05/12/06

English (US)   Michael Heaton column in Plain Dealer asks - What to do when a T-shirt chafes?  -  Categories: Announcements, News  -  @ 02:19:41 pm


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An excerpt from Michael Heaton column in Plain Dealer

It's rare to find a news story that incorporates many different social elements and demonstrates how widely divided we are as a society. But the events involving the band Mifune, the Tri-C Jazz Festival and their performance at Tower City is a humdinger on all fronts.

The jazz festival, which receives funding from Tower City, booked an Afro-beat band from Cleveland Heights named Mifune to play an hour-and-a-half set at Tower City on April 28.

The band took the stage wearing white shirts with President Bush's face, circled in red, on them. A red slash through the president's face symbolized the message, "No George Bush."

Twenty minutes into the set, in the middle of a song called "Supercrush," which criticizes the president's economic policies, a Tower City official told members of the band to remove their shirts or turn them inside out.

Band members asked if they could discuss the request at the end of the song. Tower City officials insisted and turned off the power, ending the show.

..........................
I called all the parties and tried to get to what really happened and why. Here's what I gathered: Because the Bush administration is such a hot-button issue these days with fanatical supporters and detractors, a Tower City manager panicked at the prospect of offending perhaps half of its customers.

Because Tower City is a generous benefactor of the festival, the JazzFest rep feared losing Tower City favor. But when the story hit the newspaper and the Internet and garnered a letter of concern about free speech from Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a Cleveland Democrat, the JazzFest started to backpedal and point the finger at Tower City, according to the band.

Let's review. Tower City doesn't want to offend shoppers. JazzFest doesn't want to lose financial support but also doesn't want to look like it's caving to corporate pressure. The band wants to play the music it always has played and was hired to play.

It's not really about the Bush administration and its policies. It's about financial survival for the shopping center and for the music festival and anything that might endanger the relationship between the two.

05/11/06

English (US)   Cleveland Scene Makes Fun of Tower City Incident regarding Mifune at Tri-C JazzFest  -  Categories: News  -  @ 02:58:08 pm


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An excerpt from article in Scene Magazine called CSI: Tower City

While the following story is based on real events, any resemblance of characters to persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.

His walkie-talkie breaks the reverie. "Breaker 1-9, I think we've got trouble." It's Bob's trusted lieutenant, Ethan Hunt. "Loiterers?" Bob asks.

"Worse. Musicians." It hadn't even occurred to Officer Bob. Today the mall is hosting acts from the local jazz festival. Who knows how many surly sax players are down there, brewing up revolution? Officer Bob shudders. "I better call for backup."

When Officer Bob arrives at the stage, he sees a gang of young hooligans wearing shirts emblazoned with George W. Bush's face. Which would be OK -- even patriotic -- except that Bush's face is surrounded by a red circle with a line through it, the universal "-busters" sign. Perhaps not grounds for throwing anyone out of the mall -- perhaps -- but the hooligans also have instruments. Nothing's worse than hooligans with instruments.

05/03/06

English (US)   Free Times Article on Tower City Center Fiasco for Cleveland Tri-C JazzFest  -  Categories: Announcements, News  -  @ 12:47:39 pm


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Columbus NewsCenter
WRUW - FM 91.1

Mifune in Daily Kos
Timroff - Fri
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Edrie - Mon

Free Times Article published earlier today

THE TOWER CITY "T" PARTY

Local Afrobeat ensemble Mifune won't need to shell out for a publicist; a jittery manager at downtown's Tower City Center did the job for free.

The group was playing a noon show on the Tri-C JazzFest stage at Tower City on Friday when the mall manager ran up to the stage manager and demanded that the band members turn their T-shirts inside out or stop playing, according to band founder Jacob Fader. The nine musicians were sporting shirts featuring a drawing of George Bush inside a red circle with a slash through it.

"Our music is overtly political," Fader explains. The shirts, he adds, are "a visual aid for people who can't hear the lyrics."

According to Fader, "The manager was pretty irate. He said, 'This isn't the place for a political rally.'" The band refused to remove or invert the shirts and the plug was pulled only 20 minutes into their scheduled hour-and-a-half set. Fader's version of events was corroborated by fan Eric Schneider (who called Free Times as it was happening) and Tri-C spokesperson Greg Krizman.

A Saturday Plain Dealer report on the fracas was picked up at DailyKos.com, a widely read progressive blog.

.....

Mifune at Afro-Fest 2006 at the Beachland Ballroom (15700 Waterloo Rd., 216.383.1124) on Saturday, May 27. -- Anastasia Pantsios

English (US)   College Radio Station interviews Mifune regarding infringement of their First Amendment rights by Tower City Center Management at Tri-C JazzFest  -  Categories: Announcements, News  -  @ 10:01:36 am

WRUW - FM91.1 of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio had Mifune in their studio Mon. evening 5/1/2006 for an hour to discuss events at Tri-C JazzFest Fri. 4/28/2006. The following are excerpts from that broadcast:

Commentary on Tower City Management Pulling the Plug on Mifune Mid-Song over their T-shirts (3:30)

Commentary on Plain Dealer Article and panic decision of Tri-C JazzFest supporting Tower City Management decision
(4:39)

The Song SuperCrush (including commentary) mentioned in the Plain Dealer article. The plug was pulled while Mifune was Playing it (8:35)

The Song, Storm Troopers, along with Commentary afterward (12:27)

05/02/06

English (US)   Kucinich Letter to Tower City Center on infringement of Mifune's First Amendment rights at Tri-C JazzFest  -  Categories: Announcements, News  -  @ 11:03:05 am


Mifune WebSite
Mifune at MySpace

Cleveland Plain Dealer
Cleveland Free Times
Cleveland Scene
Akron Beacon Journal
NewsNet5.com
Cincinnati Enquirer
Columbus NewsCenter
WRUW - FM 91.1

Mifune in Daily Kos
Timroff - Fri
Timroff - Sun
Timroff - Mon
Edrie - Mon

Mifune in Blogs
Club Hell
Dees Diversion
DemocraticUnderground
ePluribus Media
Fazed
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Free Republic
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Interesting People
Lorri
MissTiaJournal
Molly Two
Radio News
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Scalene
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SpeakSpeak.org
The Stranger

04/30/06

English (US)   Mifune :: Tower City unplugs Cleveland Tri-C JazzFest band for political T-shirts  -  Categories: Announcements, News  -  @ 07:00:59 am


Mifune WebSite
Mifune at MySpace

Cleveland Plain Dealer
Cleveland Free Times
Cleveland Scene
Akron Beacon Journal
NewsNet5.com
Columbus NewsCenter
Cincinnati Enquirer
WRUW - FM 91.1

Mifune in Daily Kos
Timroff - Fri
Timroff - Sun
Timroff - Mon
Edrie - Mon

Mifune in Blogs
Club Hell
Dees Diversion
DemocraticUnderground
ePluribus Media
Fazed
Fields of Poopy
Fold Spindle Mutilate
Free Republic
HeightsMom
Innisfree
Interesting People
Ken Hagler
Lorri
MissTiaJournal
Molly Two
Radio News
Rational Review
Scalene
Silver Bulletin
Sombrero 11
Space For Commerce
Speak My Mind
SpeakSpeak.org
The Newsiest News
The Stranger


Photos: GEN-ERIC

Mifune began last Friday just past noon. Twenty fleeting minutes later, the music stopped without warning leaving thousands left looking at each other slackjawed for a short while until a band member in a futile attempt spoke loudly in ten words or less without a microphone to inform whoever was in earshot why the gig was over.

It didn't matter what he said as it became evident just minutes later when management, mall security, and police started gathering several feet from me because the man with the navy jacket and handkerchief as seen in the photo I took was actively voicing concern over what was happening (Found out later that this was Jacob's father).

Tower City Center is a large mixed-use facility located on Public Square in the center of downtown Cleveland, Ohio. The facility includes a number of interconnected office buildings including the landmark Terminal Tower, a shopping mall, two hotels, and the main hub of Cleveland's three rapid transit lines.

From my perspective as an audience member, I did not interpret the shirts as something political aside from it being an indicator at best that they probably didn't vote for the guy. The shirts apparently were not a big deal before they started playing or when they were setting up their equipment. Furthermore, the decision to pull the plug wasn't based upon anyone complaining to management about the shirts either.

The fact is that it did not seem that anyone cared about the shirts because the crowd was sincerely enjoying these talented musicians putting out some amazing sounds, grooves, and beats only to be silenced by a poor business decision. I spoke with one of the security guards standing nearby who while summarizing the situation mentioned that there would have been no issue with song lyrics as a matter of free speech but yet they claim the right as proprietors to intervene because of an image on a t-shirt, which could be sold in a store in the mall just yards away.

The Tri-C JazzFest is a community college jazz festival. Which means the event seems to have been run by some private-public partnership. At the very least between the main hub of a public transit system and the community college there is a public component to this that can not be discounted.

Separation of church from state is one thing, but it ought to be a crime to separate art from state. Mifune showed us the state of the art and as artists succeeded by sharing with the community the gift of both music and freedom.

It was sad such a wonderful celebration cut short by those who have forgot how to hear music except with their eyes as our ears beared witness to this strange sudden silence.

GEN-ERIC

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