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Marijke Rowland: Tough times, but folks still need their nights out

Recording artist Lisa Lisa plays Oct. 17 at the Palladium.
Recording artist Lisa Lisa plays Oct. 17 at the Palladium.

This is a heck of a time to try to separate folks from their money, especially for stuff that isn't rent, utilities and loaves of bread.

But for promoters like Modesto native Everett Hunter, it just means getting more personal. The man behind entertainment promotions company EH Presents said that while business is down, it's still good.

His next big show brings freestyle pop star Lisa Lisa (minus the Cult Jam) to the Palladium tonight (tickets are $20, doors open at 8) Lisa Lisa is know for such '80s hits as "Head to Toe" and "Lost in Emotion." Hunter said the show is on pace to sell out by showtime for the 700-person capacity space.

But to get there, Hunter said, he and all promoters have to work harder. He said the economy has cut into his business by about 20 percent.

"It has affected us, but it was also good for us because it allowed us to be more creative and more patron-friendly," he said.

On his recently revamped Web site, ehpresents.com, Hunter offers free drink tokens for those who sign up. He also has offered discounts and other perks to keep customers coming.

Formed in April as a limited liability company, EH Presents books shows from Sacramento to Fresno and the Bay Area. But it and Hunter's main objective is the Central Valley, particularly his hometown. He has offices in Modesto, Stockton and Sacramento.

In town, he has worked with the Palladium, Fat Cat Music House & Lounge, State Theatre, Carver Concert Hall and Modesto Sports Bar.

Like other promoters, he said knowing the area is key to succeeding.

"The valley is more of a walk-up crowd. Sometimes you can bite your nails off waiting for people to come," he said. "Promoters from out of town come one time and leave. It's a difficult market to promote."

Still, Hunter has had big success, like his sold-out Flavor Flav's Block Party in August and nearly sold-out Pitbull performance at Latin Fest in September.

Coming up for EH Presents is Groove-A-Tude, Oct. 26 at Doc's "Q" N Pit Stop; the Latino Comedy Jam Part I, Nov. 8 at Carver; Whip Lash metal show at the Palladium, Nov. 13; and the Exposure Fashion Show in December at Carver.

"We're a really diverse company and are always looking for people to tell us what they want to see so they don't have to go to the Bay Area or to the casinos," Hunter said, "so they can stay right here in Modesto."

Elsewhere around the Scene:

The grand-opening party for the new Aqua Lounge & Bistro has been postponed.

The celebration of the new restaurant and club at the old Aqua Shi site was scheduled for tonight. Slated to appear were Playboy model Jillian Beyor and "Real World: Sydney" star Shauvon Torres. Find out more at myspace.com/aquamodesto.

Give a little, get a lot tonight at the Queen Bean. Area rockers Anthem will hold a canned-food drive to benefit Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The all-ages free show starts at 7 p.m. Anthem frontman Terry Coleman said the performance will be dedicated to friends Kaye Roberts and Terri, from the band The Plastics, who are both battling the disease. Spanish rockers La Magdalena also will perform More at myspace.com/anthem.

Looking to experiment this weekend?

Check out experimental rockers Fear Before (formerly Fear Before the March of Flames) along with I Am the Ocean and Exotic Animal Petting Zoo on Saturday at Modesto Virtual. Show's at 7 p.m. Call 522-6398.

And finally, check out the follow-up release of Oakdale native Brett Dennen next week. The singer/songwriter, who has toured with John Mayer, Suzanne Vega and Ben Folds, releases "Hope for the Hopeless" on Tuesday. It follows his breakthrough album, "So Much More," which had songs featured on hit TV shows like "Grey's Anatomy" and "House." Read more about Dennen on Tuesday in Fun Stuff.

Bee entertainment writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or 578-2284. Read her blog SceneIt at thehive.modbee.com/sceneit.

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