North? Wayans bros. envision movie studio and theme
park on ex-Oakland base; Nacho's up for a plum gig -- not mayor;
plus, more on the mayhem at KPFA.
East Bay Express (June 8, 2005)
siblings the Wayans brothers have traveled to Oakland a couple
of times over the past few months to meet with city officials
and scope out sites for a Universal Studios-style development,
but with a more urban flava. The brothers, led by In Living
Color mastermind Keenen Ivory Wayans, are eyeing seventy-some
acres at the defunct Oakland Army Base.
"Their plan would certainly put Oakland on the map,"
says Councilman Larry Reid, who has been working with the brothers
and their business rep. Reid says that the brothers envision
a theme park and a movie studio where they and other filmmakers
could shoot future flicks. Reid also noted that the brothers
haven't asked the city for anything like a subsidy or free land.
The Wayans brothers have shopped around the idea to other cities
with large African-American populations, such as Atlanta. Even
though groundbreaking in any city is probably years away --
certainly before White Chicks 2 goes into production -- Reid
says Oakland needs to put this on a fast track so other cities
don't lure the brothers away. "It's a once in a lifetime
opportunity," he says. "If we lose this opportunity
it's going to be some other city's gain."
Over the past six years, various development ideas have been
floated for the army base but have gone nowhere, such as an
eco-friendly industrial park and an Indian casino. Reid and
others are hopeful that the Wayans brothers' idea doesn't suffer
the same fate as those earlier proposals. But there are obstacles
to getting a deal done in Oakland.
The Wayans' reps want Oakland to enter into an exclusive negotiating
agreement with them -- but City Council President Ignacio De
La Fuente points out that Opus West of Arizona has "first
right of refusal" over any development proposals at the
army base. That basically means the builder can put together
its own offer to counter anything the brothers propose.
Kay Carney, a spokeswoman for the Wayans family, says the brothers
have been impressed during their visits to Oakland. "They
liked the cultural diversity," she says. "They liked
the fact the fact this is a city that could really benefit from
this." She says they want to bring the film industry to
Oakland, a kind of Hollywood North where urban youth could join
apprenticeship programs: "They've really developed an affection
for the city."
Reid and De La Fuente said the Wayans theme studio will be aimed
toward people of color, but Carney insisted that the development
wouldn't just be a black thang. Because the proposal is in its
embryonic stage, she didn't know what kind of attractions the
family have planned. Feeder, however, has a couple of suggestions:
Patrons could play Where's Chappelle? instead of Where's Waldo?
Look, Chappelle's in the nuthouse. Wait, no, he's in rehab.
No, no -- he's in South Africa! Okay, bad idea. Next item, please.
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