Blogging at the intersection of urban studies and popular music

Posts tagged "creative city"
how the Queen Street West scene began, pt. 2: OCA bands

how the Queen Street West scene began, pt. 2: OCA bands

How did a bunch of kids in suburban Thornhill ignite a Toronto music scene and bring new energy to Queen Street West, now a hip urban neighborhood? My last post introduced the key players and forgotten bands in the so-called Thornhill sound, but their network, activities, and energies would need to relocate and expand in...
how the Queen Street West scene began, pt. 1: the Thornhill sound

how the Queen Street West scene began, pt. 1: the Thornhill sound

THE EVERGLADES are ambassadors of the Thornhill Sound, a sound long fermenting in the rec rooms and condo apartments just north of STEELES AVE. Among its proponents include: Martha and the Muffins, Johnny and the G-Rays, the B-Girls, and the now defunct Dishes, Cads, E-Static and the legendary Oh Those Pants! Even Canada’s songbird Anne...
sustainability and quality of life in the Hudson Valley

sustainability and quality of life in the Hudson Valley

[I was asked to give a ten-minute “mini-keynote” talk to a meeting of academics, nonprofit and public agency execs, and civically minded business leaders at Marist College for its 2015 Sustainability Day event, at the invitation of Peter Bienstock (Hudson River Valley Institute) and Ann Davis (Economics). My subject: the Hudson Valley’s quality of life, its...
looking for the new Brooklyn: creative migrations & musical landscapes in upstate New York

looking for the new Brooklyn: creative migrations & musical landscapes in upstate New York

For the Musical Urbanism seminar, Hua Hsu and I were pleased to invite Piotr Orlov to speak about his research on musical legacies and migrations in upstate New York. Here’s the video of our conversation (apologies for the way his mic drops in and out between 7:30-27:00). “Leonard Nevarez and Hua Hsu of Vassar College’s...
art worlds and music scenes

art worlds and music scenes

An interesting thing happens when you intersect two texts, Howard Becker’s essay on “Art Worlds and Collective Activity” (1982) and David Byrne’s essay on “How to Make a Scene” (2012), with each other. Somewhat anachronistically, the former enlists the latter into its thesis. To begin, Becker’s text is not especially directed toward the contemporary interest...
the greatest reinventions in pop-music careers, #50-41

the greatest reinventions in pop-music careers, #50-41

Today I take up a question of pop-culture history: which performers made the most unexpected left turns with their careers?  I farmed this question out awhile back to readers of this blog, and today I start filing the results based on my own subjective assessment.  Debate and criticisms are welcome in the comment section (or,...
music for being: notes from an adult rock band party

music for being: notes from an adult rock band party

In urbanists’ excitement over music scenes and the desirability of “social and interactive street-level culture” (to invoke Richard Florida), it’s easy to lose sight of whether there’s any value to all of this besides promoting careers and urban economies.  Does “enriching creative communities” actually involve extending the practice of creativity into people’s everyday lives?  Or...
Restless Records, 1989: from an independent label intern's view

Restless Records, 1989: from an independent label intern’s view

The inspiration for my latest post: a request. How cool to find out @enigmarecords, where I did my first internship, is on @twitter. Tweet more, Enigma! What are the Effigies up to? — Mara Schwartz (@mara_schwartz) December 8, 2013 @MusicalUrbanism @EnigmaRecords I would like to read this. — Mara Schwartz (@mara_schwartz) December 9, 2013 In...
what could be cooler than Brooklyn? latest findings from Census data

what could be cooler than Brooklyn? latest findings from Census data

[Update 12 hours after originally publishing this essay: Well, this is interesting… and a little bit embarrassing: I seem to have misread the Census Flows Mapper data entirely incorrectly.  So much for the “test drive”; it’s like I pulled out of the car lot and onto the highway with the emergency brake on the whole...
studying the college music scene and beyond

studying the college music scene and beyond

Remember the bands that formed in college?  You heard them at dorm parties, frat parties, apartment parties, the campus bar, battle-of-the-bands competitions, and impromptu outdoor settings.  They practiced in dorm rooms, dorm basements, conservatory and theater rooms, backyard sheds, and laundry rooms, amusing/irritating neighbors and passers-by.  Many college rockers and rappers dreamed of making it...
creative contradictions and tango tourism: a review of "Culture Works" by Arlene Dávila

creative contradictions and tango tourism: a review of “Culture Works” by Arlene Dávila

Ten years ago Richard Florida, a regional planning professor then known mostly for comparative studies of industrial management, published The Rise of the Creative Class. His dual thesis — that “creative” sectors were at the forefront of developed-world economies, and that their cauldrons of innovation, economic relations, and human labor were organized by urban form —...
the dull ubiquity of placeless music festivals

the dull ubiquity of placeless music festivals

Some questions for investigations here, presented in the form of a rant. As part of my research in musical urbanism, I consume a fair amount of music coverage in print and online. Jesus Christ, all I seem to find these days is “writing” about generic touring festivals headlined by Coldplay/Metallica/Fiona Apple/Beach House/you name it. News about new music...

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