Jay Bennett's Phoenix Music Manifesto

In early 2012, Jackalope Ranch began inviting creative types around town to write a manifesto -- a personal list of 10 hard-and-fast rules of life or pieces of advice. Each manifesto was paired with a local designer who illustrated one lesson/rule in poster form.

We loved the Manifesto series so much that we decided to invite some of our favorite New Times writers to contribute their lists of rules for making your way through the food, art, shopping, and music scenes in Phoenix for this year's Resolution Guide.

Jay Bennett's Phoenix Art Manifesto (illustrated above by Phoenix designer Joshua Rhodes, aka Subtle Takeover) is in this week's print edition of New Times, along with words of wisdom and designs by a collection of Phoenicians. See Bennett's advice after the jump and details on Jackalope Ranch's Manifesto exhibition, on view this Friday in downtown Phoenix.

- Manifestos: Jackalope Ranch's Poster Show of Life Lessons and Rules by Phoenix Creatives - Phoenix Photographer Andrew Pielage to Open the Drive-Thru Gallery on Roosevelt Row - Jay Bennett's Nothing Not New Project for Up on the Sun

• The thinking that Phoenix isn't a good music town is bullshit. There are excellent touring acts playing almost every night of the week, and more than enough good local bands playing nearly as often.

• Don't be guilted into "supporting local." National or local, it's okay to like what you like.

• You haven't heard your favorite local band yet, even though you're absolutely sure you have.

• Stop talking about building a scene that will grab the nation's attention. It either happens or it doesn't -- and it probably won't. But that's okay.

• And speaking of "scenes," the media's job isn't to build them up or even to promote or support bands. It's to report on, critique, analyze, and contextualize.

• A musician's technical proficiency is a beautiful thing, but it's overrated. To paraphrase Steve Earle's character on HBO's Treme: There's a surplus of players, but only a handful of artists.

• Originality, a honed performance, and a musical vision (and adherence to it) are never overrated.

• Three bands is -- and has always been -- the optimum number at any rock show.

• After 35 minutes on stage, the only sound coming from a non-headlining band should be the breaking down of their gear.

• Your band isn't nearly as good as you think it is. But that's okay, too. And by all means, keep working on it.

-- Jay Bennett

Stop by Downtown's Drive-Thru Gallery to see the original collection of Manifestos published on Jackalope Ranch. Authors include Deborah Sussman, Tom Leveen, Kim Porter, Jill Anderson, Jo Novelli, Clint Bolick, Vermon Pierre, and James Garcia whose life lessons have been illustrated by Anton Anger, Jon Ashcroft, Peter Storch, John Walters, Safwat Saleem, Nina Miller, Nicole Stumphauzer, and Casebeer Jones.

The exhibition will be open on January 18 (Third Friday) from 6 to 9 p.m. at Drive-Thru Gallery, 918 North Sixth Street on Roosevelt Row. We'll have drinks and snacks (even a s'more stand) and share live music with neighboring gallery 1Spot for its grand opening with art by Damian Jim.

Stay tuned to Jackalope Ranch for more info.

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Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton