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Having in a previous life edited publications and written speeches for the Grammy organization, I can vouch for the fact that awards shows are funny animals. And as we prep for our first-ever Indy Music Awards Festival, which is coming up on Sept. 8, I thought I'd share one of the stranger moments in my personal award-show history.

At the time, I was editing a music magazine, one whose annual California Music Awards had gotten big enough to be held at San Francisco's Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

Near the end of one year's ceremony, the paper's owner got up on stage, grabbed the mic and excitedly began raving about how we'd just seen Chris Isaak and a bunch of other artists (whose names I've subconsciously repressed), and what more could we possibly want?

Did we want to see bandleader Dick Bright ride out on an elephant?

Bright — a kind of poor man's Paul Shaffer — then entered the auditorium riding a very large pachyderm, at which point my wife turned to me and made me promise that we'd never go to an awards show again.

We've since divorced, and custody of the award-show legacy has apparently gone to me. I think next Thursday's event is going to be great, and I hope you'll enjoy the interviews and profiles in our special preview package, which starts here.

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