Poster Chide

After Macy Gray's 4th & B show on August 19, some friends and I went to a bar downtown. When we were leaving at around 1 a.m., Gray's tour bus was stopped at a hotel around the corner, and we saw Gray and over a dozen other people hanging around out front.

After I dropped off my friend at his car, I drove around to find Gray so she could sign the concert poster I had in my car. When I pulled up next to her and her entourage on A Street, Gray was leaning on one of her bandmate's shoulders. She said yes when I asked her to sign my poster and came up to my car.

One of the guys in her entourage started angrily asking, "Where did you get that poster? We didn't authorize these!" I told him where, and Gray said, "Hey, man, I look really good in this. I like this poster." The guy then said, "Oh." After a few seconds of silence, he said, "Can you give us a few of those?" I told him I'd try and handed him my card.

Gray dropped my pen in the gutter, picked it up, and signed the poster. She stumbled back to her friends and then said, "Hey, man, can you give us a ride?" I looked at how many they were and said, "Sure, if you can fit in here." A few of the people with her were telling her no, and she kept saying, "I don't wanna walk. This guy will give us a ride." They ended up walking. She thanked me anyway.

I called Scrojo, the local artist who created the poster. I asked him about seeking authorization to produce posters.

"The vast majority of concert posters being produced today are being done for the venue and/or promoter, unless it specifically states in the contract between the band and venue -- and some bands do -- about how a show is promoted. Then there is an 'implied consent' that the venue has the authority to produce a poster, flyer, or advertisement using the band's name....

"In this case...this poster was 'authorized' by Vicki M., promotions director of HoB/Live Nation. As the poster artist, it's not that I'm trying to cut the band out; it's just that it's completely impractical to try and get a touring band's approval for an individual gig poster in the short amount of time between the show being confirmed and the 'ideal' promotion time (three to four weeks before the date).

"Horror stories almost always involve managers.... I had one manager call me at home the night of the show and yelled at me about how any imagery representing the band needs to be preapproved. I politely told him that I'd just skip doing posters for the band in the future. Sure enough, the band plays again and the manager calls me, at home, the night of the show, and yells at me for not doing a poster."

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