Chicago Jazz Festival to Honor 100th Anniversary of Sun Ra – The wild and prolific performer began in Chicago and eventually took his music – based on his cosmic philosophy – to the world. It included new jazz sounds including free jazz and wild funk, beguiling stagecraft, dance and costumes. Sun Ra’s musical and cultural impact will color many of the events at this year’s festival, including for in August. His work will be celebrated thru movie screenings, panel discussions and performances by the Sun Ra Arkestra, directed by Marshall Allen.
Classical News – The Bayreuth Festival is underway again, but observers say it is “as exciting as stale beer.” Wagner’s great-granddaughters are accused of making terrible artistic choices. Their new Ring is being directed by an enfant terrible of German theater who sets the action in far away places and features prostitutes, gangsters and Kalashnikov rifles. The deadline for expiration of union contracts at the Metropolitan Opera is less than a week away, and the Met sent notices to union members and staff advising them of procedures to follow in case a lockout should occur. The Met didn’t threaten a lockout, but the unions are upset by the actions of Met general manager Peter Gelb. Violinist Hilary Han has had to withdraw from concertizing for six weeks due to an inflamed muscle. The principal trumpet of the London Symphony Orchestra for 25 years, Roderick Franks, has been killed in an auto accident.
Thiel Audio Makes Major Changes – Speaker-maker Thiel has moved to Nashville and has a new CEO, sales and marketing senior VP and new employees in engineering, marketing, purchasing and operations. The company said it is part of an effort to revitalize the legendary brand. A new speaker series will be launched next year, and the firm maintains a presence in Lexington, KY, their old home.
Amazon Reports $126M Loss in Q2 – The No. 1 e-tailer in the U.S. has reported a net loss of $126 million for the three months ending June 30, when last year they only lost $7 million during the same period. CEO Jeff Bezos cited recent improvements in their customer experience, with Sunday deliveries, the free one-million-song Prime Music streaming service, and increased offerings in its Amazon Web Services area.
LG Reports 165% Increase in Profits for Q2 – The great increase over their earnings during the same period in 2013 came from both their TV and mobile phone operations. Demand for UHD TVs in key markets drove LCD TV revenue growth and 14.5 million smartphones were shipped in Q2. Much of the success was due to initial popularity of their G3 smartphone in Korea.