Monday, May 23, 2016

Another Administrative Position?/Zodiac Theatre

From the TD: New Administrator at Muscle Shoals Schools


Will MSCS hire someone experienced in Special Programs or just move another inept employee around to keep it in the "faMily"?

It will be interesting to see exactly who is put into this newly CREATED position. Will it be someone from outside the faMily that has vast knowledge and experience in the field, or just another recycled employee that can't do the job they are currently in, or maybe going to be out of?

Times Daily only lists 26 administrators. You can now add secretaries, assistants to the secretary and office personnel to the number of "administrators", MSCS has about a 1 to 80 ratio to students. If you really want to boggle your mind, count all the coaches and support employees and that employee to student ratio is more like a classroom ratio of 1 to 17.

Don't panic parents, the City Council will bail them out - with YOUR money.

On the next new position hire: Pam Russell, "It is hard to run a program when you are in meetings all day.”

Maybe MSCS would be better stewards of time and the TAXPAYERS' MONEY if they each learned their own job, rather than including other employees in their travel parties. MSCS is a "travelocityschool" with the administrators going to conferences. If the administrator can't understand the content of the meeting, the philosophy is to carry along your assistant so they can do your job (or digest the information and regurgitate it in simple terms for the struggling administrator).

Special called meetings seem to be the norm in MSCS. Recent hires of yet another Coach - Perry Swindle - and of course his wife will be coming along with a nice salary package as an administrator as well.

Exactly what does Perry Swindle's new job title entail? What is his salary? How many coaches does it take for MSCS to get it right?

Maybe Swindle will save Basden this year. Lord only knows, he hasn't been able to do it on his own.

Something that causes the average person to go hmmmmmmm.

Stay tuned for another special called meeting. You can rest assured it will be another shuffle and musical chairs game in the faMily.

Leslie M. Shoals


From a reader:

This weekend, I had a disappointing experience going to the Zodiac Theater for a show produced by Shoals Community Theatre. The play, Sordid Lives, is a well known comedy and the director had appeared in many productions locally for the past thirty years. People in the area who had seen the production suggested it was the funniest production they had ever seen. So how could it go wrong?

It began 15 minutes before the show began. I was greeted by a very rude box office staff who seemed to treat patrons as second citizens unless they knew them personally. It seems that lines do not matter in the Shoals Community Theater. If you know someone, you can skip the line, but don’t you dare try to buy a ticket or pick up a ticket if you’re a stranger. After quite the struggle with the box office volunteers I entered the theater.

Unfortunately, due to fire in the original theater downtown, the play was moved to the Zodiac Theater. The Zodiac is a unique space converted many decades ago from a car garage into a theater. There have been no renovations since. The theater felt like it could fall in at any time and the lights were hung with no safety cables above patrons’ heads. The theater, at least that evening, was not air conditioned, and the presence of dust and mold made my allergies flourish.

The show itself was ruined before it began. Apparently, Shoals Community Theater allows infants in the theater. This would be acceptable if it were a Gingerbread production, but not at a production by the Zodiac Players. Albeit very cute, the presence of a baby in a theatre is highly distracting as she was making noise throughout the show and often held high in the air, blocking those sitting behind her.

The quality of the production was sub-par. Yes, it is a community theatre production with an all volunteer cast and crew, so production quality should not be measured against that of a professional theater. Compared to other community theater productions, though, the quality was still lacking. Having some actors amplified and others not in a tiny 150 seat theater was unnecessary. The slow pacing of the play that included 5-10 minute-long scene changes made a 2 hour show with an intermission into a nearly 3 hour show. Worse, the director clearly wanted to be on stage, overshadowing his cast by laughing heartily after each line and singing louder than the cast during musical numbers.

The price for a ticket was $15 (with a $2 unexplainable service charge for buying at the box office). For $17, one could see a number of professional quality productions across the state. This weekend, Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson produced by The Dane in Birmingham, for example, had a ticket campaign “A Hamilton for a Jackson,” in which tickets to the highly acclaimed musical were just $10. It featured a professional set, director, musicians, and actors in a theater similar in size to the Zodiac, but tickets were $7 less. I would like an explanation how Shoals Community Theater justifies selling tickets for $17 for a straight play in which everyone involved is an amateur. The rights and royalties are not expensive, the technical aspects of the play were not nearly professional quality, and all other production costs are minuscule compared to that of a larger musical or production at a larger theater. Where is that money going? It certainly isn’t the theater upkeep in either space.

All this to say, Florence should expect better a theatre going experience from its premier community theatre company.


We have been asked the current status of John F. Pilati's law license. Apparently there are rumors floating around that Pilati was denied reinstatement to the Alabama Bar. Pilati was also at one time a member of the Mississippi bar. At this time we can say with certainty only that as of five o'clock this afternoon, Pilati was not a current member of either bar association. We will update this when more information is available.

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