Take the leap.

#Seattle friends: Tuesday is John Boylan’s conversation on CITIES

Tuesday night in SEATTLE three of our favorite things converge: a) conversation about CITIES, b) with people meeting at Vermilion as a venue, and c) conversation starter John Boylan, whose popcorn style get-togethers inspired Orangutan Swing roundtables. (That, plus David Bohm’s book Dialogue* and more very esoteric ones like Six Thinking Hats** and Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together***.)

Here’s what John Boylan says is going on with CITIES.

John Boylan’s Next Conversation
This episode: “Damn! I love this town….”
Tuesday, October 23 from 7:30 to 9:30 pm
Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Update: We’ve asked The Stranger’s Charles Mudede to join Tuesday’s conversation. Charles thinks and writes often about cities; we’re glad to have him. We hope you come too.

This roundtable conversation series happens at Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle (http://www.vermillionseattle.com/). For more information on the series, see http://boylanconversation.wordpress.com/

A history of the conversations is available at http://boylanconversation.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/a-brief-history-of-the-conversations/

The Summary: How do we make a city that pops, a city that overflows with life, imagination, excitement? Read on below.

The Guests 

Randy Engstrom, organizer and advocate
Anne Focke, writer, advisor, initiator
C Davida Ingram, cultural producer
Charles Tonderai Mudede, writer, filmmaker

The Story

How does a city develop a thriving, vital, beautiful culture? How does a city become a place that pulses with new ideas, experiment, with imagination? How does it become that place where it’s easy to walk down any street and think, “Damn, I love this town?”

Traditionally, cities came into being for three reasons: commerce, culture, and defense. With city-states no longer beating the daylights out of each other and commerce moving nowadays in all sorts of strange ways, it’s easy to argue that culture has gained the pre-eminent position as to why cities need to exist. It’s a matter of gathering and fostering talent.

But creating cultural vibrancy isn’t easy. How does a city take that charge and make it something wonderful? City leaders usually count on a critical mass of major—and often expensive—institutions: opera, large theaters, ballet, orchestras, museums, to make a city great. Planners and architects look to graceful and livable public spaces, walkable streets, ready amenities. Working artists want money and space, space for work, rehearsing, performing, exhibiting. And good bars. People like me want more and better salons. Maybe it’s the economics: more incubation, more opportunities for starting the small businesses that can bring vitality to a neighborhood. But if it’s any of this, what’s the formula?

How do we create a city where a lively culture is integrated into the fabric of the place? How do we balance needs, as say, when a bar wants to offer good loud live music in a neighborhood that is otherwise very, very quiet? How can cultural vitality permeate a city, not just a few cultural districts? How do we make sure that rather than something received by a relative few, a city’s culture springs from the lives of all the people?

And of course, the other question: How does Seattle rate as vibrant, vital city? Where do we stand? And however this city rates, can we make it more so?

Come and talk about it.

State of Publishing 2 the same night, but in Durham

Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? I miss this kind of thing. I also miss the waterfront, which is the scene of the picture above. I wonder what these guys are up to lately. But anyway! Triangle friends, what do you think? Want to do a conversation like this, too?

Tell me!

But if you’re not able to get to Seattle (and who can on OS’ short notice, right?), you’re in luck.

On the East Coast right here in Durham, NC, Orangutan Swing hosts State of Publishing 2 on the same night.

The catch is, we need at least eight people there. If we can’t get eight, it can’t be a “dialogue.”

Here’s where you can RSVP for State of Publishing 2…


*Did you know that a great facilitator’s job is to make himself not needed?
** Blue Hat: Let’s steer this better. White Hat: We need more information. Pretty fascinating, check it out.
*** One day, we hope to meet William Isaacs. Unfortunately, the MIT professor didn’t respond to an invite to our Boston AETHER event. Boo hoo.