Jake Rosenthal's job is institutional fun. As (former) co-owner of the beloved (and former) Glasslands Gallery (RIP) and current co-owner of PopGun Presents and Elsewhere, Jake and his partners run NYC's most established independent music booking company and Brooklyn's largest independent venue.
PopGun, and, by extension, Glasslands, are known for booking acts just at the cusp of international popularity. Just by way of eg, as the list is long, Glasslands, a room with ~300 capacity, hosted MGMT, Yeasayer, Lana Del Ray, Disclosure, Icona Pop, Deerhunter, Tame Impala, Haim, and Jay Reatard, most of them for their first NYC shows.
Jake and I met several years ago when Glasslands was notified that their iconic, cloudy upstage sculpture would no longer be overlooked by the fire marshal. It was beautiful but dangerous, as all beautiful things are. A mutual friend introduced us and suggested we work together to replace the clouds with something new — that project ended up being a bunch of tubes. You can read about it here if you like.
Jake and his parter Rami bought Glasslands from the former owners, ran it for several years, were chased out by Vice Media (a devious backstab you can read about nearly anywhere), and continued to run PopGun, the booking and promotions arm of their operation, while they planned and constructed their recently-opened Bushwick venue Elsewhere (with new partner Dhruv), a significantly larger space more or less purpose-built as a 3-room venue with a roof space to come.
I talked to Jake on Sept 12, 2017, about 1.5 months before Elsewhere first opened to the public on Halloween. Despite that the venue's opening has been an undeniable success, even this close to the opening date, Jake was very much in the weeds and pretty pooped. You can hear it.
In this interview, we talk about third party security, building "as legal as possible", inspectors, service to a community, working with emerging artists, growing while staying independent, being a purist in an art business, the commercial support infrastructure for touring artists, running a music venue bar vs a normal bar, being music venue history nerds, and getting that tot money.