Down the aisle they came, exercising their right to speak out. And where have they been until now?
Men and women, said to be from the Metropolitan Master Chorale. Metropolitan Chorale? Four people who are, all together, the same night, and new to the cause, in favor of turning Fiesta Hall into a "world class performance space" - right here in River City.
I will not name them, because I am not sure of their names and don't want to make a mistake. Someone will though, and I am sure there will be comments on the subject. I was told that only one is an actual resident of West Hollywood.
Fiesta Hall is not meant and never was meant to be a "world class" performance space. Even the term is silly. Let me list what are considered to be world class performance spaces:
Vienna State Opera
Sydney Opera House
Avery Fisher Hall NYC
Hungarian State Budapest
The Royal Albert
(not a complete list)
Our lovely Fiesta Hall is not in this class, and no matter what is done to it, it never will be. When it was first built it was a wonderful stage for small choirs, musical performances, plays, dances and especially meetings. It had proper lighting and adequate acoustics for its time.
It also has a ceiling, hand painted, with scenes of California life - farmers and animals and churches and men, women and children. The ceiling is not the Sistine Chapel, but it is part of what makes Fiesta Hall festive. The hall is also a proposed historic landmark within a historic landmark - Plummer Park itself is California Historic Landmark #160.
While some of the people who support destroying its interior to create a "world class" space may indeed aspire to performing at one - Fiesta Hall will never be it. It is too small.
Notice, if you will, the size of the above mentioned locations. They rely on space to enable acoustical engineering. As it so happens, a very long-time friend, who lights the Boston Symphony Hall for WGBH TV, tells me the BSH used scientifically derived acoustical engineering to make it one of the world great musical venues. This is first hand information.
On a more practical note, Fiesta Hall sits not only in the park, but cheek by jowl with residential housing on a very narrow street that abuts the park on the west side. Numerous problems arise from that proximity on many levels. I think we all know what they might be. The hall was not designed for Der Ring des Nibelungen or Swan Lake.
Coincidentally, the old Post Office Building in Beverly Hills has been funded by Wallis Annenberg to create a serious performance space for the general area. It is very well located in a business area of the city and the interior has been redesigned to enable more ambitious performances to take place there.
It seems to me that an architect with both a knowledge of acoustics and historic buildings could recreate in Fiesta Hall a wonderful, community stage and venue for less elaborate performances that would draw appreciative audiences nonetheless.
Inventing a specious argument to get what you want is a very expedient and common political practice. Producing eleventh hour shills to do it is very self-serving, disingenuous and disregards the park's existence as a green space for anyone who cares to use it.
The entire point of protecting Plummer Park is inclusionary, not exclusionary. Including buildings, trees, tennis courts, playgrounds (on the ground) pre-school, two existing parking lots, dogs and humans of all backgrounds from the very young to the very old.
This is a neighborhood community hall, a neighborhood park in a residential neighborhood. I wonder why that simple idea is so hard to grasp?