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A theater for Parcel 5

As a theater artist in Rochester, I don't see any benefits with regards to Parcel 5 at all. Outside of the obvious – Where will the local leaders get the money, if they are planning to do private fundraising? How will the space be occupied during the working hours, especially if they want to add a movie theater? The competition it will bring to the artistic places already in town like Geva, the Little, and the Eastman School – there is another reason this theater proposal doesn't sit well.

Local artists are competing with the bigger venues just to be heard, and this proposal is just another hurdle for them.

Dozens of local theater companies and groups are struggling to find venues to present their work, simply because there aren't many venues. Some successful venues in the last few years have stepped up: MuCCC and the revamped Lyric Theatre, along with the Rochester Latino Theater Company taking up space in the old Greenovation building and plans for a new arts center on Joseph Avenue. But that is not enough.

We need more venues for local artists to hone their craft, to present it. Right now many groups (if not all) are using a DIY mentality to produce and promote their work without the support of others to get even the smallest sliver of success. They can't even get that without a place to present their work.

If Rochester really wants to be a city of the arts and for the arts, it needs to support what is already here, and support those who are creating great work that needs to be seen and heard.

Whether it's the RPO or dance companies like Garth Fagan, theaters like Blackfriars and Geva, and theater companies making waves (like Out of Pocket, Screen Plays, DVC, WallByrd and the Bronze Collective), why don't you give them some incentive to keep bringing great work to be heard?

How about creating proposals to create spaces for other companies? If Joseph Avenue will soon have a space, there must be other unoccupied buildings around the city that could be reconfigured into theater spaces. MuCCC used to be a church before it was reconfigured, and is now one of the city's true theater gems. And they do it all without a lot of government support.

Yet the city and the current administration seem to have no interest in helping local artists. They just want to do the Auditorium strategy of importing big hit shows that come for a week at most, bring in people who usually would have no reason to come to Rochester, and who would only stay for the show. How can you sustain such a business model?

Parcel 5 makes no sense, and if the city wants to make it happen, it will do so at the expense of local artists who will see Rochester as a place where their work will be stifled. It would not only be terrible, it would be sad as well.

We need this city's local artists to flourish, and Parcel 5 will only damage their hopes of doing so.


Rielly is a Rochester playwright.

It's disappointing to read about more grandiose proposals for the river, Parcel 5, or the Rochester "International" Airport that ignore public art.

Rochester has a vibrant arts community, considering the lack of support from the city, county, or Visitors Association. They all benefit from us, and yet they do little to help. The Arts & Cultural Council exists in name only. Rochester's airport has world-class sculpture by Wendell Castle and Nancy Jurs funded by contributions from the community, in storage.

There is no Arts Commission that makes suggestions, much less sets policy in the city. There is no mention of public art in any of the new proposals. The Visitors Center at High Falls was gutted a couple of years ago, and that eliminated a wonderful gallery that provided exposure to local and emerging artists. Imagine what 1 percent of construction costs would do for the community.

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Rochester is a discouraging place for artists.


Editor's note: the ROC the Riverway plan does call for public art as part of several projects: Genesee Gateway Park, Main Street enhancements,

I still think it's a missed opportunity. An open air festival and performance space would've really elevated this city, imo.


Not putting it here means it will go somewhere else. The sad truth is simply that larger productions want a larger venue and in an era of cars, that means it could go anywhere. Ask yourself why so many concerts end up at the CMAC. They're loving the visitors.

I'm generally against this type of development, but the primary and secondary benefits of having this downtown are too good to ignore.


It would be yet another theater, in addition to the many already within a mile radius of it. I say: No to a theater on Parcel 5.


Not bad, as long as it doesn't take away from The Little, Geva, or Auditorium Theater.


ROC-ing the riverfront

ROC the Riverway, the city's new plan for riverfront development, drew applause and jeers from readers (plus the sadly predictable "Better clean up the surrounding neighborhoods first. I'm not about to take my life in my hands." Among the comments:

The entire river and lake fronts should be reserved for wildlife habitat and public recreation.


Only about eight years behind what almost every other city has done.... [insert Kodak joke here].


Love this plan. So smart. Nice to see some vision for a major, underused asset.


They have a $50 million commitment on a $500 million budget. Pardon me if I don't hold my breath.


Health care in New York

We all want a health-care system that allows choice of provider and delivers high quality care for ourselves and those we love but has a low overall cost. I want to see a system that lets patients, with the advice of their doctors, make decisions about treatment, rather than insurance companies. As they continue to raise premiums and view healing as "medical losses," why should we continue to subsidize their profits?

By improving and expanding upon Medicare, already the best in the world for seniors, the New York Health Act will lower costs and improve quality by eliminating bureaucratic bloat, including the $85,000 in administration it currently costs the average American physician to deal with insurance companies, and allowing providers to compete on patient care rather than billing negotiations. It will do this by replacing the multitude of profit-seeking health insurance plans with a single, public plan that would be funded based on progressive premiums from all New York state residents. All New Yorkers would then receive complete medical coverage, including dental and vision, with no copays, coinsurance, or deductibles.

Visit and call your state senator today and ask them to cosponsor the New York Health Act, because it would create a better health system for all of us.


Sacrificing to the Gods of Guns

Anyone understanding the evolution of the Second Amendment and the 18th century belief that a militia (as opposed to the dreaded "standing army") was the cornerstone in protecting American liberties can see that the clear language of that amendment applies specifically and solely to the right to keep and bear arms within the context of a citizen militia.

Sadly, in 2008 a right-wing Supreme Court opted to create a heretofore non-existent constitutional right of self-protection so as to retroactively justify the private ownership of 300,000,000 firearms. Thus the sacrifice of tens of thousands of Americans annually to the Gods of Guns continues unabated.


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