Following Setbacks, Climate Activists Rethink Their Approach

Climate-focused shareholder activists have scored only a few victories in their efforts to push oil giants to adopt cleaner business strategies.
Following Setbacks, Climate Activists Rethink Their Approach

The clock is ticking. As of last Thursday, the Treasury Department’s cash balance was at a six-year low of less than $39 billion. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen now reckons that the government will run out of money on June 5.

Private gigs — “privates,” in music industry lingo — are seemingly popping up everywhere, from charity galas in Manhattan to luxury hotel openings in the Persian Gulf. Bankrolled by the ultrarich and companies, these intimate star-studded performances are off-limits to the general public.

The private has become a reliable moneymaker for both chart-toppers and performers well past their prime, Evan Osnos writes in an entertaining, f-bomb-filled article in The New Yorker that opens with Flo Rida, the rapper, playing a bar mitzvah in Lincolnshire, an affluent Chicago suburb.

For years, the world of privates was dominated by aging crooners, a category known delicately as “nostalgia performers.” Jacqueline Sabec, an entertainment lawyer in San Francisco, who has negotiated many private-gig contracts, told me, “Artists used to say no to these all the time, because they just weren’t cool.”

But misgivings have receded dramatically. In January, Beyoncé did her first show in more than four years — not in a stadium of screaming fans but at a new hotel in Dubai, earning a reported $24 million for an hourlong set.

Few turn down the money from doing a private nowadays, with Jennifer Lopez, Maroon 5 and Eric Clapton all agreeing to them. Even younger artists don’t fear any stigma from what one agent said is ultimately a situation where “it’s a convention or a party, and you just happen to be making noise at one end of it.”

But some continue to resist, Mr. Osnos writes, including Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift and, “for reasons that nobody can quite clarify,” AC/DC.