I was listening to WAMC today and its feature about the revitalization of old theaters in the Hudson Valley. The Beacon Theater renovation, of course, was part of the mix. I was happy that Beacon was mentioned and am hopeful that a revitalized theater on Main Street might improve that part of Beacon. But I'm disturbed by a number of things:
1. The advertising for Saturday's benefit featuring Tom Chapin, Pete Seeger and John Hall (forget the fact that they decided to hold this, inappropriately, on the afternoon of Yom Kippur, the Jewish High Holy Day for a minute) claims that the money will go for the renovation of this theater. The implication of this is that this building has actually been purchased, when in fact that purchase has not happened yet. My sense is that what has not been disclosed is that the money raised will be applied to the purchase of the building and not its restoration. If this is so, we are being misled, and if the people involved can't close the sale, will our donated money be returned?
2. I'm not against this project at all. But it is a low brow arts project at best, and I resent that it is presented in a different light. The promotional website associates this project with a city that has been called "the center of arts and culture second only to New York City." This is a phrase used by the local chamber of commerce and would not be seconded by anyone remotely connected to the arts. And the people trying to get this theater going might call themselves part of the entertainment world, but certainly not the arts.
So I'm all for raising money, but not when the pretenses are suspect.