June 26, 2009

Foodies already trying to profit off of MJ? Please, No.

Michael Jackson Thriller
Now I know we live in a world where every event is a commercial event.

But please - Michael Jackson's untimely and tragic death yesterday is now being met with restaurants and clubs trying to profit off of it?

It's one thing to have a release of a tribute CD or something in the same vein - or clubs playing MJ classics.

I mean even before yesterday, Billie Jean was often blasting at Tenjune and Marquee...

But this Wine Pairing event from City Winery takes the cake on being the most cringe inducing profit scheming event happening around town... 5 wines, 25 songs, $25 bucks? What?!??! Wine pairings?

What on earth does that have to do with the King of Pop?

Via Grub Street:

City Winery Michael Jackson Tribute Pairing

City Winery will celebrate Michael Jackson's career with a mix of music and wine by paying homage with a wine pairing — listening to 25 of his classic songs with wines paired with 5 eras of his music. As Michael has touched the entire world with his music, City Winery brings its own special way to honor him with loud music from the venue's concert sound system accompanied by 5 selected wines for this once-in-a-lifetime memorial. Starting with a toast to the King of Pop, to a young period with the Jackson 5, smooth textures, developing into deep and complex personalities, and funky tastes. Michael Jackson's flavors will be lingering in our minds and age for long after he is gone.

From Eater in response to criticism - City Winery's Michael Dorf writes..

Deciding to host a Michael Jackson Tribute immediately after his death was a complicated, emotional choice that evoked a mixed set of feelings. We were split about 80% thinking it was the right thing to do and join the celebration at the Apollo and other places around the globe, and 20% thinking it was too early, too exploitative, and too challenging for such a complex person. But Michael Jackson’s gift or genius is rooted in his paradoxical personality—like other great artists and figures, his damaged psyche was part of the package that came with his songwriting, showmanship, and celebrity.

Listening to his songs loud through a concert sound system over the last 24 hours reminds us of his prodigious abilities as a young child and how those early Jackson 5 songs are indelibly connected to all our childhoods. His middle work with Quincy Jones has reached more people, black and white, than anyone else's in our lifetimes. I want to listen to his work today and that passion will diminish over the next few days and weeks, and his work will get buried again in my collection. So it seems right to honor his music tonight, not next week.

We aren't out in LA to gather at the hospital, or his home, or his hollywood star. So for us, gathering together to celebrate his life at a common space made the most sense, and what more appropriate than a music venue. At the same time, charging money puts a commercial slant on the tribute, which is the biggest challenge. But we can’t give away wine for free and what makes our facility unique is the ability to pair wine with a theme--be it music or food. We hope to elevate the experience by focusing attention on 5 themes in Michael Jackson's musical history all for a very reasonable price. This was what we felt was a thoughtful approach to celebrating Michael Jackson through music and wine. It will not work for all people and for any who are offended, we are truly sorry.

And to respond to people’s accusations, here are the 3 things we will not be doing:

-We will not be serving “Jesus Juice”
-We will not discuss the skin of the grapes
-We will not focus on the nose or fragrance of the wines

(really??? Gee thanks, Dorf)

May he rest in peace; May we celebrate his musical legacy; and May we learn from his mistakes.

You can bet I'm crossing City Winery off my list of places to go.

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