the take

The ‘Times’ Tortures Penniless Music Promoter With the Ritzy Venues He’s Not Running

Sean Carlson (center) and friends on the vegetable-oil tour bus.Photo: Monica Almeida/The New York Times/Redux

The front page of today’s Times features an entertaining and hair-raising story by Melena Ryzik about Sean Carlson, a seat-of-the-pants concert promoter who, at the age of 23, organized a 27-day, 25-city DIY tour of indie-rock bands. The F Yeah tour, which included Matt & Kim, Monotonix, the Deathset, and Team Robespierre, seems like it was both awesome and horrible, and we think it drove Carlson somewhat crazy; he spent his days frantically BlackBerrying and his nights swiping waste grease from behind Japanese restaurants to run the tour’s vegetable-oil-fueled bus. (That is, when he wasn’t selling his record collection to afford emergency flights home.) He ended the tour $40,000 in debt, with no clear sense of how he’ll make the money back. In his tour diaries he openly admits to being so desperately hungry that he wishes that Ryzik would stop asking him so many questions over dinner and just give him her leftovers.

Meanwhile, the Times taunts Carlson by also running a story today on the other side of concert promotion: the ritzy, highfalutin music venues that are popping up all over New York.

We can just imagine poor, hungry Sean Carlson opening up his Times today — purchased with spare quarters cadged from friends, we’re sure — and reading about Brooklyn Bowl, a “multimillion-dollar project” with bowling lanes, Blue Ribbon food, “robotic cameras and high-definition projection screens.” Or “City Winery, a private winemaking society and live-music space from the founder of the Knitting Factory.” Or Le Poisson Rouge, run by “working classical musicians who want to connect classical music to pop and jazz and in so doing revive a bygone intellectual cafe culture of Greenwich Village.” Maybe one of those guys will give Sean Carlson a job.

On the Bus, and Off It: The Initiation of a Young Rock Impresario [NYT]
Sean Carlson on Tour: A Diary [NYT]
New Club Twins Rock ’N’ Bowl [NYT]

The ‘Times’ Tortures Penniless Music Promoter With the Ritzy Venues He’s Not Running