Red Dragon Listening Room reaping benefits from ‘Newsweek’ plug

    Weekly news magazines may not enjoy the prominence and widespread readership they once had, but a positive plug in a well-known periodical can still mean big exposure.

    Just ask Chris Maxwell, who owns the Red Dragon Listening Room, one of the best-kept secrets on the Baton Rouge cultural scene. After Newsweek named the Red Dragon one of the top 10 music meccas in the world—and the only one in the U.S.—Maxwell’s email box blew up with requests from artists wanting to showcase their talents on the stage of his Florida Boulevard venue.

    “Within 48 hours, we had 300 requests for bookings,” Maxwell says. “Some were kind of bizarre. Some were international. We had a group from Iceland that wanted to come.”

    The Red Dragon, which operates as a not for profit and turns over its proceeds to its performers, didn’t end up booking most of the interested acts, Maxwell says, But then, it didn’t really need to; there’s already a six-month waiting list to land a date on its schedule.

    Where the Newsweek writeup did prove beneficial was in helping with exposure and fundraising.

    “After the article came out, our roof failed and the price of a new one was $35,000,” Maxwell says. “One of our patrons, knowing we were in dire straits, donated $10,000. Then, after the first of the year, he gave us another $10,000.”

    Though the article, entitled “Music Meccas Around the World You Need to See,” generated the kind of publicity money can’t buy, Maxwell wasn’t able to actually find a print edition of the Nov.14 Newsweek until two weeks ago. Until then, he’d only seen the story online.

    “It’s great,” he says. “When you open it, it’s the centerfold spread and we’re the very first one on the page.”

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