Sex Offender Limbo

For Pete Townsend, it could be worse. At least he isn’t living under a bridge.

On New Year’s Day, a Florida-based child abuse prevention group called Child called on the NFL to replace the featured musical act in its upcoming Super Bowl halftime show. That musical act, iconic ’60s classic rock band The Who, is led by Townsend, who was arrested by British police in 2003 on charges of possessing child pornography, later cleared of those charges by London’s Metropolitan Police, and eventually placed on the UK Violent and Sexual Offender Registry for five years as part of a formal police caution.

In making his request to the NFL, Child founder and CEO Evin Daly stated, “I’m a fan of the band, I grew up with The Who. Pete Townshend is the only issue, and the issue is that he’s a former registered sex offender. The issue is, it sends the wrong message to American families.”
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The Halloween Economy

HalloweenThe lawn signs have been gone for years now. In 2005, you saw them everywhere, little white placards bearing the words “Middletown Town Center” canceled out by one of those circle-and-slash null signs.

They were protest signs, forked into the front yards of people who were opposed to the construction of a town center that would include up to 750,000 square feet of retail space, 250,000 square feet of office space, 4500 parking spaces, and 220 townhouses and apartments in the last undeveloped acres of Middletown, NJ.
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The ENIT Festival

enit_festivalI wasn’t at Woodstock. In August of 1969, I was more into Rocky & Bullwinkle than Neil Young. That, however hasn’t prevented me from being a bit of a geek on the subject of Woodstock, as only someone who never had to endure the traffic, the rain, the filth, the cold, the lack of food and water, the insect bites, and the many subpar performances could be.

As such, I’ve been looking forward to the release of “Woodstock: 40 Years On, Back to Yasgur’s Farm,” by Warner Rhino, a 6-CD set with a greatly expanded roster of bands and songs presented at the celebration of “3 Days of Peace and Music.” The set, “sequenced in chronological order of performance and featuring 38 previously unreleased recordings” should represent a significant improvement over Warner’s lackluster and weirdly joyless 4-CD set released in 1994, if only because it restores and expands the contributions of stage announcers Chip Monck and John Morris, as well as the Rain Chant and other crowd chatter. It will be interesting, after all these years, to hear Woodstock renditions of songs by Quill, Sweetwater, Bert Sommer, The Incredible String Band, and Ravi Shankar (among others).

The ’80s, the decade that encompassed my late teens to early twenties, wasn’t a prime decade for big music festivals. The trend had pretty much exhausted itself by then. The music changed, too, as anyone who has seen clips of the US Festival (Los Angeles, 1982 & 1983) can attest. There was nothing very inspiring about watching MTV-launched New Wave bands (Missing Persons, Quarterflash, Men At Work, a fledgling and awkward U2) flail tinily on a battleship-sized stage. The music wasn’t about community, after all. It was about fashion. Fashion and marketing.
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