Thursday, September 29, 2011

A sense of urgency, a sense of crisis

Mim and Ted and Hope and Danielle and I are gathered in the sanctuary. Ted has called this meeting. There is a sense of urgency. A sense of crisis. The sense that the situation around the boiler has reached a critical stage. The clock is running. We are facing a city deadline of November 15th to get  a new boiler installed. But beyond that is simple practical concern. Living through one winter without heat was romantic and dramatic. The arts and crafts festival and balcony music festival was a bold demonstration of hope and determination.  

But there will not be a second winter without heat. All the programming we have planned will cancel. The dream, the vision will die.
Ted stresses again how much he believes in what the future can be. But it is time for the surrounding community to step up and truly show its support. There have been many expressions of support. Even promises. But West-Park has survived only by its own resources. (The generosity of the Ada and Stanley Halbreich Foundation has kept the dream alive.) There has to be a concrete plan to get a boiler in NOW. There will be  conference call this afternoon with politicians and community people. We have to express the reality of the situation. With no boiler, our board, our supporters, people who have given thousands of dollars and countless hours of time, of blood, sweat and tears,  will go away. And that will be it. Game over. Dream over.
Sarah has come in to work on publicity on the upcoming Forgiveness film series. She’s very excited about the success of the jointly sponsored concert by Hauschka that was an artistic and financial success. We are beginning to build a brand.  We talk also about wanting to keep Woodshed’s cafe at the back of Mc Alpin and reclaiming the Speakeasy space as a cabaret. 
The struggle with the balding man continues. His rather elaboarate bed with a velvet puffy pillow is now between the steps and Barney Greengrass. I’m on the steps, trying to figure out what to do. He looks up, sees me.What you lookin at? he says. Then he walks by, looks me in the eye and says, You will give me some respect, motherfucker. And I just look back. 
Teddy comes in and we talk about what we’d like to keep. And the whole strike process. It’s hard to think about them not being here. We talk about the sound check music, how he preferred Tribe Called Quest. He doesn’t know the new music either. 
The balding man is back on the steps. I walk over. Sir, it’s only 4 PM. We’ve talked about this. He rolls over, gathers up his stuff and glowers at me and goes back to the sidewalk. I’m annoyed that Reachout has not shown up. We’ve got no relationship happening here. No movement. 

Guillermo Esparza and his wife are in to look at the space again. He's looking for a space to install a cherub icon or a statue. I'd like nothing better than to be able to show one of his pieces. The spiritual content of his work goes far beyond any narrow ecclesiastical bounds. 
Time for the conference call. Councilmember Brewer seems to be taking charge. And not a moment too soon.  A lead gift, a challenge grant has been negotiatied. A challenge we can meet. Danielle wil close the deal with a company to do the boiler work. Councilmember Brewer will help ease Department of Building issues. Someone from the Landmarks Conservancy has donated the money to hire a fundraiser for one month. The fundraiser will begin work as soon as the contract is signed. An event will be scheduled for early October. This is tight. Very tight. But it is movement. It is possible. 

Tonight is Erev Rosh Ha Shana, the Jewish New Year.

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