"Not eating chard. That's what all those weirdos eat at their stupid picnics on the Hungry Ghost lawn." -Nina

February 07, 2008

Gazette Letter To The Editor: Pleasant Street Theater Employees Ignored

Pleasant Street Theater employees ignored, originally published on Thursday, January 31, 2008 (sub. req'd) in The Daily Hampshire Gazette's Letters to the Editor section.

To the editor: Maybe I've seen too many '80s movies, but when people band together to save a treasured institution like Pleasant Street Theater, aren't they supposed to save its employees as well?

While the community was saved the inconvenience of driving across the river to see first-run indie movies, the theater's old staff - some of whom had been employed there for over 10 years - appear to have been neither "kept from harm" nor "conserved."

I am disheartened that the fate of those employees was neither part of the public uproar over the the theater's closing, nor a factor in local coverage of this story.

The Gazette's short piece on the reopening calls this "The Sequel" (Saturday, June 26). But not everybody involved got a happy ending.

Elizabeth Cole
Thanks for taking the time to write that Elizabeth, it was well received over here at headquarters. FWIW, you'll be pleased to know that me and a small merry band of drummers have been trying to do our part over here. This post has a great comment thread about the issue you raised. Read those comments here if you like. It appears that I have forbade myself from ever attending the latest indie film about white indie people at the PST after leaving the following comment left on that post, "I need to note that if being able to see a great indie film whenever I want means that members of the community I live in need to indirectly subsidize that thru lower wages, I am not interested."

The issues of wages and employment was raised directly with Carol Johnston, executive director of the Amherst Cinema Center, both at an informal meeting she held with members of the Northampton Arts Council, and via email. At the meeting, where I was present as a member of the Arts Council, those issues raised by myself and another member made her uncomfortable, and she seemed taken aback by them. The topic was changed, after getting vague and Sweet&Low coated answers from Carol.

Though my beef isn't really with Carol, nor ACC. Instead, there is disappointment that people in the community of Northampton rushed forward to save a theater with their checkbooks, and the only quid pro quo they required was keeping a venue open so they could watch the latest indie film. It feels like living in a community surrounded by the living embodiment of affluent progressive liberals. "We want to create a community that more accurately reflects one we would like to live in. A community more just and equitable for everyone. But we don't actually want to act that out, we only want to write checks so we can have a place to see movies that reflect those beliefs."

But hey, at least we have the PST right? Suck on that Bush!

See you at the movies? Sadly, I will have to wait until it comes out on DVD. Holla Pleasant St. Video!

LABELS: pleasant st theater,