What’s the short version of Foam’s history, including any twists-and-turns in programming and menu?
Foam was opened by Mike Glodeck on October 30th, 2009. I started working there as a barista and bar tender later that year. I quickly took over booking and promotions because DIY music is where my experience and passion lies. Almost five years later, I bought the joint and upped the coffee and bar game, as well as the booking and promotions aspect.
How’d you become involved in Foam? And what’s your role today?
My friend Evan Sult first mentioned the place to me when he heard I was a barista and a musician looking for a new gig back in 2009. If you had told me that I’d own the place five years later, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.
So… within five years I went from bartender/barista to booking manager, to owner. It’s been incredibly challenging, but also rewarding in unexpected ways. It’s quite a thing to have so many of my passions (and vices) under one umbrella. Slinging coffee and cheap booze and running a DIY venue is not particularly lucrative, so it really is a labor of love.
It was a pretty bold move on my behalf, taking over the joint when I had virtually zero capital to invest, but it worked because I staffed the joint with incredibly talented people who are passionate about what they do.
How has Foam’s programming changed since your greater involvement?
Within the first two months that I took over, the PA was stolen twice but the community rallied behind me and helped me raise money for a new PA with a well-attended fundraiser show.
We recently revamped our coffee program, purchased a new espresso machine and a top of the line grinder, and collaborated with local roasters COMA Coffee to create a signature roast. It’s pretty great! Also, we finally have retail coffee for the first time in four years!
Since I took over booking and promo a while back and invested in a website, etc., we’ve had a jam-packed calendar every month. The sheer volume of booking emails became so overwhelming that I had to enlist the expertise of the brilliant and tasteful Matt Stuttler to handle firstname.lastname@example.org and foamvenue.com.”
What are some particular highlights for you? Any nights that just stand out from the rest as great evenings?
We get a lot of great touring musicians of practically every genre as well as some brilliant up and coming comedians.
Check the website for a list of the more prolific musical artists and comedians who have graced our tiny stage.
At Foam, I have seen some mind blowing output from some of the most gifted and innovative musicians around. I couldn’t possibly recall them all off the top of my head, but highlights include:
Bands: Mount Eerie (Phil Elverum of The Microphones/K Records); Kimya Dawson (Aesop Rock & Moldy Peaches); Chain And The Gang (K Records); Frankie Cosmos (Double Double Whammy); Ezra Furman (Bella Union Records); Guerilla Toss (DFA); Thelma and the Sleeze; Ahleuchatistas (Tzadik/Cuneiform/Hello Sir Records); Ex Cult (Castle Face / Lollipop); Samantha Crain (Ramseur Records); Jennifer O’Connor (Matador Records); American Wrestlers (Fat Possum Records); Cobalt Cranes (Lolipop Records); Ed Schader’s Music Beat (Infinity Cat Recordings); Daniel Higgs (of Lungfish/Dischord Records); So Many Dynamos (Vagrant Records); Pujol (Saddle Creek); Mope Grooves (Burger Records); Franz Nicolay (The Hold Steady); Danbert Nobacon (Chumbawumba); Cowboy and Indian (with Jesse Plemons); The Stronger Sex (Fantasy Man Records); Father Figures (with members of Man Man & Landlady); Pokey LaFarge (with Sidney Street Shakers); Advance Base (Owen Ashworth, formerly of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone); Mike Adams at His Honest Weight (Joyful Noise Recordings); Girlpool (Wichita); Radioactivity (members of Video, Bad Sports, THE MARKED MEN); Nots (Goner); Walk The Moon (RCA); Daddy Issues (Infinity Cat); MU330 (Asain Man)
Comedians: Eddie Peppetone; Nicky Glasser; Nick Vatterot; Amber Nelson.
How does Foam fit in with the overall nightlife scene taking place on/near Cherokee Street?
Foam is special because it is a community hub and a safe place for all sorts of misfits and weirdos. Virtually all of our employees have been touring musicians, artists, and activists. Foam stands out because it draws a steady influx of national and international touring artists to the Cherokee neighborhood.
What are the more-positive developments you’ve seen take place along the block in the last year, or two-three years?
One of the exciting shifts I’ve seen in the neighborhood is that tons of shops, restaurants, bars, venues, and galleries have opened over the past six years. Now it’s a pretty legit entertainment district.
What’s next for Foam?
What’s next for Foam is spreading word about our new collaboration with COMA Coffee and some really exciting shows including none other that James McCartney (son of Paul and Linda)!
Feature photo courtesy of foamvenue.com.