10 Questions with Jason McCool

June 6, 2016

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Our new quick-take interview series continues with die-hard Opus Affair groupie Jason McCool

What is your profession?
Why just one? BU PhD student in the lucrative field of Historical Musicology during the school year; Arts & Culture Liaison for AERONAUT; roving social media consultant; intermittent producer, director, actor, singer, trumpet player!

Where do you live?
I live in Union Square, Somerville, the rare neighborhood that blows way past its "trendy" reputation to be a near-perfect place to live.

What/when was your first Opus Affair?
Aww. My first Opus was in August 2014 literally just after I had dropped off my ex (woops) at the airport after she helped me move here from DC. Kyle Hemingway Dickinson Faulkner Alma Mahler had the questionable judgment class to reach out to me after I was tweeting about the BSO at Tanglewood and he made it a point to introduce me all around the room as an arts advocate new to town. What an awesome way to get to know a group of great people—I'm terribly loyal to Opus for the way it connects likeminded people in a fun, casual way. PLUS THEY DO ALL THE DRANKS.

Favorite Opus Affair memory?
Why just one? Probably the time I won the late, lamented Punch Bowl with the late, lamented Solas Nua in Boston after roving around the room reading contemporary Irish poems in an Irish dialect. Then again, the time I met Margot Rood with the Opus crew during the intermission of an Odyssey Opera show really set the tone for lots of free champagne fun and beautiful music and inside jokes over the next few years. I've met so many awesome people through Opus!

What's a cool project you're currently working on?
Why just one? I recently scored my dream part-time job working as an Arts & Culture Liaison for AERONAUT, which is hosting some of the most interesting performances in the Boston area. You never know what you'll get from night to night: a cellist playing Bach cello suites with a line of 100+ out the door, clattering avant-garde jazz, wild brass bands, immersive Shakespeare, weirdo musicals. And always great beer and crowd of smarty pants people. I think we're proving that audiences are hungry for creative experiences as long as we're willing to let go of the stuffiness of the presentation of art. On a self-producing level, a video project taping Boston actors delivering Shakespeare monologues all around the city, a 1930s play reading series where the audience gets dressed up, a continuing series of historical artsy parties, and possibly a remounting of some Irish theatre in Boston. #BARMCCOOL is becoming a thing in my living room. And sometimes I just sit in Union Square and play old weepy jazz standards on trumpet.

What's your current favorite Boston bar or restaurant?
I am such a fanboy of BACKBAR in Union Square. Outside of the fact that its a 45 second walk from where I live (ZOMG), the quality control of the entire staff is just sky high, and I a) both learn something about cocktails and b) talk to a fascinating person pretty much every time I sit at that bar. Plus, someone called me NORM there recently and I think the grin on my face went past my actual face.

What GIF best describes you?

If you weren't in Boston in 2016, what city and era would you be most at home in?
Why just one? Berlin in the 1930s. New York City in the 1920s. Rural Ireland or Scotland in the 1820s. Paging Scott Bakula?

What does it mean to live a creative life?
I think being open to the airborne whims of the universe. Recognizing windows of opportunity and seizing upon them. Sounds hokey, but I can't express how many times I've simply followed an impulse and found there was a need for whatever I was doing. The universe—and the creative community of Boston—rarely respond with a NO when you direct some positive energy toward something you're passionate about. Also, recognizing the collaborative potential and unique gifts of other people! Art is rarely made by solitary creators—the chance to build a supportive community of likeminded DO-ers is one of the best things about making things happen in Boston right now. We just need to figure out creative ways to fund larger-scale opportunities for artists working outside of the massive institutions which tend to dictate the flow of traffic.

Name the next three fascinating #bosarts people we should send these questions to next.
@margotrood, @fluxboston, @MrsFridayNext

Follow Jason to see which #bosarts events he's connected to