Politicon, About

JUNE 25 & 26, 2016



From Ted Cruz giving his best Darth Vader to Trump’s litany of quotables to Hillary’s budding interest in Snapchat’s disappearing messages, the 2016 campaign trail is serving up more than the usual amount of fodder – and funny – and that’s just from the candidates alone.

This June, Politicon will be toasting to a second term as the quintessential non-partisan event of the year. In honor of the impending presidential election, we’re upping the ante with some of the biggest names in politics and the wittiest voices in comedy and entertainment, representing all sides of the political spectrum.

Join us at the Pasadena Convention Center for a full weekend of panels, debates, TV and movie screenings, art, podcasts, comedy shows, Q&A’s, book readings, interviews, meet & greets, art exhibitions, and music performances.

With 12 rooms ranging from 50-seaters to large-scale auditoriums, you’ll be able to get up close and personal with political heavyweights, revel in the endless humor with the likes of James Carville and Sarah Palin, dissect documentaries and parodies with filmmakers, and maybe even interact with a few of history’s greatest leaders.




Grateful Dead, Ticketmaster Mailing


Many might count the days of this past July 4th weekend among the best in their lives – three days of rekindling spirits, reconnecting with old friends (perhaps even enlightening a few new ones), and an overwhelming resurgence of that one-of-a-kind type of joy the Grateful Dead inspired during each and every one of their 30 years on the road. In honor of their 50th anniversary, Bob, Phil, Mickey and Bill promised to bring the Grateful Dead traditions of music, magic, and mayhem (the merry kind, of course) to Chicago, and they did just that – lighting up the night with the help of you sentimental souls, in the very spot where Jerry Garcia played his last show nearly 20 years before. It was overwhelmingly beautiful!

If you should find yourself hoping, wishing, wanting to obtain that visceral feeling once again, we have in mind a few experiences that might help you preserve those transcendent vibes.

We thank you for a real good time!

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Rhino.com, About Van Halen

Some might say Van Halen invented the term “rock’n’roll circus.” With 3 revolving singers in the ring and a genius but demanding ringmaster at helm, their music, not to be outdone by their unruly on and off stage antics, made them a household name. Ultimately the juggling act was a success, and Van Halen would become one of most popular American rock & roll bands of the late’70s and early’80s.

Eddie and Alex Van Halen were destined for music. The sons of a Dutch bandleader, the boys took up instruments at a young age, Eddie on drums and Alex on guitar, eventually switching instruments. How fortuitous the switch was, Eddie swiftly mastering the basics, before developing his own unique style and Alex finding a firm foothold behind the kit. They soon formed their first official hard rock band, Mammoth. By 1974, the line-up would be solidified with David Lee Roth providing vocals and Michael Anthony on bass. Soon after they decided to change their name to Van Halen, at Roth’s suggestion, upon discovering another band using the Mammoth name.

It wasn’t long before they were regulars, earning their stripes on the Strip and a reputation for being LOUD, and ultimately attracting the attention of KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons. He would finance a demo featuring the tracks “House Of Pain” and “Running With The Devil.” But it was not until Mo Ostin and Ted Templeman “rediscovered” them at the Starwood in May of 1977 that the band secured their first official record deal.

Signed to Warner Brothers, Van Halen’s self-titled debut was released in 1978. It went on to sell over six million copies, thanks to the classic rock staples “You Really Got Me,” “Jamie’s Cryin’,” and “Runnin’ With the Devil.” They supported the record by heading out on the road with fellow heavy metal group Black Sabbath, Eddie honing what would become his groundbreaking form and Roth unleashing his outrageous alter ego “Diamond Dave.” On stage, Eddie pushed the limits of the electric guitar, popularizing underused techniques like two-handed tapping, hammer-ons and pull-offs. He’d also explore with sound effects, never shying away from advancements in sonic technology. Roth was his equal, not in form but surely in rock’n’roll fantasy, bigger and bolder than life. He played the part of lead singer to “near-performance art standards.”

From then on, success came fast and furious. The sophomore release Van Halen II (1979) scored them their first Top 20 single “Dance The Night Away.” Women and Children First (1980) and its the follow-up Fair Warning (1981) both charted at #6. 1982′s Diver Down escalated them to mainstream status on account of their cover of Roy Orbison’s “(Oh) Pretty Woman.” The single turned out to be a massive hit and the album landed at #3.

1984 would prove to be the magic number and solidify Van Halen as international superstars. Having adopted the signature 80s synthesizer sound, the band’s single “Jump,” crossed-over and became their first #1 single. The album secured a spot at #2, reeling in fans with undeniably catchy anthems like “Panama,” “Hot For Teacher,” and the electronic heavy “I’ll Wait.”

But as with those that came before them, and those that would follow, the age-old problem of band tensions began to arise. Roth would take time off to record a solo EP, Crazy from the Heat, turning up his over-the-top antics on classic covers of “California Girls” and “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody.” This excursion would delay the recording of 1984′s follow-up. Eddie had had enough. Dave was out.

Enter Sammy Hagar. The one time singer of Montrose had a successful solo career; he’d proven his arena metal worth with songs like “Three-Lock Box” and “I Can’t Drive 55.” Skeptics scoffed at the Hagar take over, but Van Halen forged on, in some ways with more success than ever. “Van Hagar” would quickly become crowned kings of the chart, securing the #1 spot with their next 4 records.

1986′s 5150, scored a trio of hit singles “Why Can’t This Be Love,” “Dreams,” and “Love Walks In.” 1988′s OU812 followed with chart-toppers like the power ballad “When It’s Love” and the country-esque “Finish What Ya Started.” For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, released in 1991, had a runaway hit on MTV with the video for “Right Now.” Their first live record, the double album Van Halen Live: Right Here, Right Now (1993) also went straight to #1.

By the time they released their tenth studio album, Balance, the fourth with Hagar, tensions would creep up again. This time due to arguments over what would be on an impending Greatest Hits, and among other things, due to the fact that Eddie was trying to get sober and Hagar was still a hard-partying machine (he would eventually launch his own brand of tequila). Unbeknownst to Hagar, Van Halen brought Roth back into the studio to record. The public was shocked and so was Hagar but the real foil was Roth who would be let go once again after working on just 2 songs.

Enter former Extreme vocalist Gary Cherone. The sole Cherone effort, Van Halen III, would go down as the lowest-selling album of Van Halen’s career. He was promptly dismissed.

After a lengthy hiatus, Van Halen would put all their issues aside and re-group with Hagar for an American tour in support of a greatest-hits collection, The Best of Both Worlds. The title was a nod to the 2 singers and the album features 16 Roth-era songs 17 Hagar-era songs and a handful of new Hagar tracks.

In 2007, after Van Halen were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, rumors surfaced of Roth reunion tour. Those rumors were confirmed when the group announced their plan to tour not only Roth but with Eddie’s son Wolfgang on bass. The tour went on to become the band’s highest grossing tour ever, bringing in 93 million dollars.


Rhino.com, About The Smiths

Don’t forget the songs that made you cry and the songs that saved your life…

In 1982, the curious coupling of a rock’n’roll purist and a consummate literate would result in an unmistakable sound that would forever be engrained in the minds of their friends and foes. With synthesizers and mind-numbing excess on rise, The Smiths took the road less traveled, challenging people with outspoken lyrics and taunting guitars. They called upon the wayward, the forlorn, the just plain ordinary, plied them with poetry and politics, controversy and cynicism – and in that, gave every man a voice. These effects would be felt long after their dissolution, spawning musically, a monster called Brit-pop and lyrically, an army of unwavering fans who would gladly die by their side.

After several years playing in unsuccessful bands on the Manchester circuit, a chance meeting through mutual friends proved serendipitous for Steven Patrick Morrissey and Johnny Marr. They quickly found common ground in their love of pop culture and their incessant need make their own mark on it. The pair took to the studio, writing and recording demos with the Fall’s drummer, Simon Wolstencroft. Shortly thereafter they settled on the name The Smiths, chosen because it was commonplace, and recruited Marr’s schoolmate Andy Rourke to play bass and Mike Joyce to play drums.

Their first single, a one-off on Rough Trade entitled “Hand In Glove,” with its loosely veiled references to homosexuality, made waves on the independent charts and in the press. The public’s interest was further fueled by Morrissey’s unusual antics – on stage, a spectacle with his pocketful of gladioli and his hearing aid, off stage a soapbox with his public declarations of celibacy, vegetarianism, disgust for the country, the government, his peers, anything really. In fact, by the time The Smiths released their second single “This Charming Man,” (later issued on their eponymous debut), they had already been in the spotlight over “Reel Around the Fountain,” a song that seemed to some to condone pedophilia. Misinterpretation would become a recurring theme and Morrissey would do little to dispel it.  After all controversy raised interest in the group. “This Charming Man” hit 25 on the chart; its subsequent single “What Difference Does It Make” climbed steadily to #12 and in turn, The Smiths would break at #2 on the album charts.

Empowered by the media attention and overnight popularity, Morrissey and Marr began churning out unforgettable singles. “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now,” released in 1984, would become their highest-charting single at #10. It sparked yet another media storm with its B-side, “Suffer Little Children,” an ode to the victims of the notorious Moors Murders that was first mistaken as glamorizing the murders. Later that year, based on the success of non-LP single “William It Was Really Nothing” and B-side “How Soon Is Now,” The Smiths would release Hatful Of Hollow, a collection of B-sides, BBC sessions and non-LP singles.

Meat Is Murder, the band’s second proper studio album, entered the British charts at number one in February of 1985. Haunting and melancholic at times, rambunctious and angst ridden at others, it failed to produce any hit singles. It did, however, stand out for Marr’s exceedingly experimental guitar work, a dizzying and layered symphony of chords, and for Morrissey’s escalating tirade against the monarchy, Thatcherism and his colleagues.

Their third album, The Queen Is Dead, issued in 1986, once again reached the top of the charts, securing #2 in the U.K. and breaking through the top 100 in U.S. On it, Morrissey articulates more clearly, more cleverly, oscillating between the satiric  (“Bigmouth Strikes Again”) and the heart-wrenching (“There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”), Marr’s guitars follow rapturous and shimmering.

The Smiths seemed to be at the pinnacle of their career with the release of their singles/B-sides compilation The World Won’t Listen (Louder Than Bombs in U.S.). But Morrissey and Marr were beginning to think differently about the future of the band, not to mention that Marr suffered injuries from a near fatal car crash and Rourke was grappling with a heroin addiction. Just weeks before the fall release of Strangeways, Here We Come, Marr would announce his decision to leave the band. The record, while fuller in production, its rounder feel due in part to more input from Rourke and Joyce, captures a feeling of forging ahead while falling apart. It’s apparent the end is near, as evident in the bleak and orchestral, perhaps symbolic, final single “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me.”

Morrissey embarked on a solo career, enlisting Rourke and Joyce to play on many of the albums to follow.  He tours steadily today. Marr went on to perform with a variety of artists, forming Electronic with New Order frontman Bernard Sumner in  1989, and most recently becoming an official member Modest Mouse. Rourke soon vowed to retire from recording and Joyce joined the reunited Buzzcocks in 1991. That same year Joyce and Rourke sued Morrissey and Marr, claiming they received only ten percent of the group’s earnings while the songwriters received the lion’s share. Rourke eventually settled out of court, but Joyce won his case in late 1996.