Dan Shapiro asks the right questions

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Amid all the Expo hype on one side and Expo smack downs on the other, Dan Shapiro has manged to bring the basic principles of journalism to bear on a much quoted myth.

But first a reminder. Dan is a Shanghai scene veteran and plays a mean guitar himself his latest band is The Fever Machine - so check them out here.

In his latest print column Dan does what no one else has thought to do yet. He moves away from the effect on the existing local scene and looks at the claim that the Expo will benefit culture because it showcases the best from around the world - and he follows through and questions it.

The results are not surprising, the claim is rubbish. His observations are acute. He contacted as many pavilion reps as he could from countries with great music scenes and asked them for their line ups at the Expo. Here's a quote:

Rather than inviting the likes of Them Crooked Vultures, The Raveonettes, The Hives, HIM, Turbonegro and Rush to Shanghai, pavilion organizers have settled for a rather dull program of events, ignoring their obvious political guanxi and ability to book cutting-edge artists, instead blandly appeasing local censors.

Beginning with the country that invented rock 'n roll, punk and country, the U.S. has decided to abandon its musical roots, opting for a number of choirs and orchestras to represent the land of Chuck Berry, CBGB and the Grand Ole Opry. The U.S. State Department is hosting Herbie Hancock on May 13 and Ozomatli on May 20, but it's still unclear whether Herbie will play "Rockit" or if Ozo will take it to the streets.
Exactly. In fact, as many people are now pointing out, there has been a recent influx of great international acts - playing local venues by themselves or as offshoots of domestic festival dates. Many of them are still to play. The fact of the matter is that the Expo is an annoying business and PR event and that organizers on the local scenes are already doing a much better job at putting on cultural events without any funding or extra motivation.

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This page contains a single entry by Andy Best published on April 27, 2010 5:02 PM.

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