[Video: The Met Philadelphia][H/T Philly.com] As reported at Philly.com, Philadelphia’s Metropolitan Opera House on North Broad Street will be converted into a new 3,500-capacity Live Nation concert venue, with plans for the site to open to the public as early as December of this year. To complete the massive renovation project, Live Nation entered into a partnership with well-known Philly real estate developer Eric Blumenfeld. As detailed in the article, the cost of the renovation is now projected at $56 million, which comes in over $10 million dollars more than the projected total cost of $45 million announced in May of last year.Notably, Bob Weir and other members of the Grateful Dead are investors in the project. This investment is not necessarily too surprising, given Weir’s and Live Nation head Geoff Gordon’s close relationship. In 2016, Weir officiated Gordon’s wedding to Sayeeda Gordon during a performance at The Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. As Live For Live Music has previously reported, the wedding took place during the set break of the show, which was a stop on Weir’s “Campfire Tour” promoting his solo album, Blue Mountain—in addition to the private nuptuals, the show itself saw sit-ins by Joe Russo and Tom Hamilton.The Metropolitan Opera House is a large 3,500-person venue that takes up a full city block at Broad and Poplar Streets. For the renovation, the main theater will be converted for seated and standing-only general-admission concerts; however, the opera house also contains a number of smaller rooms that could be converted into lounges and additional performances spaces. With the venue’s opening anticipated for the end of 2018, no acts have been announced for The Met’s opening. However, in addition to concerts and, likely, comedy shows, Holy Ghost Church, a partner and former full owner of the space, will host services at the venue after its reopening.As noted by Philly.com, in contrast to other mid-size concert venues around Philadelphia, The Met will be larger and “a good deal more posh” than venues like The Fillmore, Electric Factory, Academy of Music, and Tower, which house a capacity of around 2,500 people. The Met could also be a good fit for artists like Arcade Fire, Lorde, and Lana Del Ray who could easily sell out the renovated space and that have recently performed at a half-full Wells Fargo Center, which has a capacity of around 20,000 people.The Metropolitan Opera House was formerly a historic world-class opera house, which was built in 1908 by the well-known theater impresario Oscar Hammerstein I—also the grandfather of the famed musical librettist Oscar Hammerstein II of the critically acclaimed composing duo, Rodgers and Hammerstein. While the venue was used as an opera house through to 1934, the renovation will mark the next evolution of the building, which has formerly been used as a movie theater, ballroom, sports venue, and church.However, the renovation project will likely be a difficult one. The building was unused and vacant from 1988 to 1995, eventually being saved from demolition in 1996 by a different church group after the city declared the site was imminently dangerous. However, after Holy Ghost Headquarters Revival Center bought the church and spent $5 million dollars stabilizing the venue, the church group tapped Eric Blumenfeld for a development partnership and sold the building to him for $1. In 2015, the church filed a lawsuit against Blumenfeld for the lack of progress, though in 2017, the Holy Ghost Church and Blumenfeld reached a joint ownership agreement.As Blumenthal stated last year about the Metropolitan Opera House, “It’s a glorious old building that had been neglected that anyone with any intelligence would tell you to tear down.”With Holy Ghost Church, Blumenfeld, and Live Nation all on board and full steam ahead, the crew is hopeful that the renovation will be completed by December 2018, though already the expected renovation date has been pushed back from September 2018. You can watch the promo video for Live Nation’s new, renovated concert venue at The Met in Philadephia below.
Backstreet sales Alice Desclaux, a doctor at the Institute of Development Research (IRD) in Senegal, said the risks from self-medication from chloroquine were largely rooted in illegal sales.”Chloroquine has always been on sale informally in Africa,” she said.”It’s still used to cause abortions” and even for attempted suicide, Desclaux said.In one backstreet pharmacy in Douala, Cameroon’s economic hub, the manager said he had run out of stock.For anyone who wished to order some, “careful, the price has gone up,” he said. A pill now changes hands for the equivalent of 71 US cents, four times more than a month ago.The chloroquine craze is not just affecting the black market for drugs — it is also spurring the production of counterfeit medications.Cameroon’s government has already issued a warning about fake chloroquine, samples of which have surfaced in health centers. Despite loud appeals for caution, Africans are rushing to embrace chloroquine, the venerable anti-malaria drug touted as a possible treatment for coronavirus.From hospitals in Senegal to pharmaceutical companies in South Africa and street sellers in Cameroon, chloroquine has fired hopes of a medicinal fix against a virus that is set to scythe through Africa’s poorly protected countries.Chloroquine and derivatives such as hydroxychloroquine have been used for decades as cheap and safe drugs against malaria, although their effectiveness in this field is now undermined by growing parasite resistance. Its rise stems partly from desperation, given Africa’s meager capacity to deal with a pandemic on the scale seen in Europe or the United States.Burkina Faso, Cameroon and South Africa have swiftly authorized hospitals to treat virus patients with the drugs.Around half of infected people in Senegal are already being prescribed hydroxychloroquine, Moussa Seydi, a professor at Dakar’s Fann Hospital, told AFP last Thursday.Every patient who was recommended the drug accepted it, “with no exceptions,” he said.In Democratic Republic of Congo, President Felix Tshisekedi last week declared it was “urgent” to produce chloroquine “in industrial quantities”.South Africa has already said it will join a large-scale trial, and one of the country’s biggest pharmaceutical companies has promised to donate half a million pills to the health authorities. Africa last in line? Even if the effectiveness of the drugs against coronavirus remains for now unproven, concern about securing enough of them already runs deep.Two decades ago, Africa, the continent worst hit by HIV, was last in line to get new antiretroviral AIDS drugs when the treatment emerged from the labs.”If it turns out that chloroquine is effective, Africa, which imports most of its drugs, perhaps won’t be a priority for (the pharmaceutical) industry,” said Professor Yap Boum of Epicenter Africa, the research arm of the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF).France has already imposed a ban on exporting chloroquine and Morocco has requisitioned all stocks of the drug.”You won’t find any in pharmacies in Yaounde, everyone is out of stock,” Boum said, referring to the Cameroonian capital.”Local people have been buying it, apparently without prescription, which is dangerous.”The Cameroonian government has officially asked health professionals “not to yield to the desire for profit” and to avoid prescribing chloroquine preventatively.AFP correspondents report frantic demand in pharmacies in Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s economic hub, in the Angolan capital Luanda and also in Malawi — one of a handful of sub-Saharan nations where there are still no recorded cases of coronavirus.The rush is a deep source of anxiety for people with the auto-immune disease called lupus, which is also treated with chloroquine.In the Gabonese capital Libreville, Armelle Oyabi, head of an association of people with lupus, has been closely monitoring purchases at the only pharmacy left in the city that still has chloroquine.”I check that the drug is being given to people who actually need it,” she said.”If we can’t get this drug, we will not only be hit by lupus but also be more vulnerable to coronavirus.”Chloroquine has been part of the medical toolkit from before World War II — it was developed in 1934 as a synthetic derivative of quinine. Small-scale tests in China and France — either unpublished or outside the rigorous framework of mainstream drug trials — suggest that chloroquine reduces virus levels in people with coronavirus.On March 24, President Donald Trump said chloroquine could be a “gift from God” — a comment that sparked strident criticism. Health watchdogs have issued calls for caution until larger clinical trials are carried out, and there have been several recorded deaths from self-medication because of toxic side effects. Despite this, in many settings across Africa, chloroquine has been placed in the front line against coronavirus. Topics :
On Wednesday evening, the USC Political Student Assembly hosted a panel discussing the current state of U.S.-Mexico relations.Across the Border · The Consul General of Mexico in Los Angeles Carlos M. Sada spoke about U.S.-Mexico relations on Wednesday evening. – Ralf Cheung | Daily TrojanThe discussion featured Carlos M. Sada, the consul general of Mexico in Los Angeles as well as Stephen Cheung, director of international trade for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Two USC professors also participated in the event, moderator Carol Wise of the School of International Relations and Dr. Pamela K. Starr, director of the U.S.-Mexico Network at USC.Sada began the discussion with a presentation of the economic relationship between Mexico and the U.S. He stated that despite a sometimes tenuous relationship, Mexico’s connection with the United States has improved.“I think now there is a very good spirit of cooperation and collaboration and willingness to understand each other much better,” Sada said.He also cautioned, however, that many issues continue to exist between the two countries.“We have been partners — mainly with a very solid partnership — as of 1994 when NAFTA was signed,” Sada said. “We have a very unique and strategic relationship that is sometimes not well understood.”NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, was signed in 1994 and created the world’s largest free trade area between Mexico, the United States and Canada.“We Mexicans and Americans are not informed about each other,” Sada said. “We need to do much, much better.”One issue he highlighted was the lack of foreign students from Mexico. He stated that although about 750,000 foreign students study in the United States every year, only 14,000 are from Mexico.“That is why we are invigorating the academic relationship between the United States and Mexico,” he said.Starr also spoke of the importance of Mexico to the United States.“No country has a greater impact on the daily lives of Americans than Mexico,” Starr said. “Mexico matters to jobs, to wages, to public health, to environmental protection, to energy security, as well as to the demographic construction of the United States.”Cheung stated that Garcetti’s office was looking forward to broadening trade relations with Mexico.“Between Mexico City and Los Angeles alone, according to the Brookings Institution, in 2012 there was $2 billion of trade between just those two cities,” he said.Students at the event were interested in the consul’s presentation.Kayla Caldwell, a sophomore majoring in international relations and economics, said she learned new information about USC’s outreach in Mexico.“I came because it’s always a good opportunity to hear a consul speak,” Caldwell said. “I’ve never been to Mexico so I don’t know much about the region, but one thing I learned that was interesting was that there are so many engineering students from Mexico at USC in the program.”Priya Gupta, a senior majoring in international relations (global business), also found the trade aspect of the discussion interesting.“I thought it was a really great presentation — learning about the developing relationship that the consul and the mayor’s office are trying to establish between Mexico City and Los Angeles,” Gupta said.