|For May 15, 2002 "How much did you pay for your CD collection?" - City Stages Special|
Downtown() Flush from last year's success, and with a wad of cash, City Stages Director George McMillan has managed to snare some pretty big talent for City Stages 2002. And not just any talent, but names that will surely appeal to the coveted 15-20 year old demographic. "We've got Sweet [Sugar] Ray and Happy [Nappy] Roots on the Milla [Miller] Stage and even Ike Turner on the Coca-Cola Stage," said McMillan. These bands are sure to attract plenty of wannabes with last year's LA fashions to help cool-up the festival. For those who go to the festival to listen to music, there will be no reason to go near the Miller Stage after 5PM. Thankfully, festival organizers have always managed to hold the lucrative 15-20 year old crowd captive there. "They [teenagers] may not spend a lot of money, but they sure bring a lot of panache to our downtown," said McMillan. To attract the kids, McMillan hired Scott Register, of Reg's Coffeehouse on WRAX 107.7 FM, as Youth Liaison. "I know my role," said Register, "Bring in da noise, bring in da funk." It seems that McMillan agrees with Register's assessment. "We had been becoming sort of a stodgy old festival with too many acts like Three On A String," said McMillan. "Now with the likes of Ike Turner, we hope to bring the young people back in droves." While City Stages vendors prefer parents with young children to the teenage crowd, there is a certain cachet that comes with the hip-hop crowd. Stylish clothing, unique piercings, and good natured fighting caused by raging hormones are some of the highlights of this cachet. Although McMillan is not himself a fan of 'young peoplee's' music, he does like to stay in touch with today's youth. "We had a popular local band for the kickoff party at Workplay," said McMillan. "The four young men put on quite a show. I must say it was a little loud for me and I had to meet with some people in the lobby. But all in all I think we have a positive message for young people." The 'Hamster interprets that message as 'Come downtown and party.' So let's go.
Downtown() Employees at the Chick-Fil-A restaurant on 5th Avenue North would like to remind City Stages patrons that Chick-Fil-A restrooms are for paying customers only. Team Member James Whitcomb has been put on double duty as Fry Chef and bathroom monitor. Customers are requested to purchase their meal before proceeding to the toilet area. "This is the best way for me to handle the situation," said Whitcomb. "Everyone will be treated equally under this policy. If I didn't see you at the counter, I'm not letting you back to the bathroom." The policy went into affect after last year's City Stages when Chick-Fil-Employees noticed several people using the restroom without purchasing any food or drink. "I remember seeing at least ten people on Friday night use our bathroom, and I know they didn't buy anything," said Whitcomb. "I'm pretty sure they were just there to see Junior Brown and thought our bathroom was convenient." The new policy clearly indicates the prerequisites for bathroom usage. The restaurant has defined a paying customer as an individual who purchases at least one Chick-Fil-A sandwich and a large drink. Chick-Fil-A would also like to remind everyone that they will be closed on Sunday and so will their restroom.
Southside() Birmingham's Black & White Magazine broke its own record this year for artist comparisons in its blurb on singer-songwriter Tift Merritt. Merritt, who plays the Blockbuster Stage at City Stages 2002, was compared to not less than 8 other artists in the two paragraph write-up. While an impressive feat, the bio still fails to deliver information that is useful to the typical festival goer. It is difficult to imagine a Bonnie Raitt, Lucinda Williams, Linda Rondstadt, Ryan Adams, Merle Haggard, Gillian Welch, Patsy Cline, Emmylou Harris sound. What Black & White should have said was that Merritt's music was pretty good, and her voice a little moody and a little dreamy. Then they could have written about her song When I Cross Over which is a poignant confession about looking for something that can never be found. But you might be able to find it in the 'Hamster MicroGuide to City Stages 2002.