Someone really has to give the Salvation Army a few basic lessons in artisitic expression and freedom of speech. I’m sorry to use such a term to describe Christian believers, but the people who made this decision deserve it: these jackasses committed to a performance by Marcel Khalife at the Joan Kroc Theater, built with a $27-million gift from Mrs. Kroc herself, then turned around and cancelled when they realized that–shock of all shocks–Marcel Khalife sings songs on behalf of the suffering Lebanese and Palestinian peoples!
Here’s what Khalife’s publicist wrote about the imbroglio:
Just a few weeks ago, a venue in San Diego, CA denied on political grounds the use of their theater to renowned Lebanese musician Marcel Khalife, after local concert organizers had already arranged the event with the Salvation Army, who operates the venue, The Joan B. Kroc Theatre at the Salvation Army Corps Community Center. The possibly discriminatory incident demonstrates the misperceptions and tensions that exist in today’s political climate towards Arabs, even those who advocate for peace. Concert organizers—who had been in touch with the venue for several months and had followed their application process rigorously—were told that a concert by Khalife—an UNESCO Artist for Peace— would be “divisive” and “unbalanced” because it does not present an Israeli artist alongside Khalife.
Khalife has faced persecution in the Middle East, but never something this inflammatory in the U.S.A. Earlier this year, a performance of his was denounced in the Persian Gulf island nation Bahrain. Khalife’s music was also recently banned from radio, television, and on stage in Tunisia. Damned in parts of the Middle East for supporting freedom of expression, it is ironic that in the U.S.A. he would find similar efforts to quiet him. In spite of a small contingent in San Diego, Khalife has twenty four concerts from September 28 to November 18, including every major city in the U.S.A. and Canada, many of them in major performing arts centers. The tour will include a concert in San Diego at another venue.
I spoke today to the local San Diego concert organizer and he told me he expects it to be sold out. This is great. But I don’t understand why they haven’t made a bigger stink in the local media. I plan to contact a few journalists down there myself about this.
Let’s show the Salvation Army what we think of their cowardice in the face of political controversy. Let’s make all of Khalife’s concerts sold out:
09-28 Montreal, Quebec – The Metropolis
09-30 Toronto, Ontario – Toronto Centre for the Arts
10-02 Ottawa, Ontario – Centrepoint Theatre
10-04 Calgary, Alberta – MacEwan Hall
10-05 Edmonton, Alberta – Citadel
10-06 Vancouver, British Columbia – Centennial Theatre
10-07 Seattle, WA – Town Hall
10-10 San Francisco, CA – Herbst Theatre
10-13 Los Angeles, CA – Wilshire Ebell Theatre
10-14 San Diego, CA – Birch North Park Theater
10-18 Denver, CO – The Oriental Theater
10-19 Minneapolis, MN – The Cedar Cultural Center
10-20 Austin, TX – Hogg Memorial Auditorium
10-26 Houston, TX – Stafford Centre
10-28 Portland, OR – Aladdin Theater
10-30 Albuquerque, NM – KiMo Theater
11-01 Washington, DC – John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
11-02 Washington, DC – John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
11-04 Atlanta, GA – Ferst Center for the Arts
11-09 Ann Arbor, MI – Michigan Theater
11-10 Dearborn, MI – Ford Community & Performing Arts Center
11-11 Westlake, OH – Westlake City Schools Performing Arts Center
11-16 Boston, MA – Berklee Performance Hall
11-18 New York, NY – NYU Skirball Center
The Seattle (where I live) venue, Town Hall, says tickets are selling briskly.