Thursday, February 28, 2013

Seger Tour Still Missing the Sales Mark for its $260 a Throw Tics

$6 would be $22.30 today

I noted earlier this month that Bob Seger’s ticket sales have been soft, prompting broadcast spots in markets that should sell out quickly. At the time, the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids was not selling. Now it’s the Palace of Auburn Hills, a huge venue in a Detroit suburb that should be a full house by now for tickets that went on sale Feb. 16. Not only has he failed to sell out the April 11 show in Auburn Hills, but Seger has inexplicably added a second show, April 13, for which tickets go on sale Saturday.
“I guess ‘sold out’ has a different meaning these days,” someone from the Seger camp told me in response to the obvious ‘why such slow sales?’ question.
It’s true. In the big package rock concert these days, half full halls are ok because service charges, overpriced concessions, parking, merch, and other extras have marginalized the idea of a sellout.
But should Seger subject himself to this, or does anyone pay attention anymore to who can fill what hall?  The suburban crowd can pay $260 a ticket, perhaps, but what about those empty spaces in the deep rows?
Seger may well be past playing the barns, and there has to be a point at which someone tells him this.
“He may be a senior citizen now, but he plans on delivering what his fans expect: full-throated singing and hard-driving music,” is the PR written by the Detroit News in an otherwise stellar package on the Seger legacy. I’d kind of doubt it. Surely a tour in which he plucked from the back pages of the catalog would be an artistic exercise rather than a tour that caters to the wealthy and the die-hards. But then, that wouldn’t sell out either, would it?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Wall Street Journal Strikes at True Crime Classic In Cold Blood, with Mixed Results

The Wall Street Journal scores a few blows to the credibility of what many people consider the finest true crime book ever written, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.
While the book is often cited – by myself among others – as a classic true crime piece, it has always been taken for granted that Capote, hardly a journalist, took many liberties with the facts. Capote himself called the work, “a true crime novel,” an oxymoron but his contention nonetheless.
The new information that has been unearthed by the WSJ shows a true crime problem, speaking of the genre itself. It casts doubt on just how the apprehension of one of the suspects went down, and looks at the hero of the book from a different angle, in which the author favored him in exchange for cooperation and access.
Drama makes a book, and yet real life isn’t nearly as dramatic as fiction.  If, as the WSJ story says, the culprits in the 1959 slaying of the Clutters, a Kansas farm family, were apprehended five days later than Capote claims, and not by Kansas Bureau of Investigation Detective Alvin Dewey Jr., well, that simply confirms one of the “novel” parts of the book.
The fact that the KBI refuses to be of any help in unraveling the delay in the arrest, if there was one, speaks of a newer department with little regard to its past.
Still, these are small demerits on the genre, which Capote rode to journalistic stardom. But I’m not sure that the WSJ findings are all that groundbreaking.
Additionally, there are some points made in this story that are somewhat off base.  It says:
In researching "In Cold Blood," Truman Capote received first-class service from the KBI and Mr. Dewey, its lead detective on the case. Mr. Dewey gave the author access to the diary of 16-year-old Nancy Clutter—her final entry logged only moments before two strangers invaded her home in late 1959 and murdered her, her brother and her parents. Mr. Dewey opened the KBI's case file to Mr. Capote. He pressured press-shy locals to cooperate with the author and granted him extraordinary access to the killers.
This is not the first time the relationship between Dewey and Capote has been scrutinized. This piece from 2005 in the Lawrence, Kansas, newspaper also questioned the book’s treatment of the detective.
All journalists seek the access Dewey gave Capote, from anyone; family member or friend of the victim or perp, or law enforcement agent. I’ve been given terrific access to documents, journals, letters and photos by sources that I cultivated. Sometimes, when warranted, these people have been cast well in the story, because the people who tend to be so transparent and helpful are often the good characters in the seedy world that surrounds any murder. Cops and criminals, often cast in the same mold, have been equally helpful.
It’s also pointed out that Capote used his leverage to negotiate an outsized contract  - worth up to $181,000 by today’s measure – for Dewey’s wife to serve as a consultant in the film version of the book. Today, such largesse by connection is hardly blinked at. 
Additionally, we live in a pay to play unethical world of journalism. ABC paid Casey Anthony $200,000 for photos and video, a breach so sick that no one should ever believe a word from that dinosaur network. And the WSJ thinks the Capote gesture, and his relationship with Dewey, was somehow…what?
Then there’s this:
Mr. Capote's defenders note that the rules of non-fiction-book writing, including the footnoting of source material, hardened only after Mr. Capote helped pioneer the genre.
Not true, of course. Non-fiction is to be pure fact, not subject self-dictated rules before or after a certain work. Wouldn’t it be ironic of we could blame In Cold Blood for the poor reputation of the genre?
Today, true crime books are marginalized and disparaged, given low-profile space at “mystery” writing conferences and hidden in bookstores, often among the mystery fiction.
This despite the public’s fascination with crime and the explosion of television shows based on true crimes, as well as reality shows showing the lives of those who commit crimes.
Crime and the public’s fascination with both the legal process, the sleuthing and the acts that prompt it all is at a high point today, mostly because of availability. Cable TV, Amazon, YouTube, Netflix, the latest case profile is right there. Fact, fiction or both, Capote’s book was ahead of the game. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

To Some, Bob Seger Sold Out a Long Time Ago – But Not For Grand Rapids Show Next Month

This is my home town, at least people will show up for this one

A banner ad offers tickets for the March 5 Bob Seger show at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, a concert that should have sold out by now in Seger’s home state. In fact, for a mere $263.35, you can see the creases on Bob’s face  from seat G4 on the main floor.
Tickets for the Grand Rapids show went on sale, with some mild radio spots on local FM powerhouse WLAV, on January 19. There are a number of reasons for the weak demand, one of which is pointed out at
"As for Seger's set list, there's no new album to support, and they're calling it the Rock and Roll Never Forgets 2013 Tour (as opposed to the 2011 Tour, which was called the 2011 Tour). So…a greatest hits show, then?" 
Seger is playing some big corporate barns on the tour, bringing Kid Rock onto the bill in some spots, including Minneapolis and Fargo, North Dakota. Again, neither of those shows are sold out. It could be the plan is to bring Rock onto the bill where sales are soft. But at this point, that seems to be everywhere, including the Seger back yard of Michigan, where he may want to consider hitting smaller venues. Or, gasp, lowering ticket prices. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Kid Rock-Connected Companies get the Shaft in Brewer’s Bankruptcy

This Glass is Half Full - He's Platinum

Business operations connected to Kid Rock are among the creditors in a federal bankruptcy filing by a beer company based outside Lansing, Michigan.
The Chapter 7 filing, see here, was entered Jan. 31 by Bobby Mason, founder of Michigan Brewing Company, which was contracted to brew Rock’s American Badass Beer.
Bobby Moscow LLC., which Rock uses to market and sell his Made in Detroit clothing line, and KR Drinks LLC, which state records show conducts business under the name American Badass Beer, are both listed among the creditors in the filing.
The amount owed Bobby Moscow is listed as “unknown” while the debt to KR Drinks is $276,897.
Rock's beer debuted in 2009 and he used his megamedia platform to pimp the beer on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in 2011. The beer became a top seller, even as the Michigan Brewing Company floundered. Records show that the brewery had cash flow problems that predated the issue of Rock's beer; in 2005 MBC became delinquent in payments to its landlords and was foreclosed upon. 
The brewery, which had been open since 1995,  was closed by creditors in April 2012 and most of its assets were sold at auction in July to MillerCoors.
The last notice regarding the failure of the brewery from The Rock camp was June, which said the brand would be seeking another “Michigan-based” contract brewer.
Chapter 7 is a last resort for a failed business. The July liquidation auction did not earn the amount needed to satisfy MBC’s numerous creditors, who are owed over $11 million. 
Read an excellent history of the brewery through its July closing here