“I think the first show I ever did here,” said underground favorite Jo Firestone about favorite venue Union Hall, “I remember Anthony Atamanuik was backstage eating mini corn dogs. And he kept talking about how they look like dicks and I was like, man… I think I’ve made it.”
A couple months ago I (Gili) wrote about Union Hall for the Metro section of The New York Times and discovered just how much comics love that place. And just how much I love that place, too. Because Union Hall’s core mission is to let its creators explore. Let its scientists, storytellers, musicians and comics mess around and find the quirky thing that’s theirs. Because the bar upstairs brings the money, so its basement venue can be anything Union Hall wants it to be. Anything Union Hall’s artists want it to be. Pop culture greats come to the place to play jazz, show cartoons, do late night talk shows and tell stories about physics, and people congregate and get to see something special and unique. And it’s beautiful. The Bell House, its sister venue, takes these shows and makes them bigger, or books other shows that are already quite big but equally as cool.
And so when I heard that Union Hall and The Bell House were taking their inspired creators and making yet another platform for them to create on, I had to write about it. It’s called Good Orbit, and it's an online platform for podcasts and digital recordings of shows, interviews, backstage snippets, etc. where artists both in the Union Hall/Bell House wheelhouse can explore another medium, and where artists not necessarily doing shows at either can create a space for themselves, too.
According to Good-Orbit.com, “Since not everyone can live in Brooklyn, Good Orbit picks up where the venues leave off – helping creators connect to new audiences by providing additional resources and platforms to showcase and distribute their work… We will also be developing new, original shows with familiar and new voices.”
“The problem with events,” says Bell House Director of Events and one brain behind Good Orbit Andrew Mumm, “is you do all this work and all this talent is there and it’s this great big build… And then it happens and the next morning it’s like it never happened. We built this thing and there’s nothing tangible to be had afterwards. Good Obit is trying to have a record of what we’re doing at the Bell House and Union Hall.”
“Most of the time you’re trying to capture the scene that’s already there,” he adds, “and that you have nothing to do with.” Most of the time they’re trying “not to kill the vibe”, says Union Hall Talent Buyer and another brain behind Good Orbit Shannon Manning. Shows already featured on the site include storytelling superstars The Moth, exploration/discovery show The Empiricist League and Slate magazine’s many podcasts. In terms of payment, the venues will be covering the costs of recording and equipment, and if shows decide they’d like a “donate” button on their pages or to include advertising, they can then see revenue come in from that.
But why that name, specifically? They like the word “good”, for one, plus, “these are all people and shows that are in an orbit we circle around,” says Manning.
The site will be just another part of the very good orbit.