CityViews 11/22/11: Up or Down on the Arts Center

 

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Segment 1:

The idea of building a Broadway-style theater downtown has been bandied about since the 1960s, but Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker has made the $110 million project a cornerstone of his administration. Critics say that money could better be used to bolster existing arts groups. Tonight the Salt Lake City Council will decide. Do you support a new performing arts center?

Guests:

 

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Segment 2:

On Thanksgiving, turkey and pumpkin pie steal the show, but the right wine can make or break the feast.  What will you be serving at your table this Thanksgiving?

Guests:

Suggested wine pairings for Thanksgiving

Drew Ellsworth:

  • Churchill Claiborne Dry Gewurztraminer (white)
  • Willm Gewurztraminer (white)
  • Marietta Angeli Cuvee (red)
  • Artizin Red Zinfandel(red)

Rhea Cook:

  • Gruet  (blend of red and white)
  • Adami Prosecco (white)
  • Peter Lehmann Semillon Blanc (white)
  • Whispering Angel Rose (red)
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Comments
  1. JNP

    Email comment from Steve: “Chucks comments are ridiculous. Public amenities never have been solely the purview of tax and donation consuming entities like his. In fact, most publicly backed amenities of any size like the soccer stadium in Sandy, the Energy Solutions Arena and the County Arts facilities count heavily on commercial users to pay the bills. In the case of Broadway shows it is even more the case. Where a group like Pioneer only survives because of a tremendous amount of public largess including subsidies, tax waivers, donations and ZAP – we pay FULL RENT, we pay our musicians and performers at a higher rate, we pay sales tax. If anything the market, the public and arts would be better served by more organizations that can pay their bills than fewer. On top of all of that we manage to get hundreds of thousands of people to vote with their feet and their wallets to attend the productions we bring to Utah, many of them first time attendees to our wonderful fine arts buildings. Sadly that is not the case with some of the naysayers who appear to believe that fewer choices might force people to go see their productions as there are no alternatives.”

  2. Charles Morey

    The above e-mail from “Steve” is quite clearly from an employee of Magic Space Entertainment since he identifies himself with such comments as “We pay full rent” etc. On the program I openly stated that this possibly could have a negative impact upon Pioneer Theatre Company and other indigenous arts organizations, but my main objection to the project is as a SLC resident, homeowner and taxpayer. If “Steve” would like to call my comments “ridiculous” and impugn my motives for speaking out against this project perhaps he would like to identify himself specifically as an employee of Magic Space (or perhaps a principal?) and as a beneficiary of this potential government largess. Incidentally, I have nothing but respect for my colleagues in the commercial theatre, including presenters – a tough business indeed – but in many ways fundamentally different from the not-for-profit theatre. But, one correction: the fact is Magic Space would not be paying “full rent” as “full rent” would mean that they were paying a full market rate sufficient in time to pay off the $110,000,000 capital costs of the building, not a rent that in fact will add up to a relatively small proportion of annual operating costs. Sounds like a for-profit commercial enterprise that wants the benefits of a not-for-profit without the responsibilities that go with it. A second correction, Energy Solutions Area (formerly the Delta Center) was pricipally funded privately by Larry Miller, with public monies to fund infra-structure improvements. Charles Morey

  3. Jeffrey Gold

    JNP: I’m not exactly clear what your point is. In the world of two wrongs make a right, the subsidies of the Arts are greatly offset by the grand subsidies received by national sports (NFL, NBA, etc.)—who are subsidized to the tune of about 33 percent. The Arts also comprise about 6 percent of GNP. Time to visit a Barnes and Noble or step over to the Library (oops, another publicly subsidized entity) and get a copy of New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston’s book, Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill), and while you’re at it, his other excellent exposé, Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich–and Cheat Everybody Else.

  4. Stenar

    I absolutely support the building of the Utah Performing Arts Center. Most of the time, when a Broadway tour has come to town, I have been unable to attend because they sell out so quickly, usually within a day. If we had a larger venue, more people would be able to attend.

  5. Kirsten Park

    Stenar, do you support that ability…at all costs? To the public?

    Because I am not against a new space; not at all. But its a real estate deal; a big benefit at the public’s expense, with very little financial gain for the public.

    Definitely $110 million worth!

    (Have we gotten so used to our leaders spending money, without a public vote, that $110 million goes unquestioned??)

  6. JNP

    From cityviews@kcpw.org:

    No showy theatre will bring more people out to see theatre in Salt Lake. I grew up doing theatre and this city is already as theatre-mad as it is going to get. There is also something magical about going to see a show in a great old, historic theatre.

    Thanks,

    Conor

  7. JNP

    From cityviews@kcpw.org:

    I am a season ticket holder at Pioneer theater, and I often see shows at Kingsbury and Capitol, and I am not in favor of this new theater development. It will not revitalize downtown, because Capitol is already downtown; it will just move people over a block or two. I agree this is corporate welfare. All of the numbers that I’ve heard are not encouraging. Outlier shows like Wicked should not be used to justify this decision.

    Thanks,
    Jake

  8. JNP

    From cityviews@kcpw.org:

    from Jamie Salt Lake City – I intended to say Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc not cabernet, I know cabernet is not made in New Zealand, I’m sorry slow brain! Sorry to hear experts didn’t recommend New Zealand wines, I think their wonderful! Thanks!! Jamie