Friday, March 20, 2009

Outpost Producer's Handbook

Outpost Producer's Handbook - by Rob Chalfen & Chris Rich

We suggest you print this out & bring with you to your gig.

I. Basic Info
II. Running the Show


Director: Rob Chalfen -

You MUST be at least 21 to book an event.
Payment is by check ONLY, at time of booking.

Outpost is a more-or-less DIY (do it yourself) performance space dedicated to an adventuresome spirit in the arts. It is a quasi-organized platform to help you get your gig off the ground, but you've got to put it over the plate (to mix metaphors) yourself.

Outpost is a small rectangular room, approx 450 sq ft, 15 x 30. There are about 25 chairs set up and you could squeeze in a few more. Fire Code capacity is 55 but practically speaking, that ain't gonna happen. There is usually art on the walls. There is a Yamaha U3 upright piano kept in excellent tune, a 100 watt Gemini PA amp w. Mackie 1200 mixer, 2 speaker cabinets, 2 Shure 57's w. stands, 4 music stands, 4 theatre light cans with gel selection, gallery track lighting on dimmers, and a pull-down projection screen behind the performance area. There is a restroom at the rear.

Outpost can be rented for concerts, readings and other events, see Current Rates, below.
Bookings are available on a 1st-come basis, consult website or write Director for open dates.
Event approval is subject to the arbitrary & capricious aesthetic whims of the Director. Once approved though you have carte blanche: we will not interfere with your artistic choices or tell you what to do, within the limits of safety and prudence.

We regret that we CANNOT host VERY LOUD or dance music type events.

You MUST be 21 to book an event.

Payment is by check or money order only, no cash - 

Make check to: Rob Chalfen
and post to:
67 Putnam Ave.
Cambridge, MA

Please note the date of your gig on check.


CURRENT RATES - (UNTIL 1 SEPT. 2017, see below)
Public performances (concerts, readings, films etc), single event : $75 per event
Recurring event (series of 3 or more events) :  $50 per event
Rehearsals : $75 per, or make me an offer
Private recording sessions : $20/hr
Theatre productions with sets : $100/day
Film production : $100/day

NOTICE OF RATE CHANGE for shows occurring from 1 Sept. 2017 on :

Public performances (concerts, readings, films etc), single event : $100 per event
Recurring event (series of 3 or more events) :  $75 per event
all other rates the same.

NOTE: The Outpost is now available to host meetings & non-musical events during daytime hours.

Meetings & group events: $100 per event

Private Functions/Receptions/Parties: $100 per event

If you book & rent the show, you are The Producer.
The Producer (artist) retains all gate receipts. Outpost takes no part of the door, nor of any swag sold on site.

NB: Outpost reserves the right to adjust rental rates to accommodate individual resources & the requirements of special events.

Many folks produce a series of regular performances at Outpost. Producers book regularly recurring dates (eg, '2nd Mondays') & curate the series according to their lights. You may find a series producer to sponsor your show - please see producer list at bottom of the home Outpost page. You may want to become a series producer yourself; book a show & see how it goes!

Posted start time is standardized to 8pm (8:30 pm on Mondays) - that's the earliest you can start without bugging the shrinks upstairs, but it really functions as your door time, when you begin seating the general public. It's what our public expects; even if you announce some later time you'll still have people wandering in around 8 anyway and if they wander off you'll lose your audience. Start the show when it looks like you've got the house you're going to get, generally around 8:15. SUNDAYS can have an earlier start time, but you might want to have things wrapped up by 10pm in consideration of the neighbors.

Not the Apocalypse, and let's keep it that way! Generally most shows go to 10pm - try to wrap up all music by 11 at the latest, so as not to provoke the bughouse neighbors.

Outpost does basic listings for all events: press listings, our website, various public web listings & our paper calender.
Please forward descriptive info for your event to robchalfen at hotmail dot com
Include name of band or project, personnel and instrumentation, and brief description. Please include relevant web & music links. Save elaborate bios & curricula vitae for your websites. See further helpful Promotional Materials, below.

ADDRESS & DIRECTIONS: Here's a template you can use for all promo:

186 1/2 Hampshire St., Inman Square, Cambridge MA 02139

Near cr. Prospect, opposite Hess gas, behind 7-11. Big ‘186’ on R side of building. Follow walk at Left to gallery, REAR.



The front door should be opened for you by 6pm or so. If not, please see Key, below.
The door may be propped open for load-in ONLY.
You MUST keep ALL doors & windows closed during performance for noise control.
Plus I have no interest in paying to heat or cool the immediate neighborhood.
(AIR may be regulated via thermostat, see AIR, below.)

There is a key to exterior & interior gallery doors located in the mailbox by the entrance.
Please return key to box immediately after opening up or you may lock yourself out!

Keep the entrance door unlocked during your show!

To keep entrance door unlocked :
- insert key
- push latch in (on the side of the door)
- while holding latch in, turn key left
- return key straight & remove, latch should remain in

Just letting yourself in does NOT by itself unlock these doors! Unlock interior doors by first turning the button on the interior knob, then twist the interior knob itself.

PORCH & HALL LIGHTS Turn them on so people can see where to go in!

The Outpost has two plastic sign boards usually leaning against a wall by those mysterious vestibule doors. The white one only has the place name on one side. Use that one near the entrance door by setting it on the edge of the plant bed with the arrow pointing Clearly at the entrance. Otherwise, the clueless will wander into that mysterious vestibule area or go up the wheelchair ramp to the yoga studio.

One has the place name on both sides with arrow correctly aligned. Set that one in front of the big plant pot nearest the front building where you get good light. Usually it is good to toss the white one out first so other musician types can find it for load in. Then when you are ready for audiences the other one goes out.


The first interior door off the hallway is a LOAD IN Door:  unless you enjoy audience randoms wandering into the middle of your 'stage area', lock it during shows and channel the puzzled audience toward that far back door where there is a vestibule where donations can be collected, cd's can be sold and meet and greets can occur among dumb 'spontaneous' pinheads without detracting from the performance so much.

Parking in Inman Square is... interesting. If you hit just around 6pm there is a very good chance an empty spot will be right in front of the building and you don't have to feed meters after 6pm. Otherwise, you can probably use the lot behind 7/11. It is owned by the imperious Baron of Inman Square, a local bigwig who owns Ryles, the S&S and a bunch of increasingly useless parking lots of which this is his deadest. He can be a bit schizoid about these, anxious one day, indifferent the next. Fortunately for you Ryles and the S&S are on the ropes from the economy and he's had a gloomy look about him, probably over leveraged by this yen to destroy housing for parking lots. With luck he'll go bankrupt.

You are responsible for getting your audience. Therefore, pretend you are some booking shill and send the word out. Don't be disappointed if some Globe, Herald or Dig maven scribbles about it and no one shows. No one reads those things anymore as they are discovering, to their dismay. Still, a clip is fun to show the folks back home. Your e mail lists or myspace/facebook pages are marginally more useful. (Please see Helpful Promotional Materials section at end)

We can't make any noise before 8pm on weekdays (8:30pm Mondays) or the shrinks upstairs will have angry passive-aggressive shit-fits and may call da cops. Also bear in mind it is a small modest-volume recital space. It is not a place for high-decibel blast rituals and keep the Marshall stacks at home. Smoke machines and other big dumb show-biz impediments are utterly out of the question. Little things like video projection (a screen is provided) or small charming props are fine.

Try to NOT be loud idiots yammering and chattering on the front entrance deck ESPECIALLY during warm weather as the Crazy troll next door will have angry writhing shitfits and call da cops. (If you really piss him off he'll show up the next day ringing every doorbell and land in the shrinks' office by mistake. Hilarity ensues.)

If da Cops should show up, be utterly polite and helpful and do whatever it is they want, which will usually be to shut down your show on a noise complaint. End it immediately, don't talk back! Cambridge has awesome, good-natured, highly professional cops and they basically like the place. Make sure this continues.

There is a digital HVAC control thermostat next to the load-in door. In moderately warm weather the FAN setting is often sufficient to refresh the air inside from cooler air outside. HEAT setting of 68 is generally sufficient as lights, gear, bodies & sweating musicians can warm the joint up pretty good. COOL setting will knock the humidity down out of the air pretty quick & you wont need to set below 65. If you use the AC, turn the fan OFF (auto) or it will draw in warm humid air from outside between cooling cycles, defeating the purpose. Try to keep a low carbon footprint, and have mercy on our bills.

The overhead lights have faders located near the load-in door and back near the vestibule / bathroom area. These allow a nice array of dimness or brightness. Don't be an idiot and unscrew the overhead floods. Don't be an idiot and jack them around to spotlight your ridiculous singer, they are adjusted for the art!

Keep chairs at least 18" away from walls where art hangs to avoid human/art collisions. Rows of 4 chairs/row from edge of carpet to back work best. The carpet defines the performance area. There are generally 24 chairs set up. There are about a dozen more stacked in the rear foyer. In the unlikely event that your show is a blazing success beyond all imagining, yet more chairs can be found in the basement, accessed from the hallway. Please return them there when you are done. Don't fall down the stairs, I don't carry that kind of insurance.

The PA consists of a 100 watt Gemini PA amp w. Mackie 1200 mixer, 2 Shure 57 mics, 2 unmatched (at the moment) speakers, but they sound OK.
Our mic clips are always getting clipped, so bring your own. 
Mic stands can be found in the utility closet at the rear.
We have a lot of cables & interconnects in a bag in the PA cabinet. Please coil them carefully & put them back IN the cabinet when you're done.
It should go without saying, but please don't steal our cables, mics, stands, power strips, etc. etc. etc.   WHAT THE HELL'S THE MATTER WITH YOU???

Don't move shit pointlessly around - the PA cabinet and the little chest of drawers are ancient & fragile & you'll only fuck them up. The place is configured the way it is for a reason. If you set special stuff up for yourself, put it back when you're done. Otherwise your name will be cursed unto 9 generations.


Please police the joint after the show for all the Crapola your people have left lying around, all the water bottles, smoothie cups & half-eaten Korean take-out left under the seats. There's a recycling tub in the little utility closet off the vestibule. Yes coffee cups, water & juice bottles & your styrene container from the Indian joint up the street are recyclable. Regular trash can be left in cans for the janitor. Take down & toss all your stupid flyers. Do not pile stuff against mysterious doors. They actually lead to tenant spaces and they won't like a bottle-pile booby-trap against their door.
Put away your cables, mics & mic stands. Shut off PA and power strips. Tidy up the chairs.
Fold up & return any extra chairs to the nameless depths from whence they came.

When you leave, police the space for trash, turn out lights, set thermostat to OFF, lock doors (do not dead-bolt interior doors) & put the sandwich boards back in the space between the buildings, not in the gallery. Turn off porch & hall lights. Make sure key is back in mailbox.


The City takes a dim view indeed about unlicensed alcohol distribution and all I need is for the fuzz to show up on a noise complaint & find a bunch of your 19 yr-old hipster proteges reeling about in front of the space slobbering Heineken on themselves; I don't even want to think about how much trouble that would get me into. Your show is not a kegger so please keep a lid on it. If I find out your show has devolved into an under-age, drunken mess, that's curtains for you, pal! You will be chained to a rock for all eternity, your liver plucked out by irritated eagles, never to book another poser luau here again.

Here's some stuff you can use to help promote your show:

Your most effective promotion will always be your email list - make sure everyone connected to your event gets a complete electronic copy of the event info & will send out to their lists. Calling people doesn't hurt, either, if you have time. In my experience, people are more likely to come out if they get hit from several different directions, viz:

Flyers can be effective. Don't forget the address & starting times. It's a good idea to take 5 flyers (& packing tape) to the gig to leave a paper trail for folks: 2 on the sidewalk sandwich board, 1 on the board by the steps, 1 on the front door, & 1 on the entrance door at the end of the hall. (If you forget tape there should be some in the pantry; please don't steal the fucking tape.) Don't put them in newspaper boxes or I will get a surly notice from the news distributor. NEVER put 'byob' on a flyer or ballyhoo booze in any way (see "A Note On Booze", above).







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post to:
rob chalfen : subconsciouscafe inc : productions & promotions
67 Putnam Ave. Cambridge, MA 02139
617.913.0459  robchalfen@hotmail dot com

gallery location:
OUTPOST 186 : 186 1/2 Hampshire st. Cambridge MA 02139
updated concert & events :

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