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Topic: Music Presenters
Replies: 68   Pages: 5   Last Post: Sep 1, 2005 7:38 PM by: Ray Rolfe

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Steve McClellan

Posts: 18
Registered: Aug 19, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 8:04 PM
  Reply

It's not about IBA helping the individual business as much as the individual businesses helping themselves. I see so much in-fighting between the small venues (Longhorn vs. the 7th St. Entry in the early 80's; Uptown Bar vs. the Entry in the mid/late 80's, 400 Bar vs. The Triple Rock vs. the entry this decade). In the meantime, Clear Channel and other deep pockets continue to pick the fruit after the street level venues take the risks and develop the artist. Here is where collaboration and artist support comes in. With a combined effort, small businesses can have more impact both politically and in marketing, AS LONG AS THEY CAN WORK TOGETHER. But, as I told the IBA, your usual independent business person, is independent BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT TO BE HAMPERED BY OTHER ORGANIZATIONS. IT's kind of like a catch-22. Of course, similar to what JP just stated about the business strip in downtown Duluth being mostly independent businesses, reminds me when I went to my first IBA meeting I heard a woman from the Excelsior Chamber of Commerce talk about their successful efforts in keepihng Starbucks from getting lake frontage amongst all the small independent businesses that have been on Lake Minnetonaka for years.

Look at downtown Minneapolis presently. If you don't count the skyway retail, it seems the only independent businesses left are First Avenue (fighting to survive) Cafe di Napoli (which someone told me is closing) and Shinders. What else is left that is community based and in the category of small business?
Steve

What was the question?

Chris Osgood

Posts: 29
Registered: Aug 20, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 8:06 PM
  Reply

Thanks JP,

Steve- what do you think?
Also, Say "Hi" to the IBA meeting when you go down here. I was invited by John Kolstad, but begged off to be w/you guys.

J.P. Rennquist

Posts: 27
From: Duluth MN
Registered: Aug 20, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 8:11 PM
  Reply

Chris,

You know what, I don't know what you do.

Really, I was happy to focus almost entirely on local art and artists. However, those big shows: Country Western, Metal, Medina Ballroom type shows that do well in Duluth, too. Anyway, I was totally ready to start buying those acts. REO Speedwagon at the NORSHOR? Sure.

That's the thing. We have to pay the bills, too.

Obviously, this forum is all talk (as it should be) But you are totally right. there are economic realities. And I guarantee that the closure of the NorShor will be judged by the Monday Morning Quarterbacks as a result of programming that did not have enough broad appeal.

However, let's think a bout loylaty a bit, too. When the opera crowd rolled into the NorShor full of excitement and energy, casually sipping wine before the show and between acts, we made NOWHERE near the bar revenue that we got from a really good local music show. Also, sure the people with fur coats can afford more booze, but the kids in ripped jeans and punk rock hairstyles come in again and again. They spend less, but THEY are the ones in our case that have kept the doors open. Is it ethically ok for me to start booking cover bands 6 nights a week and alienate my core? Is it financially ok to do that?

Colin Rusch

Posts: 1,435
Registered: Oct 16, 2002
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 8:11 PM
  Reply

JP,

I love that you've brought up the idea of avoiding market forces altogether. I am all for it because it allows artists to create beautiful things with such enormous freedom. But, at the same time, the competition of market pressures force artists to squeeze out amazing things from their work, and in some senses those forces help weed out low quality work.

Colin

Chris Osgood

Posts: 29
Registered: Aug 20, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 8:12 PM
  Reply

JP,

I had the fun of being a part of the Bush Artist Fellowship info meeting last night at Intermedia Arts here in Minneapolis. Here is a private benefactor that will give a few MN, SD, ND and WI artists 48K each to make their art next year- that's something in the plus column.

J.P. Rennquist

Posts: 27
From: Duluth MN
Registered: Aug 20, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 8:22 PM
  Reply

Sure, the market forces out low quality work in a FREE Market.

But c'mon, listen to KDWB or whatever your clear channel stations are down there. What about the oldies, are you kidding me?

In an oligopoly, the idea, and I worked in radio quite abit, so I know this, what they want from media anyway is content that doesn't offend. totally middle of the road.

I also work as a very mainstream mobile DJ entertainer (boo, hiss, I know) But I get that. You do what works for people, play what they know. You have a totally different goal than using music to push the envelope, you use it to target a certain emotional response. In clear channels case it is comfort and a vague interest, in mine it is to get them to dance and interact. Certainly, don't do anything to lose the audience. that's the market view.

BUT, I'm not sure that the United States is a free market economy anymore. Of course, I'm a realist, maybe I wansn't before, but I just had my business suspiciously shuttered by a government official. And I was so broke I couldn't ride out a fight or appeals process. Now, the venue is a sitting duck on prime, suddenly hot property. There are real fighters at the NorShor's reins today, but even still, it is at serious risk of being plucked by a Clear Channel Type and having it's whole soul ripped out in the name of profit.

Wow, this is the last forum I ever get invited too, huh?

Anyway, a philanthropist can support the art that SHE or HE thinks is valuable and worthy of promototion. Isn't that a valid way of sorting the wheat from the chaff also.

Government funding could work similarly, but not exactly free market, of course. Just like Enron or Disney, boards hire their buddies in our world, too. And it can get incestuous. Experience anyone?

Steve McClellan

Posts: 18
Registered: Aug 19, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 8:23 PM
  Reply

Hi Chris,
Glad to have you on board to bail me out as usual when exagerate numbers or put a heavy slant on stuff.
NOW, I tried to answer the question with the Pogo cartoon as the consumer should be allowed the freedom to listen, buy, or look at their "art" or "music" anyway they want, right? AND, if we talk about "educating the public" are not we truely ARROGANT? I answer both questions YES we are
BUT, in terms of the benefits of local independent businesses as the places where the "real" roots of local talent is allowed to develop, is also a very real fact in my mind. Generally the large corporations will "develop" artists and music, BUT NOT IF IT MAKES WAVES TO EITHER IT'S MASS CONSUMER OR IT'S BOARD OF DIRECTORS. Risk taking is only allowed when the statisticians can predict future profitability, not if it's sole function is creating social change. Social change is disturbing to those in power monetarily or politically and must be stopped. I still remember doing early "rap" shows at First Avenue and the immediate feedback from the mainstream downtown community was "stop that shit, it's causing trouble". It made me think of the old rock and roll footage showing the mayor of Cleveland making the statement that "We won't allow this Rock and Roll in our community" when referring to an Alan Freed tour featuring the likes of Buddy Holly and Fats Domino.

What was the question? Oh yeah, economic reality vs. independent development and what the masses want. Well, since I believe there is no inherent evil in bigness, just ineptitude. I believe that the "HAVES" have developed a financial and political system that suffocates the small independent business that is necessary to a vital community, music, art, or just retail in general. THis is a theory, but I believe there are statistics that can support me somewhere in the WalMart vs. Mainstreet USA controversy.

Whatever the case, I'm suggested that the playing fields for business needs a re-surfacing and/or landscaping. The Independent businesses that create community and develop the grass roots support for local artists need their handcuffs removed when dealing with institutional structures, financial instistutions, and big government.

I certainly dont' know all the variables, but soon there will be alot of people discussing the "good old days" of mainstreet USA after its' gone.

What's the question?

Steve

Chris Osgood

Posts: 29
Registered: Aug 20, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 8:24 PM
  Reply

JP,

I am director of artist services at a nonprofit agency called Springboard for the Arts. My job is to help "self-employed creative people" make a living.

Steve and I know each other because my Punk Rock band "The Suicide Commandos" played at First Ave. a couple of times and I served on the board of Steve's Developing Arts and Music Foundation.

Colin Rusch

Posts: 1,435
Registered: Oct 16, 2002
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 8:25 PM
  Reply

Steve,

Considering downtown, the density of population is an interesting problem. In the twin cities, increased population density has lead to fewer independent business downtown. But, in a place like New York, the high density of people is essential for small independent business to survive because there are enough people with similar tastes to support a venue/business.

Colin

Chris Osgood

Posts: 29
Registered: Aug 20, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 8:28 PM
  Reply

What was the question?

Amen Steve! I LOVE the notion of "re-landscaping the business playing field". I will begin quoting you IMMEDIATELY. And, no, you don't need me to rein you in!

Chris

Steve McClellan

Posts: 18
Registered: Aug 19, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 8:30 PM
  Reply

Hey, JP, I think you just said some of the same things I've thought about, but you put it in words better than me.

The pretension of "what's good for the public" has been a politically devisive question that generally gets stated by the minority in power either due to monetary strength or political strength. For all practical purposes the last presidential election was an example of "what's best for the public" and how distorted it all gets when flung out to the mass public. People don't have the time or endurance to understand the issues, so they take the easy route. AND, we can't condemn them. This is a democracy based on fear as well as "what's good for the public".

All right, so when dealing with music and art, it's not as important as war and peace, BUT IT IS THE SAME MASSES RULE DESPITE THE LOGIC. (Cuz, everyone can spin things to enforce they're own logic, right).

I think I lost track of the question again.

Colin Rusch

Posts: 1,435
Registered: Oct 16, 2002
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 8:30 PM
  Reply

Hi Everyone,

It is nearly 8:30. We should start wrapping up this conversation. The forum will stay up as long as there is activity in it. Thank you to Steve, JP, and especially to Chris for his perseverance. Last thoughts?

Colin

J.P. Rennquist

Posts: 27
From: Duluth MN
Registered: Aug 20, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 8:31 PM
  Reply

Great news about the Bush Grants.

The Duluth City Council just gave one of our ever growing hospitals $500,000 grant channeled from the State of MN to build a SKYWALK connecting their ever-burgeoning facility with downtown. Good or bad? I don't know.

However, $500,000 in the NorShor could have it ready to operate sustainably for five or ten years. In those five or ten years we could raise the funds to help the place operate sustainably for another 100 years. Ok, now I'm being optimistic again.

I guess what I'm saying is $500,000 can do a lot depending on where and how you use it. This culture (back to the jaded JP again) this culture does not value beauty. It values not having to go outside to shop, or experience art, or meet your neighbors. This society values great parking more than anything else I can think of right now.

So, I guess I think we need a cultural shift. Or we need people with the oprimism and energy or leadership to remind us all of what a community experience of beauty can be. I'm borke, and probably out, so it probably won't be me.

If my earlier question can be answered, let me use some symbols. I think what we need in large part is another Bob Dylan (from a venue and promoters point of view, clearly that talent is out there, alive and well). So not just the talent or creative voice of a Bob Dylan, but the resulting cultural awareness and shift in priorities and values. And maybe a Bobby Kennedy or some idealistic politician on the power side.

J.P. Rennquist

Posts: 27
From: Duluth MN
Registered: Aug 20, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 8:35 PM
  Reply

Wow, you guys. We might have done this just as well on the phone, since I don't know how many participants there are besides us.

But I commend MNArtists.org for having a space that we can get so richly into a topic that is so important to me and I assume the rest of you guys.

My e-mail address is JP@wildgooseDJ.com and I'd love to hear more of your ideas. Maybe even solutions to use in our community of Duluth.

Chris Osgood

Posts: 29
Registered: Aug 20, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 8:35 PM
  Reply

Thanks Colin,

Maybe it is time to return to a "benevolent despotism" run by Steve, JP, Colin and me. Wasn't it Plato that thought that a small group of bright people could most effectively run things? Would this be the best form of government?

Or business? We could become "developers" that would LOSE MONEY, but have fun. Hey- that sounds like a business model for a rock band!

Chris

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