I suppose we can't complain too much about the grinding tedium of the Monster Cable awards show - it was advertised as an exercise in self-congratulatory vendor-stroking, and that's what it turned out to be. The most excruciating moment came when Monster CEO Noel Lee requested from the stage that Stevie Wonder lead the crowd in singing "Happy Birthday" in honor of Monster's 30th anniversary. The spotlight and the closed-circuit cameras found Stevie in the crowd, who clearly felt ambushed by the request and, after a minute or so consulting with his people, declined. Nice way to treat a musical legend who graciously agreed to attend even though he's undoubtedly got better things to do with his time. What kind of chutzpah does it take to embarrass Stevie Wonder by asking him in front of hundreds of people to sing "Happy Birthday" to you? Shall he feed you grapes and fan you with a palm frond, too, Noel?
But another Motown legend was there to sing, and boy, did she ever. Diana Ross conquered the stage in bushels of taffeta and a voice far stronger and sweeter than we expected from a 64-year-old woman. No copping out with a short, lazy set here; although we didn't deserve it, we were treated to cracking renditions of all the hits, complete with three costume changes. And she maintained her megawatt charisma even when she was struggling with an uncooperative wardrobe, calling on security to remove unauthorized professional photographers from the front of the stage, and encouraging fans to snap phone pics. Even in a cheesy hotel ballroom full of overfed sales reps, Miss Ross was nothing less than Miss Ross.
Everybody went home happy, especially
champion Monster distributor for the North-Central Region award thief Dave Rutledge.
He'd like to thank all the little people
More reflections of you and me are on our CES 2009 page.
photos by Dave Rutledge, except that last one, obviously