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Not So Funny Now

renegade_logo.jpgThere is a battle going on the funny side of the street between Brian Matuszak, the Renegade Board, and Teatro Zuccone (the Zeppa Foundation backed new owners of the venue at 222 E. Superior St.). It has to do with the terms of the lease and who gets what, especially when it comes to running the box office for Renegade productions. Brian has stated he's willing to resign over the issue. More can be found in this Duluth News Tribune article.

I am one of the Renegade regulars mentioned in the article who got the letter from Sue and I have to say, from the letter, I'm concerned. I contacted one of the board members to get a different point of view, but she didn't want to comment on it, understandably. So, without the board coming forward and giving their point of view on the lease, I'm apt to take Brian's side of things. Hey, Renegade Board, I'm all ears.

Comments

Renegade is nothing without Brian Matuczak. He is its heart and soul. I've heard about the whole thing from someone close to the negotiations. Would anyone be surprised to know that Craig Samborski and Secret Service Entertainment is involved in the transfer of the Renegade Box Office? Guess he gave up on taking over Bayfront Blues. . . .


I don't know about the Craig S thing, but the DNT article makes it sound as if Brian jumped headlong into the bldg and lease and didn't worry about how the box office was gonna be negotiated. To me, that would be one of the first things on my list, BEFORE moving in, especially with as many site changes as Renegade has had.

TANSTAAFL, folks.

I'm sure there's plenty of 'blame' on both sides; hope they can work it out!


The problem here is that Brian is an artistic director. A great artistic director I might add. He has put up some great shows and helped many others put up great shows (including myself). However, he's not a managing director. Renegade has suffered from this for a long time. They need someone to take over that part of the organization leaving Brian to do more of the artistic things and create new artistic opportunities for the organization. It's totally fine for a budding arts org to have artistic director and the managing director one in the same, but as that org starts to grow, the roles need to be split so that growth can continue. Renegade is an extremely important part of Duluth arts. I didn't get the letter so I don't know all of the details but having an outside organization run the box office is not unusual in these circumstances. With no existing contract or lease (if I understand the situation correctly) this is going to be very tricky as currently, Zeitgeist Arts controls all spaces in the building. If Renegade had something on paper saying they are entitled to use space x and y for such and such purposes, there wouldn't be any trouble. Arts organizations need to have just as much business sense as artistic ability to thrive. I know that many artists cringe at that, but it's the truth. Number crunchers are vital component to any successful arts organization.

Wow, that graduate degree in arts administration finally gets some use.


ok, so i rambled on in that a bit and part of it sounds like it's laying blame on brian. i meant to lay blame on the organization overall, with more of it falling on the board. they are there to advise renegade. brian found the space workable artistically and the board should have helped make sure that it was workable financially. not just immediately, but long term. and like Girl said, after all the theatre hopping they've done, they should have known better.

Best of Luck fellow thespians.


I just got a mass email from Brian Matuszak saying that the Renegade Board fired (his word) him tonight. I'm very sorry to hear this but I hope both Brian and Renegade can go on separately to produce quality theatrical work for our community. It's really hard for me to imagine Renegade without Brian.


maybe Brian can join Colder By The Lake


These funny arm chair quarterbax like claire kill me. Nice bashing on Samborski.

Let's see, according to the year end issue of Mpls. Star Tribune, the # 1 concert in the state of Minnesota in 2007 was Samborski's production of Wilco at Bayfront Park. This is the same dude that stepped up and took the bankrupt broadway series in Duluth and resurrected it. Brought Bob Dylan and Paul Simon to Bayfront, rescued 4th fest several years ago from the promoter that drove it into the ground; brought Aerosmith, Tim McGraw/Faith Hill to the DECC, and many others during his term at the decc.

When I lived in Duluth I worked many of his shows doing security and stagehand work and always envied his ability to bring great entertainment to Duluth. I have watched and admired his career develop over the years.

He must be doing something right if he is able to pull off as many of these shows. Perhaps you are just incredibly jealous of his abilities, I'll admit it, I am. i would love to be able to do what he does. I always wanted to be a concert promoter, but never had that skill, but I love live music and entertainment. I watched that whole blues fest thing unfold from a distance and Samborski held his head high and did his job with integrity, I think if he wanted the bayfront blues festival he would just start his own....

It is funny that you mention him in this whole mess that Mituzik started, I see the DNT's story never quoted him once, but yet it was the zeppa's that made these policies, and gosh far be it for them to set the policies in their own freaking theatre.

Seems to me Mr. Zeppa stepped up his own cash to build another venue for Duluthians to enjoy entertainment, and handed it to mituzek on a silver platter and mituzik told Zeppa no, you can't set your own ticketing policies, give me a freakin' break.

If mr. zeppa is working with samborski, good for him, smart move on his part, he'll obviously have a very professionally run venue and some cool [email protected]@ shows.

All I can say is thank you mr. zeppa, I wish I still lived in Duluth to enjoy this new entertainment venue.


brian can't join colder, they fired him too


Brian's also a prof at UWS - He's also worked in TV and other venues - I'm sure he'll land on his feet - but it's sad that he got fired from the theater group that he started himself!


As a long time performer at Renegade, I'd like to clarify a few things to the best of my ability. First, the board fired Brian because Zeitgeist made it a new "requirement" of the lease...in other words, they told the Renegade board that if they want to stay in the theater, they had to get rid of him.

Second, the troubling part of the box office agreement is that there is little oversight or accountability to Renegade. Basically, they'd have to trust that they were getting their fair share of the profits...something which I gather has been a bit of an issue with Mr. Samborski.

Nearly a year ago, when it became clear that Renegade wouldn't be the only group using the theater, I told Brian that if Renegade became too much of a "tenant" without the ability to control such things as rehearsal time in the space, it should look for another theater. Now that he's gone, I have doubts that anybody will be able to fill his shoes.

Personally, my loyalties have always been with Brian, rather than Renegade, so I look forward to working with him at any new group he founds.


As an actor who has done a lot of stuff with Renegade over the last couple years, this makes me extremely sad.

I'll keep doing shows where there are shows I want to do, but like CJN, I gotta say, my loyalties are with Brian.


frankly we all know that it's sue matusak who caused this. She's the slap to brian's tickle


I dont like to hear about sad faces in the clown camp...nothing tugs my heart strings more than a muted, sorrowful rubber nose squeaking alone in a circus tent...*sniff, honk*. I'm sure there's enough "blame" to go around on ALL fronts. I DO know that absolute power corrupts absolutley...I'll leave it to you all to pick any one of the players and apply that axiom liberally. On an "up" note .. Construction of the FANTASTIC NEW HCIS theater is well underway .. Tartuffe at the beginning of May and many more plays/concerts/movies/shows into the future with adjacnet parking, and handicap/skywalk access.


Call me an armchair quarterback if you want to, all you want, but I see the latest developments at Renegade as a hostile takeover. I hate this kind of corporatization of arts organizations. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, I say. I appreciate all Mr Zeppa is doing for the arts in this town, but it means a lot more when gifts are made without strings attached.


Hi. I’m the Zeppa you’re writing about. I’ve been reading the postings here with interest. Mostly they’re dominated by Brian’s interpretation of events. He has his own interpretation of course, but this is mine.
First, everybody needs to know that while a permanent home for Renegade & tugboat might have been a consequence of the original & subsequent theater buildouts at 222 E. Superior St., it was never the original intention, which was always to support the development of professional or semi-professional theater in Duluth. Brian knew this from the beginning, and agreed with that intention. As the 2nd buildout took place last summer, it became apparent to me that if the theater didn’t at least break even, that it would ultimately affect the foundation’s ability to support other artistic endeavors in the area. (FYI, the foundation distributes up to $2,000,000 annually, with support for local & regional arts the least important of its 3 missions, the others being to support the advancement of liberal/progressive principles in human affairs, locally, regionally, and globally , and to assist in the prevention and/or reversal of further environmental degradation through the development and implementation of progressive policies relating to population control, sustainability, poverty, and hunger, locally, regionally, and globally). Our budget for local & regional arts was around $250,000 annually, and if the theater couldn’t break even, every dollar lost would eat into that total & affect our ability to make other grants to other artists, & Renegade by itself would never make enough money to break even without even more foundation assistance. At that point I decided to change the scope of the theater. Since I have a deep interest in cutting edge drama, I offered overall management of the theater to Brian with the proviso that Renegade expand its scope to include up to 3 dramatic productions annually. Brian never responded, & when I finally pinned him down, he rejected the proposal. At that point I began looking for different management options. This is when Secret Service arrived on the scene. Within a few months we began to work out a contract with them. Since we were looking at using the Teatro for a variety of different events to reach a break even point, and were working on developing different venues that we were essentially gifting to the people of Duluth (two independent movie theaters in the basement at the same location, an all-ages music venue elsewhere downtown), a central box office seemed like a no-brainer. Brian initially agreed with this, as well.
Fast forwarding to the almost present, in December Brian met with me individually to tell me that he could not accept giving up either Renegade’s concessions or the independent Renegade box office to our management company. I was surprised by this, since informally the Renegade board had not raised any objections to either the concession issue (we were also working on a food venue in the building & thought it was stupid to compete with ourself) or the idea of a centralized box office. I told Brian repeatedly that the foundation would do everything it its power to make sure that Brian could explore new ways to connect with the Renegade faithful, & also pointed out to him that Renegade would actually make out better financially under the new agreements. He was not convinced. Before he left, I asked Brian whose decision this was to make, his or the Renegade board’s. He said it was the Board’s decision, but also that he would quit if the Board made the decision to give up either concessions or the box office. Needless to say I was shocked.
Within the next week or so Brian apparently reversed himself. I’m not sure why that was, other than that the Board was apparently unanimously in favor of going forward with the negotiations on the terms we had suggested. Nothing changed until February 19th, when Brian sent me an e-mail again doing a 180o on the issue of a central box office. This came as another surprise to me, as my understanding was that negotiations were complete & the Board was in agreement on a contract. In this first e-mail Brian strongly implied that Secret Service & Craig Samborski had been dishonest with me and with the Renegade Board. Within the next hour I received a 2nd e-mail from Brian, essentially requesting me to consider the previous e-mail a communication between friends. Frankly, I felt that within the space of an hour Brian had told me that he’d just delivered a bomb that was going to blow everybody up but had then asked me not to tell anybody about it because we were friends. I didn’t know what to do. I later found out that Brian had been told that day by the Renegade Board not to communicate directly with me about matters pertaining to contract negotiations, & that he had responded later to them (after he had sent the first e-mail) that he had not done so.
I initially decided not to release these e-mails to the Renegade Board but instead the next day responded to Brian by pleading our case once more, at one point stating that “we're offering so much, have given so much, & are asking so little…” and later that “… “My understanding is that Renegade may be willing to pay those costs. My hope is that you'll decide that you can, too.” Brian responded that ”right now, there are too many costs as we look at this relationship. And no, I'm not willing to pay them.” At this point, knowing that Brian had and was continuing to defy his own Board and seemed not to understand that the Board had taken & was continuing to take a position counter to his own, I decided that I could not withhold these e-mails any longer from the Board. As I understand what happened next, the Board had an emergency meeting & told Brian that he was not to interfere with negotiations any longer, but was instead to concentrate solely upon the artistic direction of the theater.
While I was pretty damn depressed by all that was going on, on a different level I was actually somewhat pleased by what I thought would turn out to be the endpoint of this particular drama. I greatly respected Brian for all he’d done in keeping Renegade alive for all the years that he had, & we’d had a good relationship for as long as I’d known him, but while I knew him as a great artistic mind I’d definitely come to doubt his ability as an executive director capable of taking Renegade to a higher level. But then the whole sorry struggle took a new and, to my mind, an unforgiveable turn that destroyed my working relationship with Brian and compelled me to insist that the Board once and for all decide who Renegade really belonged to – Brian Matuszak or the Renegade Board.
The incident was Sue Matuszak’s letter to the Renegade membership to put pressure on the Renegade Board to support Brian, in clear defiance of that Board’s very definite decision to move towards finalizing the contract with the Foundation over Brian’s objections. Polarizing the Renegade membership against the foundation that had saved it from bankruptcy and offered it the opportunity to become what it said that it wanted to be – Wow! Wow! But even that only pushed me to the edge. It was only when Anne Klefstad called Kat Eldred at the foundation asking what was going on with all those e-mails she’d been receiving about trouble at Renegade…
Brian had lost a fair fight with his own board, & now he was taking his disagreement public in order to put pressure on his own Board to cave to his position! U-N-B-E-L-I-E-V-A-B-L-E!
That was the intolerable last straw to me. How could anyone tolerate an executive director who would behave in that manner was beyond me. I decided then that I couldn’t & wouldn’t work with any group that tolerated such inappropriate behavior. I knew that the next Renegade Board meeting was scheduled for March 11th, but decided not to wait until then. If the Renegade Board chose to support an executive director who had defied them & had tried to rouse public ire against a foundation that was trying to give them a precious gift, for god’s sake, well I wanted to know that ASAP. I let the Board know that the foundation felt betrayed by Brian and would no longer work with him in any capacity, that we would thenceforward respect Brian’s decision not to accept a contract with the foundation if it meant giving up his box office, that I wanted to know their decision by Friday of the current week, and that I would respect any decision that the Board made.
That was on a Monday. By Wednesday evening the Board had made its decision to repudiate & fire Brian and move forward with the contract with the foundation. For all Brian’s deserved reputation & the support of his many followers in the community (of which I would have counted myself one only a few short weeks before) only 1/3rd of his own Board supported Brian in the end. I consider it a brave act, one that supports the theater community of Duluth.
I realize that many will wonder about my motives, & many supporters of Brian will doubt anything that I say, but anybody who knows me will believe me when I say that this was an agonizing process for me, & that I derive no joy from the outcome. The Foundation is not Big Brother, or the Gestapo, or some faceless corporate entity, intent upon squeezing all the fun out of Renegade as Brian has implied. And that I am serious when I say that neither I nor any entity of this Foundation had or has any interest now or in the future of ever controlling Renegade, that my only goal in all this is the nurturance of independent cutting edge theater in Duluth.


I don't have a horse in this race that will probably have no winner, but what you describe doesn't seem U-N-B-E-L-I-E-V-A-B-L-E (it takes a lot of work to type that, so I wanted to get it right) to me at all. I'd certainly try to use the power of my supporters if I were in that situation. The public will have the final say in it anyway.

And you seem to do quite a wordy verbal dance around your "Fire him or get out" ultimatum to the board.


Alan, I appreciate your coming forward to give your side of the story. I also appreciate all you have done and are doing for the arts in Duluth. I'm not sure there are any villains or heroes here and I'd resist those who would try to characterize it as such. As I see it this drama, like most, are full of many people trying to do what they think is best.

Be that as it may, people are going to take sides. I just hope the loser in this saga isn't the arts in Duluth.


what i love is how the internets give everyone the chance to have their say (or hang themselves, as the case may be).

thank you for speaking up, azeppa. somehow the newspaper always manages to make the news so murky -- makes me kinda crazy, trying to parse out what "really happened" from the vagueness of newspeak. i'd much rather hear the perspectives of those involved directly.


I am a member of the local theatre community, many of us semi-pro actors are scratching our noodles at Brian's behavior.

Alan Zeppa builds a theatre for Renegade to call home. - WOW, every community Theatre's dream. All to Brian's liking.

Mr. Zeppa bails Renegade out of bankruptcy.

Mr. Zeppa creates a nurturing environment for local theatre and would like the venue to pay for itself-that seems pretty damn reasonable.

Mr. Zeppa and his foundation want the theatre run professionally - seems reasonable. (I am sure he is now glad Brian never took him up on that offer.)

Renegade still keeps it's own ticket sales, but now there is a centralized ticket system, instead of those stupid office depot raffle tickets. Maybe you can even buy tickets online-Wow.

Prior to this, buying a ticket to a Brian production meant having to leave a voice mail for Brian and they would "get back to you" for a "reservation" as their voice mail says (call it and find out). It wouldn't surprise me to find out that either Brian or Sue are on the payroll for being a ticket manager.

I have not acted in a Renegade production, because of what a huge control freak Brian is. I have been in other local theatre and quite frankly am puzzled at what Brian's real motives are here. All so he could control the cash for his shows, apparently with no check and balance.

Brian and Sue, shame on you for dragging Mr. Zeppa's name and your board's names through the mud and in the process making yourselves look like idiots, and trying to martyr yourselves in the process, I believe Christ was the only one successful in that endeavor. Ungrateful children is the phrase that comes to mind. Is it any wonder that under Brian's hand, Renegade has had so many different homes over the years. Talk to a some of the other landlords that have had to deal with him.

The very idea of elevating theatre in this community is a noble endeavor, but to have a benefactor such as Mr. Zeppa to make it happen is like winning the lottery.

In the end, this really is a win-win for local Theatre in Duluth. This is a huge opportunity for the rest of us to pursue doing productions at Mr. Zeppa's Theatre.

Renegade Theatre will continue to thrive. There is great local talent that have already seen this great opportunity created by Brian. The historians of this story will see Brian and his wife as the true losers. Local theatre is too big to ever let a couple of bozo's bring it down.

For Brian or Sue to think that they are un-replaceable is vastly mistaken. There are plenty of us that are going to rise to this opportunity and deliver kick-butt productions for the community.

Thank you Mr. Zeppa for giving us a beautiful theatre to stage our craft, the vast majority of us actors in this town will not let you down.



Oh Brian!

Pull your head out of your ass son!


How does one contact the Zeppa Foundation? I would like to put on a show at the theater. Electropunk!

-Craig


[email protected]

I am grateful to have a civic, eco and arts philanthropist in town. Many Thanks to the Zeppa Family Foundation. Go Duluth Arts!


Isn't the real issue here that Renegade cannot support itself nor can Zeppa Found support it. So some other source of funding needs to be found?
CB


when is brian matuszak going to get a haircut? something nice and short. his hair is the funniest thing he's done in years.


You'll just have to stay tuned in to get a more rounded picture of the events. A board member will meet with DNT Anne K. Hopefully, being last can end up like whipped cream...satisfying, sweet and finishing! RCT will survive. There is no such thing as bad publicity.


So who the hell is in charge? I nominate Gary Doty. He should get his chance to do a show about Brian.


It's called the Renegade Comedy Theater...

FAUX News' short lived and historically lame attempt at conservative "comedy" news (a'la the Daily Show) should have been enough of a lesson in the genuine un-funniness of the rightwingnut set...

Personally, I'd sooner watch a monkey hump a football than Doty's attempt at "humor."


Face it Brian--you did not do a good job as Exec. Dir. of Renegade---you did fine as a Creative Director, but as a Manager, you were not the right person. Your Board recognized this and to save Renegade it needed to let you go. Since its inception 16 years ago, Renegade has done very good shows, however it was a failure from a business standpoint, primarily because of your lack of business management savvy. Thanks to the Zeppa Foundation, Renegade was saved from financial disaster caused by your bumbling disorganization. If the Zeppa group did not come to the aid of Renegade by paying off the tremendous debt that you saddled Renegade with, the comedy theater would have withered away. Zeppa also gave Renegade a first class home to perform in, and has even offered to underwrite RCT as its Board works to reorganize the theater and repair the managerial nightmare that you left it with. So, please, get over it and move on---our community owes the Zeppa Foundation one huge round of applause for stepping up to the plate and saving RCT. Their generosity and support for community theater is truly humbling and they deserve the thanks of all who care about growing community theater in our community. So, Brian, please do whatever it is that you do best (and that is not managing a community theater), chalk up your failure as a learning experience and wish the NEW RENEGADE COMEDY THEATER well as they take RCT to a bright new future that will be well managed, accountable, fiscally responsible, customer responsive, and artistically vibrant.


To: Girl From the North Country

With all due respect, Brian IS NOT a PROFESSOR at UWS. He does not possess the academic credentials to be of Professorial stature at UWS, or any other four year university. Rather, Brian is an Adjunct Instructor who has a temporary part-time appointment that expires, I believe, after this academic year, after which he will not longer be employed by UWS. Brian's job at UWS is teaching a few minor-level, under graduate drama classes.

Regarding Brian's work in local TV, this is true. He does a few locally produced TV commercials now and then under various commissions from different advertising agencies. However, again with all due respect, I do not think that appearing in some rather silly local TV commercials qualifies Brian to be a real Executive Director of a growing community theater company. In fact, the record shows that, although Brian has a few skills in the antics and tomfoolery of so-called creative venues, he is sadly ill equipped to properly provide the managerial leadership and vision necessary to sustain a theater company. In fact, a quick review of Brian's record "at the helm" of RTC graphically illustrates that he does not have a clue in the disciplines of financial management, accountability oversight, or executive level managerial skills. The record shows that under Brian's watch, RTC dwindled to the brink of bankruptcy and the organization's record keeping was, at best, an amatuerish shamble. If we examine the record further, we see the same pattern of management incompetence during Brian's stint with Colder by the Lake, where he is now, according to those in the know, persona non grada.
Indeed, Brian is a polished snake-oil salesman, however, a person of integrity, real vision, and sound leadership he is not.


I'm sorry to disagree with you zra on the topic of so-called right wing nut humor. But your statement made me wonder if you have ever taken a listen to lou lattos radio show on weekdays on 710 AM radio. I think he is one of the funniest men I have ever heard speak. For instance, every morning at the beginning of his show he gives the call in number and says, "and if you are calling from a cell, find a nice clean one...(pause) and stay there." And his timing is so perfect that afterwards he takes just enough time to leave me a moment for a hearty chuckle and ample time to collect my composure to move with him onto the next topic.
Now this Lou Latto loves our former Mayor Gary Doty. And if someone as funny as Mr. Latto supports him that is good enough for me.
And a well overdue congratulations on your nomination for head of Renegade Comedy Theater, Mr. Doty. Kudos and a god bless.


so, Latto repeats the same call in quip every single morning? and it's still funny?

wow.

no...I have a day job, and i normally don't have a lot of time to dillydally with the radio...particularly talk radio (of any sort).

however, i've heard Latto a couple of times, and I've found him to be about as funny as an ingrown toenail...and liken him to Leiutenant Hauck from Good Morning Vietnam (Oh, Frenchie...Oh, Leutenant Steve...Oh, Frenchie) frankly, i prefer music to talk radio whilst i'm working...makes my day so much better than listening to a pack of boorish opinionated hacks trying to tell me what to think.

i stand by my statement: monkey humping a football.


I think zra was looking for the following "GMV" quote regarding Lou Latto:

Lt. Steven Hauk: "Sir, in my heart, I know I'm funny."


thanks jody. gary doty doing the "life of brian" is the funniest take i've heard on this whole sorry mess.


Alan, your side of the story is appreciated. Virgil and duluththespian, we could probably do without the name calling and hyperbolic speculation.

I don't know what happened and it seems that Brian may have made a mistake, but there would be no Renegade without him and if Renegade couldn't break even with him I don't see how they're going to break even without him. Renegade hasn't struggled because of Brian, they've struggled because of Duluth. Face it, we're cheap.

That having been said, I would not for a moment question Alan's motives nor the unquestionably positive impact the foundation is having on Duluth. Yet, I remember reading an article by none other than Mr. Lundgren from back in February of 2006 when the negotiations to take over the space at 222 W. Superior St. were underway. In that article, Paul wrote "Zeppa said Renegade can use the new space rent-free for two years and will receive funds to create a marketing position to promote its shows." That article seems to indicate that the theater was intended to be occupied primarily by Renegade and that they would not have to share their proceeds with the foundation. Was that simply never the case?


Yep, the first rollout of the new Renegade should be "The Matusak Monologes" featuring the dynamic duo of Brian & Sue ---- scene 1 would be the pair, in a dimly lit cavern, hunched over a computer pounding out thousands of untruthful e-mails in the attempt to stifle the RCT Board. . .this would be a real hoot.

Other marquee titles could be "We've reaped what we sowed. . .we now hit the road" or

"We've taken RCT right down to its knees, -- we're now shuffling to Soup-Town -- but no oversight, please".

Certainly there could be a cameo role for Doty in any of these scenarios. . .maybe doing his own version of "DEDA DOTY DOUGH--ONCE I GOT MINE I KNEW WHEN TO GO".


I really want to know the answer to @ndy's question. I knew there was a reason I felt like that was going on.


Virgil,
Good grief, semantics. I said Brian was a "prof", rather than "Certified 100% USDA full fledged tenured professor" to indicate that he was an instructor. And he has a background of many years in TV (mostly at KBJR, I believe) that far outstretches 'a few local commercials' as you cite.

Geez, my point was only that the guy has a few irons in the fire, and a history of steady employment in writing based fields in the area.

Buy I'll still go to the mat with ya, buddy!


The answer to @ndy’s question is that Renegade’s contract with & 2 year grant from the foundation ends this coming March 31st, which is why the negotiations were going on in the first place. I don’t remember exactly when Renegade moved into the theater, but for the 2 years since the grant has been in effect we paid space costs for most off-site shows, paid off their outstanding debt of $30,000, and paid $30,000 per year to fund Brian’s position part-time along with other miscellaneous costs. Over $100,000 cash, but that doesn’t include the free rent Renegade got on all shows at the Teatro, which in itself cost nearly a quarter million to remodel into a state of the art blackbox theater. From the beginning Renegade has been the primary tenant. With the board’s vote to reject Brian’s decision to pull Renegade out of the Teatro, it will continue to be the primary tenant into the foreseeable future. But not the only client. The Teatro was ALWAYS intended to be a place where local theatrical groups could get the best deal in town, with the least hassle, in the nicest venue. We would reach the critical breakeven point (i.e., that point at which we didn’t have to take money out of the foundation budget for local arts to support the theater). by creating a venue attractive enough to be marketable for outside shows that could make up for the money local groups – like Renegade – saved on theater rental and use of the theater’s equipment, staff, box office, & marketing. Where they could focus on the production & not the worries of the process. But it was always understood that as Renegade’s bottom line improved they would begin to pay at least part of their costs to help us reach that breakeven point. And remember, the theater is owned by a charitable foundation. Nobody makes money here. Even Samborski’s management group (Secret Service Entertainment) is subject to MUCH more scrutiny than Renegade ever was or would be (contradicting a few of the uninformed comments made here), simply because they are contracting to provide a service to a charitable foundation, not a for-profit business or even a non-profit like Renegade. And if – shock – the theater ever happens to make money, well, that profit goes back into the foundation & actually increases our annual budget to support local & regional arts – a win-win situation.
Personal notes: Nate, talk to Natalie & get with the program here. Virgil, thanks for your support but please tone down the nastiness. I totally don’t understand Brian’s decision to reject the foundation’s gift & obviously I don’t support that decision, but it doesn’t help anyone to “demonize” either Brian or Sue. They probably don’t wanna hear from me right about now, but they’re good people trying to do good things by their own lights, & deserve respect for all they’ve accomplished over the years.


If we examine the record further, we see the same pattern of management incompetence during Brian's stint with Colder by the Lake, where he is now, according to those in the know, persona non grada.

In the know? Which "know" do you imagine yourself to be in? Ah, blogs ... who needs facts when you have opinions?


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