By JESSE DAVIDSON

Special to the Valley Press

Recently, I ran across a time honored tradition that occurs often in the Antelope Valley on social media.

Whenever something unpleasant happens, mild or horrific, people often end the story with the hashtag, “Only In The AV.” It would be easy for me to sit on my moral high horse and pretend I’ve never felt or said this in my life. It’s a suggestion that somehow a geographical location is the reason for that person leaving a dirty diaper in the parking space next to mine. It’s even easier to suggest that people I’m friends with or respect would never say such things. However, that’s about as untrue as “Only In The AV” is.

There’s some potential contributing factors to this mentality. Our landscape naturally barricaded by the mountains, is seemingly barren or an endless sprawl of fast food restaurants and big-box chains. It takes a toll on young people, in particular. This fuels what I call the “Jimmy Stewart Syndrome” (not an official medical condition). As George Bailey, his character in “It’s A Wonderful Life,” says “I’m gonna shake the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I’m gonna see the world!” It also doesn’t help that we have social issues like a homeless crisis that can almost rival a major city, but that’s for another article.

When approached to write for the Showcase, the reason I ultimately agreed to do it, was to take some bricks out of this mental barrier we’ve built around our collective consciousness and to shine a light on people who defeat this stereotype. I refuse to accept the idea that where we are born determines our future success or our expected failures.

“You rise as high as your dominant aspiration. You descend to the lowest concept of yourself.” — Funkadelic

So what does this have to do with local art? Everything. This Valley has unlimited potential and creative people can help free it. It starts with getting ourselves together. Let’s collectively ask this question, “What if we made 2019 one of the best creative years for ourselves and in the history of the Valley?”

Take a second to mute the voices of all the cynical people that just popped into your mind and ask it again. What if? It’s no easy task, but anything worth doing, never is. If you aren’t practicing enough, pick up your instrument and get down. If you’ve been to afraid to show anyone your art, take a chance. Most importantly, if you think the “scene” sucks, actually do something about it. This is also a two-way street. If the artists produce something worth supporting, they must have a reliable audience who supports them.

Ultimately, if the Antelope Valley fails, so does society. There is no grass greener on the other side and you can’t hide from your own mind. The problems we face aren’t unique. Our attitude and the way we approach them is. Happy New Year. Let’s get it.

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