9 Comments

Love your concept of "scene" and how you write about it. I know exactly what you're getting at. I, like you, have moved around quite a bit over the years. It's amazing how a certain combination of time and place, and those people with whom we share that, can produce the most unforgettable moments and experiences. Even things that would otherwise be mundane take on a sort of otherworldly sense of amazement that is impossible to bottle up or recapture yet never escapes you for the rest of your life. It's haunting, really.

In my experience, the pinnacle of scene was 2012-2014 Hanoi. Those years offered the most magical and dynamic life, times, and sense of place that anyone could hope for. I still struggle with accepting the fact that it will never be recreated or experienced again, but that's life. We have to enjoy the great stuff while we have it and hopefully have the presence of mind to truly appreciate it before it's gone.

Expand full comment
Jun 22, 2021Liked by David Reaboi

I found this a very interesting piece and I look forward to the next installments. I suspect there's a profound link between the experience of the artistic avant-garde that defines what became conventional in the modernism of the 20th century, what you are here calling a "scene," and what constitutes the experience of authentic political action today. Am I right to say politics [as authentic experience] can only be conceived on the model of artistic rebellion?

It strikes me that there's a jouissance intrinsic to the avant-garde experience that may be passing over into more right-wing spaces due to the success of the dissemination of politics-as-artistic resistance. The corpse of the bohemian is becoming the puritan. But about this jouissance, I mean, in the avant-garde, you are freed from the law of the future that will bind those who come after as your imitators, because you yourselves are the very necessity that is bringing that law about. You don't have to regard it, you just have to be it.

Expand full comment
author

YES. I think there's a lot to this--much of it has been said, specifically about meme culture and shitposters. But it's sort of applying to a lot of the folks on the New Right (or whatever you'd call it, who are less prone to (let's say "non-masculine") activities like ideological gatekeeping, sniping and waging what are called g*y ops. Everyone--aside, of course, from a certain immature subset that wishes to make war on everyone--seems to be posting their Ws.

Expand full comment
Jun 22, 2021Liked by David Reaboi

Did that late-90s SF scene include the Firehouse down in the Mission? I saw Glenn Spearman play there some time in the 90s. Also the Luggage Store in the Tenderloin? Lots of great players in the Bay Area at that time. Now they can't even afford Oakland.

Expand full comment
author

Oh man! Yeah, I came right after that. Spearman had died before I showed up. I did see some stuff at the Luggage Store, tho. I think! The names of these places just escape me. I was mostly in the Mission, in that strip along Valencia from 16 to 24th.

Expand full comment

I was only an occasional visitor but the scene was in the Mission. Why? Affordable rents. My hometown of Tucson had a fantastic downtown artistic scene in the '80s in that sweet spot between '60s-'70s urban decay and the glitzy condo-led re-development of the '00s. Suddenly downtown was sold as hipster-ville and all the creative people who had made it happen - the artists- were driven out by big real estate money. The yuppies love it, of course, restaurants, bars, contrived events, but no real soul.

Expand full comment
Jun 21, 2021Liked by David Reaboi

My few visits to San Francisco were never so good. It's a beautiful area and I happen to love the weather, but the puking drunks and drug abusers passed out on the streets ruined my experience.

I can't judge a city based on one short vacation and a few business trips. It sounds like you were in the right place at the right time. That's a good thing,

Expand full comment
author

Yeah, there was something special in 2004-2007 in San Francisco. It was the place to be. I' not sure I can pinpoint exactly why-- it was a really fascinating time, just before the prices went through the roof and the city changed in tangible ways.

Expand full comment
deletedJun 23, 2021Liked by David Reaboi
Comment deleted
Expand full comment
author

No, I think it was originally a Vanity Fair piece that I read some years ago-- but this is interesting. A friend was just talking to me about Skallas, so I'm grateful for this link. Thank you!

Expand full comment