I’m cheap. I’m a lowly journalist living on a budget. I also don’t donate much cash to charitable or political causes, given the ethical considerations of my job. When the gay and lesbian center sought contributions for its new downtown digs, I reluctantly withheld my cash as someone who reports on local LGBT matters.
But I may make an exception for the Save the Huntridge cause. Why?
The Huntridge is a rock’s throw from my pad; my neighborhood literally shares its name. Every day I drive past the blighted, nearly 70-year-old venue and wish someone would come and save it from its current owners. I used to hope no one would cave to the Mizrachis, no doubt waiting for a downtown entrepreneur to throw millions at them, but now I’m resigned to their potential financial windfall if my community — and all of Las Vegas, for that matter — could benefit from a revived and rehabilitated Huntridge. And I believe it could.
I lived here during some of the theater’s final years. I caught my first local act there: Attaboy Skip. I was impressed with the band; the venue, less so. As a young journalist new to town and free from nostalgic attachment, I occasionally criticized its ragged appearance, which would earn me unreturned calls from then-operator Friends of the Huntridge. I do not regret my honesty, but sometimes I feel like I owe the building a little love. I’m also concerned about historical preservation, and the valley kids who cannot catch a break when it comes to an all-ages music venue.
Many Las Vegans have been inquisitive — and even indignant — about the Huntridge Revival LLC, a for-profit group looking to crowd-fund enough of the project (1 percent) to successfully entice deeper-pocketed private investors … and ultimately save the venue from the wrecking ball. I’ll no doubt have my own questions as developments unfold, but I take the men behind the LLC at their community-oriented word. Besides, they know their other business ventures stand to suffer if they mislead donors and supporters, to say nothing of their credibility. More importantly, I trust the Huntridge Foundation, which has said its vetting of the LLC gives it the confidence to endorse the campaign.
You can see the potential of the building, the beacon its towering sign could serve to those downtown holdouts. Civic pride is hard to come by in Las Vegas. But a little of it could beget a lot more. Low as my wager may be, I’m willing to make that gamble.