five dollars and possibly take home a piece of artwork that is definitely worth more than $5.
Stone Payton: [00:11:21] Well, we we did the raffle thing for that, and I don’t think we won that well. I know we didn’t, but we bought some stuff there too. From there was a lady that was doing bookbinding, and it was just like the perfect little gift for for our oldest Katy. So speaking of tastings, I know that Zac got promoted out that I said last time we talked, you know what a waste. But one of the things that I loved was was these sirups and he was making out of beer. You haven’t you haven’t quashed that program. Have you can get a taste
Brian Gamel: [00:11:53] Of the beer? Oh yeah, no. Of course you can. We we our new coffee shop manager over there, Riley, she does a great job and she still has that same drive that Zach had of trying new things and experimenting with new flavors. So we’re super excited to have her. So kind of hinting at it. We we make all three of our simple sirups in-house. It’s really hard to get a hold of hazelnuts, so both hazelnut sirups are not made in-house and the crimped demand. It’s a very long and lengthy process, and it doesn’t create much better of a product, right? It involves alcohol and all these other different things, but every other sirup that we have, whether it’s the rosemary, the BlackBerry, you know, a bunch of different fun vanilla, obviously caramel, all the basic ones as well. But it’s so much fun to just be able to say, Hey, like, we made that and it’s special for you, our customers. And it honestly, the quality is just better to especially with fruits. A lot of times if you get a fruit sirup that’s store bought, it has that kind of cloyingly and just sour sweet like you’re not the same, it’s not the same. It’s just getting sugar. Water berries make it happen.
Stone Payton: [00:12:56] So, all right, I interrupted you earlier, but I want to talk about the theater.
Brian Gamel: [00:13:01] Yeah, and we can talk about Zach a little bit more. Ok. His talent is actually going to great use. You know, it’s not behind the coffee shop bar. He I don’t know if you knew this about him. He he got his masters in acting from the University of Alabama. I did not. So his background is theater. He applied for artistic director role and got it. Coincidentally, at the same time, he was going to be directing Sweat, which is the show that’s open right now. So his premiere as our artistic director and the new leader of the theater space is going live right now, the theater we just open this past weekend. People absolutely love the show. It is definitely one that has humor in it, but it’s a heavier, more serious piece. We do recommend it for ages 16 plus, so this isn’t one to necessarily bring the kids to you. There isn’t a lot of graphic anything. It’s more so just innuendo. Yeah, there is some strong language, especially some derogatory language as well towards certain parties. All of that you can find on our website, as well as as as well as warnings on the way into the theater. But we haven’t had obviously any negative issues with that one. If anything, people are just absolutely loving the show. Spencer Nix came by and that whole clan and they the bar on stage. He wants he. He absolutely loves it too. So it’s all set in a bar. We got volunteers to work on that. They did a phenomenal job. I’m lucky enough to be able to say that it was my design, but really it was between Zach and Meg who have been working really hard to get everything on that bar to make it feel like a small town, Pennsylvania Dove Bar, where there’s just crap all over the walls.
Stone Payton: [00:14:36] All right, so seats are available for that now.
Brian Gamel: [00:14:39] Yes, seats are completely available for that. We run Friday, Saturday evenings at seven, 30 Sundays at 2:30. But talking about the show, just a little bit more. It’s a beautiful piece written by Lynn Nottage. She’s a playwright that’s really hot right now, and it’s one I believe it won a Pulitzer Prize. It’s won quite a few awards. It was on Broadway fantastic show that really explores the a blue collar community while NAFTA was going through in the early two thousands. And it is a very good job of being a piece that talks about how those people were affected by decisions that were made in Washington and decisions that were made outside of their control, which I don’t, you know, everyone has opinions on how that goes. But it’s very good about just saying, Hey, we’re here to listen to us, we have our own lives and please help take care of us, right? And no one really listening to that, no matter what side of the aisle you’re on, it’s it does a very good job at exploring these people whose identity has been living in this town and working in this mill for their entire lives. And when that gets ripped away from you, who are you? Like what is left from that? And it’s it’s so, so strong, so powerful. But also it has its fun moments. There’s a moment where I think you might even know Camille, who’s on her staff. She’s actually in the show. Oh, yeah. Oh, neat. There’s a moment where it’s someone’s birthday and they come in singing Cher, you know, and it is a bar. So they do have a few too many and they there’s so much fun in the show to it. While it’s not lighthearted by any means, it allows you to take a breath every now and then in between these moments of just feeling for these characters, actually, every single one of them, no one’s the bad guy. They’re all just down on their luck, and some things happen to him and you just got to come see it. It is a beautiful, powerful piece.
Stone Payton: [00:16:26] And behind the scenes, I don’t think most realize I certainly didn’t. We started having conversations around these topics. I mean, this is something that’s been in the in the planning for some time. You, you or someone on your step has to go out and find these plays right.
Brian Gamel: [00:16:44] Actually, how does that work? It’s really funny that you should bring that up. We’re presenting our possible season to the board this evening, April 10th will be presenting what the season will be to the rest of everyone as part of our season. Reveal our season’s run August through July. So that’s why, you know, we have planned programing up through July and then people are going, Wait, are you not doing anything this December? You’re not doing Christmas Carol? No, we’re doing Christmas Carol. We just don’t announce it until a little bit later. Spoiler alert we are still doing Christmas Carol after 20 years. Wow. But we’re going into our 20th season next season and the way our our season selection goes, specifically for visual arts and for a theater. This this season, we have committees full of a couple of board members, not actually that many a couple of key staff members in those departments, but mostly volunteers and community members. So even we have some people that haven’t volunteered with us, but we just know have come to see one or two things and would have a unique perspective from our community so that we can say it’s not Oh, well, we think the community wants this. It’s the community actually wants these shows, right? So it’s a group of people who get together for the place.
Brian Gamel: [00:17:50] Specifically, we assign plays out, they read them, they do a book report, essentially talk, talk about why they loved it. Talk about why they didn’t love it so much. And we start narrowing it down and narrowing it down and seeing what fits together and what can go win. And how does this make sense? And OK, with this going on in the world, this would be a good plug or, oh, this would be a great one where we could partner up with Foxtail Bookshop and maybe we could do some engagement because it’s a great children’s book and we can get all of that going on. So there’s a lot that goes into it from the back end of it, for sure. But it’s also just so much fun to be able to get these community members in there and hear perspectives that we don’t hear on a daily basis among staff. You know, things that we’re like, Oh, I don’t know if if this is too edgy or I don’t know if this is too safe and people going, Oh no, this is a great show. And I think that I’m really excited to see it. Right.
Stone Payton: [00:18:41] So, yeah, so once you guys land on, yes, we want this one now, you’ve got to get back on the phone or back on the plane or whatever and nail it down, right?
Brian Gamel: [00:18:50] Yeah. So for theaters, a little bit easier because it’s it’s just licensing company. So a big one’s musical theater international, which has most, if not and most of the musicals that exist. So that that’s one where we just you apply for licensing through their websites and hopefully you get it. I would say about 90 percent of the time you do every now and then there’s if you ever want to get Christopher on a soapbox, go talk to him about licensing. It’s a fun one. But you know, there sometimes where another theater that’s that’s considered a professional theater, they they can get the rights over overwhelming your rights. But that’s that’s where that all gets a little dicey. But more often than not, when we’ve picked a season, we’ve said we want these shows and we’ve gotten those shows. So it’s it’s a great, great fun time that’s I’m now officially passing off to the theater staff that used to be part of my job because my job is calling agents and negotiating prices for concerts to come here. So. Right? It’s a very those are very different experiences because the licensing it’s this is this price and that’s what it is. And you signed the contract with the artist. It’s well, let’s let’s haggle a little bit. Let’s see if I can get another venue to come in on Friday, since we’ll have you on Saturday and maybe we’ll get cheaper for both of us, but you’ll get more money out of it. So it’s a full I can talk for hours on the negotiations and that entire side of both of these industries because it’s such a different, unique and fascinating world that people just don’t ever think about, much less.
Stone Payton: [00:20:18] See, thank goodness we have Brian and team, right? Are we going to do? We just hear about it, we go to the right place and we we make it happen and we get our seats. So before we wrap, let’s talk about path to participate, OK? Is it is it a kind of a central website place? And that’s where you start. And then you can do everything from buy a table at the Lantern series to maybe even sponsor something if you’re a business, right?
Brian Gamel: [00:20:43] Oh, for sure. Everything is very centralized on our website. Woodstock Arts dot org. You can also follow us on social media. I believe all the handles are with Stargardt’s G.A. because there are, believe it or not, a lot of Woodstock’s in the states. But we do have the domain name of Woodstock art, so that is us Woodstock Arts dot org. You can get tickets for any upcoming event, including sweat, which I, you know, I highly recommend you see this show. There’s a couple of community stakeholders that have already seen it, and I kid you not. There was one I don’t know if you’re familiar with Mary Coral. She works over at Foxtail Bookshop. Yeah, I love Mary to death. Yeah. She just could not stop raving over the show during intermission and after it. So if you need Mary the seal of approval, it’s right there. But it’s it’s a fantastic show. You can get tickets for that. You can sign up for our classes at the Kisch Center or for the Rees House or for our theater. That’s all online as well. We have art on the green coming up where if you’re an artist or a maker, you can sign up to have a booth for this arts festival. So that’s actually already live. That’s coming up in May, but you can just see all the different fun things we have going on there, and we really hope to see what some of them. And next time I’m here with stone, I’m definitely going to have some updates on Lantern series because, like I said, COVID has been a beast in that industry, so I think we’re almost finalized in making the rest of this season happen. And then we’ll see what happens in April when I’m announcing everything else.
Stone Payton: [00:22:08] But oh, we are so blessed to have Woodstock Arts here and people like you and Nicole and Zach and Christopher, what a what a blessing. And thanks so much for coming by and getting us and keeping us posted, man.
Brian Gamel: [00:22:22] Yes, sir. Thanks for having
Stone Payton: [00:22:22] Me. All right, this is Stone Payton for our guests this morning, Brian Gammel with Woodstock Arts and everyone here at the Business RadioX family saying, we’ll see you next time on the Woodstock art series.