Wednesday, April 1, 2009

To me, it look like a Ann Arbor, to me

I've been very privileged in my life. I've been able to visit places all over the world. I've spent time in hundreds of very interesting cities, both foreign and domestic. I've lived in many places as well. However, none has felt more inviting, livable, relaxed and exciting as the one I've lived in for the last 5 years.

The Ace Deuce.

For those reading this, you've at least been here, if not lived here. The plurality, if not the majority of Ann Arborites are what I would describe as Neo-Beatnik Bohemian Hippite Yuppies. It's a strange amalgamation of counter-culture and upper-middle class. The status quo of Ann Arbor and the status quo of the rest of the world seem diametrically opposed. 

While there are the occasional breaches in traditional Ann Arbor style (Jimmy John's/Espresso Royale's replication) the uniqueness of almost all Ann Arbor businesses speaks to Ann Arbor's desire to 'do it's own thing'. Ann Arborites have been able to keep the chain resturants, like McDonald's and Bennigan's out away from this center of progressive culture in the midwest.

Ann Arbor strives to be independant. No where have I lived has a place been so focused on contructing itself as an Ivory Tower (I personally don't find that to be a negative thing, call me pretentious). It features UofM's library system, the 9th largest in the U.S., the Ann Arbor Film Festival, one of the premier festivals for showcasing Avant Garde films, and also happens to be the 2nd oldest film festival in the nation.

If you were to spend more than an hour in the city, and not notice the passion for the arts in Ann Arbor, you would be either Tommy Walker or a pre-Anne Sullivan Helen Keller (well, maybe a post-Anne Sullivan too...).

There are more than 10 small art galleries around town where local artists showcase their work. Most of these are located at the Main Street area. Various arts festivals take place throughout the year, including the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, about to celebrate it's 50th anniversary this July.

I wouldn't say that 'Ann Arbor has something for everyone' because, as much as I enjoy a good cliche, it just isn't true. 'Tree City' is offputting to some, simply because of it's athetics. While it has more trees in an urban area than any place in the world, it also has quite a bit of concete, to offset the 147 parks that populate the city. Some have difficulty settling this fact in their minds. While it can be a beautiful place(Nichols Arboretum, UofM's North Campus, etc.) it certainly is a city, and as such, you have to live like it's a city (lack of parking, heavy traffic, especially at rush hour, etc.).

This post seems like it has little or no point, but I say it all to try point out why I think AA is such a unique place, and, in part, to display what I like about it.

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