Why We Do This
(In response to "Look Before You Leap, Mr. Mayor ... " in the June 17-23 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
I am an actor who moved to Tulsa a few years back. I was working in Los Angeles for nearly eight years, before that in Chicago for 10. The possibility for this town to be exciting and effective artistically is very real! The artistic work generated here is amazing. I truly hope our Mayor can see this and is willing to fight as hard as we, the artists who selflessly present the work, are to keep it in Tulsa!
I have lived in Tulsa for over 30 years. The PAC in its present form is one of the crown jewels of the city. Jamie has clearly described how important to the people of Tulsa (and of NE Oklahoma) will be the need to retain the present form of management for the PAC. Imagine the thoughts of all those who have contributed to the PAC over the years; all those contributions would be used as a profit base for SMG. It is time to gather the village folk with their torches and pitchforks and make a trip up to the castle to destroy this monster of an idea.
Thank you, Mr. Jamieson, for representing so well the positions and concerns of Tulsa's Performing Arts Community regarding the possible privatization of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. As President of Tulsa Opera, I agree with your assessment of the possible risks to Tulsa's Performing Arts organizations as well as the detrimental effects this could have on the City of Tulsa as a whole. Tulsa has many fine amenities that make Tulsa stand out as an attractive, vital community. Utmost among these amenities is the quality and quantity of Tulsa's excellent performing arts organizations, which are crucial to sustaining and improving the quality of life that all Tulsan's deserve.
-Elizabeth Geer Palmieri
Years before the BOK Center or ONEOK Field existed, local arts groups were committed to reviving downtown Tulsa.
Their staunchest allies have been the PAC, the PAC Trust and local downtown merchants. Those non-profits inside the 244 corridor have also had to pay the so-called "not really an extra tax on downtown business" tax as well, adding additional strain to their very existence. Why wouldn't SMG just fill the PAC with out-of-town shows too small to put in the massive venues they already manage? Local arts organizations worked very hard decades ago to get the Tulsa Performing Arts Center built and now face the possibility of having it pulled out from under them. Events may bring people downtown, but the culture and diversity that local business and local arts provide gets people to live downtown. No one lives by Brookside or Cherry Street because it's all franchised. It's not a sound business to let one company "Walmartize" 70 percent of our downtown entertainment venues.
Our Reputation at Steak
(In response to "Steaked Through the Heart" in the June 3-9 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
I'd like to compliment you on hiring Mr. Hamilton as your new restaurant critic. I especially appreciate his ability to write a column with sentences that parse and adhere to the rules of English syntax -- something that your former restaurant critic never seemed to be able to manage.
As a minor quibble, I am not fond of his habit of "testing" the wait-staff by requesting minor changes in dishes or asking them extraneous questions to evaluate their reactions. He may consider it a part of his job, but I think it is officious and affected. Still, his reviews are informative and useful, and I enjoy reading them.
When I read his review of Jamil's, I knew you would be getting some flak for it, so I was not surprised by the letters in your subsequent issue (Love Letters, Hate Mail, June 10-16 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly). But let me say that his review squares perfectly with my experience with the food and service the last (and I do mean LAST) time I visited Jamil's.
It struck me as a place that is surviving on its past glory and making little or no effort to provide a quality dining experience. The food was mediocre; the service was sub-par; and the attitude was neither gracious nor grateful.
I don't expect or want subservience at a restaurant, but I like to be made to feel that they are glad I'm there and not a nuisance they have to put up with. As near as I could observe when I was there, the staff treated everybody with equal detachment, and nobody was treated "like family," so I don't think that aspect of their service had anything to do with me personally.
The people at Jamil's can either learn something from the review, or they can continue on as they are, depending on their loyal customers who will eventually either pass away or learn what good food and service is and go elsewhere.
Tradition and history are wonderful, but they can only carry an establishment so long. (Your comparison to what happened to Bell's was particularly appropriate.)
-John H. Hansen
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