Blogging at the intersection of urban studies and popular music

Posts tagged "creative city"
swimming in the music ecosystem: an interview with Scott Reitherman of Throw Me The Statue

swimming in the music ecosystem: an interview with Scott Reitherman of Throw Me The Statue

Scott Reitherman is the singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and main guy behind Throw Me The Statue, an indie-pop band based in Seattle. They have two albums out on Secretly Canadian, an independent label based out of Bloomington, Indiana, and are currently in the studio recording a third one. Their 2007 debut Moonbeams got a warm reception...
remembering the serious triviality of pop music

remembering the serious triviality of pop music

Something left unelaborated in my review of Echotone (from the last two posts: here and here) is a larger uneasiness with the instrumentalization of independent or underground music — the reduction of pop music culture from an end in itself to a means for other ends.  Although this isn’t a new critique of post-punk music (i.e., music groups inspired...
creatively exploiting the Austin scene: a review of "Echotone" (pt. 2)

creatively exploiting the Austin scene: a review of “Echotone” (pt. 2)

[This is the second part of my review of the documentary “Echotone” (2010, dir. Nathan Christ).  For the first part, go here.] Technically, no one in Echotone ever says the phrase “creative class.”  However, the filmmaker’s marketing materials invoke it regularly, starting with the DVD’s back-cover description: “Echotone is a cultural portrait of the modern American city examined through...
looking for the Hudson Valley hipster

looking for the Hudson Valley hipster

In the town where I live, there’s been a lot of chatter over a recent NY Times article which reports how Brooklynites (an apparent synonym for NYC’s mobile, creative types) are descending upon the Hudson Valley area some 75 miles north of the city to live, visit, consume, and generally do their Brooklyn thing.  Local businesses,...
musical urbanism: statement of a scholarly project

musical urbanism: statement of a scholarly project

It’s promotion review time for me, and in writing a research statement for the three anonymous sociologists evaluating my work, I’ve had the occasion to compile and synthesize my thinking on musical urbanism into a single essay.  Think of this post as a users manual for understanding what I’ve been up to academically with this...
listening alone, together: a review of "Pop Music, Pop Culture" by Chris Rojek

listening alone, together: a review of “Pop Music, Pop Culture” by Chris Rojek

British sociologist Chris Rojek has just published a major work in the social analysis of pop music.  To say its argument isn’t completely satisfying doesn’t belittle the remarkable accomplishment of Pop Music, Pop Culture (Polity, 2011), which covers the gamut of musical production, content, and reception from the pre-historic oral tradition to today’s P2P networks.  Most distinctively, Pop...
just stay put: an alternative vision for arts-based urban revitalization

just stay put: an alternative vision for arts-based urban revitalization

Here are some thoughts about a different way to think about arts-based urban revitalization, written in the form of a suspiciously confident manifesto.  These ideas are completely pie-in-the-sky and fly in the face of the prevailing wisdom in this field, but I’m fine with that if it reveals some fallacies and unspoken assumptions of most...
branding alienation with Tony Wilson

branding alienation with Tony Wilson

I recently watched Joy Division (2007, dir. Grant Gee), an exciting documentary that carries more intellectual heft than maybe any other film about a rock group.  Great interviews not just with the surviving band members and others who knew them, but also early followers who were deeply affected by the band’s records and performance.  I’m struck, for...
adventures in arts-based urban revitalization: the RoboCop statue in Detroit

adventures in arts-based urban revitalization: the RoboCop statue in Detroit

On February 7th, someone tweeted the mayor of Detroit with a passing thought: “Philadelphia has a statue of Rocky & Robocop would kick Rocky’s butt. He’s a GREAT ambassador for Detroit.”  The city’s mayor (and former NBA all star) Dave Bing replied, “There are not any plans to erect a statue to Robocop. Thank you...
please skill me: the growing credentialism of NYC's rock underground

please skill me: the growing credentialism of NYC’s rock underground

Using an admittedly unscientific sample of 38 indie-rock groups from Brooklyn, I poked around the bands’ Wikipedia pages and their underlying sources to look for any members’ college affiliations. In no time at all [update: and with further information from my sources; see below], I found information for 26 groups. Even if we assume the remaining...
making the scene in the creative city

making the scene in the creative city

In exploring how cities sustain musical creativity, you eventually get around to the creative city thesis. This is most commonly associated with Richard Florida, the regional planning professor and urban consultant who contends in books like The Rise of the Creative Class that the most prosperous cities and regions are the ones with the highest density of...