BRUCE THE BLOG
BY BRUCE APAR
On the stage of the slightly renamed and emphatically rejuvenated Paramount Hudson Valley (dotcom), John Platania was getting in his frontman licks as the band played on. Soon, Peekskill resident and performing-dervish violinist Daisy Jopling materialized to trade riffs with the man who for years kicked axe in Van Morrison's band.
Outside, several minutes earlier, on a warm and sunny May 15, 2013, Peekskill's Acting City Manager Brian Havranek and Kurt Heitmann, CEO of Red House Holdings, transacted the lease, signifying the ceremonial encore of an historic entertainment landmark seven months after it unceremoniously got the hook due to insufficient funds, about 300,000 simoleons' worth.
Now "Under New Management," one of the encouraging signs, oddly enough, is that Mr. Heitmann and Co., at the outset, seem suitably realistic about the challenges of transforming the venue into a healthy moneymaker. For the first six months, under the deal between operator and the city, which owns the building, Peekskill will absorb certain operating costs so new management can find its – pardon the pun -- "see" legs. Part of the deal also calls for the City to collect 5% of box office receipts.
There already are events scheduled, from rock-and-rollin' violin virtuoso Daisy Jopling's June 9 concert with the Westchester Putnam Youth Symphony to a physique competition June 29. (Jopling tix are available through brownpapertickets.com; 800.838.3006.) See my interview with Daisy Jopling here http://youtu.be/s56t9Mp6ZZU. Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster, joined by officials of Red House Entertainment and City of Peekskill, cuts ribbon to officially open Paramount Hudson Valley. Photo by Bruce Apar
One well-placed source, familiar with the backstage drama behind Paramount's recent checkered history, told me that among positive changes is that Red House, unlike the prior arrangement, is neither a not-for-profit nor a public company, both of which imply a board of directors (BoD), where everyone has a vote plus at least one opinion, but not necessarily expertise or experience administrating the specific category of business at hand, in this case live entertainment. (In Corporate America right now, high-profile boards of directors are under fire, viewed with a jaundiced eye as well-compensated hangouts for cronies rather than chambers of objective, prudent governance.)