Sunday, March 11, 2007

Completely Non-Sports Related Local Scene Rant Post

Apparently, "SAVE DEEP ELLUM" is a mildly popular rallying cry these days. To that I say, "No thanks".

I have heard so much nostalgia about the supposed halycon days of nightlife in Deep Ellum. While everyone's entitled to their opinions, I can't say I'll miss Deep Ellum. I started going to shows in Deep Ellum in 1997 when I was 16 years old. My first show I went to was the Pavement/Bis show at Trees in 1997. My mom went with me to get me in and then leaned on a "tree" by the merch booth reading a book while I lost my little teenaged indie-infested mind. So it's now been ten years of my life that I have spent in a four block by seven block radius, though more like 9 because I've pointedly tried to stay away from Deep Ellum for the past year or so.

Deep Ellum just happened to be where the venues were. I never fell for what I felt was a delusional vision of Deep Ellum as some sort of East Village NYC early 1960's scene, Carnaby Street/Swining London of the mid 1960's scene or even a Sunset Strip early 1980's scene though the Hollywood cheese metal vibe seemed to bear the closest resemblance to Deep Ellum. For every cool local underground show there were 15 Hellafied Funk Crew/Pimpadelic/Reverend Horton Heat/Spoonfed Tribe shows. And for every Trees, Gypsy, Orbit Room, Club Clearview or even Galaxy Club there were many more Spiderbabies, G-Spot, The Rock, Curtain Club, Liquid Lounge or The Bone. Deep Ellum Live was a miserable place to see a show despite drawing some monumental acts.

All of that aside, the neighborhood has run its' course and is now just a horrible combonation of underage dance clubs, blocked off streets and abandoned storefronts. There's a good number of venues around town that provide a decent atmosphere and a fairly solid concert calendar and not a single one is in Deep Ellum. I still wish there was a venue in East Dallas that could draw some of the bands who have now either automatically written the metroplex off and just pass through on their way to Houston or Austin. Or at least a Dallas venue that could be considered comparable to the plethora of Denton indie venues.

From an economic development standpoint, I hope that some commercial development does start to happen in Deep Ellum if only for the fact that the D/FW suburban sprawl is not only enviornmentally detrimental but also wasteful resource-wise. There is an abundance of lovely older buildings downtown that could potentially be developed into multi-use structures that could include cheaper, hip apartments and condos for people my age as the older family-types are still afraid of downtown. Developers have learned that the penthouse condo buyers are all going to flock to Uptown. So the only way they can fill those downtown or Deep Ellum dwellings and re-engerize the area is to offer cheaper units (and the option to rent or own) to young professionals and artists. Mark my words: if Deep Ellum and Downtown ever manages to pull itself out of its' self-imposed slump, it will be due to new development not due to the efforts of some aging hipsters attempts to hermetically seal the area off and try to continue the party like it's 1999.

On a completely unrelated note, I have to complain about one other thing. The Theater Fire were lucky enough to be accepted to showcase at SXSW again this year. Bitchin'. Their showcase is Wednesday March 14 at 10pm at Room 710. What? Yeah that's right, their showcase is going to occur at the exact same time as the 4th quarter of one of the most highly-anticipated game of the Mavs entire regular season. If anyone is at The Theater Fire showcase on Wednesday night and hears someone yelling for a song called "Goaltending", that's me.

1 comment:

stonedranger said...

That was the best thing I've seen written about Deep Ellum anywhere in the past couple of months. I agree 100%.