Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Friday, December 28, 2007
  Patience? Virtue?
Today's Trancript article about the Mayor's decision to delay of the renovation of the Mohawk Theater brings a few thoughts to mind:
  1. Politically and psychologically this is a wise decision since the typical homeowner in North Adams would howl if the city spent a dime on such a project during a year that the city is raising taxes.
  2. This project is important enough that if the city can't do it right, they should wait until they, or someone else, can do it justice. A second rate job with poor planning is far worse than the status quo. Reputation is a huge part of a performing arts venue's ability to book acts. A lousy theater in a small town would quickly get black-listed.
  3. The Mayor would not have been forced to back-peddle if he had not tooted his own horn when he unwisely slashed the project earlier this year and prematurely announced that hammers would banging within months. Mayor Barrett's much celebrated scaling back of the architect's renovation proposal was poorly considered because it severely limited the types of productions the theater could host.
  4. Kudos to the Mayor for apparently recognizing his previous mistake. It sounds like he listened to the experts that the city is paying big bucks for.
  5. Is it my imagination or is the notion that Mass MoCA will completely administrate the Theater for the city at no expense completely pie-in-the-sky? The idea that no staff will have to be hired to run the this additional venue, by either MoCA or the city, is nonsense.
  6. The costs associated with the renovation just might... maybe..... come down because of the accelerating slump in the commercial real estate market. Hopefully the economic demand curve for contractors will work to the city's favor. But, for the love of Pete, don't wait too much longer.
Does anyone else remember the Mayor's quote from earlier this year when he said he would like to see the project finished before he left office? Hmmmmmm......
I got the distinct impression, while reading the article, that the mayor's legacy was written between every line of his quotes.

What does the Mohawk seat? 500, with parking where? It seems very unlikely that any performance art would be able to make any money with that capacity and would be constantly battling budget woes.

What would I do with the building? I don't know, I hate to see it go as I spent many hour in that theater as a kid. I can remember witnessing (the first that I remember) solar eclipse while waiting in line for a matinée. I remember people out on the side walks of Main Street holding cardboard boxes with little poles poked in them to witness the event.

I don't even know what they have in mind for the building, but my first thought would be some type of dinner and movie (or performance) kind of place. One where the seating a tables can be removed to accommodate HS proms and such.

Maybe Home Depot will want it!!!
Not sure what his "legacy" is other than his longevity because no one else wanted the job. The town now owns more useless property, speculated on by Barrett's wishful thinking and condoned by the council of sheep and purchased with our money. Would be interesting to hear what secrete deals were made that fell apart, but then no one is checking are they? Seems that the reality is that after all the foggy hot air rises all that is left is.....a bunch of expensive empty buildings with "Coming Soon" signs on them!
As far as the Mohawk is concerned I would like to see it open to local groups for plays or performances. But then I always thought that the Richmond or the Paramount theaters had more history than the Mohawk. But the Mohawk does have that nice big marquee!
Greg.... #4, are you shittin me...His Royalness doesn't make mistakes and he most certinly doesn't listen to anybody! What planet have you been living on?
Remember in 2004 (I think it was) when the mayor swore the third floor of the library renovation, including the meeting room, would be completed by May 2005? Than by September 2005? Then it sort of dropped out of the conversation? That project still has a long way to go before it is totally completed. The building dept. workers already are stretched too far. Let's finish one project before we begin the other, even if the funds show up!
imagine the foolishness of the republicans in our house...they want to give cash strapped cities and towns money that the democrats took from lottery revenues...i love the line the paper quoted....we need to find a real solution not some political solution...hey mr. bout comin up with a solution.....

I sure would like to learn what kind of feasibility study has been done as to what use this small 500 seat house can provide. As far as I know, there has never been a discussion by the Mayor with the artists and performers in the Berkshires as to their needs and how this might be an answer.

It certainly does not have the necessary stage size and backstage facilities to be taken seriously, and if it is going to be used for more Mass MOCA type attractions, then its usefulness will be seriously limited.

Why hasn't the city opened up the discussion to get more than the limited input they are operating on?

you ain't from around here are you stranger?

There have been several studies and at one point this effort was being spearheaded by local artists. The city eventually took the entire project over from another group that appeared to be fumbling the ball.

The best set of plans put forward included better wings, solid green room/backstage facilities and flyspace. Last spring the mayor axed much of the non-public space to lower the cost and accelerate construction. However, this plan would have relegated the theater to movies and music. No theater or dance would be feasible without wings and some flyspace.

Several of the local performing arts types howled and evidently the mayor has relented on some of the cutbacks. There are still consultants and architects involved as well, which tells me that people who understand the business have the mayor's ear. What the final project goals are remain to be seen.

There has been some talk of also partnering with MCLA because their current stage facilities are awful, but I have heard absolutely nothing suggesting that this is happening. And given the propensity of such collaborations to be hyped, I have to assume that this proposal never got off the ground.
here's a novel about these "art types" kick in some cash to get this thing much more can the city do to make this an arts meca?...should that be all we focus on?....why on earht would we put up 5-7 mil to have a theater that is only used for "special" occasions?....why would moca want to run this...they have they're own theater (as well as pretty much anything anyone visiting would want) on site.....and why the hell would they fight to have the right to show the bechtel piece or pile, and then not open it?.....anyhow larry get together with the arts community and kick up some money and maybe this thing can get rolling....
the above post was courtesy of...
Without the ability to have "PLAYS" or "Theater" then you are better off staying home and buying from net flex. It will turn into a Filinni Film outlet that only he college crowd will go see. If you can't do it properly then don't half-ass it just to say you did something!
Strange... according to my email there should be another post here from Larry. Weird.
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