On a usual Saturday morning in Riverwest, I walk into the recently constructed Alterra Coffee house on Humboldt Avenue. Today, it’s bustling with activity; some are working, others use the opportunity to catch up over a latte or two and others, still, are just in for their morning pick-me-up. Regardless of why, however, these people are all here — a perpetually busy, now-neighborhood staple on what had, for so long, been nothing more than a vacant lot.
Dramatic and cliched as it may sound, this is the story of Milwaukee: a former industrial powerhouse of the Midwest’s Great Lake Region that has, in the past decade, transformed itself into a cultured, nuanced and beautiful city with a lot to give and just as much to discover. This is the city that Jeremy Rogers saw.
Rogers was down in Austin, Texas, working at The Onion and Do512.com organizing and attending events. It was a great gig — who wouldn’t love that? Eventually Rogers found his way back to Milwaukee and with a purporse: Do512 wanted to expand and they wanted him to find someone to run the operation as Do414 in Milwaukee. Rogers said he looked around for a while but eventually couldn’t escape what the guys from Do512 had hoped all along. “I talked to a bunch of people, had a bunch of meetings,” he said, “Eventually I realized, ‘Hey, I want to do this!’”
Rogers saw potential in Do414 and in Milwaukee. When he talked to people, he tried to help them think of the Internet as a tool, a means of bringing business to the city. But that wasn’t all. Rogers also had a desire to grow Do414 because of the value he saw in letting people know, on a regular basis, what was going on in their city. “You know, it’s like the radio, the paper,” he said.
This was just the beginning for Rogers and Do414. Due to the city’s relatively quick turnaround, a number of young groups and organizations are popping up — and growing quickly. However, according to Rogers, this town is big enough for all of them, not just as competitors but as collaborators. “They’re spreading our love, we’re spreading their love; it’s a beautiful thing,” he said about all the young professional groups working together and promoting one another. And Rogers admits: he’s a sucker for connecting people. “If you’re doing something, why not get people together on it?”
However, there are a couple of these groups that, Rogers said, Do414 is working with a little more closely. “Local Playlist is a tastemaker,” he said, “they bring the people in their niche [to events].” As a “tastemaker” on Do414, Local Playlist’s opinion has more weight than normal and allows them to highlight events of interest — when it comes down to it, it’s really all about spreading the word. And that’s exactly what Local Playlist and Do414 are trying to accomplish. Rogers even helped connect the Local Playlist crew with a spot for their launch party this Saturday as well as helping promote the event. “We went in and talked to Paul Jonas at Tonic [Tavern] and everything started clicking,” said Rogers, “I just sat in the corner.”
The launch party, which will include live music from local bands Ikarus Down, Shoot Down the Moon and other area musicians/artists, will be held at the Tonic Tavern this Saturday at eight o’clock. Rogers said Do414’s launch party was a huge success and helped to generate a lot of positive buzz about what they’re doing, and they hope this launch party will have the same effect for Local Playlist.
Rogers talked on and on about what he sees happening in Milwaukee — in every word, his love for this city is more than apparent. However, when asked what it was he was looking forward to the most in the future, the conversation came back yet again to collaboration and togetherness. Rogers leaned back and said of all the budding organizations working together: “I want to see us all grow up together.” And I think I speak for all of us when I say, we can’t wait to see what happens.
Head to do414.com to check out what is going on in Milwaukee on any night of the week! RSVP for events for the chance to win great prizes, tickets to upcoming events and much more. Swing by Local Playlist’s official launch party this Saturday, more details can be found at our Facebook event or on do414.com’s event page!