More on Ticketmaster

Here’s the question of the day: How much are Ticketmaster service charges for the upcoming Eagles concerts? The answer just may cement the tour’s status as one of the great first-class financial screwings in local entertainment history. If you recall, there was an outcry over the original pricing structures for the shows: ticket prices topped out at $272, with most pavilion seats at the venues going for $87 (World) and $112 (Alpine). Embarrassed, the Eagles backed down on the top price, but as Hitsville noted at the time, they cleverly compensated by actually raising the price for most pavilion seats, to $120 at Alpine and $118 (an increase of nearly 50 percent) at the World.

Anyway, when Hitsville called Ticketmaster to ask how much service charges for the show are, the phone operators wouldn’t say. Oh, they’d cop to a $2 “shipping and handling” fee, and even a $2.25 “facility fee,” which turns out to be for parking. But even the phone supervisor refuses to divulge just how much money was going to Ticketmaster. “We don’t know,” he said. “That’s between the promoter and Ticketmaster.” “But you’re Ticketmaster,” Hitsville argued, fruitlessly. Some weeks ago the Trib reported that the service charge was $10; last Sunday the Sun-Times said $15.75. The latter is apparently correct, at least for the best pavilion seats at the World; sources tell Hitsville the actual ticket price is $100, with a $15.75 Ticketmaster service charge and a $2.25 parking fee bringing the total up to the widely reported $118. (With what I think can be charitably described as unspeakable temerity Ticketmaster adds on another $2-per-order “shipping and handling fee” to phone buyers, as if that’s not what its charge is for in the first place.) Here’s the question: on what grounds does Ticketmaster justify tacking onto the already exorbitant price of an Eagles ticket a sum four times as much as its normal, everyday, already exorbitant fee?

Poets on the Rock Stage

Local performance poet Lisa Buscani got a surprising call a few weeks back: could she curate two days worth of spoken-word performances to accompany Lollapalooza’s Chicago dates? The festival was looking for 18 poets per day–would that, asked the Lollapaloozite, scrape the bottom of Chicago’s entertainment barrel? “You’re not familiar with our community, are you?” responded the boosterish Buscani. The result is 36 local poets on stage in the festival’s so-called “revival tent.” Buscani says that the festival manadated that a hefty percentage of the performers be under 21–a group, she notes, that the local poetry scene might do better by, particularly by not having all of its slam events in bars. The results of her curating can be seen at the World July 15 and 16.

Lollapalooza is dangling another prize before local poets as well–a chance to travel and perform with the festival for two weeks, from Detroit to New York, July 23 to August 5. Buscani’s overseeing a slam to choose a winner. It takes place Monday at the Bop Shop, 1807 W. Division, at 8 PM. Registration starts at 7; only the first 50 to sign up will get to compete, and poems must be under three minutes. Call Buscani at 296-2534 for details.

Bad Sports II

Watching O.J. Simpson’s absurdist flight from the law last Friday night, Hitsville was suddenly struck by a thought: What if Simpson the celebrity had not been born and bred in the uncaring, rough and tumble world of sport, but rather had been nurtured in the more solidarity-minded world of rock ‘n’ roll? There’s something about rock ‘n’ roll that I think might have filled a void in the Hall of Famer’s life. In rock ‘n’ roll, the artist is never truly alone: he or she is surrounded by bandmates, producers, agents and managers and label people, all concerned with his or her well-being. In the world of sport, by contrast, even the most popular figure, like Simpson, apparently had no one around to help him work through his problems. Even after he was accused of a grisly double murder, no one could persuade him to handle the charges sensibly. As a rock star, he would have had a trustworthy and loyal drummer or bassist at his side, or at least a manager and a lawyer to help him out. As it was, Simpson had no authority figures around. And he had no bassist. And he had no drummer. Sure there are some wife-beaters and murderous stalkers in rock music, but they find shelter in the fabric and discipline of the world of music. That, tragically, was something O.J. didn’t have.


Two weeks ago, Hitsville profiled the new owners of the Double Door club in Wicker park. The story included the information that two of the new club’s partners, Andy Barrett and Sean Mulroney, had earlier “teamed up to open” and later sold the Sweet Alice club. After the story came out, one Joe Hathaway called, saying that he was the founder and owner of Sweet Alice. Thinking that he’d misunderstood Barrett, Hitsville called to apologize, only to have Barrett insist that “the story was correct”; that he and Mulroney had been “equal partners” in Sweet Alice and that they’d then “sold it.” Back Hitsville went to Hathaway, who said a) he and his mother own Sweet Alice; b) that he’d brought in Barrett, then a manager at Gamekeepers, to run the place with a 20 percent share; c) that he’d never met Mulroney, though he understood that Barrett had sold half his interest to him; d) and that he’d fired summarily Barrett some months ago because of “lots of problems I had with the way he was running the bar.” Hitsville believes Hathaway, and apologizes to him and readers for not getting the story straight the first time.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Nathan Mandell.