Meet Jim Brunberg: Jim is a musician and the founder of Mississippi Studios; originally from San Francisco, he moved to Portland in 1999.
He used to tour the country and perform shows locally at St. John’s Pub. When St John’s Pub closed down, Portland was lacking a similar music venue. About the same time, Jim decided to take his show off the road so he could be closer to home, recording his music and performing right here in Portland- and the idea for Mississippi Studios was born.
In 2002, Jim purchased the building that once housed the Emmanuel Evangelical Baptist Church and turned it into Mississippi Studios . The building was a mere 2,000 square feet, half of which Jim used exclusively as a recording studio. The other 1,000 square feet he used for intimate musical performances, in other words maximum capacity was 85 people.
After six years in the space, and the growing popularity of the venue, it became clear that it was time to remodel. Jim had been thinking about expanding the space for years, so during the summer of 2008 he finally dropped the hammer and nine months later a bigger, better Mississippi Studios was open to the public.
When the time came to light up the place, Jim got together with fellow music enthusiast (aka Rejuvenation’s Director of Marketing) Bob Jacobs, to help select just the right lights for the now 4,000 square foot venue space. The result was an unusual assortment of Rejuvenation lighting and a truly unique and cozy music venue. Can you imagine our South Shore, Oceanside, Brightwood, and Selma fixtures cohabitating harmoniously in one space? I had to see it to believe it myself, but man, this space is AMAZING.
It is so amazing, in fact, that in 2010 the good folks at Mississippi Studios took on the space next door, coincidentally, another former house of worship, to create a space for fans to lounge before and after shows.
The new space, Bar Bar, was remodeled predominantly using salvaged items from around town, but the lights that hang over the bar are none other than our sweet little George pendants.
And while they were remodeling the new space, we were introducing our gas cage lights. Co-owner Peter Bro, the resident design afficianado, was easily persuaded (by me) to add a few Rockwells and Ironsides into the mix.
I’m sure my photos don’t do it the justice it deserves, so if you find yourself in Portland looking for a real Portlandia experience, be sure to stop in for a beer, some tunes and a good ol’ Rejuvenation light show.
For those interested in the salvage component of the remodel(s), here are some cool factoids about how they re-purposed some of the original elements:
- Balcony seats came from the church (this is their third incarnation, originally they were balcony seats from an old theatre)
- The siding from the exterior of the old church was used for door trim, hand rails and balcony rails
- Every joist from the old building was used for vertical trim- 6 sections of 8’wide walls, angled inward for the best sound quality possible
- The stage is built from wood from the church and old beams were recycled too.
- The “new” bar in Bar Bar came from our friends at another favorite Portland spot, Produce Row. (More on their remodel later)
With all of the touring and local notariety, who are Jim’s (and Mississippi Studios) biggest fans? Why, his twin daughters of course!