Friday, December 31, 2004

The Island of Lost Posts IV: Overture Center

by Tom Bozzo

During its September opening week, I started but didn't post an unironic thank-you note to local philanthropist Jerry Frautschi for Overture Hall, Madison's fantastic new concert hall.

Of course, it's impossible not to comment, especially in this fair city.

I vaguely recall one of the other Madison bloggers — I thought Jeremy (quasi- or maybe pseudo-back in action) but if so I'm damned if I can find the post — wondering whether giving $205 million to Madison's not-unpampered music lovers (and "Phantom" goers) was a socially efficient use of the money. The only answer can be, almost surely not!

But what I hadn't realized prior to the Overture opening was that Mr. Frautschi got really rich when Mattel bought the Pleasant Company, in which he had evidently been an early investor. So the effective transfer is from upper-middle- to upper-class buyers of American Girl dolls to middle- to upper-middle class Madison. It could be worse.

And insofar as I've read recently about billionaires blowing a quarter billion bucks on superyachts nearly the size of cruise ships, it could be a lot worse.
Yes, this was me, sometime. I would agree that there are worse uses of $200-odd million dollars.
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