First, thanks to the anonymous poster for the tip about the "news" about the Lincoln Theater. I had already gotten a call about it from a friend in PA who couldn't stop laughing while telling me about it. Anyway, I dutifully logged on and checked out the article in the PDN, and...
...I caution you not to get too terribly excited about this notion that the Lincoln Theater has been "SOLD," despite the four rickety letters propped up in the box office window.
Take away the "S" and you've got a shorthand
description of the property itself.
Let's all take a breath, sit down, and look at how many qualifiers there are in this big "breaking news" story.
Scott Nagel wants to buy the theater, and then turn it over to a non-profit. Scott Nagel doesn't have the money to buy it himself, of course. So, despite admitting that he hasn't got the money, and hasn't raised the money, Nagel says he's entered into this (strange and fraudulent sounding) process "to get the process started." In my experience, you're generally expected to have the money to pay for an item you're buying before you buy it.
So, despite the gee whiz tone at the beginning of the article, and the implication that this is all a done deal...It's nothing like that. "We are negotiating with the building owners," said Nagel. "we have an offer on the building, subject to raising the money (from potential future sponsors)." The article then goes on to explain that Nagel "has neither the intention nor the money to buy the Lincoln...Instead, he hopes to secure it through a capital campaign...Raising that capital is the first phase."
I'd say that's putting the cart before the horse, but I'm not sure that Scott Nagel even has a cart.
I scream, you scream, we all scream
for pipe dream!
Anyway, then, once the theater is somehow purchased and then the money raised to purchase it...Nagel hopes to put the operation of the theater under the umbrella of a non-profit organization. Enter Dan Maguire, executive director of the Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts. Maguire says the organization would consider such a move, though it would have to be approved by the foundation's board of directors. Said board is - rightly so - concerned about both capital and operating expenses.
Then, after the theater is bought with funds that have yet to be raised...And the City gives their blessing to the whole thing...Then, and only then, apparently, will there be a "community campaign and visioning process" to determine what to do with the place. Which is, again, kind of cart before horse. How do you purchase a theater with money that hasn't been raised yet? Furthermore, how do you raise money for a project that hasn't been defined yet? And how do you get a non-profit to take you under their wings with all that uncertainty?
And especially when, for once, Dan Maguire inserts a note of sense into the conversation. "It's not the capital that's so hard; it's the operating expenses." Put another way, would you want to pay Port Angeles utility rates to heat the Lincoln Theater? Put yet another way, we have a theater and arts center here that is a little smaller than what is (admittedly vaguely) described here, right downtown like the Lincoln is. It has a staff of ten. So, even if we're generous, and say that the Lincoln could somehow be run with half that staff, that's still five staff members. Year round. Plus those aforementioned utility bills and insurance and maintenance and advertising and everything else. Is it really reasonable to think that Port Angeles can support a downtown arts center that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to operate? Look how difficult it is to get the City to give the PAFAC ten or twenty thousand dollars at a time.
The Number One item at the concession stand?
In any case, unreality asserts itself again as the article winds up, with Deadwood Dan Maguire clearly trying to strike a positive note, but really pointing out the biggest weakness in this whole crazy scheme. To quote: "Anybody who's invested in this town is going to want to do what they can to make it happen."
Make WHAT happen, Dan? This is a tissue thin fabric of "ifs" and "maybes" - at best. And who is invested in Port Angeles, Dan? Who is going to want to invest in Port Angeles? After years of shameful neglect, the Lincoln finally went under because the owner didn't want to invest any money in it. The Downtown Association is imploding because they couldn't do anything right. Businesses move out of downtown and out of Port Angeles proper because the City is so chronically inept on every level. The same City, as cited mentioned above, has a long, long history of not supporting their own existing arts center. The population is shrinking. Ferry runs are dwindling. Hell, even McDonald's is thinking twice about sinking any more money into the sinking ship that is Port Angeles.
All of which is a long-winded way of saying this...If you would really, really like to see the Juan de Fuca Festival die, if you'd really, really like to see that particular event cease and desist, then voice your support for this whole crazy pipe dream. Because if this comes to pass in any form remotely like what Scott and Dan are talking about, then the Lincoln Theater will become a HUGE and ultimately fatal financial burden for the Juan de Fuca folks, and will be a money pit deep enough to swallow the festival and Deadwood Dan whole.
Dude, your theater sounds AWESOME!
Totally f***ing AWESOME! Do you accept