Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dear builders of apartments and condos,

Do you want your buyers and renters to like you and say good things about you? It seems as though many of you, contractors, builders, landlords and so forth, do not care if your customers are happy.

Then there's Mayo Group - they're just beyond explanation, anyway.

A little extra thought and investment into sound dampening between condos and apartments would go along way towards making happier customers and happier communities.

It's just an idea, as I sit here listening to every little sound emitted by my next door neighbors, through walls so transparent to sound I have to check now and again to see if they're still there, dividing our domiciles.

I want to be able to stay here. I like the sounds of the street outside. I like the sounds of the train. I love this community. However, I can not live with this wall. Not even the existing fiberglass insulation prevents it from reverberating, seemingly amplifying some frequencies even, from next door.

I can not afford to rebuild this wall, move, or take on the already embattled developer and landlord of the unit next door. They already broke two agreements that would have at least mostly corrected the situation.

I can not sleep with earplugs. I've tried that several times.

A fan is not loud enough to drown it out.

A recording of white noise or pink noise keeps me up just as well.

Options? Not really. I suppose I could go deeper into debt and have professionals come in. I wonder if this product works? It's too bad I'd have to rip all my drywall out to do it.

So in the end, a guy who came in to Lynn and has fought hard for it, with LynnHappens, DTLna and more, just might be done in by a stupid residential wall and a criminal developer (already indicted in court) called Mayo Group/J.M. Realty Management.

Artist:...well you know what I'm hearing now.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I'm using a photo I took locally for this one, but it's not the full schedule.

I'm doing a one-hour vinyl set on Sept 3rd, here:

And I'm playing the second Friday of the Friday Night Spins series on September 10th. The Gulu-flavored set is different from the Turbine-flavored set, so one could go to both and experience something different each night!

This post is not in chronological order.

Artist: Catherine Wheel
Song: Black Metallic

Monday, August 16, 2010

Coming up...

  • This Tuesday, the Downtown Lynn Neighborhood Association will meet with Jamie Marsh from Community Development in City Hall, 3rd Floor, at 7:30pm. We'll chat for a while and then go as a group to check out the telescope in High Rock Tower!

  • Friday, August 20th, DJ Seth returns to Turbine with "Rarities and guilty pleasures." 9pm.

  • Saturday, 11am - 5pm is Culturefest II, "A world without borders" on Munroe Street. Bands. Food. Activities for kids. Tables representing various businesses and organizations. More. (and I'll have a DJ set there as well, representing "Rock culture")

  • Something tells me there was more, so if you have something, send it in. I'm focusing on events in DTL. For more events, check out my other site,

    Artist:  Brian Eno
    Song: On Some Faraway Beach

    Friday, August 13, 2010

    I'm back at Turbine tomorrow night! DJ Seth

    A fancy graphic may have to wait, but I want to let everyone know that starting 9pm, Saturday, August 14th. I'll be selecting choice tunes at Turbine, located at 56 Central Square, Lynn, MA.

    Artist: Department S
    Song: Is Vic There? (Italian version)

    Monday, August 9, 2010

    Meet State Senator McGee with DTLna tonight!

    This is a reminder, and a cross post (please excuse), that there's a DTLna meeting at the Lynn Police Station Community Room, 7:30pm, for a conversation with State Senator Thomas M. McGee.

    We hope to discuss matters at the state level that effect us in Downtown Lynn. Of particular interest to us, may be his membership in the Transportation and
    Federal Stimulus Oversight legislative committees.

    Artist:  The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
    Song: Everything With You

    Friday, August 6, 2010

    I'm playing tunes at Turbine this Saturday, 8/7

    Stop in and say 'Hi'. I'm DJ'ing at Turbine Wine Bar, 56 Central Square.

    Hang out with friends and neighbors and enjoy some wine, beer, food and an assortment of tunes.

    The modified photo in this image is of my rusty window-sill, taken just before I moved in, hoping Mayo would do something with it. At least I did something with it..

    Artist: Camera Obscura
    Song: The Sweetest Thing

    Thursday, August 5, 2010

    Timing is everything? Cities should use economic downturns to plan ahead and embrace change

    Read this article in the Globe, then  read this one in the Item and come back and read the rest of this post.

    We can get a little sore downtown, hearing so often about how well Salem is doing vs. Lynn, even though Salem as a few advantages that made their resurgence easier (thanks Nathaniel Hawthorne, Arthur Miller),  but I'm glad the article was written. It's a dose of bitter medicine Lynn needs to get better. Thanks, Steven Rosenberg. In all seriousness, you have done your city a great service.

    For those newer to Lynn who haven't spent more than a reasonable about of time trying to figure out why the city is in the shape it is, Rosenberg brings to light some of those reasons. One of the most important ones is the differences in city leadership.

    While Salem was adhering to its plans for the future, Lynn's leaders were stuck in a fading industrial past, refusing to let go of the world they've known. I believe this was a big contributor to our city government's insular behavior. From what I can tell, it was more of a defensive and possibly xenophobic posture than outright corruption, so-called hired hacks, nepotism and shady deals. At least I hope I'm right in the assessment. But it can certainly have a bad appearance from the outside, and we're lucky what happened to Chelsea in 1991, when it was placed into state receivership and city officials went to jail, didn't and likely will never happen here.

    Correct me if this isn't how it went down, but when Lynn cut itself off from its waterfront resources with power lines, a treatment plant and big box stores, it was still thinking like an industrial city, where that kind of development fits in. Leaders here weren't thinking about ocean views, a boardwalk and a place people would want to live, eat and play. They were thinking about honest blue-collar jobs in Lynn, ignoring the fact that we're within a stone's throw from Boston, and even all of the route 128 office parks. I'm glad they're still here and hope they remain, but how much longer can we cling to papa GE?

    Meanwhile, whether the outlying suburban malls and movie multi-plexes were to blame or not, downtown lost its mojo. It wasn't the only one. Most post-industrial satellite cities suffered the same fate, with legitimate businesses falling to national chain stores popping up in the more fashionable (at the time) suburbs. These were often replaced in our nation's downtowns, as Lynn knows all too well, with the illegitimate businesses of prostitution and drugs.

    The difference between Lynn and Salem has more to do with how leaders handled the situation and laid the groundwork so that a re-invention and resurgence would be possible down the road.

    And that's often been Lynn's mistake. As Rosenberg points out, Lynn designated a downtown cyber-district in 2000. Never mind the bubble bursting soon after, by that time, it was already an outdated concept. They needed to be ready to jump on that wagon by 1996, at least.

    And you also can't put condos before artists. Though I'm a beneficiary of the condo development, most artists can't afford one. To attract more artists and build a scene around LynnArts, and to be able to have street-facing galleries, rent has to be cheap.

    It may come as a surprise to some that it actually isn't that affordable here. The city basically rolled out the carpet to one downtown developer without checking up on them properly, and now they sit on dilapidated storefronts with their terrible reputation asking way too much in rent. (It isn't smart business for Mayo, but that's how they roll.) Artists need to be able to live, work, play and show their art here.

    When a scene develops around young people with music and art, others will feel safe here and the development we're looking for will occur almost organically, good or bad economy.

    But getting back to real estate, let's take a look at the Item article referenced above. It's only the latest in a string of articles discussing the possible taking of the old Hawthorne's by eminent domain. The idea of a government being able to come in and take your property when your taxes are all up to date, and when it doesn't involve some kind of redevelopment for public use such as a road, gives me the willies. On the other hand, it's almost criminal what the family is doing to stunt growth downtown by letting their property rot. They don't lack the funds to do something with it, either. We need to shame them, boycott their other restaurants, and perhaps find an office of theirs to make ourselves a nuisance in front of.

    Getting back to the Item article, the five year plan EDIC wants to draw out is a good idea. But, we've had other plans that were good ideas, and the city has more or less ignored them. It's time to get a good plan and stick with it, so that we as a city are poised well enough in advance for the next economic upturn.

    The city also must open its arms to more people from the outside. I'm not talking about our general population or saying that people here aren't welcoming. This is the most welcoming place I've ever known in New England. I'm talking about residency requirements. We need to be able to hire city workers from anywhere. A still pond becomes stagnant and chokes. One with recirculating water stays fresh (just ask the good folks by Goldfish pond). Furthermore, with entire city departments living in Lynn, they and their friends become powerful political forces who vote for their bosses, causing our elected officials to bend to the wills of their department heads (some have bucked the trend recently--Cahill).

    The city must also, on an official level, embrace its diversity. I give Mayor Kennedy credit for all of her attempts so far and hope the trend continues.

    The city must, even if they don't understand it, allow artists to live and breathe freely here. Let's make it easier to open and run live original music venues and art galleries. Combining both works very well, too, such as AS220 in Providence. How can we do that? Perhaps, some creative incentives for landlords who rent to creative people would be a place to start. But also, LynnArts needs to step up its game a little. I understand funding is short, but how about getting a little more daring with art and performance? And with the Meet Me Downtown Festival of the Arts, let's make it more about art and less about cheap plastic trinkets, balloons, cover bands and corporate schlock. That's what I call "Lowest Common Denominator programming" and Lynners are too smart for that. We need to reach out to more artists for that, too. One of Lynn's most famous talents, who was born and raised here, recently told me about LynnArts, "I was treated like a homeless person there." This guy is famous in his circle on a national level and certainly isn't homeless or crazy, and nothing about him even gives off that impression. It made me sick to hear it. And if that's airing our dirty laundry, so be it. It's a way forward.

    We also need to bring more young people downtown. If that's not a part of the plan, we've got the wrong plan. When I first moved here I was, in fact, comforted by the sound of skateboarders out in Central Square. Where did they go? I haven't seen or heard them in about a year. How about some of our street fairs festivals target their demographic a little more? Hodgepodge Music Fest, recently held in Lynn Woods, is a fine example. But, I love the fact that it was in Lynn Woods. Maybe we can dream up something else for teens and young adults here in DTL...actually, no, we shouldn't. What's great about Hodgepodge is that it came from the kids. We just need to make it possible for them to make it happen, here.

    And what am I doing? I don't think it's right to complain without making oneself part of the solution:
    working with other Lynners on

    and helping Juan from Fernando's with his fun Culturefests - next one on Aug 21st!

    Artist: Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers
    Song: Roadrunner

    Monday, August 2, 2010

    If you live in DTL and haven't joined DTLna... should!!

    The Lynn Experiment and another dedicated volunteer hand-delivered a great one-pager full of useful information for downtown residents, including the link for the Downtown Lynn Neighborhood Association. To join, simply go to the site and drop a note under "Contact or Join" on the left side. That's all you have to do! If you already receive emails from me about meetings and events, you're already a member (I'm Seth).

    Another way to keep up on what's going on is to check the blogs and check often. Most of us link to each other in our sidebars. Just scan the sidebar to your right and you'll see the latest updates on top.

    It may be posted in many places, but we'd like to maximize exposure for those of you who don't read all of us (though you should!):

    DTL Overview

    Artist: The King Khan and BBQ Show
    Song: What's for Dinner?