Gut wrenching stuff for Fresno architecture this past week.
We first learned that a different group of assholes (different from the Tower Theatre assholes) have taken over the Liberty Theater (Fresno’s oldest) and gutted it:
Then the gutting:
Like [takes deep breath] THEY REMOVED A WHOLE DAMN BALCONY WITHOUT PERMISSION!
The Fresno Bee’s Marek Warszawski does some great follow up work to find out how they were able to get away with this.
Basically, the city approved them to do SOME demolition inside but not all of what they did and then city never really came out to make sure they were taking care in what they were ripping out, so the contractor had carte blanche to keep ripping.
Fine them. stop construction. do what you can, City of Fresno, but it’s too late now. It’s gone. Can’t get it back.
Is Kylo Ren overseeing renovations?
I’ll never join the Dark Side nor will I abide the Liberty being gutted to become a church. It’s NOT what it was meant to be.
It makes me sick. I mean, William Saroyan used to hang out in that balcony – Bill would definitely have been a Jedi, btw.
When I was part of Creative Fresno we helped put on some shows in the Liberty. It gave me the chance to explore all around that theater and I was amazed at how everything appeared to be original.
In fact, the projector room was still there with the old projector equipment, looking like someone just quit one day, in like 1952, and nothing had been touched since.
Now it’s just fucking gone.
The Dumb Drum dudes put together a great video around that time, exploring the theater with (ironically) a focus on the now fucking gone, balcony:
I used to think that a business or church taking over an old unused building, even for some different purpose than the building was intended, was better than it sitting there and rotting away. Not anymore.
Better to sit and rot in faint hope that it one day will be restored, than to be gutted.
As an example, Hotel Fresno sat FOREVER, rotting away. There was a lot of talk that it would be better to just tear it down. But now, people will be staying/living there again WITH as much of the original architecture retained or restored.
So, we can do things properly here, sadly it takes people that respect Fresno. It seems there are a lot of churches around that don’t.