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Wanna Open for Ice Cube? Got Any Money? [12/02/2008 10:13:00 AM]:
Far be it from me to criticize somebody for the way they decide to promote the things they do ('cause we'd never stoop so low as to criticize people, no, never...), but the crew over at HoustonHipHop.com -- a site that goes sadly unappreciated by the indie-rock set in town, btw -- have unearthed what sounds like a really bizarre, money-sucking promotion for the upcoming Ice Cube show at The Meridian.

Check the HHH post for the full details, but here's the gist:

  • If you want to open for Ice Cube when he plays H-town, you can come audition at The Meridian on Dec. 4th at 5PM.
  • You have to bring $25, in cash, as a "registration fee."
  • You get 2-3 minutes to audition before an unnamed bunch of judges.
  • You have to bring your own track.
  • The judges pick five acts/people/whatever, and then those five will perform in a "mini concert" the night of the Ice Cube show (um, when?).
  • After all five play the "mini concert," the audience picks the winner, who then goes to the main stage & opens for Cube. (And again: um, when?)

The HHH folks think the whole thing's a scam, but I think it's legit, unfortunately -- Hawk, the promoter mentioned in the post, appears to exist, and I've found the post a few places other than Craigslist, so I'm thinking this is a real promotion. Even if it's not a scam, though, that doesn't take away from the fact that this is a monumentally idiotic way to book an opening act. For one thing, I agree with the HHH editors when they ask, "What happened to the days when opening acts were booked cause they were actually good?" Isn't that kind of the point of an opening act, to let somebody who's talented & has a local following get better recognition by opening for a national act?

Beyond that, though, where's all the money go? I doubt it's going to Cube -- this show's been booked a long time, and I'd bet he needs no help selling tickets -- and there's no way an operation like this requires $25 a person to get everything set up. What if, say, 200 aspiring rappers show up? That's $5000 worth of "registration fees," right there; who gets it? If this were being billed as a charity fundraiser, heck, I'd be all for that. This just seems like somebody trying to line their pockets by getting gullible kids to fork over their hard-earned cash for the "privilege" of trying out to maybe-possibly open for Ice Cube.

And out of those 200 hypothetical rappers, only five will even move on to the sudden-death bullshit round? Those ain't the best odds, y'all. Anybody who slaps down $25 to be a part of this might as well light the cash on fire and watch it burn, instead.

Finally, I have serious doubts this Rube Goldberg-esque mess is going to go smoothly to begin with. Who's going to show up for this "mini concert," much less pay enough attention and/or bother to vote for the winners? I mean, if I were going to do this, I'd recruit everybody I know & hope nobody else's friends & family show up, y'know? Because in the end, it really boils down to a popularity contest, American Idol-style, and even a talentless loser can win that if he's got enough votes.

Hrm. Maybe this isn't such a bad idea, after all...

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