All posts by Mark Sonder

- Chief Entertainment Officer at the 33 year old company award-winning music and event entertainment firm Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency - Author, "Event Entertainment and Production." - Lecturer in Tourism Studies, Master of Tourism Administration, School of Business, The George Washington University - Vice Flotilla Commander, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Department of Homeland Security
Original Woodstock Poster hanging at the office of Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency

Woodstock, by Bob Lefsetz

Everybody was on the bill.

Back then there were two lanes, AM & FM, hits and album tracks.

Woodstock was a festival for the album tracks. An era that began with either “Sgt. Pepper” or “Rubber Soul,” depending on your viewpoint. Was your hair long or short? Were you for or against the war? These were lines of demarcation. And those who went to Woodstock were on the FM, long hair, against the war, peace side.

But no one knew the contingent was so big, NO ONE!

That was the essence of Woodstock, THAT EVERYBODY WENT!

I’m sick and tired of writers opining on Woodstock and getting it wrong.

No, I did not go to Woodstock, I was at a summer program in Chicago. But to tell you the truth, we never thought it would happen, it was too good to be true.

So everybody drives upstate and the straight press is overwhelmed.

Now, by this point there was an alternative press. “Rolling Stone” being the music bible. But even “Rolling Stone” didn’t gain mainstream credibility until its scoops on Patty Hearst, and that was five years later!

I’m trying to paint the picture for you. The counterculture was hiding in plain sight, but the establishment didn’t see it. And Woodstock was evidence of its humongous size, even its members were overwhelmed. It was a tribe. And from thereon forward, the younger generation ruled.

Oh, it’d been percolating since the early sixties. It was not like today,  your mom didn’t have to work, there was extra money, there were no homeless people. Money did not drive the culture, MUSIC DID! And the music was not mindless, not made for money, but a direct transcription from the players’ hearts to vinyl, which you purchased and ate up like manna from heaven.

And you didn’t only listen to hard rock, soft stuff resonated too. As evidenced by the inclusion of such disparate acts on the bill as the Incredible String Band and Jimi Hendrix. We were addicted to FM radio, we were addicted to the music.

And now we’ve got all these naysayers saying there were not enough black performers. You can’t look at the past through modern eyes. The truth was there was very little black music on FM radio. It was kinda like Bob Pittman saying that MTV was an AOR station. Sure, it switched, as did FM radio, but at the time, every act that was credible other than Bob Dylan was there, and the rumor was that he was gonna show up too.

Now we keep hearing from the musicians what a dump it was. About the delays. And the lack of infrastructure.

If you expect musicians to get it right, you expect them to be able to pick the single and understand the business, and these are very rare qualities. It was another gig.

But really it was about the audience, the fact that everybody showed up and there was peace.

There are school shootings today, but back then they shot the Kennedys, and Martin Luther King, Jr., and there were riots and Nixon ran on restoring law and order and then 400,000 kids show up and no one gets hurt? IMPOSSIBLE!

It’d be like having no security at the airport and no planes getting hijacked.

And speaking of killing the Kennedys, don’t compare Altamont to Woodstock. You can only do it once, you can only surprise people once, you can only make your point once, after that it’s a variation on a theme.

And that’s what the Stones did, in an ersatz fashion. Pushing their faux danger, hiring the Hells Angels for security. The band had no pulse on how America worked. And they were English. And although English bands appeared at Woodstock, it was quite definitely an American production.

Now you’ve got to know that Woodstock didn’t really blow up until the following April. With the three disc set and the movie. News doesn’t stick to your ribs like music.

You dropped the needle and you were there, but you weren’t. You reveled in the tunes, knew all the stage announcements.

And then the movie!

Oh, I’ve seen “Monterey Pop,” I’ve seen them all, and “Woodstock” is the best. Because first and foremost it’s a MOVIE! With interviews and special effects and you felt like you lived through the weekend, you didn’t want it to end, which is why it played through the summer and I saw it three times, some people even more.

That’s another thing that bugs me, the naysayers who say the music sucked. Come on, you ever been to a gig? The only time it’s perfect is when it’s on hard drive. Rock music is a feeling, an emotion, and when it resonates…

Kinda like when you listen to Creedence Clearwater Revival.

They were seen as a singles band, because their tracks were so good they crossed over to AM, and they were on a crappy label, Fantasy. Most people had never seen them. And then the trio hits the stage and…

Listen to the studio recordings, they’re slick, smooth, but rock music live is not like that, it’s rough, it’s got edges. Kinda like Creedence’s performance of “Born On The Bayou” at Woodstock.

John Fogerty is screaming. In tune, because he needs no help, this was back when you had to have a great voice to front a band.

And as you listen, your head starts to nod, because the music has penetrated your soul and turned you into a follower.

This is how it was back then, that’s how powerful the music was. It was not background, but positively FOREGROUND!

And when I heard Creedence’s performance of “Proud Mary” on Deep Tracks yesterday, I didn’t wince, I got into it. This is the concert experience, first and foremost it’s about the energy, delivering the music, production was unseen and irrelevant back then.

And sure, you can talk about tracks on the original three disc set not even being recorded at the festival, but that was irrelevant, here was this SOUND!

And the bands that said no to being included. Like the Band, and Mountain and Creedence. Thereafter everybody said yes. Because Woodstock turned Ten Years After into an arena act overnight. Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez and John Sebastian got a second wind. Sly & the Family Stone crossed over to white people, now it was not only about the singles. Bottom line, if you played Woodstock you were a SUPERSTAR!

Do you know what it was like if you weren’t there?

Now you had to go to every rock festival thereafter, because of the fear of missing out. And none was ever as good. But boy, the music scene flipped, now it was all about FM and the album acts. Credit that to Woodstock.

So don’t talk about the business. Today’s festivals are nothing like Woodstock. They’re corrals to sell stuff and shoot selfies. It’s about the money. Woodstock was an experiment. What would happen if you got all the greatest bands together? Now we know what happened, fans came out of the woodwork to see them.

So yes, it was a moment in time. Never to be repeated. In the spring of ’70, students were shot at Kent State.

But the war eventually ended. And the youth and their protests helped make this happen. The youth are why Johnson didn’t run for another term and why Nixon kept trying to wind down the war. And even Nixon went out and talked to the protesters at the Jefferson Memorial. He may have been evil, he may have been tricky, but he had more of a heart and more of a sense of reality than Donald Trump.

That’s another point… Back then the youth were Democrats. There were no Republicans in the music scene. Sure, money mattered, but not as much as the music itself. Which spoke to the culture. The acts insisted on using the studios of their choice with their own engineers. Albums couldn’t be rejected. The covers were a big deal. It was not a product, but a STATEMENT!

And the story of the seventies was about ever bigger acts dominating. Hell, every show sold out, you couldn’t get a ticket. And when corporate rock got traction, it was all over, the audience tuned out and disco reigned and then the whole thing cratered.

And then we went to the monoculture known as MTV.

So what did we learn?

Woodstock was the cultural monolith it was considered to be and described as back then. Lack of shelter, lack of food, the inability to hear…that’s what boomers used to VIP say today. But back then there was no VIP. We were all equal. And then Reagan legitimized greed and we got income inequality and we can never recapture that spirit again.

We’ve gotten so far from the garden it’s nearly impossible to see it.

But the truth was music was the highest art form. Its profits built the Warner Cable system. Music made more money than movies. It was a juggernaut. Driven by the best and the brightest.

We didn’t want to work in government, never mind the bank. Our lives were experiments, we wanted to be the best we could be, the Army ended up ripping off our slogan. We wanted to follow our heroes, look to the Grateful Dead for example.

But in ’69 it was a choice. Not everybody was on the same page.

But by the following spring, when the youth were exposed to what really happened at Woodstock, they just could not get enough.

It was a giant victory lap, a consummation of the sixties, the straight and narrow disappeared and it was all about personal liberation. Funny how income inequality has enslaved today’s youth to play it safe, talk about going backwards.

And that’s why you see the Woodstock blowback. Most of the writers are pissed they missed it. They weren’t there or they weren’t old enough or they weren’t even born yet.

The sixties were something special.

And so was the music.

It was a can-do era. Against all odds, Woodstock happened. Credit those in charge, irrelevant of how disorganized and unprepared they were.

Today it’s all about finding scapegoats, the problem can’t be with yourself. And you play it straight for fear of falling behind. And we measure everything with money.

But back then we were all in it together.

You can get by with a little help from your friends.

Image Top: Original Woodstock Poster hanging in the office of Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency.

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To book Martha & The Vandellas call 202-369-1063 today!

2019 Music & Entertainment Legend Award goes to Ms. Martha Reeves

2019 Music & Entertainment Legend

Each year the Casino Entertainment Awards honors a Casino Entertainer for a lifetime of outstanding achievement in the Casino Entertainment Industry.

CASINO ENTERTAINER
MARTHA REEVES

R&B Singer, Actress, Author and Politician

For more than five decades, Martha Reeves has reigned as one of the legendary stars to emerge from Motown. In this 60th Anniversary of Motown her top 40 hits with her iconic vocal group Martha and the Vandellas include the still relevant tunes “Come & Get These Memories,” “Heat Wave,” “Nowhere to Run,” “I’m Ready for Love,” “Jimmy Mack” and her signature, “Dancing in The Street,” which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Ms. Reeves is a member of the Rock & Roll, Soul, Rhythm and Blues Music, Vocal Group and Alabama Music halls of fame. A former elected council woman for the City of Detroit, she has been an advocate on behalf of musicians, session singers and recording artists for better wages and royalties. More at www.mspentertainmentagency.com/marthareeves.

As her agent, Mark Sonder will be accompanying Ms. Reeves to receive this Lifetime Achievement Entertainment Award at the Casino Entertainment Awards Ceremony to be held in October at The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Congratulations Ms. Martha Reeves for all you have done for music, entertainment, and the betterment of the world!

To book Martha & The Vandellas, at their Award Winning 2019 Special Fee, contact:

Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency
– Recognized Leaders in Event Entertainment Services 2019 – United States
– The Innovation & Excellence Award for Best in Event Entertainment
– Best Places to Work in Events, nominated
+1-540-636-1640 / +1-202-369-1063 / +1-919-985-2740 / +1-747-333-6003

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Fundraisers: Boosting Attendance and Donations with Headline Entertainment

Fundraisers: Boosting Attendance and Donations with Headline Entertainment

Molly HatchetWhen the Golisano Children’s Hospital at The University of Rochester Medical Centre (New York), has a special fundraising event, who do they rely upon to send a great band who will bring in the VIPs and big donations? The award-winning nationwide firm Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency is the answer!

Coming off another fundraiser this past Saturday (July 14) at The Meadow Brook Theatre in (funny enough) Rochester, MI where the Entertainment Agency provided The Drifters to a SOLD OUT crowd paying between $85-$125 per ticket, Sonder Productions has chosen for the Rochester, NY engagement the Southern Classic Rock Band Molly Hatchet. This event will round out the month of July just prior to the band performing in Italy in August.

The Drifters 2018To boost your attendance at events engage headline entertainment from Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency. For the best in Motown, R&B, Classic Rock, and Latino music and entertainment.

Contact:
Mark Sonder, MM, CSEP, VFC
202-369-1063
www.mspentertainmentagency.com
msonder@marksonderproductions.com

www.mspentertainmentagency.com/thedrifters
www.mspentertainmentagency.com/mollyhatchet

Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency

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SOLD OUT!

SOLD OUT!

The Drifters 2018Nope, this is not the name of a band, but the way we do business here at Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency!

– All of the Christmas Shows we booked in 2017 with The Drifters were SOLD OUT!

– All of the shows of The Temptations Revue featuring Nate Evans as of January 17, 2018, were SOLD OUT!

The Temptations RevueGet onboard and hire these and other fine entertainment we carry from DJ Spinderella (from Salt-N-Pepato Tito Puente Jr. & His Orchestra, and Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, plus many others, are here for you!

Available for Performing Arts Centres, meetings, conventions, trade shows, casinos, and special events.

 Contact:
Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency
www.mspentertainmentagency.com 
1-202-369-1063
msonder@marksonderproductions.com 

Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency

 

 

 

 

 

Click HERE to view on the web.

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Case Study: How Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency Delivered Lee Greenwood for the U.S. Army Europe Ball

U.S. Army Europe BallCase Study

U.S. Army Birthday Ball in Europe

Date of event: Saturday, June 24, 2017
First contact with client: Friday, June 16, 2017

For the past 2 years, Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency has supplied the music and entertainment for the U.S. Army Birthday Ball in Washington DC.

This year Mark received a call from Frankfurt, Germany while he was out of town in New Jersey and New Hampshire for five days only 8 days before this very important celebration in Europe.

Subject:
The 2017 U.S. Army Europe Ball “75 Years of Strong Europe!“ will take place on Saturday, 24 June at the Steigenberger Hotel in Frankfurt, Germany.

Lee Greenwood Proud to be an American God Bless The USAOur Mission / Client Request:
To get Lee Greenwood to record a short video message to everyone. The Client would like to play it and then have everyone join in to sing Lee’s hit “God Bless the USA“. They didn’t need anything that’s edited or fancy, just a straight-into-the-camera message all in one take. About 30 seconds long.

Challenges:
No big deal…right? Well…as it turned out Lee was on vacation with his family that week in Italy aboard a boat! Boats over there have little or no connectivity to the internet. Oh, and did we mention the event date is only 8 days away?

Over 32 Years of Experience:
As we’ve seen “everything” in our over 3 decades in this business, we were able to locate Lee and ask him to accomplish this task in record time all in one take for our men and women in uniform in Europe. Lastly, Lt. General Ben Hodges was going to be in attendance and this was an extra special surprise for him!

Resolution / Mission Accomplished:
Lee and his i-Phone to the rescue to create this video, which was a surprise and a huge success! G-d Bless the USA!

Lee Greenwood VideoView Video HERE or click the video at right.
Learner Outcome:
To make music and entertainment happen, call upon Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency.
Contact:
Mark Sonder, MM, CSEP, FSO-CS
202-369-1063
www.mspentertainmentagency.com

Note: Mark Sonder is a Flotilla Staff Officer of Communication Services with the U.S. Coast Guard Aux out of Ft. Macon, North Carolina.

 

For more information on Lee Greenwood, please CLICK HERE.

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Selfie Monopoly Photo Booth Station – Marrying Smiles & Memories

Selfie Monopoly Photo Booth Station Now Serving The Washington DC Metropolitan Area

Wedding at The Bellevue, Chantilly, VAFor the DMV (District of Columbia / Maryland / Virginia) areas there is a game changer now in the events industry with the arrival of Selfie Monopoly Photo Booth Station.

Selfie Monopoly Photo Booth Station, is an open air real-time social media photo booth providing hours of entertainment and fun for all types of events, both social and corporate.

It is easily operated by our attendant(s) and takes high-resolution pictures using our professional DSLR camera and premium lighting.

The World Bank Copa Cabana BrazilThe sleek design features a 32-inch interactive touch-screen for immediate uploading to social media – Facebook, Twitter, Text, and Email.

It can also record videos with audio so your guests can toast the Bride & Groom, give wishes to the Birthday Boy/Girl, or be used to record product endorsements and testimonials, as well as Animated GIFs (see top photo), creating instant smiles and lasting memories.

Selfie Monopoly expands corporate branding with your logo, company hashtag or website address, on each photo, while enjoying the reach each guest offers in spreading your brand across various platforms of the user’s social media.

Social media will now fuel face2face engagement, not detract from it by burying attendee faces in their phones. This Selfie Monopoly Photo Booth Station is a great icebreaker!

Guests who engage on social media at an event are more likely to continue their conversations after the event. This is more valuable than any number of traded business cards and fosters true networking, marketing, advertising and branding of your product and services.

Contact:
Selfie Monopoly Photo Booth Station, a Division of Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency
202-369-1063
mark@selfiemonopoly.com
www.selfiemonopoly.com

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The Grammy Telecast by Bob Lefsetz

The Grammy Telecast, by Bob Lefsetz

Bob LefsetzIt’s a mainstream show in a niche world, no wonder everybody is unhappy.

It’s no longer 1985, MTV does not rule and we do not live in a monoculture where everybody knows the same hits. The internet blew that paradigm apart, but the old media lions did not get the message. Recorded music lost half its value yet TV and film believe they’re immune. Thinking people respect their wares and execs are smart and the truth is we lived through the greatest disruption of our lifetimes and those in the arts still have not gotten the message.

The proletariat owns the arts. And when you try to falsely purvey to them they puke.

The truth is no one likes all the music sung on the Grammys.

And the show is playing to a theoretical audience that doesn’t exist. One in which we love everybody and everybody’s deserving of a trophy.

Whereas the truth is our nation has never been more divided in our lifetimes. And what music has done is to put its head in the sand. Selling the same sound over and over again. We’ve got the same damn spirit we had in 1969. The classic rockers are still traipsing the boards, country music is a pale imitation of what once was and rap has been ruling for so long, decades at this point, that one forgets that in the MTV era one sound replaced another every couple of years. Hair bands were replaced by grunge which was pushed aside by pop and hip-hop. Where’s the new sound today?

No wonder nobody cares.

But you’ve got a cheerleading media beholden to the labels so you’re told that music is healthy. Forget the business, music is on life support. Because the best and the brightest have abandoned it and everyone left in the building is solely about cash. Art is about speaking truth to power, where was the truth tonight?

Over on HBO, John Oliver was analyzing why Trump could get away with uttering falsehoods, why people believed them, what we could do about it.

And on CBS we had uneducated nitwits fawning over each other in duets as if we cared.

We don’t.

Trump is the biggest rock star extant today. Because he got everybody’s attention, and we live in an attention economy. Whereas most people avoid the Spotify Top 50 and you need a guidebook to listen to the music, you’ve got to be a history buff, it’s so self-referential.

Trump understands shock and awe. Something Andrew Loog Oldham and the Stones specialized in, remember when Mick and the boys were dangerous, and Alice Cooper perfected. The world was against Vince Furnier, except for his audience. And one of Vince’s big songs, after “Dead Babies” and “Under My Wheels,” never mind the angst of “I’m Eighteen,” was “Elected.” He made a joke of the ’72 election, which truly was. Who’s poking fun at the political shenanigans today?

Vince/Alice freaks out the public with a record shrouded in panties and today the goal is to sell your own panties or hoodies or perfume, anything the lemmings who listen will consume. What happened to art? Art is all about conception. Housing your album in a school desk, brilliant. Hooking up with Samsung, lowest common denominator.

Music is ripe for disruption. And said disruption will be something inimitable that appeals to everybody. A new sound that’s less niche and more mass. Kinda like Trump, a dividing line that got us all paying attention. The Donald, love ’em or hate ’em, but you can’t stop paying attention to him. And the truth is however much it might bug you, he won.

And CBS and the artists were afraid of the blowback. Imagine if someone did take a political stand, a swipe at the President on the show, it’d be front page news, it would spread like wildfire over the internet. Instead, Adele won another couple of awards. For an album that’s mediocre that wasn’t on streaming services. There you have the music industry in a nutshell. Mercenary, hocking second-rate products. Read the press and you’d think Adele was the next Beatles, listen to “25” and you were bored silly, you wanted to take it off. But we had to hear how great she was again and again again. The same way these same wankers told us Hillary was gonna win.

But no one can say no to being on the show. They think by reaching everybody they’ve won. When the truth is it just demonstrates they’re pawns in the game, tools of the system. Have a little self-respect. If duets were that popular they’d dominate the airwaves, and they don’t. And all the trappings, the dancers on stage, in what world does that really happen?

And the truth is TV is bad for you, your image, your career. This is not the grainy clips of yore, rather you’re broadcast in HD on the big screen and the end result is it makes you look small. Music is something you feel, and you feel it at the gig, not on TV. And first and foremost it’s something you listen to, but that paradigm left the building eons ago.

Who cares who wins these awards? Other than those on the undercard who are trolling for bio material, the truth is everybody forgets who won and the awards have no impact, kinda like awards shows themselves. Remember when we all live-tweeted, well, the music has stayed the same but we’ve moved on, we realize no one is listening, does anybody on stage realize most people watching really don’t care about them?

But we want something to care about, desperately. Give us some truth, sold with songs we can sing along to. We are your audience, not corporations. And no amount of hype will convince me any of the nominees were groundbreaking, one listen songs that will be repeated and listened to in the future. It’s all grist for the mill. Everybody’s shooting so low.

So you hated the show. Don’t feel so unique. EVERYBODY hated it. You stayed tuned in to see your favorite, but they were compromised and you winced. And what you want to do most is crank up your favorite tune and forget the whole thing.

The future will not be ruled by CBS, never mind the Grammys. Music has historically been the hottest of media, the fastest to react with the truth, via songs embodying the character of those singing them. Come on, is that new Katy Perry track disposable or what? Overworked, as they all are, with multiple writers and producers and beats, how about a bolt of inspiration transferred to wax that we can all relate to? Like Keith Richards dreaming of “Satisfaction,” singing it into a tape recorder by his bed and laying down the indelible riff that was inescapable way back when and still works today.

Art, especially music, is not about overlaboring, but pure inspiration, channeling the zeitgeist.

But there was no zeitgeist on television tonight, it was just a look in the rearview mirror.

And what scares me is today’s youth have never been alive when music pushed the needle, when it was ubiquitous, written by the artists channeling their truth.

We’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.

And nowhere do I see a new Joni Mitchell, the woman who wrote that song.

I’ve been wowed by technology, astounded by politics and all the while…

Music has become a second-class citizen.

You ain’t gotta know how to sing, you ain’t gotta know how to play, you need to know how to capture lightning in a bottle and lay it down on tape. Some of the greatest records are poorly recorded. Many of the legendary players can’t read music. But they know art is about latching on to mood, laying down in sound that which you feel, so that others can resonate.

If you resonated with tonight’s show you must be Neil Portnow or Ken Ehrlich.

As for the rest of us, we were sitting there dumbfounded, if we were watching at all.

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New Year’s Eve Television by guest blogger Bob Lefsetz

New Year’s Eve Television

Who are these people??

Bob LefsetzIf you’re watching television in a linear fashion, using the clicker to bounce from station to station in real time…

You must be a baby boomer. Everybody else got the memo, that visual entertainment is an on demand medium. Something to be called up when you so desire. To the point that a lot of the detritus that flies by on the airwaves is unknown to most people. Like the talking heads on NBC’s year in review show.

How did I know it was NBC?

Because it was their talent and their talent only. I don’t get up early enough to watch the “Today Show,” but I am aware of the Savannah Guthrie/Matt Lauer shenanigans, and when I saw Al Roker too, I knew this was a branding exercise. Kinda sad if you think about it, kinda like the old football team getting back together and believing they’re still relevant, giving it one more college try before time passes them by.

But at least I knew who those people were. The rest of the commentators?

They looked like nothing so much as those people living in their parents’ basements bloviating for VH1. Remember when it was a badge of honor to appear on television? I do, but most of the younger generation does not. Used to be appearing on TV was for the chosen few, like a record deal, now there are so many outlets that everybody gets a chance, and almost nobody breaks through. America is about sales. And everybody on television is selling fame. Can’t anybody say no?

Equally as laughable were the countdown shows. The aforementioned NBC decided to go with a special edition of Seth Meyers’ late night program, the one with anemic ratings that almost no one watches. Howard Stern is the king of late night TV, and he’s on in the morning! But his show repeats all day long so those who care can catch up and in this bizarre media world it’s those who go on after eleven who get the ink, this is the same media that told us Hillary was gonna win, can we stop covering the irrelevant Jimmys?

And the hottest actress of today revealed herself to be an idiot. Never forget, actors read lines, at best they have chameleon-like abilities, assuming they’ve got any talent at all. But as bad as Jennifer Lawrence was, Seth Meyers’ interviewing skills were even worse. He was uptight. Conversation is a skill. Which the late night hosts seem to have forgotten, ever since David Letterman skewed these shows towards comedy. And Meyers’ opening news bits were funny, but a younger Seth Meyers would be poking fun at himself for doing the same SNL shtick more than a decade on.

So we flipped the channel to see Ryan Seacrest, he without personality, hosting an affair with fake enthusiasm featuring talent most of us had never heard of.

I live in a bubble. I watch almost no television. But when I get into a room with a bunch of people and even the young ‘uns don’t know the hit songs, I’m convinced the model is broken. Even the biggest musical acts are niche. We think we’re still living in the MTV era, when if you’re on that channel everybody knows your name, but today no one knows most of the names, but if you admit this you’re castigated as an out-of-it pariah, who made these people the hipster police? Wear your alienated personality, fly your oblivious freak flag high, you’ll find you’re with the masses, that media keeps shoveling this crap as if anybody cares when the truth is…

These shows were not made for you. Come on, if you can drive, if you’re of college age or above, and you’re home watching these countdown shows the joke is on you. They skew young, kids who are locked inside with no options are the audience. But having been taken prisoner last night…

The recognizable were not so. I kept arguing that couldn’t be Jenny McCarthy, until someone on screen mentioned her name. I kinda get the boob implants which kickstarted her career. I wish it weren’t so, but media is run by old geezers impressed by hooters so it got her a leg up. But what has she done to herself now? Was it the lip implants? The cheek implants? Trying to look beautiful, she became anonymous, kinda like those plastic surgery freaks Jennifer Grey and Leeza Gibbons before her. Own what you’ve got, you’re unique, it’s your identity. And if this is the game you’re playing, to fit the looks and mores of television, you’ve lost the plot.

And Kathie Lee… I couldn’t tell it was her either!

But back to Ryan Seacrest. At least Dick Clark built that edifice, he had a right to host it. But Ryan’s like a record exec who never owned his own label, who never had his own money at risk. We give you a pass in the U.S. if you sit atop something you created. But caretakers? No way! As for Carson Daly… He’s too old. Yes, I might be ageist, but it would be one thing if Carson had any talent to begin with, and he doesn’t!

And speaking of talent…

One act after another came out and lip-synched and looked small.

But they could not turn down the opportunity, the exposure.

I don’t know what comes first, a clarification of who is really a star or a willingness of performers to say no. I enjoyed Mike Posner, but his heartfelt song “I Took A Pill In Ibiza” went by in a blur leaving no one but me satisfied. Thomas Rhett did three songs, ably, but he looked like a two-dimensional cartoon character trying to sell us breakfast cereal.

I give props to Alicia Keys, for her anti-makeup stance. But a young woman in attendance said Alicia was very brave. Which got me to thinking, if you were not beautiful could you take this risk? But one thing’s for sure, Ms. Keys is the purveyor of second-rate material, another vaunted star who doesn’t shine so bright but is anointed by the media so we are supposed to believe.

At least Fifth Harmony makes no bones about appealing to the still-developing youngsters. As for Panic! At The Disco…where’s the panic? Another B level act trying to stay in the game.

Which brings us to Mariah Carey. The evening’s designated train-wreck.

She delivered, that’s what you can count on her for. She’s long surrendered the crown of talent, that famous voice and range. Too many times she’s sung poorly live or not at all, tracks being her friend and last night…

Was a new low.

This is where we are folks. When you drop the mic, not caring that the fakery is being revealed. This is Ashlee Simpson on steroids. Now the media-industrial complex just thinks we at home are brain dead and if you see the face and hear the record that is enough. Then again, these are the same networks that sell us singing shows that don’t mint stars. But all the contestants want to be Mariah Carey, and the woman herself…is a complete joke!

How much further down this path can we go? Where pretty faces who can’t sing front songs about nothing? Music has abdicated its power. Who amongst today’s purveyors could be nominated for a Nobel decades hence? Damned if I know.

So…

The mainstream has become a sideshow.

That’s the story of 2016. How the puffed-up media that thought it ruled did not.

Fox News couldn’t kill Trump. It capitulated. And then its head, Roger Ailes, was ousted.

The “New York Times” assured us Hillary Clinton was gonna win, and then she didn’t.

And Viacom, the keeper of the TV hipster flame, continued to go down the tubes, most people believe it cannot be saved, Les Moonves didn’t want to merge it with CBS and be taken down the drain.

And “Rolling Stone” is now a pamphlet.

We are seeing a passing of the torch. From old media to new.

And the old media doesn’t like it.

The old media keeps excoriating Mark Zuckerberg, as if Americans were nincompoops who could not tell false from true and Facebook is more influential than any outlet with perceived gravitas. First and foremost, fake news did not sway the election, it just reinforced beliefs already extant. But I will say…people find Facebook more entertaining than television. It’s personalized, it’s about real people. I mean what would you even say to Jenny McCarthy? You got tons of people not to vaccinate their kids and now you’ve sliced and diced your face in a vain attempt to hold on to a smidge of stardom? And Ryan Seacrest is just a vessel, with no thoughts of his own. He’ll be anything you want him to be, just like the rest of today’s perceived “stars,” who care about fame more than art.

And what was up with those gloves? I kept hearing how cold it was in NYC but my Dark Sky app said it was 41, positively balmy for a New Year’s Eve. If you can’t even get the temperature right, why should I believe you on the real issues?

But the truth is no one’s home. No one’s in control. Not only are we not paying attention, those in charge don’t realize this. Advertisers keep pouring dollars into television because they don’t trust the online metrics yet the “Wall Street Journal” rates the commercials and I’ve seen almost none of them!

But if you’re pissed off about the above…

You’ve got the wrong perspective. We won. We killed the mainstream media. We stopped paying attention. We go online for our news and we want it immediately. We don’t want to be teased about what’s coming up, just give us the facts.

And the fact is next year there’s no way I’m staying home on New Year’s Eve.

I’m going out for dinner with friends and if the action fades I’ll turn the lights out, long before the ball drops.

Because I know and you know it can be New Year’s Eve any night of the year. We toppled Black Friday, everybody got the memo that Amazon is not only cheap every day, oftentimes it’s cheaper than the day after Thanksgiving!

We’ve become unmoored from convention. We have it our way every damn day.

And that’s great.

Now we’ve just got to clear some of the dead wood out of the way. It’ll happen. There will come a time when there will be no more of these shows.

And I can’t wait.

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Global Achievment: Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency Wins The 2017 Innovation & Excellence Award for Best in Event Entertainment

Best in Event Entertainment

Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency Wins The Innovation & Excellence Award


Best Event EntertainmentMark Sonder, MM, CSEP and President of Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency has just announced that his award-winning agency can add one more award on its shelves, winning The Innovation & Excellence Award for Best in Event Entertainment 2017.  This was awarded in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

From the development and incorporation of cutting edge technology to the creation of forward thinking strategies, the Innovation & Excellence Awards honour and celebrate those businesses and firms who are creating a brighter tomorrow. The Innovation & Excellence Awards give recognition to businesses that are transforming their respective industries and the standard-bearers of excellence by continually setting industry trends as well as showing significant advances in terms of innovation and improvement. Last year’s winners include: Uber, Riot Games, Google, Microsoft and Airbnb.

Over the past calendar year the award committee has invited over 100,000 professionals working across the various corporate industries, the general public and their subscriber base to nominate associations, companies and individuals based on their achievements and strengths. Additionally Corporate Livewire’s extensive research team has put forward a selection of individuals who have excelled within their sector.

“This year saw an unprecedented number of nominations, providing strong competition in every category and the judging panel had the unenviable task of selecting those firms and professionals most worthy of an award,” stated Corporate LiveWire’s Award Chairperson.

All winners of the 2017 Corporate LiveWire Awards are subject to the same rigorous assessment criteria, carried out by our experienced in-house professionals. This ensures that only the most deserving teams, practices and individuals walk away with one of these prestigious accolades.

So, if you wish to work with the Best when you are engaging musicians, bands, DJ’s and/or headline entertainment and want a world-class entertainment event, you’re invited to call on Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency!

About Mark Sonder and Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency:

Best Event Entertainment bands, DJs, celebritiesAs an award winning event entertainment producer, booking agency and talent buyer, the 31 year young privately owned firm Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency has provided musicians, headline entertainment, celebrity DJs, onsite entertainment staff and production services to leading facilities, conventions, clubs, concerts, casinos and special events worldwide.

Contact: +1-540-636-1640
msonder@marksonderproductions.com 
http://mspentertainmentagency.com 

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LA Dodgers Chooses Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency

Batting 1000 for The Los Angeles Dodgers

Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency Books Entertainment at The Stadium Again

 

Mark Sonder working NRG Stadium, Houston, TexasFrom last week working in Milwaukee and Knoxville, to this week working in another stadium! Mark Sonder, MM, CSEP Emeritus and Chief Entertainment Officer at the award winning booking agency Mark Sonder Productions, Inc. is proud to announce another engagement with Major League Baseball and the Los Angeles Dodgers in Dodger Stadium (vs. the Chicago Cubs) this Saturday, August 27. The On The Air Band will be performing for 2 hours prior to the game.

Super music agent Mark Sonder, whose company has been engaged to perform in numerous stadiums across the country and as a featured speaker at the International Stadium Managers Conference has commented “Performing in a stadium environment is not for everyone. It takes years of knowledge and experience to pull it off without a hitch.” “We were delighted to be asked back to Dodger Stadium for an additional performance with another one of our fine local products,” said Sonder.

Mark Sonder Productions, Inc. services all major population bases around the US with its local, regional and headline entertainment. The company is no stranger to large events or to Los Angeles where the company has been contracted at L.A. LIVE, The Montage, Beverly Wilshire, The Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage and the Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert.


Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency LogoAbout Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency:

As an award winning event entertainment producer, booking agency and talent buyer, the 31 year young privately owned firm Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency has provided musicians, headline entertainment, onsite entertainment staff and production services to leading corporations, clubs, concerts, casinos and special events internationally.

Contact: +1-202-369-1063
msonder(at)marksonderproductions(dot)com
http://mspentertainmentagency.com 

Photo: Mark Sonder working at NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

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