December 01, 2007

NO COUNTRY FOR LITTLE GIRLS, EITHER

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LA-to-Chicago transplant Adam McCormack writes:
I've only lived in Chicago for a few years so I can't really comment on "how things used to be," but I think the New Yorker piece [on No Age] touched on something essential in identifying The Smell as a geographical/cultural focal
point of this l.a. scene ("community" is probably a better word for what's going on there/not happening here). There isn't really any equivalent in Chicago - all-purpose, all-age, inclusive gathering spaces - and the few venues that might fill this void just aren't as....um, what's the word I'm looking for here?..."welcoming" as a place like this needs to be in order to nurture a strong community (it's a "scene," instead). Then again, these places might not give a shit about building community in Chicago (not everybody wants to turn their
home/performance space into a rec center), but it's disappointing that, with all of the creative energy in this city, it all feels so fractured. It's also just really hard to get anyone to go anywhere that doesn't sell alcohol. That, too, might have something to do with the weather, but I'm not sure. People in the midwest really like to drink."

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I am working on a story right now about Chicago's all ages scene and the #1 word that comes up is "fractured". We have more all ages shows happening in Chicago now, but it's punk shows one place, noise shows at three other lofts, ska shows in the burbs, black metal shows in DeKalb, indie rock as dominant city venue force in theatres and such. Most scenes thriving, just not on the same bills, which was kind of the virtue of the Fireside. Whomever was coming through town that day was on the same bill. I interviewed five people and they all said they miss that. Me too. At the time, it was kind of annoying to sit through a rockabilly band and a socialist Oi band to see Pretty Girls Make Graves, but then there were also nights where it was a teenage anarchy band and Har Mar opening for Men's Recovery Project--totally fucked and totally sweet. Decentralization begat fractionalization begat the current all ages boom, so it's a bit of a mixed bag.

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(But, alas: a positive omen--a happy face appears in the coffee press.)

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SOOOO...With all that in play, would scene unity* really get us anything? Other than a ska band opening the Battles show? And thirty-fifthly, would whats happening in Chicago be different if there were a crew of sober people at it's center, like LA?


(*as it exists in the classic ideal-- ie Op Ivy songs)

Posted by Jessica at December 1, 2007 07:11 PM | TrackBack