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October 26, 2012 4:36 PM   Subscribe

Where's the scene?

Is there a cultural hotspot in the US right now similar to Seattle was in the 90s?
posted by skwint to Society & Culture (24 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Portland or Austin?
posted by migurski at 4:38 PM on October 26, 2012

What did you like about Seattle in the 90s?
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:46 PM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Since moving to Portland I have heard dozens of times that Portland is what was Seattle 10-20 years ago.
posted by munchingzombie at 5:23 PM on October 26, 2012

Probably Portland. Maybe Brooklyn?
posted by lunasol at 5:23 PM on October 26, 2012

It's not that I liked it but it seems that is where everyone wanted to be.
posted by skwint at 5:30 PM on October 26, 2012

Brooklyn (today's hipster)
Boulder / Pittsburgh (tomorrow's hipster)
posted by nickrussell at 5:38 PM on October 26, 2012

Silver Lake, maybe?
posted by The World Famous at 6:10 PM on October 26, 2012

Portland or Brooklyn.

Possibly somewhere in the nexus of Silverlake/Echo Park in LA though I don't hear as many people openly wishing they could relocate to there from other parts of the US. That seems like more The Scene if you already live in Southern California.

I feel like Detroit is going to be huge in another 10 years.
posted by Sara C. at 6:39 PM on October 26, 2012

Portland and Brooklyn for sure.
posted by grouse at 6:53 PM on October 26, 2012

Don't buy the hype of marketers hired by Portland and Brooklyn.

You want to know where to go next? Follow the geeks. As bizarre as it sounds - Chicago.

And no, I don't live anywhere near there, so no interest in promoting it.
posted by pla at 7:00 PM on October 26, 2012

I would argue that the question on its face is fallacious. If you wanted to play guitar while wearing flannel in 1992, then, sure, Seattle was a good place to hang out in but so was Raleigh/Chapel Hill and Boston. If you were an electronic musician, you would have been better served by living in Detroit or San Francisco. If you wanted to be at the center of the hot new digital zeitgeist that exploded at the same time? No doubt, San Francisco or maybe New York.

This is a country of 250+ million people. They all can't want to live in one city. Find what -you- like, and find others who like the same thing and move there and create culture -with- them. Don't go somewhere hoping just to be a scenester and a hanger on.

With all that said, New York now eclipses the sort of influence that Seattle had in the 90s.
posted by bl1nk at 7:26 PM on October 26, 2012 [6 favorites]

I know A LOT of hipster doofuses who haved moved to Chicago in the past five years. I keep hearing Pittsburgh, have yet to notice an influx. I moved to Buffalo assuming if Pittsburgh was hip, Buffalo would follow. Moved in a "I was here before all these people" kind of way. Not so much, but it does have a charming mini-scene.

Other up and coming contenders: 100% agree about Detroit, and I'll throw out Minneapolis/St. Paul. And Omaha? I was hearing about Omaha a lot a few years back but seems it's died down?
posted by peacrow at 7:51 PM on October 26, 2012

Detroit, definitely.
posted by joan_holloway at 8:17 PM on October 26, 2012

Yep, Detroit.
posted by Brody's chum at 8:37 PM on October 26, 2012

In Detroit, never leave your house without a gun.

Not anymore, perhaps? There are some interesting hackerspaces popping up in the area. I'm not sure it's quite poised to be the next cultural hotspot, but I'd be very pleased if it were!
posted by Juffo-Wup at 8:47 PM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've heard Youngstown is following in the footsteps of Detroit to an extent -- like Detroit, it has a bad rap and failed economy, so it's super-cheap to live there... which is highly desired by those making a very small living being painters and guitar-players and whatnot.
posted by jorlyfish at 9:04 PM on October 26, 2012

AskMefites seem to be answering a different question than you're asking. If I understand you, you want to know what city is presented in the national mass pop consciousness as the "hip and happening" destination. (Remember the Onion headline satirizing early-'90s hype, "Seattle Parking Lot Named Coolest Parking Lot In America"?) The answer to that is currently Brooklyn, New York.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 9:37 PM on October 26, 2012

Detroit, MI
Baltimore, MD
Pittsburgh, PA
Omaha, NE
Marfa, TX

Unfortunately, I think Silver Lake is going to be sucked into the LA machine.

If this is a music oriented thing be sure to ask people in touring bands what there impressions
posted by coolxcool=rad at 1:46 AM on October 27, 2012

... Portland.

Well, Brooklyn, too, but as a New Yorker, the influence of Portland has seemed more significant/I've seen folks leave NY for Portland.
posted by Cracky at 2:28 AM on October 27, 2012

Honestly, I don't think there is anything today like the Seattle cultural phenomenon of the early 90s. Seattle was this mythological thing where the perception was that it was the source of the big musical trends, the best bands, the clothing, even the way people talked (e.g. The ridiculous Lexicon of Grunge). Now, that wasn't actually true, but it was the prevailing myth. I entered college right at the start of all that, and it was crazy. Everybody talked about how they wanted to move to Seattle, and anyone from Seattle automatically had credibility as cool. It was the setting for movies, music videos, and so much more.

I see nothing like that today. I admit that I'm not in college, so I have less of a window into what college students are obsessing about. But I'm not seeing movies glorifying the amazing music scene and culture of Detroit, for example. I'm not seeing upper middle class twenty somethings clamoring to move to Ferndale or Royal Oak or Hamtramck so they can be where it's all happening. And those are the old stomping grounds of my youth, so it's not like I don't get how cool Detroit is. I've gigged at all the old Detroit music venues and I have never, ever heard or read anything in the media glorifying or mythologizing any of it. Detroit is awesome, but its not the Seattle of 1993. And that's partly because there just isn't any phenomenon like that now. And that's a good thing. Because all the good bands weren't actually from Seattle. It's not really where all the cool styles came from or any of that. It was really just a sort of cultural shorthand for what was going on all over. "Grunge" or whatever you want to call it came from Minneapolis and Cincinnati and Los Angeles and twenty other cities.

But Seattle was a myth, and we just don't have a mythological cultural city on a hill at this moment in pop culture.
posted by The World Famous at 8:25 AM on October 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

I don't know about Brooklyn as far as music scene is concerned. I lived there for 5 months and I was a bit disappointed.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 9:38 AM on October 27, 2012

Hm, it seems to me that it depends on the area on which you live as far as "hotspots" go. In Pennsylvania, it seems to be hip to move to NYC or Phila. In my area, it's hip to move to Portland or NorCal (which is where most of the people I've known from this area have moved). It's interesting to hear others say Detroit or Pittsburg.... I never would have guessed that, personally. Also, seconding the myth surrounding Seattle being "the" place to be in the 90's. I'd say there were quite a few sought after places then... not just Seattle.
posted by camylanded at 8:43 PM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

In terms of media hype, it's surely Brooklyn, followed closely by Portland. Parts of LA, SF, Austin, Chicago, Philly, too, and Detroit or Pittsburgh maybe for a certain sort of person.

The difference now, though, is hype is so fast-moving and omnipresent that it's basically impossible for a place to be considered "cool" without generating an immediate backlash. So, yeah, Brooklyn and Portland are "hip," but most people (very much including people in Brooklyn and Portland) mostly like to laugh at hipsters, so I don't think either one seems like the mecca that Seattle did in the early 90s.

I was a little kid in the early 90s, though, so you should probably take my opinion with a grain of salt.
posted by breakin' the law at 10:51 AM on October 29, 2012

So Brooklyn, Portland, Detroit, Chicago, Philly, etc. I have to laugh that Pittsburgh is included on the list because i just left there. It is really starved for any kind of music at all. Some of the neighborhoods are trying to create a hipster culture and I thought it was very contrived. I've also lived in Austin and its more apparently a marketing plan there. I think they've created a monster of overpopulation because of the faux-culture. Seattle probably was a myth. Thank you, everyone.
posted by skwint at 7:20 AM on November 6, 2012

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