Busceme ‘at home’ in Beaumont arts scene
Olivia Busceme, band booking agent, theme party guru and undiscovered artists’ go-to girl, has been on “the scene” in Beaumont her entire life. The 24-year-old continues to shape the art and music scene in Southeast Texas through her efforts and those of her friends associated with Victoria House.
The two-story 1913 Sears Craftsman Home on Victoria Street is Olivia’s childhood home, which she has turned into a music venue/art commune.
“Why would I want to be grown up and get an apartment if I already have the house?” she said. “I have never lived anywhere else — the Victoria House is me.”
Olivia was literally born into the area art scene — her parents are Ange and Greg Busceme, who founded The Art Studio, Inc. in 1983.
“The Art Studio is 31 and I’m 24, so I was born into making things happen,” Olivia said. “If you want them done, then do them.”
She said it’s natural for her to have an idea and cultivate it through to fruition. She was the stage manager for Beaumont’s first Pride in June, holds a position with Boomtown Music and Film Festival, has been booking bands all over town since her teens, and has recently turned a room of her home into an art gallery. She also is notorious for themed parties celebrating everything from her birthday to “Friendsmas.”
“It is good to have people not feel like themselves, so you make them dress in a theme and you make them feel like they are somewhere else,” she said.
Olivia has so many different costumes they are mixed in with her everyday clothes. Sometimes she even integrates some pieces into her office wear at her day job as a receptionist at the Texas Coffee Company.
“I think (theme parties) open people’s brains — you don’t want to be going to the same party all the time — you want to feel like you are somewhere else even if you are still at home,” she said.
Before the parties, Busceme was known for her relationship with bands all over the area and beyond. She began booking Band Nite at The Studio when she was 16-years old, and continues to promote concerts.
“I like a lot of different kinds of music,” she said. “I’m anti-genre, because you never know what you are going to like until you hear it.”
Whether she is sporting a shaved head, platinum blonde locks or a head full of rainbow-colored curls, Olivia is always on the hunt for different kinds of talents to showcase — and she also sees a chance to showcase her hometown.
“I don’t think I’m very much of an art mommy, but I’m like a mother to the bands. (Victoria House tenants) are like a tour guide for traveling bands. When they come to the city we are like, ‘This is what’s great about Beaumont.’”
Olivia said “V Haus” tenants and friends show bands a great time, and when they leave they have good memories of Beaumont. She started booking bands at The Studio because someone needed to keep Band Nite going.
“So if you like a thing, and you want to have it happen, sometimes you have to make sure it happens by doing it,” she said. “You can’t rely on someone else to do the thing that you want to do —you just gotta do it.”
Victoria House’s High Street Gallery was born out of a small idea.
“It is just a room where we painted all the walls white,” Olivia said, modestly. “We have our friends show their work every now and then. We have sold quite a few pieces.”
Olivia said she doesn’t think she necessarily “does” anything.
“I just make the things happen when I can,” she said.
As for Victoria House’s style, Olivia describes it as “granny chic.”
“It’s like an antique store and it’s kind of like a junk shop — almost like, ‘Where did that come from?’” she said. “Things aren’t as intentional as a decorated place. It’s not like it is interior decorations — it’s just like the things happen.”
Olivia doesn’t describe herself as bohemian.
“But I wouldn’t deny it,” she said.
Victoria House looks a lot different than when she was growing up. She still has her parents’ art on the walls and scattered around, but many things have been added.
“There are some things I have been looking at my whole life, but obviously you bring a whole bunch of people in and everyone is going to put their own touch on it,” she said. “There is a flavor of everyone who has ever lived here.”
The eclectic decor includes dozens of cameras from every era sitting on top of an upright piano, decades-old radios and adding machines, random knick knacks, like a brass head of Mirabeau Lamar, cattle skulls, a Ramones lamp shade, and a creepy toddler-sized doll named Nancy, who gets moved from room to room as company includes her in festivities.
Many different roommates have called Victoria House home.
“It used to be that everyone who lived here was a musician,” Olivia said. “Now we have two theater people, so I feel like we are more theatrical and before we had been more musical.”
Being the child of artists shaped her sensibilities, Oliva said.
“My dad is a ceramic artist and my mom is just an artsy person in general and she dabbles, but she doesn’t have a degree in it or anything,” she said. “I think my brother and I were raised to appreciate art, and my parents definitely influenced that. I think there is no other way I could have gone — it was natural to be a part of the art community.”
Olivia appreciates her upbringing.
“Raise your children in the art community,” she said. “I think if you are raised in the art community, it gives you a different perspective on things. You are exposed to different things than normal people.”
Out of all the events Busceme and her V Haus friends create and execute, she is most proud of the hospitality she is able to offer traveling bands.
“I think the main thing is we are a B&B for traveling musicians,” she said. “When I book bands, even though we don’t let them play at the house anymore, they are always welcome to stay at the Victoria House. It’s a pretty big thing with bands on tour to have a place to sleep. We have them stay here for free and we just take care of them.
“We have these spare mattresses that we will pull out and we have all these couches. We have this much floor space, so we don’t want to waste it — we can sleep tons of people.”
Victoria House has hosted nearly 40 people in one night and made breakfast the next day.
“We actually have a book of thank you letters that the bands leave for us,” Olivia said
Those interested in having a themed party, showing art, booking a band, or just wanting to be on the invite lists for all the magical events, can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story and photos by JoLee Tanner, ISSUE contributor