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Monday, August 21, 2006

Brooklyn’s Bookfest

Posted by on August 21 at 16:32 PM

Brooklyn—probably the most literary neighborhood in America (going back at least to Walt Whitman)—now has a Bookfest. Er, a Book Fest. (Brooklyn’s is two words; Seattle’s, which has been dead since 2004, was one word.) Seattle’s Bookfest had, well, lots of problems. But Brooklyn’s Book Fest sounds like it’s going to succeed. Why? Lots of reasons: it has a purpose, it has excellent programming, the venue is not in the middle of nowhere, the admission is free

New York: 567,456; Seattle: 0. Sigh…

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Fucking move to New York already.

Dude, shut up or they'll get back on that "World Class City" business again. How many more stadia can we afford?

Move. Get out of this town. Leave. Go somewhere else.

Cost of living:
NYC: Way fucking out of range
Seattle: Pricey but reasonable

I just don't think it's that helpful to stack Seattle next to NYC when discussing anything and everything that Seattle is lacking. Sure, we'll come off looking like a backwater in a lot of ways, but it suggests that the only two types of cities are podunk nowheres on the one hand and glimmering metropoli like NYC and London on the other. There are small- and mid-size cities that have their acts together much more than Seattle does as far as urban planning, architecture, arts venues, festivals, transportation, etc. Take Vancouver, Canada and Edinburgh, Scotland as two similar-sized cities that offer much more, to my mind. They couldn't be more different from each other in a lot of obvious ways, but they both are relatively small cities that offer a ton and have great international reputations. That doesn't mean World Class Cities. It means that people all over recognize them as cities done right.

It seems like Seattle needs to change its mindset in that respect. If we concentrated on being a great small- or medium-size city, the future would be much more promising.

Dudes. Was kidding. If I thought this place was a zero I wouldn't be here.

Where's the humor Frizzelle? Seattle has a scene. You just don't see it. True, Seattle does not have a great central literary journal or bookfest or what have you. Actually I have a theory on this. Seattle writers are busy and thriving. They are constantly publishing in other journals, publishing books, doing readings all over and all kinds of stuff, including blogs. Just look at what Matt Briggs, alone, is doing, with his blog, his books, his workshops, readings and published stories. It's astonishing. Not only that, but he does so without earning much money. So, to your question of why Seattle does not presently have a great literary journal or bookfest, I offer two major reasons: (1)Seattle writers are in demand and busy and (2) they don't get paid for it; they are poor.

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