Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Open house, all day long

Day starts with coffee at Starbucks,because of  Wi-Fi.  Then we go to the office to meet Danielle.  Not too much later Rochone arrives and we’re hard at work trying to figure out a strategy to move these tickets. When Mim arrives, Rochone and Amanda switch to concert production while Danielle and I try and catch Mim up to date on what’s going on, the upcoming meeting with the AC and what they need, the information that Kate from Landmarks West! wants and the incredible frustration of trying to get a meeting set up with a major funder. How frustrating when promises are made. And not kept. 
Amanda has decided that the way to push the tickets is through the neighboring restaurants and doormen.  Danielle and I go out and realize that Barney Greengrass is closed. The manager at Popover’s is receptive. We offer tickets for the servers. And the cashier says, I’m not a server but I want two tickets to the jazz concert. 

On a whim, we go to visit Schaatzie the Butcher, soon to be star of his own reality TV show.  He thought the church was abandoned. Glad something is going on at the church.  Says, listen, points a remote controller , and then his recorded voice pours out into the shop. Sinatra style with a deep, rich, mellow bottom.  Like a fine aged bourbon.  That’s me, he says. Wants to know how many seats the church can hold. WhenI answer, he says, I could fill that.  He promises that if he’s in town, he’ll be there. And he takes tickets for his son Richard as well. 
Back at the church, Piano Dan is working in the piano, Dave working on sound and Theo is working on a banner for the scaffolding. 
Steve Goodman from the Educational Video Center comes to meet with Ted and Mim and I.  Amanda’s singing with Piano Dan, so we go to Mc Alpin where Three Graces has just brought their Shaker benches back as a donation. Nice reminder of their presence.  As it is in Heaven has just closed.  
The whole discussion with Steve has a certain  chicken and egg quality. We know we’re fixing the boiler, probably the elevator. But he needs to tell us what he would like, need in the space. We know that his video project is right in line with our broader vision, with the kind of partners we want to have. He needs to come back with an architect. 
Danielle has been outside talking with Arlene about pigeons.  And a dumpster.  
I leave for an appointment and when I get back we’re scrambling around to get ready for the open house. Two women pop in early, offer to help, then leave and come back. The one was a former volunteer in the pece program at the church. She is proud of having stopped the developers who wanted to tear down the church.  I think about trying to explain to her what the plan really was, then give up and decide to stick with the future. She’s a classic example of  older people with progressive credentials who rallied against the church and for landmarking.  They never saw the whole mission aspect, the economic realities. 
Two men arrive and my neighbor, Stewart. I take them all on a tour.  Later I take a young architect and his family on tour. I’m excited when he completely  gets the complexity of issues involved. Came with them in mind. He’d love to come back and take the deeper tour. 
My last tour is with Katherine and her former student Mark. He and a friend  are establishing a new business dealing with marketing and branding. He loves the church and its spaces. Is bubbling over with ideas as we sit in the old Papp theatre. He will come back.
One last neighbor comes in, just as we are about to close. Just to look around. It's been a truly open house, all day long house. 

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