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By Jerry Bernstein
One of the things I like about AL LYNDER, DEFENDER OF ALL THAT IS TRUE, is her on-going interest on what is happening around her. The other morning she “waltzed” into the office, a smile on her face and her umbrella at her side. “Good morning,” she said.
“Good morning VAL LYNDER, I answered. “You seem content.”
“I am,” she replied. “I happened to attend the “Back to School” Convocation held by the ABC School District in Cerritos High School Gymnasium. There must have been more than a thousand teachers, and administrators present.”
“What were you doing there?” I asked. “You don’t teach school.”
“If you must know, I was invited by a teacher who happens to be a friend. Furthermore, “she continued,” I have a teaching credential in my home state.”
“I decided not to pursue the subject further, since I knew I couldn’t win.
“So what did you think about it?” I asked.
“I saw a breath of fresh air,” she answered. For the first time the Mayors from Lakewood, Hawaiian Gardens, and Cerritos were present and spoke to the group. The Mayor of Artesia couldn’t make it, but he was there in spirit.
“Abruptly, VAL LYNDER changed the subject. “Last Friday I attended a country western performance by The Frontmen of Country featuring Tim Rushlow, Larry Stewart and Marty Roe at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.”
“How did you like it,” I asked.
“They were good but the size of the audience was small. I couldn’t believe it.”
“How small is small,” I inquired.
“Small: she replied. “I was shocked, because the performers were good.”
“Well,” I said, “two things need to be done.
“What’s that?” she asked.
First, the Center needs to get acts that people want to see. There hasn’t been a Broadway musical on that stage in a long time. When the Center first opened it featured at least two or more per season. Second, its time to feature today’s artists, not those who held the spotlight 25 years ago.”
VAL LYNDER looked at me. Isn’t that what they are doing?” she asked. “I thought you were a supporter of the theater.”
“I am, “I answered, “but with the country still in recession, people aren’t going to buy tickets for just any show. The up and coming performers may be good, but if the audience doesn’t know who they are, they won’t buy tickets.”
“You have a point,” she replied. “Maybe what they need is to do a survey to find out what their perspective audience would like to see. I understand it take up to two years after a contract is signed before the act appears on stage.”
“I don’t know,” I replied. “I do know they have cut back on their expenses but I don’t know if it’s just cutbacks or if they did a comprehensive review that includes their advertising as well as what they can afford to pay their performers.”
VAL LYNDER didn’t say a word. Finally she said, while sitting in her chair, tapping her umbrella on the floor. “I would have thought they would have done that already.”
I could see her mood was changing. I slowly began to clear my desk. Finally she said, “All I have to say is they better get their act together.” VAL LYNDER slowly rose from her chair. “It’s such a beautiful theater,” she lamented. Saying that and without warning her purple poker dotted umbrella landed on my desk.
“VAL LYNDER.” I said, “I wish you wouldn’t do that.”
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