December 2, 2012 in City

Clark: Blame my Powerball ticket for symphony strife

By The Spokesman-Review
 

My surefire plan to end the Spokane Symphony strike failed miserably Wednesday night with the following depressing announcement.

The winning Powerball tickets were sold in Arizona and Missouri.

Curses.

I planned to use my winning ticket to solve the financial woes of my hometown’s classical music scene and enrich the lives of our wonderful symphony musicians.

Okay. That’s a bit misleading.

Like every other patron of the Powerball, I primarily wanted the $300-plus million (give or take depending on taxes, multiple winners and the normal skimming by lottery officials) to fulfill my consumptive dreams of:

Cars. Guitars.

A solid gold robot butler …

Winning the Powerball could have brought so much happiness to the world.

I wouldn’t quit my job, though. Lottery winners always say that, but not this guy. Annoying my constipated critics is simply too much fun.

But I’m not a selfish man, either.

With so much do-re-mi, I could easily afford to kick over a few million to keep our symphony going.

I have some very good friends who are symphony performers. And it pains me to see that so many gifted artists have been out of work since Nov. 3.

True, there’d be a minor string attached to my philanthropic gesture.

No more “Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox.”

The symphony’s grand venue needs a catchier name that is not so haughty or tongue-twisting.

Like “The Doug,” say.

In these dire economic times, the symphony management would be fools not to agree to such a simple demand.

The Doug, after all, would tie in nicely with “The Bing,” our other fine concert hall that is just a block down the street.

Martin, Woldson and Fox?

That’s a shady law firm, not a performance hall.

Adopting “The Doug” would also increase ticket sales by attracting some of our more common folk who don’t normally attend symphony productions.

As in …

AVERAGE PERSON 1: “You going to Tchaikovsky tonight at The Doug?”

AVERAGE PERSON 2: “Damn straight. I hear he’s playing his tuba or something.”

But as I said, the lousy Powerball numbers put the kibosh to my save-the-symphony plans.

Only one of my numbers – “29” – matched the six I needed to join the 1 percent.

That was two bucks I’ll never see again.

And so we’re back to square zero on getting the Spokane Symphony going again.

But this labor/management discord must be resolved, and soon.

Five symphony performances have already been lost, and we are days away from the unimaginable.

And by unimaginable I mean a “canned” “Nutcracker.”

Symphony officials claim that if the strike continues, they’ll be forced to use recorded music to accompany the annual ballet.

That’s the worst entertainment news since those wretched karaoke machines started replacing all the live bar bands.

First off, I have never been to a canned music event where the production didn’t suffer from at least one or two embarrassing recording glitches.

Are we willing as a community to put this beloved holiday tradition in the hands of some sketchy stagehand with a boom box?

I can just imagine the famous “Nutcracker” theme – “tum, ta-da-ta tum-tum …” – being suddenly interrupted by a Taylor Swift ditty.

Canned Nutcracker.

That’s as cheesy as it gets.

Players and management need to come to terms.

Management needs to bend on its draconian leave policy. If that happens, perhaps the players would up their acceptance of a pay reduction from 6 to 7 percent.

The 13.3 percent pay cut the suits are asking is unreasonable. Good grief. These players make a pittance as it is.

I know one thing. The state’s second-largest city should be able to afford a living, breathing symphony.

Lose the symphony and we’re just that big burg down the road from Post Falls.

I’ll admit I’ve taken the symphony for granted, but I’m going to change my ways. Once this labor dispute is solved, I’m buying some season tickets and I hope you’ll join me.

As a backup plan I’ll invest in another Powerball ticket. And this time I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Doug Clark can be reached at (509) 459-5432 ordougc@spokesman.com.


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