Tag Archives: Pink

Backstage Secrets, Dick Clark — Producer Larry Klein Looks Back at 40 Years of American Music Awards

Larry Klein and Christina Aguilera

The 40th Annual American Music Awards will mark the passing of its creator and godfather, Dick Clark, with a tribute to the TV Academy and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who died this past April.  However, “It’s not going to be a long, drawn-out thing,” promises producer Larry Klein. “It will be short and sweet.  That’s the way Dick would have wanted it.”

Klein would be the man to know.  He’s been working on the show since he got work as a production assistant on the very first AMAs. Even after Clark sold his company a decade ago, along with the American Music Awards show, Klein says no year would pass without his getting together with best buddy Dick and chatting about the event. 

This year’s show will feature performances by some 17 chart-toppers, including Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Ke$ha, Usher, No Doubt, Nicki Minaj, Pink, Carrie Underwood, Pitbull, Christina Aguilera and Linkin Park.  Bieber is up for three awards this year including Artist of the Year.  Bieber’s mentor, Usher, is also in the running with three nominations and the two will face off against each other in the category for Favorite Male Artist: Pop/Rock.  Rihanna  and Minaj lead the nominees with four nods apiece. Drake, Maroon 5 and One Direction have three nominations each.

Things have changed a lot, notes Klein, from the days when the likes of Helen Reddy and John Denver would “would come in and ask, ‘What should I sing?’  What does Dick want me to do?’  Now, I walk in and say, ‘I’m the producer.  Just tell me what you want,’” says Klein with a laugh. 

The special anniversary edition of the AMAs will bring us some highlights of their storied history, such as Prince’s Purple Reign prancing, Michael Jackson’s thrilling moves, and Axl Rose’s unprintable acceptance speech.  Not surprisingly, some of the moments Klein finds most memorable took place off camera.  There have been gargantuan backstage clashes, talent that had to be kept in dressing rooms that were far apart and all that sort of thing, he cheerfully acknowledges, refusing to name names.  And there’ve been heart-stopping near-misses and eleventh-hour changes.  Klein recalls that “a few years ago, the person who opened the show, at the five second mark was not on her mark – through no fault of her own.  She was supposed to be in a container, but there had been problems with it, and when the countdown started, I realized she was behind me.” 

That performer was Mariah Carey, and she did manage to whisk into the egg-shaped, spinning container at the very last second, and start the awards.  “Thank God she had the stage presence to keep her cool.  She could have freaked out,” Klein says. 

  Even though they’ll be glancing back, however, the 40th awards will be focused on today.  Klein says that every one of the 17 acts that will be performing will have its own environment.  “That’s one of the things that sets us apart.  Because of me wanting every artist to have their own atmosphere, their own look – nothing repeated — we have carts containing set pieces stretching out for six to eight blocks in downtown L.A. on show day.”  This year, he says, viewers will get to see some of the backstage action.

The hardest part must be squeezing in everything they want to do.  How does Klein manage?  “We just do it, “ he says.

Pink’s Collaborator Also Has Project Supporting Gay Cause

Dreya Weber

While Pink’s forthcoming “Raise Your Glass” video celebrating gay marriage is bringing even more attention to the issue – her frequent collaborator, aerialist Dreya Weber, is getting ready to launch a film she hopes will add to the clamor against the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gays in the military.

Weber’s “A Marine Story” drama opens in New York and L.A. next month.  The drama has already been shown in more than a dozen festivals, including Outfest, where it won both the Audience and Grand Jury awards.  It was written and directed by Weber’s husband, Ned Farr.  She tells us they have decidedly mixed emotions about the ever-hotter controversy surrounding “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

“We’re thrilled with the attention for the sake of the film, but we’re not thrilled that the policy is still in place.  When Obama came in, we wanted it to be overturned instantly,” she explains.  Weber plays a career officer who leaves the service when her sexuality is brought under scrutiny.

“The movie is very pro-service, very supportive of people who choose to serve in military — but against wasting our precious human resources.”

Dreya Weber

MEANWHILE:  With Pink’s “Raise Your Glass” single newly in release and her “Greatest Hits…So Far!” album on the way next month, can news of live performance dates be far behind?  Whenever the daring pop star goes back onstage, Weber is looking forward to plotting death-defying feats with her again.

“She, of everyone I’ve worked with, is the most brave, the most willing to take the biggest risks,” says Weber, whose credits aerial choreography, direction and performance in tours with Madonna, Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, Leona Lewis, and three with Pink — including this year’s Funhouse tour.  That’s in addition to helping her plan and performing with her in her breathtaking Grammy number earlier this year.

“The apparatus we used for her number had never been seen before.  It was something I just pictured in my head.  I told her about it, and I told her, ‘You’re going to get wet,’ and she was for it.  She said, ‘Okay, cool.’  If Pink thinks something is interesting, she’ll say, ‘Let’s do it.’  She doesn’t care about her hair.  She’s there for you.  It’s fantastic.”

Pink met Weber after she caught her doing thing in a Cher concert.  “She has the same manager, and she told him, ‘I want to do that.  I can do that.’   She was a gymnast as a kid, so she does have an aptitude for it, and she’s strong.  But most of all, she’s got the determination.  The first tour we did, she basically learned everything she needed to learn within eight hours.  I’ve told her since then, ‘Just because you’re fast, that’s not necessarily the best way.’  It is a life-threatening proposition, and you’ve got to be meticulous and cover every possible scenario including equipment failure, power failures…”

Pink did take a fall in Germany this past July, but came away unharmed.  Cher is currently “doing an aerial entrance on an apparatus I dreamed up for her Las Vegas show.  That took seven years of a relationship for everyone to trust that it would work,” Weber says.  “She’s never been a gymnast, she’s not a kid, so it’s very serious.”

No wonder Weber says that her work with celebs — “with any human being you put in the air” — sometimes leads to sleepless nights.

“I never forget the risk,” says Weber, who is currently performing in Teatro ZinZanni’s “Hail Caesar” in San Francisco — while gearing up for the release of her “A Marine Story” film.  “I never forget the reality of how dangerous it is.  But, knock wood, no one’s ever gotten hurt on my shows.”