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[columbia_heights] The Tivoli Theatre

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  • pat meyer
    Evening All, It is heartwarming to read all the notes about the Tivoli. For almost 20 years Save the Tivoli has been working to keep the building from being
    Message 1 of 7 , Mar 31, 2000
      Evening All,

      It is heartwarming to read all the notes about the Tivoli. For almost 20
      years Save the Tivoli has been working to keep the building from being
      demolished and the positive reaction to Mark's posted photos is great. For
      those who don't know me, I am the executive director and a founding member
      of STT and live on Holmead Place, right behind the Theatre.

      To build on what David and Mark and Geoff and John and others have said
      about the Tivoli and to answer some questions....

      The board of STT doesn't think, and never has felt, that there is a choice
      between having the Tivoli or a grocery
      store. I do think with more than 13 acres of undeveloped, to say nothing of
      the underdeveloped, land in the general area of the Tivoli, this
      neighborhood should have both. The size of the proposed Giant - 40,000
      square feet - makes this a regional, rather than a neighborhood, store and
      will attract customers from the surrounding neighborhoods as well as
      commuters passing the store on their way home up 14th Street. This is the
      size of some of the suburban stores, and almost twice as large as the
      "Soviet" Safeway or the O Street Giant. There is a formula for grocery
      store development, but that shouldn't mean we lose unique buildings in order
      to gain good one stop shopping. And, as has been said, smaller specialty
      markets will probably lose customers and may be forced to close when the
      larger store opens.

      The Lincoln Theater is a wonderful venue. Unfortunately, there have been
      management decisions that limit the type of programming available to be
      staged at that house. (Union vs. non-union, subject matter, type of
      organization that can rent the facility.) These decisions plus the noted
      lack of publicity, have resulted in less than hoped for usage, which
      translates into many dark nights. This has spin-off effects on area
      businesses and on the future of the theater itself. The management of the
      Tivoli will be a critical factor in its success, as with any theater. The
      Warner had struggled for many years, both trying to find it's place in the
      DC theater scene and
      attracting a loyal following.

      The Tivoli's stage is rather small for today's productions. The large
      rectangular part of the building behind it is the flytower, and was used to
      hold the curtains on which scenes were painted. They were then lowered to
      the stage area by rigging during the performances. This gave greater
      flexibility for scenery, but less space in the wings. Actors had to cross
      the stage by a catwalk over the stage to enter from the right.

      The orchestra pit was one of the first in the country to be lowered or
      raised as needed during a performance. The pit is currently covered with
      what looks like an apron in front of the stage, and could/has been used as a
      stage extension.

      There has been damage over the years to the plaster work and many
      "renovators" helped themselves to the marble wainscoting and bathroom
      dividers. There is, however, enough detail work to take molds and do
      whatever replacement work would be necessary, should a future use of the
      space require that.

      While there are a number of smaller theater spaces in the 14th Street area,
      none of them have the capacity to fill the Tivoli - it seats over 2500,
      making it a larger venue than either the National or the Warner. The third
      balcony alone hold more people than the Uptown. There are numerous
      possibilities for reusing the Tivoli interior, including several that divide
      the space into smaller areas. The small theaters on 14th Street have a
      patronage and each has a unique identity. We hope that the Tivoli will have
      an equally unique place in Washington theater. There are many other
      businesses in Columbia Heights that are named for the Tivoli and it is
      something that sets this neighborhood apart from all the others in the city.
      Think of the stores and businesses that have sprung up around the Uptown
      Theater and the business they do as a result of that very popular movie
      house. Those small restaurants and businesses also improve the quality of
      life and safety of the neighborhood residents and provide a wide range of
      services for them, and others to enjoy.

      So the big question remains, what exactly do we do with the interior space.
      There are 10 shops and about 35 offices within the structure of the building
      that could be brought to code and rented for neighborhood services. That
      would be the first effort, to bring the building back into service.

      The auditorium space could have may uses. At an STT board meeting in the
      early 1980's we made a listing of all the possible uses - from movies, to a
      space for graduations, to neighborhood meetings, to plays, to opera, to
      dividing the space into smaller units, to leveling the floor for a skating
      rink or dance floor...you get the idea. We filled an hour coming up with
      ideas, many of which were and are possible.

      But we knew in the 1980's and it is true now, that the use must be
      economically viable, be reflective of the history and culture of the
      neighborhood and larger community, be accessible, and be fun. This is a
      building with a lot of potential, it can be something very special. It sets
      Columbia Heights apart from all other neighborhoods in the city. There is
      no other Tivoli Theatre. Can you hear the next round of Metro names - "the
      next station stop is Columbia Heights/Tivoli Theatre." (It's not likely
      that they would ever say "Columbia Heights/Giant Grocery.")

      We welcome your help and support in joining our effort to find a way to
      reuse this landmark. STT's annual membership is $20. for individuals and
      $30. for families. Our website, a work in progress, has more info on
      joining - www.savethetivoli.org.

      If you have other questions, either post them, and I'll reply, or contact me
      privately. I look forward to a continuing discussion on the issues.

      Pat Meyer
    • Tony McNeal
      Pat: Thank you (and Geoff Griffis) for the interesting information on the Tivoli. Quite a fascinating past. I m curious to get your take on a couple things.
      Message 2 of 7 , Apr 1 2:57 PM
        Pat:

        Thank you (and Geoff Griffis) for the interesting information on the Tivoli.
        Quite a fascinating past. I'm curious to get your take on a couple
        things.

        While the reasons you state for the under use of the Lincoln are valid, a
        major reason it sits dark most of the time is its size. At under 1,200
        seats it is too large for community groups and local theatre companies to
        use (none of the theaters on 14th Street seats more than 200), but too small
        for travelling shows and concerts. The Warner has nearly 1,900 seats,
        Lisner Auditorium and Constitution Hall have 1,500, and, the Kennedy Center
        Concert Hall has 2,300.

        Where would the Tivoli fit? To be economically viable at 2,500 seats you
        would surely need a large thrust stage like the KenCen Opera House to put on
        broadway musicals and operas, if you could attract them from the KenCen or
        downtown from the Warner.

        If you enlarge the stage, you risk lowering the seating capacity to the
        unworkable Lincoln model, and you might still be faced with the union
        problems, subject matter, etc.

        Do you have a sense of how it would work?

        Tony McNeal


        >From: "pat meyer" <Holmead@...>
        >To: <columbia_heights@egroups.com>
        >Subject: [columbia_heights] The Tivoli Theatre
        >Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2000 23:36:43 -0500
        >
        >
        >Evening All,
        >
        >It is heartwarming to read all the notes about the Tivoli. For almost 20
        >years Save the Tivoli has been working to keep the building from being
        >demolished and the positive reaction to Mark's posted photos is great. For
        >those who don't know me, I am the executive director and a founding member
        >of STT and live on Holmead Place, right behind the Theatre.
        >
        >To build on what David and Mark and Geoff and John and others have said
        >about the Tivoli and to answer some questions....
        >
        >The board of STT doesn't think, and never has felt, that there is a choice
        >between having the Tivoli or a grocery
        >store. I do think with more than 13 acres of undeveloped, to say nothing
        >of
        >the underdeveloped, land in the general area of the Tivoli, this
        >neighborhood should have both. The size of the proposed Giant - 40,000
        >square feet - makes this a regional, rather than a neighborhood, store and
        >will attract customers from the surrounding neighborhoods as well as
        >commuters passing the store on their way home up 14th Street. This is the
        >size of some of the suburban stores, and almost twice as large as the
        >"Soviet" Safeway or the O Street Giant. There is a formula for grocery
        >store development, but that shouldn't mean we lose unique buildings in
        >order
        >to gain good one stop shopping. And, as has been said, smaller specialty
        >markets will probably lose customers and may be forced to close when the
        >larger store opens.
        >
        >The Lincoln Theater is a wonderful venue. Unfortunately, there have been
        >management decisions that limit the type of programming available to be
        >staged at that house. (Union vs. non-union, subject matter, type of
        >organization that can rent the facility.) These decisions plus the noted
        >lack of publicity, have resulted in less than hoped for usage, which
        >translates into many dark nights. This has spin-off effects on area
        >businesses and on the future of the theater itself. The management of the
        >Tivoli will be a critical factor in its success, as with any theater. The
        >Warner had struggled for many years, both trying to find it's place in the
        >DC theater scene and
        >attracting a loyal following.
        >
        >The Tivoli's stage is rather small for today's productions. The large
        >rectangular part of the building behind it is the flytower, and was used to
        >hold the curtains on which scenes were painted. They were then lowered to
        >the stage area by rigging during the performances. This gave greater
        >flexibility for scenery, but less space in the wings. Actors had to cross
        >the stage by a catwalk over the stage to enter from the right.
        >
        >The orchestra pit was one of the first in the country to be lowered or
        >raised as needed during a performance. The pit is currently covered with
        >what looks like an apron in front of the stage, and could/has been used as
        >a
        >stage extension.
        >
        >There has been damage over the years to the plaster work and many
        >"renovators" helped themselves to the marble wainscoting and bathroom
        >dividers. There is, however, enough detail work to take molds and do
        >whatever replacement work would be necessary, should a future use of the
        >space require that.
        >
        >While there are a number of smaller theater spaces in the 14th Street area,
        >none of them have the capacity to fill the Tivoli - it seats over 2500,
        >making it a larger venue than either the National or the Warner. The third
        >balcony alone hold more people than the Uptown. There are numerous
        >possibilities for reusing the Tivoli interior, including several that
        >divide
        >the space into smaller areas. The small theaters on 14th Street have a
        >patronage and each has a unique identity. We hope that the Tivoli will
        >have
        >an equally unique place in Washington theater. There are many other
        >businesses in Columbia Heights that are named for the Tivoli and it is
        >something that sets this neighborhood apart from all the others in the
        >city.
        >Think of the stores and businesses that have sprung up around the Uptown
        >Theater and the business they do as a result of that very popular movie
        >house. Those small restaurants and businesses also improve the quality of
        >life and safety of the neighborhood residents and provide a wide range of
        >services for them, and others to enjoy.
        >
        >So the big question remains, what exactly do we do with the interior space.
        >There are 10 shops and about 35 offices within the structure of the
        >building
        >that could be brought to code and rented for neighborhood services. That
        >would be the first effort, to bring the building back into service.
        >
        >The auditorium space could have may uses. At an STT board meeting in the
        >early 1980's we made a listing of all the possible uses - from movies, to a
        >space for graduations, to neighborhood meetings, to plays, to opera, to
        >dividing the space into smaller units, to leveling the floor for a skating
        >rink or dance floor...you get the idea. We filled an hour coming up with
        >ideas, many of which were and are possible.
        >
        >But we knew in the 1980's and it is true now, that the use must be
        >economically viable, be reflective of the history and culture of the
        >neighborhood and larger community, be accessible, and be fun. This is a
        >building with a lot of potential, it can be something very special. It
        >sets
        >Columbia Heights apart from all other neighborhoods in the city. There is
        >no other Tivoli Theatre. Can you hear the next round of Metro names - "the
        >next station stop is Columbia Heights/Tivoli Theatre." (It's not likely
        >that they would ever say "Columbia Heights/Giant Grocery.")
        >
        >We welcome your help and support in joining our effort to find a way to
        >reuse this landmark. STT's annual membership is $20. for individuals and
        >$30. for families. Our website, a work in progress, has more info on
        >joining - www.savethetivoli.org.
        >
        >If you have other questions, either post them, and I'll reply, or contact
        >me
        >privately. I look forward to a continuing discussion on the issues.
        >
        >Pat Meyer
        >
        >
        >------------------------------------------------------------------------
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        ______________________________________________________
      • T. David Bell
        The other option to consider is to enlarge the stage toward the rear (add onto the building at the north side of the site) and provide a retractable thrust
        Message 3 of 7 , Apr 1 5:38 PM
          The other option to consider is to enlarge the stage toward the rear (add onto the building at the
          north side of the site) and provide a retractable thrust stage with removable seats directly in
          front of the proscenium arch.

          Tony McNeal wrote:

          > Pat:
          >
          > Thank you (and Geoff Griffis) for the interesting information on the Tivoli.
          > Quite a fascinating past. I'm curious to get your take on a couple
          > things.
          >
          > While the reasons you state for the under use of the Lincoln are valid, a
          > major reason it sits dark most of the time is its size. At under 1,200
          > seats it is too large for community groups and local theatre companies to
          > use (none of the theaters on 14th Street seats more than 200), but too small
          > for travelling shows and concerts. The Warner has nearly 1,900 seats,
          > Lisner Auditorium and Constitution Hall have 1,500, and, the Kennedy Center
          > Concert Hall has 2,300.
          >
          > Where would the Tivoli fit? To be economically viable at 2,500 seats you
          > would surely need a large thrust stage like the KenCen Opera House to put on
          > broadway musicals and operas, if you could attract them from the KenCen or
          > downtown from the Warner.
          >
          > If you enlarge the stage, you risk lowering the seating capacity to the
          > unworkable Lincoln model, and you might still be faced with the union
          > problems, subject matter, etc.
          >
          > Do you have a sense of how it would work?
          >
          > Tony McNeal
          >
          > >From: "pat meyer" <Holmead@...>
          > >To: <columbia_heights@egroups.com>
          > >Subject: [columbia_heights] The Tivoli Theatre
          > >Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2000 23:36:43 -0500
          > >
          > >
          > >Evening All,
          > >
          > >It is heartwarming to read all the notes about the Tivoli. For almost 20
          > >years Save the Tivoli has been working to keep the building from being
          > >demolished and the positive reaction to Mark's posted photos is great. For
          > >those who don't know me, I am the executive director and a founding member
          > >of STT and live on Holmead Place, right behind the Theatre.
          > >
          > >To build on what David and Mark and Geoff and John and others have said
          > >about the Tivoli and to answer some questions....
          > >
          > >The board of STT doesn't think, and never has felt, that there is a choice
          > >between having the Tivoli or a grocery
          > >store. I do think with more than 13 acres of undeveloped, to say nothing
          > >of
          > >the underdeveloped, land in the general area of the Tivoli, this
          > >neighborhood should have both. The size of the proposed Giant - 40,000
          > >square feet - makes this a regional, rather than a neighborhood, store and
          > >will attract customers from the surrounding neighborhoods as well as
          > >commuters passing the store on their way home up 14th Street. This is the
          > >size of some of the suburban stores, and almost twice as large as the
          > >"Soviet" Safeway or the O Street Giant. There is a formula for grocery
          > >store development, but that shouldn't mean we lose unique buildings in
          > >order
          > >to gain good one stop shopping. And, as has been said, smaller specialty
          > >markets will probably lose customers and may be forced to close when the
          > >larger store opens.
          > >
          > >The Lincoln Theater is a wonderful venue. Unfortunately, there have been
          > >management decisions that limit the type of programming available to be
          > >staged at that house. (Union vs. non-union, subject matter, type of
          > >organization that can rent the facility.) These decisions plus the noted
          > >lack of publicity, have resulted in less than hoped for usage, which
          > >translates into many dark nights. This has spin-off effects on area
          > >businesses and on the future of the theater itself. The management of the
          > >Tivoli will be a critical factor in its success, as with any theater. The
          > >Warner had struggled for many years, both trying to find it's place in the
          > >DC theater scene and
          > >attracting a loyal following.
          > >
          > >The Tivoli's stage is rather small for today's productions. The large
          > >rectangular part of the building behind it is the flytower, and was used to
          > >hold the curtains on which scenes were painted. They were then lowered to
          > >the stage area by rigging during the performances. This gave greater
          > >flexibility for scenery, but less space in the wings. Actors had to cross
          > >the stage by a catwalk over the stage to enter from the right.
          > >
          > >The orchestra pit was one of the first in the country to be lowered or
          > >raised as needed during a performance. The pit is currently covered with
          > >what looks like an apron in front of the stage, and could/has been used as
          > >a
          > >stage extension.
          > >
          > >There has been damage over the years to the plaster work and many
          > >"renovators" helped themselves to the marble wainscoting and bathroom
          > >dividers. There is, however, enough detail work to take molds and do
          > >whatever replacement work would be necessary, should a future use of the
          > >space require that.
          > >
          > >While there are a number of smaller theater spaces in the 14th Street area,
          > >none of them have the capacity to fill the Tivoli - it seats over 2500,
          > >making it a larger venue than either the National or the Warner. The third
          > >balcony alone hold more people than the Uptown. There are numerous
          > >possibilities for reusing the Tivoli interior, including several that
          > >divide
          > >the space into smaller areas. The small theaters on 14th Street have a
          > >patronage and each has a unique identity. We hope that the Tivoli will
          > >have
          > >an equally unique place in Washington theater. There are many other
          > >businesses in Columbia Heights that are named for the Tivoli and it is
          > >something that sets this neighborhood apart from all the others in the
          > >city.
          > >Think of the stores and businesses that have sprung up around the Uptown
          > >Theater and the business they do as a result of that very popular movie
          > >house. Those small restaurants and businesses also improve the quality of
          > >life and safety of the neighborhood residents and provide a wide range of
          > >services for them, and others to enjoy.
          > >
          > >So the big question remains, what exactly do we do with the interior space.
          > >There are 10 shops and about 35 offices within the structure of the
          > >building
          > >that could be brought to code and rented for neighborhood services. That
          > >would be the first effort, to bring the building back into service.
          > >
          > >The auditorium space could have may uses. At an STT board meeting in the
          > >early 1980's we made a listing of all the possible uses - from movies, to a
          > >space for graduations, to neighborhood meetings, to plays, to opera, to
          > >dividing the space into smaller units, to leveling the floor for a skating
          > >rink or dance floor...you get the idea. We filled an hour coming up with
          > >ideas, many of which were and are possible.
          > >
          > >But we knew in the 1980's and it is true now, that the use must be
          > >economically viable, be reflective of the history and culture of the
          > >neighborhood and larger community, be accessible, and be fun. This is a
          > >building with a lot of potential, it can be something very special. It
          > >sets
          > >Columbia Heights apart from all other neighborhoods in the city. There is
          > >no other Tivoli Theatre. Can you hear the next round of Metro names - "the
          > >next station stop is Columbia Heights/Tivoli Theatre." (It's not likely
          > >that they would ever say "Columbia Heights/Giant Grocery.")
          > >
          > >We welcome your help and support in joining our effort to find a way to
          > >reuse this landmark. STT's annual membership is $20. for individuals and
          > >$30. for families. Our website, a work in progress, has more info on
          > >joining - www.savethetivoli.org.
          > >
          > >If you have other questions, either post them, and I'll reply, or contact
          > >me
          > >privately. I look forward to a continuing discussion on the issues.
          > >
          > >Pat Meyer
          > >
          > >
          > >------------------------------------------------------------------------
          > >Special Offer-Earn 300 Points from MyPoints.com for trying @Backup
          > >Get automatic protection and access to your important computer files.
          > >Install today:
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          > >
          > >eGroups.com Home: http://www.egroups.com/group/columbia_heights/
          > >http://www.egroups.com - Simplifying group communications
          > >
          >
          > ______________________________________________________
          >
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        • Michael Vallen
          Let me throw this into the discussion mix. It seems that now that Mark s photos of the inside of the Tivoli have been made public that many more of us are
          Message 4 of 7 , Apr 2 4:53 AM
            Let me throw this into the discussion mix. It seems
            that now that Mark's photos of the inside of the
            Tivoli have been made public that many more of us are
            aware of the great treasure this community has.

            It is, I think clear, that Altering, remodeling, or
            demolition are unthinkable. The only real course of
            action is to restore (in the true sense of the word)
            the building.

            This presents a myriad of problems that are going to
            take a great deal of coordination to solve and a great
            deal of creativity to conceptualize.

            I will not pretend that there is any one answer but
            this country has a great many similar projects to
            consider.

            Right here in this city is the Warner Theater.
            Remember it was closed for a period of time, had
            fallen into disrepair and needed a great influx of
            cash to restore it. This was done, I believe by
            having the office building developed around it's
            interior. It doesn't seem that this is a remote
            possiblity for our situation becasue we don't want to
            surround the Tivoli.

            In Los Angeles at least seven of the great silent
            screen movie houses have been restored in the last
            decade. Many of these structures, The Million Dollar
            Theater (one example) have been very successful. Not
            only as excellent examples of restoration efforts but
            also as community anchors. Broadway Street (the
            historic "shopping mall" of Downtown LA) was derilict
            for many years. It took a concerted effort of their
            CBD, and partnership with the motion picture industry
            and others to make these restorations happen. Their
            reopening have enlivened the area and added a great
            deal to the cultural identity of downtown.

            In other major and second tier cities the old movie
            houses have been restored for adaptive reuse purposes.
            Sometimes for performance halls...and sometimes
            successfully. Again, I sight a great example of this
            which occured in LA with the Wiltern Theater. Once a
            shining example of Art Deco architect this silent
            movie theater that seats about 2,200 was restored and
            reopened in the mid 80s and is still rocking today as
            a music hall!!!

            In most cases, however, the best use for these
            buildings is to make them what they once were....A
            great movie palace.

            I understand that DC has one great movie palace
            left...the Uptown. It seats 1,600. It is hughly
            successful. Architecturally it is mildly inspired.
            The most recent renovation actually hurt it I think as
            its seats are so uncomfortable. However, it is rairly
            not packed with people.

            Couldn't DC afford to have two great movie palaces?
            Think about it for just a second. It might seem crazy
            but if the idea were really thought through and
            promoted to the right people in the right way we may
            find it easier to raise the millions necessary to
            restore the building. The end result would be a real
            landmark, anchor and source of community pride for not
            only CH but for the city as a whole.

            Steven Ballard had a good suggestion about finding a
            .com to come up with the money. But money is not the
            only thing...image and creating a sense of desire is
            really an important part of this whole effort.

            So I could go on but I'd like to welcome comment and
            response instead.

            mev

            --- Tony McNeal <tmac09@...> wrote:
            >
            > Pat:
            >
            > Thank you (and Geoff Griffis) for the interesting
            > information on the Tivoli.
            > Quite a fascinating past. I'm curious to get your
            > take on a couple
            > things.
            >
            > While the reasons you state for the under use of the
            > Lincoln are valid, a
            > major reason it sits dark most of the time is its
            > size. At under 1,200
            > seats it is too large for community groups and local
            > theatre companies to
            > use (none of the theaters on 14th Street seats more
            > than 200), but too small
            > for travelling shows and concerts. The Warner has
            > nearly 1,900 seats,
            > Lisner Auditorium and Constitution Hall have 1,500,
            > and, the Kennedy Center
            > Concert Hall has 2,300.
            >
            > Where would the Tivoli fit? To be economically
            > viable at 2,500 seats you
            > would surely need a large thrust stage like the
            > KenCen Opera House to put on
            > broadway musicals and operas, if you could attract
            > them from the KenCen or
            > downtown from the Warner.
            >
            > If you enlarge the stage, you risk lowering the
            > seating capacity to the
            > unworkable Lincoln model, and you might still be
            > faced with the union
            > problems, subject matter, etc.
            >
            > Do you have a sense of how it would work?
            >
            > Tony McNeal
            >
            >
            > >From: "pat meyer" <Holmead@...>
            > >To: <columbia_heights@egroups.com>
            > >Subject: [columbia_heights] The Tivoli Theatre
            > >Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2000 23:36:43 -0500
            > >
            > >
            > >Evening All,
            > >
            > >It is heartwarming to read all the notes about the
            > Tivoli. For almost 20
            > >years Save the Tivoli has been working to keep the
            > building from being
            > >demolished and the positive reaction to Mark's
            > posted photos is great. For
            > >those who don't know me, I am the executive
            > director and a founding member
            > >of STT and live on Holmead Place, right behind the
            > Theatre.
            > >
            > >To build on what David and Mark and Geoff and John
            > and others have said
            > >about the Tivoli and to answer some questions....
            > >
            > >The board of STT doesn't think, and never has felt,
            > that there is a choice
            > >between having the Tivoli or a grocery
            > >store. I do think with more than 13 acres of
            > undeveloped, to say nothing
            > >of
            > >the underdeveloped, land in the general area of the
            > Tivoli, this
            > >neighborhood should have both. The size of the
            > proposed Giant - 40,000
            > >square feet - makes this a regional, rather than a
            > neighborhood, store and
            > >will attract customers from the surrounding
            > neighborhoods as well as
            > >commuters passing the store on their way home up
            > 14th Street. This is the
            > >size of some of the suburban stores, and almost
            > twice as large as the
            > >"Soviet" Safeway or the O Street Giant. There is a
            > formula for grocery
            > >store development, but that shouldn't mean we lose
            > unique buildings in
            > >order
            > >to gain good one stop shopping. And, as has been
            > said, smaller specialty
            > >markets will probably lose customers and may be
            > forced to close when the
            > >larger store opens.
            > >
            > >The Lincoln Theater is a wonderful venue.
            > Unfortunately, there have been
            > >management decisions that limit the type of
            > programming available to be
            > >staged at that house. (Union vs. non-union, subject
            > matter, type of
            > >organization that can rent the facility.) These
            > decisions plus the noted
            > >lack of publicity, have resulted in less than
            > hoped for usage, which
            > >translates into many dark nights. This has
            > spin-off effects on area
            > >businesses and on the future of the theater itself.
            > The management of the
            > >Tivoli will be a critical factor in its success, as
            > with any theater. The
            > >Warner had struggled for many years, both trying to
            > find it's place in the
            > >DC theater scene and
            > >attracting a loyal following.
            > >
            > >The Tivoli's stage is rather small for today's
            > productions. The large
            > >rectangular part of the building behind it is the
            > flytower, and was used to
            > >hold the curtains on which scenes were painted.
            > They were then lowered to
            > >the stage area by rigging during the performances.
            > This gave greater
            > >flexibility for scenery, but less space in the
            > wings. Actors had to cross
            > >the stage by a catwalk over the stage to enter from
            > the right.
            > >
            > >The orchestra pit was one of the first in the
            > country to be lowered or
            > >raised as needed during a performance. The pit is
            > currently covered with
            > >what looks like an apron in front of the stage, and
            > could/has been used as
            > >a
            > >stage extension.
            > >
            > >There has been damage over the years to the plaster
            > work and many
            > >"renovators" helped themselves to the marble
            > wainscoting and bathroom
            > >dividers. There is, however, enough detail work
            > to take molds and do
            > >whatever replacement work would be necessary,
            > should a future use of the
            > >space require that.
            > >
            > >While there are a number of smaller theater spaces
            > in the 14th Street area,
            > >none of them have the capacity to fill the Tivoli -
            > it seats over 2500,
            > >making it a larger venue than either the National
            > or the Warner. The third
            > >balcony alone hold more people than the Uptown.
            > There are numerous
            > >possibilities for reusing the Tivoli interior,
            > including several that
            > >divide
            > >the space into smaller areas. The small theaters on
            > 14th Street have a
            > >patronage and each has a unique identity. We hope
            > that the Tivoli will
            > >have
            > >an equally unique place in Washington theater.
            > There are many other
            > >businesses in Columbia Heights that are named for
            > the Tivoli and it is
            > >something that sets this neighborhood apart from
            > all the others in the
            > >city.
            > >Think of the stores and businesses that have sprung
            > up around the Uptown
            > >Theater and the business they do as a result of
            > that very popular movie
            > >house. Those small restaurants and businesses also
            > improve the quality of
            > >life and safety of the neighborhood residents and
            > provide a wide range of
            > >services for them, and others to enjoy.
            > >
            > >So the big question remains, what exactly do we do
            > with the interior space.
            > >There are 10 shops and about 35 offices within the
            > structure of the
            > >building
            > >that could be brought to code and rented for
            > neighborhood services. That
            > >would be the first effort, to bring the building
            > back into service.
            > >
            > >The auditorium space could have may uses. At an
            > STT board meeting in the
            > >early 1980's we made a listing of all the possible
            > uses - from movies, to a
            > >space for graduations, to neighborhood meetings, to
            > plays, to opera, to
            > >dividing the space into smaller units, to leveling
            > the floor for a skating
            > >rink or dance floor...you get the idea. We filled
            > an hour coming up with
            > >ideas, many of which were and are possible.
            >
            === message truncated ===

            =====
            Apexstudios
            Design-Architecture-Illustration
            Michael Vallen

            http//www.apexstudios.com

            "Any deviation from simplicity results in a loss of dignity." Irving J. Gill 1932

            __________________________________________________
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          • Stephen Kline
            Re: Your posting: Let me throw this into the discussion mix. It seems... Hi Michael: Your posting is most thoughtful. I, too, have wondered if the Uptown
            Message 5 of 7 , Apr 2 5:14 AM
              Re: Your posting: "Let me throw this into the discussion mix. It
              seems..."



              Hi Michael:

              Your posting is most thoughtful. I, too, have wondered if the Uptown is the
              only large, single-screen theater that Washington will support. It would
              seem not, although there are significant issues to be aware of.

              I spent several years working for AMC, mostly as a theater manager of
              several different multi-screen locations in Houston, so I know a little
              about the business, at least as it appeared in the 1980s.

              Trying to interest one of the major chains in a single screen theater will
              be difficult. As you probably know, theaters make the vast majority of
              their profits from the concession stand, with film many times running at a
              loss. Knowing this fact, it is pretty obvious that if you have one screen,
              and that screen fails to perform, you suffer BIG losses because, not only
              are few people buying tickets, but fewer still are buying popcorn and coke.
              Losses of that magnitude are in the unacceptable risk category for the major
              chains.

              If we are to preserve the Tivoli as a single screen house, we would do well
              to look elsewhere for an entrepreneur who can run it profitably. I'm sure
              they are out there, so we need to do our research.

              steve
            • T. David Bell
              One of the tremendous aspects of the theatre, that is not reflected in the pictures, is the acoustics. They are superb! Let s not ruin them. I have the
              Message 6 of 7 , Apr 2 7:57 AM
                One of the tremendous aspects of the theatre, that is not reflected in the pictures, is the
                acoustics. They are superb! Let's not ruin them.

                I have the impression that wrapping two sides of the building is still a very viable and desirable
                solution, and the use of the remainder of the site could be (ultimately) an office or mixed-use
                building with more density than just one or two stories.

                David

                Michael Vallen wrote:

                > It seems that now that Mark's photos of the inside of the
                > Tivoli have been made public that many more of us are
                > aware of the great treasure this community has.
                >
                > Right here in this city is the Warner Theater.
                > Remember it was closed for a period of time, had
                > fallen into disrepair and needed a great influx of
                > cash to restore it. This was done, I believe by
                > having the office building developed around it's
                > interior. It doesn't seem that this is a remote
                > possiblity for our situation becasue we don't want to
                > surround the Tivoli.
                >
                > mev
                >
                > --- Tony McNeal <tmac09@...> wrote:
                > >
                > > Pat:
                > >
                > > Thank you (and Geoff Griffis) for the interesting
                > > information on the Tivoli.
                > > Quite a fascinating past. I'm curious to get your
                > > take on a couple
                > > things.
                > >
                > > While the reasons you state for the under use of the
                > > Lincoln are valid, a
                > > major reason it sits dark most of the time is its
                > > size. At under 1,200
                > > seats it is too large for community groups and local
                > > theatre companies to
                > > use (none of the theaters on 14th Street seats more
                > > than 200), but too small
                > > for travelling shows and concerts. The Warner has
                > > nearly 1,900 seats,
                > > Lisner Auditorium and Constitution Hall have 1,500,
                > > and, the Kennedy Center
                > > Concert Hall has 2,300.
                > >
                > > Where would the Tivoli fit? To be economically
                > > viable at 2,500 seats you
                > > would surely need a large thrust stage like the
                > > KenCen Opera House to put on
                > > broadway musicals and operas, if you could attract
                > > them from the KenCen or
                > > downtown from the Warner.
                > >
                > > If you enlarge the stage, you risk lowering the
                > > seating capacity to the
                > > unworkable Lincoln model, and you might still be
                > > faced with the union
                > > problems, subject matter, etc.
                > >
                > > Do you have a sense of how it would work?
                > >
                > > Tony McNeal
                > >
                > >
                > > >From: "pat meyer" <Holmead@...>
                > > >To: <columbia_heights@egroups.com>
                > > >Subject: [columbia_heights] The Tivoli Theatre
                > > >Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2000 23:36:43 -0500
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >Evening All,
                > > >
                > > >It is heartwarming to read all the notes about the
                > > Tivoli. For almost 20
                > > >years Save the Tivoli has been working to keep the
                > > building from being
                > > >demolished and the positive reaction to Mark's
                > > posted photos is great. For
                > > >those who don't know me, I am the executive
                > > director and a founding member
                > > >of STT and live on Holmead Place, right behind the
                > > Theatre.
                > > >
                > > >To build on what David and Mark and Geoff and John
                > > and others have said
                > > >about the Tivoli and to answer some questions....
                > > >
                > > >The board of STT doesn't think, and never has felt,
                > > that there is a choice
                > > >between having the Tivoli or a grocery
                > > >store. I do think with more than 13 acres of
                > > undeveloped, to say nothing
                > > >of
                > > >the underdeveloped, land in the general area of the
                > > Tivoli, this
                > > >neighborhood should have both. The size of the
                > > proposed Giant - 40,000
                > > >square feet - makes this a regional, rather than a
                > > neighborhood, store and
                > > >will attract customers from the surrounding
                > > neighborhoods as well as
                > > >commuters passing the store on their way home up
                > > 14th Street. This is the
                > > >size of some of the suburban stores, and almost
                > > twice as large as the
                > > >"Soviet" Safeway or the O Street Giant. There is a
                > > formula for grocery
                > > >store development, but that shouldn't mean we lose
                > > unique buildings in
                > > >order
                > > >to gain good one stop shopping. And, as has been
                > > said, smaller specialty
                > > >markets will probably lose customers and may be
                > > forced to close when the
                > > >larger store opens.
                > > >
                > > >The Lincoln Theater is a wonderful venue.
                > > Unfortunately, there have been
                > > >management decisions that limit the type of
                > > programming available to be
                > > >staged at that house. (Union vs. non-union, subject
                > > matter, type of
                > > >organization that can rent the facility.) These
                > > decisions plus the noted
                > > >lack of publicity, have resulted in less than
                > > hoped for usage, which
                > > >translates into many dark nights. This has
                > > spin-off effects on area
                > > >businesses and on the future of the theater itself.
                > > The management of the
                > > >Tivoli will be a critical factor in its success, as
                > > with any theater. The
                > > >Warner had struggled for many years, both trying to
                > > find it's place in the
                > > >DC theater scene and
                > > >attracting a loyal following.
                > > >
                > > >The Tivoli's stage is rather small for today's
                > > productions. The large
                > > >rectangular part of the building behind it is the
                > > flytower, and was used to
                > > >hold the curtains on which scenes were painted.
                > > They were then lowered to
                > > >the stage area by rigging during the performances.
                > > This gave greater
                > > >flexibility for scenery, but less space in the
                > > wings. Actors had to cross
                > > >the stage by a catwalk over the stage to enter from
                > > the right.
                > > >
                > > >The orchestra pit was one of the first in the
                > > country to be lowered or
                > > >raised as needed during a performance. The pit is
                > > currently covered with
                > > >what looks like an apron in front of the stage, and
                > > could/has been used as
                > > >a
                > > >stage extension.
                > > >
                > > >There has been damage over the years to the plaster
                > > work and many
                > > >"renovators" helped themselves to the marble
                > > wainscoting and bathroom
                > > >dividers. There is, however, enough detail work
                > > to take molds and do
                > > >whatever replacement work would be necessary,
                > > should a future use of the
                > > >space require that.
                > > >
                > > >While there are a number of smaller theater spaces
                > > in the 14th Street area,
                > > >none of them have the capacity to fill the Tivoli -
                > > it seats over 2500,
                > > >making it a larger venue than either the National
                > > or the Warner. The third
                > > >balcony alone hold more people than the Uptown.
                > > There are numerous
                > > >possibilities for reusing the Tivoli interior,
                > > including several that
                > > >divide
                > > >the space into smaller areas. The small theaters on
                > > 14th Street have a
                > > >patronage and each has a unique identity. We hope
                > > that the Tivoli will
                > > >have
                > > >an equally unique place in Washington theater.
                > > There are many other
                > > >businesses in Columbia Heights that are named for
                > > the Tivoli and it is
                > > >something that sets this neighborhood apart from
                > > all the others in the
                > > >city.
                > > >Think of the stores and businesses that have sprung
                > > up around the Uptown
                > > >Theater and the business they do as a result of
                > > that very popular movie
                > > >house. Those small restaurants and businesses also
                > > improve the quality of
                > > >life and safety of the neighborhood residents and
                > > provide a wide range of
                > > >services for them, and others to enjoy.
                > > >
                > > >So the big question remains, what exactly do we do
                > > with the interior space.
                > > >There are 10 shops and about 35 offices within the
                > > structure of the
                > > >building
                > > >that could be brought to code and rented for
                > > neighborhood services. That
                > > >would be the first effort, to bring the building
                > > back into service.
                > > >
                > > >The auditorium space could have may uses. At an
                > > STT board meeting in the
                > > >early 1980's we made a listing of all the possible
                > > uses - from movies, to a
                > > >space for graduations, to neighborhood meetings, to
                > > plays, to opera, to
                > > >dividing the space into smaller units, to leveling
                > > the floor for a skating
                > > >rink or dance floor...you get the idea. We filled
                > > an hour coming up with
                > > >ideas, many of which were and are possible.
                > >
                > === message truncated ===
                >
                > =====
                > Apexstudios
                > Design-Architecture-Illustration
                > Michael Vallen
                >
                > http//www.apexstudios.com
                >
                > "Any deviation from simplicity results in a loss of dignity." Irving J. Gill 1932
                >
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              • Geof Griffis
                I think there are numerous opportunities for the adaptation of the Tivoli into some sort of viable performing arts space- There are great examples as Michael
                Message 7 of 7 , Apr 2 2:48 PM
                  I think there are numerous opportunities for the adaptation of the Tivoli
                  into some sort of viable performing arts space- There are great examples as
                  Michael Vallen has illustrated as well as numerous others not included.
                  However the major hurtle for the Tivoli is the City- The problem is two
                  fold: The City,(RLA DHCD et al), do not believe the Columbia Heights
                  community wants the Tivoli- word is it is just a "few" people that want to
                  bring this unique structure back to life. Second problem, the City has
                  never tried to bring an entertainment component to the Tivoli- now is a
                  perfect time to market this type of function.

                  Why is it a perfect time for the Tivoli?

                  Market studies show DC is under screened (Movies)- With all the screens in
                  the pipe line there is still current demand and limited sites.

                  The Tivoli could house a large screen house and have additional screens
                  added down Park Road- Architecturally a gallery/arcade space could be made
                  at the Park Road level that could have multiple functions and support the
                  movie development as well as adding to the animation of the street. Within
                  the current structure there are offices and additional retail that are
                  revenue generating. Parking is possible. (The Lincoln does not share these
                  types of amenities). Residential development could/should still happen on
                  the North, Monroe street frontage.

                  Live Performance: Almost every theater group in the city is looking for new
                  space, either to relocate and /or to expand- Note the Wooly mammoth, Arena,
                  The Kennedy Center, The Washington Opera, WPA, Gala, City Dance Ensemble...
                  The Corridor Real Estate Journal(2.10.00) evidences this in the article
                  "Wherefore is My Stage?", Kojo Nambi's WAMU radio show recently had
                  performing arts directors on and it was clearly stated by all the guests,
                  performing arts groups are desperate for space.

                  Addressing the comparison to the Lincoln that Tony McNeal brings up: the
                  Tivoli potential I believe is based on Non City ownership and more
                  importantly, having a permanent theater group tenant/s. With retail spaces
                  and the offices occupied by performance groups and a variety of groups using
                  the auditorium, the potential for dark nights at the Tivoli are minimized-
                  Of course, introduce a potential redesign that maintains the large theater
                  proportions and major details and carve out additional stages and I think
                  there is a winnable solution.

                  However- Those making these decisions (RLA,MAYOR) have never pursued any of
                  what the community has been talking about- Until there is a real
                  development potential, that is, when the City indicates that it might be
                  worth investigating the potential of such a unique type of development,
                  nothing we want or explore will go much beyond those who read this.

                  We have seen proof that a suburban formula development fits on this site,
                  now it is time to see if an urban development might work. I've heard too
                  many say "who's going to pay for this" Well, until we ask who is willing to
                  pay for it, we will never know who will.

                  Councilmember Graham is doing well in his search for finding funds for the
                  preservation of the Tivoli. I think we should expand that search to find a
                  new program/function for the entire site.

                  The redevelopment of the Tivoli Theater must drive the development of the
                  entire site- Not the other way around.

                  Geof G
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