Monday, March 26, 2012

Win a house! Or, on second thought...

J&I have been fascinated, for years now, to see seasonal ads on a billboard South of Market saying, more or less, Win This Dream House. It's a raffle, details here, to benefit the worthy Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Been going on at least since 2009. (Here's the 2009 raffle site per Archive.org but I think some kind of glitch is substituting in the picture of the current house that's up for raffle -- it hasn't necessarily been the same one all along.)

I don't know, nor necessarily endorse, the accuracy of this discussion at SocketSite about possibilities of tacky marketing tactics in promoting the house, but it's clear enough anyway from the prize structure that the house is just the attention-getter and most of what the punters really are going to want is your usual manageable kinds of cash, cars, etcetera.

The SocketSite people don't seem to know, and I don't either, if anyone has chosen to take the actual grand prize of an actual chunk of real estate, as opposed to the alternative prize of far more convenient cash money. Says here someone named Anna Alberti was the big winner in the second annual raffle in 2010. And it says here that Ms. Alberti took the money to pay off her own house in Oakland. Last year, 2011, it was a Cathy Smitsky of Fremont, California. A little harder to tell but it also looks like she took the money.

So we walk past that billboard every year and wonder, what kind of a premise would winning the Dream House make, for what kind of a story? You'd need money to start with for transfer and income taxes and renovations. Then more for maintenance costs and keeping up (or not) with the probably considerably snooty neighbors. (The conjectural site is in Pacific Heights!) But, then, what exactly is to be done with so much interior space?

What's the resulting story: comedy, tragedy, sitcom, updated Tales of the City?

Come on, someone, stick your neck out there and take on the white elephant. We're hankering to watch what you make of it.

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