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First Posted: 5/28/2013

Perspective is an interesting thing.

For some people, they may pick up The Weekender in their favorite eatery or on their way to work and read about the people, bands, or places I mention in my articles and know exactly what I am talking about. Some people may have lived in Northeast Pennsylvania longer than I’ve been alive and have no idea what I am talking about. And then there are some people from outside of the area who may have read these articles online and now know just as much about our area as I do. Each of these people has a different perception of our town.

So far this year, I have travelled to four continents and more countries than I can remember. I learned a lot about other cultures and customs, and most of the time, they are very different from the way we do things around Kingston, which got me thinking about how people would perceive where we are from. That’s what I’d like to talk about today.

I know I’ve been writing this column for a little while now, but I always feel the need to reiterate this point: our area is a highly respected place in underground music. You may not be reading about seeing these bands on MTV, but throughout America and even the world, the things that we have done within the boundaries of Wilkes-Barre, Nanticoke, Scranton, and beyond resonate around the globe with people who are in the same situation as us: living in a small town.

Now I hope this isn’t taken the wrong way. I’m not saying that we have it harder than people from anywhere else in the world because we have a smaller population, because it’s challenging to have a thriving creative atmosphere even in big cities. But, somehow, we have made a name for ourselves.

I have met people from as far away as Japan and Siberia and they often ask me things about our town. About Redwood Art Space. “It will reopen soon, I promise.” About any new bands forming. “Check out Life of Reilly and Grin.” About old bands that have broken up. “Yeah, that Frostbite 7-inch really is great.” All these people are interested in our town, and I usually end up telling them the same thing:

“We are a small town and an even smaller scene. We are not known for our huge shows or vast array of venues; rather, we are known for a scene of great bands and passionate kids. The band to kid ratio is insane. At any given time in our area, we could have a show with just 50 people, and nearly all of them are in bands. And all different types of bands, too.”

I think my perspective is pretty easy to understand if you’ve followed this column: I’m very happy to be a part of the local arts community, but I understand its flaws and try to work to overcome them. However, to understand other peoples’ perspectives is more confusing. To some people in our area, we, the scene, are still just a nuisance, but to some people outside of the Wyoming Valley, we are a beacon of hope. We have amazing bands and people to support them.

Speaking of bands, we have two shows in the time before my next article, so be sure to check them out. On June 3 at West Side Park in Nanticoke, it’s Turnstile, Angel Du$t, King Nine, Disengage, and Blind Justice, and then on June 9 at the American Legion in Glen Lyon, it’s Stick Together, Ancient Heads, Demolition, Intent, and Big Contest.