The people who work for us are seriously top notch humans, and we're excited to introduce you to them in this column of barista profiles called "Baristars." Perhaps you've seen that we're doing shows at the Spruce Street HubBub - it's a development that we're way stoked about. The person in charge of booking and organizing these shows is Laura Jane B., who is also one of our stellar Spruce Street baristas! She's an opinionated and funny lady with lots going on in her young life.
Laura Jane is a Philadelphia native who grew up in various neighborhoods in North Philly. She attended college at Boston University, where she just graduated from this spring - crazy girl did it in just 3 years! She studied journalism in the College of Communications with a focus in photojournalism, and minored in cultural anthropology. She was super involved with BU's radio station, WTBU ("The beat of Boston University"), serving as News Director during her freshman year, and then Music Director during her Sophomore and Junior years. She also hosted "Down in The Holler," an old school country music radio show, where she'd invite bands to come hang out and play live sets on the air.
She got her start booking shows while living in a former punk house in Boston. They often had bands play in their basement, and because of her connections through the radio station, Laura Jane could sometimes snag bigger bands who would normally play in bars or clubs, and get them to play more intimate, all ages shows for her and her friends. She recalled a particularly rad night when the band Tiny Victories from Brooklyn played a packed show in the basement and then kept the fun going with a dance party after their set. It's exactly this spirit which instilled a love for the DIY ethos in her. She says, "I like DIY because you talk directly to people, they agree to play, you charge people donations at the door and then you give the money right to the bands. No one has to worry about percentages or cuts or paying the sound guy." She's running the shows at HubBub in this same exact way!
Laura Jane's main passion is photography - photojournalism, specifically. You should take a look at her photo blog; she's got some really first rate work posted there. She cites Philly-based artist Zoe Strauss as a major influence, and says her ultimate goal is to work for the NY Times Magazine, whose photography she thinks is a "beautiful mishmash balance between the artistic and journalistic." We particularly like LJ's shots of live music; she's able to capture a certain energy and exuberance.
While she hustles in pursuit of her dream, working side jobs shooting for WXPN and Folkadelphia (as well as the occasional wedding), LJ says working at HubBub is probably the favorite job she's ever had. "I get to sit on the register for six hours and say nice things to people and hawk locally sourced stuff from small businesses, and it just feels great. HubBub's got nothing but swell people and good vibes and it is honestly the best," she says.
Think her love of working at HubBub has anything to do with the fact that her boyfriend also works for us?? That's right - a HubBub romance! Laura Jane and Derek met when they were new hires, and now they're totally together. Swoon!
One more fun fact: Laura Jane has 8 tattoos! EIGHT! And each has got a story. The first tattoo she ever got is on the inside of her right wrist and features the words "Shalom," "Salaam" and "Peace" intertwined in logo based off a key chain her dad brought back from Israel in the 80's. Others include the phrase "So it goes" inside a rhombus on her xyphoid process (the little nib of bone at the end of the sternum, and LJ's favorite part of her body), which is an homage to Slaughterhouse Five; The White Tree of Gondor from Lord of the Rings (Laura's mom read the books to her when she was young and she became an "insufferable nerd-child" about them); and a shield and headstone on the back of her arms. Inside the shield reads "Do Well," and inside the headstone is "Fear Not," which is a family motto she once saw on a monument in the historic Woodlands Cemetery, and thought was the coolest life philosophy.
We couldn't agree more.