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Working In Tandem: The Worthen Attic’s Bookers

Without the time and sheer grace from both of these individuals, half of Lowell’s entertainment would be obsolete. Between Kelsey Rose and Cayla Johnson’s care and demanding effort, the Worthen Attic has a dynamic booking unit assembled. This team, fitted with other facilitators, has tirelessly organized amazing local shows that incorporate inclusivity seamlessly. No bullshit. Be a good human. Get to this gig & respect the space. I had the fortune of getting to ask both of them some interesting questions about being Worthen Wenches. They inherently work “far more as a team rather than independent from each other”. Through coordinating with each others schedules, the Worthen Bookers get shit done the only way they know how: transparent communication & radical honesty.

AAV: The Worthen is obviously the oldest tavern in Lowell. What have you learned about this space over your time booking here? What have you given to the space?

KR: The Attic, as well as the third story, is actually an addition to the building – but don’t be fooled it’s still over a century old. These floors were originally used as logging when The Worthen House was a Bed and Breakfast during Prohibition. Since then, the framework for the original rooms have been removed on the second floor to create the space we have today. The space has looked different over the years – most notably our regulars will tell you it used to have pool tables. As a venue, The Worthen Attic has had many different eras of bookers bringing various types of entertainment to our guests.

CJ: When Kelsey started working at the Worthen she took on the task of breathing life back into the venue and put a focus on making sure there would be live music upstairs every Friday night. This involved talking with people currently in the Lowell scene to address previous issues and how we could work together to solve them along with a full night spent getting the wires uncrossed in our PA & speaker system. A year later, I joined the team running a weekly Open Mic and booking various jazz shows, artists showcases and cabarets monthly. Now, the Worthen Attic hosts multiple events and shows a week and has grown bigger than just Friday nights. Over the past year of working as a team we have given the space the attention it deserves, in turn so has our community! We have each hosted multi-day music series in the space, added decorations and lighting for special events, provided display space for local vendors and artists and are able to hold events that provide to causes we’re passionate about.

AAV: What’s something you want readers to know about you?

CJ: I have a strong love for entertainment in all forms. When I visit a new city, and visit a bar with live music, it’s one of the most adventurous and exciting moments for me. I love engaging with a new atmosphere and being delighted with tunes and delicious refreshments! I want to create that magic for as many people as possible wherever I go.

KR: On top of live music, I also love performance art – particularly drag and burlesque. Both of which I hope to host at the Worthen one day.

AAV: Favorite show you booked? What’s coming up?

KR: Yellowhammer Fest was definitely an important one for me. I received so much support from both the music scene and the Lowell community as a whole and that’s not something I take for granted. It’s a privilege to have access to this space and going forward I want to use it to give back more. Martian Radio will be presenting the play The Man Who Was Thursday on Wednesday October 9th at 6pm. The Man Who Was Thursday relates the experiences of Gabriel Syme, a poet turned detective, who is hired by a shrouded, nameless person to infiltrate a group of anarchists, each named for a day of the week and all determined to destroy the world. Presale tickets will be posted on our page soon.

CJ: Singer-songwriter Summer Showcase during the Lowell Folk Festival was my favorite event so far. I had an opportunity to hand-pick musicians I studied with and admire in general to highlight during our busiest weekend of the year! Moni Grace, Zachary Boudrot, Anneliese Riedel, Raquel, Chris Jackson, Shea Mosquera, and Melissa Mills it was such a pleasure to host you all in our space! Cayla’s Cabaret is coming up on Saturday November 16th! This cabaret highlights advanced vocalists and their love for live performance. Each vocalist is carefully selected and works with our house band for a number of rehearsals before the event. If you’d like to get involved or audition with us on September 21st feel free to get in touch with us! We also are involved in two city-wide festivals as a venue location, The Town and The City Festival and the Jack Kerouac Festival, both in mid-October.

AAV: Uplifting thoughts you’d like to tell your fellow booker pal, go!

CJ: Never hesitate to ask for help. There is a community of people who look up to you and are always willing to lend a hand!

KR: I second the notion of not being afraid to ask for help- there is so much work that goes into doing this so don’t burn yourself out trying to micromanage everything. But have fun with it and make sure you connect with the community because Lowell has such a great scene.

AAV: If you could add any kind of wacky addition to the Worthen, from bouncy house to ball pit, what would it be?

KR: I keep asking Paul to let us serve Mad Dog for just one weekend but he keeps telling me no – I’ll break him down eventually though.

CJ: I would like to fill the room with roses, balloons or something festive.

As far as music comes – so much more! Expect to see another outdoor alleyway show, more weekday and Sunday shows, touring bands from all over and a city wide music festival! To keep up with what we’re doing you can find a full calendar of announced events here: http://www.worthenhousecafe.com/shows

Email worthenattic@gmail.com if you’re looking to book a show! Always keep in mind that these wonderful folk put on more than shows – poetry events, plays, workshops, paint nights, and private events! Come put your thing on at The Worthen!

-Alyssa Aileen Vautier