The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

9 January 2007

Lips service

Steve Lackmeyer at the Oklahoman has been catching flak because of the MTV/VH1 writeup of Flaming Lips Alley, which contained this incendiary passage:

"The 'street' was actually an alleyway, one that a reporter for OKC newspaper The Oklahoman kindly described as 'littered with open dumpsters and poorly lit at night'."

Mr Lackmeyer demurs:

Kindly? I wasn't being kind at all. The alley may be littered with dumpsters and poorly lit, but it's also in the heart of the city's most expensive real estate. Internet chat sites for the Flaming Lips took my comment as evidence Bricktown is a seedy area, when I was only questioning whether the alley was a sufficient tribute to a Grammy-winning band that has sold millions of records and boasts a worldwide following.

Meanwhile, a fan using the nym "BlueNote83" seeks to set the record straight:

I think the impression that everyone including international media got is that the Lips got a crappy little dirt alley. Couldn't be further from the truth. When the Oklahoman reporter was writing this, he was writing to a local audience, all of whom it was safe for him to assume knew the Bricktown area quite well. By Bricktown's standards the alley IS a little scruffy, but it fronts arguably the most valuable real estate in the state of Oklahoma.

Either way, people now have an undeservedly bad impression of the honor, and of Oklahoma City, which is exactly the OPPOSITE of what was intended by the Lips, and by the people who pushed this.

He follows with a gallery of ten photos (scroll down to his next post) and this pertinent observation:

One other thing that was missed: quite a few people who got behind this had nothing personal to gain by it, and did it at some political risk. I think it's notable that this was pushed by a politically conservative Mayor and a Chamber of Commerce made up primarily of people whose politics might not match up with the Lips' on every issue. Nevertheless, they recognized the Lips are incredibly deserving of the honor, and are an asset to Oklahoma City both culturally and economically.

So before you go off ripping OKC as small-minded or ugly, you might consider these facts. Frankly, if you love the Lips, you shouldn't hate on the city that gave birth to them, and the city where they still feel the most at home.

And that goes double for those of you who live here.

Posted at 1:35 PM to City Scene


One view actually looked like an alley. The others, kind of attractive looking.

So, was the exception actually on the alley, or a side way off of it?

Posted by: McGehee at 7:36 AM on 10 January 2007

It's a central-city alley; you expect a certain level of scruffiness, even in a high-priced zone.

Recently there has been, perhaps coincidentally, pressure on property owners to make their areas spiffier, which may account for the relative niceness of some of those shots.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:43 AM on 10 January 2007