Friday, September 12, 2008


A comment from a friend often crosses my mind. His mother had visited him from Indiana in a great neighborhood where he lived for a time in Portland, OR. It was one of those places you see at the bottom corner of a historic building with a long bar on one side and rows of tables down the window sides.

After a wonderful brunch, as he signed the check, his mom leaned back and said “this is good but it isn’t Bob Evans.” I enjoy a breakfast at Bob Evans here in Durham regularly but her comment always reminds me that there are people who travel great distances not to do something unique but to do something they do at home or maybe anywhere for that matter.

The vast majority of travelers however are looking for something unique. Not as Richard Florida writes, “world-class” but something indigenous and almost temporal to the destination community they are visiting. It may be a performing artist they could see anywhere but it is in a uniquely Durham surrounding.

Kind of like the Durham Bulls. Not the only baseball team or MiLB baseball team, not “Bob Evans” but uniquely Durham.

As we get ready to open the spectacular, new Durham Performing Arts Center and join several hundred cities where shows tour after succeeding in the "Big Apple"…we can’t forget how crucial it is to work even harder to sustain other Durham theaters unique to Durham’s “quality of place,” like The Carolina, St. Joseph’s, Man Bites Dog, Baldwin, Common Ground, Page, PSI to name just a handful.

For several years, after DPAC's opening we must remember how much harder it will be for each of them to draw sponsorhips, media attention, audience, volunteers and other resources.

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