Studio 52 is a community artist space located in the heart of Allston, and is proud to support the Boston music scene and local artist community.
When ONCE Somerville announced earlier this year it was closing for several weeks in order to “transition to a new internal structure”, many in the Boston music community were curious as to what would be in store. Now that the independently-owned-and-operated Highland Avenue ballroom and lounge has gotten its grand re-opening out of the way, achieved with significant fanfare last month, some of that new structure has come to light.
On Tuesday (October 16), ONCE unveiled some key changes in its operations department. Leading the charge is the announcement of longtime Boston venue manager and talent buyer Jackie Indrisano as general manager, and 20-year live production and sound engineer veteran Darby Smotherman as production manager.
Both hires have been described as “pivotal” by the team at ONCE, and the venue envisions the additions as key factors in boosting its stability and long-term vision.
“We’re so excited to have Jackie on board as general manager and Darby as production manager,” says ONCE Somerville PR Consultant Sue Minichiello. “Both of them bring invaluable professional experience to the table that we hope will allay any past concerns and set us up for future success. Their undeniable enthusiasm for and dedication to the local music and arts community align perfectly with the ONCE Somerville philosophy.”
Indrisano brings background in venues like The Rat, Northeastern’s Afterhours, and Berklee’s Red Room at Cafe 939, last year serving as adjunct professor in Bay State College’s Entertainment Management program while also teaching its core venue management course. “I’m stoked about being general manager of this beloved venue,” Indrisano says. “Safety, hospitality, and ‘money well spent’ are my goals, but first, I need to understand the current culture and practices. Then I can determine what works and tweak what doesn’t. I want the patrons to feel good about fighting to keep ONCE open, and the staff to embrace their roles and understand they are essential to the venue’s reputation and success.”
Smotherman, meanwhile, was nominated for a 2018 Boston Music Award in the Live Production Engineer of the Year category, and served as Arts Emerson’s technical supervisor for its first four years. Though she has run sound at ONCE in the past, she’s now taking on a larger role at the venue, which ONCE describe as “organizational and supervisory responsibilities.”
“I first discovered ONCE via a Ladies Rock Camp Boston showcase and felt an immediate affinity for the place and the people. I never looked back,” Smotherman says. “I’m excited to join the team as production manager. It’s a new venture for me at the same time that ONCE is making a fresh start. I hope to make things easier for the artists, show organizers, and venue operations by being a cog in a well-oiled machine that produces great success and ensures the venue’s future.”
Some remaining staffers at ONCE are taking on additional responsibilities, including Joel Barbieri (bar manager) and Alex Betancourt and Nina Goodman (shift supervisors). The venue’s booking is handled by Porter Productions, a team that includes Chris Porter (booking manager and talent buyer) and Bridget Duggan (assistant booking manager), and owner JJ Gonson and partner Sean O’Brien are reported to be focusing more on the catering and personal chef functions of parent organization Cuisine en Locale as ONCE’s roster rounds into shape.