Dallas, a Polka City in a Rock and Roll World

A couple weeks ago in my guise as Jim Schutze, really cool hipster (instead of crazy old man with gun), I wrote a post for DC9 At Night about Michael Seman, a research associate and doctoral candidate at University of North Texas' Center for Economic Development and Research, who is developing a theory linking rock and roll with the ultimate success or failure of cities.

Among those who commented on my post, some were doubters. Some said they'd have to see a whole lot more evidence before they were going to believe pop culture in general and rock in particular can be serious economic generators for a major metropolitan area.

I say the proof is now in, and I gladly rub it in your faces, damned doubters! I present to you -- ta-da! -- the entire last week in Austin.

South by Southwest now draws the kind of running team coverage from major media that one associates with events like the Davos World Economic Summit, the runway season in Paris, or ... the Super Bowl? Nah. We just had a Super Bowl here. It got nowhere near the attention SXSW did -- not even close!

If people used to associate us only with George Bush, now they might associate us with George Bush and Jerry Jones. I don't think this is moving in the right direction.

The New York Times published wall-to-wall stories about SXSW including one of the more curious accounts I think I have read about any event in a long time. It was a story about how people around the country were getting depressed by all the tweets they were receiving from Austin, because the tweets just reminded them how jealous they were about not being there themselves.

Be honest. Dallas would give it's eye teeth and also run over its mom with a tractor for one day --- one day! - of the kind of attention Austin just got for an entire week.

Folks, right now our big play for glitz, glamor and world-class cityhood -- in addition to George and Jerry -- is a faux suspension bridge dreamed up and promoted by a battalion of Park Cities dowagers.

Maybe we can have a big bridge festival every year in which ladies from the Park Cities come downtown and play bridge on the bridge. All the big bridge reporters will cover it.

Oh, I think I want to cry. Just ... cry. I can see that bridge from my office window. The more they build on it, the more it reminds me of cemetery art.

Only one thing can save us now. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? Yeah. Dallas needs the big one. Regime change.

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze