Sunday, May 22, 2005

If its Sunday it is chore day

Since I spent most of yesterday doing other things, today I get to make up for it all by doing a bunch of chores. Always fun, in weird bizzaro world.

Here is a link to the Gund Arena. If you say the name real fast it sounds like something that could have been prevented by the Rubber Bowl.

Rantings about Akron

There is still talk about how we an make Akron a place where the young Gen Xers (and the next generation coming) a place for them to be. Akron does have a lot going against it - weather & lack of jobs. A consultant hired had said her overall research into Gen Xers shows some are willing to move to a place because of other things and then worry about getting a job. One guy, a 23 year old, had mentioned that we have 2 big state universities (Akron & Kent) yet all the graduates move away. Why? No jobs. In his view there is not point in building bars and what not because even if people stay they have no money to spend in them. The mayor for years has been stressing downtown development, ignoring the neighborhoods and many other projects.

For me personally (who, depending upon which person you talk to, am a Gen Xer) most of what they talk about is rubbish. Downtown is important, but Akron has always been about the neighborhoods. I don't drink, smoke, dance, or even like large crowds (and extremely loud music) so most night clubs & bars hold no interest to me. Many jobs, especially things like writing & art, can be done anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. Same is becoming true with music.

The mayor has complained that downtown is still very much like a ghost town after 5 and would like to see more bars/nightclubs and the like. If you want to attact more people downtown you need VARIETY. I am more likely to go to a quiet coffee house (with cup of tea in hand) instead of any nightclub. We have 2 outdoor venues for events but they are pretty useless 4-6 months a year. The art museum is currently closed while they build a new building, although there is a smaller space for working artists in the area, and the vernable Don Drumm Studios is still open. I missed out on a recent events to show what some of the young professional groups are trying to do. It featured some local musicians, live music venues (which are usually bars), and other things to try and rally the troops and show how Akron ain't dead yet.

I think, however, we are closer to what we need than a lot of people realize. We have a lot of small live theaters, art galleries, live music venues, etc. The problem is finding out about them. With one newspaper that not only covers the music locally but from Cleveland it is easy to loose track of the small stuff. I am not sure how much one has to pay to advertise in the Akron Beacon Journal. Cleveland has a free weekly magazine (actually a couple) that are free for the taking. Some Akron venues advertise in them, most do not. But my question is: Why is there not some kind of free space (or at least cheap) on the internet? Why not something like CraigsList? Maybe instead of emails like what The Lime Spider does they need to get RSS feeds? Maybe we all need better content mangement of our email/RSS feeds to weed out the junk, or at least highlight things we might have an interest in. Maybe Ajax is an answer for some of that. Maybe some combination of Ajax & portals. Maybe I'm just getting whiny in my old age.

One other thing that I think would help is if the universities would open up a little more to the surrounding communities. Not just in offering classes, but in making some of their art openings and the like more public. I know at least twice a year the art students put on a show on campus. Student recitals could likewise allow for those on a tight budget to enjoy some live music year round. Many times these things are not advertised outside of campus except by word of mouth. It is easier for a graduate to WANT to stick around if they can continue to participate in campus events after graduation.

The most important thing I hope everyone keeps in mind is variety. You maybe targetting young Gen Xers now, but they will eventually get married, have kids, and just plan get older. You don't see a lot of 50 year olds at night clubs. Nights of dancing are usually replaced by a night with the family after kids come along. Even among the young and single not everyone wants smoke filled live music places playing heavy metal or punk music. We have a lot of great, smaller places. Maybe we just need to make sure people know they are there.

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