Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The BIg Apple Meets Little D

I was quite surprised over the weekend when a friend emailed me a New York Times profile of Denton, of all things. Sure, it has a ridiculously cheesy headline ("An Indie Scene That Comes With a Texas Twang in Denton"), but it's not a bad little snapshot of the town that houses my alma mater:
WITH its Piggly Wiggly markets and dusty pawnshops, the Texas college town of Denton does not look the part of a Woodstock in waiting. A Romanesque courthouse juts out of the central square, as in that fictional town in “Back to the Future.” And whenever the local college football team plays at Fouts Field, the entire town seems to put on Mean Green T-shirts.

[...]At last count, more than 100 bands were polishing their sound in the city’s dive bars, rooftop spaces and fraternity basements. Even the local record store, a converted opera house called Recycled, has a section devoted to Denton bands. The bin dividers read like a Lollapalooza T-shirt: Lift to Experience, Centro-matic, Jetscreamer, Vortexas, Robert Gomez, Stanton Meadowdale, Mom, Mandarin, and Matthew and the Arrogant Sea, to name just a few.

Not bad for a college town of 110,000, prompting more than a few music industry insiders to call Denton the next Austin.

“There’s this combination of artistic fervor and small town naïveté,” said David Sims, a music columnist for The Dallas Observer. “Artists here don’t know they’re not supposed to be Bob Dylan so when they start a band, they shoot for the moon.”
Even the Fry Street situation merits a mention here:
STILL, unlike Austin, downtown Denton has no liquor stores or a Starbucks, and it sometimes feels more like a suburb of Dallas than a subcultural oasis. It didn’t help things when a developer last year bulldozed much of historic Fry Street, the former epicenter of Denton’s live music scene, to make way for a CVS (a plan since stalled by a permit issue). All that remains today of the Haight-Ashburyesque strip is a mosquito-infested mud pit and a graveyard of frat bars and head shops.

But in a testament to the town’s musical resilience, the night life simply migrated over to the main square. Pick any side street and you’ll find partygoers noshing on tacos, outside a smattering of derelict warehouses that have been transformed into clubs and live music stages.
Read the whole thing. Even Jay Saunders (UNT jazz trumpet instructor, director of the Three O'Clock and one of my jazz camp colleagues) gets a quote in here: “These kids are definitely more educated than your average garage band.” Indeed; if only all garage bands were educated in this manner. (Hat tip: Occasional commenter Super Anonymous JP.)

Maybe they misread the name as eBaby: A German couple is in trouble for listing their 7-month-old son on eBay for the price of one euro. (The couple insists the ad was a joke, but the kid has been taken away by the German equivalent of CPS.)

This guy's old team might as well have listed him on eBay as well: A Canadian minor league baseball player is now on his way to a team here in Texas after his old team traded him for 10 baseball bats.

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