Baristanet Profile: Brett Wellman Messenger

Name: Brett Wellman Messenger

Where do you live? Bloomfield, in a neighborhood we jokingly call MontAdj (Montclair Adjacent), near Brookside Park.

When did you move there? I moved to Jersey from East Harlem in 2016 to work at Peak Performances. I have been the Curatorial DIrector of Live Arts at the Morris Museum since 2018 but I love Essex County too much to make the move farther west!

Where did you grow up? Syracuse, NY

How do you make a living? OR What is your everyday passion? As Curatorial Director of Live Arts at the Morris Museum, I run the Bickford Theatre and all of the live performance programs at the Museum in Morristown. For the past year, rather than the Bickford Theatre, we have used our elevated parking deck to host some of the most esteemed performing artists in order to continue to connect great artists with our great audiences in a safe way despite the pandemic. We have hosted many Grammy award winning artists and ensembles. All told, we have already hosted close to 40 concerts outdoors since last July with another 20 on the horizon with roughly two concerts a week!

Coffee, tea or … ? Coffee! I like my coffee hot and black no matter the temperature outside. I love to get my coffee at Local where I would walk every morning during lockdown last year and wait in line for that daily indulgence.

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day? A walk to Local with my dog, Aunt Lucy and my girlfriend Cara, stopping along the way at our favorite spots like the Presby Gardens, Van Vleck, and Kips Castle to sit and chat.

What’s your favorite local restaurant? Da Pepo for a date night. They have an amazing menu and wonderful service. I also love Obal’s Inn for a fun night out with friends, their staff are the BEST!

What’s on your nightstand? Whatever book I am trying to read before I pass out. I read mostly theory, and I love Foucault and Barthes.

What are you listening to? I listen to a lot of classical music. Lately I have been obsessed with the new recording project by Catalyst Quartet, UNCOVERED, where they are recording all works by female composers and composers of color.

What are your current indulgences? As soon as I am done with a curtain speech before a concert I head to my block and enjoy a glass of Cotes du Rhone.

What talent you would most like to have? The power of flight would be convenient now that traffic is picking up again!

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about your town? Jersey is the best kept secret in the country! I spent my entire life making fun of it only to move here and discover how wonderful it is. As for specific secret spots in town, I’ll never tell, I want to still enjoy them!

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? “He knew how to bring people together,” and “Thank god he saved for an open bar at this party!”

Click here to sign up for Baristanet's free daily emails and news alerts.