Yes, yes. Colorado Springs is situated in a beautiful setting, with a pleasant climate. However, if you hunger for intellectual stimulation and a vital, genuinely vibrant cultural scene, we're falling far short of the mark. Yup, the words "bland," "white bread," "ho-hum" and "ride-'em-cowboy" come to mind. Civic leaders, sit up!
It's possible to describe "the Seattle sound," the San Francisco sound" or even the "Minneapolis sound." Is there a "Colorado Springs sound"? We have no "sound." There aren't any venues to create or support a sound. The musicians coming out of Colorado are all out of Boulder or Denver.
What, culturally, can Colorado Springs claim as its own? We're the right-wing, fundamentalist Christian capital of the world. That's not culture, though. I guess you could say we're strong in a sort of pioneer, Palmeresque, gateway-to-the-plains sort of historical schtick -- which can be kind of important in its way.
Are we a cultural hotbed or a cultural wasteland? Definitely a wasteland, but there are signs that could change in coming years. We're seeing a much wider variety of restaurants, for example.
What could be done to make the Springs more hip and happening? Have more venues for live music. Bring cutting-edge acts to town. The ballet is nice, the Colorado Springs Symphony is nice, but we need to mix it up a lot more.
Does Colorado Springs have a definitive cultural milieu? Denver and Boulder get most of the real work done. Colorado Springs is just an offshoot of that. The art here is commercial. There's an artistic local counterculture that resists the liquid money of mainstream culture, but it's not encouraged or supported.
Culturally speaking, what's the most interesting thing going on locally? There are a few poets with loud voices. It probably says a lot that I've lived here for a while, now, but I know little about it culturally. This town has a conservative bent. It doesn't want a subculture that's on the edge.
Is there a Colorado Springs "sound"? My wife and I were both struck, when we moved back here from Virginia two years ago, by how little diversity there is here. It's like everyone's cloned -- the same clothes, the same cars. Yuppie tastes define the scene. Coffeehouse acoustic music is big. There's a ton of casual consumers, but few producers.
Is there anything Colorado Springs could claim as its own, culturally? What passes for culture here is pretty much limited to the outdoorsy, recreational, Pikes-Peaky thing. You have to go to Denver or Boulder for meaningful cultural experiences.
What could we do to make this place more hip? Do what the mountain towns do -- hold more festivals, outdoor concerts and art shows. Bring in more prominent musical artists. Get people together, mix it up, cultivate a scene. This town is very family oriented, which is nice, but it's culturally bland and lifeless.
-- Bob Campbell
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