Friday, March 28, 2008

Local theatres facing the wrecking ball?

Coincidentally I received two notices about two small, but vibrant theatres in the Los Altos/Mountain View area both facing uncertain futures. In one case community input might help. In the other case, I'm not so sure.

1. Bus Barn Theatre in Los Altos

Here's the scoop from artistic director Barbara Cannon:
The City of Los Altos is considering a plan to rebuild the community center and it's surroundings and is now soliciting input from citizens regarding the use of certain facilities here. Bus Barn Stage Company has been asked to present itself to the City Council and basically explain why a theater should be included in the city plan. If we are included, we will gain a new performing arts space with increased seating capacity (hopefully) and modern amenities (indoor plumbing!!). If we are not included, it seems likely that Bus Barn Theater will be demolished in the renovation and will not be replaced. The current City Council members are not supporters of the arts generally and theater specifically, so we figure they will need some convincing.

If you have the time and are so inclined, we can use some testimonials specifically geared towards the importance of Bus Barn to our community and to the community-at-large. It can be an email or attachment that we can print out, or a letter. Our very brief presentation is scheduled for May 9. I would love to lay a pile of testimonials on their desk after we make our presentation. If you live in the Palo Alto/Mountain View/Los Altos area, your input is especially important.

Emails can be sent to me, Letters can be sent to PO Box 151, Los Altos CA 94023.

I wonder if that May 9th meeting is open to the public...or at least Los Alto residents? It must be, right?

2. Pear Theatre in Mountain View

Ray Renati sent me this link to his blog which contains this link to an article from the Mountain View Voice.

Sounds like Google and Microsoft are playing a life-size game of Monopoly with office space in MV.

Here's the crux of the matter for the Pear:
What will happen to The Pear is uncertain. Its lease expires this October.

"We assume that at some point there is a good chance Google will want to do something with that space," said Diane Tasca, artistic director of The Pear. "They also bought the building next to us."

The 15,000-square-foot building has several other tenants, including a photo studio, a glass shop and a Pilates studio, some of which have longer leases than The Pear, Tasca said. The longest lease runs until July 2009.

Zoning administrator Peter Gilli said in an e-mail that Google would have to rezone the site to build office space there.

After talking to someone close to the deal, Tasca speculated that Google bought the building in a "strategic" move -- in order to keep Microsoft "in check."

Tasca said she was planning to meet with Google representatives to find out how long The Pear would be able to stay.

We really know how to value the arts, huh?

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