This morning is a bit of a mixed bag. Still, I am rather confident you will find interest in at least a few of the items.
Negotiations with History Press are moving forward on the contract and details for a new book. This book will represent a return to my writing roots as the topic will be the fierce and bloody battles for domination of the taxi industry on the streets and in the boardroom between 1920 and 1960.
In many cities during the 1920s the battle for dominance of this lucrative market was almost as bloody as the battles for control of liquor distribution during prohibition. At the corporate level hostile take overs were not limited to stock manipulation and leveraged buy outs as evidenced by the fire bombing of Morris Markin’s home (the founder of Checker) and similar incidents involving John Hertz of Yellow Cab.
Now, let me try and address the amazing number of inquiries about the Route 66 International Festival received in the past couple of weeks, and quell a few rumors before myth becomes fact. To say the very least, the search for answers to your questions and what I learned in my quest has been enlightening as well as exciting.
So, lets begin with bad news and grey areas peppered with exciting developments. Then we can move on to fresh updates.
Okay, in regard to questions pertaining to the role of Kingman Now LLC listed in the promotional brochure (a PDF is available upon request), they are not the actual organizing entity for the festival. To ensure clarification I inquired with Steve Wagner of Kingman Now and was informed that this entity is serving only as the promotional vehicle for the festival that is in essence a series of events scheduled for the same weekend in August.
In response to another often received question, my primary task in regard to festival development is to serve as an unofficial celebrity spokesman, to invite the world to Kingman, and to serve as a consultant to ensure that the essence of a Route 66 gathering that often includes an element of an oversize family reunion is not overshadowed. In addition, I have been working to funnel outside interests and inquiries to the various event managers that are coordinating these components. I fully understand that at this juncture things appear to be a bit chaotic. However, in actuality what is currently taking place is comparable to musicians first practice sessions as they prepare for a symphony.
In all honesty, after recent discussions with some of the event managers there is no doubt in my mind that this will be an historic, exciting, and fun filled event. As an example please consider Mr. Rick Zimmer’s fund raising endeavor to ensure that Joe Loesch and the Road Crew perform at this festival, the historic partnership with Hualapai Tourism, or the forthcoming announcement about participation by numerous electric vehicle organizations.The latter is truly exciting as it manifests the very theme of the event – Kingman (and Route 66) as the crossroads of the past and future. Indications are that in addition to modern vehicles taking advantage of the new Tesla charging station in town, there will also be an unprecedented number of historic electric vehicles participating.
Next, many of you in the Route 66 community have requested updates and information about the Route 66 Adventure raffle. As I was the one that solicited your involvement in this program, and as I kept responding to your questions with “please wait” and “please be patient” there is a definite sense of egg on my face.
I am quite sorry to say that Kingman Now is pulling the plug on this aspect. As it represented an unprecedented opportunity for involvement of the entire Route 66 community in the festival, and a chance to inspire folks to take a timely tip and get their kicks on Route 66 this is a bothersome development.
That takes us to questions about the websites, the one for the festival established by Kingman Now and the one for the Route 66 Alliance. As noted recently, an inquiry about updates was submitted to the Route 66 Alliance but an answer has yet to be received.
As to the official website for the festival, the lack of updates is apparently the result of the webmaster abandoning the project without notification. According to a spokesman from Kingman Now LLC, efforts are underway to rectify that. In the meantime you may also try the Kingman tourism site. Another often received question is in regard to music and who will be performing at the festival. At this time there is one confirmed performance and one pending. The former will be a performance by the Letterman as a fund raiser for the chamber of commerce. The latter is an opportunity for the Route 66 community to come together and that is the fund raising effort to get Joe Loesch and the Road Crew from Nashville to Kingman (see the upper right corner of the blog).
To close this out here are a few updates. Bob “Boze” Bell will be in attendance to introduce a new book. The Dolan Springs Chamber of Commerce will present an opportunity to pan for gold. Martin Swanty Chrysler will host an open house that will also serve as a gathering point for visitors on Friday evening. In addition, there will be a special edition of Chillin’ on Beale downtown. That should provide an excuse to cruise Route 66 under a desert sky. The Route 66 Alliance has indicated a return of the awards banquet. Film festival development is moving forward. In light of the tremendous number of inquiries about the possibility of including a series of short,informative seminars, in the festival, that too is being discussed. Topics being considered for discussion include NPS Route 66 corridor grants, bicycle tourism, electric vehicle infrastructure development, historic Route 66 infrastructure preservation, neon restoration,historic motel management, and similar issue of importance to the Route 66 community. I will keep you posted on updates.I hope all of this answers a few of your questions. If not, please let me know. If I don’t have answers immediately every effort will be made to get them for you.