On the Road – PRPD, Digital Lincoln, and Cuban Jazz

PHILADELPHIA – All quiet on the blog front lately, thanks to a combination of travel, deadlines, and Harpers Ferry business. But I’ve been saving up a lot of thoughts to share about the PRPD Conference last week in Minneapolis (PRPD stands for Public Radio Program Directors, now the biggest confab in pubradio) and some recent Nooze of the World (Radiohead’s “free” downloads, for starters). And there will doubtless be lots to share about the next couple of days here in Philly, where I’m a guest of the Rosenbach Museum and Library. They’re a fascinating operation with some interesting and varied stuff in their collection, including the Maurice Sendak Gallery (which for copyright-CYA reasons are not snapped for this blog but you can see them here).

Anyway, I’m in town to brainstorm with them about another significant part of their collection – a huge troves of materials around the 16th U.S. American President – Honest Abe’s letters, speeches, and other writings. The Rosenbach is looking to create a “Digital Community” based on the life story, ideas and words of Lincoln. That’s what I know so far, at least. Can’t wait to roll up the sleeves and dig in….once the effects of the Non-Dairy Creamer wear off…

Oh, and Cuban Jazz….this is also a blog about music, remember? One of the highlights of the Twin Cities trip was a visit to the excellent – and somewhat renowned – Dakota Jazz Club (in the bottom floor of the massive Target headquarters) to hear the Cuban emigre Nachito Herrera. All the ingredients for a Great Night Out..excellent company with co-owner Lowell Pickett, and WBGO Jazz 88 PD Thurston Briscoe, an outstanding meal, and Nechito’s wizardry on a variety of keyboards, rollicking through an oh-so-Cubano charged night of rhythm and moods, ranging from light classical to Heavy Weather. One of the many highlights: hearing Nechito accompanying his 16-year old daughter in a lights-out rendition of Besame Mucho. Mucho indeed!

A Great Night Out

The left-hand side of my blogspot tells you what I care about, including “new media, old cars, and game-changers.” So I was pretty much hooked the moment the cherry two-door ’59 Pontiac Catalina appears in this video by Goldstar Events touting their Great Night Out Initiative:

the Great Night Out InitiativeVote For Me!

Okay, Charles, I’m hooked. I even signed up to “judge.” Great concept from a company that’s been getting all kinds of attention for their innovative ways of getting the under-40 crowd into the seats at concerts, theatre, and other arts events. Check out this Wall Street Journal article by Terry Teachout to read more about why Goldstar has arts-management tongues wagging. Sample grab, in case you can’t access the site:

Goldstar’s slogan is “Great Nights Out for About the Price of a Movie.” That’s a neat capsule summary of what it seeks to do. By offering its members an ultraconvenient way to purchase heavily discounted surplus tickets to undersold performances — and by sending them custom-tailored weekly e-mailings touting a wide-ranging variety of events — the company hopes to attract young people who aren’t yet in the habit of attending live performances. Nor are its discounted offerings second-class: Goldstar’s 2,000 venue partners include such well-known groups as Arena Stage in Washington, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Boston Celtics, the Chicago Bulls, Chicago Shakespeare, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New York City Ballet, the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Opera and Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre.

Guess their plan is working – they are nearing one million ticket sales, according to their publicity.

But, getting back to the contest, too bad that none of the entries thus far are anywhere near as clever and on-message as the sample video – (Phoenix’ “Great Night Out” is indeed at the theatre…the theatre parking lot, that is, selling “Astro Weenies” and other “Car-B-Q” selections literally cooked up under the hood of his big Catalina). A lot of picture postcards of the Grand Caymans, sunsets in Maui, artists touting their MySpace videos, and more random agglomorations from YouTubeLand. (Though I was amused by the “Beowulf on Ice” segment – though that too is recycled and not made for the contest per se)

But it’s early yet. Check it out, and while you’re at it, sign up for Goldstar here.