Elizabeth Esser talks to the North Carolina Museum of Art’s Director of Research, Caroline Rocheleau, about the new Golden Mummies of Egypt exhibit.
Elizabeth Esser talks to the North Carolina Museum of Art’s Director of Research, Caroline Rocheleau, about the new Golden Mummies of Egypt exhibit. Then, Lise Nox sits down with Pour House owner Adam Lindstaedt to discuss the venue’s new socially distanced concerts.
FULL TRANSCRIPT OF EPISODE
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Eoin Trainor 0:00
The views and opinions expressed in Eye on the Triangle do not represent WKNC or the student media.
Good evening Raleigh and welcome to this week’s episode of Eye on the Triangle on WKNC 88.1 FM HD one Raleigh, I’m Eoin Trainor. On tonight’s episode contributor Elizabeth Esser will sit down with Caroline Rocheleau to talk about the North Carolina Museum of Art’s new exhibit on golden mummies. And then a little later contributor Lise Knox will discuss live music during the pandemic with Adam Lindstaedt, owner of the local venue the Pour House. Stay tuned.
Elizabeth Esser 0:51
I’m Elizabeth Esser with WKNC 88.1 Eye on the Triangle. Today I am speaking with Caroline Rocheleau, curator of ancient art and Director of Research at the North Carolina Museum of Art to talk about the new golden mummies of Egypt exhibition that opened on March 6. Miss Rocheleau, thank you for joining us on Eye on the Triangle.
Caroline Rocheleau 1:11
Well, thank you for inviting me
Elizabeth Esser 1:12
To get things started can you just tell us a little bit about yourself and your position at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
Caroline Rocheleau 1:19
I am director of research and also curator of ancient art, which is I guess, my primary role at the museum. I take care of all the ancient things from ancient Egypt, to the Mediterranean like Greece and Rome and also the ancient Americas but I have a colleague working with me on those last collections.
Elizabeth Esser 1:38
What can visitors expect from golden mummies of Egypt?
Caroline Rocheleau 1:42
Well, I’ll tell you a little secret. Since I started working at the museum about 15 years ago, people have been asking me, when are we going to have mummies? When are you going to bring an exhibition of mummies because we don’t have any in our collection. And the second they found out that I was a trained Egyptologist, they thought, Oh, well, she’s the person to get us some mummies. So what they can expect to see in Golden mummies of Egypt is mummies. However, we’re focused on a very specific cultural period. And that’s the end of Egyptian history, when Egypt was ruled by the Greeks and the Romans, so the mummies are not going to look like King Tutankhamun, for example, that’s sort of an image that people have in their mind. So it’s not going to be that they’re still mummies. But there’s cultural and artistic influence at that time that’s coming from elsewhere in the Mediterranean, and you will see the Egyptians wearing like Roman hairstyles and togas and things like this. So on the outside, they look different on the inside, they’re the same.
Elizabeth Esser 2:48
So the exhibition focuses on the Greco-Roman period. So what was unique about this particular period? And how do we see that translated in the exhibition?
Caroline Rocheleau 2:59
So Egypt has always been a multicultural environment, because of where it’s located, you know, northeast Africa, but attached to Western Asia and like the, what we call today, the Middle East, and with access to the broader Mediterranean, now you really see it even more, because Egypt becomes part of other empires that have even further wider reaches. And if you think of just a Roman Empire, the fact that Roman Egypt is on par with Gaul with Roman France, is sort of mind boggling, you know, insert mind blowing emoji here, when you put that into perspective it’s like, wow, other countries are as old as Egypt. And Egypt is now part of a much, much bigger network than it was before. So you do see as I mentioned earlier, those cultural influences coming in, because it’s all part of the Empire. The Empire is very diverse. It runs from Western Asia, all the way through Western Europe, and the British Isles. So it’s, it’s quite bigger than Egypt at its height ever was. So you do see those influences? What does curating an exhibition during a pandemic look like? The curating part was not done by me because we this is a traveling exhibition. So it came. It’s an exhibition that is circulated by Nomad Exhibitions based out of Scotland and the collection that is being presented is that of Manchester Museum in the UK. So my colleague there, Campbell Price, and Nomad Exhibitions worked together to curate the exhibition. That being said, installing an exhibition during a pandemic is something that nobody had ever done before. And this was complicated by the fact that people from Nomad and people from Manchester were supposed to come travel to North Carolina to install the cases and put the objects in the cases, because of the pandemic and the travel restrictions, nobody could travel. So it was a whole bunch of zoom meetings, phone calls, we had a WhatsApp, you know messaging group, because we’re, they’re basically helping us remotely put the cases together things we’d never put together before. The material that’s you handle any material the same way. So that’s not so much of an issue but it was trying to do all of this by ourselves when we were originally supposed to assist. So it was a lot trickier and you’re in there with your mask, and you’re putting in the objects and you’re you’re trying to stay six feet apart. That’s impossible. So it’s very nerve wracking at the same at the same time, but we pulled through, and it looks absolutely fabulous. But it was quite a challenge.
Elizabeth Esser 6:06
I understand that the triangle area is celebrating this exhibition along with the museum. Can you tell us a little bit about the community collaborations with the Golden Mummies of Egypt,
Caroline Rocheleau 6:16
We actually have a few goodies in various restaurants. And so we have places in Raleigh and Chapel Hill, for example, good day, good night at Origin Hotel in Raleigh. They have a cocktail called Gold of Egypt. There’s another one called a golden goddess cocktail that’s in Chapel Hill at Honeysuckle Lakewood, there’s a bunch of different things. We even have chocolate, custom packaged sea salt chocolate, available at our museum, or I should say, our exhibition store, which is as you come out of the exhibition, it’s it’s right there, that’s Videri Chocolate Factory, and they sell it at their store as well. Even in the store, we do have some goodies related to this bartending cocktail mix that we have. And we also have a candle that where the scent was made exclusively for us. And it’s inspired by golden mommies. So that’s actually kind of fun. Like you don’t really see that in like exhibition stores something custom made like a candle. For example, Honeysuckle Tea House has Egyptian sunset tea made with chamomile, lemon balm, fall gold, ginkgo leaf, gingerroot, and oatstraw. That just kind of sounds nice, actually. So those are the kinds of partnerships that we have with local places like restaurants and tea houses and chocolates, like what could be better a cocktail, some chocolates after you visit the exhibition. That’s awesome to me.
Elizabeth Esser 7:47
What is your favorite part of the exhibition?
Caroline Rocheleau 7:50
Goodness, I have lots of it’s like asking for my favorite child. There’s lots of different things that I like about the exhibition. I like that we are that we have mummies that people can finally see mummies, like I mentioned, we do not have any in our own collection. But I like also that the exhibition is more than just about mummies that we talk about multiculturalism, we still talk about, what is mummification? Has it changed or not during the Roman period? And a little bit you see this hinted in the exhibition, but there’s a catalog also that accompanies it. And we dive into other themes like colonialism as well, because the discovery was made at the height of the British Empire. So how does that play how the objects that were discovered in Egypt ended up in Manchester Museum, for example. And that’s one of the reasons I mean, I’ve been looking for a mummy exhibition for a little while. This one really caught my interest because it was more than just about mummies, but it was also about bringing transparency to how collections have been formed. And that sort of thing. So it was sort of hitting multiple boxes on the best mummy exhibition to bring to the the NCMA.
Elizabeth Esser 9:04
Finally, is there anything else that you would like listeners to know about Golden Mummies of Egypt?
Caroline Rocheleau 9:09
Well, it is awesome, first of all, so that’s the first point. And what I like to our marketing team, we have this little more I’m going to call it a little ad that said that says mummies wear masks too, because you will see a lot of masks and portraits in the exhibition. And yes, these do identify like, Oh look, this is a human mummy. But these are also used as protection, just like the layers of wrapping around the mummy that’s for protection. So those mummy masks that you see in the exhibition to offer protection. So wear your mask, do like the mummies, and come see golden mummies of Egypt.
Elizabeth Esser 9:47
Golden mummies of Egypt is open from now until July 11. Tickets are $20 for non member adults $17 for seniors and $14 for youth ages 7 to 18 students get in free with their college ID Every Friday from 3 to 5pm with a reserved ticket which can be received through contacting help@NCArtmuseum.org reporting for Eye on the Triangle. This is Elizabeth Esser.
Lise Nox 10:15
The views and opinions expressed during Eye on the Triangle do not represent WKNC or student media.
Hi, this is Lise Knox, and you’re listening to Eye on the Triangle. After spending all of 2020 without seeing live music because of the COVID pandemic the emblematic Raleigh music venue the Pour House House Music Hall started hosting live shows again as of March 2021, I went to one of their COVID safe concerts to see the Latin rock band Tumbao play live on the fifth of March 2021. And I ended up writing about my experience for WKNC’s blog, in an article called “I went to a COVID safe concert after one year without any live shows.” Adam Linstaedt, owner of the Pour House Music Hall and record shop read my article and thought it would be interesting for him to talk more in depth about what it’s really like for a music venue to be hosting COVID safe shows while Raleigh is still affected by the pandemic. I’m really glad we’re having this conversation today because I wrote an article a few weeks ago that apparently you’ve read about me going to a COVID concert at Pour house, which is a very weird experience but really cool experience. So today we’re going to be talking about what it’s like to be hosting these kind of shows in the middle of a pandemic, because for a lot of people, it can seem kind of weird to be, you know, going to concerts. But before we dive into this very specific topic, I just wanted to like know how it was like for you guys to be going through this pandemic as a venue, you know, like a local business, how are you guys able to survive the pandemic in the first place,
Adam Linstaedt 11:51
It was extremely stressful. It still is we’re only partially back at this point. But it was just from day one, watching the money in our bank account just dwindle on a daily basis for a venue like ours when we’re closed completely not doing anything, the lights are off, it cost $500 a day. And we were closed for 355 days without doing shows. So for all you math majors out there, you know, you can figure that out really quickly of how much we lost. We had nowhere near that amount when we went into the pandemic either we relied heavily on donations, on grants from the city and state and other organizations we’ve taken out several loans. So yeah, I mean, we’ve acquired another $400,000 of debt since this time last year just to stay afloat to make sure we don’t go anywhere. And now there’s some light at the end of the tunnel knock on wood. The venue grant that passed in December through Congress is becoming available the applications opening on April 8, which will be a huge Lifeline not just for us, but for all independent music venues across the country. It’ll basically help bring us back to close to zero, which is way better than being a large negative number. There has been days over this last year where it’s like, Alright, we got this, we got to figure it out. We’re gonna do this, this and that. And then the next day you’re like curled up in a corner crying like what the hell am I doing? Why am I doing this? Oh my god, this is such a terrible idea. So it’s definitely been an emotional roller coaster, us more than other venues, we’re in a slightly better position. So in November of 2019, we converted the second level of the music venue into a record shop. So we’ve had that open the whole time. Once we closed down, we converted all of our inventory to try selling online the first couple weeks, you know, we basically just had an Excel spreadsheet that we made public that people would tell us what they wanted, they would come to curbside pickup we delivered to their houses, ship it in the mail. And after a few weeks of doing that it was really confusing for everyone and not terribly accurate on our end, since it was like a panic mode. Like we got to do this now. So we can stop the bleeding a little bit. So we launched the true website. It’s still active, Pourhouserecordshop.com, and we released new stuff every Friday new and used. And we really developed a great online following and are now selling nationally to all 50 states and several countries as well. So that’s been huge for us. It’s basically helped sustain us, it’s definitely not making us money, but it’s you know, making the losses every month a lot less. The intention of the record shop was never to pay for a 5500 square foot building and prime real estate of downtown. There’s a reason you don’t see places like that very much across the country anymore. It was really a way to provide more services to our customers be open more and use our square footage in a better way. I guess, rather than only using the building at night for a few hours. You know, we wanted to try to use it, you know, 16 hours a day and we had the record shop open. We got a full bar up there. We were doing shows free shows on Saturday and Sunday three to five sets every Saturday and Sunday afternoon up in the record shops. It was really becoming a great thing and then the shutdown happened and everything got wiped out. And really in order for us to get back to doing those types of things. Again, we’re going to have to be back with no restrictions whatsoever because it’s a pretty small space up there even right now with the show that you went to and that we’ve been Running on Fridays and Saturdays, it’s running at 19% capacity, we normally hold 289 people, we’re now letting 54 people in at a time into a big space. They’re seated shows, I’m personally bringing everybody in and bringing them to their table, giving them the rundown of how shows are running the expectations that this is a seated show that you should really think of this as going to a movie or a comedy club, you’re sitting back and enjoying the show, we’re bringing everything to you, there’s no reason for you to be up wandering around anything like that, unless you’re using the restroom or needing to step outside for whatever reason. Otherwise, if people are just starting to wander around, they see friends at different tables, we talked to them, if they continue to not follow the rules, we kick them out without a refund. Luckily, that hasn’t had to happen yet, I’d say 95% of people have been great. And they understand they’re, you know, following our protocols, no problem, there’s a small group of people that don’t want to wear masks, they’ll come in, you know, the moment they get inside, they’re taking it off. And because you’re inside now that COVID is gone, it doesn’t make sense. So we are enforcing the mask rule more strictly than say, like a restaurant or a store, we’re requiring people to keep it on the entire time, the only time they can take it off is you know, for a drink, they can pull it down, take a sip of their drink, then put it back on. And if people aren’t doing that, we ask them to comply. And if they continue to cause a problem, we ask them to leave. We’ve had a couple people leave on their own, and on their way out calling me a mask Nazi and all this fun stuff. So like cool, like you can have a great day, you know,
Lise Nox 16:24
it’s like we’ve been independent for over a year. Now, you should know you’re supposed to wear your mask. It’s like, you know, basic guidelines for COVID.
Adam Linstaedt 16:31
Yeah, there’s this strange dichotomy happening because the Pour houses in other music venues are considered private clubs. So like your regular bar that doesn’t serve food, it’s not part of a brewery, not part of a hotel, not part of the winery, we’ve been the only classification of bars in the state that hasn’t been able to be open, all the other ones have been open since May of last year. So a lot of people have been going out for 10 months at this point. And all those places, you know, you go into a brewery, you go into a restaurant, you wear your mask in, and then you sit down and then you can take it off for two hours and not have to put it back on, getting those people used to the fact that they have to keep it on it feels they feel like they’re getting their rights or whatever squashed, blah, blah, blah, but it’s our house our rules. And really what the mandate says is, if you’re not drinking, you have to be wearing a mask. And we interpret that as if you’re not physically drinking, not just sitting there with a drink in front of you that’s not drinking, you got to have a mask on. And we’re keeping the show short right now to reduce the amount of time that people are in room lessen the exposure risk. So normally, we would have anywhere between two and four bands every night, we’re now running one band playing one set for 60 minutes. So people are in and out pretty quickly. And then we turn the house do a deep clean and then do a second show with the same artist. So we’re not you know, having multiple bands sharing the stage and having to do deep cleans of the equipment for the artists in between sets. And we’ve got, you know, plastic shields on all the microphones for when singers are singing, it provides extra protection from them spraying their spit out into the audience. And you know, we’re doing everything we possibly can in our powers to do it right and make sure it is a safe experience. In my opinion. I’ve heard it from countless people that have been to shows already, they felt safer coming to a show with us than going to the grocery store or going to a restaurant or going to this place or that place because the rules are so strictly enforced.
Lise Nox 18:15
Yeah, as someone who actually went to a show, I could tell that the venue really looked empty. But at the same time, I was like, I’m glad I have enough space around me to you know, not feel like someone’s going to infect me with COVID or something I felt safe. And it was really weird. When my friend told me Oh, actually my partner plays the bass in a band. Do you want to go see him play live? I was like, why would I ever go to a concert like that seems like that most unsafe thing to do. And when I was actually at Pour House, I was like, everything is so much safer than me going to like the grocery store or any other place. So you guys have been doing a really great job of keeping everyone safe props to you guys like that.
Adam Linstaedt 18:50
Thank you very much. Yeah, safety and experience for not only the patrons for the bands and my staff as well have always been top priority even before COVID. You know, obviously, it looked different before but the mentality was always there in trying to make it as fun as possible for everyone involved in as safe as possible for everyone involved. And that’s just really carried over. I mean, we had these plans in place ready to go in at the beginning of April 2020. We knew what we had to do in order to put on a safe show. Because you know, in the beginning it was it was like on a three week rolling basis. It’s like you might be able to open in three weeks. So get ready and then three weeks would come we’re like okay, it’s another three weeks and kept snowballing on and on and on and on. And then by the time we got to after Halloween into November the numbers were going crazy. So I was like, you know, I’m stopping I can’t keep replanning and retooling everything every couple weeks its driving me crazy. I’m getting pretty grey now and I wasn’t before. But you know, and then all of a sudden Cooper made the announcement that we could open. It kind of blindsided us we weren’t exactly ready for it. And honestly, we didn’t think that it was the appropriate time but also at the same time we felt we had safe plans and places have been open for 10 months except 1000 businesses in the entire state. So we felt we could do it safely and properly and provide that Pour House experience, even though in a different fashion, we felt we could do it in a safe and enjoyable way.
Lise Nox 20:11
And it was probably even safer at Pour House than any other bar, because I remember going to bar once. And just like you said, People usually tend to like take off their mask to drink. And for two hours, they don’t put it back on, we’re just not wearing our mask and drinking beers at a bar so. We’re just like, not in a pandemic anymore, you know, feels like we’re not
Adam Linstaedt 20:31
Totally yeah, and you know, there was so much language early on, like concerts are the most dangerous thing you could possibly do on the face of Earth anymore. And everyone’s like, concerts. It’s the devil’s play right there. You can’t, you can’t mess around with it. And at the same time, during the pandemic, there’s comedy shows, and there was concerts happening at places that serve food, it was okay if there was food, so you had to have your mask off and flap your mouth more so more spits flying out into the air that was safer rather than people just sitting down paying attention to what’s happening in front of them with a mask on so I mean, the the way it was cut up felt extremely unfair. I do feel like we did our part in doing everything we could to step back and you know, alleviate any sort of pressure that’s put on the system for people getting sick. Obviously, that’s the last thing we want for anybody. We want this to just go away and nobody else gets infected. But that’s not the reality we live in. And but it also got to a point where it’s like we were the first ones to jump back into the you know, from the quote unquote, true music venue side of things in the area, we were the first ones to just jump back in. I feel like we’ve set the bar for expectations for people coming to concerts and what it needs to look like in order to feel safe and comfortable.
Lise Nox 21:38
Yeah, cuz it really looks like you guys had been like preparing for COVID safe shows for a long time, because you were able to do it in a way that felt safe professional, and you didn’t forget about any detail. I mean, when it comes to COVID guidelines, so that was really impressive to be able to adapt that quickly. You know, like I’ve seen many record labels and artists have online shows for their audience to watch. Is this something you’ve ever done with bands who usually play at Pour House during 2020?
Adam Linstaedt 22:05
Yeah, for sure. We did probably 20 or 25 live streams over the last year. The first one we did was very early on. Right after John Bryant passed away. We did a tribute to John Bryant with that’s when people were still on full lockdown and they’re still at their houses. Nobody was coming to the Pour House. We had 8 different acts like BJ Barnum from American aquarium, Kate Rhudy, John Howard Jr, who’s playing tonight at the Pour House and a bunch of other really great acts that are influenced by John Bryant. And they each played three songs, nobody replicated songs and we switched myself and one other person we controlled the stream from the Pour house and you know tuned into John Howard’s house and over to BJs house then over to Kate’s house, and it was like a continuous thing. And it was a really beautiful tribute and you know, tons of people tuned in at that time we were doing it as a fundraiser for the Raleigh music venue employee fund that we started to try to get some dollars in the pockets of all the people that work at Pour House, Lincoln’s, Slim’s, Kings, and Wicked Witch raised some good money during that for the crews. And then over time, we started doing more in person like Arson Daily and Jack the Radio and Shame did something and a bunch of other artists, Reese McHenry, and over time like as the pandemic ticked on, more and more, the number of people tuning in started going down, I definitely feel like there was like a live stream fatigue happening. I’ve spoken with several other event producers around the country. And they’ve seen very similar things. It seems that the most successful live streams are from bands that have a much larger national or international fan base. They’re doing it on their own. They’re not necessarily streaming from a place for this specific reason. They’re just connecting with their, their audience, it was never really an intention for us to make money from it, it was more of a way to be like, Hey, we’re going to be gone for a year. Don’t forget about us. We’re still here. Like, we’re still doing these things over here. And we’re ready for you when when this is all over. So it was really just a way to try to stay fresh in people’s minds.
Lise Nox 24:00
Yeah, I feel like the one positive thing that we can all kind of get from this entire pandemic is how we’ve all kind of learned how to use technology in new ways. You have online shows, which is something you’ve never would have thought of before the pandemic because if you’re going to go to a concert, you’re going to go in person, like why would you watch music through computer in the first place? Yeah. And also Yeah, about the, like livestream fatigue. I feel like a lot of people have spent their entire 2020 working from home on their computer, you know, having zoom calls all day. No, the last thing you want to do after an entire day seated at your computer at your desk is watch the live stream again at night. I don’t think I’ve watched any live stream during the pandemic because I was really I wasn’t really up to date with everything that was going on, like this, but I think I would have watched one if I kind of knew because I was so caught up in like work and you know, trying to survive a pandemic, I guess but yeah
Adam Linstaedt 24:52
it just gets pushed so far down the priority list of things going on in your life and nobody’s to fault for that because I mean, everyone’s experienced with this last year has been wild. And I mean, nobody’s experience has been the same. So I’ve heard, you know, some artists complaining, like, Oh, so and so these people aren’t supporting us anymore. Like, it feels like this isn’t worth it anymore. It’s like, I get that I understand why you’re feeling that. But you also have to put yourself in that in their shoes and understand why they’re not. I mean, maybe they had a death in the family from COVID. Maybe they’re sick themselves, maybe they’re just like losing their damn minds, and just don’t know what to do anymore. I had several people approach me over this last year that like, we really need to convert audiences into getting used to watching live streams, because this is going to be the new reality. And like this, and that we can do all these different things to make it more engaging. And at the end of the day, the people that were pitching these ideas weren’t even watching or paying for the live streams themselves, they might like tune into a free one. But the moment like the artists can really monetize that and use it as a source of income is they got to charge just like a concert. When concerts are free artists in the venue, make very little money, when there’s a cover charge, they’re still making very little money, but it’s better. And then you have the opportunity to sell merch and actually connect with the fans and get them to come back and multiply those crowds as time goes on the in person interaction that being in the same room with others. And experiencing the highs and lows of a musical set are the things that bond that group together. And all of a sudden, you’ve got 300 people in a room that are strangers that are all experiencing the same thing in the same way. And you know, they’re high fiving each other and hugging and kissing on the way out, obviously pre COVID. But
Lise Nox 26:33
definitely, you mentioned earlier that people you are trying to like adapt to the pandemic in the first few weeks or month by kind of selling more records online. And I just think it’s really great that people were actually trying to support you guys, just like you mentioned, we’ve all been kind of struggling in our own ways during the pandemic. So I know that my first priority during this entire year wasn’t to buy records or watch concerts online. And also, I feel like it’s going to be a great opportunity for you guys to kind of expand your activity, because you mentioned that was a national kind of thing, you know, like selling records all around the country. Like are you going to keep doing this kind of thing after COVID is over?
Adam Linstaedt 27:10
Oh, yeah, I mean, in November of 2019, we completely remodeled the second level, turned it into a record shop. So we are open up there from 11am till 7pm, seven days a week, and then we would convert over to shows at night. Right now we’re open just Thursday through Sunday from 12 to six. So we’re starting to ramp up towards getting back to more normal hours and get more activity going up up in there. And you know, it was it was really a really great scene, having people you know, browsing records peeking their head around the stacks, watching, you know, falling in love with a new act that they’d never heard of easy for them to see it because it’s a free admission type show got a full bar people are hanging out, it was like a really cool, really cool scene. And then after four months of doing that it got stripped away completely. And it’s like, okay, we had this great thing going on, we still have this record shop, we’ve got 30,000 records that we are just sitting on now we got to start selling online, and the online stuff has been really great. And we’ve developed a lot of relationships and deepen relationships with people that were already our customers. And now that we’re starting to come back, we’re keeping the online and we’re trying to get more in person stuff going as people become more comfortable and get vaccinated and start venturing out of their cubby holes that they’ve been in for the last year. It seems like at this point with the way that vaccines are rolling out. And the way the numbers are starting to go down a little bit. It’s very possible July or August, we might see things fully open. And we’re back to full capacity shows and shoulder to shoulder and splitting and sweating it out with strangers like we did in the past.
Lise Nox 28:35
Yeah, are you guys going to kind of try to make the shows evolve aggressively until the summer because I know you guys are only opened at 19% capacity right now. Do you see yourself like having 30% capacity shows? Because I know it’s the maximum percentage, right?
Adam Linstaedt 28:48
Well the maximum is up to 50% now yeah. So when you came to the show, we were allowed to be at 30%. But with going to a show, just like if you went to a movie, for example, and you got a seat where you couldn’t see the screen, it wouldn’t be a terribly enjoyable experience, right? So we could, in theory, put more people on the second level of the venue and push them back where they can’t see the stage, but you can’t see the stage and you’re paying to see a show. So that kind of defeats the purpose. So in order to maintain distancing by our standards, which is a little bit provide a little bit more distance than the six feet that’s mandated between tables to just provide that extra comfort level and a stage view. So looking at those two factors together, the maximum we can get to is 19%. So now we’re allowed to be a 50% and getting all sorts of bands and booking agents hitting me up like alright, I heard 50% let’s do this, you can do 140 people now is like, Well, no, because social distancing is still part of the mandate. And that’s the reason until social distancing is not a revenue requirement anymore. We’re going to keep operating in the way that we are once we are making plans for about a month and a half from now, to start extending the length of the shows a little bit like to show that you came to for Tumbao, those were 60 minute shows with one act, we’re going to extend each show to 90 minutes. So basically add a second act with very minimal change over. So most of the time, it’ll be a full band as a headliner, and maybe a solo or a duo act as an opener for 30 minutes, we can get them off stage very quickly, they’re set up in front of the band already. So we don’t have any big change overs, bringing gear down into the crowd and getting too close to customers or anything like that. And then we can just, you know, within two to three minutes, move on to the next band. So it’s now a 90 minute show, instead of a 60 minute show.
Lise Nox 30:33
It’s really crazy as someone who was part of the audience, how I never like I know how much it takes to you know, keep everyone safe when you’re trying to have this kind of event. But I never realized how many small details you have to think about to make sure that every single thing you do is safe. And you’ve been telling me about cleaning after every band and only choosing to have like one band at a time. So many things you have to think about because I mean, when I went to see Tumbao at Pour House at the beginning of March 2021, it felt weird to have like the venue being almost empty but at the same time. I’m pretty shy person. So if you tell me in the first place, like Oh, you’re not allowed to dance or like, you know, jump around, I’m gonna be like, it’s fine with me. I wasn’t planning on dancing. If I just began my table, and like just enjoying the music and doing my thing, but yeah, no, I didn’t mind having to follow all of those right, very strict rules that you guys have been implementing for the past few weeks.
Adam Linstaedt 31:23
I mean, we can continue to wait until things are fully open, and then just dive back in at 100% go full force, or we could take some baby steps and get you out in front of that computer screen and actually get you back into the room feeling the music because going to show is more about feeling than anything you can see it on the screen, you can see it in person, it’s the feeling that you get when you’re in the room, the bass hitting you in the chest, and you know, the vibes that are just going on in the room, feeding off the energy of the other people, whether you’re paying attention to them or not its in the air. And that’s what that’s why we do what we do is that experience of being in the room and collectively going through a moment of time that’s memorable with others. And that’s the baseline of what this whole experience of live music is all about to us.
Lise Nox 32:05
Yeah, clearly. But since you guys were having so little people inside the venue, would you say it was easier for you to have the show since you had to, like, you know, take care of less people at the same time.
Adam Linstaedt 32:15
No, because we’re running things extremely differently. You know, I mean, we’ve always been high volume quick service bar, so customers would come to the bar to order their drinks. Now we’re going to their tables and taking their order, we have paper menus at each table, people mark down the items that they want, they put it in a little metal stand. And when we see that little paper waving in the air, that’s our sign to come and pick up their order. So we come and grab, grab it, bring it back to the bar, prepare those drinks, and then carry it out on a tray. I mean, we’ve never, we don’t have cocktail service with what we run, people are coming up to us. And we’re usually struggling to hear what they’re trying to order. And then we make their drink as fast as possible and move on to the next one. Because there’s you know, lots of people trying to get drinks, and we’re doing band merch the same way. So to minimize the number of interactions that the band is having with customers, we’re selling it for them. Since myself and our bartenders are already interacting with the crowds, it made better sense for us to sell their merch as well. So they’re on each table, just like the bar menu, there’s a little menu with the band merchandise and people can select what they want, put in a little metal stand. And when we see that we add it to their tab and bring them their t shirts and CDs and records and whatever it is that they wanted less work on the band’s and more income for them because they’re selling merchandise, we’re not taking any sort of cut of that. So we’re providing that service to just minimize the risk of getting anybody else potentially sick. And you know, that coupled with me personally seating every single person that comes through the venue explaining the rules to them. And once that’s done and everyones sat I get up on stage and make an announcement and reiterate the rules say what is acceptable, what’s not introduce the band, get back down start bartending and helping and clearing dishes and you know, the whole nine yards. It’s exhausting. And then, you know, once that Show’s over, we do it again and do a deep clean of the entire 5500 square foot venue in between the two shows, but it is really nice. I’m thankful that I had some formal theater training in the past, I used to work at Playmakers in Chapel Hill and I worked at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego before I moved to Raleigh and American Dance Festival and Carolina theater for a little bit I really learned about how other types of live events run not everyone’s like come in party, do what you want be on your phone, talk loud, most other forms of art you come in, you sit down and shut up and pay attention. Like I wrote, I had that experience and I was used to enforcing those things from the past. And we’re already used to enforcing rules at the Pour House too. So it was just another layer of rules that were different than everyone was used to. So it’s definitely been interesting getting folks in tune with that with this new flow of operations and I can guarantee what’s gonna happen by the time everyone’s like, Oh, Okay, I get it, then everything’s gonna change and open back up. And we’re not going to be doing things like this anymore. But at the same time, we’ve always had shows in the past that have lent themselves better to a seated environment, whether it’s a an acoustic songwriter where silence is golden, or a jazz show or a folk show, something that is just more mellow, or maybe would attract a crowd that is a little bit older, and they appreciate the seats. So now we’ve got the operations down to accommodate those things, and we can amplify it a little bit more, maybe not have tables so spread out and bring in additional ones, and run shows in the same way that we are right now. So it’s definitely forcing us to be more dynamic. And I think it’s only going to be beneficial down the road for us to adapt how we present things based on what it is we’re presenting.
Lise Nox 35:35
Yeah, cuz I was gonna ask like, Once COVID is over, and you don’t have to worry about masks or social distancing, or cleaning up the entire venue after every, like every set, I was gonna ask, are you going to do anything differently going forward, and it seems like you guys are gonna have more opportunities to have, you know, just like you said, lighter shows or like more intimate shows.
Adam Linstaedt 35:57
Usually, when we’ve done seated shows in the past, we’ve done it more like rows of chairs, without tables, more of like a theater style seating. So we’ll bring in 100 chairs or something like that, for the ground floor, maybe some standing room behind it with a few tables, and then general admission behind that at the bar. So people are still able to be fluid. But when you do shows like that, especially when you’re in a row of 10 people, and you’re in the middle and you want to get up and go get a drink, you’re gonna probably question yourself, whether you should do that and interrupt all these seven people that you got to walk past in front of and then come back and how many times you actually going to get up and down. But with doing it with the tables like this, so it’s kind of more like a jazz club or a comedy club type approach? I think it works really well. You know, we started a series with NC State live in 2019, we did a handful, maybe three or four shows with them in partnership, and something Those were all seated shows with the sporadic seating and row seating that I was speaking of before, but I was talking to Sharon, who runs the program over there yesterday, actually, like you should really come check out what we’re doing now. I think it’s gonna lend itself perfectly for the NC State live shows. And she’s like, yeah, that’s gonna sounds great, we should totally come and check that out. And it just, you know, people are always more comfortable with things they’re familiar with. And certain crowds are more familiar with certain types of approaches than others. And it’s a way to reflect what the crowd wants. That’s our job as a venue is to make it comfortable for people and make it as fun for those people that are there that night. And I think having those seated shows like that is going to continue to be a thing in the future, we might lay off it a little bit for a while and just party as hard as we can, and you know, throw all the ragers. But whenever that whenever that happens, whenever it’s safe. It’s looking like the later this year, late summer, maybe in the fall, we should be back to rocking and rolling.
Lise Nox 37:45
Do you have unless you don’t want to talk about it? Because it’s a surprise, or, you know, do you have anything planned for when things are gonna go back to normal to kind of celebrate, you know, venue being able to reopen normally?
Adam Linstaedt 37:56
No, not at this point. Because if I’ve learned anything over this last year is the more you put plans down into place and start moving on them, you’re going to have to change them. So we know how to run shows like that we’re ready for it. It’s when it’s going to be it might be a Tuesday randomly, it might be a Friday night, a couple of weeks after we get the announcement that we can do things like that as we ride out things that are already in place on the calendar, since we know typically booked further out than this weekend, you know, we’ve got things on the calendar all the way up to January right now of stuff that was rescheduled from last year
Lise Nox 38:28
really seems like the pandemic has kind of taught us all how to be more spontaneous and flexible with our time with our energy our plans, just like you said, Every time you as of right now every time you’re going to plan something for the future, you’re always going to think in the back of your mind, maybe its is not going to happen. Or maybe everything’s gonna change or like my entire world is going to fall apart in like two months from now. So adapt to be changes really quick. It’s what we’ve all been doing for all of 2020
Adam Linstaedt 38:53
Yeah, early on in the pandemic, I was talking to someone I don’t remember who you know, you seem to really be on top of things and like getting things rescheduled and getting things on the calendar, blah, blah, blah. I was like, Yeah, but you know, at the same time, I’m really trying to look at this, like we’re a startup business, when you’re a startup business, you don’t really you might have a date planned for when you’re going to open but there’s always going to be surprises that pop up, you have to have this extra permit or you have to have this extra inspection or the plumbing inspector is making you move your toilet over a quarter inch to fall into compliance. So being flexible, having a plan and being able to adapt it in real time is key for everyone right now to maintaining sanity really
Lise Nox 39:30
I think the positive things we can remember from this pandemic is like how we’ve all been able to evolve into new people or you know, just like or new ways to run our businesses, I guess.
Adam Linstaedt 39:39
Yeah, hopefully it sticks for a lot of people because typically people tend to forget things very quickly and move on and fall back into old habits. So hopefully it is been long enough that there is a greater good that comes out of this all this downtime we’ve all had.
Lise Nox 39:52
I can say even though you guys had to set really strict rules for your show. I remember having a great time. So thank you so much for making this possible because I’m a really big fan of like music. So spending an entire year without going to a concert and also having started the year 2020 thinking, Okay, this year is the year where I will be going to one concert per month. That’s the thing I wanted to do for my 2020 and then having to spend the entire year locked up in my room and be like, not going to happen. Definitely not gonna happen. I just remembered that. So I moved to Raleigh a few months ago. And I remember the first time I went to Pour House, I had no idea what it was in the first place. Like my friend told me, Hey, we should go to pourhouse. I was like, yeah, sure, whatever that is. And she took me to the record shop upstairs. And at the time, I had no idea that you guys were actually hosting live shows, usually, you know, pre pandemic. And she’s the one who showed me the stage. And she was like, Oh, my partner usually plays there. And I was like, wow, there’s a venue here. Like, that’s awesome and at the time, I was like, well, we’re, you know, with COVID. and stuff, I’m never going to be able to see a concert anyways, like, good thing to know. But I’m probably going to be
Adam Linstaedt 40:58
Thanks for rubbing it in.
Lise Nox 41:00
Like, I’m glad to know this information, but I’m not going to be able to do anything about it. And fast forward two months later, I’m seeing a live show of her partner playing the bass on stage. And I’m like, Oh, it was just really, really fun to notice the evolution because we’re kind of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel right now know, people are getting more and more vaccinated.
Adam Linstaedt 41:18
I think its starting April 6th, or 7th anyone over 16 in North Carolina can get it. You can get it next week.
Lise Nox 41:26
Oh, wow. That’s, that’s coming really quickly. Yeah, cuz I’d like to get vaccinated. And I, for some reason, for obvious reasons, I couldn’t. But yeah, it’s good to know. So yeah,
Adam Linstaedt 41:36
They’ve fast tracked a lot of things. And yeah, I believe it’s the sixth or the seventh, anyone over the age of 16 is eligible. Okay, yeah, I got my second shot on Wednesday, and my wife just got her second shot this morning. That’s great. So we’re moving, we’re moving towards it. And you know, once everyone that works for the venue, is vaccinated, and we’re past that two week after, after getting your second shot time period, we are going to be a little bit more flexible with the masks, we’re obviously still going to encourage people to keep them on the entire time they’re inside the building, but we’re gonna fight with them less about it. So if someone feels the need to sit down and take their mask off, and stay in their spot and follow all the other rules, keep their mask off while they’re drinking, we’re going to allow it at that point in time. But right now, if any of us get sick we had 17 employees when we closed down, and now we’re we have 4, so if any of us get sick, we’re gonna have to cancel shows for the next month, which is putting all these bands out of work, putting them out of work, we’re just doing everything, we can definitely not make that happen. So we’ll feel a little bit more comfortable with it once everyone’s got their vaccinations fully in their systems. And, you know, hopefully everyone else follows suit and gets their shots as well. And we can get back to this sooner than later since I mean, it’s the floodgates are opening next week,
Lise Nox 42:53
it definitely matters more than anything that your team is safe first, because for people running the shows, like did you have to let go that many people because of like the debt?
Adam Linstaedt 43:02
Well, I mean, that’s how many people we need to run shows right now. Okay, so I’ve got my sound engineer, our door person, and two people working behind the bar plus myself managing so there’s four people working than me managing and we’re able to make it work with 54 people in the room, that’s a fine number for us to deal with. So as things ramp up, we’re going to start bringing back more folks, I have a separate person that’s running a record shop during the daytime for those hours, technically five people back of the 17 that we had when we closed down initially,
Lise Nox 43:34
Adam Linstaedt 43:34
But yeah I mean, we were we had the record shop opened 56 hours a week, we’re doing shows seven nights a week with multiple bands, you know, often we would have four or five bartenders on any night, sometimes additional security on the floor, always a manager on duty. So just the need for more people right now isn’t there and it wouldn’t be fair to bring back more people and cut everyone’s money down and then go, we should have stayed on unemployment, we would have been making more money that way, even though people want to get back to work. So it’s been a balancing act for sure. We definitely have more folks that we’re ready to bring back once restrictions get loosened a little bit. And we’re able to bring more bodies in and justify the cost and having more people working
Lise Nox 44:13
if you only have to deal with like 40 people like 44 people at the same time, it seems you know, reasonable
Adam Linstaedt 44:18
Right, normally, in the before times, if we had a show where you know, 40 or 50 people showed up, that would be a one bartender night because they’re not having to go out and run all over the place and cocktail and get their bills. 20,000 steps in in a couple hours. They’re behind the bar, people are coming to them, which is a lot more easy to manage than it is with this other process. But yeah, that’s where we’re at right now. And I have full intentions of getting back to bigger and better places than we were before.
Lise Nox 44:42
Hopefully by this summer 2021. That would be awesome. The rebirth of Pour House. Finally,
Adam Linstaedt 44:47
yeah, it’s coming.
Lise Nox 44:49
Yes, it definitely is. I think I’ve covered pretty much everything I wanted to talk about. Is there anything else you want to add?
Adam Linstaedt 44:56
Just let folks know that we’re announcing new concerts every Tuesday at noon. So if you pay attention to our social media on Facebook or Instagram, or you get our newsletter that we send out, those are the main places that we’re announcing those shows on the record shop side of things, we put out new and used releases every Friday at 10am. online at pourhouserecordshop.com they’re obviously available in shop starting at noon, and just kind of keep an ear out for us. Because we’re always adding more things, we’re always announcing more events. And hopefully soon we’re going to announce that things are changing for the better. And we’re moving in the direction of not having to be so strict and we can loosen up because at the end of the day, people come and hang out with us to cut loose from life not to follow more rules their here to have fun were very much ready to get back to that. So in the meantime, we’re just going to make this as fun as we possibly can and as enjoyable as we possibly can, with the hope of being able to shift back to how things were before and being more fluid of an experience.
Lise Nox 45:56
Yeah, and I feel like this interview and the article I wrote, are going to be pretty good proof for people that their shows are safe. So if you want to have fun, if you want to forget about the pandemic for an hour, one night, you can you’re not going to get sick with COVID, it’s fine, you can go to a concert, like with a clear conscience,
Adam Linstaedt 46:14
Right totally. And on that same on that same note we’ve got, because we’re largely selling all of our tickets in advance. So we have contact information for at least one person in every single group that’s coming to the venue. And we’ve asked in all of our terms, hey, if you or anyone in your group gets sick with COVID, within two weeks of being here, let us know. So we can let everyone that was at that show know. So they can, you know, squash it and you know, isolate and do the things that they’re supposed to do to help slow the spread of this thing. The answer is to slowing it down are just so painfully obvious. And it’s so hard to watch everything happen that are just flying in the face of it and flying in the face of logic. It’s really frustrating. We could have been back to rocking and rolling a long time ago if everyone just you know, did what they were supposed to do and were responsible but that’s not the world we live in unfortunately.
Lise Nox 47:03
Definitely not thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me about this this the kind of information that I think a lot of people are going to be benefiting from people are going to know what it’s like with you telling us about Pour house and everything had to go through and how you’re running the shows right now. Like it’s just really great information. So thank you so much for taking the time to talk about this with me.
Adam Linstaedt 47:22
Yeah, absolutely. I appreciate you putting it at the forefront and letting folks know and if anyone has any questions or concerns or hesitations about coming out to a show or coming to the shop you know we’re an open door people can email me my email is adam@The-Pour-House.com You can also reach out to Nick his emails the same but it’s Nick you can reach out to Lacey the same but L A C I E, our phone numbers 919-821-1120. Call us we’re happy to talk and ease your mind a little bit. And if we can’t convince you that it’s safe now we hope that you come back when you feel more comfortable.
Lise Nox 47:59
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eye on the Triangle. This is Lise Knox for WKNC 88.1. My guest was Adam Linstaedt from Pour House Music Hall, and he did a really great job in explaining what it’s really like to be hosting COVID safe shows in the middle of a pandemic. Thank you so much for listening once again and I guess I’ll see you soon. Take care