July 25th, 2003

Brian and Anne

A Toast to the old Performance Network Building

The old performance network/civic theater building caught on fire last night while being demolished to make way for a new YMCA.

I did theatre in that building when I was a kid. I was assistant tech director of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe there when I was ten. I have seen lots of people perform there, including my mime instructor, Stephan Neidzalkowski, and Aimee McDonald, who was my best friend when I was 6 and taught me my first ballet steps sometime around then. She performed some dance routines there a couple years ago. I also studied mime in the studios that ran along the washington side when I was in high school.

I was sitting in the seats of that theater when I was 14, as part of a group of girls surrounding Joe Conat, flirting with him and teasing him. Joe touched my wrist in an electrifying way and I realised I had a lot to learn about sensuality and flirting.

Don't get me wrong, there were many things we hated about that theater. It had no fly space, no backstage on the right side of the stage, no actual dressing rooms (they were more like classrooms), the tech booth had these tiny windows through the cinderblock wall through which to see the stage, and there was this support pole in the center of the room, in front of the stage, interfering with all views unless you were sitting in the front row, more or less.

The building was old, and the connection to the new part of it was this long rambling hallway. There must have been some interesting materials left in it either from the theater folks or its days as a factory, because the smoke was very black. I went down to take a look at the fire on my way home from my the Art Museum. I had already accepted that the building was going, but I'll admit I might have gotten a little choked up, seeing it burn like that. Or maybe that was just the smoke. ;)

May it live long in our memories.