MontClairVoyant: The Song Remains Not the Same in Montclair

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Concerts are being scheduled again at The Wellmont Theater, which is reopening after a long COVID closure. Which Montclair-relevant bands and songs should be featured there?

Sincerely,

10,000 Maniacs Minus 9,999

I suggest prog-rockers Renaissance — with opening acts We Were Mount Hebron and The Glenfield Miller Orchestra. Sponsored by Middle School of Rock.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Um…only Renaissance really exists in the music realm. What about Lil Nas X coming to The Wellmont to sing “Old Town Road”?

Sincerely,

That Would Be Nirvana

Montclair IS an old town, but which road is oldest? Maybe Canterbury Drive, where Chaucer lived while writing “The Glenfield Miller’s Tale” about a school planetarium visited by trombone-shaped Martians.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Not remembering that story. But I do think Taylor Swift could visit The Wellmont to perform her 2008 hit “Love Story.” You probably think that song is about you — don’t you, don’t you, don’t you?

Sincerely,

Mick Arthur-Park

Leave Carly Simon out of this. “Love Story” could be about the relationship between Montclair’s Planning Board and upscale over-developers with a “Blank Space” on their websites where beautiful buildings should be pictured.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

A drenching downpour from Tropical Storm Henri was in the local picture last weekend. Which current and past singers would croon about that at The Wellmont?

Sincerely,

Moe Towne

Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga (“Rain on Me”), Bruno Mars (“It Will Rain”), B.J. Thomas (“Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”), and Cartwheel Cara (“Raindrops Keep Falling on My Feet”).

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Speaking of body parts, now that Gov. Murphy is requiring all school personnel to get stuck in the arm with the COVID-vaccine or undergo frequent testing, what should U2 sing at The Wellmont?

Sincerely,

To Syringe With Love

“Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out of.”

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Actually, teen singer Olivia Rodrigo has urged people to get vaccinated because it’s…

Sincerely,

Ironic Butterfly

…”Good 4 U.” Of course, Ms. Rodrigo is too popular these days for The Wellmont, but you could look for her at Tierney’s. You won’t find her at Tierney’s, but you could look for her at Tierney’s.


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Meanwhile, Montclair residents have been mourning the death of Albert Pelham, who immeasurably helped our town as local NAACP president and in countless other ways.

Sincerely,

What Becomes of the Brokenhearted

If the band Rush were still around to play The Wellmont, we’d hear late drummer/lyricist Neil Peart’s poignant words from “The Garden” song: “The measure of a life is a measure of love and respect.”

 

 

Dave Astor, author, is the MontClairVoyant. His opinions about politics and local events are strictly his own and do not represent or reflect the views of Baristanet.

 

 

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Dave – I’m pretty sure the Norman Road (Conquest) preceded Chaucer’s and his ‘Canterbury Tales’ by roughly two centuries. St. Luke’s (Place) was born so long ago there is no recorded date of his birth, Man, that’s old!

  2. Now the Planning Board, in true Montclair fashion, suppressed public participation. I love Montclair Progressives. They like to plead ignorance, then refuse to enlighten themselves afterwards.
    They want what THEY want. They are not wrong. Just ordinary.

  3. LOL, silverleaf! 😂 Norman and St. Luke’s are definitely “Old Town Road” examples. I can’t think of any Montclair street with an older connotation, unless there was a St. Fullerton preceding St. Luke. 🙂

  4. Thank you, Frank! I certainly could have squeezed Prince into the column. “When Doves Cry”? When they see Valley & Bloom…

    As you know, I’ve had issues with a number of Planning Board decisions, but I don’t see those decisions (and the board’s behavior in general) as having a lot to do with progressivism. Overdevelopment, gentrification, going against what much of the public wants, etc., all seem rather un-progressive to me.

  5. Sorry, should have started a new paragraph. Paraphrasing Marisa Tomei’s My Cousin Vinny testimony, “no one would confuse the Planning Board as a 1963 Corvette or a progressive body.” No, I was referring to the grassroots progressives, e.g Vote Montclair.

    My point is simply the Planning Board (our designated land use experts) unilaterally decided to eliminate educating the public or allowing the Great Unwashed the legally required opportunity to comment on a mundane question. Now several have suggested that, in some ways like the Council election, we just move the public comment to another time & forum. Or use the “no harm, no foul” logic. And this is where I argue the ignorant are standing up and doing a human Wave (like at stadiums).

  6. Thank you for the clarification, Frank.

    From what I can see, Vote Montclair members are a mix of progressives and not-so-progressives. When I think of truly progressive groups with many Montclair members, I think of something like New Jersey Peace Action or Black Lives Matter.

    When it comes to democracy and the Planning Board, I guess they share a few letters: d, o, r, a. (Not to be confused with Dora the Explorer. 🙂 )

  7. Frank, I may regret asking this, but what are you talking about? When did the Planning Board case “educating the public” or reject a proposed public comment? It has not happened in any of the meetings I have attended. Our Chair did rule one particular comment (not yours) out of order because he deemed it to be a personal attack rather than a comment about a pending question. But on every matter we have heard, we have opened the meeting for public comment, and everyone who wanted to speak was allowed to do so.

  8. You may. Anyway, here is what I’m talking about:

    The Council recently ask you to investigate and report whether the Bellevue Theater was Area in Need of Rehabilitation. Their written request to you cited specific law. You did not follow the law. You chose to eliminate public participation.

    As a separate matter, I did warn you, ahead of your vote, of 544 Bloomfield Avenue approval. The applicant was not able to execute the approval because of patron safety. It was an unsafe design.

    Instead of coming back before the Planning Board, the Township, wanting the approval to happen, instead directed the applicant to the Historic Preservation for approval. Seriously?

    Like with Lackawanna, the HPC put forward very good questions and points during their hearing. Like Lackawanna, they became easily distracted after 10 minutes, lost focus, and just got silly.

    Why didn’t the PB allow this? Who runs what? As one member said put a frustration, the PB is a clerical function. The PB has some serious, serious deficiencies and issues. For a while now. And ongoing.

    Yes, I think maybe you should not have asked.

  9. Dave,

    I see Vote Montclair as a flag, not an organization. It is typical of grass roots (individuals with some similar beliefs) drawn to acting on a topic(s) or issue(s), but there is no recognized structure. They most often don’t represent the individual’s full set of beliefs. In short, they may be progressive in belief & action on one issue because it suits them, but inflexible on another because it is inconvenient. A good example would contrast peaceniks and White Privilege.

  10. I see what you’re saying, Frank, and what you said can indeed be true of many organizations — Montclair-based or not.

  11. Jeff,

    The Planning Board, considering its current state, would have benefited from timely public comment input on both items sent from the Council. Firstly it was presented to yourselves that the Bellevue Theater had already been granted a heigh variance by the Board of Adjustment. An inexcusable error in fact in an attempt to mitigate the impact of this redevelopment to the neighborhood. Oops #1. Then on the question of the downtown parking requirement exemption, it was misrepresented that the 60 permitted public spots in Seymour East & West were new parking. This one bothers me because of all the complicated stuff about this redevelopment approval, the #1 immediate benefit – heralded from the mountain to the valley – was the project will provide 100 new, additional public parking spaces…across the Avenue, in the Midtown Parking Deck. That was the key takeaway in a sentence. The PB should have this ingrained in their memories. Instead, you guys did the “oh, hmmm, ok” roll over and accepted that as new fact. C’mon. Do you think, even as part-timers, the Board could try a little harder? My point is you can’t, so public comment is a democracy’s way of crowdsourcing quality control. We’ll check your work….if you let us. I don’t mind. It is when you are legally required to let us check your work, and you don’t, that I get all pissy.

  12. It looks like the Historic Preservation Commission is returning the favor to the PB. The HPC’s approval to demolish the historic 17 Wheeler St removes the property from the list of historic resources. Therefore, the HPC has no standing to review, much less set standards for what new structures are built on the empty lot. Further, a Potential Historic District classification is meaningless as a trigger for HPC review after 180 days to nominate as a district has lapsed – which it did in early 2020.

    Bottom line is the Planning Board can not refer any future application to the HPC and a historic design is not a criteria subject to PB approval.

  13. And to be clear, the PB approval eliminated all 5 existing emergency egress points from 544 Bloomfield Ave. A building serving a capacity of 300 people-not including the 100 person occupancy of the addition, with a use including serving alcohol. But, the approval was conditioned (#3) that the plan was not modified. It had to be modified because their approval allowed only one exit. Rather than having the applicant return and reopen the application (with the required public comment), the PB took a pass and it was handed off to the HPC to resolve. This was the favor.

  14. I sleep well knowing this.
    I can only hope Whoopi moves her production studio/sound stage project from Edison’s historic place to our historic Erie Street.

  15. “I sleep well knowing this” — LOL, Frank! 😂

    Hadn’t been aware of that Whoopi Goldberg project until seeing your comment and then finding info about it online. I guess “The View” around Erie Street is pretty interesting…

  16. Yes, interesting…especially after Ida’s remnants and seeing the photo of all the rainwater in The Bread Company’s tip jar. The first production could be an updated A River Runs Through It set where the Suburbs Meets The Greenway To The City.

  17. So sorry. Realized this Inness painting was not explained. The Area In Need of Redevelopment between Forest St and Erie Street is on the former Crump Label Factory site, among others. The painting has the factory in the background.

  18. Thank you, Frank! Very evocative Inness painting — both artistically and in recalling Montclair’s history. Will be interesting to see what might end up being built in that “Area in Need of Redevelopment.” Chances are it would be problematic in terms of density and/or aesthetics and/or affordability.

  19. Luckily, our local experts do not see any connection between all this development and climate change. Nor that the increased flooding of Montclair Center is not due, in any way, to increased development or infrastructure deficiencies (especially on that stretch of Bloomfield, West of Park St, with more to come). Thankfully the heat island effect has no impact on climate change. All we have to do is eliminate gas powered vehicles, switch HVAC systems to electric powered and not opt-out of our muni electric service.

    Phew! I though this climate change thing would required more significant effort. As I said previously, I have given our Council a pass on climate change reduction measures. All hail the General Fund!

    PS: I also self-designated myself an expert.

  20. Frank, as you note in a satirical way, there is definitely/unfortunately some connection between overdevelopment and the extent of flooding in downtown Montclair — something I mentioned in the column I’m writing for tomorrow.

  21. Don’t forget all those solar panels that the Planning Board removed from the Magical Orange Road Parking Deck and it’s 695-car capacity. And from 37 Orange Rd next door. And the green roof on the MC Hotel. Pooof! We last updated our Conservation Element of our Master Plan in 2007.

    We just love talking about climate change. Talk, talk, talk. Yes, the climate can change…but, we won’t. Does it count for anything if I use a rain barrel?

  22. Frank, we might have to rename rain barrels “hurricane barrels”… 🙁

    But, yes, Montclair is a “green” town yet not a “green” town. There are solar panels (when not removed), some buildings with some “green” elements, a decent amount of recycling, etc. There is also eco-unfriendly overdevelopment, many large SUVs, too much use of gas-powered leaf blowers, etc.

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