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Concert Loses First Lady But Finds A Home

March 07, 1986|DENNIS McDOUGAL | Times Staff Writer

The Concert That Counts may not have the First Lady, but it finally has a home . . . even though it must be shared with a custom car show.

Promoters paid $5,000 Thursday to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission as a non-refundable deposit to reserve the 92,000-seat stadium for April 26--the announced date of the anti-drug concert.

The full price Marina del Rey-based Global Media Ltd. will have to pay to rent the Coliseum for its 11-hour rock concert and multimedia satellite telecast will be a flat fee of $485,000, according to Coliseum general manager Jim Hardy.

In addition, promoters had to agree to allow people who have paid for tickets to attend a custom car show at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, next door to the Coliseum, to also attend the Concert That Counts, according to Hardy.

Hardy said car show promoter Gary Canning has an agreement to hold his custom car show annually at the Sports Arena. Had Global not agreed to allow dual admission to the concert and car show, Hardy said, Canning would have had parking problems for his patrons during the two days of his show (April 26 and 27).

"The concert's going on all day long, so if you have a cordoned-off area between the two (Coliseum and Sports Arena), people can go back and forth," Hardy said.

The fact that the concert has secured a site was the first good news Global Media has had in a week of disappointments.

On Monday, the Pasadena City Board of Directors refused to renegotiate a draft contract to use the 105,000-seat Rose Bowl for the concert. Global executives wanted to shave $100,000 off the Rose Bowl rent and the board (which acts as Pasadena's city council) voted 6-0 to stand by a contract calling for $175,000 rent and $265,000 for security and maintenance fees.

"We were already committed to putting 50% of our profits into drug programs," said David Jacobs, acting director of the Pasadena city department that oversees Rose Bowl rental, on Wednesday. "We had estimated the city would make $300,000, but we were already talking about only half that amount because of that commitment."

Jacobs said Wednesday's surprise announcement that Global Media and First Lady Nancy Reagan were severing all ties made it even less likely that Pasadena would play host to the April concert.

On Wednesday, Global Media ended five months of negotiations with the White House office on drug abuse policy over the issue of offensive rock lyrics.

Elaine Crispen, the First Lady's press secretary, told The Times on Thursday that the lyrics issue was between Global Media and Deputy Assistant to the President for Drug Abuse Policy Dr. Carlton E. Turner.

"My office doesn't get involved in any of the planning of those events," she said.

She added that any possibility of a White House press conference or even Mrs. Reagan's appearance in a public service announcement video endorsing the concert was now a dead issue. Global Media official Tony Verna said he planned to film several dozen such announcements to use during the concert, including an anti-drug message from Pope John Paul II.

Other luminaries on the tentative public service announcement list include Tony Danza, Don Johnson, Pee Wee Herman and Gary Coleman.

"Mrs. Reagan will be in Japan with the President then (on the date of the concert)," Crispen said.

Turner was out of town and not immediately available for comment.

According to Global Media's version of the break with the White House, an unnamed member of Mrs. Reagan's staff purportedly objected to the lyrics sung by at least three of the more than 40 acts on the proposed roster of artists who would appear on the program.

Global Media officials said every effort has been made to see to it that only drug-free entertainers are on the program, but held that White House efforts to delete performers from the schedule because of their music constituted "prior censorship."

Verna said he and Global Media President Hal Uplinger were told that Mrs. Reagan would only announce the concert talent lineup if the offending rock artists were removed.

Instead, the talent lineup is now scheduled to be announced at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles Wednesday.

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