A few weeks ago we touted the lecture Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, the authors of Freakonomics, were scheduled to give September 9 at the Nokia Theatre at Grand Prairie. Well, go ahead and take that off your schedule. It's been axed due to a "scheduling conflict," according to the Justin Press at the Nokia. It's the same reason Nokia gave when Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu ditched his September 11 speech there; turns out that was canceled because Tutu was already booked to play the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration on September 13, so the sponsor of the September 11 gig, the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth, did in fact yank the plug on the Nokia event.
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But why the Freakonomics fellas are staying home is a bit more of a mystery. Lance Yocom, who markets shows at the Nokia, says he has no idea why their lecture was canceled; he only found out about it the same time we did, matter of fact. He says it's not because of slow ticket sales: The theater was to be configured for about 1,800 people--its smallest set-up--and though he doesn't know exactly how many tickets had been sold for the event, "It wasn't selling to the point where we couldn't open the doors because two people were going to be there. Even if it had sold just 600 tickets, that's almost half the room." What's especially disappointing, Yocom says, is the fact he had just worked out an agreement with the authors to schedule a meet-and-greet with audience members.
"We were pretty stoked here," Yocom says. "Al Gore's doing really well. In fact, we're about to release more VIP offers for his appearance [on September 30]. So, I don't know. It's definitely something we're looking to continue to do. A lot of people have been asking why we're doing speakers and lecture series. Well, Rush Limbaugh drew 1,600 a few months ago, so hopefully it's not something that's going away entirely. The Freakonomics thing definitely piqued a lot of people's interest. We have Wheel of Fortune in the house right now. Wheel of Fortune, Barney and the James Gang in the next few days--you can't say we're not appealing to everybody." --Robert Wilonsky
Eels, "Get Ur Freak On" (rare live Missy Elliott cover)