Monday, May 12, 2008
A variation of an old joke makes light of the often fleeting relationship between jazz and money. As previously noted in this space, $823,000 is being spent on development projects near 18th & Vine. A portion of that money is dedicated to erecting a giant sign.
Much to the chagrin of a few of Plastic Sax's associates, I happen to think the new signage is a brilliant idea. It will serve as a constant reminder that the district is just a few blocks east of downtown. The sign should make the area more attractive to new business development in addition to aiding the district's handful of existing entities.
Just for fun, let's pretend that the jazz community came into another $823,000. While prudent voices would probably suggest that the money go into museum staffing, maintenance and the like, let's hypothetically suppose that the money would need to be immediately spent on non-essential items.
Here are a few new ideas:
An ambitious recording project
Using the Blue Room as a recording studio, pay area jazz musicians for the privilege of documenting their art. The oldest musicians would be the top priority. Sadly, there'd be almost no commercial market for these recordings. Therefore, I suggest they be made immediately available for free download. It'd increase awareness and interest in the careers of the participating musicians. The sessions would also serve as invaluable resources for fans and musicologists in the future.
Convert one the area's vacant buildings or existing apartment complexes into a modest ten-room hotel. Tourists from Japan and Europe, touring musicians, and local day-trippers would make it viable.
Bring back the music
Fund a free weekly summertime jazz concert series at 18th & Vine. Plastic Sax fondly remembers the era when Kansas City, MO, paid national acts to play free concerts in city parks. In this case, all shows would be on 18th Street. The museums would be open during these events.
New museum installations
While I appreciate everything in the American Jazz Museum, a fresh new exhibit or two would be most welcome.
With that said, don't think I've forgotten my infamous tract from August 2007. Several additional ideas are listed in that shrill screed.
Your thoughts are most welcome.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)