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Rolling Stone: Prince ranks No. 2 on list of today's best live acts

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: August 1, 2013 - 1:10 AM



Prince/ Photo by Kevin Mazur/ Wire Image

Prince is No. 2 again. Rolling Stone named Bruce Springsteen the king of current live concert performers, with Prince second and the Rolling Stones third.

You’ll recall this summer Entertainment Weekly cited Prince’s “Purple Rain” as the second greatest album of all time. But we digress.

Rolling Stone assembled 24 music-biz insiders to cast votes including managers Irving Azoff and Jon Landau, several promoters including two from the Bowery Presents, the music booker for “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” three music journalists including two from Rolling Stone and a bunch of artists, including two members of Fall Out Boy, both Tegan & Sara, Trey Anastasio of Phish, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Lars Ulrich of Metallica, Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes.
Cliff Burnstein of Q Prime Management which works with Metallica, Muse, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Josh Groban, among others, said of Prince: "He's a better guitarist than you are. He's a better singer than you are. He can dance better than you. His songs are better than yours. You might have a better jump shot, though."
Rounding out the Top 10 were Arcade Fire, Neil Young, Jay-Z, Radiohead, Jack White, Rage Against the Machine and My Morning Jacket.
Here’s a link to Rolling Stone’s list of the 50 greatest live acts now.

Union asks Minneapolis Institute of Arts members to reject board candidate

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: July 17, 2013 - 6:49 PM

In a show of solidarity with locked-out members of the Minnesota Orchestra, a union representing security staff at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts asked museum members to reject Richard Davis in his bid for re-election to the MIA's board of trustees.

Davis, the president and CEO of U.S. Bancorp, has been on the MIA's board of trustees since 2007. He is also immediate past chair of the board of the Minnesota Orchestra whose musicians are locked out in a long-running contract dispute. He is one of 10 individuals, including six other incumbents, nominated for three-year terms on the museum's board.

All of the museum's 24,371 members may vote on the slate of trustees in the election which concludes at the museum's annual meeting at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow, July 18.

Opposition to Davis came from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 26 which represents the museum's security staff. They announced Wednesday that, before the annual meeting, they plan to protest Davis in company with Minnesota Orchestra fans and members of Young Musicians of Minnesota, a youth ensemble.


St. Paul Mayor Coleman presses for SPCO settlement; musicians weigh new proposal

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: March 22, 2013 - 10:59 AM


St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman last week pressed management and musicians of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra to resolve their labor dispute and get back to playing concerts.

An open letter today from Dobson West, president of the SPCO, said Coleman "expressed his concern forcefully to both sides that the remainder of our concert season is at risk and a cancellation of that season would result in serious long-term consequences for the SPCO and the city."

Coleman asked SPCO management to make a new proposal to musicians, "containing significant concessions," West wrote.

Musicians are meeting Friday to consider a new proposal from management that would eliminate a two-tier pay scale that they have opposed. It also offers them a guaranteed annual salary of $60,000, an increase of $4,000 from the last offer, but still well below what they had been making before being locked out last October in this dispute. Also on the table is an increase in the minimum guaranteed overscale so that no musician will receive less than 80 percent of what they currently earn in overscale, versus a previous offer of 50 percent.

Other revisions in the current offer cover areas of early retirement, insurance benefits, the size of the orchestra and the process for making decisions on personnel and programming.

As has happened at least once before, the musicians are deciding whether to accept these new contract provisions in a "play and talk" scheme that would allow concerts to begin as more negotiations are scheduled between now and June 30. Management said it must reach a decision on this proposal not later than April 8, after which time it would have to cancel the remainder of the concert season.

Musicians are expected to have an announcement on the plan later on Friday. Look for updates at startribune.com when they become available.

Walker film interns resign, blast museum's 'callous negligence' in staff and program cuts

Posted by: Colin Covert Updated: March 22, 2013 - 2:43 PM


Photo courtesy of Walker Art Center

Photo courtesy of Walker Art Center

In a move designed to protest staff and program cuts in Walker Art Center’s film and video division, the department’s three interns resigned Wednesday afternoon.

Jeremy Meckler, Courtney K. Sheehan and Matthew Cole Levine announced their walkout in a statement emailed to Walker staff accusing the museum’s management of “general disrespect towards a longstanding, talented, and loyal staff” and “callous negligence” that “was felt with particular sting in the Film/Video department.” The three had spent a total of five years working at the Walker.

The museum this month has undergone a bruising round of layoffs and restructuring in the face of rising admission prices and falling revenues. Two weeks ago Walker management laid off Film and Video Program Manager Kathie Smith, with Assistant Curator Dean Otto, who handled primarily programming responsibilities, assuming Smith's administrative duties. Otto and Film and Video Curator Sheryl Mousley are now the department’s remaining fulltime staff.

With a $1 million gift from the Edina-based Bentson Foundation, Walker extensively remodeled its cinema in June 2012, yet the museum’s film programming has declined. Longrunning film series including “Women in the Director’s Chair,” the “Global Lens” world cinema survey, and the gay-themed “Queer Takes” are gone from the calendar, and the cinema sits dark most days. Screenings have fallen by about 20 percent in the last five years, from an average of 170 to 140 a year, said Ryan French, the Walker’s director of marketing and public relations. Visual and performing arts programs also have been curtailed. Walker's most successful recent film event was last summer's festival of Internet kitten videos.

“The Walker has been reducing its overall programming and budget to overcome a gap between income and expenses. We’re reducing program levels and the staff that support those programs,” French said. He said the free summer Music and Movies in the Park program and the popular, ticket-selling British Arrows television advertising showcase will remain. “Having a reduction in programming from 170 to 140 but having a great space to do it in is a good thing.” 

Minnesota Orchestra dispute gets TV airing

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: December 2, 2012 - 6:21 PM

Minnesota Orchestra board member Doug Kelley disagreed with veteran cellist Tony Ross about nearly every point the two debated Friday night on TPT's "Almanac" program.

At issue is the labor dispute at the orchestra that has locked out musicians since Oct. 1 and caused cancellation of all concerts through the end of the year.

Ross renewed the musicians' call for an independent financial analysis to clear up with he called "fuzzy numbers" in the orchestra's annual reports and public statements.

Kelley said the board has been "as transparent as can be" when reporting on its annual budgets, including in its lobbying of the Minnesota Legislature in 2010 for $14 million in bonding authority for its renovation project at Orchestra Hall.

Kelley refuted the musicians' claim that they were largely unaware of the orchestra's dire money crunch in the last few years. "We told you exactly what we were doing, and you guys know every bit about that," Kelley said, referrring to a meeting between management and musicians in May, 2010.

At that meeting, then Board Chair Richard Davis told the musicians that a reported balanced budget in 2009 was achieved only "by utilizing a large endowment draw."

"We are willing to do this in the short term to protect you and and the organization," said Davis, according to documents obtained by the Star Tribune. "But we cannot continue this policy long term because it will threaten the endowment. We need you to fully understand the scope of the financial challenges because we will need your help in addressing these in contract negotiations."

Ross, a member of the musicians' negotiating committee, said "they did talk to us" about finances, but he characterized the meeting as "a clumsy attempt to negotiate early."

Referrring to last week's unanimous vote of no confidence by musicians in orchestra CEO Michael Henson, Ross said that Henson and other senior managers "have created the most toxic work environment you can imagine."

Kelley said that after a recent committee meeting to discuss it, "Mr. Henson has the unanimous full support of the board."


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