Friday, November 30, 2007

Will There be a Day the Music (Venue) Dies?

I'm really growing tired of the Birchmere Live Nation IMP argument. It's challenging the Purple Line's supremacy in the "getting old" department.

Things would have been a whole lot easier if, instead of holding a press conference, the county had quietly put the Live Nation agreement on display in the basement of the planning office in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the Leopard". Moreover, the basement should have had neither stairs nor lights.

Ironically, the vocal minority who are now vehemently opposing the Live Nation deal likely includes many of the same people who strongly favored the Birchmere as an alternative to a "9:30-like" club in this space.

I worry that after all this back and forth, this is what we're going to end up with:

Jack squat.

If the county delays the signing of the contract with Live Nation in order to review a potential agreement with IMP, I can see the Live Nation lawyers getting back in their Maybachs and heading for the business-friendly confines of Northern Virginia, giving MoCo the bird the entire way.

If Live Nation decides to set up shop elsewhere in the region or just leaves altogether, will IMP still want to run a music venue in Silver Spring, or will they just say "uh, nevermind" and leave us high and dry?

As pointed out earlier today, the whole "we're giving an evil corporation $8 million" arguments of Live Nation opponents are bogus. This appears to be the primary justification for opposition to a Live Nation venue, and while on paper the IMP proposal (this is all it is right now) may be somewhat better, like the saying goes, "a bird in hand"...

(On a related note, today's Wall Street Journal has a feature article on Live Nation.)


- JUTP today points out the use of the term "SoMoCo" as part of the name of an upcoming fundraising event. This is the first "official" use of the SoMoCo nickname I've ever seen, even though I've heard it (and "NoMoCo") bandied about for years. If it starts getting used too commonly, it will take the fun out using this amusingly stupid nickname.

There is always a tipping point when the use of a phrase or word becomes too widespread, such as years ago when I saw a mobile phone advertising poster that read "get your talk on" or last night when there was a 30 Rock episode about "cougars". I would say that it is at risk of "jumping the shark" if jumping the shark hadn't already jumped the shark. SoMoCo doens't need to get any bigger than it already is, as opposed to say, "The Promenade".

- Since people seem to have such affection for The Turf, perhaps when it gets removed next spring the county should sell off squares (suitable for framing) to the public, kind of like UM did with Cole Field House. Or maybe leave a small patch where people can look down through a Plexiglas window in the floor of the concrete plaza to see a remnant of the former ground cover. They can light candles and leave wreaths and stuff.

- Another company that can't find space in Silver Spring is forced to move to Rockville. Strike another blow for anti-growth neighborhoods!

- There's a house in Silver Spring with "aluminum siding" consisting of thousands of crushed beer and soda cans. Depending on the context, a house with siding made of crushed beer cans could either be "ecologically friendly" or "hillbilly".

- That Silver Spring train station documentary I mentioned earlier has a production blog.


Thayer Avenue said...

Wow. Where to start...

1. Silver Spring has a 4.4% direct vacancy rate for commercial office space? Wow. Where's all the commercial construction? Or are we just going to flood the market with condos? Maybe the "NPR" legislation permitting buildings up to 200' (excluding antennae, satellite dishes, etc.) south of the CBD will help.

2. Oddly enough, I would have expected the beer can house to be a Takoma Park venture. Folk art + white guilt = eco friendly abodes?

3. How long before Jerry McCoy sends out a listserv message about the highly anticipated production blog for "Next Stop: Silver Spring"?

Thayer Ave., too said...

Can't be hillbilly if he's got guava juice and Warsteiner cans up there.

It's only hillbilly if he's using solely Budweiser and Miller Lite cans, and applying them a six-pack at a time (or a 12-pack, if he had a big date last Friday night).

Sligo said...

Hey, Miller Lite is a quality beer.

There is probably a house in Dundalk with siding composed entirely of Natty Bo cans.

Silverton said...

SoMoCo and NoMoCo, huh? As it happens, I've been referring to the Montgomery County Police as MoCoPo in e-mails to friends for a couple of months now.

Think how much more this could be extended! I'll have to think of some more abbreviations.

Sligo said...

I prefer "MoCo Po Pos" for the police.

Dan Reed said...

Yes. I agree that MoCoPoPo is the appropriate term for the PoPo. But has anyone really heard "SoMoCo" before? I feel so out of the loop now that I sleep in College Park.

The I.M.P. camp maintains they've been looking for space in Silver Spring since 2000. (They were considering the Caldor building: what is it about former department stores that make them good clubs?) If Live Nation gives up, they might still be interested in the space. Otherwise, Hurwitz might be as greedy as the Rams Head makes him out to be. We'll see.

I really like the column in today's Post about the Live Nation/I.M.P. flap. It's funny how something that We, The Bloggers have gotten tired of is still fresh to the Mainstream Media.

Sligo said...

Dan, I've used "SoMoCo" on this blog before, albeit just once.

BMSTT said...

I've always been fond of Mo SoCo.

Dan Reed said...

You know what? "SoCo" sounds much better than "SoMoCo." These silly abbreviations don't work with more than two syllables, I think.

Or maybe I'm a lush. I don't know. Bu t Miller Lite is in no way, shape or form a quality beer. I'll take Natty Light any day.

Frank Booth said...


Silver Spring Penguin said...

Re: Turf remnants

I'd love to own a piece of green space. It would be a small piece, but perhaps some day, I could build a home on it.

And maybe that home could have aluminum siding. I figure one Heineken mini-keg ought to cover it.

choateward said...

Nicely written post on the music hall. I don't think Ike'll bungle the negotiations, but I'm not as sure that the County Council won't manage to mess things up in the end.

Dan Reed, regarding the IMP/Caldor site connection: were the IMP people saying that they'd recently been looking at the Caldor site, or were they looking at it back in 2000? Did the cutbacks at Discovery lead them to abandon the Caldor site? I ask because they just leased the site in 1999, and I was trying to figure out why IMP would have been looking at that site.

I agree that Pearlstein's column did a pretty good job of covering all of the details, plus adding a few new nuggets of information for those of us who've been watching this train wreck for a few months. Having said that, I thought his proposed solution (allowing IMP 120 days to negotiate directly with lee Development) misses a few key points:

- Lee Development isn't in this to try to sell the land; they want to parlay the music hall donation into increased development rights for the parking lot behind. Such a deal requires MoCoExCo (Montgomery County Executive and Council :) ) as partners, so its either going to remain as complicated as it currently is OR the price for the land is going to be significantly higher (to recompense lot development potential.)

-Speaking of MoCo as partner, both the LiveNation Letter of Intent and the IMP open letter are specific about requiring modification of local law (not sure if state of county) regarding liquor licensing. Whether or not either entity (LN or IMP) would go through with a music hall if the law isn't changed is a contingency that needs to be worked directly with the county, not with Lee.

In the end, I come down on the side of good faith negotiations, and I wish that the Letter of Intent hadn't been published, because it set up this "negotiate in print" scenario that's being played out. I have to agree with Leggett's characterization of the IMP proposal as possible cherry-picking, and I suspect that many of those who are in the IMP camp would not be so cavalier if MoCo had a Letter of Intent with IMP, and Live Nation started writing letters to the County Executive with slightly better terms.

DC said...

We must be careful about how the community reacts to the music venue, other places would love to steel this one away and build one in their DC neighborhood!

Millers way better than Blue Ribbon!

Sean from DC Metrocentric

Uncle Tiger said...

Don't know about SoMOCo, but South Four Corners (where our crib is) has been SoFoCo to me for 7 years.