No matter what part of the world you may find yourself in, one of the things you’ll find in common amongst this planet's various societies and cultures, is the tendency to celebrate our milestones. It could be in the form of a small group of family and friends, or a grand affair with all the champagne you can drink, as many guests as can be wooed, and as much pomp as one can stomach.
Robb Wexler does pomp, and he does it well. With a highly skilled crew of acrobats, burlesque dancers, and actors, Atomic Entertainment doesn’t simply bring life to the party, they are the party.
You could have done any one thing out of your repertoire, but it seems you chose them all. It must be a monumental task.
I basically have combined all of my experiences in life to do what I do. Being an artist in the US means you typically have a side or two (or three), and I am fortunate enough to have picked up many skills along the way while pursuing my dreams as a performer. There is always something to learn in life no matter what you are doing. I don’t think I chose them all, I more believe that I was able to combine all of the skills I learned along the way to start a successful business.
Prior to this, what sort of projects were you doing, or is this your first venture?
Before this I was just performing in circus shows and corporate events. I always imagined I would wind up behind the scenes somehow. So when the opportunity arose to produce my first show, I jumped on it. We were successful in our bid, and a three month contract turned into a twelve month contract where we produced four different shows over the course of that year.
How many performers are in your company?
I have about 150 people on my roster located all over the US, Canada and Europe.
Who vets your performers, and what is the process by which you acquire your talent?
I vet my performers. A lot of them I have known from my performing days. I always keep an eye out for new talent, and I typically work with a new performer who was referred to me by another artist. It’s not just talent that I factor, but whether or not the artist is easy to work with and gets along well with others. It is important to have a good synergy between any cast we create. It makes the experience better for all involved.
How long does it typically take to prepare for, and set up a performance?
This varies depending on the show. We focus on event entertainment, so the timeline could be year or a few days. It depends on when we get the call, to the green-light, to the performance date. I just recently produced a show with 45 cast members, and I had 11 days to get everything together. I prefer a short timeline as it really lights a fire under your butt.
Do you stick around for the shows?
Absolutely. I do not go to all of our events, as I am fortunate enough to have built a good team that can handle the smaller events. But I would say I am at 90% of all the things we book from beginning to end.
What would you say are the highlights of your business? What part of it do you enjoy the most?
The highlights are being my own boss. Which of course has the other side of the coin in that I take on all the responsibility. My favorite part of the job is custom creating entertainment specific to each clients needs, desires and budget. I like working within certain parameters set by the client, as it forces you to be creative. I am very interested in the points where art and commerce meet.
In addition to your stage shows, you also do planned events. Yes?
Yes we mostly do planned events that is our focus at the moment. Stage shows are very expensive to produce and they can sink or swim you,
What sort of events have you done?
We have done everything you can imagine. From 40th birthday parties to huge corporate events. We just recently did an event for Aventura Mall in Miami, for the inauguration of their new sculptural slide and fountain designed by Carsten Holler and The Haas brothers.
Your customers and clients must be impressed with your work. What’s the typical reaction when the fun begins?
Reactions vary, depending on the event. In nightclubs, people tend to get really into it pretty quickly. At private events, we tend to start slowly as people are typically more subdued at the beginning, but a few hours later, they really get into it!
We just recently did a big event at Aventura Mall in Miami, to inaugurate their new expansion and art collection. It was a family event on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and it was amazing to watch the feeling of joy that just infected the guests. We had quite a lot of performances that were designed to appear as if they were spontaneously happening, all around the area, and adults and kids alike really got into the spirit of it all. It was really amazing to watch, and even more amazing to help create. When something like that happens, the feeling you get is priceless.
With all of what’s going on in your business, is there any time for Robb? Do you ever take a break, a vacation?
I do. I tend to work very hard and long hours for a few weeks, and then get a week or so to recover and then get back on the horse.
Hailing from New York City, Patrick Chappelle is the Founder, Publisher and Editor in Chief of Kingdomz X Magazine. A computer geek from day one, Patrick was on the forefront of social communities and has served as a Technical Advisor for NING, Social Media Manager for SiteSuites Software Development, and Community Manager for Gen Y Hub. When he's not scouting local talent, he's either at the health club, or enjoying the sights, sounds, and culture of the city.