Cubberley As a Regional Arts Center for 300-capacity theatre

I am on my way to the Cubberley meeting at 7:30 tonight. While checking the time online, I became perhaps the last person in the room to learn that Mandy Lowell is also known as Mrs. Charles Munger (the Mungers who gave millions to defeat Prop 30 — I voted for Prop 30 — in Palo Alto you never know which billionaire or multi-millionaire in the elevator you will meet).

Usually when you meet a billionaire you should pretend you don’t know they are billionaires. I remember the time that Nelson Rockefeller came into the newsroom to ask us to cover the drinking games / fundraiser he was hosting at his fraternity and I of course knew who he was — maybe we had met once before, exactly, he sat to lunch with us at the cafeteria, he rowed with one of my hallmates — and he said “Hi, I’m Nelson. I have a story for you..” A good journalist, like the “milennials” in Wolfe’s “I Am Charlotte Simmons” would get their 5w’s and and H and say “How do you spell that? Is that a first name or last name? Nelson what?”
Our class had two Rockefellers, Nelson and his nephew Michael (Rodman’s son, for those keeping score).
I do catch myself telling this story in my head, apropos of who knows what…oh, that I say I was a Rockefeller Center Fellow when I worked for the Times Tribune…
Meanwhile, I met the Recklis on Election Night but only now placed where I had heard that name…
We are all billionaires if you are counting how many cells in the human body…— On Fri, 10/19/12, mark weiss <> wrote:

From: mark weiss <>
Subject: Re: Cubberley as regional performing arts venue –history or future
To: “Diane Reklis” <XXX>
Date: Friday, October 19, 2012, 5:58 PM

it’s cool. you pushed my button (figuratively) and then my fingers kept hitting the buttons/keys on the keyboard, but it can stand alone as the first document, that you formatted. thanks.
mark weiss

From: Diane Reklis <XXXt>
To: ‘mark weiss’ <>
Sent: Friday, October 19, 2012 1:05 PM
Subject: RE: Cubberley as regional performing arts venue –history or future

I was attempting a light-hearted reference to PAUSD not being able to predict when and if they will need to reopen a high school at Cubberley and wanting to preserve complete flexibility while they wait (10-20 years) to see how enrollment plays out, not who would own or rent a theatre.  Obviously no one knows when another school will be needed nor what it should look like in the far distant future.
 Your ideas are important and will become part of institutional memory.  I am a great believer in 1-page documents being more likely to actually be read.  I have attached document I created from yesterday’s e-mail.  If you wish to add key points from today’s and send it back to me I will see that it gets into the record.  Feel free to include web link to additional information, but also add a clear title and your name and date to first few lines and keep font size and margins reasonable.
From: mark weiss []
Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2012 11:17 PM
To: Diane Reklis; ‘Mandy Lowell’; ‘Vician, Tom’; ‘Furman, Sheri’; ‘Crystal, Tom’; ‘Samoff, Rachel’
Cc: Camille Townsend; Gail Price; Sidney Espinosa; Nancy Shepherd; yeh yiaway; paula kirkeby; Bern Beecham; Greg Betts; Tim Gray; Melissa Caswell; Karen Holman
Subject: Re: Cubberley as regional performing arts venue –history or future
My concept is probably more geared to City having the say than PAUSD per se.
On the other hand, my concert series did include four or five clinics in which touring musicians went into middle school and high school music classes to talk about their skills and careers —
is there still being contemplated a use that would blend school function with community center function? I have also wondered whether Cubberley could be an arts magnet school, or whether some of the studio space at Cubberley now could be set aside for high school use — like for a very advanced visual arts student.
Spangenberg has a history of blending school use with community use, for a variety of outcomes, some good some not so good.
There’s an article in today’s paper about “Woodside Community Theatre” group producing “The Sound of Music” at Woodside High.
Not sure how Menlo-Atherton blends community and school with its new space. Or what the plan is for Paly’s space.
Campbell High School auditorium is now a rental hall called Campbell Heritage — I saw Kris Kristofferson there not so long ago, produced by a Seattle-based entity, Square Peg.
I just want the institutional memory to include the fact that there is some potential there, based on the gap in the market in this category.
(I’ve used the same basic points more recently to advocate for arts at 456 University –the city did do a very basic “due diligence” on that concept; I’ve advocated for expanded use of our parks for concerts, beyond the current “Twilight Series” format; actually, the 27 University Avenue office towers proposal is using similar rhetoric about a theatre being a public benefit for an office towers proposal — maybe someone like John Arrillaga would step forward and help optimize Cubberley as an arts center….I subsidized the programming per se in those years, 1994-2001, but am not likely to contribute in any significant way to a capital project there — but again, I thought I’d mention it).
Steve Emslie is familiar with the recent 456 University proposal, your CACC and I believe Arrillaga 27 Uni as well….(assistant City Manager), for how they compare and relate and overlap, although I do not recall him being in the loop during those 1990s’ years with Richard James Leon Kaplan et al.
Mark Weiss

From: Diane Reklis <XXX>
To: ‘Mandy Lowell’ [XXX>; “‘Vician, Tom'” <XXX>; “‘Furman, Sheri'” <XXX>; “‘Crystal, Tom'” <XXX>; “‘Samoff, Rachel'” <XXX>
Cc: ‘mark weiss’ <>
Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2012 9:13 PM
Subject: RE: Cubberley as regional performing arts venue –history or future
I have put Mark’s message into word document to become part of our record.  There are certainly many good uses for the space once the District gets a PhD in fortune telling.  Mark, please consider how such a regional center could co-exist with a school on the campus.  (We have asked the current tenants this question too and it will become part of our report.)
From: Mandy Lowell [XXX]
Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2012 3:41 PM
To: Diane Reklis (XXX); Vician, Tom; Furman, Sheri; Crystal, Tom; Samoff, Rachel
Subject: Fwd: cubberley as regional performing arts venue –history or future
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: mark weiss <>
Date: Thu, Oct 18, 2012 at 1:02 PM
Subject: cubberley as regional performing arts venue –history or future
Mandy Lowell:
Per your suggestion today after your CCAC meeting I wanted to briefly chime in with mention of an historical use of Cubberley that may influence your use matrix today:
Between 1994 thru 2001, my company Earthwise Productions produced more than 150 concerts at Cubberley Theatre, Cubberley Auditorium (multi-purpose room, what is currently the library) and the amphitheatre (the green). The events featured rock, jazz, folk and classical, from local, regional, national and international acts, from high school groups making their “professional debut”(the Donnas, then known as Ragady Ann) to then-88-year-old blues legend Pinetop Perkins.
The unique regionally-followed concert series was noted in publications such as Palo Alto Weekly, San Jose Metro, San Jose Mercury and San Francisco Chronicle.
There was eventually a draft of an agreement to enact a co-sponsorship between my entity (a sole proprietorship) and the City, authored by Leon Kaplan (director of arts and culture) with input from Richard James, Paul Thiltgen, Del Thorpe and others.
My recollection, further, is that when Council voted in 1995 to allow 456 University (the historic Varsity Theatre) to be converted to retail (for Borders Books, tenant) despite significant community interest in some kind of public-subsidized cultural entity there, Council members – perhaps including Fazzino and Simitian – stated that missing an opportunity there could be atoned for by focusing on how to better use Cubberley to promote or facilitate the arts (something which I don’t think ever actually happened).
I hope the CCAC keeps in mind the potential upside for Cubberley as a regional performing arts venue – perhaps with some kind of public-private partnership – to optimize its use.
It is still true, for example, that for club-size concert acts of the type that typified “The Cubberley Sessions” there is virtually nothing going on between San Francisco and San Jose/Santa Cruz.
I would be only happy to comment further on this history or do further research on what potential arts and cultural uses could be possible going forward with your committee’s important work.
Mark Weiss
President, Earthwise Productions
PO Box 60786
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 305-0701

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
This entry was posted in history and legacy, Public Art, residentialists and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Cubberley As a Regional Arts Center for 300-capacity theatre

  1. markweiss86 says:

    Reblogged this on Plastic Alto with Mark Weiss and commented:

    I ran into Mike Cobb the other day and mean to follow up with him regarding my campaign for Council 2014, and my thoughts on Cubberley; in truth I am not current with what the Cubberley ad hoc group led by Mandy Lowell are recommending. I respect Mr. Cobb, who I first met at a Cubberley advisory meeting when I was producing concerts there in the 1990s. Further, although I was shocked to learn that Mandy Lowell was Mrs. Charles Munger, it is still unclear to me what to make of that: I am not completely writing her off as a potential Democratic citizen. People I admire respect her. More to come. Note that the first segment is more organized than the subsequent two, that being the nature of communicating by email. Not sure where this document was filed, other than Reklis said it would be included.

    Of the top of my head, I would keep Cub as a community center rather than let it be developed for housing. I wonder how it fits in with the proposal to stop Sobrato from turning Fry’s into more housing: I favor half-housing and half-park.

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