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Ithaca is People: Casey Martin

The #IthacaisPeople Files

Week 11: Mr. Caffeinated Gets Real

Take a look at Ithaca through the eyes of Casey Martin, Director of Marketing for one of Ithaca's oldest, most popular venues for music, comedy, magic and much, much more. He's hung out with some of the greatest talents of our time, and he happens to be the latest to take over @VisitIthaca on Instagram in our #IthacaisPeople series. Read our interview with Casey below to find out why Spoon is the coolest, Wilco rocks, and Elvis Costello thinks the State Theater is to die for!

What do you do?

I'm the Director of Marketing at the State Theater. Well, that's my day job. And I take pictures on the side.

Yes, we've seen your Instagram account. What inspires you?

Everything from people to music... I shoot a lot of music. A lot of music. Around the Theater and around the County. I grew up taking photos of music so that's what kind of inspires my photos. I =focus mainly on people and music.

Have you always worked in the music/entertainment industry?

Not really, I started out working for a hard drive company, selling hard drives, which is kind of uh... lame? And then I got a gig at the Theater and I've been there for about five years.

What's the best performance that you've seen a the State Theater?

Oh, that's a good one! Well, let's see. I mean, I'm a big Wilco fan, so Wilco was fun.

I heard that was a good one.

Yeah. Spoon was also really cool. I was never a big Spoon fan and then I got to hang out with them for a week... they actually rehearsed here for the entire week leading up to the show... so I got to hang out with them which was awesome.

What do you like most about working at State Theater?

The diversity of the job. I mean, not only am I marketing a nonprofit organization, I am marketing shows as well. So every day and every week I'm targeting a new audience. So I get to meet a lot of really cool people - a lot of different people- so that's really cool.

How does being a nonprofit make State Theater different from a standard music venue?

We actually have a really interesting business model. We are a nonprofit so we do all of our own shows, and we do take some of the risk, but we also work with [a production/promotion company] who takes some of the risk for the majority of the big headliner acts. A majority of the other concert venues in the country don't do that. It's usually one or the other. So it's kind of nice that we have somebody that takes some of the risk away from the nonprofit part of the organization.

So aside from the business model, what do you think sets State Theater apart from other concert venues? How do you think the experience compares?

Well, I am sure every marketing person for every theater says this, (laughs) but we have a beautiful venue. I mean, it's incredible. You walk down State Street and you don't even know that it's sitting right there. It's kind of hidden. People walk in and they're like, "Oh, crap!" I mean, it's an incredible building. It really is. And a lot of the artists... I mean, I remember Elvis Costello coming in and he just didn't want to put his guitar down because it just sounded so good. Even during sound check, he was like "Holy s**t! This is a great sounding room!" So it's nice to hear that not only from the people but from someone as well known for his music as Elvis Costello.

I bet! So speaking of being hidden, what is your favorite "hidden gem" in Ithaca?

My favorite hidden gem in Ithaca. That's a tough one. There are a lot. Right now? Oh, man. Well... can I saaaayyy...

Nothing illegal!

(Laughs) No nothing illegal, yeah! My favorite gem? Well I mean, I guess you could call the State [Theater] a hidden gem. I mean, like I said, a lot of people walk by and don't realize it's this huge 1,600 seat venue. But you know, I like all the dams, I like all the hiking spots. Where have I been recently? I can't pick one.

Ok, well you think on that and we'll come back to it!

Ok, alright.

What are three words that describe yourself?

I guess the easiest would be music-loving photographer.

Nope. First one's hyphenated. We count that as one word. So we need one more!

Hyphenated. Ok.

Hahaha!

Well, I was gonna say "fun" photographer but that's lame. Um... "Caffeinated."

Caffeinated.

How's that?

Yeah, that works! Always?

Usually. Not right now. I woke up late, so I'm itching for it.

Well, I am caffeinated enough for the both of us so it's all good!

Great! Perfect!

If you could describe Ithaca in one word what would it be and why?

"Interesting." I mean you can walk down the street and see all kinds of people in one place. It's an interesting place to be.

Thanks, Casey! Now go grab yourself some coffee and get moving. We wouldn't want you dozing off the next time Elvis Costello swings through town!

ABOUT THE STATE THEATER: The State Theater is a 501c3 organization with a mission to enhance the cultural life of Ithaca and the Finger Lakes, by preserving, operating and promoting itself as an active venue for a diverse array of national, international and community performances and programming.

Follow @VisitIthaca on Instagram for more.

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