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.

CONTACT: 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. 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 in excellent tune, a 100 watt Gemini PA amp w. Mackie 1200 mixer, 2 Shure 57's w stands, 2 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 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.

Public performances (concerts, readings, films etc), single event : $75 per event
Recurring event (series) :  $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

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

Meetings & group events: $75 per event

Private Functions/Receptions/Parties: $100 per event

If you book & rent the show, you are the Producer.
The Producer retains all gate receipts. Outpost has no claim on your take.

Payment is by CHECK ONLY, payable to Rob Chalfen, please mail to:

Rob Chalfen
67 Putnam Ave
Cambridge MA 02139

-Please send your check immediately upon booking your event.
-Your event is confirmed only upon receipt of check.
-Please write date of event on check.

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

Some folks produce regular series of events at Outpost. Producers rent regular dates & curate their series according to their lights. You may find a series producer to sponsor your show - please see producer list at bottom of main Outpost page. You may want to become a series producer; book a show & see how it goes!

Posted start time is standardized to 8pm - that's the earliest you can start without bugging the shrinks upstairs, but it really functions as your door time, when you start seating. It's what the public expects; even if you post some later time you'll still have people wandering in around 8 anyway and if they wander off you'll lose audience. Start the show when you feel you've got the house you're going to get, generally around 8:15. SUNDAYS can have a 6 or 7 start time, but you might want to have things wrapped up by 9:30pm.

Not the apocalypse, and let's keep it that way! Generally most shows go to 10; try to wrap up all sound-making by 11 at the latest.

Outpost does basic promotion for all events: press listings, website, paper calender.
Please forward descriptive info for your event to
Include name of band or project, personnel and instrumentation, and brief description. Please include web/myspace links. Save elaborate bios & curriculum vitae for your websites. See further helpful Promotional Materials, below.

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

OUTPOST 186: 186 1/2 Hampshire St., Inman Square, Cambridge

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


1. Load ins. Show up around 6 or so and you can leave the front entrance door open with the cinder block thingy ONLY while you load in and out. Otherwise, keep ALL doors closed during performance as a form of noise reduction.

2. Noise 1: Never EVER make any noise before 8pm on weekdays or the shrinks upstairs will have angry passive aggressive shit-fits and 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.

3. Noise 2: 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's office by mistake. Hilarity ensues.)

4. Cops: 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.

5.Promo: 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 and Phoenix 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)

6. Parking: 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.

7. Space doors and Audience Routing: The first door you find near the front 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.

8. Heat/AC & Lights etc.: There is an old-style round Honeywell Thermostat next to the load-in door. It also has small switches on the upper right and left sides. Instructions are conveniently adjacent. Try to keep a low carbon footprint. The overhead lights have dimmer slide faders on the switch nearest the load-in door and the switch 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 screw them around, they are set up for the art. There is a supplementary PA available and a new Yamaha Upright. Try to not bash it around or move it too much and resist childish urges to noodle on it before 8pm on weekdays, (see 2, above).

9. Signage: 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.

The black 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.

10. Cleanup: What to do with your post show debris: Recycling tubs are in the little utility closet off the vestibule. Use them. Regular trash can be left in cans for the janitor. 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.

11. Chair set up: Keep chairs at least 18" away from walls where art hangs to avoid human/art collisions. Rows of 4 chairs from edge of carpet to back work best. The carpet defines the performance area.

12. Shut down: When you leave, police the space for trash, turn out lights, set thermostat to OFF, lock doors & bring the signs in.


the City takes a dim view indeed about unlicensed alcohol and all I need is for the fuzz to show up on a noise complaint & find a bunch of underage kids reeling about in front of the space slopping 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 the lid on. If I find out your show has devolved into a drunken mess, that's It for you, Pal!

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:

Boss-Improv is a Topica list serve for the improvising music community in the Boston area (mostly). Use it to send out notices for your event at least a week before, the day before & the day of the event.
To subscribe, send an email to:

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.) Don't put them in news 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).







you may also try:









Facebook, Twitter & your Myspace page

rob chalfen : subconsciouscafe inc : productions & promotions
25 grant st 3 cambridge ma 02138-6019

OUTPOST 186 : 186 1/2 hampshire st. cambridge ma 02139
updated concert & events :
Outpost in the Tab: "An-Outpost-on-the-edge-of-music"

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