Los Angeles Audio Show Cancelled!!!

The Los Angeles Audio Show (LAAS), scheduled for June 8–10 in Orange County, opposite the John Wayne International Airport at the former sites of T.H.E. Show, seems to have been cancelled. Although the LAAS website briefly contained a note that conversations were in progress about the possibility of the show being saved by the Los Angeles & Orange County Audio Society (LAOCAS), that note has now been removed.

The website's front page contains most of the contents of a mass email that announced the cancellation. The email is from LAAS owner/organizer Marine Presson, 26, who sent it out on May 2 at 9:4pm PDT.

With the understanding that analysis of what has led to this development appears below, here are the contents of Presson's email. Introduced by a quote from Justin St. Vincent, a Christian faith writer who is Director/Founder of Xtreme Music, the email includes a photo of Presson wearing the t-shirt that she is now marketing on her new website. The message reads in full:

An Open Letter to the Industry. LAAS Cancelled.

Dear Industry Friends,

It is with sadness and regrets that I announce the cancellation of the 2018 LA Audio Show—Orange County. Refunds will start to be issued immediately to those exhibitors who have already paid deposits and/or full remittances for space and other services. These refunds will be in the form of checks and will arrive by USPS Mail to the address provided on contracts. Attendee tickets will be refunded through the system they were purchased.

Once more, I remind you that as Robert Evans stated, "There are 3 sides to every story: Your side, my side, and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each differently," but he also stated that "any man who thinks he knows the mind of a woman is a man who knows nothing," so please allow me to touch briefly on what has changed since my last note.

There have been a series of events—much like "Murphy's Law" or even "God's Plan" both on the professional and personal level—that has overtaken my ability to perform at the level I expect of myself and the industry deserves. I put in the maximum efforts I could to absorb the chaos and protect the community, but I have run out of fuel in every sense of the word. My shoulders can no longer bear this weight.

It has been an honor and privilege to carry on the legacy of my mentor, Richard Beers. I have sought to do right by him by keeping his traditions and adding innovations I believed to be vital to the future of our industry. It was always my hope that Richard's divided inheritance would be unified again in the end, and for me, it has been evident that this year presented multiple opportunities to end the separation and I could no longer ignore the dangerous reality of our circumstances. It is my sincere belief that while the lessons and blessings earned were worth everything and part of His plan, I must also admit this LAAS should never have been created, to begin with. We should have collectively worked harder to stay unified in our efforts, and I hope that is how you are able to collectively move forward at this time.

With that said, I urge all those who can, to make arrangements to support The Home Entertainment Show, June 1–3, 2018 at the Marriott Irvine Spectrum Hotel. I am truly apologetic for any inconveniences this may cause the industry.

At the same time, I still fervently believe in the power of music to make lives better and I do believe that high-fidelity reproduction has merit for making that experience even better. I still believe the future success of high-fidelity audio lies in a mainstream approach that connects all generations and budgets which is why we intended on following a new direction.

I also believe that the recent Pulitzer Prize awarded to Kendrick Lamar is recognition of this universality. Hip-Hop has been around for decades, but somehow this Award "legitimizes" it and allows it to take its place as an authentic musical style rather than an aberrant offshoot of music. As Dana Canedy, the administrator of the prizes said, "The time was right. . . It shines a light on hip-hop in a completely different way. This is a big moment for hip-hop music. . ." It is evident, to me and select others, that our world is moving in a new direction and it is my sincere hope that those who continue to run audio shows in the future will understand and acknowledge what I believe to be truths and continue to expand on what we had begun.

As for me, since I am left with nothing but myself and a roof over my head by a very loving and generous Father, I will be writing a blog sharing my story of faith. I do not know what is next but I do know that I have much healing to do—mental, physical, emotional—and need to recharge my batteries so that I may apply my energy, creativity, and passion in a way that serves God and fulfills my life purpose to inspire Humanity towards peace and unconditional love.

I am truly grateful for all of you, for all the lessons and blessings, and I look forward to perhaps meeting and working with you again in a different capacity. I wish much success to T.H.E. Show Newport and its patrons and truly hope that Richard's legacy will be honored for years to come.

It has been an honor serving you. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13 (NIV)

You may follow my new journey at www.LifesBeenMystique.com

Sincerely, Marine de Rogez-Presson

Background and Analysis
Needless to say, this development has taken virtually all registrants of the near-capacity show by surprise. On one chain of Facebook posts which appeared on the night of May 3, staunch LAAS supporter Bob Levi, President of LAOCAS, stated, "We are as confused as you are. Two weeks ago at our last event she reported all was well. Very confusing!" If Levi is indeed working behind the scenes to resurrect the show, it is no wonder that he has not responded to calls and emails from Stereophile.

Here's what led up to this astounding 11th hour cancellation. In 2016, there was only one audio show in Southern California, T.H.E. Show Newport, which was scheduled for June 3–5 in the Hotel Irvine. T.H.E. Show was run by Richard Beers, who founded the original T.H.E. Show in Las Vegas as an alternative audio showcase for potential CES exhibitors. For several years, Beers mounted two T.H.E. Shows per year, one in Las Vegas, and the other in Southern California's Orange County Newport Beach/Irvine area.

Following Beers' unexpected death from cancer, in January 2016—a death that was not announced to the public for several months—his longtime close friend, Maurice Jung, stepped in to fulfill Beers's wishes and the make the T.H.E. Show 2016 a reality. According to Jung, who continues to run T.H.E. Show, it was he who put up the money to keep the show going while Beers's funds were tied up for multiple months until the estate got out of probate.

Before he died, Beers had engaged Presson, who worked at the Atrium Hotel in Las Vegas where part of T.H.E. Show was initially held, to help him mount T.H.E Show 2016 at the Hotel Irvine. After Beers died, Jung engaged Presson to help him run T.H.E. Show 2016.

Shortly after the very successful T.H.E. Show 2016 concluded, Presson and Levi announced that they and LAOCAS had parted ways with Jung. Investors who were identified as The Orion Group engaged Presson to coordinate a new show, the Los Angeles Audio Show (LAAS), which LAOCAS agreed to sponsor. Levi and Presson announced that LAAS would take place June 2–4, 2017 at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, adjacent to LAX. While the new LAAS attracted over 100 exhibitors, post-show complaints about the venue, organization, and attendance appear to have been so great as to motivate a change of venue for 2018 to the sites of the former T.H.E. Show in Newport Beach.

Once plans for LAAS has begun, Jung announced that T.H.E. Show would continue, on September 22–24, 2017, in Anaheim. Then, at the 11th hour, on September 6, 2017 , T.H.E. Show Anaheim was postponed due to limited participation, a cash crunch, concern for the experience of exhibitors and attendees, and Jung's commitment to care for Beers' surviving partner, Beverly Harber. Harber, whom Jung has identified as the behind-the-scenes glue and emergency bankroller who kept T.H.E. Show going during difficult times in Beers's life, had moved into Jung's home, and was in the end stages of cancer. She died shortly thereafter, in November 2017.

Although rumors abounded about the identity of The Orion Group, Jason Lord, owner of S. CA retailer The Source A/V, told Stereophile by phone that he served as the intermediary who connected The Orion Group with Presson. He identifies The Orion Group as "a group of audio professionals who produced the American Express Concert Tours."

"They're really good guys whom I knew because I used to be in that business," he said. "After LAAS took place in 2017, they disagreed with what was happening, recovered their original investment, and gave everything to Marine." In short, LAAS was now solely in Presson's hands. Lord, as a McIntosh dealer, continued to work with Presson to help put together McIntosh's first McIntosh Audio Clinic/McMasters Class for consumers.

Presson was clearly under a lot of pressure. Personal issues, including a divorce, made it increasingly difficult for her to manage the show from her home in Littleton, CO. On April 18, she sent out a personal note to "Industry Friends" from "Marine de Rogez-Presson, Show President of LAAS.

That message began, "I am writing to you with a delicate but necessary, and more importantly, optimistic update on the LA Audio Show, taking place June 7–10, 2018. As Robert Evans stated, 'There are 3 sides to every story: Your side, my side, and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each differently,' but he also said that 'any man who thinks he knows the mind of a woman is a man who knows nothing,' so please allow me to share '"

Presson went on to dispel rumors about her inability to manage LAAS, and assured everyone that "today I am back in the driver seat." She also introduced a new assistant, whom she identified only as Donna. The email continued:

"I have complete confidence in the direction we are taking today because 1) I have taken my time to seriously and carefully reflect on all the successes and lessons, 2) I've put in the work to learn how it best comes together, and not, and 3) I've done my due diligence of seeking to understand what it is the industry wishes to manifest at this turn of the century."

What the industry will manifest in the Southern California audio shows department remains TBD. Jung says he already has 45 exhibitors for T.H.E. Show Newport, which is scheduled for June 1-3, 2018 in the Marriott Irvine Spectrum, and expects a good 25 more. At this point, that list has yet to be confirmed or posted to his website.

Will Jung be able to successfully resurrect T.H.E. Show and produce a viable alternative/rival? Please stay tuned to this network for the next episode of, "As The Shows Turn (Over and Over) in LaLaLand."

COMMENTS
Anton's picture

There's an old saying about romance that 'relationships end in the same manner that they were forged.'

This seems like the case here.

Invoking God in this mess, tossing in some superficial scriptural platitude, and then plugging a personal T-shirt selling website on the way out complete the picture, for me.

I wish Maurice Jung a good show!

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

with more step-by-step developments, is authored by Michael Fremer here: https://www.analogplanet.com/content/dazed-and-confused—laas-audio-show-cancelled-and-not-due-lack-interest Because this link is so long, please copy and paste it into your browser.

dalethorn's picture

Your link didn't work but this does:

https://www.analogplanet.com/content/dazed-and-confused—laas-audio-show-cancelled-and-not-due-lack-interest

Oops - sorry - the link isn't posting correctly here. Just go to analog planet and it's at the top.

Habanero Monk's picture

Here is the TinyURL https://tinyurl.com/ycmv86yj

dalethorn's picture

Disclaimer: Not a religious statement below.

As this Marine person is now on a Christian (apparently) journey of self-discovery, I'm reminded of a TV series on a similar theme taking place in the First Century, where the Romans are about to bring a large statue/idol into the temple, and the high priest is asking everyone to help repel the thing. The new Christians tell the priest that they no longer have an obligation to the temple since they are now on a new spiritual path.

The high priest then admonishes them "Do you think only of yourselves, and have no concern for your other brothers and sisters who are here to defend against this incursion?" Long story short, the new believers subsequently have an attack of conscience and they join the defense of the temple.

This is what came to my mind, and it's not saying that Marine is wrong to drop the project, since I don't know her circumstances. But I wonder....

dalethorn's picture

I wrote the above when I didn't know about Fremer's article. I just wanted to add that Fremer hit the nail squarely on the head.

MontanaMontanaDana's picture

Let's stone the donkey too immature to carry the load in order to absolve those who burdened it, and then ignored the signs of its distress.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

People are starting to talk about this. Bob Levi has now stated on Facebook that Presson bought The Orion Group's shares and self-funded the now cancelled 2018 show. This, however, was anything but common knowledge amongst people who signed on for 2018.

Everyone is trying to point the finger and blame someone for what happened. While Presson certainly bears the brunt of responsibility - she certainly could have hired a management company to help her along - the truth seems to be that most people who signed on did not question what was going on. Which is understandable, given that LAAS 2017, despite some glaring problems that are endemic to first-time shows, came to pass.

Allen Fant's picture

Agreed- MF is spot on!

spacehound's picture

They only exist to promote stuff. And if you are a member of the 'public', if they let you in at all they charge you for the 'privilege' of having stuff promoted to you.

dalethorn's picture

Good point. If it's supposed to be a restricted or trade show that's one thing, but if anyone is complaining about lack of interest in the high end, they might want to reach out to some of the hoi polloi. And BTW, there are plenty of people who try to control audio discussion forums to keep out what they consider to be the riffraff, so it all ties together.

bilguana's picture

We enjoyed the show at the LAX Sheraton Show last June. We hope it can return there. There is too much impacted traffic to go to Irvine. Plus there is no public transportation to get there.

Moskose's picture

...T.H.E.Show

Is it possible that the troops will rally around the alternate show so those of us from out of town (who were coming anyway for a 10-day family visit) can still satisfy their desire to enjoy something we can't enjoy at home?

sara023's picture
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