Friday, December 28, 2012

Ring me, baby (we can't make these things up).

As I noted a short time back ...

New Albany’s bicentennial program template seems firmly established as we approach Year Zero, and that’s unfortunate.

Apart from the solitary tangible gain of a laughably over-priced, wrongly situated and generically designed public area, variously known as Somnolent Estates, Rent Boy Park and Caesar’s Folly, we’ll have a carpetbagger’s coffee table book to remember the rare old times, as well as a whole slate of events priced primarily to recoup the book’s lamentable costs, wherein the local Romney demographic wears period costumes, dances the minuet, and recites the enumerated hagiography of the historic preservation code.

It’s all safe, white-bread and conservative, and fully appropriate for the buck-a-day extras at yet another Lewis & Clark expedition commemorative film, but it remains that the problem with making our bicentennial entirely about the city’s past, and not at least in part about our future, is that doing so begs a rather embarrassing question.

Why were our urban forefathers adept at city building, but their modern-day ancestors able to muster little more in terms of achievement than decay management?

You might react defensively.

Haven’t we come a long way during the past few years?

(We have. But what about the three decades before that?)

Downtown is revitalizing, isn’t it?

(If eating and drinking’s your thing, yes it is. If retail gains, residential enhancement or complete streets interest you, then welcome to our default condition of stasis)

But Roger, don’t I look great dressed up as a Scribner?

(You needn’t ask me. I’ll be sober in the morning, but we’ll collectively experience this bicentennial hangover for the rest of our lives. You might inquire of that child over there, assuming he’ll relinquish his iPhone)

And so, the travesty wrought by the Coup d’Geriatrique is upon us. An empty liquor bottle meets pavement, and River View plans are recycled as Bazooka Joe bubble gum cartoons.

Somewhere in the city, a dog barks.

Now we get bells, too.

New Albany churches asked to ring their bells to welcome bicentennial year, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune)

NEW ALBANY — New Albany will begin celebrating its 200th birthday on Tuesday, and the city’s Bicentennial Commission is looking for some help to literally ring-in the New Year.

Commission member David Barksdale recently sent out requests to city churches asking for their involvement. At the stroke of midnight Tuesday, the commission is asking churches to ring their bells, play their carillons or utilize any other sort of musical instrument they have to usher-in the bicentennial year.


Iamhoosier said...

While I don't have anything against the bell ringing proposal, I just hope this isn't the "all inclusive, not just for the rich" event that the committee had in mind.

Daniel S said...

Did the Carnegie use any local artists for its bicentennial public arts series?

Daniel S said...

My point being there were some beautiful additions made to the city through the art project by out of towners. It doesn't have to be all or nothing, IMO. Happy New Year.