Someone asked me the other day what it means to work at the Poppy? Well my response went something like this…
Every Wednesday morning we meet. In between the hugs and the catching up we manage to conduct a meeting about the Poppy and more importantly the space as a whole. This is the best part of my week: the breakfast I get to share with these people and the discussions we have. The Poppy is sort of like our unruly child, something that we manage, plan, negotiate and tinker with week by week. Trying to promote our message, bringing music and art to the Mission, while also balancing audience turnout and energetic musicians, and reaching new communities
Each week we recap the shows that occurred the previous weekend. As the shows we present vary so widely, a single weekend could consist of rumba, jazz, rap, R & B, classical, carnatic or a mix of all three genres. We discuss the difference between seated audiences and dancing audiences, how we can be considerate of our neighbors, and the issue with comp-ing too many tickets. We’ll problem solve, and also share victories that occurred the last time we hosted; if the big tabby cat made an appearance, or theories about certain music reaching different audiences.
Every week it’s slightly the same and slightly different; halfway through someone will make a move to refill the French press, (everyone will support them) and people will move around to take pictures, update the Facebook, commend Aleksandra on her grandmother’s baked goods, steal more of Indira’s guacamole, or sneak to the small kitchen to scavenge for more food.
All of us come from different walks of life and different backgrounds. Some of us are musicians, several are talented artists, one is an amazing photographer, a few are dancers, one does improv, several write, etc. We also work other jobs, have other lives, and don’t all live in SF. What brings us together is this space, this child of ours that we all seem to share.
After Wednesday staff meeting ends, we move our cars, refill our cups and the second half begins. It’s our Development Track for those who are interested and invested in the arts, want to seek out more experience and meet talented arts practitioners right here in the bay. (This project is called PRESENCE and gives others and myself an opportunity to learn more about how to be successful as an artist, while still staying true to the goals of art.)We’ll have a presentation from a musician or an arts administrator and a discussion about San Francisco, and how to live in this world where the arts are struggling to stay afloat.
Slowly as the PRESENCE meetings come to a close, people begin to slip out. Having to leave for other jobs, or appointments, saying a quick goodbye, washing a dish and sneaking out silently—until we meet again next Wednesday…or in the dozens of e-mails we’ll communicate by until then.
–Maggie Wilson, Coordinator, PR, Rentals and Performance Programs