It made its way to my blog instead of a review of the concert (by The Civil Wars) I saw there on Sunday because the Lincoln Theatre is at the center of an increasingly national controversy. Because of shortfalls in the budget, the Lincoln Theatre really doesn't have the money to stay afloat much longer, and the District can't afford to keep the doors open, raising questions about the public responsibility to keep these places alive in DC and elsewhere. The Lincoln's financial woes were the subject of a recent Huffington Post article by Rob Bettmann, chairman of DC Advocates for the Arts. His call to preserve the Lincoln Theatre and its historical legacy was met with opposition from Eli Lehrer, also of the Huffington Post, and VP of the Heartland Institute, a libertarian think tank that opposes all government spending and regulation (especially where the environment is concerned), and in the past has questioned links between second-hand smoke and health risks, as well as scientific basis of global climate change.
If I were a journalist, I suppose I'd have to take some un-biased, objective stance here, examining both sides of the issue fairly. Luckily, I'm not a journalist, and I also don't have the time to write an investigative expose on the city budget or the importance of preserving the historical integrity of the District. Since I'm just a semi-anonymous blogger, I'll go ahead and tell you, even without all the facts, I'd side with the guy that wants to keep the arts accessible to all, rather than the guy that says smoking doesn't kill people and that polar bears will do just fine despite the naturally occurring cycle of ice cap melting. But stepping away from pesky realities like budgets and hard science, the Lincoln Theatre should be kept open for use by the community and preserved for its role in the U Street Corridor's rich history. Also, if we can be vain for just a moment, it's just really pretty. There aren't many of these theatres left, and what we have shouldn't be leveled for more bars, burger places, cupcakeries, or whatever DC's latest food trend will be. We've already brought the Lincoln Theatre back once. Let's not lose it forever.
|The lobby, via Instagram|