Sunday was bright and warm. I want to get as many pictures of the dome as I can before it is torn down, so I went over there early afternoon. Taking the exit I saw the theater from the ramp. It was the same as always; the movie in the dome is in red letters, the rest in black. I know it will be odd to not look and find it there.
I started taking pictures right away with my iphone, then wished I could climb on top of something to get a better shot. I truly want to show the Dome in all its glory. However to do that I would have to climb on top of the closed Bally’s gym next door. I don’t have a ladder plus I didn’t have enough money for bail, so I figured I’d do what I can in the parking lot.
After taking several pictures I walked towards the Loaded Hog. The Loaded Hog is the biker bar in Pleasant Hill. In fact, I can’t think of any other biker bars in the vacnity. It wasn’t always the Loaded Hog; it used to be the Sailor Inn. There used to be a sign that said Cocktails any time. I never went in, but it reminded me of Moe’s Tavern in The Simpsons: dark, creepy, smelling of spilled beer. However it switched owners eleven years ago and became the Loaded Hog. They had chairs up front. Aha! I could move one of the chairs in the parking lot to get a better picture. I am such a genius!
I walked in as Taylor Swift was singing about short skirts. There was a pool table in back, and of all things a stripper pole in the middle of the room. A sign was posted advertising the last day the bar would be open was April 27th. I’m guessing Dick’s Sporting Goods and LoadedHog weren’t a good combo. Some of the people took a look at me in my Land’s End jumper and Birkenstocks. I knew I wasn’t the typical Loaded Hog customer. All I knew about motorcycles was from the lyrics of “Born to be Wild” and my lonstanding crush on Lujack the hood with a heart of gold on Guiding Light.
The bartender came up to me. “What can I do for you?” she asked.
I introduced myself quickly, saying I was doing a story on the Dome closing, would it be possible if I could get pictures of the Loaded Hog outside and borrow a chair to get pictures of the Dome. She nodded, then said “No pictures of my patrons. Everything else is cool.”
Perfect.I would be able to get some pictures of the Dome from a higher level. I went outside then started dragging the chair in the lot. Then I started wondering about this. First off, I was wearing a dress. I really doubt anyone would peek under there, but what if a gust of wind came and I did a Marilyn Monroe, only I didn’t look as glam as her? The second thing was it was a parking lot. People were driving around since it was well, a parking lot. Did I really want to chance getting run over so I could get a better picture of the Dome?
Before I could even step up on the chair, I heard someone yell “Miss! Hey lady!” I looked up. “You have to bring back the chair!” “What?” “You can’t move the chair! You have to bring it back!”
“But I asked...” I was going to protest, but then I thought about the risks: arguing with Loaded Hog patrons might not be a good idea. Also I didn’t want to get run over. I brought the chair back, feeling chargrined.
After running errands, I went home and started doing research. One of the people most vocal opposing the Dome Martha Ross runs a blog called Crazy in Suburbia. She has lived in Pleasant Hill longer than I have, plus has memories of seeing The Sound of Music there as a child. I took a look at her comments: Many of them are annoymous, saying that they just don’t understand what the big fuss was. It was just a movie theater! And to say not going to Dick’s, did they really think that was going to help? That just meant no money going towards Pleasant Hill.
I tried to figure out the person’s logic. Saying I’m not going to Dick’s anytime soon was saying you may destroy something that was part of the community, but don’t think we’re going to support its replacement anytime soon. I wanted to support Pleasant Hill like anyone. There were plenty of places Dick’s could’ve chosen for their store. The Kmart just closed near DVC; nearby is an empty lot that had a Safeway. Both locations were near DVC and the mall. Not only would they get more foot traffic, their entrance to Pleasant Hill wouldn’t be so abrupt and contraversial.
It also brought up the fact that demolishing the Dome would be in many ways the last straw. Pleasant Hill used to be wide regarded for having the Central Library, DVC, and the Dome. However due to budget cuts the Central Libary was just a branch, the Pleasant Hill library. Once it was open forty hours a week, now it was down to an anemic twenty-five. Diablo Valley College was also hurt by cutbacks, state and federal. It would be impossible to try and stop all the fiscal changes. However, to get rid of the Dome was getting rid of another thing that made Pleasant Hill special. If people wanted to live in a generic town, that’s fine. Lafayette can also be a bit generic, but it also had distinict touches: Millie’s down the street, the Resevoir, and the Memorial to the soldiers who died in Iraq.
Only time will tell if Pleasant Hill would retain a specialness about it, or just be another town, nothing to look at, moving on.
Update: Martha Ross (from Crazy In Suburbia) filed an appeal to stop the demolition of the Dome. A public hearing will be held on May 6th. Details can be found here.
Causes Jennifer Gibbons Supports
Gilda's Club, Greenpeace, Rosie's Broadway Kids,Westwind Foster Family Agency, Amber Brown Fund, Linda Duncan Fund for Contra Costa Libraries