Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Spin looks at Sound Strike, the boycott of Arizona by musical acts and other artists in response to Arizona's new immigration law:
Curtis McCrary, general manager of Tucson's 90-year-old Rialto Theatre, doesn't know how much longer he can last. Since Cypress Hill canceled a show at his venue in May to protest the controversial Arizona anti-illegal immigration law known as SB1070, which, pending legal challenges, was due to take effect this month, McCrary has seen about a half-dozen other bands drop the nonprofit theater from their touring plans. "It's been a drip, drip, drip thing," he says. "There's a very real possibility that it could drive us out of business."
So far, the most visible effect of efforts like Zack de la Rocha's Sound Strike — which has rallied such artists as Kanye West, Conor Oberst, and Massive Attack to avoid Arizona until SB1070 is off the books — has been to frustrate the state's club owners, concert promoters, and music fans who oppose the law. But, boycotters say, pain has always been part of solidarity movements, ranging from Artists United Against Apartheid in the 1980s to the recent politically motivated shunning of Israel by the Pixies and Elvis Costello. "It's a combined voice saying we will not tolerate bigotry," says System of a Down singer Serj Tankian, who's aligned with Sound Strike. "Justice sometimes has to be served in putting aside profits."
State Sen. Frank Antenori weighs in:
"If these groups don't want to come here, fine, we'll bring someone else who will entertain us and take our money," says Republican Arizona State Senator Frank Antenori. "My decisions are made on what's the right thing to do, and the right thing to do is to enforce the law."