Gail Heidel of The Way Station!

I’ve played at The Way Station 2 times before solo and will be playing this Saturday, 11/30/13 at 7PM with Ben Kraus on bass. Gail Heidel has been kind enough to answer some questions about the establishment where she works for her brother and proprietor, Andy Heidel.

This past weekend, as you undoubtedly know, was the 50th anniversary of the launch of the popular t.v. series, Dr. Who. Your bar is The Way Station, 683 Washington Ave. Prospect Heights, Bklyn. NY.
1. How long have you been in business?

We are having our third anniversary on Feb. 20. We have Buhre Station STOMP SOCIETY booked from 9-11pm for the party.
Genre: Swing
For fans of : Great Music & Good Times

Named, “Best of the Bronx” News 12, this Swing Band not only recreates the authentic sounds of such greats as Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong’s Dixieland, but also brings their unique brand of showmanship and most importantly FUN back to this timeless genre of music. If you have not had the opportunity to experience the Buhre Station STOMP SOCIETY live in action… NOW IS YOUR CHANCE at their Brooklyn premier !!!

” Keeping this sound alive. …bringing back an era that was truly timeless and fabulous!”

BUHRESTATIONSTOMPSOCIETY.COM


2. Righteous. So, dear readers, be sure to make it out if you’re in town! Did you start out with the Dr. Who theme or was that an addition?

It wasn’t in the original business plan, although the steam punk aesthetic was.*(http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?_adv_prop=image&fr=uh3_my_web_gs&va=steampunk) The tardis was a solution to a problem. *(http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?_adv_prop=image&fr=uh3_my_web_gs&sz=all&va=tardis) The bathroom was sited next to the actual bar and Andy and his former manager were wondering how to disguise it. The idea of the blue box was born.

3. Hahahaha that’s an excellent, creative solution. Who’s the bigger Dr. Who fan? You or Anders?

Anders is the fan. I’ve never watched the show. I’m in it for the music.

4. I love live music and it’s very important to me. Have you always hosted live music?

If you are asking about my career path-
No, I haven’t. I am actually a visual artist. I work part-time as The Gallery and Public Program Manager at Pelham Art Center and part-time at The Way Station. I am also an Assistant Professor of Art at Hunter College teaching one class per semester. This being said, music has also been a big part of my life. I wrote three books about the Black Crowes with a friend of mine, which led to a job work for them doing on-site promotion during the 1997 Further Festival tour. I was also a manager for a regional funk band in the late 90’s in Connecticut.

Or if you are talking about the bar.
Yes, we have always had a music series since the bar opened. Andy was originally booking a couple of bands per night by himself and then he asked me if I had the time to help with the booking and promotion. We ramped up our game and are now booking between 100-125 bands per month plus screenings, nerd cabaret, nerd karaoke, comedy and lectures.

5. I was very impressed with your professional and respectful way of booking. You promote the shows via email and on your website, stream them live and are compiling quite an impressive archive. Have you booked bands, players, shows in other places prior to The Way Station?

Thanks so much! As I mentioned above, I am also an arts administrator. My first job in the city was actually booking films and negotiating contracts at The Whitney Museum in the Film and Video Department. Part of my current position in Pelham is to organize 6 exhibitions a year, one of which I curate. I also plan and organize our Folk Art Series with live music, traditional dance and hands on art workshops along with other public events. A number of bands from The Way Station have made their way north to play at my Art Center.

6. Do you buy vinyl, CDs, and/or mp3’s?

I buy mp3’s. mostly these days and have a great collection of cds from bands that come through The Way Station. My husband, James, who is the Wednesday and Saturday night sound man, collects vinyl so it’s in the home.

7. I’m a huge fan of Record Store Day and this past weekend was also the WFMU record fair. Have you been to a Dr. Who convention or comicon or record fair? If so, which ones?

Sorry, no. I have been to a Star Trek Convention in Florida years ago with Anders and our sister to hear Diana Troy speak.

8. Do you have a favorite band?
The Black Crowes

9. Do you have a favorite author?
No. In recent years I’ve become a non-fiction reader focusing on the study of urbanism. So it’s more like I have a favorite research topic.

Favorite books include:
Jane Jacobs, Death and Life of Great American Cities
Robert Caro, Power Broker
Lewis Mumford, The City in History
Stephen Johnson, Emergence
Jarod Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel

10 Do you have a favorite drink?
Smuttynose IPA year round
This time of year I love pumpkin beers and stouts.

Thanks so much for your time!

Thanks for the interview.

Best,
Gail

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