5. Where Our History Fails Us
We can sometimes forget that our history as a people and society is not just about events or even people; it is about the connections between people. Studying or identifying one person is not enough. It is the dynamic of the community coming in contact with the other that is the driving force behind our development. Where do we meet, how do we meet, and how do we form those bonds that keeps us together?
Our society is so complex now that we can have nested communities to incredible degrees. We are all American, and yet we find impressive ways to segregate ourselves from each other. It’s messy and not easily instructed in a classroom, but it is imperative to understand if we are to truly know where have come from and where we are going.
No one at Mohawk signed the Camp David Accords, but to listen to the words coming from the stage is to listen to our times. You could have sat through Mohawk and understood ourselves pretty well, maybe even better than if you had spent equal time listening to Brian Williams or Brit Hume.
4. We Are Preserving The Wrong Things
Something the New Deal got right was that it understood that it was people who had to do the work in all manner of things. Programs like the Public Works of Art Program and the Works Progress Administration set out to support the culture of our society in trying times. It’s all well and good to give the Tennessee Valley some electricity but you have to give them something to dream about too.
You can’t preserve people. Mortality is pretty set in stone right now, but it is those acts that we all contribute that make history, and these are the things we need to keep sacred. Those nights at the Mohawk when the music and the brews were flowing and people with nothing in common but a song that hit the spot were in unison have done as much for this city as any stockyard or terminal. Who we are is as important as what we build. Our approach to this history must encompass all things, and we are right the passing of this community built around Mohawk into something else.
Maybe we should start worrying about this history when the people start leaving as opposed to when the wrecking balls show up.
3. Life To Something That Doesn’t Have It
Dude it is just brick and mortar and probably substandard materials that are not up to code. And yet because of what happens there and who comes through the place becomes alive in itself. We do this to a lot of inanimate objects. We pass on our own memories of people to the place itself, becoming our own enemy in the fight to preserve what matters.
Not to say that the location and the objects themselves lack any importance. They can tell us much. It is just that they are the result of the history and not the history themselves. They were there when it happened, but not what happened.
Odd little thing about us, how we can fall so in love with a specific place and time and make it a friend when it isn’t real. We feel so good about where we are we even want the furniture to have a good time.
2. Growing Out
We all pass through communities as we grow up in life and as we grow out through life. Through each community we take different things. Wisdom, love, hate, whatever. As Mohawk closes it down we’ll leave the joint and find a new one, maybe with different people. It will have a different vibe to it for sure.
And we never know when the right time to get out is. If anything we usually stay too long. Maybe this is the right time for this to end and something new to start. Maybe the next place for the heart and soul of our music is already here, and now we’ll have the motivation to find it.
Life often kicks us to the next community rather than leaving it on mutual terms. We have a stunning lack of control in how life treats us. Might as well try to land comfortably when we get catapulted through the air.
1. A Lack of Jams
First there was music. No one would go if there wasn’t. No one will go now that there will be none. It is easy to get distracted in Mohawk Place not because the conversation is great because you aren’t supposed to be talking listen to the music, man. No, it’s easy to get distracted by looking at all of the publicity 8″x10″s on the walls.
Really it was all of the pictures of the bands I didn’t know that sucked me in. Maybe a hundred pictures in the place of these bands that had come through. All of them with their own music and own stories, drawing in their own part of the greater music community to the place. This is how culture spreads. We have the Internet now with the Twitter and the YouTube and whatnot. But the transmission of music from person to person in the intimate environs of places like Mohawk have done more for society than any tweet or blog post about numbered items.
And none of it wouldn’t have mattered if the music wasn’t good. In the end, there was good music, and the next Mohawk Place would be wise to recognize this.
Correction: In a previous update, Trending Buffalo reported that Larry Korab was a bleeding heart culturalist. In fact, Larry Korab is the pseudonym for The Defenseman, who now writes for himself at The Defenseman. You may follow him on Twitter by searching @TheDefenseman. Trending Buffalo regrets the error.