Comments from hkarsh

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hkarsh
hkarsh commented about Ritz Theater on Dec 1, 2006 at 7:52 am

I have had experience and earned a living in New York City restoring turn of the century brownstones, and apartment buildings that were older than the Ritz and working performances in theaters older than the Ritz. I worked on the conversion of the Astor Place Library to the Public Theatre and lighting and building sets on several of it stages. I worked for the Living History Center in California for the original Renaissance Faire and Dickens Christmas Faire. I love historic events and buildings.
I found myself in Corpus Christi and I was hired to manage the 1800 seat Richardson Auditorium built in 1951 in 1992. I successfully single-handedly booked over fifty performances a year for many years. I had no professional help and relied on student labor which I also had to teach. However, the local community college that operated the auditorium had a problem with the concept of manager. In their eyes I was really just a backstage tech who could do everything including bookings. I knew quite a bit about technical theatre having worked in NY theatre and related areas since I was in high school in the sixties. What I didn’t know I learned. I began to consult with the experts and joined IAAM to hone my management skills. When I began to question the safety and health issues effecting the operation of the facility including the lack of employees and outdated contracts as well as the failure of the college to get liability insurance from users etc. etc., I was attacked as a disgruntled employee. I was than forced to prove that the auditorium was unsafe. Knowing that I could lose my job if the facility were shut down I weighed the risk of injury to the audience and the users and requested a safety report. The college safety office chose to go with Dr. Davidson known as Dr. Doom out of California. He told the college in no uncertain terms to shut down the facility. Than, I was the hero to most people who knew the story, however the administration and the regents did not take favorably to being told that they were now responsible for an unsafe, moldy and unhealthy facility that was going to cost a bundle, so while on the surface everyone including me thought a renovation was coming I was targeted and let go in 2004, twelve years after I started. There is no one in the arts community in Corpus Christi and at Del Mar College that know all the details of this story that do not credit me for the $5,000,000 plus facelift that was accomplished after I was removed as manager. That was partly done because the College knew that I would argue for a full renovation that made it possible for students to work and learn safely backstage. That full renovation did not happen. In Texas whistleblower protection is dependant on how deep the employee’s pockets are. Texas is a right to work state. The college could refuse to renew my contract without cause.
As for PATCH. I visited their WEB site and it is very slick. But there is nothing there to tell us why we should trust these people? What is their expertise? What is their experience? Where are the biographies? All the other venues in this town are controlled by special interests? Are we concerned about renovating the Ritz or the downtown? Personally I think if the Ritz is renovated the rest will come along. I did not turn Monica Sawyer away when she asked for my help. I helped her and gave her the benefit of my expertise and research. She chose not to include me in her group. I did not even get a phone call to say we appreciate your aid but for political reasons we don’t think we can have you on our board if that was the problem? That concerns me. I have friends in the technical theatre community and they could be very useful to raising funds and physically hands on restoring the Ritz. I don’t see any of them associated with this project. I did not even know there was a WEB page until I made the above comments. Read into that what you like but I think the slick WEB page, the abbreviated history that fails to point out why this theatre could be so important to historic theatre buffs, and the lack of creditable expertise on its board points to people with an agenda that may not be a full restoration for the public good but for a private few.

hkarsh
hkarsh commented about Ritz Theater on Nov 28, 2006 at 8:37 am

I was contacted by Ms Sawyer over a year ago. I openly and voluntarily shared with her my many hours of research on the Ritz and my experience managing an 1800 seat auditorium here in Corpus Christi. The types of local performance groups the outside bookings that would find the Ritz to their liking.
My interest was in getting another venue for the performing arts here in Corpus Christi. That was the last I heard from Ms. Sawyer. She organized an insider group of friends, and politicos after they got my research. I saw no performing arts people listed. Now, when I get calls from people asking me what’s going on with the Ritz? I have to tell them I’m not an insider. They have held no open meetings. Be careful if you deal with this group. I believe they have an agenda and that agenda may not be a full restoration. The Ritz was not built with modern amenities in mind and a full restoration would require an additional building to house all the support stuff, restrooms, kitchen, ticketing etc. Enough said.

hkarsh
hkarsh commented about Arcadia Theater on May 4, 2005 at 7:57 pm

Hello. I have been researching the Ritz theatre in Corpus Christi and came across a 1929 newspaper story that has the following quote, “Mr. Dunne, the architect (Ritz) is from Dallas and is a theatre speacialist. He has been associated in construction of the Melba and Arcadia in Dallas; the Howell theater in Coleman; the Ritz theater in Big Springs; the Texas theate in San Angelo; and new theaters that will be constructed in 1930 at Sweetwater, Laredo, Sherman, Littlerock, Ark; Roswell, New Mexico; and the new Plaza, a Publix house at El Paso that will seat 2,700 persons.” The Ritz theater in Corpus Christi is done in a very similar Spanish style to the Texas in San Angelo but it’s different. That may be because the Ritz has suffered some renovations over the years that destroyed a lot of it’s interior. I hope someone from this WEB site will read this and add these other theaters to Scott Dunne’s credit.

hkarsh
hkarsh commented about Texas Theatre on May 4, 2005 at 7:49 pm

Hello. I have been researching the Ritz theatre in Corpus Christi and came across a 1929 newspaper story that has the following quote, “Mr. Dunne, the architect (Ritz) is from Dallas and is a theatre speacialist. He has been associated in construction of the Melba and Arcadia in Dallas; the Howell theater in Coleman; the Ritz theater in Big Springs; the Texas theate in San Angelo; and new theaters that will be constructed in 1930 at Sweetwater, Laredo, Sherman, Littlerock, Ark; Roswell, New Mexico; and the new Plaza, a Publix house at El Paso that will seat 2,700 persons. The Ritz theater is Corpus Christi is done in a very similar style to the Texas in San Angelo but different in architectural style. That may be because the Ritz has suffered some renovations over the years that destroyed a lot ist interior. I hope someone from this WEB site will read this and add these other theaters to Scott Dunne’s credit.

hkarsh
hkarsh commented about Ritz Theater on Oct 25, 2004 at 4:38 pm

I am trying to put together a project to restore the Ritz Theater. Please contact me at .com Thank you.