Friday, August 7, 2009

I love you Salt Lake City

Posted By on August 7, 2009, 8:14 AM

Hugest props ever go to the organizers of Salt Lake City's Twilight Concert Series. It's almost surely the most vital event in the city.

I was at the Q-tip and B.o.B. show last night and I have a review of our city that's even more important than a review of the amazing artists who entertained us. Folks, Salt Lake City has got the potential to be great; it's got a groove and an aggressive pulse all its own. If to be great you have to have something unique, Salt Lake City is holding all the aces.

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I aim, in this post, to motivate you to have some major pride, more city consciousness, some realization that we are amazing and it's us, with the help of artists like Q-tip, that help us own it and promote it. We, the people-- We are what makes SLC. And we are powerful.

As the crowd "Hey-hoed" their way into a frenzy--hands in the air because they just don't care--I thought about the energy that an artist seeks and thrives upon. This was a loving, engagable and participatory crowd that was hanging on every word Q-tip dribbled. That helps us attract new acts, in a way; while the organizers deserve mad props, we all get to take credit for being a huge, amazing throng that appreciates great music, no matter the genre. To see many of the same faces bouncing to hip-hop this week that slammed to Sonic Youth last week is truly cool.

But let's use that power not just in the cultural sphere, but the political one as well. Set aside that tired old bitterness about living in Zion: it's our time now. Let's take some ownership. We do that with politics.

I talked to a lesbian lady at the show who said she hates Utah: all the stuffy Mormon stuff, she said, is too much to bare. She and her girlfriend were stared at by people at the Gateway for holding hands. This was reprehensible to her and to many of you, I'm sure. You've heard it a million times, no? She grew up here but lived in Frisco for a decade and she's just now moved back. Of course it's difficult living in what feels like a conservative hegemony. We're all tempted by the already-mowed grass on either side of the Rockies.

But appreciate the process of gardening a weeded state! Agree with me that the reception and the amazing energy at the Q-tip show demonstrates that this place is changing and there are amazing opportunities for those people who want to help it improve.

Please get over the Deseret flu! Don't move to Oakland. Don't move to Williamsburg. That's so tired, so last decade. The future is SLC! Own it, take it, don't let it go, tell your friends to move here and be ahead of the trend curve. Zion is ours now. Be the future now.

I want to see our cultural energy translate into politics. Register to vote. Call your city council person and express your opinions about the future of the city. Call your representative and your state senator and tell them about your vision for the future of Utah. Take that energy from Twilight and translate it into social change.

As encore, I listened to Q-Tip call an audible and play a Beastie Boys song. I don't know if that was brilliant race relations, or straight-up props to major players of rap. The crowd, by the way, was so colorful and diverse and beautifully multi-racial; but, let's face it, it's Salt Lake City. The crowd was pretty white, so a song by the Beasties was brilliant. It was probably the hottest white-majority hip-hop show ever, I dare say.

I'm tired folks, and not of the seeming conservative hegemony. Mostly I'm tired by other folks' defeated attitude toward that hegemony, which isn't even real. If we all "get up, stand up," the hegemony falls to its knees. Many Mormons are even seeing the light and questioning the hegemony as well. Invite them in. Our unifying quality is challenging traditional authority in this state. If the power of Twlight can be harnassed by politicians, we will make true change. The next time someone asks you to do something unsexy like register to vote, imagine yourself at the amazingly sexy Q-tip show; emobody that energy created by a powerful crowd of kindred spirits. You have to do the boring things. Please do them.

This is our town now and our state also. Believe it.

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Jesse Fruhwirth

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