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Promotions 101 -- A few words of advice 

Well, the first annual Colorado Springs Music Awards (CSMA) at the City Auditorium this past Sunday night was, uh, interesting. Between 200 and 250 people seemed to be in attendance, depending on the number of smokers outside.

In the most heavily anticipated challenge of the night, Boondoggle dominated the uncontested polka category. One of the members of the band decided now is definitely the time to learn the accordion.

Due to poor sound engineering, it was difficult to understand all of Marni Green's vocals on Boondoggle's stirring polka rendition of John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High." But I was able to make out something in Marni's intro: "This is for all the naysayers who [garbledy garble] don't want to recognize Colorado Springs music," or something of the sort. It's likely that this comment was directed at those (including myself) who bothered to raise a few questions about Konga Entertainment's highly questionable promotional tactics. It's important to keep in mind that these questions were raised in the interest of the musicians of Colorado Springs -- both those who were nominated and those who weren't.

That said, congratulations to the musicians who won awards and thanks for all your hard work. That includes you, too, Boondoggle; in one night I think you won more awards than any other punk band since U2.

Here're a few words of advice for next year's CSMA promoters:

1) If you're going to make the awards ceremony a benefit, and nobody knows who you are: choose a well-established local charity as your beneficiary instead of a newly formed charity (FAIM Foundation) whose board includes: yourself, your husband and a president who is also the treasurer. Sorry, but it just looks fishy. A local charity can also help you reach out into parts of the community you're not familiar with, and will surely want to help pull off the event.

2) Get to know the music scene inside and out before you launch the awards so that you know you aren't leaving lots of people out of the process.

3) Don't make up an illegitimate tallying business (The Perfectly Accurate Tally Center) to try and legitimize the voting process. Having volunteers count ballots is fine, and you don't have to hide it. But if the media can't even verify who's doing it, and it turns out to be a lie, it looks really fishy.

4) Don't alienate the media. If you're running a legitimate operation, then you shouldn't have anything to hide. The media can and should be your best friend if you're doing your job as a promoter.

5) Ballot boxes alone aren't enough. Perhaps you could take out ads in the papers that include ballots; go to all the clubs and hand out fliers; contact bands and other promoters relentlessly. Much of this can probably be done for free in conjunction with the media, since you've already made yourself known as a friendly and transparent promoter who has the best interests of the local music scene in mind.

If you do all these things, then you shouldn't have any problem getting the entire community behind your event and even make some money for the charity you've chosen.

Good news on the horizon for the Depot Arts District Association. DADA and the Rocky Mountain Community Land Trust have been given the green light to start developing the property between the Colorado Avenue and Bijou Street bridges in between the train tracks and Fountain Creek. DADA just released a request for a design team to draft plans for the project, and contractor Ken Hoagland anticipates breaking ground by July 15.

If you haven't been down to the Bridge Gallery lately, make sure to check out Michael Cellan's newest show through April 21. Cellan has worked with his son to develop a new technique of image manipulation that involves water-based media and glue. Yes, glue. The results are strikingly fresh looks at the everyday in quasi-urban Colorado Springs.

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