The Newark Advocate from Newark, Ohio on October 16, 1988 · 9
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The Newark Advocate from Newark, Ohio · 9

Newark, Ohio
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 16, 1988
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Society 2B Health and fitness 5B 4 11 f The Advocate, Newark, 0., Sun. Oct. 16, 1988-Page 1 B mmmmmmmsmmm iiiiiiiiiiiii 1111 111111 11 SKp & J fcl JI fi 11 if f 1 ?x.,nu. i Mama is a It just goes to show you never know where the truly holy people are. A news item off the wire two weeks ago told of an American housewife who learned, through the clairvoyance of a Tibetan lama, that she was the reincarnation of a Buddhist saint from another century. As a practicing Buddhist, the housewife was not averse to being ceremonially enthroned before a congregation of chanting monks and laypeople, embarking on a second career as a bodhisattvQ a person who lives for the betterment of others. The housewife took it pretty well, but the rest of the family admitted it had some adjusting to do. "It's tough when Mom isn't just Mom anymore," her husband said. He got that right. In the Tibetan iilGiFifO ' II ls stilus if iisftFSiil! yo icH i n , , , n hi , 1 i in i i i i ill iiiiiii m iiiii ii ii i mm i iiiiiiiiiiiiiiimiiiii un .Hi iii iiiiM . t , - ' mmum I I mmmmrm n m mtm .1 u I. m - ' . ' ..-- : i , - V " Interior lama: It could mean tradition, lamas including our American housewife are considered special people, thought to Tiave spiritual powers beyond those of average folks. And they have pretty difficult jobs listening to people's problems, doling out spiritual advice and praying for the salvation of every creature on earth including cockroaches. If our housewife bodhisattva had a teen-age daughter, one of her letters to her friends might reveal the difficulty of adjusting to having a saint around the house. DearFrancie: I can't tell you how weird it's been around here since we found out Mama was a lama. I mean, she looks pretty much the way she always did she still has such tacky taste in clothes (blue of the Auditorium Theater. Photo by Flint Kathy M-ii a Wesley pWl jeans and flannel shirts, come on , now ) and she still has this irritating way of saying "Frannnn-ceeee! " when it's time for dinner. But there's something different about her. She still volunteers at the hospital in the morning and stays home to watch Santa Barbara in the afternoon. But now and then I'll catch her meditating during the commercials. And she'll sit there Ded icated may be replaced by By MIKE WILSON Advocate Correspondent Ohio Gov. William McKinley dedicated the Auditorium Theater on July 11, 1894. The building was known as the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Temple and was built on land dedicated by Newark resident William Alexander King. King's home had been located on the ground before the Memorial Temple was built. In his will, King authorized the land, as well as a Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Fund, to be used to erect the structure. It was to be a memorial to America's men who served in all her wars. Constructed in the traditional style, the auditorium had a classic proscenium arch, a counterweight system for quick scene changes, 12 dressing rooms backstage and three trap doors on the stage floor. ' "The Newark Public Library had its beginnings on the second floor of the auditorium," says Connie Gelfer, one of four board members who help organize productions and generally look after the Auditorium Theater. "There was a harness shop, drug store and hat shop located in the theater at the turn of the century," she adds. Other board members are Barbara Fabricant, Richard Slone and Paul Buehher. The board members make up the Auditorium Center for the Performing Arts Inc. "The Auditorium was the entertainment center for Central Ohio at the turn of the century," says Ms. Gelfer. "All the big , vaudeville acts, Houdini, Cornelia Otis Skinner anyone connected with the stage came there. Gene Autry and his horse, even." That was the turn of the centu THEN AND NOW. Top left, tlit Auditorium Theater as it appeared around 1898. Lower left, the theater today, after a fire destroyed the front of the building in 1968. Top photo courtesy Licking Con nly Historical Society. Bottom photo by Flint Carlton some household adjustments and recite mantras when the main characters get into trouble. Every fall we have this problem with an invasion of black ants in our kitchen. Dad usually nukes them with a Black Flag roach bomb. I came home from school yesterday and what do you think I found? Mom, kneeling on the linoleum, talking to the stupid ants ! She was explaining that she really didn't have anything personally against them, but that they had to scram before Dad got out the Black Flag. OK, so she's a nut case. But I haven't seen any ants around here today. And when I get mad at my-boyfriend and yell at him on the phone, she gets this sad look on her face. She doesn't rant and rave or anything ; she just looks at me and Carlton i n 1 894, Aud itori u m ry, the heyday of the stage. But the face of the auditorium has changed drastically since those days. A fire in 1968 destroyed the building's classic front. "They determined that it was arson," Ms. Gelfer explains. "A couple "of kids hid in the theater and tried to rob it. It (the fire) did extensive damage. "Then, at that time, they had the front of the building fixed with an aluminum facade. I just hate . the look of it," she adds, laughing. "It belies what is the beauty on the inside of the theater. Today, the Auditorium has problems that could bring its demise in the very near future, Ms. Gelfer says. "Problems began somewhere around five to eight years ago," says Barbara Fabricant. "The Licking County Players had taken over the Auditorium but decided they needed a bigger place to play. The players split into two groups: one, the Licking County Players; the other, the Auditorium Center for the Performing Arts. The Auditorium Center for the Performing Arts became the group that decided to keep up the theater." The theater group used fundraisers, productions and movies to keep the Auditorium in business. "We did what was necessary to keep it open," says Ms. Fabricant. Until last winter. "A routine state inspection found that the boiler heating system needed repair, Further investigation found it beyond repair. We got a huge gas blower for neat, but it was ineffective and very noisy. We ended up closing all last winter," Ms. Fabricant says. says: "It's yourkarma." The house has been like Grand Central on the weekends ; people calling up and asking for advice, or knocking on the door asking her to bless their statues or their kids or whatever. She stays up pretty late at night Saturdays and Sundays getting all her prayers in. It would drive me bananas ; but she just says, "It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it." I don't mind the incense and the candles -- she did that before she got lamaified but seeing her levitate and disappear is a little unsettling. I just hope none of my friends come over to catch her vanishing act. Being one with the universe must be fun; she hardly ever gets upset about anything any more. But she still makes me clean my room. "Emptiness is bliss," she always parking lot The . building is owned by the city and leased to the Auditorium Center for the Performing Arts, she says. "There is renovation needed, but if we have a heating system, we will have the ability to perform," Ms. Gelfer says. Public support will determine whether the Auditorium continues to have performances or whether the nearly 100-year-old structure will close completely. - "The county commissioners decided to hold a public forum Oct. 17 to see if there is enough interest to keep the Auditorium open," says Ms. Gelfer. "If enought people don't show up, the commissioners will close the facility, then tear it down and make a parking lot. This was proposed earlier in the 80s. "The commissioners want to see public and financial support," says Ms. Gelfer. "Everyone is waiting to see how things turn out. We want to keep the theater open. If it's torn down, then you can never go forward with the Auditorium again." Th Auditorium is not without projects in case the meeting goes in favor of the Auditorium Center for The Performing Arts. Ms. Gelfer has projects in mind that will begin with the warm weather. "April, May and June we have the theater rented for live productions. July is children's theater month. We have programs that can be funded by the Ohio Arts Council," she says. "The council won't fund buildings, but they will fund productions." William McKinley, the Ohio governor who became president, dedicated the Auditorium in 1894. Then came vaudeville, silent pictures, the "talkies" and big-screen movies. In the up-and-down cycles of the entertainment industry, the Auditorium managed to survive, if not always to prosper. Public support on Monday will determine if the theater will continue to weather the changing entertainment industry, or go the way of other relics of the past. says. It is weird to see people treat her so specially, calling her "Venerable Lama Ethel" and all that. Sometimes I just want to scream, "I knew her when she painted her toenails green!" But I have to admit that some nightsit's real comforting to know that she is there, doing her beads for world peace while watching The Cosby Show. I can talk to her about anything, and she won't get mad it's part of her job, you know, benefiting others and she never says anything bad about anybody. Now, if I can just convince her that a messy room is to my benefit ... Kathy Wesley is a features writer for The Advocate. She would like to be a lama when she grows up.

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