Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What the heck do I know about running a theatre?

I don't usually respond to anonymous challenges, but this commenter makes a fair point in response to Friday's post about the Elks debacle. I'm putting up a new post because Friday will soon scroll off the front page.

The commenter says:

You state previously, the editor gives no reason except they said so, yet you do the same thing on this piece. What is your expertise here?

You're right, I basically assumed that everyone knows how long I've been working this row.

I've been a technical theatre professional since 1972. I joined IATSE while still in high school, and after college I worked as stage manager to the Grand Rapids (MI) Children's Civic Theatre for three years as my first regular gig. Over the decades I've handled every job in theatre but makeup, from loading trucks to business and artistic management, to method training for actors, to the pit.

My last major gig was designing, building and managing the first two seasons of Arizona Classical Theatre, which involved building the largest temporary structures ever to appear on the Square and Granite Creek Park. Unlike most theatre operations, when I was managing everyone got paid. Not much, but everyone.

I've performed in and produced or helped produce many shows at the Elks, including the musicians' benefit for Katrina victims.

I got involved with the Elks issue when I was a board director on the Prescott Area Arts & Humanities Council, and we were invited into the discussion when Prescott College abandoned its lease and the Arizona Foundation was looking to unload the theatre. Along with other theatre and arts professionals, I looked into the integrity of the building and its economic viability, resulting in a PAAHC recommendation that the City reacquire the Elks and turn its operation over to a nonprofit to run.

The City Council under Mayor Sam Steiger took our ideas and tossed out the parts that would make it work. There's a long story there and since, but I'll skip that rant for now.

A few years ago I wrote an overview to help clarify the situation at the Elks for Read It Here, part of which is still online here.

I still work occasionals as a stagehand at Yavapai College Performance Hall, just to keep my hand in. It's not something you give up before you're dead.

I hope this answers the question.

Another Wednesday

What are you puttering around with today?

Editorial: Hurtling health care train needs to slow up

Some of the commenters have already pointed out that the unnamed Courier editor's "hurtling" train has been an awfully long time coming. But the editor knows that, of course. He's just transcribing the Fox News chyrons, which furnish everything a good Republican foot-soldier needs to know about anything.

Why are we in a hurry, editor? Because out here in the reality-based community we're impoverished, bankrupt, chronically ill and dying for the lack of a civilized health-care system.

Clear models have been in place and working since the 1940s. We know what to do and how to do it. What's holding up the train has always been the entrenched insurance industry and its corporatist soldiers, like the editor, who don't mind how much it costs our society as long as they get theirs.

Why does it have to be 1,000 pages, editor? I'd like to count up how many of those pages are in there to try to mollify you and your industry overlords with exemptions, loopholes and sweetheart deals demanded by the corporations, just because Democrats are determined to be inclusive, even though they know that in the end the Rs will vote against them anyway. The result is looking to be another hopelessly watered-down, ineffective waste of time, I fear.

So, editor, you're getting your wish. Your guys have derailed the train again. Be happy.

Letter: Barking dogs drive newcomers to brink

It's not really surprising that Wayne Holmes feels so besieged by barking dogs. I experienced something similar myself when I moved into my current neighborhood. It takes some work to find the relevant chunk of City code, and some hassle to prepare a complaint that the PD will attend to. Here's the code:

1. All dogs, hybrid dogs and hybrid cats shall be kept and maintained in such a manner so as not to disturb the peace, comfort or health of any person residing within the boundaries of the city. (Ord. 3026, eff. 12-24-92)
2. It shall be unlawful for any person to keep or maintain a dog or hybrid dog which is in the habit of barking, howling or otherwise disturbing the peace and quiet of any person within the boundaries of the city. For purposes of this section, a dog or hybrid dog shall be deemed to be in the habit of barking if it is proven that the animal barks, without justification, for five (5) or more continuous minutes on two (2) separate occasions within a thirty-six (36) hour period. (Ord. No. 3026, eff. 12-24-92)
The key point: you have to prove your complaint, unless you can get an officer to hang out for a few minutes and hear for hermself. It's a PIA, but you're not powerless.

I have to say that writing an LTE on something like this is a waste of energy, though. Wayne doesn't mention that he's even talked with his neighbors about it. Is he acting like a neighbor, or a victim?