Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Kats' out of the bag about Steve Friess' Las Vegas "tribute" to Michael Jackson

Rolling out act after self-congratulatory act while a flurry of tweets about its wonderfulness was unleashed by its producer and his friends, beauty queen-turned televisioon entertainment reporter Alicia Jacobs and Norm Clarke of The Las Vegas Review-Journal, the “Michael Jackson’s Untimely Death Was The Best Thing That Could Ever Have Happened To Michael Jackson’s Music Show" went off as scheduled at the Palms resort in Las Vegas yesterday-- but not without some serious questions aimed at its producer and promoter, Las Vegas blogger, New York Times stringer, Gay Vegas author and comp queen Steve Friess.

The questions came from Tabloid Baby.

Friess gave his answers to the Las Vegas Sun.

One thing the Danny Gans case has made clear is that journalists working in Las Vegas read Tabloid Baby, and while some curse us for calling them out on their cowardly refusal to investigate the big questions while hyping some questionable enterprises, they do take our criticism to heart-- and when they can slip it past their editors, take up our challenge.

In this case it was John Katsilometes of the Las Vegas Sun who, in a promotional piece on the Jackson "tribute," cornered Friess about his obvious conflict of interest, if not the bizarre notion of his producing a "tribute" that he insisted was not a tribute to Jacko the man, even though the tribute took place on Jacko's birthday, with Jacko's father as a guest.

Kats gets Friess to answer the questions we have asked in this space, and in many unanswered emails to Friess, including:

Was Joe Jackson paid to attend the tribute?

How much does he plan to raise in total?

How much money will go to ""production costs" and expenses?

Either Katsilometes asked the questions or Friess used the friendly reporter to give his answers, unchallenged.

Writes Kats:

"Friess finds himself performing something of a moonwalk between the Jackson death investigation and the Palms benefit. His role in covering the Vegas angle of the Jackson story has coincided with his involvement in organizing a charity show that is essentially authorized by the Jackson family. Friess, who writes regularly for Las Vegas Weekly (a Greenspun Media Group publication) among his freelance gigs, allows that it has been an interesting summer ever since the details of Jackson’s death spilled out to include Las Vegas.

“'There’s no doubt it’s weird for me,” Friess said today. 'When this was conceived, it was just a couple of days after his death. Nobody believed it would be a homicide at that point, that it would be anything this controversial connected to Las Vegas... Journalists don’t have to divorce themselves from their communities.' (Friess plans to write of his shifting between journalist and benefit producer in next week’s L.V. Weekly.)

"Friess finds himself performing a moonwalk
between the Jackson death investigation
and the Palms benefit. His role in covering
the Vegas angle of the Jackson story
has coincided with his involvement in
organizing a charity show that is essentially
authorized by the Jackson family."
--Las Vegas Sun

"Soon after Jackson’s death, Friess was approached by Bergen, a friend who is a lifelong Jackson fan, to assist in organizing the benefit show. Bergen has invoked an audio clip of himself at age 4 singing 'Man in the Mirror' during his performances at the Liberace Museum and has written a piece for the Sun relating Jackson’s influence on his career. It was Bergen who first thought to turn Jackson’s untimely death into a means of raising money for local arts programs, and both organizers have said that the show is to honor the creative work, not the mercurial and ultimately tragic lifestyle, of Jackson.

"At this writing, about $90,000 in advance ticket sales have been raised, Friess said. The goal is $100,000... Friess says that all money taken in after production costs will be donated to the Public Education Foundation to fill such needs as instruments, maintenance of instruments, sheet music, supplies and specialized tutoring (the books will be opened to anyone who wants to review how the money was allotted, he said, adding that the Jacksons did not ask for fees to appear at the show or dedication ceremony)."

If Steve Friess is indeed writing another apologia for his actions in the Las Vegas Weekly, we hope it is as amusing and mind-boggling as his "A Fine Restraint" excuse for not investigating the death of local superstar Danny Gans.

Meanwhile, we should point out that Michael Jackson's death was suspicious from the start, his personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray of Las Vegas, was sought for questioning from day one, after he disappeared from the emergency room hours after Jacko's death, and Friess, who wrote in the Weekly's July 2nd issue that "Michael Jackson’s untimely death was the best thing that could ever have happened to Michael Jackson’s music," was covering the Las Vegas investigation of Murray weeks after he began producing the birthday part for the man whose "baggage" he claimed "imprisoned and stigmatized" his "product."


Anonymous said...

sigh. what's it like to be so futile? And no, this isn't Friess. Just someone who wonders why anyone would beat up on someone who just spent thousands of hours working to raise money for children. What was the last thing you did to help your community? Must simply be a grudge. Surprised you didn't find a way to slip in the bit about his "unofficial" husband just to remind everyone that all you are is a pathetic hater.

p.s. the column you linked to wasn't an apologia, so you don't even know what the word means, obviously. Duh.

Anonymous said...

apologia |ˌapəˈlōj(ē)ə|
a formal written defense of one's opinions or conduct

A Fine Restraint: Steve Friess' written defense for not investugating the death of Danny Gans:

"In New York and Los Angeles, when a major star drops dead of unknown causes, there is a repulsive ritual that takes place. A certain breed of journalist will begin a vigil outside the deceased’s residence, will rifle through their trash, will bribe all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons and will call up anyone and everyone even questionably related to the person for even the most unlikely comment.

"In Las Vegas, when left to our own devices, we do things a little differently. And I, for one, couldn’t be happier about that..."



Double Duh.

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