Here it is, a little time to sit down and type before the real insanity takes hold – tomorrow morning at 7am the build officially begins in the space with the delivery and assembly of the lobby walls and the restroom plumbing. I never thought I would be so excited about those two things.
We had another Overheard in Minneapolis rehearsal last night on the stage (it’s now actually “a stage” instead of “a box”) and it reminded me that I wanted to take a few minutes before this picks up any more speed and post some updates on what we’ve done and what is still in front of us.
The space hasn’t been inactive this entire time if we could help it – trying to get things done that we could accomplish without the builders and permits helped pare down the list of stuff we will have to worry about later but no matter how much you prep it seems there’s no avoiding the last-minute crush of the whole project slamming into the last couple weeks, days or hours.
We built the stage, ripped down the existing bathroom walls, created a classroom/office space in the basement, painted the lobby and theater walls, recycled and re-used a great deal of material from the Lava Lounge – turning a metal 3/4 door into a desk and the sheet metal walls from the fitting rooms have become our Founder Wall – removed a pile of speakers left in the ceiling, hung the tracks and curtains over the stage, got the shades installed for the lobby and the chairs delivered, the concession counter built and the audio snakes strung across the ceiling.
Josh Kuehn has been diligently showing up whenever he can to help out any way I ask him to, I think he has the mistaken impression that he needs to keep saying yes when I ask him if he wants yet another shitty project.
Brent Eggert has stepped into the role as head of our Development and fundraising and has started to run with it while we have been otherwise too insanely busy and occupied to really focus on something as important as creating a sustainable financial model for this whole thing…Anyway.
Damian has jumped into marketing and actually wanted the job of getting press releases out and harassing media outlets for us – something I am terrible at and I didn’t think anyone actually wanted to do…huh.
People keep giving me a lot of slack and saying “I know you must be busy” and I guess I have been busy. Or at least more focused and on-task than I can remember ever being before – but the job itself feels like I’m the luckiest guy in this whole madhouse. It is only through the combined efforts and energy and support of countless people that we’re in a position where I am able to do what I am doing and I am thankful to be the one doing it.
No matter what happens in the end or how this venture turns out, I show up every morning to work on OUR THEATER and for that alone I want to thank everyone. Doing the work and trying to keep a handle on all the details seems like the least I can do in return for being given the chance.
Thank you all from one stupid-happy guy that gets to do what he loves, which not everyone gets to do, even for a single day. I have been at it for years and doing it full time since April and even the frustrating and stressful moments have been some of the best times I’ve ever had. Thank you.
Tomorrow things get REALLY busy.
Framers show up early, drop off materials and start assembling the walls – they were even talking about getting them inspected tomorrow afternoon but went with Friday morning to be safe. The plumbing is getting set at the same time so we can build the walls over it and get that signed off on and get closer to having proper bathrooms (with real doors that go all the way to the floor) to be the thing that people complain about for the next 50 years. Sheetrock and counter work should take place over the weekend and electrical happens at some point to be determined, things are still pretty fluid in some areas. After that – we paint, clean, rehearse, clean, advertise, print postcards, update websites, create Facebook events, clean some more, rehearse even more, coat the floors, clean, get the coolers from Coke installed, clean up, get our security review from the Minneapolis Police Department, get inspected a half-dozen times before the Fire Chief gives us our Occupancy Permit and we can take that to get the final sign-off on our Theater License, which allows us to open the doors and shake this whole town.
The really crazy thing is how the actual prospect of having and opening a Theater at the end of all this has somehow become a distant glimmer that I can’t even think about yet – and conversely I think and talk about little else so much (seriously, when I sleep my dreams have become almost entirely review of my to-do list, worrying about how to pay for it and remembering things that have slipped through the cracks…I’m not kidding…Sigh) that I have to remind myself to stop and freak out every so often because HOLY SHIT WE ARE GOING TO OPEN A THEATER!!!
Not only that but we’re going to open a theater pretty damn soon – which is the biggest event I can think of in the development of HUGE Theater but it’s also the most poorly defined, hyped and anticipated event we will ever have. Not knowing when we would even be able to begin, much less finish, the build made it impossible to send out press releases a couple months ago with an opening date on them, print postcards for shows or even make Facebook events or tell audiences about the first night we will be on the stage at HUGE.
Of course, once we are open we’ll be able to decide these things well in advance so this is (hopefully) the last time we’re left standing, shrugging and wondering about when things will happen and once we complete this the operation of the theater will be a concrete process based on decisions instead of a fluid adventure based on constant damage-control. But really, it’s totally fitting that we are pulling a theater out of this chaos and this is how it begins. We’ve got the only crew and community I can imagine pulling it together and pulling it off and I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone (or really, anyone else) but it feels messy and insane but it also feels very right.
So, as I warned the cast of Overheard last night, we will end up suddenly announcing shows and show dates and scrambling like you have never seen to get the word out once we are able to put that giant red X on the calendar. We will go from not being able to answer any questions to scheduling rehearsals wall to wall and back to back pretty rapidly and (finally) from telling people what this place is going to be to inviting everyone to come see what it is.
First, we just have a couple more things to see to.