Although the judgment came about six months too late for fans in Calgary,
Alberta, shock-rocker Marilyn Manson has won a belated victory of sorts against
the Calgary group that canceled his July 25 show in that city.
"I'm quite thrilled to finally be proven that I was right all along," said Mark
Norman, senior V.P. for Universal Concerts Canada, the concert promotions firm
that had gone to court seeking damages from Larry Ryckman, who was in charge of
the arena where the show was scheduled to play.
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Russell Dixon handed down a summary judgment on
Wednesday in which he found Ryckman Amateur Sports Society liable for breaking a
contract to host the band in the venue. The justice scheduled a later hearing to
determine monetary awards in the case. UCC had been seeking $66,000 in damages.
Following the show cancellation, Ryckman was forced to surrender management of
the venue, the Max Bell Arena, on Aug. 8 -- after defaulting on the lease and
owing approximately $75,000 in back taxes and utility bills, according to Mike
Gavan, current superintendent of the venue.
At the time when he canceled the performance -- two weeks before it was to take
place -- Ryckman said that Manson would never play his arena, despite the fact
that the show had been booked for some time. He also said that he refused to
allow Manson to perform at the arena because he claimed he was never made aware
of Manson's "offensive" stage show, which includes Bible ripping, profanity and
sexually suggestive behavior.
Mike Mestinsek, lawyer for Ryckman's Amateur Sports Society, said his client
believes Norman misrepresented Manson's act. "There are controversial rock acts
and then there are those that are obscene and demeaning," he said. "They were
far more than controversial. That's the crucial issue."
The judge ruled, however, that Ryckman had been told in advance of the band's
controversial reputation. "We made him well aware of it, in an affidavit,"
Norman said, adding that he had conversations with Ryckman's people and sent
them resumes with the phone numbers of the buildings that Manson had played and
the promoters who had worked with them -- along with a list of phone numbers for
the police in those cities. "They said they didn't need them," he added.
Norman called the effort "far above standard procedure" and said he took the
action because he was well aware of the controversy surrounding Manson's act. "I
left it up to them to call the numbers."
While happy for the victory, he said he was less optimistic about the
possibility of winning the damages that his client had been seeking. "The
unfortunate thing is that at the end of the day, it will cost me $25,000 that
won't be recovered, because you can't get money from a stone."
[Fri., Dec. 12, 1997, 9 a.m. PST]