Brick & Mortar Music Hall Cuts Ties With Controversial Co-Owner, Signs Ten-Year Lease

The Brick & Mortar Music Hall in San Francisco. (Sam Lefebvre/KQED)

This report contains a correction.

Controversial Bay Area nightlife figure Jason Perkins no longer co-owns the Brick & Mortar Music Hall, and the independent music venue has secured a ten-year lease extension on its 250-capacity Mission District location, according to the new partnership group at the helm.

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Michael Rosen in January notified the San Francisco Entertainment Commission of the change in ownership, as required by the venue’s entertainment permit, saying the Brick & Mortar is now run by Michael O’Connor, Barry Smyth of the Crafty Fox Ale House and himself.

“We’re looking to get a new sense of goodwill in the community,” Rosen said, without mentioning Perkins. Rosen described “initiatives that can communicate a different approach to running the business than in the past,” including flyering for an informational community event.

O’Connor, previously Perkins’ partner in several businesses under the now-defunct Parish Entertainment Group, said the venue renewed its lease for ten years in December and declined to comment further. The extension runs against a trend of small- to mid-sized independent venues closing or ceding booking to the corporate promoters Live Nation and Goldenvoice.

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Brick & Mortar Music Hall's calendar currently lists near-daily indie rock, hip-hop and soul events presented by promoters such as Noise Pop and Sean Healy.

Perkins was once the co-owner of several venues, bars and restaurants in the Bay Area and Northern California, and styled himself as a crusader against public corruption while also appearing to use his short-lived music magazine to impugn local artists in unsigned editorials.

In recent years, however, Perkins faced costly breach-of-contract litigation as well as accusations, including from a former employee who leaked video evidence, that he harassed and accosted homeless people in the Mission District. Perkins, who didn’t respond to a request for comment, has declared in court filings that he now lives with his family in Israel.

The security footage showed a 2018 altercation between Perkins and a homeless man that, according to the former employee, followed Perkins leaving threatening notes on tents. (Perkins has denied leaving the notes, and said the video showed self-defense.) After the outcry, news outlets reported that Allen Scott, an executive at Another Planet Entertainment, had earlier bought Perkins’ stake in the New Parish in Oakland.

In the background, as KQED previously reported, Perkins faced lawsuits from ticketing service providers Ticketfly and Crowdtorch alleging he sought and received hundreds of thousands of dollars in signing bonuses for Brick & Mortar before deliberately reneging on the contracts.

Crowdtorch won judgment against Perkins and O’Connor in 2017 for $323,000. Last year a judge dismissed the defendants’ appeal of a ruling favoring Ticketfly, which is now owned by Eventbrite. Ticketfly’s attorney recently filed a request for default judgment totaling $824,824.

Perkins’ businesses Place Pigalle in San Francisco, Leo’s Music Club in Oakland and Sierra Valley Lodge in Calpine all closed following his conflicts with city officials and property owners.

 

Feb. 11: The original version of this story contained an inaccurate timeline of Perkins' divestment from the New Parish. Perkins sold his stake in the Oakland club before, not after, public outcry over his altercation with a homeless man. The story has been edited to correct the inaccuracy. An original headline also alluded to Perkins being removed from the ownership of Brick & Mortar Music Hall by his partners in the venture; one of the club's current owners has since stated this is not the case.

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