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Oh, SmAlbany!

Daily posts and occasional longer essays about politics, culture, and life in the Capital Region...updated M-F, midmorning


"I write this not as a booster of Albany, which I am, nor an apologist for the city, which I sometimes am, but rather as a person whose imagination has become fused with a single place, and in that place finds all the elements that a man ever needs..." -W. Kennedy, from O Albany!

SPAC financial questions...

Although the headlines today in all the local papers seem like good news for SPAC, the money troubles continue. While the lead story was the $2 million in large gifts they got yesterday, the real story is buried deeper in the articles:
Dake expressed appreciation for the other donors' largesse but cautioned that much more remains to be done to combat long-term trends of falling attendance and an operating deficit that has averaged $570,000 annually over the past five years. After noting that the newly announced gifts, totaling $400,000 a year, would cover just 70 percent of the usual deficit, he said that raising memberships and, more importantly, increasing attendance is the only way to solve "severe" financial problems.

More members -- SPAC now has approximately 3,900 -- and larger audiences, combined with cutting expenses, are imperative to wipe out debts totaling $3.5 million and boost SPAC's endowment from about $6.8 million today to a desired level of at least $10 million, according to Abraham M. Lackman, one of the new board's money gurus. Lackman, now president of Commission on Independent Colleges & Universities in Albany, previously was top financial adviser to the state Senate and, before that, New York City.

Addressing the members at the meeting, Dake said, "We need ... increased attendance. This doesn't mean just you coming. It means that you have your nearest and dearest 20 friends with you. There's really no other way to have this problem solved than having more bodies in the seats."
I love SPAC. I love the park. But I must confess that I can't relate to the idea of it not being crowded - I guess I've only ever gone to the rock shows there.

One of my favorite TU "life" stories of all time was a 2-page spread done in about 1997 about the SPAC parking lot, which was entitled "Teenage Wasteland," and described the mayhem that took place in supposed-to-be-alcohol-free parking area prior to major rock concernts. It included interviews with completely bombed 17-year olds and photos of teenages chugging beer and urinating on trees. I think there was also a sidebar story about people hopping the fence to sneak into concerts.

The article alone was priceless (I wish TU online could retrieve it), but the real joy for me was that my younger sister just happened to going up there the next day (i think the story was run to coincide with a Dave Matthews concert or something) and my mom caught wind of the article, only to discover that my sister's plan was to leave for the concert about 5 hours before it started. Few moments in a sibling rivalry can top something like that.

Ahhh, SPAC. Maybe they should just start selling their own beer in the parking lot to raise revenue.
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At 12:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

That's the thing -- everybody wants an arts venue, with access to the ballet, orchestra and opera, but nobody wants to actually go to this shit on a regular basis. Well, some people do, but still, you get the point. I always see SPAC crowded, because I, too, only ever go there for rock shows -- which, I might add, they don't even have this year, nothing good, nothing interesting, nothing worth going to. I'll go to SPAC whenever there's anything remotely good, but this year, I'm giving my money to the Pepsi instead.    



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