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Mark Shevalier


Like art's alchemy
Landmark theater can mold
Stage performance gold

I grew up in Solvay, and used to go to the Landmark when it operated as Lowes State Theater. The place was built at the end of the “roaring ’20s” and was once a fabulous spectacle of stage show grandeur. But when I was going there, it was just a dark, dingy “has been” movie theater. By 1975, the lack of interest and attention had brought Lowes to what appeared to be its final curtain.

Upon returning to the Syracuse area after college in the late ’70s I went to what had become the Landmark Theater to see the musical “Hair.” The transformation was astonishing. The refurbished murals seemed to drip gold. The splendor was back!

So my haiku suggests that it’s only something as powerful as art—in this case, the performing arts—that can transform the common or the grim inevitable into something special…something GOLDEN!

These buildings breathe deep
the measure of our good hope
to let us exhale!

As much as my haiku expresses feelings regarding this historic Hawley Green neighborhood, it also reflects an idea that is important to all the fine houses and buildings in the Syracuse area.

Whether it be the Hawley Green homes of the late 19th Century with their Second Empire and Queen Anne styles, or whether it be any of our other, unique, eclectic architecture, there is an interdependence with our buildings and our people.

My poem suggests that the more hope and care we give these structures, the more relieved we can be that they will survive the wrecking ball of progress, and thus, the more we may take comfort in the warmth and beauty of their historical spirit!


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