19 will bring the comedy-based Festival Supreme, assembled by Jack Black and his mock-rock band Tenacious D. The shows are part of what pier official Jay Farrand called “a larger effort to get people to take a second look at the pier to think of it not just as somewhere you take Grandma from Kansas.” But for Frank and Fleischmann whose respective companies, Spaceland and Rum & Humble, put on concerts at the Echo and the Hollywood Bowl, among other spots the activity also reflects their desire to establish a new home for music on the Westside, where a dearth of large and mid-sized venues intensified with the closing this summer of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. PHOTOS: Unexpected musical collaborations “People here need a place where they can gather in large numbers for music,” said Fleischmann, who pointed to high rents and restrictive permitting as reasons the Westside generally lacks such spaces. The century-old Santa Monica Pier, an instantly identifiable but historically significant landmark, makes for a complex solution to that problem. Jay Sweet, who supervises the Newport Folk Festival, said the pier appealed to him for Way Over Yonder because it’s an “iconic place that’s not a traditional music venue” similar to Fort Adams State Park in Rhode Island, where Newport has taken place since 1959. “There’s an overall vibe there,” said Cliff’s manager, Ernie Gonzalez, who added that the pier attracts an audience more diverse than at other venues. “I went to a show recently at the Greek Theatre with an artist who’s been around for as long as Jimmy,” he said. “And it was kind of the obvious demographic. But at the pier it was all across the board.” Yet there are also structural limitations the stage for Way Over Yonder had to be designed according to load-bearing considerations and the long-established reluctance of arty Eastsiders to travel west. Brandon Lavoie, who until recently worked as a talent buyer at Santa Monica’s Central Social Aid and Pleasure Club, remembered “literally going to the Echo on Monday night and begging the opening band to come play a headlining slot on Friday.” Still, Frank and Fleischmann say that turnout at this summer’s Twilight shows along with strong advance ticket sales for Way Over Yonder suggest that the pier is meeting a need, one they hope to cultivate with even more concerts in 2014. Farrand said he hasn’t yet decided how many gigs is the right number for a location that, unlike a club or theater, caters to a varied clientele. “We have natural visitors to the restaurants and the amusement park, and we don’t want to alienate them,” he said.
Russian Imam Calls Elton John ‘The Devil’s Work,’ Urges Concert Boycott
“The biggest stars all have doctors and their own staff,” said Lorrie McNaught, senior vice president at Aon/Albert G. Ruben Insurance Services Inc, a large entertainment insurance firm, which has handled many of the world’s biggest tours over the last 12 months. “If you have a security guard who winds up punching someone in the face or kills someone, who is responsible? “Is it the artist, the bodyguard, the promoter? I think promoters will require stars to indemnify their own staff,” said McNaught. “Even if AEG was not held responsible, I still think this case will make attorneys find ways to tighten contracts.” An attorney for Lloyds of London involved in the Michael Jackson case declined comment for this story. The price of premiums also may go up, according to one concert producer who did not want his name used. Currently, promoters pay 3 percent to 5 percent of the value of the policy, meaning that AEG paid between $530,000 and $875,000 for the $17.5 million policy it took out with Lloyds of London for Jackson’s “This is It” tour. AEG, which had initially sought to collect on the $17.5 million policy after Jackson’s death canceled the tour, dropped a claim against Lloyds amid revelations in leaked emails that show AEG executives were concerned about his stability ahead of his planned London comeback tour. Insurers routinely send doctors to do medical exams — and occasionally hire investigators for background checks– before placing multi-million dollar policies for the stars. After the Jackson trial, the reams of information they need will skyrocket, said Adam Steck, CEO of SPI Entertainment, who recently brokered a deal for an 18-show run by rocker Meatloaf at Planet Hollywood in Vegas, starting September 26. “We’re in a high risk business, said Steck.
Analysis: Jackson case will change the tune for concert, artist insurance
A union leader told Reuters he was optimistic the two sides could reach a permanent deal by Friday. The dispute hangs on whether the stagehands – mostly prop-makers, carpenters and electricians – should have a role in a new educational wing that the Carnegie Hall Corp plans to open above the hall next year. The corporation wants to hire cheaper labor at the education wing. Negotiations with the union took an unprecedented turn on Wednesday when Local 1 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees decided to go on strike for the first time in the history of Carnegie Hall. However, when James Claffey, president of Local 1, emerged from negotiations on Thursday afternoon, he announced the union had agreed to pull down the picket line for the day, citing progress in the talks. “This is a goodwill gesture towards Carnegie Hall,” said Claffey, whose local has negotiated some of the most lucrative pay in the industry. He later said further progress had been made, and that even though picketing would continue, he hoped to reach a deal by Friday. Carnegie Hall’s five full-time stagehands make an average of $400,000 per year including benefits, The New York Times reported, citing the organization’s tax returns. Claffey said there were many more stagehands represented by the union who work only sporadically. “This dispute is not about those employees,” Claffey said. “This is about everyone else. These are middle class employees.” The strike forced Carnegie Hall to cancel a performance by the Philadelphia Orchestra with violinist Joshua Bell.
Branding the British rock singer as “the devil’s work in the shape of a pederast” in remarks published on the website of Kazans Thousandth Anniversary of Islam Mosque, the imam warned that God could rain destruction on cities as revenge for supporting what he dubbed sexual delinquency. Sodomy is what the world-famous homosexual Elton John, who recently wed a man in public, is promoting, the imam said in undated remarks made public in the Russian media Thursday. The imam said followers of Islam should stay away from the music star’s Kazan concert, scheduled for Dec. 8, a day after his show at Moscow’s Crocus City Hall venue. John, 66, has long been a poster boy for gay rights. He is in a British civil partnership with his partner,David Furnish, and the men have a three-year-old son, Zachary, born in California in 2010 via a surrogate mother He has said he will defend gay rights during his Russian tour — a stance that puts him at risk of getting a sentence of 15 days in prison and a 5,000 roubles ($150) fine under newly-adopted laws here preventing the promotion of homosexuality to children. Last week, another Russian religious group, the Christian group Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods, called for a ban on John’s concerts. “The statement by this gay guy — Elton John — about his support for gays and other perverts during the upcoming concert in Moscow is an insult to all Russian citizens,” the group’s coordinator said. Another conservative group, the Ural Parents Committee, has called on Russian president Vladimir Putin to keep John from performing the Kazan concert. Madonna, Rammstein and Lady Gaga are among international acts that have made statements supporting gay rights at recent Russian gigs and escaped prosecution. John, knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998, has sold more than 300 million records worldwide during his 40-year career.