The Trib and the Sun-Times both had the story yesterday that the city’s Plan Commission will hear a proposal on Thursday to expand the temporary concert venue that giant promoters Ticketmaster/Live Nation erect on Northerly Island every summer to add almost six more acres of lawn seating and expand capacity to 20,000 people, up from the current 7,500.
The newspapers noted that Ticketmaster/Live Nation will fund the $3 million project. But neither newspaper bothered to mention that the company’s deal with the Park District to operate a concert venue at the site originally was a temporary, five-year contract that now has stretched on for nine years with a series of rubber-stamped extensions from the Park District and without competitive bidding.
Also overlooked by the dailies: the fact that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s brother, Ari the Hollywood talent agent, sits on the Board of Directors for Ticketmaster/Live Nation. Anybody want to bet how the Plan Commission votes?
Meanwhile, Peter Margasak at The Reader broke that news that SPACE in Evanston has canceled the upcoming May 5 concert by aging folkie Michelle Shocked following her recent anti-gay outburst onstage in San Francisco. (“God hates fags,” she said, among other things.) Says the statement the venue posted on Facebook:
“Many of you have reached out already following an ugly rant given by Michelle Shocked at her show in San Francisco last night. After speaking with the promoter of that show about the nature of the remarks, it's clear that this is no longer a show we're willing to put our name on. The May 5th performance at SPACE has been cancelled and refunds will be issued at point of purchase.”
The promoters of SPACE, it seems, believe that booking an artist on their stage is in part an endorsement of his or her beliefs, and they choose not to sanction Shocked’s. One imagines they would be even more emphatic in protesting an artist’s actions--say, actual gay-bashing.
The promoters of the Pitchfork Music Festival, in contrast, still have not responded to a request for comment about booking R. Kelly as a headliner in Union Park this summer. Similar issues, different despicable deeds and very different responses.