Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page

Grizzlies Chew Up Spurs

Last night’s game was edge of your seat variety with the Spurs clawing their way back to take a one point lead midway throught the fourth quarter. Zach Randolph and Tony Allen proved too much.

Love Memphis as a city more than its cousin Nashville. Mostly because they integrated their music, at least mixing the sounds of blues and country much more than Nashville.See this at the Stax Museum.

Staxtacular at Stax Museum:

Randolph called himself “blue-collar” and Memphis “blue-collar” in a witty and fun response to an annoying question from the reporter after the game.

The questions asked by the ESPN reporter to Tony Allen and Randolph felt degrading to the woman asking them and to the two black men asked to answer them. She started Allen off with reminding him of not fitting in in Boston after he won the championship with the team in 2008. Then, Randolph gets to hear about how he hasn’t fit in on some other teams. It was smart for them to turn the questions into statements about how much they love being in Memphis. But what also came across to me was, woman reporter don’t ask the players questions about their play/performance and ask them about how come they didn’t get along in their previous cities.

Tennis and Economic Development

How many promises are made about building an area when a new Major League Baseball team, a National Football League team or a National Basketball Association team wants the city to put in a ton of money for a new stadium or arena? Tons.

Authors like Andrew Zimbalast  conclude that sports teams and facilities are not a source of local economic growth and employment; second, the magnitude of the net subsidy exceeds the financial benefit of a new stadium to a team.

The Brookings Institution say the promises are usually not met.

Washington, DC tried this with the Nationals Park as a part of the office buildings and condominiums that sprang up all across the Navy Yard and parts of southeast.

Now the southwest waterfront is the next development area.

The city poured $200 million for infrastructure improvements and a developer began the process of building condominiums. The new tennis stadium is one of the drawing cards to this part of the city.

The team says on its website that the new location will enhance the viewing experience for fans who already consider the Kastles’ home one of the most intimate, exciting tennis venues in the country.

The developers PN Hoffman and Madison Marquette hope and think this 3,000-seat tennis stadium will jump-start a nearly $2 billion, 10-year redevelopment project. The stadium will serve to lure area residents to a waterfront development of hotels, restaurants, shops, a marina with 600 new boat slips and dockside apartments.

Baseball, Tourism and Masculinity

First panel went to today featured talks about the evil George Steinbrenner, the selling of baseball as the national pasttime during the Great Depression, and baseball games as cultural healing in the aftermath of September 11.

In a room filled with Yankee fans or ex-followers it is amazing the venom for the owner. We concluded that he did many horrible acts and was took much of a control freak to be a good owner.

I appreciated the talk on marketing and look forward to the book that will discuss how baseball marketing changed over the years and seemed to succeed mostly during times of tumult in the nation.

As someone who travels around the world, I love to hear about differnt ways in which things are marketed to tourists. 19th century novels offered pictures of the world to rural female readers. The owners of the Red Sox have to modernize Fenway Park yet try to retain a sense of place and its history.

Popular Culture Conference 2011

In San Antonio near the Alamo to see professors from all over the world talk about everything from Buffy the vampire slayer to fat studies, masculinity, and sexuality.

Did my presentation on the old basketball team the Washington Capitols and their inability to remain in the NBA. The small group had a discussion about fans, team identities, the media as a Greek chorus telling us about how the game is being played, who the heros and villans are etc.

Liked a talk about Glee and the idea of television musicals. Cops Rock and another show in the 1990s failed probably becuase it all was too unfamilar to viewers but Glee counters that by choosing well known songs.

Antoher good talk about Billy Elliott and its use of the community to allow Billy to succeed as a dancer. Liked to hear more about collections at university librariesand another about the sexual fantasies of males in three popular movies.

Moving for Money and Opportunities

We all know cities decline, having heard about Buffalo, Detroit and the Rust Belt. Jobs, chances to move up, join the middle class has prompted people to leave the farm for the city, leave the Rust Belt for the Sun Belt, and what leave the US for somewhere else?

Today, rural areas are facing new bleak times and might have to move. Are the Sacramento Kings facing the same issue?

The Post had a huge article about declining rural areas in Virginia. The textile factories that moved there in the 1920s through 1940s from New England for cheaper labor moved out, taking away paying jobs (see the movie Norma Rae).

Now Walmart left and the area’s restaurants can’t stay open. The social service and donor organizations don’t have any money to give out to help people stay. This is what the Great Depression looked like and in those days people picked up and moved because they had no chance where they were. The big question is do the people have the money to leave?

Are the Sacramento Kings leaving for the same reason? The team finished second to last in attendance for this season, averaging little less than 14,000 a game or 80% of the capacity of the arena. The Kings were in the top 10 of the league in drawing crowds on the road.

Is Sacramento in decline so the crowds could not afford to show up? The city has a median income of $47,000 which is $11,000 less than the state’s average. There are over 2 million people in the surrounding area so the city has the means to make the team a success. However, the owners want a new arena with high end corporate boxes to maximize their profits.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Mayor Heather Fargo made several abortive attempts to provide taxpayer financing of a new sports arena for the Maloof brothers, owners of the Sacramento Kings NBA Basketball franchise. In November 2006, Sacramento voters soundly defeated a proposed sales tax hike to finance the plan. The defeat was due in part to competing plans for the new arena and its location.

In late 2010 the Maloof family began negotiating with officials in Anaheim, California in an effort to move the NBA Kings franchise to that city, despite repeated assurances that the team would stay in Sacramento. On March 29, 2011, the City of Anaheim approved bond measures aimed at assisting the Kings move and thereby all but ensuring that the franchise will be leaving Sacramento and relocating to Anaheim.

Giants and Dodgers Show the Way

You’ve heard put a ring on it. Try put a Band Aid on it.

Last night, the two baseball teams with one of the most intense rivalries hugged and tried to show that there is no bad blood between them. They were trying to set an example for their fans.

Dodger owner McCourt is spending a ton of money on security in order to address the insane act done by at least two men last week. The men beat a Giants fan outside the parking lot of Dodger Stadium, causing the man to suffer brain damage.

The teams engaged in a nice gesture. Their act would work on rational people. Anyone who would beat another person senseless is not a rational person. Major League Baseball has just experienced the thuggary of international soccer with its hooligans.

Ironicly, a feature writer for Bleacher Report posted an article:

MLB Power Rankings: Analyzing All 30 Fanbases To Find the Most Emotional One

Why now? He ranks Dodger fans number 4. The description:

The Dodgers have had quite a few different names over the years – many of them unofficial. The Bridegrooms, the Superbas, the Robins, the Grays. The one that everyone remembers? ‘Brooklyn’.

When the Brooklyn Dodgers moved across the country to California, there was outrage, protesting and grieving on such a scale, you would not think it was about a baseball team. There are still people who want the Dodgers to move back to the East coast. Now that’s loyalty.

America Needs the Arts

Monday night, Kevin Spacey told a thousand people at the Kennedy Center that the United States needs the arts.

The arts, dance, painting, poetry, writing are the life blood of the nation. They are the culture, the culture that plays everywhere throughout the world. The movies that everybody loves. The books that they read. The television shows that keep them at home.

The actor quoted politicians ranging from Kennedy to Nixon, all of whom realized the importance of the arts. Winston Churchill when told that cuts needs to be made in the arts in order to pay for World War II, said, “Then what are we fighting for?”

Members of the audience went to Capitol Hill to talk with representatives and senators to argue for the importance of arts spending for the National Endownment for the Arts.

As the organization Americans for the Arts summarizes the events.

Congressional Arts Kick Off:

Who: Speakers at the Congressional Arts Kick Off include:

  • Hill Harper, film and television actor and author
  • Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts
  • Charles Segars, Ovation CEO
  • Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Chairman of the Interior Appropriations Committee
  • Kevin Spacey, Academy Award®-winning actor and Artistic Director of the Old Vic Theatre
  • Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), Senate Cultural Caucus
  • Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) will receive the 2011 Congressional Arts Leadership Award. In addition, there will be a special performance by James Schlender, 2011 VSA International Soloist Awar Recipient
What: The Congressional Arts Kick Off marks the official start of the Arts Advocacy Day events on Capitol Hill.  The Congressional Arts Leadership Award will also be presented at the Kick Off.   The award, which recognizes distinguished service on behalf of the arts, is part of a series of Public Leadership in the Arts Awards given annually by Americans for the Arts and The United States Conference of Mayors.
When: Tuesday, April 5, 2011
8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
RSVP is essential for press coverage.
Please contact Catherine Brandt at
Where: Cannon Caucus Room
345 Cannon House Office Building
Why: This high-energy event is always full of great, unexpected comments and sound bites.  This year will be no exception.

Special Hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee:

Who: Witnesses providing testimony at the hearing include:

  • Alec Baldwin, Emmy Award®-winning TV, film and stage actor
  • Elizabeth Kautz, Mayor, Burnsville, MN and President, U.S. Conference of Mayors
  • Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO, Americans for the Arts
  • Edgar Smith, CEO of World PAC Paper, Business Committee for the Arts Executive Board Member
  • Kevin Spacey, Academy Award®-winning actor and Artistic Director of the Old Vic Theatre
What: Special Hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on funding for the National Endowment for the Arts
When: Tuesday, April 5, 2011
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Press – Please RSVP to Catherine Brandt at
Where: Rayburn Building
Room 2359, 3rd Floor
Why: Witnesses’ testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior will focus on the importance of the arts to the nation and the need to retain current levels of funding to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).  Their testimony will also underscore the importance of developing strong public policies for the arts and arts education.