“No, Joan Rivers will not be appearing,” the secretary was explaining over the telephone when Sylvia Cunliffe, producer of the Los Angeles Street Scene Festival, overheard.
“Don’t say that,” Cunliffe shouted from her City Hall office. “She will be appearing.”
The confused secretary put the caller on hold as Cunliffe, general manager of the city’s General Services Department, briefed her on yet another schedule change in the two-day festival, which attracted nearly 1 million visitors to the Civic Center last year.
As late as Thursday, a harried Cunliffe and her cadre of aides were juggling schedules, revising programs and nailing down last-minute details for the eighth annual Street Scene Festival, which runs Saturday and Sunday in the 13-block Los Angeles Civic Center.
Joan Rivers is indeed on the program for a 5:30 p.m. appearance on Saturday at the festival’s Times Plaza Stage, one of 21 festival stages featuring such stars as Richard Pryor, Stevie Wonder, Jackson Browne, Tierra, James Brown and Bill Withers.
The entertainers are appearing largely through the efforts of Mayor Tom Bradley, who hosted a luncheon for show business managers and agents several months ago and asked them for help providing talent for this year’s festival, a Street Scene spokeswoman said.
Festival organizers are again expecting more than 1 million visitors this year, and nearly all of them should be able to find music to their liking among the symphony orchestra, jazz, country, rhythm and blues and ethnic music groups that will give 300 live performances.
Attractions also will include shows for children, strolling clowns, comedy acts, 150 arts and crafts booths and a panorama of ethnic food on sale throughout the festival area, bounded by Broadway and Aliso, Alameda and 1st streets.
Festivities actually get under way Friday evening with an invitation-only “Opening Night Gala” on the south lawn of City Hall. About 1,000 guests will be entertained by a Polynesian revue flown in from Hawaii and will dine on roast pig, ribs and chicken.
Spring Street will be closed between 1st and Temple streets on Friday for the City Hall gala. Broadway, Spring, Main, Los Angeles, San Pedro and Temple streets will be closed between 1st and Aliso all day Saturday and Sunday, except for a half block of Los Angeles Street near 1st, which will remain open to allow access to underground parking at City Hall East and the Civic Center Mall. The north side of 1st Street between Broadway and San Pedro Street will also be closed.
Portions of Broadway and 1st, Hope and Temple streets will be closed Sunday morning for the festival’s 3 1/2-hour parade, which steps off at 10 a.m. with marching bands, drill teams, equestrian units, folk dancers, a children’s chorus and floats.
A plan by KMEX-TV to broadcast a telethon from the festival site to raise funds for Mexican earthquake relief fell through on Wednesday, the day after news accounts of an agreement between the city and the station appeared.
“I checked with top producers who all said the telecast was technically feasible,” Cunliffe said. “But the station, after initially agreeing, said it was not feasible.”
A spokesman for the station said plans to broadcast from the festival were scrapped because “logistically, it just didn’t work out.” Instead, KMEX-TV will broadcast the 12-hour telethon from its studios on Sunday, with a camera at the festival to feed live segments to the station.
American Red Cross volunteers will collect contributions for Mexican earthquake relief at several locations at the festival, Cunliffe said.
While the lost telecast is disappointing, Cunliffe remained enthusiastic about new features at this year’s festival: a fireworks display at 9 p.m. Saturday that will be “choreographed” to music broadcast simultaneously over KMGG-FM, a Mexican program featuring rancheras sung by various local groups, a drawing for a Pontiac Fiero, and an expanded carnival with larger, more daring rides.
The festival’s $700,000 budget was provided by General Motors’ Pontiac Division, Camel cigarettes, Coors beer, California Cooler, Denny’s restaurants, Xerox Corp., Kal Kan Foods, Mogen David Kosher Meat Products, Pepsi Cola and Chipwich.
Showcase for Fun
“The festival is a showcase of how people can get together and have a couple of fun days with free, quality entertainment,” said festival board member Willie Davis. “Free entertainment is almost non-existent today.”
Davis, a former All-Pro defensive end with the Green Bay Packers and now owner of a beer distribution business in Los Angeles, launched the idea for a festival after spotting Mayor Bradley aboard an airliner in 1977.
After persuading stewardesses to allow Bradley to leave his seat in the coach section and join him in first class, Davis told the mayor that Los Angeles should have a festival similar to those held in other cities around the country.
“The mayor expressed some excitement,” Davis said, and invited the National Football League Hall-of-Famer to start one.
“The whole idea was to show off downtown and remove misconceptions about the area,” Davis said. “From that standpoint, this thing has gone an extra mile in bringing millions of people back downtown.” The Stages 1. Federal 2. Rock N Roll* 3. Parker 4. Star Fountain 5. Parthenon 6. Steps 7. Terrace 8. Cloisters 9. Spring Bowl 10. Times Plaza 11. Discovery Parade Stand 12. Broadway East, West* 13. Forum 14. Main 15. Petting Zoo 16. International 17. Totem Pole 18. Triforium 19. Hip Hop Heaven *Two stages within six feet Schedule of Performing Artists Saturday, Sept. 28, 1985 10:00 a.m. 8 Opening Ceremonies 15 Goat Milking/Clown Act 19 DJ Michael Khalfani-Contest Registration, until noon 10:30 a.m. 1 Big Shots 8 Carib Tokyo Steel Orchestra 11:00 a.m. 2 Sixty Nine 3 Morris Donaldson’s Dance Theatre 5 Clue 6 Folklorico America 9 Aman Folk Ensemble 12 Witcher Brothers 13 Immortals 14 Phast Phreddie & the Precisions 15 Exotic Animals-Wildlife Waystation 18 Mariachi Atotonilco Strolling: Boss Clown 11:30 a.m. 1 Con Safos 2 Cambridge Apostles 7 Richmond Shepard Mime Theatre 10 Hooters 12 Smokewood 16 Karpatok Hungarian Folk Ensemble 17 Inca Music & Dancers of Peru 12:00 p.m. 2 Undercover 3 Soul Train Dancers 4 Peggy Gilbert’s Dixie Belles 5 Brighton 6 A Show of Hands 9 Children of the World 11 Trapper 12 Hollywood Hillbillys 13 Square Dancers of America 14 Chambers Brothers 15 Dog Training Seminar 18 Ellas Greek Dancers Ensemble 19 Rap Contest Phase I Strolling: Kogo the Clown 12:30 p.m. 1 Califas 2 East of Eden 7 Rhythms of the Village 10 Durrel Coleman 12 Radio Ranch Straight Shooters 16 Tuman Kozacks 17 Aquari String Quartet 19 Soda Pop Kids 1:00 p.m. 2 Separate Beds 3 Adkins Dancers 4 Flin-Ting 5 Kenny Raye 6 City Hearts Performing Arts 8 American Theatre of the Opera 9 L.A. City Youth Band 11 Fiends 12 Kathy Robertson Band 13 Carol Skyers Dance Repertory 14 St. Theodore & the Sinners 15 Exotic Animals-Wildlife Waystation 18 Waverly Dancers 19 Dance Contest Phase I Strolling: Cha Cha the Clown 1:30 p.m. 1 The Odd 2 Dangerous Rhythm 2 Brother Awest 7 Coleman and Stuart 10 Miami Sound Machine 12 James Lee Stanley 16 Floricanto Dance Theatre 17 Spiffy Saxes 19 I-Screams/Kid Shaft 2:00 p.m. 2 Minutemen 3 Steve Archer 4 Arco Iris 5 Holy Sisters of Gaga Dada 6 Les Golan 9 Swingfest 11 General Caine 12 Reach for the Sky 13 Bill Withers 14 Fishbone 15 Goat Milking/Clown Act 18 Korean Class Music & Dance II 19 Rap Contest Phase II Strolling: Yoplait Mime 2:30 p.m. 1 Rudy Regalado/Todos Estrellas 2 Social Distortion 7 I-Can Folk and Mime Company 12 Davis County Line 16 A Sleight Touch 19 Beat Box Contest Phase I 3:00 p.m. 2 Circle Jerks 3 Debbie Boone 4 Horace Tapscott Octett 5 Bartock Lansky 6 L.A. Moving Van and Co. 11 Lions & Ghosts 13 Leon Hughes and the Coasters 14 Billy Vera & the Beaters 15 Dog Training Seminar 18 Nakapaku 19 Bobby, Jimmy & Critters/Arabian Prince 3:30 p.m. 1 Juan Zaizar 2 Fear 7 Teatro de Los Puppets 10 Jo-El Sonnier and Friends 12 Lisa Nemzo 16 Salsa All-Star Show 17 Eagle Rock High School Jazz Band 19 Lady TNT 4:00 p.m. 2 Legal Weapon 3 Italian Stallion and Friends I 5 Red Shoes 6 Anjani Katnak Dame of India 11 Brat 12 Doo Wah Riders 13 Billy Cioffi & the Monte Carlos 14 L.A. Rams Cheerleaders 18 LTD Dance Co. 19 Dance Contest Phase II 4:30 p.m. 4 Phil Upchurch 7 Burbage Theatre for Children 9 L.A. Doctors Symphony Orchestra 12 Whips 17 Ballet Espanol/Pedro Carbajal 19 Youth Break Center/Mega Byte Strolling: Clown Prince Magic Revue 5:00 p.m. 2 Rave-Ups 3 Allen Fawcett-Puttin’ on the Hits 5 The Mutts 6 Robert Gruenberg 11 Zoom Zoom 12 Johnny Vee 13 Tierra 14 Brad Wilson 18 L.A. Choreographers & Dancers 5:30 p.m. 2 Gun and Roses 4 Coke Escovedo 7 Butterfly and the Lotus 10 Joan Rivers with Stevie Wonder 12 Peter Case & Victoria Williams 16 Embra Sambra 17 Folklorico Cuicacalli 19 Rappin Roz 6:00 p.m. 2 New York 6 Firebird Theatre Co. 9 Repertory Dance Theatre of L.A. 11 J Boys 12 Lucinda Williams 13 A Train 14 Mary Poppinz 18 Martin Dancers 19 Beat Box Contest Phase II 6:30 p.m. 2 Fibonaccis 3 Rudy Perez 4 Pocket Watch 5 Lost Pilots 7 Mori Nimba W. African Dance Co. 10 Tower of Power 12 Redwing 16 Wild Cards 17 L.A. Despers Steel Band 19 Rap Contest Phase III 7:00 p.m. 2 Renegade 9 What Is This 12 Black Tie 13 Three O’Clock 14 Precious Metal 18 Jazz Movement Exchange 19 Youth Break Center 7:30 p.m. 2 Zuma II 3 Nina Blanchard-Hollywood Glitter with Charles Nelson Reilly 4 Alain Anthony 5 Breta and the Beats 10 Blasters 12 Byron Berline 16 Jah Moon 17 Philippine Pamanlahi Dance Co. 8:00 p.m. 2 The D.I.S 9 Dwight Yoakam 12 Tin Star 14 Smile 18 Carolina Russek and Co. 19 Dancing 8:30 p.m. 2 Channel Three 3 MVP Group 4 Aman Saamel 5 Taxi 12 Chris Hillman 9:00 p.m. Pyro Circus Fireworks Extravaganza 2 Talk Back 9 Chain Reaction 14 Poison