Ever since I wrote my front-page story on the choke hold WinStar World Casino and Resort appears to have on local concert bookings, more than a few readers have emailed or called to ask: Why is this happening? Well, as I wrote in the story, WinStar is outbidding, apparently by a wide margin, such rivals as the Winspear Opera House and the Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie. But in addition to that, WinStar has also imposed exclusivity clauses on big-name artists, as I wrote about. It's all about competition, and WinStar appears to be winning. And they still are. It is, after all, the American way.
But now, maybe we have a thaw, of sorts. Why the need for exclusivity if an artist can sell out both venues? That appears to be the case with pop legend Paul Simon, who today revealed that he's playing both the WinStar and the Winspear in early May, exclusivity notwithstanding.
More than a few concertgoers, mostly Boomer types, have complained to yours truly about watching all those big-name acts slip-slidin' away to WinStar, which is, after all, in Thackerville, Okla., 80 miles from downtown Dallas. Kudos to WinStar for booking the likes of Jackson Browne, James Taylor and Paul Simon, but some local fans simply don't want to drive that far.
So, Tuesday's announcement comes as good news: Despite the exclusionary clauses that WinStar imposes upon artists, the Winspear Opera House has landed an appearance by Simon in May, albeit one night after he appears at WinStar.
He will play the casino, about an hour away from Lewisville, Plano and Frisco, on Saturday night, May 7, then play at the Winspear a night later on Sunday, May 8. So it's a Win(Star)-Win(spear) for everybody. Sorry, couldn't resist.
Doug Curtis, the president and CEO of the AT&T Performing Arts Center, whose crown jewel is the Winspear, sent me this statement just a few minutes ago:
"This is the first time this has happened and it came not long after your article in The Dallas Morning News. We believe that a performer the caliber of Paul Simon can sell out in both venues, and there really is no need for the casinos to block any talent from appearing in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. We hope that this spirit of cooperation will continue so the center can continue bringing the best artists to the Dallas Arts District."
So, some of you can now be homeward bound and home within minutes. No more sound of silence as everybody else in your car falls asleep on the way home from WinStar. Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson, if you had any role to play in this at all. Here's the Paul Simon ticket info, found on the ATTPAC Web site.
Here's Paul Simon singing one of his famous songs with his former partner, Art Garfunkel: