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Weezer (Teal Album) and Weezer (Black Album)


Weezer (Teal Album) and Weezer (Black Album)

The American rock band Weezer released two albums within two months of each other early this year, both named Weezer, although one is known as the “Teal Album” and one is known as the “Black Album.”

The band, comprising Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) musicians Rivers Cuomo, Patrick Wilson, Brian Bell, and Scott Shriner, released its 12th album, the Teal Album, digitally on January 24, through Crush Music and Atlantic Records with a retail release on March 8. The album is composed of cover songs, including Toto’s “Africa,” Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” and Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me.” The record was announced and released on the same day as a surprise precursor to Weezer’s 13th studio album, the Black Album, which was released on March 1.

The Black Album’s songs were entirely written on piano by frontman Cuomo for the first time in Weezer history. With band members switching up instruments in the studio, and choruses filtered through musical references of everything from Gorillaz to Can to Pink Floyd, the Black Album is a unique addition to Weezer’s discography.

Local 47 Celebrates Grand Opening


With construction on phase 1 of the new Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) Burbank headquarters complete, around 300 musicians, dignitaries, and friends turned up on May 21 to celebrate. The evening began with a rousing drumline of students from the Burbank Unified High School Marching Band. Everyone gathered in a giant tent set up in the building’s parking lot. AFM Local 47 President John Acosta and Vice President Rick Baptist acted as masters of ceremony for the evening filled with good wishes and excellent music.

“As we begin a new chapter here in Burbank, we will continue to advocate for professional musicians,” says Acosta. “Whether it be for film and television tax incentives to bring jobs back to the state of California, to advocate for more funding for our orchestras through the National Endowment for the Arts, or for fair pay for musicians performing in nightclubs, Local 47 will continue to be the voice of the professional musician in our new home for many, many years to come.”

Among the invited dignitaries who spoke at the opening were AFM Secretary-Treasurer Jay Blumenthal; Burbank Chamber of Commerce President Gema Sanchez; Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy; Jason Maruca from the office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger; Pamela Marcello, district representative for Congressman Adam Schiff; Victoria Dochoghlian, field representative for Assemblymember Laura Friedman; and Arda Tchakian, district representative for Senator Anthony J. Portantino. Serena Kay Williams, secretary-treasurer emeritus, shared memories of joining Local 47 in downtown Los Angeles and attending the 1950 grand opening of its previous Vine Street location.

Guests were entertained by a quartet made up of Los Angeles Philharmonic musicians, as well as the Mike Barone Big Band, featuring special guest soloist Rickey Woodard on tenor sax, all of them Local 47 members. Each received a commemorative grand opening program book.

Guests were invited on guided tours of the 25,000-square-foot facility, which included the Local 47 financial offices, state-of-the-art rehearsal rooms, a recording studio, and an artists’ lounge. Phase 2 construction will include a multi-purpose space, which will serve as an auditorium and meeting hall.

In Historic Victory, Los Angeles Times Votes to Unionize

On Friday, January 19, journalists at the Los Angeles Times voted overwhelmingly, 248-44 in favor of a union. It’s a milestone for the 136-year-old paper that historically has been under management hostile to unionization.

Through their membership in the News Guild-Communications Workers of America, LA Times reporters and staff members, all “at-will employees” without benefits, can now focus on negotiating job protections. There are few reporters who have not felt the “specter of layoffs,” says reporter Carolina Miranda. The LA Times, which employs about 500 newsroom employees—down from 1,200 at the turn of the millennium—has experienced multiple layoffs and buyouts, including a mass layoff of 250 people in 2008.

According to Dave Roeder, a consultant for the Chicago News Guild, “[The LA Times union drive] has prompted a lot of discussion among journalists here in Chicago who are not in the union. Is it a time to organize so we can better advocate for ourselves with ownership? In the difficult state of this business, you find old-line media that are in the hands of owners who may not have journalism as a core principle; they might just be interested in mining the company for assets, selling what they can, and leaving the rest. The case for being in a union in this field, in particular, is very clear right now.”

LA Philharmonic Reaches Five-Year Agreement

In mid-August, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s musicians and management announced that an agreement was reached for a new five-year labor contract, which goes into effect September 18. Highlights of the contract include annual increases to the musicians’ minimum weekly scale wages, reaching $3,168 in the final year of the contract; and new health care plan offerings that will help to manage costs.

“One of the core functions of the AFM is to negotiate contracts that deliver improvements in the lives of working musicians,” says Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) President John Acosta. “We are pleased to announce that our negotiating committee, made up of elected members of the orchestra and working with union staff and legal counsel, has reached an agreement with the Los Angeles Philharmonic that delivers on that promise. This new agreement builds upon the tradition of LA Phil contracts that set the bar for pay, benefits, and respect for musicians in the United States.”