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Behind-the-Scenes with Breakin’ Curfew 2010

When over a thousand teens and adults pile into the Power Center on May 15th, they are expecting the unexpected…whether it is comedic folk, a Chinese guzheng player, a crew of bhangra dancers or avant-garde jazz. Teen curators from the Neutral Zone, with the help of UMS professionals, work all year to mount a successful muti-genre show made up of all teen acts.  Only once a year is teen talent featured in such a highly professional way, including world-class sound and lighting.

I have been a curator for Breakin’ Curfew for all three years of high school.  The curators meet every week to compile a list of acts to play in the show–which involves making some sacrifices and hard choices.  We look for quality, crowd appeal, professionalism, and diversity.  I don’t want to give away any surprises, but this year I’m especially excited about the funk band Sole Transit and Max Bowen’s jazz group “Max’d Out.”

Once the line up is finished, we split into production and marketing teams.  The marketing team creates the poster for the show, works on creative ways to publicize Breakin’ Curfew (like YouTube videos and facebook) and distributes the press release to newspapers and radio stations.  Production focuses on working out details like act placement, lighting, equipment and technical needs, and creates the backdrop.  We also have workshops with great UMS folks like Jeff Beyersdorf, Jim Leija, Mark Jacobson…and even Ken Fischer, the man himself.  I’ve learned many marketing and production skills by working on this show, and being a curator has also helped my problem-solving.  I hope you’ll all come to this year’s show!