From Boring, to number worst, and 22 things to antidote

Today, there is a discussion http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/event/how-should-we-balance-access-and-excellence-in-the-arts/  Regarding Art and Excellence, for and about Modesto, CA,  put on by Zocalo Public Square, James Irvine Foundation, moderated by the Editor Modesto Bee, with MoBand Director, my friends Patty Castillo Davis – singer/songwriter and Dellanora Green, Street Singer, i.e. sing all day/night for tips to find money for motel room.  This is about funding, and choices of does the money go to certain artists, organizations, or everyone.  As the grant market not granting a lot last few years, but also this is underserved area in many ways in California, the Country, and locally the emphasis on music, I suggested they add a visual artist. There is  only one city oriented visual art non-profit usually at end of gravy train behind music here, and the music tradition goes back 80 years. Is it just talk, or do we find a plan in this exercise?

I’ve attended other such forums in past, inspiring for a day, but usually not much as result.  I’m not planning on attending, so am likely part of the problem of long time resident, but born out of town, frustrated by some of our economic, crime and attitudes who likely feels any experience on my part, trumped by I’m not a native.

I suppose that’s because my Hometown, Riverside, California, was rated the most boring place in the country last month.  Boredom is my worst enemy, but Riverside isn’t as boring to me as the raters found it.  I embraced it, but was annoyed that San Bernardino didn’t hold this spot, was only 2 further down the list.  After all, they’d gone bankrupt, Riverside boringly had money in the bank.

My chessplayer brother from Boring, lives in Cambridge – continually bombarding me with the real estate market stats noting Modesto has all this gang stuff the Bee doesn’t report.  Higher density of sex offenders per capita, and nearly half  that of Stockton.  Surprised he didn’t send me the Street article regarding advisory, Modesto the worst place to start a career for educated 20 somethings, or even regular ones. This is a real estate tied blog, and the rating methodology I understand, as used to have to read this stuff a lot in former career, but this stuff is read by the out of town investors, rest of the country, and I reposted the thing, for lively FB frenzy of comments. Many of my friends, can’t understand why I’d repost such negativity, we should all be positive, and things will improve.  Would explain the next topic, but here is the Street link. http://www.thestreet.com/story/12765384/2/5-worst-cities-to-start-a-career-in.html  I objected to only one of the data points, the lack of sufficient, or lower than average arts/leisure spots per capita.  After all, I write for Modesto View, know the staffing at City, usual performance of same outside town, and suggested that was officially under-reported.  When I shared the link, I also headed it with comment for people who were considering starting career here, “we need you to come anyway, to improve our ratings.” Truthful positive spin.

After you read that dire thing, a new one in long litany like that stat my bro sends me, the Number 1 in Auto Thefts, The highest density of low wage workers in the country, 13.8 percent unemployment rate (still current) and fact Petaluma is where George Lucas filmed American Grafitti, Modesto counters with, (and my beef with it, calling it lame, is this is marketing intended to appeal to people outside Modesto to move here) is this MOVOTO.com segment, titled 22 Things You need to Learn About Modesto before you Move There.  It scans over many of the things, like we have the Modesto Nuts minor league baseball team, and Cars, and art show, and…. restaurant that is good, with the classic Modesto residents drinking at a party…. but I don’t know if what was posted appeals to younger ones in my family out of town to come here, that is primarily because Grandma lives here, or my brother’s friends, or seniors like my mother, who wonders at 87, just how is it we came to live here, and moved away from Boring. ( She’s from Oregon originally, and the family from Denmark on Dad’s side, married in Manteca, career move to Palo Alto to raise family and Stanford before our split off to Boring old Riverside before coming to Mo-Town)  I didn’t think the MOVOTO.com 22 things, an effective counterpoint to the dismal The Street article 5 worst.  I think it needs to be less boring, but then I come from boring.

The Street article, notes one real culture issue, the really low vs elsewhere problems in education in our ranks of citizenry.  We aren’t a slum, and maybe the lack of funds is egalitarian, but as a UC graduate, who lived here before UC Merced, I was appalled to see a NO UC Modesto movement that won out over locating that campus here.  For all the good small town things I enjoyed right off here, there are these less than stellar promotions of Modesto I’ve had to endure.  For all the great stars, talents from here, they tend to stay “from here” rather than live here.  And the locals odd relationship to its most successful employer, is one I’ve noted.  Gallo been very good to the place and I like the wine, whatever label..  But success envied, or taken for granted.  And sometimes, because they don’t know you, though you’ve lived here a long time, you don’t get the memo.

But, booster that I’ve been to improve local visual art opportunities here (selfish, as I’ve been stuck here, similar to CCR song Lodi, without funds) support friends in music, make the place more fun for me to live here, it seems I can’t get into our negatives, as that is almost traitor to our good stuff.  Well, I’m one who thinks to remodel Hell, you find out how it is, to improve it….. which if you look up my old My Space blogs, was the topic I wrote under.  #modesto #modestoview #economics

Evidently, my Boring Roots, and Worst thing, identifies my intent.  I’m an artist.  I believe in rabble rousing and right to complain, as sweetens the cheerleading I do with a sense of authenticity.  I still think Modesto could do more to promote itself, than click its ruby slippers and cheer “There’s No Place like Home” but then I know geography as a native California, and don’t think Stanislaus County anywhere near Kansas.