A&O prepares to put last year’s faults to rest

Eclectic rock artist Beck chose to perform at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall in August, selling out the 1,000-seat theater a half-hour.

After A&O Productions struggled to get artists to perform on campus last year, Beck’s performance breathed life into Northwestern’s mainstream concert scene.

Students were disappointed with infrequent programming in the 2001-02 academic year after bringing Bob Dylan, Ben Harper and George Clinton to perform on campus in the 2000-01. A&O brought the Chicago-based rock band Wilco and folk-rocker Elliot Smith in May.

Now A&O executive board members say they are optimistic about this year’s programming.

“We are not going to let last year inhibit us in any way,” said Jonathan Berman, A&O’s chairman and a Weinberg senior. “Our goal is to make this campus just a little bit cooler, and that’s what will be shown in the activities we bring.”

An A&O concert featuring Snoop Dogg was canceled last March by NU administrators because of security concerns.

Srikanth Reddy, A&O’s director of finance, said the group is involved in a lawsuit with Snoop Dogg’s company because of the incident but declined to comment further.

In addition to the canceled concert, members cited a lack of Associated Student Government funding and a legal blunder on concert publicity as reason for last year’s slow concert season.

In the Spring 2001 funding cycle, ASG senators retracted a $58,000 award to A&O for a fall concert because they wanted to save the large chunk of money to divide among smaller student groups.

Despite the difficulties of last year, A&O already has begun planning two large events for Fall Quarter.

An artist for the fall concert has been chosen and a contract is completed by NU’s legal department, Reddy said, adding that the name of the artist will be released in the coming weeks.

The concert would take place at Patten Gym later this quarter.

Reddy, a McCormick senior, added that the executive board decided to use what remains of $165,000 in funds allocated by ASG’s Student Activities Finance Board last spring to hold A&O Ball this fall.

The executive board sees a well-planned ball as an opportunity to bolster its case for additional money during fall supplemental funding in ASG Senate, which happens in October.

“We haven’t viewed (this year) in terms of having less funds,” Reddy said. “Hopefully, (A&O) will wind up with the same amount of money we had last year.”

A&O also has tentative plans for a comedian in the winter, and another concert in the spring, contingent on future ASG funding, Berman said.

If A&O’s season is disappointing again this year, it won’t be from lack of trying, said Benjamin Levin, A&O’s director of production.

After spending the summer working on concert ideas for Fall Quarter and contacting agents, the group even feels ahead of the game in terms of preparing for this fall’s programming, said Levin, a Communication senior.

“We have a few tricks up our sleeve,” he said.