I dubbed my initiative to affect the future of 456 University, The Varsity Theatre site, “The Last Picture Waltz”. I am referencing the Larry McMurtry book, “The Last Picture Show” and the Martin Scorsese concert film “The Last Waltz.” I’m suggesting not that the theatre should permanently go back to its intended purpose but only that the cultural community have the opportunity for a last kiss goodbye there, maybe 50 shows a year for the next 10 years.
Most of my efforts on this project involve contacting people in the music business to see if there is a qualified operator who wants to try to get the lease on the historic theatre. I am also trying to talk to council to see if there is anything that government could or should do to lend a hand, invisible or not. I did have a meeting with Tom Ferhrenbach*, Palo Alto’s economic development director, to try to sway him to this cause. Plus I mention this to every third person I meet, and have made business cards specific to this project, and some handbills (TLPW 456 they read, in “Palo Alto green” — the “Color of Palo Alto“).
Plus my writings, here, at “Plastic Alto” at Patch Palo Alto, and commenting where applicable on other sites. I was on Fox 2 morning news.
I am having fun with this. And I enjoy flipping through various media and texts for insight and inspiration. Not sure what the story of “Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai” does for me here, but I wanted to print this still-capture of the pigeon-training sequence to link to my discussion of “bird omenology” on Patch.
In a previous post there, I suggested citizens address council on this topic during oral communications. (The Varsity, not birds :).
Obscure movies, acronyms, numerology — 4 5 6 is a reference to Chinese dominoes — I think there is still some method to my madness. Or as Brian Eno would say, as part of his famous “Oblique Strategies:” Be extravagant. I’ve got my mojo working, as Muddy would say. (Plus I laid a Teddy Ruxpin medal on Edgar Allen Poe’s grave in Baltimore, and a Satchmo coin in New Orleans, at Marie Laveau’s alter: I’m calling in some favors from 12 Galaxies, you could say.)
– – – – – – – – – – – – –
*Here is the link to Fehrenbach’s preliminary report on the topic which one local paper paraphrased as saying the theatre proposal was a non-starter. In my meeting with him, he seemed to have changed his mind and vowed to look into this properly. I think the entire matter is a fascinating case study on the nature of power, property and community.
Somebody made this short film of Bob Pritchett singing and playing the blues harp, in the foyer of the Varsity Theatre. (In its heyday, that courtyard featured regular concerts by Tuck and Patti, Michael Hedges and more. See Randy Lutge’s archive of about 400 shows, there and in the main room). Pritchett was in the Gunn High School Hall of Fame, played college football and had a tryout with the Dallas Cowboys. He was my coach for Frosh-Soph basketball at Gunn in 1978-1979. You can maybe hear him here still lamenting getting edged out of the league championship that last game at Paly.