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As the LATC Turns...

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, March 17, 2006, at 06:15PM
Los Angeles Theatre Center Eric Richardson [Flickr]

In this week's Downtown News Jon Regardie pens a well-written piece on the current turmoil with the LA Theatre Center. If you haven't followed the process, you might take a look at this round-up of previous coverage.

Basic gist of this round is that Will & Company, the only theatre company to consistantly program the LATC, is out of a space they've occupied for quite a long period of time. There's the typical he said, she said off who wrote a letter to who, but that's anything but new to the LATC takeover.

Obviously I have no way to say who's really done what, but I think the eviction of Will & Co. reflects very poorly on the Latino Theatre Company and puts up a major red-flag for their ongoing operation of the center.

In the article Jose Luis Valenzuela, artistic director of LTC, claims that the eviction occured when Will & Co. didn't answer letters sent after LTC took control of the center. Clearly implied is that LTC had no choice but to evict them.

But Will & Co. is no ordinary tenant, and the LATC is no ordinary building. LTC is receiving a property that has has tens of millions of City dollars poured into it, and is receiving it through circumstances that can only be in the most generous sense called odd.

The way in which LTC received the theatre center should have been cause for them to proceed in the most accomodating way possible. The onus was on them to be transparent in their efforts to keep Will & Co. in the building during the transition. Remember, Will & Co. had been specifically told they would be allowed to remain. Loud was the proclamation that no one would be evicted.

If Will & Co. was being unresponsive, LTC should have been tugging at the ear of everyone from Jan Perry's office to the Downtown News to let them know that they were trying. But we in the public heard nothing, and the response of the Councilwoman would seem to clearly state that neither was her phone ringing on the matter.

Given the way things should have gone, and the way events have instead transpired, it seems clear that LTC wasn't all too concerned about the fate of Will & Co. once they got the building. Is that just a case of bad blood between two groups that fought for years over a building? Who knows. Certainly, though, this puts a dark cloud over an already troubled situation.


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