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TBD ArtsBook: What's wrong with the Lincoln Theatre? Lots!

October 25, 2011 - 09:30 AM
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Lincoln Theatre

Ally Schweitzer writes the best piece I've seen on the U Street NW theater's problems. "The Lincoln Theatre should not be propped up indefinitely," she writes, "nor should it be abandoned." There are two main issues, Dr. Schweitzer says. The first is rental rates: Lincoln GM Darlene Brown tells Schweitzer an event usually costs $7,500 or more, which is way too much for most pop promoters. For highbrow stuff, Schweitzer writes, the price is less of an issue, but a bigger issue is marketing.

>>"The Lincoln Theatre employed a marketing staffer as recently as 2010; when she left, she was not replaced. To make matters worse, wealthy arts patrons still view U Street NW as a scary, crime-ridden place. 'It has an old reputation of being in a tough neighborhood where people don't want to go,' says [Washington Performing Arts Society CFO Debra] Harrison. She calls Lincoln Theatre one of D.C.'s 'best-kept secrets.' For an attractive venue located right in the center of a bustling entertainment district, that is pathetic."

Christian Siriano discusses D.C.'s fashion ills: "It’s not so bad,” the "Project Runway" star, who grew up in Annapolis, tells Jenny Rogers. Also he likes the architecture! ("It's our Paris," he says.) Rogers: "What’s missing, he thinks, are the artistic enclaves that he saw in Baltimore while attending design school there. 'I have yet to see a really great vintage shop here,' he says. 'These women must be stashing their Chanel somewhere.'” Siriano was in town to show his new collection and raise money for breast cancer research at "Pink Rocks the Runway"; Joshua Yospyn took lots of photos. RELATED: Northern Virginia Fashion Week has been canceled, and no one seems to know why.

• GOOD NEWS FOR EDITORS: The Smithsonian's Archives of American Art is donating a collection of 285 Work Progress Administration photographs to the Wikimedia Foundation, which will plonk them into Wikimedia Commons. This comes as a result of the appointment of Sarah Stierch as the Archives' first Wikipedian-in-residence, and jeez, isn't it about time one of you did a profile on her?

• "A Bright New Boise" is extending its run at Woolly by a week.

• Mall events this week. Pop music picks from Francis Chung.

Mark Athitakis on Joan Didion, who writes in her new memoir that she reads her writing aloud, dropping in TKs, or "xx"s, to keep the rhythm going: "She guesses that it’s a little like how music is written, and that sounds right. I suppose the rough equivalent would be a click track, or the way some songwriters start to come up with lyrics by singing nonsense words over music; once you’ve sorted out what the words should sound like and where you put the emphasis, the words themselves can be just a kind of a polish."

• Crooked Beat and other 18th Street NW businesses can borrow money from the city to help offset the losses they're enduring while a streetscaping project tears up Adams Morgan, Arin Greenwood reports, but its owner, Bill Daly, isn't happy with the terms. Robert Clayton, the store's lawyer, says he'd like the no-interest loans to "be made available as grants or as loans that ultimately are forgiven. Finally, he said, he'd like to see immediate improvements in parking, like a suspension of parking enforcement, for example." Councilmember Jim Graham and AdMo BID president Kristen Barden both tell Greenwood such concessions are unlikely. 

>>EDITING QUESTION: Greenwood says "The mayor's office did not immediately respond for comment on Clayton's looming lawsuit" and later writes: "Asked if he is gearing up for a lawsuit against the city in case the city doesn't do more for 18th Street business owners, Clayton said: 'You always plan ahead. If we don't get relief that is satisfactory to the bulk of the clients, then of course we'll have to seek other alternatives.' But, he added, 'I don't have a pool of clients demanding action.' ¶ Crooked Beat is in fact Clayton's only 18th Street client at the moment."

>>That seems more like an ambient threat than something that's looming! 

Chad M. Bauman on growing your subscription base: Turn your one-time buyers into subscribers. Arena did that by turning its box office into a "sales office." After his intervention, he writes, the people in the office "were now responsible for up-selling, cross-selling and proactively soliciting annual fund donations. To prepare the office, I promoted an exceptionally entrepreneurial minded manager to lead the division, and she in turn, brought in several experts to train our staff. We adopted a mantra of sales through service, and in doing so, viewed each opportunity to cross-sell as a moment to provide excellent customer service."

>>The pool of "multi-buyer households" (people who bought one-time tickets to more than one show) yielded 5,100 new subscribers, Bauman says. Holy cow.

John Kelly played a bunch of geezer Washington pop records at the D.C. Record Fair this weekend, and Denman Anderson showed him how to work the mixing machine.

Paul Farhi is not buying TMZ founder Harvey Levin's diagnosis of the media's ills. Levin spoke at the National Press Club, which is exactly the kind of place where angels go to dance on the heads on pins these days. Nikki Schwab went too and says Levin is still flogging that old spiel about launching a TMZ D.C. site. Listen, friends, that is NEVER EVER EVER GOING TO HAPPEN.

NOT ARTS, BUT...Aaron Morrissey on the region's best portable toilet.

ALSO NOT ARTS, BUT IT GIVES ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A JOKE: The Shriners are contesting John Barry Badini's will, because he originally left them $1 million and his stepdaughter, Alicia Decatur, $20,000. He upped Decatur's share to $100,000 the day before he committed suicide, but the Shriner's don't want her to get that $80,000. Does that seem a little crappy to you? Obviously you haven't priced a miniature car lately! Thank you, I'll be here all week.

REVIEWS: Chris Richards on Odd Future at 9:30 Club. Mark "Mark Jenkins" Jenkins on Metronomy at Rock and Roll Hotel. Laura and Mike Clark on Vienna Theatre Company's "Rounding Third." Amy Willard on Bush at the Fillmore. Brittany (just...Brittany) on the Corcoran's NOW at Night party. Kathleen Bridges got there, too. Michael Darpino on Drop the Lime at U Hall. Susan Galbraith on "Arms and the Man" at Constellation. Jordan Wright on "Othello" at Synetic; Jessica Pearson on "Othello" at Folger. Missy Frederick on "Othello" at Synetic. Mike Spain on "A Midsummer's Night Dream" at Elden Street Players in Herndon. Amanda Gunther on "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" at Prince William Little Theatre. (Man, Maryland Theatre Guide really cranks it out!) Laura and Mike Clark on a panel discussion about mental illness at that show. Allison Stewart on the new Coldplay album.



Pop: Star Slinger at U Hall. Portugal, the Man and Alberta Cross at 9:30 Club (SOLD OUT). Future Islands at Black Cat. Carolyn Wonderland at Jammin’ Java. The 9 Songwriter Series ft. Molly Hagen, Justin Trawick, Amanda Lee + more at Iota. Ani DiFranco at Sixth & I. Jason Boland and The Stragglers at Hill Country. Papadosio at State Theatre.

Classical, jazz: Taurus Soul “Sam Cooke Reincarnated” at Blues Alley. Butch Warren at Tryst. Sarah Riedel at Millennium Stage. George Li, piano, at KenCen.

Theater: “Swear It! Smorgasbord” opens at Atlas.

What-have-you: David Stewart, author of “American Emperor” at Politics & Prose. Noir City DC: “Laura” & “They Won’t Believe Me” at AFI Silver Theatre. An Evening of Dancing with the Stars at Strathmore. BloomScreen pres: “Food Matters” at BloomBars. DC Drag Queen Race in Dupont Circle. Art on the Rocks at the Art League Gallery. Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival: "Intimate Grammar" showing at DCJCC. Wade Davis discusses "Into the Silence: Everest" at NatGeo.

Cheap tix! TICKETPLACE has "Intimate Grammar" at the DCJCC, Wade Davis at NatGeo, "Parade" at Ford's, more.

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