by Michael R. Allen
You don’t think that St. Louis has much to offer you culturally. You blame the city for an innate conservatism that is as much an American defect as it is a specifically St. Louis one. But you don’t care — complaining about this city’s inadequacies gives you plenty of cover for your own. Maybe you are even booking a one-way ride out of here. You are frustrated to be in a city without bright lights and long nights, and you don’t hesitate to tell everyone as loudly and as often as you can muster.
If this sounds like you, chances are you have never heard of the mode of cultural production called 52nd City. This glorious enterprise — including an honest-to-goodness print magazine, a smart blog and cool events — didn’t have to revive St. Louis’ cultural landscape, the one that hypothetical you are ignoring. Instead, the folks behind 52nd City are drawing together parts of that landscape to create new connections between parts and people that make St. Louis an exciting city. We have started to see the results: a must-read blog that points out events and places that often are new to me, an awards program honoring people that are probably new to 99% of the general public but whose work helps everyone, and one of the most interesting online magazine issues that I’ve seen. These folks are celebrating what we have so no one can leave town without being made aware of the wonderful local version of those fabled jazz clubs and obscure bookstores of Those Other Better Cities.
If you want to get hip to this city, join the 52nd City crew for their magazine launch party tomorrow at the Atomic Cowboy, 4140 Manchester Avenue, from 7:00 p.m. ’til 9:00 p.m. Otherwise, you’ll probably just leave town without looking back — until your new buddies start talking about all the cool things happening in some old river city, and golly how cheap housing is there…