Word around the local music watercooler is that Alicia J. Rose, a longtime fixture of Portland's booking community, has left Mississippi Studios. As you might remember Rose departed the Doug Fir booking bunker to head north and take over the reins as the "Talent Procurement Specialist" at the relaunched/remodeled Mississippi Studios in 2009. Her departure was sudden and we reached out to both her and Mississippi Studios founder Jim Brunberg.
While we have yet to hear from Brunberg, Rose issued a statement which we have included below. I have a feeling we have not heard the end of this story, so more information on it when it becomes available.
On Friday at 5pm I was asked to an impromptu off-site meeting with 2 of the 5 Mississippi Studios partners where I was summarily fired from my position and unexpectedly given a strong-handed offer to sell my ownership interest back to the other partners. In the five months since Mississippi Studios added three new partners, a more corporate business model has emerged that revolves around the core concept that everyone is “replaceable”. My dismissal is the latest application of this new ethos.
For the past 2 years I have worked heart and soul to develop Mississippi Studios into a well respected music venue that maintains a reputation of high regard in both the Portland and National music communities. As its sole curator/promoter I am proud to have nurtured countless professional relationships and the amazing variety of unique expression we are blessed to have in this region, both in terms of talent and the large and diverse community of music fans, of which I am one. For a long time, it has been a personal mission to help put Portland on the map for the greater music business, and over the past 7 years — both at Mississippi Studios and during my almost 5 year tenure at Doug Fir Lounge, I am confident that I accomplished that.
In my opinion, the ownership group of Mississippi Studios made a short-sighted business decision due to their limited experience in the music industry and a lack of understanding about the creative capital required to develop a sustainable business in today’s technological and economic climates. They wish to take the venue into a “different direction,” but have not disclosed to me what direction that is or who will be taking over booking, pr, marketing and oversight of the venue in my wake.
It was not my choice to leave Mississippi Studios mid-stream, I was actually in the middle of booking an awesome Winter and Spring, and whether those shows or others in the works will be honored, I have not been informed.
On the flip side of this, I am staying positive with the support of friends and family and am excited to pursue new creative and professional opportunities in both music and my other main passions — photography and directing. When one door shuts, another opens, I keep hearing from my pals, and I can’t help but look forward to applying my varied skill set to new challenges of all kinds in the future. I am grateful for all of the amazing performers, industry folk and humans that I have been so lucky to work with, I hope to have another reason to talk with you soon.