Four years ago, Strathmore found a surprising use for the formal, Georgian mansion that sits on its grounds: It started inviting local bands -- indie acts True Womanhood and U.S. Royalty and go-go band Mambo Sauce among them -- to bring a little cred to the place.
The music, and a pretty excellent PBR happy hour, turned the Friday night series, called Friday Night Eclectic, into a draw for twenty- and thirty-somethings from Montgomery County.
In its fourth season, which kicks off on Friday, the series is fully embracing its "eclectic" moniker, adding comedy and poetry nights, opera and more. What's also changed, says the series's curator, Georgina Javor, is that the acts are encouraged to use the space in new ways. What Strathmore is saying is, "We want you guys there, but we want a full-on experience." The bands, Javor says, "take the creative lead behind what happens in the Mansion."
The first show is a prime example, a curious, carnival-like night curated by the band Bellflur. Bellflur tapped other bands, including ExitClov, Typefighter, BearShark, HundredHundred; artists such as Ben Tolman; and theater troupe Grain of Sand Theatre to perform on various stages, creating the feeling that there's art almost everywhere you turn. Tickets to the 8:45 p.m. show are $12 in advance, and $15 at the door. Get there when doors open at 8 to catch happy hour specials.
Here's a peek at the rest of the Friday Night Eclectic schedule:
Feb. 8 Stone Kawala and Poetry in Motion
Feb. 15 Ra Ra Rasputin with Miyazaki
Feb. 22 Drop Electric
March 1 An evening of jazz with Thiefs
March 8 Heavy Breathing
March 22 Urban Arias performing "Blind Dates"
March 29 You, Me, Them, Everybody's Most Eggcellent Country Teatime Jamboree
April 5 Second String Band
April 26 The Sweater Set (CD release party)