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POSTCARDS FROM THE LEDGE

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Postcard from “Boston Upswelling oXxxOooO”

RedDotSml.gif I was curious about the news from the pending, new owners of the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas (that’d be Starwood Resorts and Hotels, through their Planet Hollywood operation):

Valley hotel exec is leaving
William T. Feather is headed to new hotel in Las Vegas
By Dennis A. Britton — The Desert Sun, July 22, 2004

RANCHO MIRAGE — In the third departure of a major valley hotel executive in a month, William T. Feather said this week he is leaving as general manager of The Westin Mission Hills Resort.

Feather, 43, has been named vice president of hotel operations, Las Vegas, by Starwood Resorts and Hotels. He will run the first-ever Planet Hollywood hotel, which will become the largest hotel in the Starwood group.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime,” Feather said of his new position. “To turn a brand into an entirely new concept is very exciting.”

Starwood will spend $150 million to transform the former Aladdin Hotel, which opened in 2000, into the Planet Hollywood hotel, casino, spa and entertainment complex.

The Planet Hollywood restaurant will move from Caesar’s Palace to the 35-acre site now occupied by the Aladdin…

RedDotSml.gif That’d be the very same new manager of what is planned as the new Planet Hollywood that is to replace the Aladdin Hotel, the very place whose manager booted Linda Ronstadt off stage and off the premises, which new, pending Manager (Mr. Feather, above) says wants Linda Ronstadt and Michael Moore to appear as a stage act, with apologies all around.

He apparently had some help in that decision — managers and maybe sinisters, don’t know — but, Ronstadt’s manager made good phone with Starwood’s manager and various pressures were applied or withheld, depending, and now there may be a new act in Vegas.

About Mr. Feather, he’s got a busy Fall ahead of him. That’d be in Boston, Massachusetts.

Before he assumes his new position, Feather has been asked to temporarily run the Westin Copley Plaza in Boston during the Democratic National Convention next week. The Copley will be the headquarters for both the convention and the John Kerry campaign.

I realize that it isn’t just me here who finds the Democrats more than a little shaky, haphazard even if not too irregular for the comfort of most people, but the Ronstadt stage diversions (and backstage, too, from what the rumors are) coupled with Moore’s of worse proportions seems to be pushing the “I’m an American and you’re not” so far as to be bombastic. What it indicates to me is that the Democrats are so disorganized throughtout society as to only be able to rally in any sort of unity based upon that which they “hate” and want to destruct — but I never read or hear about any plans. Same thing from these sort of performers on stages/on screens, who find a lot of fault and are apt at ridiculing others, but lack inhibition at distorting their art forms, their very genres. Moore especially is guilty of that, as are musicians (Ronstadt, Raitt) who use a performance venue to wax off about political views.

At least Dennis Miller makes it clear that he has opinions, that his performance involves his opinions, and his audience is never manipulated into listening to him perform a drum solo instead.

RedDotSml.gif I read about the Bonnie Raitt comments made during her recent performance in Sweden, also. Lance Armstrong being spit upon afterward just prior to his win in France. Not like Armstrong did anything to encourage that, but I believe Raitt certainly did, as did Ronstadt and certainly as has Moore. It’s not an issue in any audience’s mind as to free speech or lack thereof, of creative expression or not, but of enjoying (or not) a performance that they were led to believe they’d receive when they bought their tickets and made their plans, spent all that travel money.

The issues are related: neighbors locally, neighbors across the Pond, either way: neighbors. Dumping your trash into your neighbor’s yard is going to get you: (1.) increased friendship with people who like garbage in their yard; or, (2.) unhappy neighbors. And, either way, if you dump your garbage in your neighbor’s yard, it isn’t going to make you laudable or a role model when you come back home (unless that’s your family value).

I’m jumping around in points here but the gist of it all today is that people don’t buy concert tickets in London to hear Beethoven performed by the London Sympony Orchestra and feel pleased when a man with hand puppets comes on stage half-way through the two hours and starts spouting off about the nasty Monarchy. In the case of Ronstadt’s comments in Las Vegas about Moore — she’s apparently been making similar comments from other stages during other performances, but not before in Las Vegas — the manager was right on to show her the door, if for the overlooked reason that they didn’t want any harm to come to her person afterward by a wayward element in the audience (who, in turn, were wayward after Ronstadt’s comments about Moore, something I can understand).

RedDotSml.gif I read that “The New York Times” wrote that the Las Vegas, Ronstadt audience members should have been shown the door instead of Ronstadt and once again the NYTimes misses the point of America: it’s not about populism, it’s about capitalism. A capitalist with a few extra dollars spends some of them on a ticket and some drinks, after buying into the marketed, advertised promise. Ronstadt using the venue to “share” her political barbs was equal to that hypothetical performer man with the hand puppets going all nasty about the Monarchy: people don’t like it, they don’t respect it and they can’t stand it, in the case of a Las Vegas crowd and a few drinks later.

Bonnie Raitt can squeak by with applause for similar remarks in Sweden and elsewhere in parts of Europe where it’s trendy to dislike the United States, but it doesn’t mean she’s going to fly with larger audiences back home.

The main thing about this is that the Left manufactures issue targets — and often uses the entertainment industry to do this — inorder to reinforce fears in the minds of others (and, apparently, in their own). By making inappropriate, socially tawdry comments on stage like these people have — in Moore’s case, his stage is your local theatre screen, among other soapbox venues he’s using — and then making faux complaints of outrage afterward about “free speech” and “rights of the performer” and such, they have a ReadyBakeOven moment all cooked up for distortion.

The “right to free speech” exists in description, function and purpose to prohibit government from censoring the speech by citizens that criticizes the government. So, an audience in Las Vegas, the popular culture, your neighbors, throwing in the towel and abandoning fandom isn’t an issue of free speech, or infringement of free speech, but simply society exercising it’s values, where and how they want to spend their money and who and what they find to be a sensible way to spend it.

Very few people like bummers or at least make a choice to participate in a bumming experience when we want to be entertained and most of us don’t like spending our money on entertainment that genuinely creeps us out, brings us down, drives us to the point of irritation that we want to storm out and rip up our tickets and ask for a refund. People do that when they’re fed up, beyond a point of tolerating some rendition, whatever.

Although Ronstadt and Moore on stage in Las Vegas might work for various managers and exhibitors, they’ll quickly run out of liberals in Las Vegas to buy tickets. Bonnie Raitt is another story, since her audience has been a certain blue collar crowd up to this point, but I can’t see it going on any further. All told here, however, the mix of these bitter opinions doesn’t mix at all well with a date, dinner and drinks. It doesn’t mix at all.


C O M M E N T S : now closed