Posted by Mike Williams on March 05, 2002 at 21:08:33:
In Reply to: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame posted by Priya on April 26, 2001 at 06:51:18:
It may look interesting from this angle but I can assure you from a recent tour through it that it does little to inspire. It is one enormous missed opportunity and disappointment for a building which should be infused with the spirit of life and rebellion that created rock and roll. Does this building look like it has one defiant gesture, one glimmer of the restless genius that created rock and roll, or is it instead a serene monument to the wealth and self satisfaction of the music industry? This building symbolizes everything that has co-opted the greats of rock and roll it claims to celebrate. I was an architecture student when this building was in the planning stages; when I heard it would be located in Cleveland, a gritty midwestern industrial city I thought how perfect--the music grew out of urban areas like Cleveland, Detroit, where singing in a rock and roll band was sometimes the only way of beating the odds, of keeping from dying a day at a time in a steel mill or on a factory assembly line. When I heard that the committee had selected I.M. Pei, the ultimate corporate architect, I was heartbroken. How could they have missed the point so completely? Back in the fifties, when rock and roll was young, and considered a rude affront to polite society, TV variety shows would have bland, "acceptable" white singers sing cover versions of the rock and roll top forty. The original artists were not considered acceptable entertainment. Perry Como would sing the hit parade. But the kids were crying out for some reality and truth, an escape from the crushing conformity of postwar life. And that's what this building calls for too, some f***'ing energy, life, and truth, and a few rules broken in the process. When I learned it would be I.M. Pei I phoned and wrote to Ahmet Ertegun at Atlantic Records, who was leading the effort, begging him to hold a national competition. Wasn't rock n roll about hope, about beating the odds, about coming out of nowhere to greatness? Surely somewhere out there lurked a great, raw talent that could do justice to this task, who if given the chance could create the architectural equivalent of rock and roll. I'd give it a shot, and so would you. Instead the music corporations got it their way and we got the architectural equivalent of n'sync, sited neatly on the waterfront, safely away from the downtown streets of the city, a family friendly theme park. So, it's probably pretty enough, and enjoy it on those terms. But if you think a bit about what it might have been...no, don't, it's way too painful.
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