Thursday, November 13, 2003

"Hello, Atlanta!!! Are you ready to rock?!? And are you ready to fight media consolidation and push for fair trade?!?!?"

Last Sunday I saw one of those little Variety Playhouse fliers over at my pal Edward's place. It was for a show this coming Sunday featuring Billy Bragg, Steve Earle, Tom Morello (late of Rage Agin' The Machine and now billed as 'The Nightwatchman') and Mike Mills (yes, that Mike Mills). Sounded pretty cool.

"Performing together and separately," the flier promised. This was one of those quarter-sheet fliers that had space to list the artists, venue, date, time and not much else.

For instance, it didn't have space to mention that this show is - in fact - part of some political roadshow called "Tell Us The Truth," which is billed as a "music and education trek that will put issues of media reform, economic and environmental justice and democracy at the top of the American political agenda ..." The tour's website goes on to say "this tour will be the loudest, angriest, funniest and most effective challenge to corporate domination of the public discourse in recent history."

Cool! For my $21.50 (plus $4.75 Ticketmaster Convenience Charge), I not only get to hear Billy Bragg, Steve Earle, Tom Morello and Mike Mills perform; I also get to hear them and AFL-CIO officials talk about economic and social justice!!

No thanks.

Am I for free trade? Sure, I guess. Am I concerned about the effect the consolidation of media outlets by huge media companies has on the future of free speech? Well, if the wife and I didn't work for huge media companies, I'm sure I would be.

But that's beside the point.

If these guys want to do a political tour that hooks people in with musical talent, don't charge me $21.50 to see it. And if you're going to charge me $21.50 to see a show, don't push your damn political agenda on me.

Maybe next Spring I'll organize a political/music tour that rallies people behind the message that political/musical tours shouldn't charge $21.50 for tickets. I'll make a fortune.


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