[Mintwood-place] Fwd: Ontario Theater Ideas (Positive)
weaveranc at aol.com
Thu Oct 27 13:01:11 EDT 2011
I know this is not an email that fits in the current climate of the list, but I wanted to pass on some the local ideas that I tried to float while I was on the ANC. And before we start another feeding frenzy on the list these are just development ideas I came up with. I am not taking apart any of the other ideas, or the condo development. These are just things I would like to see in Adams Morgan.
Admittedly, I have a bit of a love affair with the old theater space because it was a key location for the DC punk scene, I saw a concert (Violent Fems) at the Ontario on a trip here in the 80s. (I still have poster of a Clash and Bo Diddley concert there)
Local photographer/community activist Nancy Shia has some amazing photos of the space during its heyday ... and local Latino immigrants have great stories of how theater was a gathering point for families who would share food from the old country and watch Julian Soler films. So yeah, in the evolution of this community the theater does have a great history.
Since the clothing store left (7 years ago?) I had high hopes for the use of the space. So, I actively pursued and advocated for a series of uses for the Ontario. A few ideas actually got off the ground --- but because of different snags and timing issues with the family that owns of the building --- the ideas never got beyond the conceptual stage.
Here is my top 5 attempts:
5. Bus Boy's and Poets: Adams Morgan.
Andy Shallal lives in Adams Morgan. Is an activist/artist. The theater already had a stage. Bus Boys use of the space could be an awesome tip of the hat to the old Adams Morgan --- photos of the Adams Morgan as heart of the Latino & activist community in DC -- but giving east Columbia Rd a much needed economic shot in the arm. Unfortunately I don't think Andy was ever on board...last lobbying attempt? Monday.
4. I pitched the Ontario to the McMenamin brothers on a trip back to Oregon. For those that don't know them they are Micro-brewers who have turned neglected properties into unique Mico-breweries all over the West Coast. Abandon schools, fire houses, asylums,a lighthouse --- they have spun into independent funky neighborhood cafes. Including a theater http://www.mcmenamins.com/219-bagdad-theater-pub-home
They wanted to partner with local Mico-brewers, too bad it was pre-DC Brau and Chocolate City Brew. If we could pull this off we could show Julian Soler films again.
3. Cafe Saint Ex owners were interested in the site. Stage and comedy use. That would have been very cool. (See The Riot Act in Chinatown)
2. I looked at the space with Bill Thomas who has a great track record in the community (owner of BreadSoda, Bourbon and Jack Rose) had a great idea for that space. ( I am sure he will take his idea somewhere else. So I won't give it away. Hope it is here in Adams Morgan.)
and # 1 my dream scenario is Hawker Center or "kitchen incubator and market" a culinary Affinity Lab http://www.affinitylab.com/ that would help small entrepreneurs grow their food-related businesses.
It would be a combination of Unity Market meets Cleveland's Westside Market http://www.westsidemarket.org/about.html meets Eastern Market http://www.easternmarket-dc.org/ meets your favorite food truck pod. Anyone who has traveled to Southeast Asia or Latin America or has seen Anthony Bourdain in Singapore ( http://www.absolutelyfobulous.com/2009/07/21/bourdain-hails-singapore-hawker-centers-foodies-heaven/) has seen the new upscale versions of old market kiosks. Your favorite Unity Park vendor would be in a brick and mortar building with a commercial kitchen, shared costs.
That's it, that's my list. We have had other ideas ---- dozen more or so --- but these were ones I really liked or the ones that actually had a chance.
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