Imagine the Sharks and the Jets getting together to throw a sock hop, the Hatfields and the McCoys joining forces for a housewarming, the Democrats and the Republicans building a mutual float for the Independence Day parade.
Cooperation between Avalon Attractions and the Nederlander Organization would seem about as likely. But the two big concert promoters, persistent and heated feuders on the Southern California pop scene, have formed an unusual marriage of necessity to stage five upcoming Southland concerts by Guns N' Roses.
The two sides started out by jostling, as usual, for the right to stage shows by Los Angeles' hottest hometown attraction.
According to Alex Hodges, who heads Nederlander's West Coast concert operations, "(Avalon) made their pitch, and we made our pitch, and (Guns N' Roses') representatives came up with this (co-promotion idea) as kind of a compromise in the band's home territory."
The Guns N' Roses show at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa on July 25 (the band will also play four subsequent co-promoted dates at the Forum in Los Angeles) will mark the first time Avalon and Nederlander have worked together in Orange County, where Nederlander's Pacific Amphitheatre annually battles the Avalon-booked Irvine Meadows to land the most lucrative pop attractions.
It's not unusual for touring bands and their business agents to practice a form of pop diplomacy aimed at keeping good relationships with both Avalon and Nederlander. That is commonly done by hiring one promoter to put on a Los Angeles date, then turning to its rival to handle an Orange County performance.
In a statement released by its publicist, Bryn Bridenthal, Guns N' Roses and its management said: "Both (Avalon and Nederlander) have been great to us in the past, so why should one be a loser? We'd like to make sure the fans are taken care of. Working with both promoters alleviates any potential problems."
There have been a few occasions in the past in which bands asked Avalon and Nederlander to co-promote. But in those cases, Hodges said, the cooperation was merely nominal: One company would do all the work, while the other was involved in name (and profit share) only.
This time, the two old enemies are dividing the labor evenly, splitting such tasks as placing ads, generating media exposure for the shows and staging the actual events.
"There has been daily contact on everything" between the two promoters, Hodges said. "If there's any back-stabbing, nobody's seen it so far. There isn't any."
Jennifer Perry, the Avalon promoter who is doing much of the hands-on work for the Guns N' Roses dates, said it has helped that she and her counterpart at Nederlander, Rich Meaney, have a long-standing friendship established before they went to work for the two rival companies.
"Everything is fine," Perry said. "I talk to Rich 20 times a day, because there's so much to go over. If we weren't friends, it would be harder."
But don't look for this one-time experiment with mutuality to lead to further cooperation in the future.
"We're not going to try to find" opportunities to do more joint promoting, Perry said. "We're still competitors."
THEATER REVIVAL: After several sporadic, failed attempts to revive the Miramar Theatre in San Clemente as a regular venue for films and rock concerts over the past few years, new owners are trying again.
This time there will be more follow-through, according to Greg Norris, who is managing the theater for a partnership of three San Clemente-based real estate investors, Wendy Cosgrove, Robert Ramos and Bob Farnell.
"Simon Hiller (the previous owner) lived up in Hollywood and didn't have time to go back and forth to promote the theater," said Norris, who is Cosgrove's son. "We live right here in San Clemente. We're going to do everything we can to keep the thing going."
The main priority is to establish the 1937-vintage Miramar as a movie house, Norris said (the new management has renovated the theater and is investing in new projection and sound equipment for films). But the 600-seat Miramar also is available for concerts if outside promoters are interested in bringing rock shows to San Clemente. Since it reopened in May, the Miramar has hosted a surf film and three reggae concerts.
Stewart Moore, a music business entrepreneur based in San Clemente, said Tuesday that he is trying to organize a regular schedule of all-ages weekend concerts at the Miramar, with showcases for upcoming Los Angeles and Orange County bands on Fridays and concerts by established acts on Saturdays.
The first name rocker to play the reopened Miramar will be Paul Cotton, the former Poco guitarist, who will perform July 20 with his new band. Moore said he also is booking a local band concert for July 19.
"I love the theater and want to get it happening," the promoter said. "We're hoping to have music there every weekend. The key is consistency with programming."