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Changing The Way You Look At Entertainment

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s we start a new decade here at American Entertainment Magazine, we do so with a new zest and a new mission. Rather than concentrate on a single segment of the entertainment industry, we look toward bringing together buyers and sellers in the various markets, simply because it makes sense. Far too long now have Performing Arts buyers been limited to what is presented to them by the various arts organizations when all around them are artists, shows and events they have never seen which could be perfect for boosting ticket sales and putting more butts in seats. The same is true with association and corporate

buyers who are now starving for emerging talent, looking for acts that will “wow” their clients without them having to shell out huge dollars. Folks, the college market is the training ground for talented acts that are looking for the next big step in their careers. You will regularly see these acts on “Last Comic Standing,” “America’s Got Talent” and other similar network and cable offerings with incredible skills that were honed before student activities buyers. How many Casino acts have come from the various stages represented by this magazine? The $100 million Terry

Fator performed at the very first IACEP showcase in Chicago and landed one of the sweetest deals ever on record for a virtually unknown performer outside the corporate market. Recycled Percussion stunned the audience of “America’s Got Talent” and after performing to standing room only college crowds for nearly a decade at America’s campuses, signed their own multi-million dollar deal for a casino show on the strip in Vegas. These are just a few of the success stories. But let me assure you, there are hundreds more out there and cross-marketing is the key for both the artists and the buyers. Previously, artists and agencies were struggling with the burden of promoting to all of these different organizations. It can be a daunting task both consuming time and financial resources. For the buyers, the chance of finding these acts was remote and accidental at best because there was no regular exposure. You never knew these acts existed. Here at American Entertainment Magazine, our goal in starting this new decade is to change all of this. Our job is to seek out new and innovative acts, some already getting exposure but others that are below the radar. In cooperation with AEP (The Association of Entertainment Professionals Worldwide), we are not only going to find artists in every genre that we feel are talented entertainment values, but we are going to provide cost effective marketing and showcase opportunities to bring them to the buyers.

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We plan to seek out artists from specialized organizations whom we feel have the cross-over appeal and the potential to perform for a wider demographic. We plan to use our relationship with agencies to help identify acts that have that “universal” appeal. But we also invite our readers and the members of AEP to bring potential feature material to our attention. We want our scope to be wide-reaching and offer content relevant to a diverse group of buyers.

hand. They like being able to pull it out in a few minutes of relaxation or on a flight and peruse the issue at their leisure. Others say they archive them to refer to again at a later date when there is a story or ad which appeals to them. But if you are one of those folks running on “tech” energy, we are in the midst of revamping our website. Not only will you be able to find a full “flip” digital version of the magazine, but there will be additional content which

Volume 10, #55 January 2011 Staff: W.C. Kirby, Jr., Publisher Ian Kirby, Editor and GM Charmagne Loveless, Marketing Director Bryan Waldrop, Design Team Head John Thorne, Web Developer Chandler Cook, Graphic/Video Sales Samuel Hooker, Writer Greg Schwem, Contributing Writer

THE PAST EVOLUTION OF THE AEM BRAND This first issue of the new decade was our chance to spotlight country music a legendary art form with fierce American roots. The evolution has been one which along the way has encompassed other markets including but not limited to pop and adult contemporary. Five or six years ago when I was involved with the birth of IACEP (The International Association of Corporate Entertainment Producers), I was surprised how much of the sideline conversation among the founding producers involved the acquisition of country artists for their events. The appeal of the new country art form and its ability to easily move into the performing arts, fairs & festivals, casinos and other markets are words which come, not from our mouths, but from legendary executives in the entertainment marketplace. YOUR CHOICE: ONE OR BOTH Most of our readers have told us they prefer to have the convenience of a hard copy of the magazine in their

didn’t make the print edition. There will be easy links to Campus Activities Magazine®, the AEP website and The Cameo Group of Companies which offers exclusive additional services like Creative Artist Development (a complete review of artists’ marketing materials, videos, general business development, photography, showcase applications and more), Showcase Video (Where you can acquire a custom video developed exclusively for you, highlighting what you do best), Cameo Graphics (Which provides graphic design and printing of your materials at very competitive costs) and Cameo Web (custom designed websites for entertainers and agencies). The AEP organization will include a members-only website. That site will feature a complete searchable database for the membership as well as easy sign-up for conferences, showcases and exhibit space. Buyers will have direct access to the artists and the agencies representing them. The site will also feature artist videos and direct links to member agencies.

www.americanentertainmentmagazine.com

AEP Worldwide W.C. Kirby, Jr., Partner Leona K. Plaugh, Partner Ian Kirby, Artist & Agency Development Chandler Cook, Graphic & Video Services John Thorne, Website Developer Charmagne Loveless, AEM Coordinator

American Entertainment Magazine Offices/Contact: • 15420 Newberry Road, Blair SC 29015 (803) 712-1429 • (803) 712-6703 (F) • PO Box 509, Prosperity SC 29127 Accounting & Mailing • 7338 SC Hwy 395, Newberry SC 29108 (803) 276-1635 , Graphic Design Office

On the Web: americanentertainmentmagazine.com A CAMEO PUBLISHING GROUP COMPANY IN ASSOCIATION WITH PUBLISHING PARTNERS American Entertainment Magazine Is The Official Publication of The Association of Entertainment Professionals Worldwide (AEP)

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THE BIG 3-0-OH! BY GREG SCHWEM

Friend Me. Do I Know You? On December 10, 2010, I hit another milestone in my life: I hit The Big 30-0!” No, I’m not THAT old. I’m referring to Facebook friends. On a cold snowy morning, I “friended” my 300th person in cyberspace. “Friended” incidentally, is another word that technology created, sort of like “Googling.” “Friend” used to be a noun; now it’s a verb. I can remember when I only had 100 friends, then 200, and now 300 and climbing. I “friended” four more people today so the official count stands at 304. Problem is, I don’t know who half of these people are.

tween Facebook friends and actual friends: friendship. Your actual friends are there for life. Your Facebook friends are there to clutter your life. When I was 12, I had two friends. John, Gerry and myself were inseparable as we navigated the tricky world of middle school. We hung out together, studied together and learned about girls together. When I entered high school I expanded my social network by adding about four more friends. At 17, I graduated high school with what I considered to be more than enough friends: nine. Now I’m 48. If I added nine friends for every 17 years of my life, I should have about 41.7 friends. Instead I have 300. Luckily Facebook allows you to “group”

Where did I meet the “professional makeup artist from Florida?” Who exactly is the guy who keeps sending me “Get Out of Jail Free” cakes via Facebook? And why exactly did I choose to be friends with the “president of a management company that represents ecofriendly professionals?” There must have been SOME reason because this guy has 4,724 other friends. I’m guessing I won’t be getting a Christmas card from him any time soon. Speaking of Christmas cards, on the same day that I friended my 300th Facebook user, I sat at my desk addressing holiday greeting cards, complete with personal notes. I recognized every name on the list. In many cases I could instantly recall the names of kids, pets and job titles. Therein lies the difference be6, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT MAgAzINE, January 2011

your friends by category. I’ve heard a lot of social networking experts say this is the only way to deal with all the information that we are bombarded with every day, be it email messages, blog posts, newsletters or contacts. Sort them into groups and look at those groups at your convenience rather than all at once. So here are the Facebook groups I have developed. Go ahead and use them if you think your Facebook friends list is getting out of control. Also, feel free to rename each group to suit your personal needs. Here goes: 1) Friends I actually care about 2) Friends who I can vaguely recall after something in their profile jogged my memory 3) Friends who I friended just to be polite 4) Friends who I plan to “defriend” because they keep sending me links to political sites 5) Friends who really don’t value my friendship because they have more than 5,000 other friends 6) Friends who are fans of the TV show Friends 7) Friends whose names I don’t recognize and aren’t helping matters because their profile picture is an animal 8) Friends who I didn’t need to friend because they are family members. (Shouldn’t that be enough?) 9) Friends who I accidentally friended by clicking on the wrong icon 10) My dog. After all he is man’s best friend Greg Schwem is a corporate stand-up comedian, speaker and author of “Text Me If You’re Breathing: Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons From a Low-Tech Dad.” www.comedywithabyte.com

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here are speakers and there are entertainers but there is only one Craig Karges!

“We recently had Craig Karges perform at a business seminar where most of the attendees were top level executives who get to attend many such functions. When it comes to seeing speakers, business gurus and entertainers our audience has ‘been there done that! ’ At least that was the case until they saw Craig Karges. To put it simply, Craig astounded, delighted and entertained our group with his unique performance. I would highly recommend Craig Karges to the event planner that is looking to find someone who is truly different. Craig engages the audience and enthralls them. The real magic involved is how good you will look for bringing Craig to your group.” – Frank Daley, Vice President, AmeriQuest

304.233.4366

www.craigkarges.com

ckarges@craigkarges.com


Great General Sessions By Connie Riley, T. Skorman Productions, Inc. We are now in the thick of the 2011 spring season, the glimmer of normalcy seems to be returning. And businesses are booking entertainment again! With cancellations, hesitations and apologies behind us, the meetings industry is at last showing modest signs of growth. Emerging from the past couples years of nervous decision makers and moving targets called objectives, meeting professionals are searching for entertaining performers and shows that can deliver a targeted message— in a practical price range. Planners have the advantage as an increasing number of performers are available to deliver your meeting message while entertaining your attendees. With countless choices, a planner’s challenge is wading through them if you are working without a talent representative. A speaker bureau or talent agency can cut down on your research time and will provide a better product. Large companies and corporations continue to contract high dollar motivational speakers. But the majority of meeting budgets can’t support this level of talent. Nor do all companies require purely motivational content.

to their sales partners. This performance would take place during an intimate cocktail reception in a hotel ballroom. It needed to include a visual introduction followed by a narrated demonstration of the products. The goal was to show good results when each of the products was used individually, but great results when used in combination. Solution: Conceptualize and produce a custom three-person routine with precision drummers from Rhythm Extreme! Here’s how it worked… Reception guests were given ample time to network while enjoying cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, then the VIPs began their presentation of their “Step 1” product. A male model dressed in corporate branded coveralls carrying the Step 1 product displayed in a five gallon bucket. Our model, looking like a factory worker, examined the bucket, turned it over and unexpectedly began drumming on the bucket. This excitement set the tone for the introduction of the Step 2 and Step 3 products, each with a

different model performing a different drum solo, showing great singularly. While each step was demonstrated, drumsticks were handed out in anticipation of a VIP/attendee drumming jam session. The audience participation jam session built to a crescendo with a feature segment for the VIPs followed by a precision drum finale. Good individually, great when combined! The message was threaded through the entire presentation. The sales force left with the memory of being part of the interactive drum jam session with their VIPs. They also were treated to a private cocktail reception with food, received personalized, hands-on training on the new cleaning product and took home a pair of branded drum sticks. They even received a commemorative photograph of themselves alongside the VIPs and cast of drummers. Challenge: The producer meeting wanted a performance troupe for a general session opener. The con-

THE PASSING ZONE

And what about the audiences themselves? With learning techniques as varied as their ages, how do you convey a message, especially these days when: (1) Attendee profiles might consist of three or more generations, and (2) A large percentage of your audience, regardless of age, is dividing their attention between the stage and their pda’s? The memory of a live performance can help by creating a image that an attendee can recall for years to come. This is a quantifiable measurement a planner can use in their ROI report that is often overlooked. A few case studies with basic details are listed below. Challenge: A public relations company needed us to create a performance concept that would introduce their three-step industrial floor cleaning product 8, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT MAgAzINE, January 2011

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tent for the session was written and presented by the company leaders. Their theme, “The Power of One”, was created to unify all departments in providing one coordinated experience for their customers. Solution: Our experience began with several media screens, meditative music and multiple scenic elements. Then twenty dancers materialized behind a scrim. This led to a synchronized tai chi routine timed with dialogue and reinforced by “The Power of One” media images. The dialogue ended and the cast posed on center stage. Just when everyone thought it was over, a scenic backdrop peeled away revealing four rock musicians performing a custom song. The rock song juxtaposed against the serenity of tai chi intrigued and energized the attendees incredibly! They were still standing and applauding as their first presenter was introduced! The imagery of the unified team of tai chi performers against the rock lyrics established the central message the general session would hinge on—the corporation was building a united front to deliver the best customer service, and the best client satisfaction. Challenge: A restaurant corporation held a two day meeting for three diverse divisions of their company. The planner wanted a passionate performer who could incorporate art and a personal inspirational message into the session. This segment would be presented between two educational sessions with restaurant operations content.

all concerned, the experience brought to light the importance of knowing yourself well enough to harness your inner passion. Challenge: Two companies were merging their products and employees. Both sets of employees were apprehensive. The planner’s and producer’s assignment was to present a performance group that could incorporate the buzzwords of teamwork, trust and consideration in a less than serious environment. Solution: Two men dressed in ballet tutus juggling two chain saws – and yes, the chain saws are running and fully functional…get the picture? Even if you aren’t familiar with entertainers, The Passing Zone, you can guess the rest of the story. This act customizes their routine to include your message. They incorporate serious points into their comedic juggling routine to create memories for your attendees. Outcome: Through comedy, The Passing Zone allowed attendees to share common anxieties while laughing together. The imagery is a vision that you hope your attendees will never forget – the place, the date, the company and the event.

result, the average planner is younger. And while these professionals require the same service standards as your established clients, you may find their preferences and styles to be substantially different from what you might be used to supplying. That’s because their selections will be determined by the technological advances in media and entertainment. They’ll look to those with experience and products that appeal to them. Producers who take the time to understand, connect and mentor these young professionals will find opportunities for business as the health of the industry continues to gain strength and corporations invest once again in face to face meetings.

Connie Riley, CSEP, CMP T. Skorman Productions, Inc. 407-895-3000 x213 connie@tskorman.com www.tskorman.com

Connie is an honored recipient of the 2009 ISES Orlando Hall of Fame Award and currently serves on the BizBash Orlando and Event Solutions Advisory Boards.

Countless meeting planners have moved on or retired over the past few years. As a

Solution: A trick speed painter with an inspirational message! You need to remember, the trick with a speed artist is the audience can’t identify the person in the portrait until seconds before the painting is finished. So you get suspense and inspiration. Four people were chosen to become the artist’s subjects. A message was identified and the artist was coached by the client on speaking points. During the session, the four portraits were painted. As each was completed, the artist spoke about his passions, his mentor, and his approach to life through his art. His message: “Find your inner passion and use it to improve your life.” That message, plus the enjoyment of seeing familiar faces materialize in the portraits, kept the audience amazed and entertained. The guests were engaged by the incredible talent of the artist. They shared in the guessing game while he painted and only when completed were the identities of each portrait confirmed. For www.americanentertainmentmagazine.com

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Event Themes & Entertainment: A Natural Partnership! By Dick Wilson People in the events & entertainment industry spend jillions of hours thinking and talking about themes. Unfortunately, most people approach themes from the totally wrong direction. So allow me to present two basic truths I have learned about event themes.

Truth #1: Your theme is not for the audience. In my 20+ years of meeting production, I’ve never heard a comment, positive or negative, from an attendee concerning an event’s theme. A theme is like so many other things at an event— food, rooms, services-- it’s only likely to be noticed or remembered if it’s absent, weird or not working. In short, audiences don’t care about themes.

Truth #2: Your theme is for you. Regardless of your role in planning events, a good theme is your best friend. It will help you choose & customize your entertainment, decorate your room, design your logo, write your scripts and more. So choose your themes thoughtfully. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

what that same CEO’s parting words will be, and how he/she might wrap the theme around those remarks. If the words come naturally and quickly, you have a good theme. 3. What kind of starting & ending points within the event does the theme present for other program elements? A theme should be versatile enough to let event producers, writers, entertainers & MC’s go places with it, lots of places. But unfortunately, too many times an event theme is lost, forgotten or ignored, especially when it comes to entertainment. That’s a shame, because it really is easy to tie in a theme, and doing so adds so much to the cohesiveness of a program. Let’s take a common event theme like “Imagine.” It opens up all sorts of possibilities… creativity in business, the future, famous artists and their works, the list could go on and on. Here are just a few ways to make that “imagine” theme work for the entertainment:

1. Less is more. The theme is the official name for your conference, so keep it short. For years it seemed as though “verb the noun” themes (Seize the Day, Leading the Way, etc.) would never go away. Fortunately these days one and two-word themes are more common and more workable. 2. Think of a theme as the bookends for the event. Picture the CEO delivering his/her opening remarks. How does the theme help set the stage for the event about to happen? Then consider 10, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT MAgAzINE, January 2011

• Show Band introductory remarks: “Let’s imagine we’re all back in high school. How many of you think of the 60’s? The 70’s? The 80’s? The 90’s or later? Well guess what? You don’t have to imagine yourself back in time, because our show band is going to do that for you right now….” • Celebrity Impersonator’s show: Ask him/her to work the word “imagine” into their show, either as a transition between their impersonators, or within the impersonations themselves. If nothing else, ask him/her to begin and end their routine with the word “imagine.” • Motivational Speaker acknowledgement: “So let’s think about where (speaker) has taken us this morning. Or better yet, let’s imagine where his/her insights could lead us in the not too distant future. For instance, imagine your business….” It’s simple to keep a theme alive throughout a program, and entertainers can be a key way to accomplish that goal. When entertainers embrace their clients’ themes, they become more than entertainment. They become valued partners in helping their clients meet their goals. And that can only lead to more success for everyone! About The Author: Writer & Events Producer Dick Wilson began his career in radio, and then moved on to corporate event production at Tupperware, where he was Director of Presentations & Events. He now leads his own company, The MessageWorks, which offers businesses an eclectic menu of creative, production and organizational services. Learn more at www. TheMessageWorks.com.

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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. I find myself in one of those rare positions; I absolutely love what I do. Perhaps this is more common in our industry than most. As editor of both Campus Activities Magazine, the number one publication for booking entertainment on campuses, military bases and institutions and American Entertainment Magazine, which serves so many interconnected markets like corporate, performing arts and casinos, I have the honor of being business associates and friends with the people who book and perform a vast majority of all the live dates done in our great country. The funny thing is, the people I know aren’t as cleanly segmented as we sometimes might think are campus and corporate, performing arts and casino, or even theme park and military dates.

many comics who could work any audience from a family at the fair to a corporate group but, there are just as many who will never step foot outside of a comedy club. The same goes for music. As splintered and segmented as the Internet age has made music, there are many subgroups of music that will only work for certain demographics. Edgier hip hop works well at colleges, perhaps not so much at a formal engagement. Party bands are all the rage for weddings, social and private events, but most likely wouldn’t draw a performing arts crowd. Country music is a great example of a genre that can cross any demographic lines. While it’s true not everyone likes country music, the fact is that a good country act will be a draw at nearly any venue or for any buyer be it military, corporate, festival, performing arts, theater, club, casino, college or private event.

Air Out Those Dirty Genres Expand Your Arsenal If we want to find the absolute best artist for our audience or venue, we have to learn to adjust the way we think of entertainment. It is natural for us to box vast variations of entertainers within a single genre such as comedy or music, but understanding the varieties and blending of those genres is key. There are

Sometimes we have to think about a show like a battle. You, the buyer are the soldier and the talent at your disposal are your weapons. The audience is the target. While mortar rounds and missiles and I.E.D.s all explode, they have decidedly different purposes,

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and your choice in entertainment needs to be the right one to do the most “damage” to your audience. Most of the time you aren’t looking for a sniper (thought they do exist, think closeup or walk-around magic), you want a wide dispersal to catch as many of your “targets” out there at once as possible. So, here are a few suggestions for acts that are A-bombs. They have the ability to “annihilate” any audience, no matter the venue, location, demographic or special circumstances. In addition, they are all within a reasonable price point for all of our various buyers. The Extraordinist Craig Karges is absolutely one of the finest entertainers I have ever come across. I am not just saying this because he is also probably the nicest, most graceful and genuine artists I have met, but also because Craig’s act will melt your brain. What really makes Craig a great example to illustrate my point is his incredible adaptability and insight into just what the person booking him is looking for. Craig talks to each and every one of his clients to find out what their goals are and who their audience is, which has made him a continued and resounding success for

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When we understand that the experience is the most important thing, we can truly hone in on the right performers. What are your goals? To motivate, amuse, amaze, inspire? I would invite you to look very closely at this question before you book another show. If you don’t feel you are qualified to safely step outside of your comfort zone (no one wants to take a chance and bomb an event), there are a few suggestions I can offer. Continually Refer Back To My First Point campuses, casinos, corporate, performing arts, military and any other demographic of buyer lucky enough to stumble across him. Check out his story elsewhere in this issue. Craig represents the upper echelon of what we refer to as “live novelty” entertainment, which really just represents any performers whose talents fall outside of the normal mainstream genres of comedy, music or even speakers. Generally live novelty performers’ talents display feats of skill not commonly seen in the everyday world. This include juggling, hypnosis, magic, mentalism and other mysterious, dangerous or otherwise physically impressive challenges of daring-do. Outside THe Box, Into The Cubs This brings me to my next point about freeing up our thinking. One should never sit down to plan the entertainment for an event and say, “I think I want a comic,” or “I need a music act.” What we should ask ourselves is the most vital question in entertainment, “What kind of experience do I want to provide for my audience?” If we break the experiential part of an entertainment event down to its most basic element, this is essentially what we are seeking. Instead of “I want a comic,” think, “I want my audience to have a lasting humorous experience.” Instead of “I want music.” What sort of musical experience are you seeking? To inspire, excite, emote? Now, we have just done a wonderful thing. For the experience of comedy, we have taken ourselves out of the box of standup and opened up to an entire world of theatrical variety. Some of the funniest acts I have seen are not “comics” per se (which of course have their place as well), but are hypnosis, magic or juggling acts where the situations presented to the audience bring out inherent humor not available to a standup, like the tension of having a flaming torch launched in front of a CEOs face (or, having his watch stolen).

First, continue to read our publication. While this shameless self-plug leads the list, it is not necessarily the most important single thing you can do, but we strive to make American Entertainment Magazine a fair balance of all types of entertainment. If you are only responsible for booking a few events a year, you could easily find the ideas you need in a few issues of AEM, no matter the theme or demographic. That is a guarantee from the editor. Also, if you are aware of hot acts we aren’t featuring and should, contact me through our website. Second and probably more importantly, find the people who know what they are doing. Qualified event planners and producers can be worth their weight in gold, not only because they can take many of the steps out of the process for you, but also because they have access to talent pools most casual buyers would have never thought possible. The right producer cannot only find you what you didn’t know was out there, but they might just be able to save you money in the long run even if you know exactly the act you seek. Steve Thomas of East Coast Entertainment has been rather famously quoted (loosely) as saying “As a producer, a client can often save money even after my fee. Experienced producers buy talent all the time and can often get a better deal, and in addition negotiate A/V equipment more often and have ready access to suppliers across the country. This can save a huge amount of the overhead production costs.”

expertise we have generated with our experience in all entertainment trade markets through both American Entertainment Magazine and Campus Activities Magazine and combining it with the experience of the members we hope to attract from all facets of the trade entertainment markets. AEP’s membership will include buyer members from corporate, performing arts, fair & festivals, clubs, casinos, campuses, cruise lines, theaters, PR & media companies, and military buyers together with agencies and artists from these same various trade markets. Never before have these buyers and vendors had access to each other in one place, and with the annual conference starting this year in Las Vegas, there will be an unprecedented forum by which all of these buyers can communicate to share best practices and have access to new talent, while vendors will meet buyers never before on their radar. The conference will include live showcasing for both established and emerging talent with a trade show exhibit hall set up for getting dates booked. Money Where My Mouth Is Since we’ve run over a few principles, I’d like to list several more acts that I feel really personify The Power Of Crossover. All of these acts are not only reasonable in price but also have the credits and name recognition to be appealing to performing arts or casino buyers, who often have to depend on an artist’s draw for ticketed sales. You can take the following acts to the bank. The Passing Zone

A New Horizon The third and final tip for finding unique and cutting edge entertainment ties the first two together. American Entertainment Magazine, in partnership with Plaugh Enterprises, has just founded the Association of Entertainment Professionals Worldwide. This is an organization with the aim of using the special

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The Passing Zone is not “just another jug-

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gling act.” When I think of the absolute cream of the crop in the genre of juggling, two duos stand out. The Raspyni Brothers are a great straight-man/funny-man act and have a unique brand of dry wit. The Passing Zone, made up of Jon Wee and Owen Morse, absolutely blow audiences away, enough to have impressed the judges of “America’s Got Talent” (including Piers Morgan) going as far as Runner-up (just to note, Jon and Owen harbor no resentment that the winner of that particular season was a very cute little 11 year old girl with the pipes of Aretha, whom also to note has never been heard from again). The Passing Zone seem to perfectly understand the concept of experiential entertainment. The way you know you have a great act like this is when the primary “schtick” of the show fades into the background and all you really remember is how great the time spent (or earned?) was. Jon and Owen perform incredible juggling and balancing maneuvers, but what they really do is leave their audiences in stitches. They are so funny one can barely see straight, and the great thing is every show is specifically catered to the audience, so they are also different every time. This makes it more exciting for the entertainers and their excitement and passion is evident. Sketch comedy probably doesn’t come immediately to mind for most buyers outside of the campus or club market, but some improv acts like Mission Improvable, iO and even Second City might change your mind.

Call WIth Carson Daily,” Comedy Central, MTV, BET, Discovery Channel and other cutting edge forums, but anyone who speaks with them will be immediately impressed with their bearing and rapport. If you hit YouTube, these guys might seem like complete goofballs, but what makes them unique is that again they are an act that understands markets and demographics. Because they have extensive experience in both improv and sketch writing, they can craft their entire set to appeal to your audience, whether they are a certain age, profession or even cultural segment. For corporations they can humorously convey a certain message or motivate. They have a draw for the younger demographics performing arts seem to want to capture and the television credits (like “Tosh.0”) make them an automatic sell for any younger audience found at campuses or festivals.

client. He can be edgier for those who request it or clean for those who don’t. He is a very cool guy to hang out with, is completely professional and, oh yeah, he was born in West Africa and has cerebral palsy. It’s something that opens him up as a diversity performer and gives him a unique insight, though its less than noticeable once you get to know him as “the dude.” From there he is just a cool guy that’s really funny. Who Hit The Lottery?

Don’t Sit Down Since I commented on thinking outside the box of straight standup, let me make clear that I love standup comedy ever since my dad took me to a campus market conference at age 11. Comics are the ultimate chameleons. Many rise through the clubs where audiences are jaded and hard to impress and those that can reasonably censor themselves and appeal to a broader demographic can usually play anywhere. They are typically the best emcees money can buy and are used to being personable. Last Comic Not Under A Rock

Terry Fator is a distinct blend of many different genres and is probably the best example of why you should think experientially instead of using the typical genres to segment entertainers. To just call Terry “a ventriloquist” is a gross injustice and is a typical example of boxing many quality performers into fewer bookings than they get. Who sits down to plan an event and says “I want a Ventriloquist,” outside of kids’ birthday parties? So, you have these quality performers not working as much as they should be. Now, no one should cry for Terry, because he actually won “America’s Got Talent” and subsequently got a VERY lucrative contract from The Mirage for five years.

A Pair Of Nuts Terry’s show includes some of the most amazing vocal mimicry I’ve ever seen (Louis Armstrong, Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison, Kermit The Frog) along with some pretty good comedy and premier level ventriloquism.

On the vanguard, A Pair of Nuts is situational and sketch comedy for the next generation. Emmy-nominated Yamil Piedra and Johnny Trabanco have extensive credits on “Last

Josh Blue won season 4 of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and has since been successful in nearly every venue he approaches. He is a shoe-in for campus and performing arts, casino and military buyers. For corporate and special events, he can set the appropriate tone for his content and even infuses messages or goals into his set for the

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Terry is the exception to the rule and is a supremely talented performer. This guy is really one of a kind and probably not affordable for most reading this, but is a pertinent example because six months before winning the “AGT” title, Terry was showcasing at an event for less than the price a used Kia just like we’ll have this fall at AEP. While he certainly isn’t going to be in that range now there are many performers still serving the market who haven’t had the fortune of winning a nationally televised talent show.

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True Natural Talent

Mike Rayburn started off as a college-market sensation and is still one of only three men to ever win Campus Activities Magazine’s® Entertainer of The Year more than twice (one of the other people holding this distinction is Craig Karges). Mike is again a true Crossover. He sings, tells jokes and plays the guitar, but this is such an utter simplification of his talents. He falls in that uncomfortable limbo between comedy and music and neither aspect of his show is predominant enough to figure out how to bill and market him. Is he a music act that’s funny or a comedy act featuring music? The fact is, he’s perfect for events in every one of the markets named in this story and has proven that fact, using a perfect tagline as “The World’s Funniest Guitar Virtuoso,” ending the conundrum of just how to quantify him.

pletely honest and straightforward approach that engage Justin’s audiences. At just 28, he’s got the look, personality and ability to go a long way in this game, has already racked up an impressive list of accomplishments and been noticed by the television world. He recently finished filming the second season of “Cupcake Wars,” on during primetime on Food Network and has recently become the host of “Hubworld” on The Hub network (formerly Discovery Kids). The third member is the 3X+ club, Justin won Campus Activities Magazine’s® prestigious Reader’s Choice Award Entertainer Of The an unprecedented four times in a row and continues to be a premier act in the campus market. He could easily be available for more work in the world of corporate and special events, performing arts, casinos and others. He is a steal of a value right now and this is one of those acts you will look back on in ten years and brag about how little you paid for such a big star.

performing arts market is perfect for your casino audience, maybe that corporate motivational emcee could rally your campus troops. The military has a wide variety of applications they wish to fulfill with entertainment on many levels and, fairs & festivals are a great way to keep performers’ summer busy. I encourage you to continue to explore the ways you can broaden your talent horizons. Knowledge is power and there is no better way to do this than to join AEP. Check out the organization at www.aepworldwide.org and you’ll see it’s an exciting new concept bringing all the entertainment markets together and at a reasonable cost. It’ll be well worth your investment. Please don’t hesitate to contact me about any details in this story, or ideas you’d like to see explored for future editorial development. For information on The Power of Crossover, contact Ian Kirby at (803) 712-1429 or ian@cameopublishing.com

In Conclusion... The Power of Crossover is about opening up your mind to an experience your audience remembers. Perhaps a flagship act in the

For information on the Association of Entertainment Professionals Worldwide (AEP) contact Leona Plaugh at (803) 782-1947.

He’s Justin Kredible

When you think about comedy, you think about one man and a mic, but Justin Kredible is so much more. In the inner circles of the college market, he is whispered about as the new Craig Karges. Justin is a magician, but his wit, audience rapport and genuine charisma far overshadow the actual tricks he does. While the magic amazes, it’s his comwww.americanentertainmentmagazine.com

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DIERKS BENTLEY

The country music market is legendary. It consists of the music industry’s most loyal fans and while it has changed from the days of the original grand Ole Opry, the numbers have grown substantially, attracting more and more younger followers. While many of the legends like Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Jr., george Strait, Reba, Dolly and Willie Nelson still can fill a room, the industry moved from good guys in white hats to younger guys in black ones. With the days of garth Brooks came hundreds of new faces into the in-

dustry which included Brooks & Dunn, Marty Stuart, Travis Tritt and later Rascal Flatts. But the age of social networking and reality television along with iTunes made the market more accessible to a multitude of emerging artists as well as a few rockers who saw the new country as trendy and the chance to develop new fans. Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Sugarland, Lady Antebellum and our featured group, The Band Perry, come to mind. Add to these Jimmy Buffet, Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow and Darius Rucker just to name a few.

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But don’t take my word for it. Let’s go to some legitimate resources like Kevin Neal, President of Buddy Lee Attractions (BLA), Tony Conway of Conway Entertainment group and Randy Beckham with William Morris Endeavor. WILLIAM MORRIS ENDEAVOR: Rob Beckham is with William Morris/Endeavor in their Nashville office and is the official contact for our lead story on The Band Perry. “At this agency, we have been extremely fortunate because we have any number of artists breaking into

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TAYLOR SWIFT

RASCAL FLATTS

the marketplace. Not only are they great artists but they have great songs. The songs have some singalong ability to them and they talk about real life. Taylor Swift is a prime example of an artist who has done everything right. She is a great artist and she writes great songs. Certainly she has reached that super-star status. I hate to compare artists with other artists because every one of them is unique and does their own thing, but The Band Perry is simply so dynamic and so unique in what they do. The blood harmony is so hard to replicate. They blend so smoothly together. Kimberly just has a super-star per-

sona about her. Not only is she amazing, but the band members are all great entertainers. They know how to get up on stage and put the audience in their hands. They are very talented players and musicians and the fact that she wrote ‘If I Die Young” all by herself is a testament to her abilities. I have to give them credit, they are probably the hardest working young people I have ever met. They have actually not had lives beyond their music for the last 18 months. There is probably not been a radio station, Denny’s or airport they haven’t seen in North America. But they simply love it. Their first big gig after playing fairs

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and festivals throughout most of the summer was to go on the road with Alan Jackson. He was on their ‘bucket list’ of performers they admired and really wanted to perform with. Their next tour will be with Tim Mcgraw.” Mark one more off that bucket list. “Next will come touring with Keith Urban in Canada. TBP knows how to do it the right way. They really just love getting up and playing before an audience. They are already booked for 150 dates through the end of 2011.” According to Robert, the real plus

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for the Perrys is they were raised right. “They were taught respect and are glowing examples of what a band, country, rock or any other genre, should be.” For all of you college entertainment boards out there, Rob use to be on the Activities Board at the University of Montana and was actually involved in a coordinator position with NACA Northwest for a couple of years. “The Band Perry is one of the few major country acts that has transcended to colleges very well. We have had a tremendous amount of college activity. We are having offers come in for 500 seat gyms to performing arts theaters. They are still pretty affordable for college dates because their expenses are fairly fixed and their popularity is growing by leaps and bounds. Pricing is all over the place based on what is required but they are doing college shows.”

is a true phenomenon, are all major talents we are seeing after a stalled period for the industry. Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood are starting to headline after a period where we didn’t see many new women coming into the spotlight. Even though Rascal Flatts and Toby Keith are still doing well, now we have some excellent choices for new and emerging talent.”

If you look at country music without the traditional blinders on, you have to view country music as a genre that now, more than ever before, crosses over traditional lines. More pop artists are on the country charts and more country music artists are finding themselves on the pop charts.

CARRIE UNDERWOOD

Rob says the band could probably perform for anywhere between $15,000 and $30,000 today but six months down the road, it could be an entirely different story. BUDDY LEE ATTRACTIONS: Probably no one agency has a broader background in country music than Buddy Lee Attractions. Kevin Neal is president of the Nashville based operation. “The direction of country music over the last five years has been sort of shifting. In the last two to three years there has been a changing of the guard. For a while there were no new headliners coming along. When you look at artists like Brooks & Dunn and Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney - even Braid Paisley, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Garth Brooks (who is now coming back), during their reigns you didn’t see much new competition. Now we are starting to see some new headliners, big ticketsellers, if you will. One that we represent, Jason Aldean, has gone from clubs to selling out arenas. Lady Antebellum has blown up just in the last year and a half. Others like Sugarland, the Zac Brown Band and Taylor Swift, who 18, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT MAgAzINE, January 2011

MIRANDA LAMBERT

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“I think that some of the artists are more of a cross-over, especially Taylor Swift who plays internationally and is played on all formats. Rascal Flatts in past years has received contemporary airplay. I think these artists are filling a space that wasn’t being filled or at least hasn’t been filled adequately in recent years. Taylor started out being a country artist for the tweeners... the Disney, Miley Cyrus fanbase. “Then you have Jason Aldean, who filled a niche that hadn’t existed before...that being a true, southern rocker. How long ago do we have to look back and find one of those in the business? Here is a guy who has a style, a brand, an image all his own. He wears two earrings, he wears a straw cowboy hat – he’s not your George Strait wearing a starched Wrangler shirt, he’s a rocker. He will be getting contemporary airplay because his next single is a duet with Kelly Clarkson. “The Zac Brown Band does not fit the traditional country mold. It’s excellent writing. They have the look and the sound that is going to attract fans.

Their show was built from years of roadwork. They are a country ‘Dave Matthews Band.’ “Take Miranda Lambert – she’s the rockin’ rebel female. Many of her early songs had themes like burning her exboyfriend’s house down or things like that. Her song, ‘House That Built Me’ has taken her to a place where she has garnered all these nominations and awards and that is a soft ballad.” Kevin has been an agent since 1981 and he has seen it all in his 30 years. “Some artists, you’d worry about competing shows in markets with ticket sales but I would never worry about the competition between Taylor Swift and Jason Aldean. (1) Because Taylor is going to sell out very quickly, and (2) She is going to attract a very young audience. Jason’s market is going to be somewhat older and looking for a more rockin’ sound... a 15-30 year-old rock type audience.” Kevin honestly feels that country music has a longer shelf life. “If you look at what is popular on the pop

charts now and compare it to five years ago, how much of it is retained in airplay and record sales.” And he is right, A lot of that music is about what is popular at the moment and when that moment is gone, it’s gone. Of the thousands of songs that made it to the top ten over the last 10 years, only a handful still get consistent airplay on pop stations. Most stations will go back to the anthem years of Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits or even the Eagles and the Beatles to fill in to give listeners a different sound. “Country music will cross-over to give audiences a break from the funk, hiphop or even electronic music being played on these stations and surprisingly it will gain some converts. “Country music has staying power. We have artists retiring because they can’t get any higher or better and then we have artists who still sell out year after year, even after 25 years. Look at Brooks & Dunn and Alabama who recently retired. They had done everything during their careers. And you have George Strait who continues to sell out and still puts songs on the top of the charts.”

LADY ANTEBELLUM

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What does the old guard think about the new guard in the field? “I’m sure there is some jealousy. When Taylor Swift became an instant sensation, there were complaints about her style. But look at this tribute video to Loretta Lynn. Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow are a part of that. The new guard is paying tribute to one of the industry’s legends. “My dad managed Johnny Cash. Very few of the rebel rouser artists today could hold a candle to what Johnny Cash did back in the 50s. Country evolved into a kind of ‘pop-country’ in the 80s with Eddie Rabbit and Crystal Gayle, Barbara Mandrel and Lee Greenwood. As it moved back toward more traditional roots, you had Garth come in and resurrect the business. A lot of great artists came from this era but there was not the ‘staying power’ of a Garth Brooks. Then the (Dixie) Chicks came out. At that point it was sporadic to find artists who could sell out venues 7,000 up. But now there is a whole group of artists who can easily fit that expectation. Zac Brown went

out and killed them this year. Jason Aldean killed. Sugarland killed. Lady Antebellum headlined their first national tour this fall with huge cross-over success. Taylor (Swift) has been doing it. Carrie (Underwood) has been doing it. Kenny (Chesney) has been doing stadium dates and Paisley doing well...Country is Healthy!” But the real question is “what is the formula for longevity is this market?” Kevin hesitates before he answers. “I really never liked this term but it is the one that works...you have to become a brand. You have to become unique. A lot of pop artists like the writing they see in country music. The Rolling Stones loved Johnny Cash. It is relatable music. If you go into most kids’ iPods these days, you’ll have Jason Aldean, and TI, then Kid Rock and a Hinder. Country has crossed more into the mainstream with the advent of digital downloads and the ease of accessibility to music. iTunes has done wonders for country music. Jason’s “Big Green Tractor” had over 1 1/2 million downloads. Last year when you had concert cancelled with many pop

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artists, country was flourishing. Where every other form of music is complaining about record sales and tours being cancelled, country music looks pretty good. And pop artists are discovering country music. “Darius Rucker is a prime example. You could have put a steel guitar behind any of the Hootie and the Blowfish songs and it would have fit the country mold. Darius is a genuine southern guy who loves the music. It is not a put-on. “Jimmy Buffet is a folksy guy who writes about an adventurous life...an easy adaption to country. The Eagles, if they were released today, would be a country group.” And what about Elvis? Even though he was hailed as the King of Rock ‘n Roll, it was claimed he came from southern roots. “Another little story here. My father was Elvis’ first manager. My dad was a DJ in Memphis at a radio station. He was the big morning guy. He (Bob Neal) promoted and booked shows, handled ticketing, had a record store and then

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SUGARLAND

he got into managing Elvis and he managed Johnny Cash. To me, Elvis had his country leaning but he was definitely Rock ‘n Roll. “I grew up listening to Marshall Tucker, Skynyrd, Charlie Daniels and southern rock and that is what much of today’s modern country includes these days. Artists who stay true to what they are and consistent won’t have any trouble growing an audience. You know what you’re going to get when you buy a Brad Paisley album or Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban. They have a formula down which includes songs that are fast and others that are ballads. “We also represent Colt Ford and to put it very loosely, he is a country hiphop artist. He is a 300-lb guy from Athens, GA and his shows have hit a note with people. He gets very little airplay but he has sold over 400,000 albums. and over a million downloads. He played in Charlotte the same night as Gary Allen and Gary is a pretty big name. Gary sold 1200 tickets and Colt sold 2700 and they had to turn people away. He’s as country as you can get

but he is not a singer. He grew up in the hip-hop business and then was a professional golfer for eight years and came back. Now he does a lot of collaborations with artists like Montgomery Gentry, Eric Church and Jamey Johnson. It has hit a note with not only the country crowd but the hiphop crowd as well.” Kevin explains that he got into country music at the end of the Urban Cowboy days. “Country had reached what some radio stations had claimed was the ‘Countrypolitan” era. It was a more pop country blended with the traditional artists like George Strait, Vern Gosden, Gene Watson ranging to Garth Brooks, Mark Chestnut and Doug Stone. This went on through the 80s to the mid 90s. Then you move pretty much into what we have now.” Perhaps one of the most important questions this magazine could ask Kevin is, “What is on your scorecard when you are looking to add an act to your roster?” “It is almost like looking into a crystal ball. A lot of it has to do with the team around the act from record label to man-

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agement to publicist to digital media person (using social networking). Social networking is massive in advertising shows. We try to also judge quality, music, personality and how they are developing their brand. We try to find artists we can be passionate about.” CONWAY ENTERTAINMENT GROUP: Interestingly enough, Tony Conway was co-owner of Buddy Lee Attractions and had been with the company for 33 years when he decided to go out on his own. The venture into his own company was a well-thought out concept and allowed Tony to do some things that he would not have been able to do in a traditional agency setting. “Buddy Lee was great for me and I think I did a good job for them. I sold my interest back to the Lee family and opened my own company about a year ago.” The new company is actually a combination of three different entities. It is a management company, a live event production company and talent agency.

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“We may manage some artists and not represent them for touring and we may represent some artists and not manage them. We are not purely a country agency but are open to all genres of entertainment. I have been in Nashville for 36 years and country music is dear to me but we represent all types of artists. I have some pop acts we are working with, a comedian and several songwriters. I have country artists, country/rock and some alternative artists. We are all across the board and it is exciting.” We talk with Tony about how country music is expanding its audience and he uses Kid Rock as an example. “I have done some shows with him recently. He admits that he grew up listening to all types of music and he enjoyed country as much as he did hip-hop or rock and roll. When a contemporary artist comes into the country field, it is all about the choice of the song, the lyrics, the way it is presented, and the relationship with the audience. “When I first came into the business in 1974, there were only a few touring artists associated with country music and most of them were part of the Grand Ole Opry. Today, my guess is that number will exceed 400.

“For years, country music was a niche market and during the early days it was extremely traditional. There was a certain style, reputation and image that country music and its fans had. It was considered a hillbilly/redneck and sometimes a hick audience back in the 50s and 60s. But then as more and more radio stations started programming country music and more artists started coming on the scene, we went thru the “Outlaw” era and then the “Country Rock” era. But according to the Country Music Association as few as two years ago, only about 12% of the world population was listening to, watching and buying country music. That leaves us with a lot of future growth. “I was just this morning doing some research and just this past year alone, there have been 51 new emerging artists in the country music segment. How many will be one-hit wonders? More than half. But there is a tremendous amount of new talent out there as well as traditional artists. “Look at the Willie Nelsons and the Reba McEntires and the George Straits, and Garth Brooks and you say who are the new superstar artists and you have to look at Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum and Zac Brown. When we are looking for a new artist, we have to take into considera-

tion a lot of things. Some of these fit some artists better than others and some are simply not negotiable. You have to look at the total package.The way you sing, the way you write, the way you perform, the way the audience receives you and how you relate to your fans and the way you interact with the industry. Talent is a significant part of that but your approach can been even as important. There are a lot of variables that go into the total picture. Are you willing to work as hard as you possibly can? Are you just looking to be a star and fly around in a Leer jet? We are really looking for the artist that can deliver in a lot of areas and not just one area. Record labels, radio stations, fan and media meet & greets...it is a lot of work and it takes a special dedication. Over the last few years, social media has become a crucial part of an artist’s career and managing that relationship with fans through MySpace and Facebook. “When I first got into the business there was no real production on the road. Now some acts have up to 20 trucks with production. I have seen production run as much as $80,000-100,000 a day. This is a good reason to use a producer to produce your show for you because he/she can obtain the talent and help you manage your costs.” In some cases production can cost you up to twice the talent.”

GARTH BROOKS

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If Tony had to choose the hottest new emerging acts from all the talent currently in the market who would be his choices?

probably will find stores like Walmart and Target continuing to handle those for a while.”

“The Band Perry, Randy Houser and a few others come to mind if you are looking for acts that can blow the doors off. There is an act we have been working with for a while, Low Cash Cowboys, that is a duo that has tremendous potential. They have a single that is 45 with a bullet.

Similarly to Buddy Lee Attractions, the company Tony managed previously, he has very specific goals relating to how he sees the growth of Conway Entertainment Group. “When I started this new company, our first project was a large festival in southern Alabama. That took about six months of my time to put together. At the same time we were developing the management side of our business, and I want to keep that limited to four or five artists. On the agency side, because I know that so well, my guess is that we will initially limit ourselves to ten clients. I am in the process right now of negotiating with two experienced agents to join me who know the business from the club level to the stadium level. One of our employees passed away unexpectedly this past year, which was a blow to us. Once we have those agents in place, then we plan to go after what we would consider some “A” level and “B” level artists. I’ve talked to a lot of artists, the record labels and managers in town and I think we have some legitimate interest. I want to take a unique group of talented artists and not have to worry about coming in day after day with the schedules of 60-70 artists. We want to dedicate our experience, knowledge and relationships with booking the tours for our specialized group of artists.

“I think Jason Aldean, Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert and Sugarland are some of the best breakout artists of recent years. I think that Lady Antebellum has a brilliant future ahead of them. They kind of happened at the right time. There are not a lot of trios in country music and especially not male/female trios. They appeal to a very wide range audience and especially the younger audiences discovering country music, just like Garth did. They appeal to hard-core country fans and the older demographic as well. If you can appeal to 12 years old to 80 years old, then you have hit upon something.” Most artists dream of appealing to both the country and pop audience. It means more recognition and more sales. “If you can get four, five or even six different genres to like your music, it can blow the top off of sales for you. It is something that many artists dream of. You going to be exposed to more people all over the world.” But even in the era of electronic media, Tony believes the record label is still important. “You really need them in most cases to play the radio game, Record labels have that connection that most emerging artists find hard to penetrate. If you can devise a way to get your image before the people in a way that creates instant recognition, the model for the record company is broken.” Many execs will say that iTunes killed the record business. “I don’t think that is correct. Napster killed the record business or put a significant dent in it. iTunes, while it allows many artists to sell their product at a reasonable price, has been more of a partner with the labels, selling digital downloads at a reasonable price. A $10 price for an album download is certainly attractive and I really don’t know how long brick & mortar record stores are going to remain viable or CDs for that matter. You

“As far as promoting goes, we are promoting concerts only for events that would hire our live event crew. Then we would do what we needed to do to promote the event. Fortunately over the years I have made a wealth of connections and established relationships and we have access to any number of sources we could contract specific services to without hesitation. We have the talent and the expertise to produce any event for any major sponsor and we have a separate staff dedicated to that process. While I respect all the major agencies and certainly have a good relationship with them, they are not set up, nor do they have the staff to provide a client with this kind of complete package. Our company can produce any kind of event but we are going to be very selective in what type of event and who we do it for. We are not going to produce 20-30 shows a year because we are focused on doing select events and doing

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them right. When you do an event like this, it takes weeks if not months to do the proper planning to give your client the type of experience they should be expecting and your artists the type of experience they need. Both sides of the equation are important. When I was with Buddy Lee, for a number of years we had Mainstage Productions and we did some pretty significant events from the first Farm Aid to Garth Brooks’ World Tour. We had a division which produced state fairs across the country and at one time this division produced the Indiana State Fair, the Michigan State Fair, the Wisconsin State Fair, the Illinois State Fair and others.” So what’s next on Tony’s list? Well, his company is stretching its wings to take advantage of all the different markets we cover with this magazine. As we spoke he was making plans to attend the Arts Presenters Conference in New York (APAP). “Most pops series want a major country artist to perform with their symphony at least once during the year.” As far as the campus market goes, “Most of those kids do have an advisor, but most of the time you end up talking to the students. This kid yesterday told me he had read where I was involved with Garth when he started and was there a possibility that they could get him for a date? And I simply told him that he wasn’t touring right now and that I didn’t know that there was a price they could offer that could secure a date. It’s really just the inexperience, but sometimes the starting place that breeds future execs in the industry. “Our agency will be attending the NACA conference in St Louis and we will be presenting our roster including Brennin, a pop act. And we have a group called the Cleverlys who can do bluegrass Lady Gaga style and currently have one of the top rated videos on YouTube.” A Special thanks to Randy Beckham, Kevin Neal and Tony Conway for taking time from their busy schedules to contribute to this feature. You will not only find their contact information but a select few of the artists they are currently asking you to consider as you plan your upcoming schedule of events.

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THE CLEVERLY TRIO The Cleverly Trio is a family band. It was founded by the dad and his three brothers, Turk, Tink and Bunyon. The whole family at one time or another has played in the band. Since 2005 brother Digger has taken over the band. The current members of the trio are Digger, brothers Miles and Vernon Dean, son Harvey D and cousin Otto. Some recent highlights have included a stop at the Lower End VFW and then onto the popular Midget Festival in Oztown, West Virginia. CONWAY ENTERTAINMENT: (615) 724-1818

JASON ALDEAN Since his 2005 debut with the scorching “Hicktown,” the singer has set himself apart from the pack as a truly unique artist. He addresses his Georgia-born brand of country music with a singular vision, and he intends to keep it that way. His next album My Kinda Party is stocked with inviting melodies and intriguing storylines, many of them tugging on the small-town themes that have become the backbone of his persona. Aldean’s ultra-Southern voicings give him an immediately identifiable sound. The band helps set him even further apart from other country stars. “I don’t want to use who everybody else uses,” he insists. “And I don’t want my records to sound like everybody else’s records. The only way to do that is to cut it like we do. I cut the album with my band, I use an engineer that nobody else really uses in this town to cut major-label records.

BUDDY LEE ATTRACTIONS 615-244-4336

HERE COME THE MUMMIES Professor Dumblucke learned of the powerful curse that doomed the mummies to wander the earth throughout eternity, seeking the ultimate riff, the one that would allow these souls to finally rest after 5000 years of banging out solid fly grooves. To quote the Professor: "In their desperate quest for immortal peace, they rocked all the ancient empires of Earth on down to the grizound. They rocked Atlantis so hard, y'all, it ain't never been found." And now they can come to rock your town with a funk so strong, it's gonna make all the cats explode. Strap in. BUDDY LEE ATTRACTIONS: (615) 244-4336

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MATT GARY Matt established a working relationship and friendship with Grammy award-nominated producer Kent Wells (Dolly Parton/Neal McCoy/Michael Peterson); he worked with Wells honing his vocals and vocal style. Twelve months later, Matt recorded songs for his own project and made his country music debut with his single, aptly titled, “The Days You Live For”. Matt has since captured the attention of music critics and country music lovers alike. In the months that followed his 2009 single release, he was showcased in Country Weekly, CMA CloseUp and the Nashville Lifestyles’ feature, “Single in the City.” CONWAY ENTERTAINMENT: (615) 724-1818

MARGARET DURANTE

COLT FORD

Just 22, Margaret Durante displays a depth and maturity beyond her years as both a singer and a songwriter, and her artistry has already drawn the praise and support of some of the music industry's true legends. Margaret was 16 when a family friend hired her to sing with a band she joined on the road for several years, often flying to gigs or studio work from Clemson University, where she was majoring in music. When she attracted the attention and encouragement of legendary music executive Tommy Mottola, she knew it was time to commit wholeheartedly. On stage and now on record, Margaret is sharing her own magic with a rapidly growing group of fans as she proves herself to be one of country musicʼs most talented and compelling young artists.

Colt Ford embodies the seemingly unusual pairing of Southern country and hip-hop musical influences that he heard growing up in small town America just outside Athens, GA. His newly styled country music is truly a blend of many musical styles, including country rock, hip-hop and R&B. Although the stories may differ for rural and urban listeners, Colt delivers a common message and emotion with an uncommon sound. According to Kevin Neal of Buddy Lee Attractions, “The (live) show should be called the ‘Colt Ford Experience’...high energy, amazing audience interaction, true fans that know the songs and sing to every one...Colt is a phenomenon.” He performs regularly over 200 dates a year and many with Jason Aldean. He’smixing all the right ingrediaents in a recipe for success with new country music.

CONWAY ENTERTAINMENT GROUP (615) 724-1818

LoCash COWBOYS LoCash Cowboys have attracted their share of support from those in the industry who recognized just how much of the total package they had—great vocals, world-class dance moves, a unique look and charisma to burn, as well as a wealth of experience and a work ethic that impressed everyone who dealt with them. The Cowboys' signing by Stroudavarious Records brought together two of the most important elements of the LoCash story—their ability to capture fans with their live performances, and their heart for humanitarian work, especially with young people. CONWAY ENTERTAINMENT: (615) 724-1818

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BUDDY LEE ATTRACTIONS (615) 244-4336

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STORY BY W.C. KIRBY

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I have to admit, I have not been so impressed with an emerging group since I did the interview with Rascal Flatts right after “Prayin’ For Daylight” peaked at #3 on the Billboard Country Music chart in 2000. The Band Perry is comprised of siblings Reid, Kimberly and Neil Perry, three talented, youthful, polite and wellspoken artists who are full of energy. But more than anything else, they are appreciative of the successful hand life has dealt them. “We are fortunate enough to have parents who were supportive of our careers and embellished every moment,” Kimberly relates. “They have not only encouraged us but gave us the financial and emotional support we needed.” The Perrys were born outside Mobile Alabama, Kimberly in 1984, Reid in 1989 and Neil in 1991. The kids’ dad was a physician in Grand Bay, so most of their time and early experiences were attached to Grand Bay. “It was a great place to grow up and we still have dear friends and family who live there.” Kimberly started with a band at the tender age of fifteen. “I had always done talent shows and sung in church, so when they needed a lead singer, they came to me. I was so excited that the night before the first day of practice I couldn’t even sleep.” For Kimberly, that was it. She caught the fever. “My parents fostered the band. They would have us set up in the living room to practice. Reid and Neil were only ten and eight years old and when we took a break, Neil would jump on the drums and Reid on the bass guitar.” The other guys in the band seemed to be a little nervous that Reid and Neil were taking such an interest in performing.” “Mom and dad encouraged the two of us as well,” Neil recounts. “They began booking us to open for Kimberly’s band and even at eight and ten, we got to travel the southeast. “I was their musical director,” Kimberly admits, “But we always knew we were going to play together.”

The sibs first formally played together some six years ago in the Carolinas after which they were invited to perform as part of the New Faces of Country Tour (2005) sponsored by Coca-Cola and WalMart. Kimberly discloses, “Sugarland and Daryl Worley did a few of those dates. This was the first time we all three played together for a major tour even though it was in the lingerie department at WalMarts.” On the plus side, the Perrys got to do country music radio and hang out with country music friends. According to Neil, “It was an amazing experience.” So there’s the roots of The Band Perry (TBP). Neil now plays mandolin and accordion while Reid still mans the bass. Kimberly sings lead vocals, plays rhythm guitar and piano with both brothers on background vocals. We just did a show in Mobile a few weeks ago,” Neil reveals. “It was great because many of our friends and old band mates came to the show. It was like a re-union of all our old band.” One question that might come to mind when you consider a band and a family with such strong roots in a local environment – “Was it a strain moving from rural Alabama to the Nashville environment?” But the Perrys took it in stride. “We always took family trips to Vermont in the summer and we would travel through Tennessee,” Reid adds. But I think we always knew we wanted to make Tennessee our home- even then. You just kinda fall in love with the Smokies. A few years ago dad got a job offer in eastern Tennessee, so we moved to the mountains and have loved it ever since.” For a group with rural southern roots, the transition came easy. “We don’t live in Nashville,” Kimberly admits, “but we are close enough that we can be there in a few hours. We live in Greenville, a neat southern town nestled in the mountains of eastern Tennessee.” Neil adds, “We have one foot inside the city and one foot in the mountains because that is where the music all got started. It’s a great getaway and

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mom always has to remind us that we are not on vacation.” Since October 2009, The Band Perry has only been home 19 days, a rigorous schedule to say the least but when at home, the Perrys spend their time in Greenville (or as they refer to it, their little mountain town). “We love being home,” Kimberly empathically states, “but we are only four hours to Nashville and when we write, we often do it there. It is great to have the best of both worlds. Mobile was a great place to grow up but we really love being planted in the Smoky Mountains. “We actually wrote ‘If I Die Young’ here in Greenville. It such a peaceful, alluring environment. Other artists have told us, wherever you find an outlet for your songs, continue to go back there. Greenville is just a place that seems to foster our creativity.” The impressive thing about the Perrys is the forethought each of them put into their craft and the planning of their futures. A lot of new young artists out there don’t take the time to reflect but only want to go full-steam ahead as fast as they possibly can. Kimberly, Reid and Neil plan with a purpose. Kimberly explains their paths have been part fortune but most of all hard work not just by the band but the people who have surrounded them. “There have always been significant people in our lives from our parents who were (and are) extremely supportive, to Bob Doyle (longtime Garth Brooks manager) who took on our management duties and has incredible experience. He has been a friend and counselor as well.” The connection with Bob Doyle actually came from the band’s attorney. “Dave is our consigliere,” Neil jokes. “He is Italian and a huge ‘Godfather’ fan. He brought us to Bob Doyle.” “One thing we love about Bob,” Reid adds, “is that he loves to take young songwriters on as musicians. He teaches them how the music business works.”

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“We really fell in love with him,” expresses Neil. According to Kimberly, “He is simply a hard worker. He works as hard with us today as he did on day one with Garth. He’s the kind of guy that not only helps you make excellent, purposeful creative decisions but wise career choices. He has been a great mentor for the three of us. “We have been with Bob for about two years now and he helped pair us up with a producer for our album and acted as ears on our songs vetting the best ones for the album”

debut album released on October 12, 2010. Produced by Paul Worley and Nathan Chapman, the song was not only a chart-topper in the country market but reach #19 on Billboard’s Top 100, showing that the band could cross-over into many different genres. Add to all this, the video, directed by David McClister became one of the most popular on the video charts. According to Kimberly, the inspiration for “If I Die Young” was a cloudy day in Greenville. “It was simply a moment in time when the three of us were headed into the studio to record demos. We had no idea if any ears would ever fall on these songs but it was a moment

REID It was through Bob Doyle that the band was introduced to the newly established Republic Nashville label. The Band Perry signed to Republic Nashville in August 2009 and released their debut single “Hip To My Heart”. The song written by the three Perrys along with Brett Beavers peaked at #20 on the country charts - not bad at all for a freshman effort. The instant success of the Band Perry followed the next year with a song titled “If I Die Young”. “If I Die Young” written by Kimberly was instantly one of the most requested songs on country radio stations across the country. The song bolted to #1 and was included on the band’s self-titled

KIMBERLY when we were living our dreams and our lives together. If everything should come to a screeching halt, we have lived pretty completely in our 27, 22 and 20 years. For us it was a statement on contentment and that we had just enough time. Because at that moment, we had made the most of our minutes. The message is a barometer: Are we making the most of our lives? Are we embracing the time that we have had? Are we loving each other and the friends and family we hold dear? For us it is a happy song... a celebratory song... a song of contemplation.” Neil adds, “When we sing ‘If I Die Young’ live, the people in the audience who sing it with us are all smiling. They definitely have found the focus of the

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song and the way it was written. They are singing it back to us as an anthem rather than a ballad. It is really cool. And people from our 80-year-old grandmother to three-year-old kids love the melody. It has a lot of different faces for a lot of different situations.” Where the songs come from is a shared duty among the three band members. “We usually work in a writing circle,” Kimberly explains. “Reid as the bass player, usually mans the chord structuring. Neil is a really avid reader, so he contributes a lot to the lyrics. And as the singer, I bring melodies to the table. We pile everything in the middle and work through them.”

NEIL Reid adds, “Our writing sessions usually materialize out of practices. When we are off the road, we will have practice sessions and a lot of our material will come from those...moving from the rehearsals to the creative process.” With such a great song as “If I Die Young” receiving such enormous success and reception by the American public, will that be hard to top with future efforts? All three band members agree that the song was pivotal in the success of The Band Perry, especially in the country market, but Kimberly relates that there are songs they like just as much that carry a different meaning and will probably be well received but in a different way.

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“We have to develop songs that are great for the subject matter they represent and we have to be true and honest in our writing. We have to write about what we know and allow our audiences to soak into our hearts and our spirits. That’s the great thing about country music, most of it is about real life stories that people can relate to. The songs we do on stage are the songs that people in our audience are living every day as well.” “We had the pleasure of going on tour with Alan Jackson this past October,” relates Neil. “One of the things he told us about the importance of songwriting is making sure the songs are relevant for the times you are in. He wrote a career song and then he had to continue to write songs that were relevant to the people and the times around them. I think this is a message that soaked in for us.” Because all three Perrys were very young when they initiated their careers, as they grew older decisions had to be made regarding their future education. Because Kimberly was the oldest she was faced with the college decision first. “Because I was home schooled the last two years of high school due to my career choice, I was faced with the decision of when and where to go to college. I had applied and received several scholarship opportunities from Alabama. I sort of went through a little bit of a role reversal with my parents. My reasoning was that should the music business not work out for me, I would have something to fall back on. But my parents had just the opposite feeling. They told me ‘If you have something to fall back on, you’re going to fall back on it at some point. You can’t do that! We are here to support you in whatever way you need.’ “It was funny because I was taking the traditional parental viewpoint, yet my parents were telling me that they believed in me and my abilities. It was a real ‘drawing the line in the sand’ moment and it was their faith in me that drove me forward. The boys’ college decisions followed that same path.

Our parents supported us every step of the way - emotionally, spiritually and financially. What I love about our parents is they are the first ones to support us but they are also the first ones to give us constructive criticism. When it came to our careers, their role was to foster our mind-set and our heart-set and being sure we had the right atmosphere to be our best.” If you look at many successful bands, whether it be country, rock or any other musical style, most difficulties come from being on the road. No matter how close you are, touring can drive a wedge into your personal relationships and create havoc. Thus the shelf life of a band compared to an individual artist is dramatically reduced. But, this doesn’t seem to be a factor for The Band Perry. Touring from a young age and with immense family and professional support, their lack of longevity doesn’t appear to be a factor. “Being in close quarters 24/7 with your brothers and sister, we’re really good about giving each other their space,” Neil relates. “It is something we grew up with. This is not a new thing for us. Even with the crew that travels with us – all of us respect each other.” Kimberly adds, “We are in our 20’s now so we have adjusted to the phrase ‘To Meet The Beat.’ Rather than having disagreements, we have discussions.” “Plus,” laughs Reid, “We know each other like the back of our hand so sometimes we have to use the back of our hand.” The current history for The Band Perry (TBP) seems to be set. With a debut album headed toward platinum status and a single already certified gold, the band is constantly touring. They have been nominated Vocal Group Of The Year 2010 for the Country Music Association Awards (CMA) and both Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Duo/Group of 2010 for the American Country Awards (ACA) plus pending nominations at the 2011 Grammys and Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM).

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Exactly where does TBP envision their future? From Kimberly’s viewpoint, “We are willing to walk as far as our songs can walk and country music fans are willing to walk with us. Our goal for tomorrow and five years from now is to be better musicians,

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be better at this craft of music that we do, to be better human beings and to love each other and other people. It is too easy to get caught up in things that really just don’t matter and our goal is to try to avoid those things. The three of us just want to be a really hard working and heartfelt band. Five years from now, if we can still be singing country music songs

for country music lovers everywhere, that will be a pretty good life for us.”

shines for TBP and country music everywhere.

As far as “If I Die Young” goes, the band is incredibly grateful that the song has walked the walk onto the pop and even urban charts but they have decided not to change the mix. If it can be accepted for what it is, it is a light that

BOOK IT: For more information on booking TBP contact Rob Beckham at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment in Nashville at (615) 963-3337. To see the video, go to our website at americanentertainmentmagazine.com

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Thirty years, 4,684 presentations in 17 countries on four continents and in all 50 states. Self-described "extraordinist" Craig Karges has traveled over four and a half million miles by planes, trains and automobiles to bring his special brand of entertainment and motivation to literally millions of people. 2010 marked Karges’ 30th anniversary as a professional entertainer and speaker. During the past 30 years, Karges has made 42 national television appearances (ranging from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to Larry King Live) and starred in two television specials as well as making countless major market TV appearances. Karges offers corporate and association audiences three options. His Experience the Extraordinary motivational entertainment presentation is business theatre at its best. Karges combines the art of magic with the science of psychology and the power of intuition to create the impression that nothing is impossible. Tables float, minds are read, metal bends and the audience's imagination is challenged because they won't believe their eyes. Using total audience participation, Karges dazzles the mind as he challenges his audience to question what is real and what is unreal. The audience doesn't passively watch the presentation, they experience it! Karges baffles, mystifies and thoroughly entertains and then, at the end of the performance, when he has them in the palm

of his hand, he delivers a powerful message concerning the potential of the human mind customized for the client. In a shift of focus from entertainment to empowerment, Karges created Ignite Your Intuition, based on his best-selling book of the same name. This one-of-a-kind presentation does more than simply amaze and entertain. Participants learn memory techniques; their intuition is tested; and they are taught how to tap into their subconscious minds to enhance creativity and decision making. Ignite Your Intuition is a hands-on, interactive session that awakens participants to the possibility of reaching their full potential while experiencing greater personal power and achieving success more easily. The third option is becoming increasingly popular with corporate and association meeting professionals. You can combine the best of Experience the Extraordinary and Ignite Your Intuition for a truly amazing keynote general session. Karges is often used by meeting professionals as after-dinner entertainment with Experience the Extraordinary and the next morning he presents Ignite Your Intuition as the opening general session or even as a breakout session. The excitement generated by Experience the Extraordinary ensures the attendees' interest in Karges' additional session and the client gets two pow-

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erful presentations with only one set of travel expenses to pay. "During Experience the Extraordinary, amazing and impossible looking things happen on stage and I make the point that nothing is impossible— anything is possible! We are truly extraordinary and we have the ability to create the future through our decisions, actions and beliefs. Our success is limited only by our imaginations. I engage the audience and make a connection with the entertainment, then provide them with a specific message tailored to the group. The audience is getting the core message of the meeting again but in a fun, exciting and mind expanding environment—not from a talking head or a power point slide. During the presentation, I reinforce the client's key theme. The real value comes in when I tie the client's specific goals, themes and challenges to my core message and the entertainment," Karges explains. "With Ignite Your Intuition, within 15 minutes, the participants are able to do something that looked extremely difficult, if not impossible, to them only moments before just by learning a few simple tricks of the mind. They learn and directly experience that they know

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things that they didn't think they could possibly know. The challenge to them is—what else do you know that you don't know that you know! What else can you accomplish that you don't feel you can accomplish? Of course these concepts are tied directly into the challenges and goals of the organization," Karges adds. This blend of entertainment and motivation caused David Thomas, an associate producer at the Fox News Channel, to proclaim that Karges is "Tony Robbins meets David Copperfield!" Karges' corporate client list ranges from McDonalds to AT&T and from NASA to the Mayo Clinic with many of his clients calling on his services again and again. “You were a hit as usual! You did it again, a third time no less… another outstanding and unforgettable performance that amazed the top AT&T performers. I enjoyed every moment of the show as well as the standing O you received. The audience was blown away and the subsequent buzz has not yet ceased. I desired entertainment, motivation and a business message. You went beyond the call and exceeded everyone’s expectations. You are, hands down, one of the best I’ve had the pleasure to work with. I can’t thank you enough because you made me look like a hero.” Diane Quido, Senior Events Manager, AT&T Services, Inc. “Thank you for the superb job you did speaking to the NASA Reusable Solid Rocket Booster Project meeting. Your presentation was awesome. The audience was completely enchanted. Your talents, combined with your professionalism completely captivated a room full of NASA engineers and business types.” Kathy Carleton, Manager, United Space Alliance, Systems Integration and Project Engineering

nating. In 1989, the international Psychic Entertainers Association presented Karges with the Dunninger Memorial Award for Distinguished Professionalism in the Performance of Mentalism. The award is named after Joseph Dunninger, the 20th century’s most famous mentalist who starred with network radio series in the 40s as well as network television series in the 50s and 60s. The extraordinist was 31 when he received “The Dunninger” and he is the youngest recipient of this prestigious award, the highest performance-based honor given by the association. 1989 was also the year that the National Speakers Association (the world's leading organization for professional speakers) recognized Karges as a Certified Speaking Professional or CSP. The CSP designation is the only earned designation given by NSA. It is earned through a combination of professional association, education, performance and business management. Earning his CSP at the age of 31 made him one of the youngest members of NSA to achieve CSP status. Less than 20% of NSA’s 3,150 members have earned the CSP designation. In 2006, Karges was invited to be the featured presenter at the Opening General Session of NSA's National Convention. He received a standing ovation from 1,700 peers. Three days later, on the closing night of the convention, Karges was one of five recipients of the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame Award during a black-tie gala. The CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame recognition was established in 1977 by NSA as the Council of Peers Award for Excellence designed to honor speakers who have reached the top echelon of platform excellence. Admission into the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame is a lifetime award for

speaking excellence and professionalism. Inductees are evaluated by their peers through a rigorous and demanding process. Each candidate must excel in seven categories: material, style, experience, delivery, image, professionalism and communication. To date, 203 men and women have been inducted into the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame. Members of the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame are an eclectic group and include President Ronald Reagan, television personality Art Linkletter, former secretary of state General Colin Powell, businessman Harvey Mackay, Olympic athlete Peter Vidmar and motivational speakers and authors Zig Ziglar, Jack Canfield, Ken Blanchard, Norman Vincent Peale and Les Brown. There are currently 159 living members of the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame and only 107 of these individuals have both the CPAE and CSP. Karges began his performing career (and awardwinning ways) on the college circuit. The extraordinist is perhaps the most honored campus entertainer of all time. The National Association for Campus Activities (the nation’s largest collegiate organization for student activities) named Karges Campus Entertainer of the Year an unprecedented six times. NACA member schools also voted the extraordinist as their favorite variety entertainer for 12 consecutive years, giving Karges a total of 18 NACA Campus Entertainment Awards, far more than any other winner. This magazine's sister publication, Campus Activities Magazine, is recognized as America's number one publication for campus programming with a circulation of nearly 4,500 colleges. Each year Campus Activities Magazine conducts its Read-

“Thank you AGAIN for yet another amazing performance! For more than 10 years, the participants at our conference have marveled at your engaging style and flawless execution. All those in attendance, from the interns to the most senior executives, had an ‘extraordinary’ time, and the feedback we received has been 100% positive. From a planning team standpoint, I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to work with someone who not only entertains, but also reinforces the key messages of the firm and the conference. We’re looking forward to having you back for future events, and we would be happy to recommend you to any organization that is looking to take their conference or meeting to the next level; you’ve certainly done that for us.” Dan Black, Director, Americas Recruiting, Ernst & Young LLP Karges' popularity on the corporate circuit speaks for itself but even his peers find his work fasci34, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT MAgAzINE, January 2011

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ers' Choice Awards and over the years Karges has been named Entertainer of the Year on four occasions and has won multiple times in other categories including wins as Best Live Novelty Performer, Best Male Performer and Best Performing Arts Attraction bringing his total Readers' Choice Awards to 15, another record. In 2003, Karges was voted into the National Campus Entertainment Hall of Fame as its fifth inductee. Of course, Karges is also a perennial nominee for American Entertainment Magazine's Readers' Choice Awards in multiple categories including Entertainer of the Year. Performance magazine, the international touring talent weekly, singled out Karges' theatrical touring version of Experience the Extraordinary as one of the top five variety/family shows in North America. The extraordinist was in good company as the list also included illusionist David Copperfield and Walt Disney's World on Ice. Performance dubbed the Karges production, "The next era in mystery entertainment." The accolades keep coming. In 2010, Karges was awarded the prestigious “Top5 Speaker” designation by the San Francisco based Speakers Platform, one of the United States most prominent speakers bureaus. According to Speakers Platform, "Out of hundreds of nominees, Craig Karges has risen to become one of the world's most respected and compelling speakers in the entertainment category." Each year, Speakers Platform recognizes five speakers, within fifteen popular topic areas, based on: expertise, professionalism, innovation within the topic area, client testimonials and references, presentation skills, original contribution to the field and public votes cast at the

Speaking.com website. Over 13,000 votes were cast from business leaders, educators, association members and others from around the world for the 2010 nominees. Karges is also an author. His first book, Ignite Your Intuition, a self-development guide to unlocking the hidden powers of your mind, was published by Health Communications, Inc. (best known for Chicken Soup for the Soul) in 1999 and still enjoys brisk sales after eleven years and multiple print runs. The book is even used on some college campuses as a text. His second book, The Wizard's Legacy, is a novel of inspirational fiction that reveals the secrets to magically transforming your life and is based on the life of Karges' mentor, his great-uncle, Alain "Doc" DeLyle and the relationship the two had as teacher and student. His third book, Extraordinary Tales, was published just in time to celebrate Karges' 30th year as a speaker and entertainer. The book is a collection of 24 short stories of Karges' traveling adventures and comprises a world tour of the paranormal and the extraordinary (see sidebar). Even after 30 extraordinary years and a roomful of awards, Karges isn’t resting on his laurels. He still maintains a schedule of over 100 engagements per year. The extraordinist will kick off his 31st year as a speaker and entertainer in early January 2011 with a world tour for the United States Navy and the Department of Defense. Stops will include Spain, Italy, Greece, Bahrain and Japan with ten performances in 14 days. BOOK IT: www.craigkarges.com ckarges@craigkarges.com • 304.233.4366

Extraordinary Tales: Stories from the Road Craig Karges, speaker, author and entertainer takes you on a tour around the world visiting extraordinary places and encountering extraordinary people in the process. Extraordinary Tales is one part travel memoir and one part encyclopedia of the paranormal and the extraordinary. Travel the world with Craig as you: Solve the mystery of Atlantis in Greece. Search for King Solomon's Mines in Saudi Arabia and the Ark of the Covenant in Jordan. Discover the Father of Modern Magic in France. Take a walk with Jack the Ripper in England. Learn the secrets of the pyramids in Egypt. Come face-to-face with Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest. Meet the White Witch of Jamaica and explore the Bermuda Triangle in the Caribbean. From Singapore to Sardinia, Extraordinary Tales is a collection of stories gathered from around the world. You'll visit London, Paris, Cairo, Tokyo, San Francisco and Las Vegas as well as the tiny town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia home of the Mothman! It's a fun-filled world tour filled with ghost stories, vampires and crystal skulls!

Available through the author's website www.craigkarges.com or through www.amazon.com www.americanentertainmentmagazine.com

January 2011, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT MAgAzINE, 35


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