November 18, 2010

"In a major turnabout, Madison and Overture Center representatives are now discussing private — rather than city — ownership of the arts facility as part of a path to erase Overture's $28.6 million debt."

Well, well, well. The climate changes. Even here in Madison, Wisconsin:
City Council President Mark Clear on Wednesday sent a memo to council colleagues saying he now believes the city should not acquire Overture and that Overture representatives are willing to consider private ownership of the $205 million building.

That's a huge shift from a June 22 deal among Overture officials, banks and donors to eliminate the $28.6 million debt — including $15 million pledged by donors — which required that the city buy the arts center on State Street for $1 by year's end.
The Overture Center...

Overture Center

... is an over-expensive, over-glamorous monument to the over-sized opinion elite Madisonians have of themselves... and of the humble citizens' appetite for The Arts.

41 comments:

Original Mike said...

"The Overture Center ... is an over-expensive, over-glamorous monument to the over-sized opinion elite Madisonians have of themselves... and of the humble citizens' appetite for The Arts."

One could say it's the high-speed rail of The Arts.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)



This is going to be painful. NOW, the over-credentialed elites will have to pay the freight, oh that’s going to hilarious. “What we have to PAY to see this exhibit?!?! Buffy and I have NEVER had to pay to see anything here!”

And then the meeting of the “market” and the “artist.” In my home town the local arts group runs a Summer repertory of plays, usually Shakespeare. And there is always the tension between “edgy” avant garde Post-Modern or Modern works and the Tried and True…the “artists” always want the new and/or edgy, but the arts group always points out that without the tried and true, no one will turn up to watch the plays and the series will fold. This battle became more public and bitter when the local government ceased providing funding to the series, meaning that the artists had to meet market demands and pay their own way. It’s a lot different when you have to get the hated bourgeoisie to come to your plays rather than simply using their tax dollars, irrespective of their opinions on your “art.”

Fen said...

Our "artists" need to suffer more.

MadisonMan said...

I loved reading the diatribe -- somewhere -- about the Overture's Light Fixtures, how they are all so different, require special (expensive) lightbulbs, can't be made energy efficient, etc. etc.

But the Architect is Famous! How could this be?!

City leaders think they need these kind of centers, I'm not sure why. Probably for the same reason they think they need stadia for Professional Sports Teams, or ginormous High Schools. Bribes -- in the form of campaign contributions -- are most certainly involved.

EDH said...

Overture, curtain, lights,
This is it, the night of nights
No more rehearsing and nursing our parts
We know every part by heart
Overture, curtain, lights
This is it, we'll hit the heights
And oh what heights we'll hit
On with the show this is it

Tonight what heights we'll hit
On with the show this is it.

AJ Lynch said...

Joe: I agree - our new austerity will be painful. Saving money is deferred gratification and we Americans have not done much of that for years.

The Crack Emcee said...

Yep, one look says "Sell it!"

If you think about it, this could become fun. Haven't you ever gotten in the mood to discard your useless shit? It's a blast when you get there.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Haven't you ever gotten in the mood to discard your useless shit? It's a blast when you get there.

Yes!!

I'm doing that right now. I'm closing my securities practice and getting ready to semi retire.

Throwing away literature, books, reference material and stuff that I've been dragging around for the last 10 to 15 years. Selling extra furniture and bric a brack from the office. Giving items to some local charities (food pantry, private library) so they can raise money. Happily chunking stuff into the dumpster. Paring it down to just the bare essentials to transport to my home office.

It is LIBERATING!!

We did that to our personal 'stuff' about 8 years ago when we moved.

Goodbye, to the crap that was dragging us down! Much of it from our first marriages and pasts. We don't miss any of it.

former law student said...

If you're going to spend $205 million on a building, you should be able to watch NHL and NBA games in it.

A cultural monument should be paid for by monumental egos. The Oscar Mayer Center. The S.C. Johnson Center. The Harley Davidson Hall of Fame. Etc.

Heck even the Pacur Art Complex.

AJ Lynch said...

DBQ:

I predict savings by Americans will zoom up over the next 10 years- that could make for a very good time to be in the securities business no?

Big Mike said...

Aw, little Madison is growing up.

BJK said...

What a waste...right on State Street.

I bet they could have put up a good burger joint right there! Stupid Arts.

Michael Haz said...

Madison politicians and "City Leaders" screwed up what was essentially a free gift from a local couple who made some serious dough.

How is this any different than anything else done by a governmental body located in Madison?

garage mahal said...

One could say it's the high-speed rail of The Arts.

Much like stupid bike paths. They spent 2.7 million for a bridge on Aberg. We should really rip that up. Why should I have to pay for a bike path I will never use? Why should I have to pay for highway projects in rural areas that I will never travel on?

And what about the other 4 billion in projects slated? Is Walker going to send all that dough back too? It's all just wasteful stimulus money, but yet he wants to keep almost all of it. Weird.

PatCA said...

You know, Mike, I think you named it well. In CA we have so many of these performing arts centers, and there just are not enough people or decent performers at $50/ticket to keep them going. But the people didn't want them, the pols did.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)



I see the parallels. This is an expensive, “ego” project that will benefit only a few, culturally elite persons, who will have their egos stroked and their lifestyles enhanced by the use of everyone’s else’s tax dollars. Just like High(ish) Speed Rail…Oh, BTW, I agree rip up the Bike Trails, privatize them…it’s a great idea.

AJ Lynch said...

Bike trails here in Philly along the Schuylkill river are great but I am amazed more people don't use them.

Btw Garage - you are sounding very bitter these days. Clinging to your guns too?

Maguro said...

garage is a choo-choo clinger. He's not thinking rationally these days.

Michael said...

High speed rail of the arts, indeed. My first thought was that this should be the train station for the high speed choo choo whisking thousands between Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Madison, Wisconsin. Bikes can be parked out front in the racks which will be required for the building to be LEEDs certified. Win. Win. Win.

MadisonMan said...

BTW, I agree rip up the Bike Trails, privatize them…it’s a great idea.

The bike path I come down on for work is very crowded during commute times. I wouldn't mind riding on Regent Street, and slowing down the speeding cars, though, if you want to rip it up. I won't ride on Monroe Street, however. Parents driving to Edgewood to drop off their kids are really the worst drivers in the city as far as I can tell.

traditionalguy said...

Could they try selling off a corner to McDonald's hamburgers...that would generate traffic. They could call it a living Andy Warhol Exhibition. Can it be used as a symphony hall or a theater for plays? Or Meade could help them to make it into a Botanical Garden of the Arts.

garage mahal said...

garage is a choo-choo clinger. He's not thinking rationally these days.

Just following the logic. Apparently, 3/4 of the stimulus awarded to Wisconsin [that Walker is accepting], is okay. So Obama got it 3/4 right!

garage mahal said...

And actually Walker has not officially rejected the HSR funds. He even said he would consider using the funds for existing HSR services in the state. So Walker has said "YES" to HSR.

Original Mike said...

"And actually Walker has not officially rejected the HSR funds. He even said he would consider using the funds for existing HSR services in the state."

But all accounts, the stuff we already got (i.e. infrastructure)is crumbling, so fixing that up is fine with me. Then we can talk about building new stuff.

garage mahal said...

It looks like close to 100 million was awarded to the University of Wisconsin. Was that wasteful I wonder?

Original Mike said...

Don't know, garage, would have to see the specifics. The problem with the train is that the economics are awful. Let's stay on topic, shall we?

Dennis said...

Here in Los Angeles, we've built a new high school "for the arts" by a star architect who saw fit to include a spire which rivals if not overpowers a catholic cathedral, built by another star architect across the street (freeway) with a spire which apparently seeks to compare itself to the church's spire. Designed by Wolfe Prix, the muscular and agitated design is a clear statement of how a secular religion is pitting itself against a competitor. It's quite an image that seems to be lost to Angelenos at large.

PZ said...

Future generations will thank us for this cultural gift, this artistic landmark, this thing to be shared that distinguishes Madison from Eau Claire.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Why should I have to pay for a bike path I will never use? Why should I have to pay for highway projects in rural areas that I will never travel on?

Now you are getting it. (Although I know you are trying to be sarcastic)

Why should I be taxed to pay for rapid transit in urban areas that I will never ever use,

for performing arts centers in cities a thousand miles away from me that highlight art that is sometimes offensive to me (Shit Mary and Urine Jesus),

for freeways in areas that I will never visit,

for bike paths that are nowhere near where I live and bike.

why should I pay taxes for police/sheriff protection that doesn't provide ANY protection in the area that I live,

to build fancy expensive welfare offices in the county seat hundreds of miles away, when I don't collect welfare anyway,

Taxed to provide lavish pensions and benefit packages for government flunkies who do nothing for ME, provide NO services to ME and in fact create obstacles and are an impediment to our ability to work and get on with life.

MadisonMan said...

DBQ, why should you benefit from the taxes that others pay?

Calypso Facto said...

Actually Michael, in the great feel good city of Madison bike racks are REQUIRED (see MGO 28.11, see esp. Subsections (3)(e)and (3)(h)2d) no matter the LEED status (and even if you're just expanding industrial warehousing without adding any personnel I recently learned the hard way). Furthermore, the city specifies where you must place the bike racks (MGO 28.11(3)(I)3 and 28.11(3)(h)2d), what materials you can use, what shape the rack must take, and SUPRISE! provides a list of approved manufacturers (read: campaign contributors). But hey, that's just money from evil business people, so why not?

c3 said...

why do cities succumb to the lure of the Arts Center

In the past 10 years the Valley of the Sun has seen the construction of:
-Mesa Arts Center
-Tempe Center for the Arts
-and the ongoing renovation of the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

Meanwhile a wholly private venture has brought elite-worthy interesting and/or obscure music to north Phoenix via the Musical Instrument Museum

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

DBQ, why should you benefit from the taxes that others pay?
1) To speak for DBQ, I’d assume she say that she shouldn’t. My nation-state needs to provide an Army, Navy, Air Force, a sound currency, a central bank tasked to keep inflation low, and a court system focused on issues that affect either the nation-state or cross internal boundaries. It can have a police force that deals with crimes that cross state lines and it can have inter-state communications, and can regulate inter-state commerce.

2) My state should enforce public health, safety and morals, Keep the King’s Peace, and make laws that do not conflict with my nation-state’s prerogatives. It should deal with situations and crimes that cross county lines.

3) Localities ought to deal with anything else…to the extent that either 1) or 2) become involved in issues and areas that involve 3) that involvement is wrong and ought be opposed. So IF Federal money goes to the county for bike trails OR county roads you don’t drive, well DBQ SHOULDN’T benefit, no one should. Bike trials and county roads are the responsibility of the county.

Calypso Facto said...

PZ: I agree for the most part that, purchased and run at a sizable annual loss by the city, this would be a fine symbol for Madison's elitism, socialist/tyrannist tendency, and fiscal foolhardiness that separates it from Eau Claire, and those of us with ties to the hinterlands would indeed thank you for the reminder.

c3 said...

Garage;
I have to pay for a bike path I will never use?

That's a great question. Similar question regarding the "Bridge to Nowhere" or the National Brewery Museum.

If you don't have the courage to say that projects like a Madison Bike Path or a high-speed train from Milwaukee to Madison is not "worth the money" in budget deficit times then all is lost.

And though I believe eventually we'll need to raise some taxes I will listen to no one in the federal government until they can demonstrate that they can spend less, not less of an increase but

LESS

former law student said...

for freeways in areas that I will never visit,

It chaps my hide that I have to pay top dollar to cross any arm of the bay in the Bay Area, while Northerners can cross Lake Shasta over I-5 free of any toll. In fact, the beneficent State of California is buying "Jeffersonians" a brand new bridge, while down here CalTrans is plotting to raise bridge tolls yet again.

We are just milch cows to make dbq's life easier.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It chaps my hide that I have to pay top dollar to cross any arm of the bay in the Bay Area, while Northerners can cross Lake Shasta over I-5 free of any toll.

I agree. However, I don't think that $3 (or whatever it is now) is particularly top dollar.

People should pay tolls when they use the roads. That way the user will pay for the service.

Since I never drive over Lake Shasta on a regular basis, it is way out of my way, I would have no objection to having it be a toll bridge to recover the costs of repairs from the heavy truck traffic that tears the roads down.

The few times that I might also use the road, it seems only fair to pay, just like I do when I go to SF or the South Bay

Happy?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

DBQ, why should you benefit from the taxes that others pay?
1) To speak for DBQ, I’d assume she say that she shouldn’t.

Correct.

There are certain things the federal government is 'supposed' to do that people cannot. Those things should be supported by ALL of the people paying into the tax system, instead of just a fraction of the people paying taxes and letting over 50% of the population get a free ride.

Generally, that is providing for defense of the country, protecting citizens under the laws from abuse and harm from other citizens and from the government itself. The government is supposed to handle emergency situations and to coordinate those items that are necessary for the common defense and welfare of the entire country. This would include a network of interstate highways and transportation that benefits the entire country.

Not to build fancy schmancy bike paths for select super special areas.

Not taxing me and everyone else, to build a nifty high speed rail line between a couple of cities that benefits just a few people. If you want high speed rail in your city, pay for the sucker YOURSELF.

On the local level, that also means not taxing us to build a gigantic library in a town that is hundreds of miles away and at the same time closing down the tiny local library because the new tajmahal library is in cost over runs.

If the State of California were to go completely BK tomorrow, I can think of perhaps 2 or 3 services that might have a very minimal impact on our area. I won't miss California's government at all.

The only real Federal service that we might miss is forest fire suppression, and maybe not even that since it is probably better to let the fires burn anyway.

David said...

Funny thing how hard it is to run an operation at a profit.

Someone in Madison city government finally figured out that the bailout would not stop the losses, and that then Madison would be on the hook.

You can take it "private" if you want, it still won't make a profit. That little flaw was built into the costly design.

former law student said...

I don't think that $3 (or whatever it is now) is particularly top dollar.

DBQ is half-right.

Current Tolls:

GG Bridge: $6 ($5 with FastTrak)
Oakland Bay Bridge: $6 (peak) $4 (offpeak)
All other bridges: $5

PZ said...

Re: Calypso "... a fine symbol for Madison's elitism, socialist/tyrannist tendency, and fiscal foolhardiness that separates it from Eau Claire, and those of us with ties to the hinterlands would indeed thank you for the reminder."

You're welcome. Such bitternesss and venom! Thanks for reminding us of the villagers with torches who came for poor Frankenstein, and would burn anyone else who was "different."