Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Room for a thousand
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Room for a thousand

Rick Coates - June 6th, 2011
Room for 1,000: New entertainment center planned for TC’s Old Town in 2013
By Rick Coates
Does Northern Michigan need another entertainment venue?  Three forward-thinking partners think so and are planning a venue in Traverse City’s Old Town that will accommodate up to 1,000 patrons.
Jon Carlson and Greg Lobdell, owners of Blue Tractor, North Peak, Mission Table, Jolly Pumpkin have partnered with Sam Porter of Porterhouse Productions. The three are collaborating on a state-of-the-art entertainment complex on Union Street between 7th and 8th streets. 
The nearly 18,000-square-foot venue will incorporate the existing Blue Tractor along with The Shed and The Good Works Collective Buildng (recently acquired by Porter for concerts, art events and  gatherings). In addition, the project will expand into the current Blue Tractor parking lot.
The end result will be a two story complex with a roof-top patio and a concert venue that will hold up to 1,000 patrons for shows. The venue (currently nameless) will have 50-plus tap handles featuring Michigan craftbrews and the menu and wine list will also have a local flavor.

PLENTY OF ROOM
When asked about what appears to be an overcrowded entertainment  market in Northern Michigan, Porter and his partners feel to the contrary.
“Each existing venue fills an entertainment niche for the region. I think the more the merrier, we will complement each other not compete against one another,” said Sam Porter. “Our project will fill that current void of being able to dance, something other venues do not have. We are going to be a multi-purpose facility so one night the community may gather to watch the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup, the next night 1,000 people are out dancing to Umphrey’s McGee and the next night we have 500 people taking cooking lessons from someone like Mario Batali.”
The project is slated to break ground in the fall of 2012 with a projected opening date of summer 2013. 
Why the delay?
“We might start earlier with some phases of the project. The reason for waiting is to get community input,” said Porter. “Ultimately this is going to be a project that is going to benefit the community and they need to be involved in the planning process.”
As to whether or not the community is large enough to handle a project of this size, Porter and his partners are confident.
“We are selling out winter and summer beer festivals along with other events. People in the region are starving for this sort of thing,” said Porter. “Currently we have 3,000 plus showing up in the snow and heated tents to drink great beer and dance to great bands. I feel confident that the market is there for this venue and its many uses on a nightly basis.”

THE BACK STORY
Porter who grew up in Traverse City along with his wife Abby (also a native) launched a successful production company in Montana where Porterhouse Productions produced several concerts and festivals. Three years ago he decided to move back to his hometown to produce festivals and concerts in Northern Michigan. The summer and winter versions of the Traverse City Microbrew & Music Festival, a Paella in Park event and his concert series at the City Opera House quickly became big hits.
Porter ran into one snag, however. The City Opera House felt that structurally their facility could not handle 750 patrons dancing and Porter was quickly without a venue.
“Since we had to stop putting shows on there a day doesn’t go by that a person hasn’t asked me when and where we are you going to do shows like that again,” said Porter. “So now they have their answer -- very soon -- and at a place with no name for the time being.”
Porter staged the 2011 Traverse City Winter Microbrew & Music Festival from the new location on Union Street, which will serve as a future site for the festival, along with additional events.
“We are going to be about local beers, wines, foods, distillers, musicians, visual artists and more. While we will have several for-profit events, we see this venue serving the needs of the vast non-profit community as well.”

VIBRANT DISTRICT
Lobdell and Carlson have been business owners in Old Town since 2007 when they acquired the former Dill’s Restaurant and opened the Blue Tractor.  Now Porter is excited to join them to help an area of Traverse City that has been overlooked in recent years.
“So much of the focus has been about Front Street and that has been important. But I live in Old Town and am excited about the recent resurgence in this part of town,” said Porter. “Mark Fowler of EMS Catering and the recently opened Wishbones found a cool way to collaborate with Cedar Creek Interiors, opening up his restaurant in the middle of their store. Old Town is becoming very vibrant and this project is going to add to that, plus we are going to be good for the rest of downtown Traverse City.” 

To keep informed, share your ideas and even suggest a name for the new venue go to www.porterhouseproductions.com . They will be hosting the Dandy Horse Bike Festival on Saturday June 11, topping off TART’s Smart Commute Week and Bike Swap. The event will feature a concert from the Ragbirds and local beers and wines. Complete details are online.
 
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