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Minneapolis (not Seattle): America's Brainiest, Most Literate City

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Hey HEY! Thank God for West Virginia!

People here in Arkansas regularly say "Thank God for Mississippi," because MS is usually 50th and keeps AR up at 49 :D

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The brains may be in Seattle, but the musicians are headed to Portland...
One of the best things about the town where I live is that it is almost exactly half way between Seattle and Portland, only about a 90 minute drive to either. If we are in the mood to just hang out in a city, we go to Portland. The description in The Stranger article seems about right. If we have a specific destination in mind (theater, a concert, our favorite winemaker) then we go to Seattle. Unfortunately, we haven't spent enough time in either city to get a feel for the local music scene.

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Portland is experiencing a pretty incredible musical renaissance at the moment. It's almost frustratingly saturated; amazing shows every night, great festivals like Catch That Beat and Halleluwah, great labels like States Rights Records, Audiodregs, Marriage Records, etc. I think a big part of it that goes unexplored in that article is the pervasiveness of the do-it-yourself ethic in portland, as opposed to Seattle where (though are some really great artists) even the crappiest fledgling band has a booking agent and a manager. Careerism + gentrification = stagnant music scene.

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If I were living in D.C., I'd get myself one of the "Taxation without representation" license plates, because the place is anything but autonomous. There's a pretend self-governing thing going on, insofar as Congress allows it, but no real home rule. And a "shadow senator," who has no vote, etc.

Speaking as someone who wouldn't mind living in D.C. well after university years, I think it just comes with the territory. The federal government needs a home base which isn't under the jurisdiction of a state, but giving one city representation equal in Congress to a state would be overkill.

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Portland is experiencing a pretty incredible musical renaissance at the moment. It's almost frustratingly saturated; amazing shows every night, great festivals like Catch That Beat and Halleluwah, great labels like States Rights Records, Audiodregs, Marriage Records, etc. I think a big part of it that goes unexplored in that article is the pervasiveness of the do-it-yourself ethic in portland, as opposed to Seattle where (though are some really great artists) even the crappiest fledgling band has a booking agent and a manager. Careerism + gentrification = stagnant music scene.

I probably receive 2 - 3 CDs a week from Portland musicians/bands, some of which are utter crap, and some of which are undeniably great. For my money (not that I spend it on CDs :-)), Portland currently has the most vibrant music scene of any city in the U.S.

A partial list of past greats:

The Kingsmen

John Fahey

Larry Norman (yes, that Larry Norman)

Cherry Poppin

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Pittsburgh's a lot like Seattle.

Except, of course, that they win.

With the help of blind officials. And anyway, winning is more than Philadelphia has done for a while.

If I were Bill Cowher: "OK, tough guy. You think it's cool to ride around town on your frickin' BIKE without a helmet? How about you play this next GAME without a helmet and see how you like it?"

Edited by mrmando

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And anyway, winning is more than Philadelphia has done for a while.

Ouch -- actually, we only lost by three points, not eleven. And Philly and Seattle are alike -- we've never won.

Wimps, I say.

You guys have no idea, moaning about the respective fortunes of Philly and Seattle. You should try being a lifelong Cleveland sports fan. The Browns last won a championship in 1964. Since the word "Super" has been associated with those games, the Browns haven't even caught a whiff. The Indians last won in 1948. People were driving Edsels and Packards when they weren't taking the bonneted family to town in the covered wagon. The Cavaliers? Never.

Then there is Cleveland itself. There is no music scene, unless you really like accordions. No one goes to college. Most of the populace doesn't even know how to read, preferring to collect their welfare checks in the shadow of the closed Ford plant. The sky retains a peculiar orange glow at night. The rivers catch fire. Remember the after-the-apocalypse scenes in the Terminator movies? Filmed in Cleveland, or they could have been, without any need for special set design.

Nevertheless, I am cursed to love the city and its teams. I don't live there, and haven't lived there in many years (sorry, but the welfare checks just didn't have that much appeal), but I retain a sentimental attachment to the old radioactive sod, and I unfailingly, foolishly, cheer on the sports teams year after year. I don't want to hear about the woes of Philly and Seattle.

Edited by Andy Whitman

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Andy, you got nothing on me. The Lions have won ONE playoff game since '57 with no prospects for immediate improvement.

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And the trophy for one-up-manship goes to ::drum rool:: ;)

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Then there were the St. Louis Cardinals of the NFL, who managed to skip town with a perfect record:

27 years, 0 Championships, 0 Playoff Wins, 0 Home Playoff Games hosted.

Of course, the next St Louis football franchise did a little better. :)

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It has the Space Needle! ;)

And an intersting if strange, improvised/new music "scene."

And is also known for it's great city planning

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Some great current Seattle bands:

Shoplifting

Your Heart Breaks

Kimya Dawson

Blood Brothers

Blue Scholars

Some great current Portland bands:

Thanksgiving (a band I'm really surprised you guys haven't discovered yet)

The Thermals

The Blow

The Watery Graves

White Rainbow

Mirah

Point Juncture WA

Norfolk & Western

of course some of the most vital music in the northwest is coming from Olympia and Anacortes but that's a whole different thread

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So, anyways, about Seattle...

I'm moving there in a week and a half! Seems pretty cool. Everyone knows that the reason for the high number of Bachelor's degrees in Seattle relies heavily on Seattle Pacific University! :P

I ought to know, I'm going there to finish my undergrad. :)

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And is also known for it's great city planning

Edited by mrmando

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That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever read! If our city planning's so great, why is our traffic the 2nd worst in the nation? Why are expenditures approved for sports stadiums and monorails even when voters say no? How can one unelected two-bit populist idiot hamstring the entire state's transportation budget with a $30 car tab inititative? How can we lose our basketball team to Oklahomans? Why does the Kingdome get blown up before we're finished paying for it? Why does the grid layout change every half mile while the street names stay the same? Why is a Microsoft co-founder given carte blanche to remake South Lake Union in his own image?

I thought you lived in "tangent-land . . . " :D

I may have been confusing my statement with Portland, as Alan suggested, but we have to keep in mind "great" may be relative. I've not been to Seattle, and was just trying to help get the thread back on track. And just because traffic is bad doesn't mean planning is

Edited by Chashab

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If our city planning's so great, why is our traffic the 2nd worst in the nation?

Because everyone is trying to get to the brainiest, most literate city in the nation...?

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So, anyways, about Seattle...

I don't think the Seahawks will be returning to the Super Bowl this year. Too much difficulty in reaching the practice facility due to the poor city planning.

You gotta love this thread ...

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I thought you lived in "tangent-land . . . " :D

I rule over Tangent-Land, but I live in Seattle ... or nearby, anyhow.

I have been to Portland once, briefly, and can say as much as: I like their light rail system, and a lot of the architecture I saw really gave it a sense of place, it seemed.

We have some of that sense-of-place architecture. Tends to come in waves, alternating with periods of generic architecture. I think the recent library might indicate a current sense-of-place wave ... the previous one was back in the '60s.

If only we had put in light rail when Portland did. The system currently being built may relieve some north-south pressure but does nothing to fix the east-west problems.

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Philly has a light rail system, but it isn't adequately connected to the (pathetic) subway system to really have the impact it could have had. We still have street trolleys in some places--but they're also not connected to the subway (as in Boston, for example, where the trolleys become the subway, which becomes the light rail, which goes way out into the 'burbs).

IIRC, didn't Portland also restrict the amount of car traffic by deliberately controlling the size and connection of city streets?

Yup; public transit isn't worth much if it's only half there and so sporadic.

I don't know about Portland restricting size and connection of streets in particular, but I can assure you this is often aspired to in community planning theory. It's often thought that more and wider streets will lessen traffic

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