It's an online world

When it comes to the Downey Theatre, which only a couple of years ago was dangerously close to being boarded up and abandoned by the city, it's the small things that will make a big difference in its comeback.Its new operator, VenueTech, has expanded the box office hours, is working on a new website (which will accept online ticket purchases), and given the theater a social media presence. Renovations are reportedly underway inside, with plans calling for the installation of a new concession stand. This is in addition to the new slate of shows that will premiere in the coming months. And now this: the Downey Theatre is listed on Stub Hub. Unlike Ticketmaster, Stub Hub is for season ticket holders or common fans trying to unload tickets they either don't want or can't use. There are scalpers, sure, but it's still a great tool to snag last-minute discounts on Dodgers and Angels tickets. Stub Hub describes the Downey Theatre as a "SoCal gem...known for its constant rotation of concerts, productions and events." I don't know if VenueTech is behind the Stub Hub listing, but if so, bravo. Here's hoping that the theater's longtime tenants -- the Downey Symphony and Civic Light Opera -- use Stub Hub to discount leftover tickets and fill otherwise empty theater seats. In any case, let's mark this as another small victory for VenueTech and the Downey Theatre. • Police Chief Rick Esteves, speaking at Tuesday's Gangs Out of Downey meeting, delivered some sobering facts regarding the pending release of thousands of state prisoners.. The release, state officials say, is the result of a Supreme Court mandate ordering California to reduce its prison population due to overcrowding. About 70-75 convicts will be released into Downey starting Saturday, Esteves said. Although they're classified as "non-violent," many are gang members. "I don't know if 'fear' is the right word to use, but we're very concerned," the police chief said. "It's going to be a challenge." If you haven't already done so, now seems a perfect time to get involved with a Neighborhood Watch group. To see if there's one in your neighborhood, call Jane Guzman at (562) 904-2374. At the very least, introduce yourself to your neighbors and report suspicious activity immediately by calling 911. If you can afford it, donations can also be sent to Gangs Out of Downey, P.O. Box 13, Downey, CA 90241. • By most accounts, the Taste of Downey was a rousing success. The food was almost besides the point; it was a great excuse to be outside, enjoy good art, listen to good music and mingle with community members. We should have these types of events more often. What about a Taste of Downey-type festival interspersed throughout downtown? The city can cut costs by using locally-based bands (Downey and Warren have great jazz groups) stationed at different street corners, and residents can purchase food directly from downtown restaurants. Just an idea.

********** Published: October 06, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 25