By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Here's how very, very stupid the folks at Ogden Entertainment are. The word on the street is that when talent buyer Ken Phebus submitted a four-day, $400,000 proposal to Robert Plant's people, the folks at the Sun Theater's parent company nixed it because they confused Plant with Robert Palmer. The Sun Theater could have charged Southern California's mullet boys anything they wanted for a ticket to see the Led Zeppelin screamer. Hell, if the Zep fans didn't have the bread to go to the show—or more likely, all four shows—they would probably have sold their bitchen Camaros to scrape it together. A Plant concert would have been a cash crop, a windfall, a lottery win, a money factory as effective as the printing presses those poor Net companies used to keep in their basement, the better to churn out their virtual cash.
In further moronicisms, the day after the B-52's played the Sun, Phebus reportedly went to the office only to find the locks changed on his door. A Los Angeles Times story reported last month that the Sun was looking to do fewer concerts and more corporate events—perhaps using those lucky cast members who used to portray autograph seekers and paparazzi when the Sun hosted the sad, bedraggled Tinseltown, in which everybody would be a stah!
It's unlikely Phebus will get in touch with us for comment: with all this new time on his hands, it's anyone's guess how long it will be before he checks his e-mail. He's also got a long-standing distrust of the press, and it's not like we can hound him at the office. So we'll comment for him: the firing of Phebus is an instance of blind retardation almost as jaw-droppingly dumb as when Huntington Beach director of cultural services Mike Mudd decided to clean house at the nationally prominent Huntington Beach Art Center. Yup. It's thatstupid.
Phebus booked shows for Gary Folgner's Coach House and Galaxy Concert Theatre for years before moving to the Sun, where he brought a mix of the kind of acts that make critics cream—Joan Armatrading, Chris Isaak, and the once-very-radical Smothers Brothers, for instance—and popular nostalgia acts. Yeah, I'd go see Lynyrd Skynyrd, no matter how red their necks are.
But although the Sun claimed it would be running its bookings from New York after letting Phebus go, area bookers have reported getting exploratory calls from the bedeviled venue. (It's typical Ogden behavior so far; when the company was preparing to close down Tinseltown, they gathered all the employees together to reassure them that the show would go on, albeit, uh, without the show itself. At the time, cultured and charming photographer Jack Gould pointed out: "That's just what they say so the employees won't steal everything before they get fired.") Now, it seems the big, lovely concert venue is preparing to bite the dust. Things are looking bad. Of course, they'll just deny it.
Perhaps the Sun no longer wants to compete with the ass-kicking House of Blues at Downtown Disney. A Times story a few weeks ago detailed just how beautifully everybody—the Sun, House of Blues, Coach House, Galaxy, Crazy Horse, and the small clubs, too—is getting along. Rodney King, eat your heart out. But under booker John Pantle, our little Anaheim franchise of the House of Blues empire is enjoying the fastest growth in the nationwide chain, despite the way folks looked down their noses at the idea of building a place for national acts in OC. It brings back those lovely memories of people saying the county could never support an alternative weekly. . . .
It's a rare week that doesn't find us hanging out and being all important at the Mouse House. Not only is it a shiny, happy venue, but Pantle's bringing in acts that are making us practically faint with joy and desire. Witness G. Love. The Philly boy, who's as white as that city's famous cream cheese, is the funkiest, bluesiest white boy I have ever seen, ever. With his crazy legs waving back and forth like Suzanne Somersworking an invisible Thighmaster—or not!—the entire time he played, G. Love gave up a long, sweaty set that had the capacity crowd foaming like a churning sea. Quiksilver schwagman Evil Bollweevil was lurking at the side of the house—along with everybody in the entire world. When G. Love began "Dreamin'," which is dedicated on the excellent album Philadelphonic to Sublime's late singer Brad Nowell, Nowell's hometown crowd went crazy—at least those who had the album and knew for whom the song was written did. And, yes, G. Love still loves the cold beverages.
Friday's Chain Reaction show featuring Wonderlove and Square, among others, apparently will be the last for the awesome prog-rock band Square. Guitarist James Valentine had received an offer to join the recently signed Kara's Flowers. When I asked him about it at the show, he said he truly didn't know what he was going to do and that he kept changing his mind every five minutes about leaving Square, with whom he had moved to OC from Nebraska after winning a $25,000 battle-of-the-bands contest. The next day, I received an anonymous e-mail that read, in part: