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Editor, The Konformist
50 Reasons Not to Vote for Bush
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July 21st, 2004
New York Times
Something went awry at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas last Saturday
night. Linda Ronstadt did what she has done at several concerts
across the country this summer. She dedicated the song "Desperado" -
an encore - to Michael Moore and urged members of the audience to go
see his new movie, "Fahrenheit 9/11."
Elsewhere, audiences have reacted to the mention of Mr. Moore by
cheering, booing, walking out and sometimes glaring at one another in
parking lots. At the Aladdin, a few audience members tore down
posters, threw drinks and demanded their money back. According to one
person who was present - William Timmins, the Aladdin's president -
it was "a very ugly scene." Mr. Timmins promptly made it even uglier.
He had Ms. Ronstadt ejected from the premises.
This behavior assumes that Ms. Ronstadt had no right to express a
political opinion from the stage. It implies - for some members of
the audience at least - that there is a philosophical contract that
says an artist must entertain an audience only in the ways that
audience sees fit. It argues, in fact, that an artist like Ms.
Ronstadt does not have the same rights as everyone else.
Perhaps her praise for Mr. Moore, even at the very end of her show,
did ruin the performance for some people. They have a right to voice
their disapproval - to express their opinion as Ms. Ronstadt
expressed hers and to ask for a refund. But if their intemperate
behavior began to worry the management, then they were the ones who
should have been thrown out and told never to return, not Ms.
Ronstadt, who threatened, after all, only to sing.
Open Letter to Bill Timmins, President Aladdin Casino and Hotel
Aladdin Casino and Hotel
Las Vegas, NV
July 20, 2004
Dear Mr. Timmins:
I understand from the news reports I've read that, after Linda
Ronstadt, one of America's greatest singers, dedicated a song to me
from your stage on Saturday night, you instructed your security
guards to remove her from the Aladdin, which they did.
What country do you live in? Last time I checked, Las Vegas is still
in the United States. And in the United States, we have something
called "The First Amendment." This constitutional right gives
everyone here the right to say whatever they want to say. All
Americans hold this right as sacred. Many of our young people put on
a uniform and risk their lives to defend it. My film is all about
asking the questions that should have been asked before those brave
soldiers were sent into harms way.
For you to throw Linda Ronstadt off the premises because she dared to
say a few words in support of me and my film, is simply stupid and Un-
American. Frankly, I have never heard of such a thing happening. I
read that you wouldn't even let her go back up to her room at your
hotel! Are you crazy? For crying out loud, it was a song DEDICATION!
To "Desperado!" Every American loves that song! Sure, some people
didn't like the dedication, and that's their right. But neither they
nor you have the right to remove her from your building when all she
did was exercise her AMERICAN right to speak her mind.
Of all the things that go on in Las Vegas, this is what creates the
need for serious action? What about the other half of the crowd at
the Aladdin who, according to the Las Vegas Sun, cheered her when she
made her remarks? Did you throw them out, too?
I think you owe Ms. Ronstadt an apology. And I have an idea how you
can make it up to her -- and to the millions of Americans you have
offended. Invite her back and I'll join her in singing "America the
Beautiful" on your stage. Then I will show "Fahrenheit 9/11" free of
charge to all your guests and anyone else in Las Vegas who wants to
Mr. Timmins, as the song "Desperado" says -- "Come to your senses!"
How can you refuse this offer? I await your reply.
Director, "Fahrenheit 9/11"
What Really Happened at the Aladdin?
Jul 23, 2004
Did Las Vegas give Linda Ronstadt the boot? Was she censored for her
By Joseph Smigelski
Many people are starting to ask, What really happened at the Aladdin
Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday night, July 17th? Was Linda Ronstadt
removed from the stage because the crowd had become unruly and safety
issues had been raised, or was it because the casino's management
disagreed with her political views?
On July 22, I posted an article here on Intervention titled Rock
Against Bush in which I mentioned that Ronstadt was forcibly removed
from the stage after the crowd became unruly due to her dedicating a
song to Michael Moore and calling him "a great American patriot." I
used this story, which I gleaned from the mass media, to illustrate
my broader point that many singers and musicians from all points of
the rock and roll compass are speaking out against the policies of
George W. Bush and urging their listeners to go out and vote in
The very same day, I received an email informing me that I was giving
my readers "disinformation spread by the managers of the Aladdin
hotel." According to the author of the email, "the crowd did not get
unruly," and the only people upset by Ronstadt's remarks were the
It turns out that the mass media, including the Associated Press and
the Los Angeles Times, got the story all wrong. The crowd did not get
unruly and throw drinks, and Ronstadt was not booed off the stage. So
what really happened at the Aladdin? I started thinking the dreaded
word, conspiracy, and decided to find out if Linda Ronstadt had
anything to say about all this on her website. Near the top was a
link, "Ronstadt Speaks about Aladdin Casino Events," that took me to
an article written by Daniel Buckley in the Tucson Citizen.
Well, what do you think I found there? This whole incident has been
blown way out of proportion--or maybe it hasn't.
Ronstadt told Buckley "that she left the Aladdin Resort & Casino
immediately after the concert and was not aware that the management
was irritated by her comments until an hour after she left the show."
So apparently she was not forcibly removed from the stage, and there
was no near-riot, as I and many others were led to believe. But
here's where things get sinister. Buckley goes on to quote from a
statement made by the Aladdin's management: "Ms. Ronstadt was hired
to entertain the guests of the Aladdin, not to espouse her political
views. In an effort to diffuse the situation, Linda Ronstadt was
asked to leave the property immediately following her performance."
This begs an important question: Since when have performers in the
United States been leaned on "not to espouse [their] political
views"? I went to dozens of rock concerts in the 60s and the 70s, and
almost every one of them was politically charged in one way or
another. Take The Clash, for God's sake! Going to one of their
concerts felt like being in the middle of a revolution. (Hey, I was
younger then, OK?) My point is that performers in the past had
assumed that they had a right to make political statements at their
concerts. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, John and Yoko! Doesn't anybody
remember? Now, we have Management telling us that Linda Ronstadt was
not hired to say what was on her mind. What does Management want, a
wind-up doll on the stage?
What is happening in this country? Is it possible that some people
see Linda Ronstadt as a kind of threat because she openly supports a
man who made a movie criticizing the President?
Joseph Smigelski is a rocker from way back and now teaches English in
the California community college system. You can email Joe at
July 21, 2004
Reports of casino incident not accurate, Ronstadt says
Singer Linda Ronstadt was not asked to leave a Las Vegas casino
Saturday after she endorsed Michael Moore's controversial
film "Fahrenheit 9/11," the Tucson native told the Tucson Citizen
And she was not booed off the stage by a concert crowd that had
erupted in mayhem, she said.
Speaking by phone from San Francisco, Ronstadt said that she left the
Aladdin Resort & Casino immediately after the concert and was not
aware that the management was irritated by her comments until an hour
after she left the show.
Aladdin management declined to comment on the incident yesterday,
referring the Citizen to a statement issued Monday.
The statement reads, in part:
"Ms. Ronstadt was hired to entertain the guests of the Aladdin, not
to espouse her political views. In an effort to diffuse the
situation, Linda Ronstadt was asked to leave the property immediately
following her performance."
Ronstadt says she has made the same pitch about Moore's film at each
previous show in her summer tour, just before the
encore, "Desperado." The audience reaction has been a mixture of boos
and cheers, she said.
"I've been doing it all across the country, and I've never seen an
audience response like this in my life. This country is so completely
polarized," she said.
"As soon as I start singing, `Desperado,' they love (the song) and
they start cheering, which they've done all through my career. That's
how that works, and then I finish the song and I leave."
The Los Angeles Times and Associated Press reported that Ronstadt was
escorted off the property, not allowed to return to her room and
booed off the stage and that people were throwing drinks by the close
of her show.
None of those things happened, she said.
By her account, she had originally planned to fly out after the show
to the next city on the tour but a sinus problem prompted her doctor
to cancel that plan. One of her aides then booked her a room at the
Aladdin, which she never saw.
After the concert, she went backstage and was about to head to the
car provided for her by the Aladdin when she was confronted by an
"This woman comes huffing up to me and says, `I'm afraid I can't let
you leave.' I said, `What?' And she said, `You can't leave yet
because the owner is on his way over here to talk to you.' " the
She declined and left for the Ritz-Carlton in her tour bus when the
employee said the Aladdin car would not be allowed to leave, Ronstadt
"I thought she was going to read me my Miranda rights or make me
start writing things on the blackboard," she said.
"I didn't know they were mad at me until we were gone, and I didn't
know what they were mad at me about until about an hour later, when
apparently they called up one of the people that was traveling with
us and went, `She's talking about Michael Moore, and this is a place
for entertainment, not politics,' " Ronstadt said.
She has received support from a number of other celebrities, and the
Aladdin's new owner, the owners of Hard Rock Cafe, called to ask her
back, she said.
"Michael Moore called me and said he would go with me. We could
sing, `America the Beautiful' together and he would screen his movie
for free for anyone who wants to come and see it," she said.
"Irving Azoff, who is the Eagles' manager, immediately pulled all his
acts from the Aladdin. I've had phone calls and messages from all
over. Elton John sent me flowers last night. Keith Richards, Sting -
the list goes on and on of people pouring in support."
She insists she was only trying to get people to think.
"I think (celebrities) should try to get people to think. I think
they need to bring information to the public, she said. "The American
media has been completely hijacked by corporate interests. The news
is so biased, and we've got to get it through any way that we can.
"Now I don't think somebody should take my word. Because I'm a singer
doesn't necessarily make me an expert in world politics, though I'm
well read. But I think my obligation at this point is to try to steer
people into just thinking."
She notes that while some concert promoters have asked that she not
endorse Moore's movie at their venues, there is no language in her
contract prohibiting her from doing so.
"I'll damn well say what I please, as I always have," she says. "And
if they cancel my show, they'll just be doing me a favor. They'll
still have to pay me, and I could use a day off. I have no idea how
ticket sales are going, and I never worry about record sales."
Apparently not everyone is upset with the soft-rock star.
Ronstadt sang to a full-house Tuesday night at Universal Amphitheatre
in Los Angeles, and the crowd reserved its longest and loudest
ovation for her endorsement of Moore's film, the Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.
Ronstadt May Return To Vegas Stage
Edited By Jonathan Cohen
July 21, 2004
Thanks to negotiations today (July 21) between the Recording Artists
Coalition (RAC) and the prospective new owners of Las Vegas's Alladin
Theater, expect to see RAC member Linda Ronstadt back at the venue
this fall -- with filmmaker Michael Moore on backup vocals.
The singer was the recipient of heavy-handed treatment Saturday (July
17) when she dedicated the Eagles' "Desperado" (co-written by RAC co-
founder Don Henley) to Moore, the director of the anti-President Bush
documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11."
News reports said some in the audience booed, stormed out of the
theater and tore down posters. Reports also said Ronstadt was
escorted off the premises without being allowed to return to her
dressing room, which she has subsequently denied.
After a day of negotiations, the prospective new owner of the venue,
Robert Earl, Chairman and CEO of Planet Hollywood International,
Inc., issued the following statement:
"We hope to be approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission to become the
new owners of the Aladdin Resort in Las Vegas as early as September
1, 2004. Upon the assumption of ownership, and with a new management
team in place, we would like to offer the use of the Theatre of
Performing Arts to Linda Ronstadt for a second concert and further to
take Michael Moore up on his offer to join her on stage to introduce
her and sing a song."
"We respect artists' creativity and support their rights to express
themselves," said Earl. "We were very sorry to hear about the
unfortunate circumstances of this past Saturday night and want to
make it clear that Planet Hollywood has never, in our 13 year
history, restricted any artists' right to free speech and we will
continue with that policy once we take ownership."
-- Bill Holland, Washington, D.C.