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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Midtown Hum

The first blog post after returning from Italy has admittedly been a little daunting. The cultural adjustment alone has been a lot to digest, not to mention the new insights the Florence Academy instilled in my artistic endeavors. But returning to Midtown was a truly inspiring experience.

The memory of driving over the wetlands on that first evening back 5 weeks ago, with the egrets exploring the boggy grasses and the downtown Sacramento cityscape finally breaking the valley's horizon, has stuck with me. The swelling of familiarity and comfort began to seep in, fully embracing me only as the City of Trees dappled the windshield. But it wasn't until I heard the quivering voice of my neighbor's harmonica through the dusky glow, that I finally felt home.

Midtown is a force to reckon with. Beyond the vibrancy of diversity (yes Sacramento is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in all of California!) there's an edgy, artistic energy here that's impossible to explain without sounding like a proponent of New Age philosophies. But it is palpable and condensing. You need only go as far as 1 block in any direction to discover it's expression... stencil "street art" stamps the cement underfoot, solo trumpets moan through the trees, African drums pulse through the parks, inked bodies congregate around dive bars, once barren sidewalk medians become luscious gardens of flowers and vegetables, and free newspapers inform us of a new painting class, the latest beat poetry or ballet performance. I could go on and on about the tiniest of things that makes this city speak so intensely to those who are open enough to listen.

 If the energy of Midtown were audible it'd be a hum, buzzing even the dark rubble of the freeway underpasses. It does in fact scream through the strings and voices of myriad local bands determined to perform every night of the week. And it scratches and scrapes across white paper as wild pencils try to capture a living model's movement. It clicks through the spokes of the classic cruiser bikes and thunders as thousands flood J Street for the monthly artwalk.

Obviously, Midtown resonates with me. I have finally found a tribe I am honored to be a part of: a proliferation of painters, photographers, and musicians all speaking their own language. It's a language of authentic authority, something that can only come with discovering and understanding one's own vision, voice, and heart.