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Posts tagged ‘community’

Austin Music Culture

acl sxsw concert fest trumpet colorful collage faces

The Austin community is the strangest, most diverse, and most identifiably unique community I’ve ever seen by far. It contains contradictions – the monolithic institutions of the University of Texas and of the Texas government, which date back centuries contrasted with the constant influx of youth and innovation in the city. It contains a sense of tight-knit togetherness – shopping local, eating local,and being local are so important in Austin. It contains so many different types of communities that form synergy and work together  from coffee shops to concert halls, from football fields to food trucks. Austin’s iconic figures are similarly idiosyncratic – how many cities can boast residents as unique and different as Stone Cold Steve Austin, Willie Nelson, Chantal Jones, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Karl Rove, Dan Rather, and Drew Brees?

But by far, Austin’s identifying feature is the music. It is the Live Music Capital of the World, after all, home to one of the largest music festivals in the country. Austin City Limits (both the television show and the festival it spawned) have been integral parts of Austin for decades, bringing Texas musicians and artists to the world, and bringing worldwide artists to Texas. Each has their own prestige – the TV show is the only television show to have ever won the National Medal of Arts, and the festival is home to more than 70,000 fans nightly over the course of two weekends in autumn, making it for a brief moment its own community.

Austin is also home to one of the largest film festivals in the country, called SXSW or South by Southwest (which, of course, also doubles as a music festival), and a new emerging festival called Fun Fun Fun Fest. Austin’s 6th Street is legendary throughout Texas (especially the college-agers!) as an amazing place for fun, drinking, and dancing, and has treated many an Austinite to the triumphs of trials of a twenty-first birthday. The street is lined with shops, bars, concert halls, clubs, and enough entertainment to make your head spin. I can attest personally to the variety I’ve seen there – in the last few years alone I’ve seen bluegrass, heavy metal, classical, hip-hop, folk, jazz, and indie rock shows all up and down the street.

It’s not just music, art, and dancing, though – just this month, Austin’s brand new F1 track opened for its inaugural race, bringing over a hundred thousand racing fans worldwide to experience the city. This is also nothing to say of the 100,000-plus-size capacity of Darrel K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, the iconic football field which fills with the roaring chants of fans every fall Saturday. Each of these major events has left its own indelible stamp on Austin, and exposed our community to newcomers from near and far, showing just how unique our growing community is.

With all the attention Austin has attracted over the last several years, it’s no wonder that it has become a hot destination for young and old people alike, from nations all over the world and cities all over Texas. It’s no wonder that Austin has become OurPangea’s home, for us to explore the possibilities of community, and it’s no wonder that we have learned so much from our experience in this wonderful city.

Community: An Amalgamation Of Smaller Community Groups

“[Austin people] are not either/or. They are and. Coffee and beer. BBQ joints and vegan potlucks. Students and Techies. State-capital bureaucrats and weed-toking slackers — admittedly those are sometimes the same people.”

-Virginia Woodruff, An Open Love Letter to Austin, Texas

In most cases, no one likes being called ‘weird.’ Being weird implies that you’re a little off. If you’re weird you’re not really an outsider, but you’re not quite an accepted member of the community.   Not in Austin, TX. In our community weird is a strived for badge of honor.

Austin Neighborhood Map

Map courtesy of partsandlabour.blogspot.com. For the Judgmental Austin map, visit Austinist.com

Have you ever been to Austin? Being ‘weird’ here is an affectionate compliment of the highest level.  Austin’s neighborhoods are the embodiment of an almost unbelievable combination of oxymorons and contradictions.  Perhaps no one has described our modernly in-flux, vibrantly weird capital city of the Nation of Texas better than local blogger Virginia Woodruff.   It’s not easy to define what the Greater Austin Community is like, but perhaps I can introduce you to Austin by helping you understand the smaller parts that make it up.

Any community is, at its core, just a coalescence of smaller groups making up a greater whole. The greater Chicago community couldn’t be the same without Wrigleyville and NYC wouldn’t be the same New York community without Brooklyn or Queens. In this way, every smaller Austin neighborhood contributes a flavor and identity to the essence of what we know as the greater Austin community. An Austin without East Austin might take away some of our city’s signature weirdness and an Austin without the food truck culture would certainly make the food scene less unique, exciting, and loved.  An Austin without any part of it – whether that be the prepsters, the hispters, the knitters, or the fitsers – just wouldn’t be the same.

Maybe the most important criteria to understand about the Austin Community is this: Austin people own our Community like UT owns its football team.  We take pride in our community’s strengths, band together to fix its weaknesses, and revel in an appreciation of our local economy. We want it to be ours, but we also want other people to love it the way we do.

Henceforth, we can see a problem. Unless you come to Austin and experience it physically, you can’t feel the essence of our Community. You can’t love it with us. There is simply nothing that captures community interactions in a realistic way online, much less those of a community as interesting and heterogeneous as Austin. In response to this, we are developing OurPangea to leverage the group dynamics that create real-life communities—interactions, experiences, and information –to bring our entire communities online for anyone, anywhere in the world to glimpse. By capturing the “requirements” of community and putting it at your fingertips, we want to empower you to travel the world like never before.

We The Lonely People: Our History Exploration

“For most of history, man found his sense of community where he lived, with the people among whom he was born and with whom he died. For some that remains true today. But most of us in city and suburb live in one place, and find ‘community’ in another.”
-Ralph Keyes

Ralph Keyes, pop-culture author and community-proponent, speculated that modern marvels which have consistently pushed us forward as a technological society have simultaneously deteriorated our ability to form a sense of community.

Keyes wrote We The Lonely People, the article that the above excerpt comes from, in the 1970s and the technology he was specifically referring to were the household conveniences that diminished the habit of families gathering together as a household ‘community,’ but his perspectives are no less accurate or out of place in looking at modern advancements like the Internet and social media today.  In the short history of these broad technologies, we’ve been given the ability to instantly ‘connect,’ been granted tools to play words with friends across the nation, and now have the power to pinpoint our exact location anywhere in the world in mere seconds.

Over the past two months, right here on our blog we’ve been exploring how our communities have evolved, been shaped, and improved as they’ve grown throughout history. We wanted to look at various events, people, and trends from history to elucidate the power and importance of being able to understand our history. Even more so, we hoped to imagine the possibilities of a world where we’re able to harness the power of our collective past and use that focus to encourage our communities to become stronger and stronger as we move forward into the future.

Want another look?  Here’s a full list of all of our history themed posts!

The Importance of History
Common Unity
Remembering History and Using OurPangea to Address Global Trends
Ubuntu: I Am Who I Am Because of Who We All Are
A Conversation Over A Gyro
Making the World Spicy…Literally
Museums, Exhibits, And Galleries
The Rise of Cities
The World Goes Further Than What We See
How OurPangea Is Sharing and Creating History
The Big Support Networks of Education In Small Communities
What We All Share: A Sense of Community
OurPangea for Education
How Education Changes The World
How OurPangea Will Change The World

What topics do you want us to explore??

How OurPangea Can Help You Change The World

sign choices will change the world woman coffee

In the last several weeks we have been writing blog posts about how OurPangea can change the world. We have been talking about communities, education, and the importance of people, and how these relate to each other and our shared human history. All of these elements combine in the ways that OurPangea can change the world.

But OurPangea is not just an entity. We are only a small group of thinkers and writers and doers. What OurPangea needs is for people–those important people–to come together in the communities they love to change the world together. That’s what the spirit of OurPangea really is. It’s not for you to help us change the world, but for us to help you change the world. We want to help people like you who, across history, have shown the creativity and spark to make the world better for you and everyone. The only thing we can ever do is to hope to make it easier for you to change the world, the way you already do with your influence on the lives of your friends, family, and strangers.

Here at OurPangea we want to give you power to influence your communities, to share and collaborate making your community better for the world and the world better for your community. History has never truly had an opportunity like this for our future. For the first time, our technology has caught up to our ambition – we can stop longing for the future and start creating it, before our very own eyes. We can create the communities we desire; we can share ourselves with the world and explore the world to our deepest desires. Not only do we merely have the capability, but with OurPangea we also have the atmosphere of energy, excitement, trust, and community that comes as a part of joining the experience.

History is contextualized by its past, defined by its present, and a springboard to its future; it could be none of these without the extraordinary march of humanity building with each other and for each other. In a new, digital way, we here at OurPangea know that this march, full of the hopes and dreams of millions of ordinary people like you or me, is what will make our community of tomorrow shine forever.

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