Performing Arts Centers In Disrepair

Two of them have been allowed to deteriorate to the point of being condemned as unsafe
BY: DAVID FLORES

Two of  Los Cabos’ most important performing art venues are closed, one due to total negligence and one due to negligence, shoddy construction, and some hurricane damage tossed into the mix.

San Jose’s main theater, named Miguel Lomeli Ceseña in honor to the man who cranked the projector at San Jose’s first movie theater for many years, was abandoned almost two years ago by the department of culture, because the politically appointed director, could not or would not produce any events. Now, two years of standing empty, coupled with rain leaks, have destroyed it to the point of being unusable without a substantial amount of money is invested. With the city $60 million in debt, we all know that’s not likely.

Se suspenden actividades del Pabellón Cultural de la República.jpgThen we have the cultural pavilion in Cabo San Lucas, that massive, ugly, (massively ugly?) building sitting on the marina adjacent to this rag’s world wide corporate headquarters. Built by local contractor Luis Cano, owner of Gravi construction company, the pavilion inside is actually a very well designed and well equipped venue which artists love to use. But it was poorly built by Cano who cut corners, possibly because it was a government program and nobody was holding him to any standards. It is now falling down.

Following the damage it sustained from hurricane Odile in September of last year, the former state tourism secretary said it would be restored with funds from the state and federal government, but the check never arrived.

Arts lovers, including local architect Jacinto Avalos and his wife Cecilia, leaders of the Building Baja’s Future scholarship program, donated materials and labor. A group of artists called Movimiento Arte y Cultura, organized several artistic events to raise funds and were able to pay for repairs of the elevators and the cargo lift. With some funds left, they began the repair of the lights of the main theater.

Although for some time the pavilion continued holding some events and commercial comedy shows, no funding showed up from the city, state or federal government. Then the rain came back.

Early last month, Cabo welcomed two consecutive weekends of heavy rains. Water  seeped through the tile that covers the entire pavilion’s roof, with water raining down on the main theater’s seats, sheet rock ceilings, carpeting, and well, pretty much everything. 

The artists’ community, local media, and social media called out for help.

 The city said its coffers were empty and they were leaving office at the end of September anyway. The state was also in the process of changing administrations and the federal government, well, that can be tapped, but the process is lengthy.

As a temporary measure, the Los Cabos civil protection unit – the equivalent of FEMA in the United States, but efficient – shut down the building as it’s dangerous. Mayor elect Arturo de la Rosa has promised to help, but he just took office last Monday, so we will have to wait and see if we get any help from his office.

In the meantime, the outgoing city government signed a loan agreement with LivingStone corporation, which will use a designated area of the pavilion to set up an art gallery for profit. The agreement states that LivingStone will begin repairs in the area that they will use, but that isn’t one of the theaters, they are in the basement.

While both these buildings have been virtually abandoned, the city government has restored another building, the Casa de la Cultura (House of Culture) in downtown Cabo San Lucas. That is the building that sits up on the hill behind the Giggling Marlin, which is used mostly as an arts, dance, and music workshop.