Monday, March 12, 2012

Mostly personal

I write a total of five blogs. On one of my other blogs I posted the following a couple of weeks ago:

"I was first introduced to her when I was barely a teen. I fell hard. She did things to me and made me do things I had never done before.

We rode our intense passion throughout high school but then the time came when I was forced to leave her and home behind and move on to the world of college, adulthood, marriage, career, and fulfilling expectations set by society. But I never forgot her and would occasionally sneak back to enjoy the pleasures only she could offer me.

Even throughout marriage and adulthood I would sometimes seek out the comfort, pleasure, and passion only she was able to offer me. My wife said she understood and tolerated my dalliances but I knew it was something she was unable to understand.

There were times in my life when I sought her out to calm my nerves and help me deal with the challenges of career and adulthood. She was always there for me, calming my anxieties and feeding my need for passion.

Life goes on and as I now approach the autumn of my own I find that with my career behind me, my wife a seasoned veteran of marriage, the kids grown and gone, and grandkids involved in technology I'll never understand, I find myself wondering about her. I have not seen her for many years. Is she still energetic? Beautiful? Passionate? Could she still make my heart flutter and ny head tingle? I decided to find out. To seek her out and see if she is real or just a fantasy that I'd created and imagined in my mind. Was she real or the false equivalent of a blow-up doll?

So I went to her. There she stood. Her beauty radiating with the same splendor she held for me in my youth. My passion, my love.... The theater.

Now that I have the time, and with my wife's full blessings, I have returned to the theater. She holds the same level of passion and love for me that she held when I did Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians;" I was barely a teen. But these days I embrace her not as an actor but as an usher, for though she still reeks of passion and intensity, mine has faded through the years. I am, as I always have been, devoted to the theater. I'll remain her loyal patron."

The particular theater with which I've become associated is The Smith Center for the performing arts. You can see the web page at

Las Vegas has changed in many ways in the 40+ years I've lived here. I've watched the community grow and mature from the mob era to the Howard Hughes era to the Steve Wynn era to the unbridled growth era to the most recent economic hard times era.

During those times we've offered the best entertainment in the world but have always been considered a bit short on cultural venues. Our local university, UNLV, filled in some of the cracks but Las Vegas was not known for cultural events, but rather "What happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas..."

That all began to change 18 years ago when several events served as a confluence of change not on the Strip, but in the old railroad yard behind the blue collar downtown hotels. Our then mayor, Oscar Goodman was as avid a creative thinker as mayor as he had been during his days when he was referred to as "lawyer to the mob." The Union Plaza is built at the head of Fremont street downtown, the location of the former Union Train Station. Behind the Plaza was the train switching yard that had endured there for nearly 200 years. But as the community grew Mayor Goodman played an active role in having the area moved and what remained was given an 18 million dollar sanitizing of the contaminated earth. Soon the World Market, County government building and a mall went up in the area followed by the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health - Keep Memory Alive. Still, nothing of a cultural nature.

That began to change when Elaine Wynn offered a $50 million grant and the Don Reynolds Corporation foundation added $ 100 million to the pot and it was "game on!" Eighteen years in the making the $ 480 million Smith Center for the Performing Arts opened with a list of more than 10,000 patron subscribers and NO DEBT! I am honored and fortunate to be associated with it in my own small way.

Last Friday was the gala grand opening - a black tie affair that saw performers including Willie Nelson, Carol King, Martina McBride, Jennifer Hudson, violin virtuoso, Joshua Bell, Train, Josh Fogerty, and many others on stage doing what they do best. The eclectic mix of performers were representative of the future players at the Center. The venue, which concluded with cake pops and most champagne ran until after midnight in the main venire, Reynolds Hall, which seats 2,050 and every seat was occupied.

Other venues in the Center for the Performing Arts include Boman Pavilion which includes the Troesh Studio Theater which will accommodate the Nevada Dance Theater performances as well as other performances, and the Cabaret room which will feature jazz bands.

So my focus has become the theater and it stems from my first performance in the CHS auditorium in "The People vs. Maxine Lowe," starring Bob White as a lawyer. Bob went on to become - a lawyer! That means I will be writing fewer blog posts about Clairton. I will still try to post monthly and encourage all who are interested in their hometown to follow the Facebook postings of those who are trying to constantly improve the city and CHS students to excel in their post-secondary pursuits.

Don't forget, the Awards Festivities will take place March 24 starting with a parade from the stadium to the high school for a pep rally and concluding with dinner and awards presentations to the Bears football team who won an unprecedented third state championship last season.

A little blogging music Maestro, "Back to Before" from the musical "Ragtime."

Dr. Forgot

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