Although you probably didn't realize it, The Bold Italic is still around. The once-popular blog was shut down last April after its parent company decided that it didn't feel like supporting the publication anymore. Later that year, some techies bought up the rights to the name along with all the old content, and have been apparently trying to figure out what to do with it ever since. Well, it seems that one of the things the new publishers have settled on is decrying the state of San Francisco's arts and music scene. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has not made them a lot of friends in San Francisco's aforementioned scenes — so much so that one theater yesterday published a video calling out TBI on what it views as their BS.
Titled "The SF Arts Scene is Alive and Well, You Dumbass," the video (which you can see above) takes specific umbrage with two articles published by The Bold Italic — "Is San Francisco’s Music Scene Dead?" and "The Arts Are Dying in San Francisco. Here’s Why" — suggesting that the writers and publishers of those pieces are out of touch with the actual theater and art being made in San Francisco.
"Now this is not the first time an article like this has been written," PianoFight Artistic Director Rob Ready says in the video. "It won't be the last, but I can say that it's fucking bullshit. And we, the artists, make music, stage shows, produce films, choreograph dance, paint paintings — we are tired of reporters failing to cover all the awesome that is happening in favor of what isn't, or what was."
Ready then proceeds to (jokingly) ban the authors of the aforementioned articles from the PianoFight bar and theater.
"We've seen a ton of stories that bemoan the death of the SF art scene, without any investigation into whether or not that's true," Ready told SFist via email. "For the record, it's not. In any way." (He's not the only one that feels this way.)
When I read @thebolditalic's "Is SF's Music Scene Dead?" article. pic.twitter.com/LD0k0xxepF— Kyle Kelly-Yahner (@KyleKellyYahner) April 12, 2016
Not everyone disagrees with The Bold Italic's general thesis, however, and one musician recently penned some words of agreement on (where else) Medium.
"As a member of one of the four bands from San Francisco named in the Bay Bridged’s '14 San Francisco Bands to Watch in 2015,' article you mentioned, I have a hard time disagreeing with anything you wrote," an unnamed member of NRVS LVRS wrote about TBI's take on SF's music scene. "Thematically, our first record The Golden West took on some of the same issues you mention, including the homogenization of SF’s culture & the lack of housing options for those of us who make less than $100,000/year. And frankly, with a few exceptions, I haven’t seen SF musicians being vocal about what’s happening here or putting their frustrations into their music, and it might be because the ones who cared already left."
Could it be that both are right? Certainly it would be fair to say that venues of all sorts are disappearing, but PianoFight is a great counterexample of a new and thriving hub for theater makers and musicians. And anyway, the numbers may back Ready up — a quick look at the National Endowment for the Arts audience survey specifically calls out SF for having a thriving arts scene (although the data is a few years old).
"Exceptions are found in greater Denver, San Francisco, and Washington-Baltimore," reads the report. "In all three metropolitan areas, performing arts attendance ranged from 50 percent to 60 percent—or 10 to 20 percentage points higher than the U.S. rate."
"[The] frustrating part is that it takes very little effort to just look and see how much crazy awesome creative activity is happening every day in this city," Ready wrote to us. "Pieces like [The Bold Italic story], that have no actual reporting, only serve to misinform the general public on what's actually happening."
Related: Techies Buy The Defunct Bold Italic