But the festival is now over and for regular Chicagoans who don’t find themselves close to Grand Park the first weekend in August, today’s news is probably better than any review. This weekend, the Chicago Tribune put out an editorial slamming the Lollapalooza sweetheart deal that provided free rent and a tax exemption. And today, two aldermen want a review of the deal and a probe for next year’s festival.
For long time readers of this blog network? That’s a score. As you may (or may not) know, last year we made a big play to bring music writer Jim DeRogatis into the fold. In one of his first meaty stories, Jim questioned why Lollapalooza was getting such a great deal, and reported on whether political connections may have played a role (Daley’s nephew was the lawyer).
Jim stayed with story, reporting new angles and weathering criticism from readers and other media about how he was off base. The biggest argument from most of them runs something like this: “Yeah, but Lolla generates so much money for local businesses.”
It’s true that some hotels and restaurants experience their best nights of the year. And Lolla does give some money back to the Parkways Foundation, an unusual not-for-profit run by the Chicago Park District. But hogwash - that doesn’t mean the terms of this deal aren’t worth being looked into. Sweetheart deals may work when the city is riding high. But when the city is strapped, the politicians have to follow their campaign promises and tighten the belt. After all, Lolla made $20 million last year on the festival, probably more this year.
So today, DeRo rides high as aldermen and the mainstream media turn their attention to the story. But here’s the rub:
The Tribune picked up Jim’s story, but not Jim. They editorialized on the nuts and bolts of the Lolla deal, as if they did all the research. They never once credited DeRogatis or any competiting entity. I’m not naive. If you are the first to report on the fire, that doesn’t mean they will source you later. But in this case, DeRo kind of owns this story. He’s been breaking new ground on this story for over a year. I would bet 15-20 posts? So Trib, how bout a link? I know you want to sneak one in for us!!!
B story: Lolla gatecrashers seem really absurd. Think about it - Grant Park is not a concert venue. You can’t gate crash at Charter One Pavillion, right? So kids know this and just bum-rush Buckingham Fountain.
C story: Chicago Tonight: Week in Review. Did anyone see it? Did I suck? I love how seriously casual I am in it. Who needs a suit and tie when you have a pink shirt? At least I put on a jacket. I loved the whole experience. Whenever David Greising talked, I was thinking “Man, I’m this close to David Greising.” They put you pretty much on top of each other for the camera shots. But it was surreal to have watched that show for years and have that great of an angle. THE David Greising. Man, if Lester Munson was on the other side, I might have passed out.
I will say this: That’s a fun show, fun format. Younger people should try and get something like that going. That show is entrenched as a proud week-in-review show. It’s for older people (I’m an exception - I love it). If you were able to have that kind of production with bloggers and younger media professionals? Could be a hit. Week in Review meets Chelsea Handler. Think about that. I’ll have a proposal drawn up by end of week.
Weather: Stop the
Sports: I’m really hating Chicago baseball right now. These two teams are exactly “who we thought they were” at the all-star break. As a Sox fan, I kind of want the team to go away. They just have very little hustle and heart these days. It isn’t really an Ozzie team. But, there they are sweeping away the Twins in Minnesota in August. That’s unusual. So if the Sox made a run right now and rattled off 11 in a row, would you love this team?
Bears turf problems: Seriously? That can’t have happened. Are the groundskeepers at the Chicago Park District paid enough? We need more resources at that field. It’s August. If the turf is any worse shape than it was at the end of last year, we are going to be playing at Ryan Field in Evanston for the final 4 games. C’mon. Just tax Lollapalooza for that reason only.
Celebrity Gossip: Big Boi was arrested in Miami on drug possession charges. I’m pretty sure drugs played no role in my awesome interview with the shorter half of Outkast at last year’s Pitchfork Music Festival.
Kicker: I went to a high school reunion on Saturday. It wasn’t mine, but I had a good time. And I realized that I might actually want to go to mine. I skipped my 10 year party. And I never realized that if you were on the student council, you are responsible for throwing the reunion. Never knew that. If I knew that information when I was in high school, I would have run for student council on that exact platform. ‘If you elect me, I will throw a kick-ass 20 year reunion.’
*I’m around today, but I will be taking a few days off here and there this week. I’ve stockpiled a few blog posts, including some Taste of the Nation ticket giveaways. Dolinsky used to do them, so I got a couple pair and I’ll throw the contest up early this week.