Orange County Regional History Center presents a visual history of maverick concert promoter Figurehead | Arts Stories + Interviews | Orlando

It’s lengthy been reported that all those who overlook history are condemned to repeat it. And the Orange County Regional Heritage Centre has been steadfast in its struggle towards that certain curse, evidenced by influencing exhibitions on the Pulse nightclub shooting and the Ocoee massacre. In the case of their most recent exhibition unveiled past 7 days, Figurehead: Tunes and Mayhem in Orlando’s Underground, the best consequence is both of those to make people today conscious of this vibrant period of time of Central Florida’s nightlife record and perhaps even motivate a couple museumgoers to possibly acquire a few ideas from Figurehead’s improvisatory playbook and repeat a “oversight” or two.

Figurehead the exhibit chronicles the highs and lows of maverick concert promotional group Figurehead by means of a visually dazzling and cautiously produced exhibition of live performance posters and flyers meticulously collected around the several years by “head Determine” Jim Faherty. The poster layouts are jaw-dropping, courtesy of a compact corps of Orlando artists and designers who produced a unified visible identification and aesthetic up there with 4Ad and Factory — equally influences Faherty quickly cops to — utilizing summary imagery that claims significantly in the way of musical “shock of the new.” For numerous, the exhibition will be rather revelatory in discovery: This went on in our yard? For others, it can be a form of large-school reunion, every single poster conjuring up recollections of neglected evenings out, some hearing gladly lost in the services of bold new songs.

The exhibition is artfully organized and materials thoughtfully spelled out each literal move of the way. By dint of quantity, it will become a veritable avalanche of substitute songs coming straight for you: Lydia Lunch, Elliott Smith, 7 Mary Three, Modest Mouse, Bauhaus, Sonic Boom, Lousy Afro Expertise, Matchbox 20, Sam Rivers, Stomach (with Radiohead opening!), Henry Rollins, Sonic Youth all jostle for place on posters and reside pictures from the displays — quite a few provided by our individual Jim Leatherman (we say pridefully).

From the yrs 1985-2001, Figurehead — named right after a significantly bleak Cure tune from Pornography (with This Mortal Coil’s just-as-bleak “Velvet Belly” currently being the runner-up) — was a pressure to be reckoned with between impartial promoters in Central Florida, luring incredible touring acts to the Town Lovely, when fostering a strong core of community worthies as perfectly. While nominally presided over by the Tony Wilson-esque (with all the excellent and not-so-very good that implies) Faherty, Figurehead does appear to have been a loved ones affair, as evidenced by the oral histories you can accessibility by using mock payphones during.

The exhibition will be up as a result of September 2023, augmented by a sturdy slate of programming — the weekend before going to push we caught a energetic converse from Insomniac zine publisher and WPRK alum Israel Vasquetelle, punctuated by a Q+A with a range of youthful individuals picking his brain on publishing and hip-hop heritage.

Relatively than getting a person-and-carried out, Record Center employees express interest in applying Figurehead as a launching place for extra deep dives into unchronicled regions of Orlando tunes record. Hold an ear out.

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photo by Jim Leatherman

“The legacy of Figurehead was seriously about generating a community, just one that was that pushed by arts, songs, lifestyle and friendship.” — Shayni Rae

Shayni Rae is an critical aspect of the Figurehead story — and, certainly, the tale of alternate music in Orlando — as the co-proprietor of iconic downtown live performance hotspot Sapphire Supper Club (now the Social) with Faherty. When the Sapphire opened in 1994, Rae was at the forefront, generating positive the two musicians and viewers experienced a exceptional practical experience, and an considerable cocktail menu, every time. Much more than just just a series of displays, Rae and Faherty have been hoping to create a scene.

Are you stunned to see some of your get the job done fostering the music group in Orlando end up in a historic archive?

The group at the Heart did just a large occupation with their execution of the complete demonstrate style. In theory, you know, Jim donated a bunch of paper flyers, and they definitely took that and went deep and created a little something that I feel, for somebody who possibly was component of the scene or was not, is a definitely visceral encounter.

At the time, what have been your impressions of the Orlando songs scene and how have they transformed searching through the lens of this exhibit?

I had come from Cleveland and the first live performance I went out to was the Butthole Surfers and Lousy Afro Experience. … “I’m likely to see the Butthole Surfers at a area known as the Seashore Club?” I imagined I was definitely likely to be discouraged. But what did happen was a truly excellent, eclectic group. Instantly I could see that there was a genuine tunes scene in this article.

A large part of why things have been so attention-grabbing then is that there had been a good deal of creative artists there … devoid of that prosperity of expertise in Orlando it couldn’t materialize. It was a capsule of time that I consider is seriously amazing. And right after leaving the Sapphire and going to extra smaller golf equipment all-around the state, it was noticeable that we had been accomplishing some thing a bit higher than and beyond what the standard 500-capability club was carrying out.

Jim has taken pains to anxiety that Figurehead was a collaborative enterprise.

1 hundred p.c. Jim is the figurehead, but the figurehead of an entity that had a great deal of going elements — specially when you’re in essence building a scene and a cultural community, in an organic sense right before the internet, ahead of Pitchfork, in advance of mobile telephones … It can be critical that we experienced a whole lot of various viewpoints. And the graphic artists, I imply, Thomas Scott and Jeff Matz are two of the most effective graphic designers in the region. So it took a good deal of diverse persons to make it operate.

simply click to enlarge Orange County Regional History Center presents a visual history of maverick concert promoter Figurehead

When we opened the Sapphire it was my strategy to do a supper club. I grew up all around the jazz scene and, you know, option music just indicates that it’s an alternative to the mainstream. So we were accomplishing every one form of music there and we just couldn’t be experienced in each individual one style. So we had to work with a lot of men and women to convey these ideas to us. Simply because of that, we ended up properly open up to a whole lot of various and new concepts because so considerably of it was new to all of us.

Had been there any unique posters that spurred recollections?

Elliott Smith. That was a significant a single. We experienced worked with him a couple of periods, and just a truly, really excellent artist and probably just one of my favorite reveals.

And the Sam Rivers image by Jim Leatherman was super amazing. A person of my highlights of displays at the Sapphire was functioning with Sam.

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photograph by Jim Leatherman

“Ninety percent of the reveals I did, I misplaced money. But I had a wonderful day job, so I could reduce cash on the Flaming Lips or whichever, because I just want you to have entertaining.” — Jim Faherty

To start with and foremost, Jim Faherty wants you to know that he’s even now, in reality, with us. “At the opening, I just held listening to ‘it’s a celebration of his lifestyle,'” exclaims Faherty. “Cease saying that! I’m continue to alive!” Certainly, he’s poised to open a new artists’ industry in Sanford extremely quickly. Right after that, he would like you to know that Figurehead was so a great deal far more than just one man or woman, and Orlando songs is so much a lot more than Figurehead. All that aside, Faherty looks delighted with how the Figurehead exhibition turned out, and how it precisely chronicles decades of reserving exhibits by means of fork out telephones, losing dollars fortunately, driving to cities all close to Florida just to staple posters to phone poles (scarcely again in time for his working day career the up coming morning), and building it all up as they went together.

Did you at any time think that your life’s do the job would conclude up in a museum?

It is creepy. Wait, that is not the proper word … Search, I donated 10,000 posters and items but I under no circumstances observed the entire show right before it opened. I was never ever associated in the narrative or the ultimate picks, they wouldn’t allow me go through it. But I am so happy of it. It’s awesome, it is really actually variety of unbelievable.

click on to enlarge Orange County Regional History Center presents a visual history of maverick concert promoter Figurehead

How did you manage to save all of them around the many years?

I was so appreciative of the artists that manufactured those posters. I experienced this ridiculously massive get together home downtown in Delaney Park and I experienced a audio space with all flat data files. I experienced a bin for flyers and I would just make it a habit every single clearly show to maintain a number of copies of each flyer and poster. I saved almost everything from each present due to the fact I truly required to have a background for myself. Even if I received senile, I’d recall I did a Camper Van Beethoven clearly show

Was it essential from the begin to have a solid visual identification for Figurehead?

The two largest influences were Manufacturing unit and 4Advert. I went to see Cocteau Twins in 1983. And the dude who did that clearly show was a massive affect. So I went to see the Cocteau Twins and he had a method — and this is basically a punk band — of the songs he is playing, the new music videos he is taking part in, he’s taking part in the Fall, Nick Cave, the Buzzcocks. Now he’s accomplishing releases, and then the posters are all hand-finished by all these artists. I obtained to interview the Cocteau Twins. I received to satisfy the artists that essentially created the posters. And I claimed, “That is what I want to do. When I start out performing demonstrates in Florida I want to do that specific issue. I want to have artists do these awesome posters. I want the artists included.” I emulated Factory Data. Have you seen 24 Hour Get together People today? Which is how I was back again in the day.

There were being a great deal of really creative people today pitching in to make Figurehead.

The largest detail, honestly, for me was that we had a major committee serving to me out with this, with the artists and the bands and the lovers. People today helped me with the seem and loading in the bands. It can be these types of a massive friends-and-family members issue, aiding nonetheless they could. There had been so quite a few palms achieving out to make these shows materialize. Now everything’s very singular, one particular person attempting to do it. It was a big group. It wasn’t just Jim getting the guide. It was like Jim with 30 persons to pull off a person show.

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photo by Jim Leatherman

“It’s been really inspirational to us to be ready to converse to these folks who really designed it come about. We hope that this is some tiny reflection back again of the function that they did.” — curator Jeremy Hileman

Rock & roll is an company that trades on myth-creating and more substantial-than-lifetime figures — and that contains Jim Faherty and a reasonable amount of the creatives in and all around Figurehead. So give show curator Jeremy Hileman and the difficult-working employees at the Historical past Heart credit for getting the names, dates and timeline untangled from a haze of late-night recollections. The Heritage Middle applied Faherty’s donation of posters and ephemera together with extensive oral heritage-model interviews to convey to the story of a singular sector of Orlando nightlife. If Hileman and the Middle have their druthers, this is just the beginning.

What was the first genesis of this exhibition?

This all commenced from our perform on the 1 Orlando Collection at the Heritage Middle of products that pertain to the Pulse nightclub tragedy. Each individual calendar year, for the very last five several years immediately after the tragedy, the Heritage Centre hosts an exhibition that showcases some of people objects. For our fourth yr … a person of the issues that we truly preferred to locate out more about was the history of the building.

And with Jim currently being concerned with Dante’s [pre-Pulse club] and owning it for a interval of time — which was just prior to Pulse getting above the space — I imagined, “Hey, this guy would be intriguing to communicate to.” Also I realized a tiny bit about him in conditions of his identify acquiring thrown all over really a little bit, as significantly as audio heritage locally. We were ready to get a keep of him to do an oral background, and we talked about Dante’s and then he experienced so a lot of stories similar to his work as a promoter.

He instructed us tales about when he promoted the Lifeless Kennedys display in 1985, and all these things listed here that he experienced done, and which is wonderful for our oral heritage selection … but it just so happened that he brought in a handful of products to display us. Inevitably, he went by way of his selection and donated quite a few hundred posters and really much the full discography of his Figurehead report label.

Pretty immediately at the time we commenced having this material we’re like, “How do we showcase this in some way?” I assume that it would have been a disservice to just slap the posters up on a wall and get in touch with that an show. So we have been capable to assemble these oral histories and prices and pics from Jim Leatherman — which was a enormous strike. I really don’t consider that we could have properly advised this story with no his pictures.

Would you mind naming some of the other folks you interviewed …

We were ready to speak to Shayni Rae, who labored with Jim more than the yrs, with the two Figurehead and when they were being co-owners of the Sapphire Supper Club. She was a big source.

We also talked to Michael McRaney, who was a area musician who performed many Figurehead shows and then went to operate for Jim and then sooner or later run Basis, reserving the two the Social and the Beacham.

We interviewed five persons who were contributors to the structure do the job of the posters: Thomas Scott, Jeff Matz, Scott Sugiuchi, Greg Reinel and Klaus Heesch. They have been not the only types that did posters, but I feel all those were the people that Jim leaned on the most as significantly as his structure work.

But as considerably as extra outstanding names, I signify, we were being able to do interviews with Jason Ross from Seven Mary Three, Henry Rollins, Robert Pollard from Guided by Voices, Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20, Lydia Lunch, Jonathan Richman …

The exhibition is likely to be up for about a calendar year. How will you be even further discovering it during the run?

We ended up lucky ample to get a grant from Florida Humanities to do some things via the stop of the 12 months and we’re making an attempt to increase our viewpoint of the new music group right here in Orlando. We are executing a system this weekend which is centered close to neighborhood hip-hop society, which is not a thing that’s truly concentrated on in the exhibit, but which is an essential element of the Orlando songs neighborhood. There’s numerous other parts, dance tunes remaining 1 of the primary types, that I would adore to get some men and women who are concerned in that to converse to us and be included in some of our programming.

I would say the key emphasis heading ahead would be developing out our programming and featuring some of all those factors and allowing for people the opportunity to existing or be involved that do not essentially suit cleanly into the Figurehead story, but employing that as a springboard to deal with Orlando audio a small additional comprehensively.

simply click to enlarge Orange County Regional History Center presents a visual history of maverick concert promoter Figurehead