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Eclectic lineup planned for arts center
Eclectic lineup planned for arts center

BLOOMINGTON - The Robert Cray Band, Aaron Neville and '"Break!' The Urban Funk Spectacular" are a few of the acts scheduled for Bloomington Center for Performing Arts, according to an online concert clearinghouse.

The Web site, pollstar.com , lists those acts along with performances by Ladysmith Black Mombazo, Dianne Reeves, Cherish the Ladies and BeauSoleil Avec Michael Doucet.

Meanwhile, comedian Kathy Griffin lists the performing arts center as a Nov. 9 stop for her tour.

Cultural District Executive Director Bruce Marquis said he could confirm the Sept. 28 and 29 performance of "Break!" and the March 9, 2007, performance of Irish band Cherish the Ladies. Those contracts have been returned to the city by the talent agents managing those groups.

However, Marquis could not comment on performances listed by pollstar for Cray, Neville, BeauSoleil, Ladysmith Black Mombazo and Reeves because those contracts still are in negotiations. He also could not comment on the listing on Griffin's Web site.

The performing arts center, formerly the Scottish Rite Temple, is in the middle of a $14 million renovation as part of the city of Bloomington's $19 million project to turn the building and the area around it into the city's Cultural District.

Marquis said the decisions on who to bring into the performing arts center are helped by marketing surveys completed by Illinois State University's marketing students and professors.

"We want to be a diverse entertainment venue that brings in a variety of acts that will appeal to the diverse demographics in the community," Marquis said.

The acts listed on pollstar are from the center's main performance series.

The center has two more performance series to be announced. Those will focus on family entertainment and education-related programming.

All told, Marquis said there will be about 38 entertainment acts brought in for more than 40 different performances.

Ticket prices and sale dates have not been established for any of the performances. The district is expected to announce its complete entertainment scheduled in May.

Those wanting a brochure about ticketing information when it comes available in May can call the Cultural District office at (309) 434-2787 to be placed on a mailing list.

"Break!" is a new percussion performance on a pre-Broadway tour, Marquis said. He added that Cherish the Ladies, a female vocal band featuring traditional Irish music, is booked in time for St. Patrick's Day celebrations in 2007.

The contract for Neville has yet to go to the council for approval. Neville, a Grammy-winning vocalist with hits that include "Don't Know Much" with Linda Ronstadt, sang the National Anthem earlier this month at Super Bowl XL.

The City Council approved five contracts with entertainment agencies worth $91,000 at its meeting Monday. Among those contracts is one for Griffin, who is known for her current television show "Life on the D-List" on Bravo. Previously she starred in the television show "Suddenly Susan."

The contracts approved Monday were the third round of contracts approved by the City Council.

Previously approved contracts include those for Cray, Reeves, Ladysmith Black Mombazo and BeauSoleil, but the artists representatives haven't signed and returned the paperwork.

Cray, a Grammy-winning blues performer, had a hit in the 1990s with the song "Smoking Gun" and is touring in support of his new album "Twenty."

Reeves received the 2006 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album for the movie soundtrack "Good Night, And Good Luck."

Ladysmith Black Mombazo, an African a cappella vocal group, gained worldwide attention nearly 20 years ago when they partnered with Paul Simon for his "Graceland" album.

BeauSoleil, a Cajun group formed in the mid-1970s, blend elements of zydeco, New Orleans jazz, country and blues. The group's leader, Doucet, received the 2005 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship.

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