Saturday, May 28, 2011

Spray sparingly. Post prudently.

For anyone who enjoys going to music shows, festivals and community events, it's fun to take some time to stroll through one's city, reading posters on telephone poles and flyers taped on windows.
One can even see how future historians will comb through this paper trail for clues into the cultural underpinnings of say, a fairgrounds neighborhood society. Most of us can appreciate it since they have a transitory life and also because the number usually stays at a manageable level in most areas outside of university campuses.
However, when Quint Davis and crew arrive in March of each year to start setting up the thing that becomes JazzFest by the end of April, neighbors start to prepare for the advertising onslaught of posters, chalkers and ultimately, advertising planes flying in circles overhead for 7 or more hours. (I usually spend the day after JF at Rouse's while sipping a hand grenade from Tropical Isle for some reason.)
This is our lot. We accept it, although we also manage it by reducing the amount when too many posters are stapled on top of each other.

I watch for flyers just left on top of garbage cans or on chairs to blow around (Treme TV show, your folks were in this group this year...).

And we can appreciate it when we get timely political messages:

or a chuckle:

But sometimes the amount outweighs the use.

Sometime in the last weekend of JF, the Artspark people decided they needed a dozen ads surrounding the fairgrounds for their event to be held on May 14 in City Park. So, like many smart people they decided to get creative and bring some chalk and a stencil and spray chalk directly on the street.
Except, they felt instead of 1 stencil per street, they would be better to leave 3, 4, 5 in a single block and then to use so much chalk that 3 weeks later when all traces of the massive JazzFest itself were neatly packed away, these flyers remain.

You might say, probably are saying, what is the big deal? They're small, they will wash away. Although with drought conditions remaining and then a hard rain 2 nights ago not altering them much, it's possible that they might not go away soon.
More importantly than that is the point that ephemeral messages should be just that. And the music shows leave enough paper to fill a large garbage can, which become our responsibility to remove. I hate to see folks start to use the street, sidewalk to advertise their production without understanding that maybe less can be more or if they mean it to have a short life, then maybe check to make sure it does.
Graffiti artists are doing something quite different when they leave a message. And when they sloppily tag a building over and over I am as annoyed as the owner. Try to be useful and purposeful. I think...
It's sort of like the folks who profit from Bayou Boogalou leaving those banners on the bridges well past the event. We get it: if no one complains than why not keep getting the coverage?
Well, okay, here I am complaining. Use my streets for your advertising, but within reason please. And make it beautiful. And take some time after to find out if you overstepped your boundaries among your neighbors.

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