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Posts Tagged ‘Random House’

For more than a year I’ve commented ranted about the various motorcycle rallies and the city council fiascos.

Many concerned city governments do their best to dissuade motorcycle rallies altogether using a series of tactics designed to run off motorcycle tourism.  By raising vendor and booth fee’s or trying to rein things in with stricter vendor rules or outright banning activity.  And if that doesn’t work they’ll pull the “P” card…exorbitant costs for policing the event to protect against the villain that doesn’t exist.

There have been boycotts by motorcycle enthusiasts, public forums, petitions, protests, organizations formed, news reports, and lawsuits filed (Myrtle Beach for example) so, I backed off on beating this dead horse which had begun to dominate my posts. I won’t say motorcyclists lost because we are still riding when, where, and how we want to, but some of the cities got their wish and several rallies were cancelled or downsized to the point where riders washed their hands of the whole thing.

Well, frankly I’m over it and looking forward to Laughlin River Run 2010.  If all goes well I will be saddling up in April.  I’ve attended this rally in various forms nine of the last 10 years.

Our posse is like most Laughlin River Run visitors in most cities that host motorcycle events. We don’t belong to a club or motorcycle gang. We don’t ride recklessly because we want to make it home in one piece. We aren’t going to walk out on our check or assault your families. Hotel furniture remains unbroken!  Several in the posse own a family business. And most all have worked their way up the ladder and been in management at a number of white collar companies.  All are family men and just looking to get away from the work-a-day world for a few days. We’ll spend money on lodging, we’ll go to restaurants, we’ll shop the vendors, we’ll have a few laughs, smoke a cigar or two and then we’ll go home. We’re the same people that cities work to get our tourist dollars, but have tried just as hard to run off as “villains.”

I read an article in, the Feb. 10 edition of The Sun News who reported that “For the first time in many years, hospitality revenue didn’t grow in Myrtle Beach in 2009, leaving the city with a larger-than-normal financial gap to overcome to balance its budget.” I told you so, Myrtle Beach.  But in reality we could [insert any city name USA here!] rather than Myrtle Beach.

Call my crazy, but here’s a novel idea for the Pacific Northwest Chambers of Commerce…in your city’s Chamber of Commerce embrace the, well… commerce, generated by the motorcycle rallies and maybe even play a key role in promoting them.  Yes, there will be times when city officials will have to deal with some complaints of congestion and noise. Instead of pulling the plug on tourist dollars hold the elected officials, heads of law enforcement, and Chamber of Commerce feet to the fire and ask them to do their jobs and address the issues.

Almost a year ago there was a CNN article where Kevin Kilian (Sr. VP of Daytona Beach/Halifax Area Chamber of Commerce) stated that their spring (Bike Week) and fall (Biketoberfest) motorcycle rallies generate $650 million dollars a year.

Could the same be true here the northwest?

Photo courtesy of Random House and Chip and Dan Heath.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
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queen_bookI won’t attempt to make sweeping comments about another outlaw motorcycle “club” undercover “tell-all” novel.  There are so many styles and flavors these days and when a reader interacts with a book they are not only served a story, but often feel connected to the writer.

The Under and Alone novel is different because of movie rights, but more on that in a minute.

The back story is the novel is based on the real life of William Queen, a motorcycle enthusiast who successfully penetrated the San Fernando Valley chapter of the Mongols Motorcycle “club” using an identity of “Billy St. John.”  After becoming a fully “patched” member, he eventually rose to the level of chapter Vice-President and treasurer where he had access to the clubs activity of which some was criminal.  In the book, Queen details how, after 28 months in the club he began to battle the conflicts both within the club and within himself as the isolation of the work made him feel the Mongols were his family.

What makes the story compelling is that Queen spent twenty years as a Special Agent with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).  He was a Vietnam War veteran serving with the U.S. Army Special Forces and was awarded the Silver Star during his 1971 tour of duty. After his military service, he devoted his entire career to law enforcement.  Early operations involved infiltrating the Aryan Nation and the Ku Klux Klan organizations.

William Queen

William Queen

Despite his nickname, “Billy the Slow-Brain”, he was successful in gathering evidence resulting in a series of raids in May 2000 by almost 700 LEO’s in four states.  His efforts led to the arrest and conviction of 54 club members.  Queen was awarded the Federal Bar Association’s Medal of Honor for his successful involvement with the Mongols.  After the club member trials, Queen retired from the ATF, and then wrote the book while in the witness protection program.

Here’s where it gets interesting.  In 2003, while the book was still only a draft, film rights were sold for $1M to Icon Productions, the Hollywood production company owned by Mel Gibson.  The book became a bestseller upon its release in 2005, and the movie adaptation, will have Gibson himself playing Queen.  The movie is scheduled for release by Warner Bros in 2010.  This would be the first project that Gibson takes the lead role in, since the 2003 movie Signs.  Gibson will not direct the movie, instead Gregor Jordan (Ned Kelly) and Antoine Fuqua (Shooter, Training Day) have been hired to direct.  The book is being adapted by Ned Zeman and Daniel Barnz.

Consumer spending drives demand. The profitability of individual companies depends on creativity, marketing, and distribution of quality movie content and time will tell if this subject matter is something the public wants to consume. Gibson has been a lightning rod for controversy of late, but this role could bring him back into the mainstream vernacular like the Vietnam War drama We Were Soldiers and Payback did.  Who knows.

Photo courtesy William Queen/Random House.

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