A three-day pop festival featuring performances by Sting, Elton John, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Beck sounds like something that should be on the grounds of Woodstock or in England's fabled Reading.
But the event will be held in December in L.A.'s funky/arty Silver Lake district, utilizing two relatively intimate locations--the Paramour hilltop estate built in 1923 by silent-screen star Antonio Moreno and his wife, Daisy, and the 4100 Bar on Sunset Boulevard.
The festival is being produced by Dana Hollister, owner of both the Paramour (site of numerous Hollywood "buzz" parties of late) and the 4100, to benefit the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic.
Billed as Silver Lining Silver Lake, the event expands on a single-show benefit last year that featured Beck, Aimee Mann and Rufus Wainwright. Plans call for Sting and John to headline Dec. 13, outdoors at the Paramour, with Nortec Collective, El Otro Yo and Debora Falconer also performing and Robert Downey Jr., Minnie Driver and Ione Skye as hosts. Sting and John will be in town to participate in John's AIDS benefit on Dec. 12 at the Universal Amphitheatre.
The Chili Peppers and Beck headline the next night, with Jaguares and Jurassic 5 also scheduled and surfer-actor Kelly Slater hosting. The Dec. 15 lineup for the 4100 Bar is still coming together, though it will include a concert version of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" featuring Donovan Leitch Jr. in the title role, alongside Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante and the musical's songwriter Stephen Trask and co-star Miriam Shor.
Tickets will go on sale Nov. 1 for the Paramour events (capacity about 2,500) ranging from $250 to $1,000, including a gala party, and for the 4100 day at $75. Updated schedule and ticket information will be on a Web site, \o7 http://www.silverliningsilverlake.com\f7 , which will be activated soon.
Beck and the Chili Peppers are both Los Angeles-based and community-active, so their participation is no surprise. But getting English stars Sting and John is a coup for the clinic. Hollister credits Downey, a close friend of both singers and a client of Hollister's former interior design business.
"Robert was our spokesperson last year, and this year he came in as an avenging angel," she says. "I'm overwhelmed by his generosity. In the wake of what's been happening, people are doing a lot of benefits around the world, but we hope this comes off as having so much grass-roots integrity that people will respond. It's about acting locally."
NO SERF MUSIC: Sting's former manager Miles Copeland provided a valuable education extension for the home-schooled brothers of Hanson--though this time it was a castle school.
Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson--20, 18 and 15, respectively--were invited to attend Copeland's annual "Songwriters Boot Camp" in May at a castle he owns in the South of France, and the results will be evident on the trio's next album, currently in production and tentatively due in the spring.
It's all part of their ongoing move to graduate from associations with the teen-pop wave as they work on their third album.
Where the group's evanescent 1997 hit "MMMBop" made them the object of screaming-girl affections and presaged the arrival of the Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync, Britney Spears, et al., Hanson has since distanced itself from that world. Its last album, 2000's "This Time Around," focused on straight-ahead pop-rock, and the group associated with such earthy figures as the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir and Blues Traveler frontman John Popper.
At Copeland's castle, the three found themselves in a class of about two dozen musicians, including Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies, Donny Brown of the Verve Pipe, producer Mark Hudson (who had worked with Hanson before) and Carole King, whose own journey from early-'60s Brill Building popsmith to a leading '70s singer-songwriter resonated with the Hanson brothers.
"I wasn't going to walk up to [King] and say, 'Remember when you were teen pop?"' says Taylor. "But it was very cool. She's an incredible talent. We all sat around and played things from the [Beatles'] 'White Album' to Crosby, Stills and Nash songs, talking until 2 or 3 in the morning."
More important, \o7 they\f7 wrote songs. The students were divided into groups of three, each assigned to write a new song and record it in just three hours. Several of the castle collaborations are likely to wind up on Hanson's new album.
Since the French stint in May, the brothers have also been writing a lot with power-pop veteran Matthew Sweet and on their own and are about halfway through making the new album. As far as their current tastes are concerned, Taylor names influential '70s underground power-pop band Big Star as a current favorite of his, while Zac has been listening to Coldplay, David Gray and Train among current releases, along with the albums of revered late English singer Nick Drake. They have no interest in reclaiming the teen-pop market, to which they don't really give much thought at all these days.