What’s Local in No-Man’s Land?
I admit, I’m having a hard time keeping track of which musicians are “Fort Worth-based” and which ones are from Dallas, Denton, or beyond. Even more screwy, I’ve had my ear low enough to the ground to know that some bands within our coverage area consider Dallas their base of operations (scandalous!) while some “Dallas” bands –– not many but some –– can’t keep away from Fort Worth. I’m far too lazy and much too stupid to come up with some sort of empirical tool for gauging the, uh, Fort Worthiness of bands, so I’m just going to keep playing things by ear. (Local musicians also are a peripatetic lot, changing addresses seemingly every other month. Believe it or not, I actually don’t have time to sort through every North Texas musician’s mail.) I sure wouldn’t mind an extra page –– heck, an extra half-page –– in our paper to cover Dallas and Denton. But what’s really holding me back from folding the Big and Little Ds into our regular music coverage is the thought of Wednesday mornings, when our paper comes out. I imagine that every Wednesday before work, some young, smart, hip person on our side of Hwy. 360 heads to the nearest Weekly stand or logs onto www.fwweekly.com to begin smellin’ what we’ve been cookin’. I see him sipping coffee (black, no sugar) while poring over the sections: Letters, Stage, Eats. I also see him spitting out his joe in absolute horror after coming across our Music section and seeing not another story on another interesting or up-and-coming Fort Worth band but a story on a Dallas band. Dallas is not inherently anathema, but when you live in Fort Worth, a microverse where just about every person on every TV show we see, on every radio station we listen to, and in every publication we read consistently refers to our beloved city as some sort of oversized Dallas suburb and nothing more, well, you get kind of pissed. We Weekleteers need to maintain our hyper-local coverage if only to remind the world –– and ourselves –– that Fort Worth is Fort Worth, a real city with a real skyline and a real soul. Shit, over the Christmas weekend an in-law whom I’ve known for at least five years asked me how Dallas was treating me. In my kindest, gentlest voice, I asked him how Tokyo was treating him. “I live in Colorado,” he said, his head tilted to one side like a puppy. “Well, I live in Fort Worth,” I replied and took a condescending sip of wassail while keeping my eyes locked on his. A little light bulb eventually went off over his noggin, and we both chuckled. I proceeded to explain to him the subtle variations of North Texas geography and media coverage that you and I know so well, and, right as he was about to fall into a deep slumber, I smacked my plastic cup on the kitchen counter, startling him, and nonchalantly added, “Well, y’know, Fort Worth is, like, the 15th or 16th largest city in the country, based on 2010 U.S. Census data.” “Oh, yeah?” “Yeah, we’re bigger than Miami, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Denver — a bunch of real cities.” And I wasn’t lying. Fort Worth is huge. Living in such a gleaming metropolis, we shouldn’t expect anything less than “local” coverage from our media, right? Right.
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