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For a seemingly interminable amount of time—well, technically less than two years—the District’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities operated the historic city-owned Lincoln Theatre on U Street NW. It was supposed to be a stopgap that would transition the underutilized, money-hemorrhaging venue to a private operator who knew how to keep it open, and maybe even profitable. Finally, in June, the agency announced that 9:30 Club operator I.M.P. would take over booking the theater in the fall. The news was bittersweet; there was little question that I.M.P. knew how to make money, but what of the theater’s legacy as an African-American entertainment hub? So far, I.M.P.’s programming—a little alt-country here, a little soul there—has kept that legacy only partially intact. But is it better than an empty theater? Even if it’s a grudging yes, the answer is still yes.