Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Las Vegas writer Steve Friess finds it "strange" that ordinary folk are being invited to Danny Gans' memorial

Steve Friess, the Las Vegas comp queen, Gay Vegas author and Vegas freelance writer to the world, has finally discovered something "strange" in the case of the death of Danny Gans-- and it's the fact that ordinary Las Vegans are being invited to Gans' memorial service.

We reported this morning that at least one Las Vegas ticket service was inviting Gans' neighbors to celebrate his life in the 3 p.m. show at the Encore Theatre, and we described it as a "nice gesture to Gans' hometown fans."

Friess, whose story in the Las Vegas Weekly a week after Gans' death opened with him and his "husband" in bed, wondering "who's going to care" about Gans' passing, copied our report on his blog this afternoon and referred to the regular folks as "seatfillers."


He writes:

"I find this a bit strange.

"Isn't that a little odd and awkward? I mean, is someone concerned about the room not looking quite full enough? It's a memorial -- in fact, it's been referred to in various media accounts as a 'private; memorial -- not a show or a popularity contest. They sent out all these invitations to friends, family, media folk, etc. It's nice that they're opening it up to the public, I suppose, but then they're not really. You have to have tickets..."

How out of touch is this guy?

Friess' concern with the unwashed mixing with the Vegas elite (treating them like people hired at an awards show to fill in empty seats to make the room seem full) seems bizarre in light of the fact that Friess insisted publicly that Gans' death was not worth of reportage because he was such a regular guy. His obsession with being part of the "in crowd," however, may explain his crusade to prevent this news organization from covering the Gans death mystery. His public tantrum, which included name-calling, an attempt to shut down this site, and as he admitted in an email, helping concoct false rumours connecting Wayne Newton and Mayor Oscar Goodman to Gans' death (see kvbcsecrets@yahoo.com and ask for Anony Mouse), was apparently connected to the fact that his "husband" is executive producer of Alicia Jacobs, the beauty queen-turned-TV reporter and longtime Gans chum who was the first journo to be notified of his death and has been a determined promoter of his legend ever since.

"Miles shook me awake last Friday at about 7:30 a.m.

“'I need you to wake up,' he said. 'You need to get up. Now.'

"I was confused. I’d told him I didn’t need to be up until 8. But he looked grave.

“'Danny Gans died in his sleep this morning,' he said.

"My bleary look gave way to a puzzled one. It was the only reaction to such strange and awful news. How does a 52-year-old health nut die in his sleep?

"Here are my first and second comments, in this order: 'Oh, that’s so sad.' Then, after a long pause: 'But I wonder who’s going to care.'

"Yes, that sounds cold. But I meant—and Miles got it immediately—who in the national media will recognize this passing as a significant story? That’s my job and to some extent my function in this community, to determine what of the local news rises to the level of broader significance and interest, and which publication is going to want me to document it...

Friess, who had a story appear in the New York Times that day (it was about a plastic surgery convention) apparently paid the price for his ignorance about what makes a national story. The New York Times was one national news organization that wanted the story, and today the biggest story of his career was the subject of a New York Times feature by Dan Barry.

(Note: Steve Friess threatens us any time we use an actual picture of him,
so we have to improvise...)

UPDATE: Steve Friess sent us an email: "
The NYT has cut back dramatically in all areas as it struggles to avert bankruptcy and is not taking any freelance for their arts coverage. I'm in fine stead with the sections of the Times I write for regularly and have several new assignments at this time. Thanks for your heartfelt concern."

Steve cut off our ability to reply to her emails so we'll reply here: "The New York Times story wasn't an 'arts' story but a news feature in the Times' National section. And if the Times is going bankrupt, it can thank freelancers like you who wouldn't know a story if it bit him on his big spanked ass!"

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