The Other Shoe Dropping? -- As Met Mortgage's reorganization continues to get more complicated -- is it a reorganization or a liquidation? -- local arts supporters are hoping the firm's troubles don't impact the Met Theater. A downtown institution for 15 years, the Met has been perhaps the most important element in the city's developing arts scene. Lots of stories about the theater's fate have been whispered in recent weeks, but when we called Metropolitan Mortgage and Michael Smith, the theater's manager, for comments, they couldn't provide any. Still, worry hangs in the air as promoters fear future shows may be cancelled. To clear up as much as we can, we'll try to fill you in with the little that we do know.
The Met is not immune to the troubles of its parent, and if the current plan holds it will be sold at some point. How it will be sold -- and whether it will stay open in the short term-- remains the decision of the bankruptcy court. If it can operate at break-even, it seems likely that the theater would be allowed to stay open. Rumor has it that the facility is for sale -- a rumor we are unable to confirm since the people who would know are not talking. Stories of one or two serious buyers emerging and a sale price of about $1 million are floating around town. One complication is that, as has been previously revealed, Met Mortgage used to subsidize the theater to the tune of about $300,000 a year. It's hard to say if another benefactor would be that generous to the local arts scene. (It's worth mentioning that Met Mortgage also owns the building that houses the new Big Easy venue.)
Take a Load Off -- Meanwhile, at another venerable downtown arts venue, the Spokane Opera House, the term "under new management" really does appear to be an improvement -- at least for people's backsides. The Public Facilities District recently took over the ownership of the Opera House, and it already is making a major upgrade. For the first time since it opened for Expo '74, the facility will get new seats. PFD officials say the comfy, maroon seats are on order and should be installed by early summer.
"It will be corrected" -- That's what White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett told the Boston Globe after it pointed out a biography of President Bush that has been on the State Department's Web site since 2001. The bio credits Bush with nearly six years of flying the F-102 aircraft, although he spent just under two years in the cockpit. The bio also appeared on the Web sites of at least five American embassies.