There is one thing about Orlando that is both good and bad. If you want it, you have to make it yourself.
In other words… if you want a vibrant art scene, you have to make it yourself. If you want to sip coffee and listen to a “real” poetry reading not just an open mike… you have to make it yourself. If you want to add culture, you have to add it yourself.
That’s great in the sense that Orlando is a bit like a blank canvas. Anyone can come in and add a little bit and make a huge impact. I always thought that it was because Orlando was a small pond, and those people were the proverbial big fish. But Orlando isn’t really that small. Orlando is a large and growing city, and there are plenty of smaller places with better music, museums, and culture.
So… Orlando Sucks… but only if you don’t have the gumption or the wherewithal to make a positive change. Personally, I don’t have the money or the time to do much of anything about it. When opportunities present themselves, I support local artists. I’ve read poetry in public venues here and there, but open mike night was never my spiel so I stopped. I visit museums and art galleries. I try to support local businesses that support arts and culture.
What’s really weird is that I used to think Orlando was headed in the right direction. I have always been part of the underground… whether it was the music I listened or the places I frequented for recreation… and definitely the people I counted among my friends. Orlando had a vibrant underground when I moved here. Somewhere along the way, the underground faded, but the heartbeat could still be felt. Then around the turn of the century, something shifted. Most of the underground gave up, and moved away. The few that remained soldiered on, but a new generation of people had by then filled the void that was left by this mass migration with insipid boy bands and places that catered to that image and lifestyle.
So… for me Orlando isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but a go-getter with the right set of tools could make Orlando something to truly be proud of. I’m not that go-getter. Orlando Sucks… ;p