Carnegie Hall Concert Goes On, After Strike Canceled Performance

Flint concert composes ‘unique harmony’ to honor Daniel Pearl World Music Day

A strike by stagehands forced the cancellation, but the union temporarily suspended its strike on Thursday, allowing the concert hall to open its doors for now. A union leader told Reuters he was optimistic the two sides could reach a permanent deal by Friday. The dispute hangs on whether the stagehands – mostly prop-makers, carpenters and electricians – should have a role in a new educational wing that the Carnegie Hall Corp plans to open above the hall next year. The corporation wants to hire cheaper labor at the education wing. Negotiations with the union took an unprecedented turn on Wednesday when Local 1 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees decided to go on strike for the first time in the history of Carnegie Hall. However, when James Claffey, president of Local 1, emerged from negotiations on Thursday afternoon, he announced the union had agreed to pull down the picket line for the day, citing progress in the talks. “This is a goodwill gesture towards Carnegie Hall,” said Claffey, whose local has negotiated some of the most lucrative pay in the industry. He later said further progress had been made, and that even though picketing would continue, he hoped to reach a deal by Friday. Carnegie Hall’s five full-time stagehands make an average of $400,000 per year including benefits, The New York Times reported, citing the organization’s tax returns. Claffey said there were many more stagehands represented by the union who work only sporadically. “This dispute is not about those employees,” Claffey said. “This is about everyone else. These are middle class employees.” The strike forced Carnegie Hall to cancel a performance by the Philadelphia Orchestra with violinist Joshua Bell. The concert was part of Carnegie Hall’s opening-night gala, the organization’s biggest fundraising event of the year.

Can the Santa Monica Pier become a great concert venue?

Concert photos by the L.A. Times

The gig drew 30,000 people, according to some estimates. But this year the promoters expanded the menu with a slate of ticketed festivals, including All Bands on Deck! (with indie acts such as Poolside and Yacht) and September’s Beach Ball (featuring Aloe Blacc and Sly & Robbie). This weekend the pier is to host Way Over Yonder, an inaugural two-day roots-music event connected to the venerable Newport Folk Festival with performances Saturday and Sunday by Neko Case, Conor Oberst and Calexico. And Oct. 19 will bring the comedy-based Festival Supreme, assembled by Jack Black and his mock-rock band Tenacious D. The shows are part of what pier official Jay Farrand called “a larger effort to get people to take a second look at the pier to think of it not just as somewhere you take Grandma from Kansas.” But for Frank and Fleischmann whose respective companies, Spaceland and Rum & Humble, put on concerts at the Echo and the Hollywood Bowl, among other spots the activity also reflects their desire to establish a new home for music on the Westside, where a dearth of large and mid-sized venues intensified with the closing this summer of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. PHOTOS: Unexpected musical collaborations “People here need a place where they can gather in large numbers for music,” said Fleischmann, who pointed to high rents and restrictive permitting as reasons the Westside generally lacks such spaces. The century-old Santa Monica Pier, an instantly identifiable but historically significant landmark, makes for a complex solution to that problem. Jay Sweet, who supervises the Newport Folk Festival, said the pier appealed to him for Way Over Yonder because it’s an “iconic place that’s not a traditional music venue” similar to Fort Adams State Park in Rhode Island, where Newport has taken place since 1959. “There’s an overall vibe there,” said Cliff’s manager, Ernie Gonzalez, who added that the pier attracts an audience more diverse than at other venues. “I went to a show recently at the Greek Theatre with an artist who’s been around for as long as Jimmy,” he said. “And it was kind of the obvious demographic. But at the pier it was all across the board.” Yet there are also structural limitations the stage for Way Over Yonder had to be designed according to load-bearing considerations and the long-established reluctance of arty Eastsiders to travel west. Brandon Lavoie, who until recently worked as a talent buyer at Santa Monica’s Central Social Aid and Pleasure Club, remembered “literally going to the Echo on Monday night and begging the opening band to come play a headlining slot on Friday.” Still, Frank and Fleischmann say that turnout at this summer’s Twilight shows along with strong advance ticket sales for Way Over Yonder suggest that the pier is meeting a need, one they hope to cultivate with even more concerts in 2014.

He later wrote that family and saidnever in his life had he felt such a triumph of hope over fear. “That gave us the idea, that music has the power to empower,” Judea Pearl said. “That’s what we wanted to give to the world.” Then, the concerts began spreading worldwide. The Flint Jewish Federation hosted its first “Humanity and Harmony” concert came Sunday, Oct. 6, at the University of Michigan-Flint Theater. Steven Low, executive director of the Flint Jewish Federation, said the concert featured stringed instruments like violins, banjos and mandolins played by people of varied cultures — all designed to help bring the community together to honor Daniel Pearl. “He had this really great, big idea about bringing all these different styles of music together,” said event coordinator Michael J. Thorp, who also served as emcee for the concert. Low began developing the concert after reading an article in a Jewish magazine about Daniel Pearl World Music Day, which has inspired 2,000 concerts in 120 countries. “I thought, ‘We’ve got so many different groups here in Flint and if we could all come together over music, how awesome would that be?’ ” Low said. The concert was designed to focus on Pearl’s life rather than his tragic death. The local concert honored Pearls love of music and his work as a journalist with an essay contest sponsored by The Flint Journal. Ellie Cowger, a senior at Fenton High School, won first place and a $500 scholarship for her essay on “Why Journalism Matters in Today’s World.” Both Jordan Hancock, a freshman at Davison High School, and Alexandra Howell, a senior at Fenton High School, were honored as finalist in the contest. “I love what Steven (Low) said about how music can bring us together,” said Journal Editor Marjory Raymer, when presenting the awards.