I say it, we all say it. Boston’s struggling.
It’s true. Look outside, it’s cold and there’s no place to play.
On top of that, everyone in this city is so puritanical and boring, no one takes risks; even if that risk is holding an unpopular opinion. In the year I have been music editor of bostonhassle.com, I work to synthesize my own life experience and that of the writers and musicians I work with, with that of the culture I perceive, framed in a coherent ideological aesthetic for an audience and artistic community to actively participate and interact with. Simply put, I form my opinions in commune with the writer and volunteers I work and interact with.
I hesitate to use the word work here however; because in the grand year it has been since I took over this position I am in a positive state of mind in that I am actively dealing with mental illness in the striving to make Boston a better place to live and play in. Work has never done this for me. Volunteering with the Hassle has given me some of the only genuine emotion and satisfaction I’ve ever felt & I often find myself repeating this phrase to family and friends.
And somewhere along the way, I’ve been made more and more aware that it feels pretty, pretty good being the best in town.
I know you’re thinking, best of what? & To that I respond: best independent arts and culture publication in Boston. Ha. & we do not need a BMA to tell us that.
But there is room at the top. In my opinion, Boston Voyager is not even in our league, but they do good work for what they strive to do. To me, the mixed reactions across the internet highlight the need for more publications in Boston that are not full of bologna.
What sets us apart from the other publications you may ask? It could the Hassle’s/ Brain Arts Org‘s fully inclusive volunteer structure, it could be that our organization is structured for you to see your own creative and personal impact and growth, maybe. Or it could just be that, there are few other publications highlighting local artists that are worth half a damn, IMO. While I am not without pomp (this is where writing is not fun) I try be honest. I biff it – A LOT. I work and collaborate with musicians and biff it. And sometimes they tell me to biff myself. But that’s okay, I remain undaunted. Want more honesty? I took a risk to fill a need and contribute to an organization volunteering for and with people I love and admire. But for us to continue our mission we need all the help we can get.
Volunteer with us. Or if you don’t have the time, make a donation to our cause, because the one difference between Hassle writers and who or whatever writes for the Boston Voyager, is that Hassle writers and volunteers use our brains to do research and write questions on a subjective case for the artists volunteers we work with and want to cover. We have an open submission system and I and the other editors and writers all have ears that want to listen to you and watch you grow and develop as a person.
I love the volunteer aspect of the organization. I love having and making friends and falling into a community that makes a positive impact on the Boston artistic present. I support you to submit whatever you want about Boston Voyager whenever you want. I myself am not going to rail content and exposure from my folding chair based off a reddit thread when I try to spend and prioritize my time empowering volunteers.
Like anyone else trying do important things, I and the other writers and volunteers in the organization face adversity, doubt, and competition in the artistic field which is, at its essence: seeing and being seen.
So help us become better so we can continue to support and empower artists of all backgrounds. Volunteer, write for this website, read this website, go to a show, support local musicians, believe in expression and creativity as a form of political resistance.
To that end, it feels pretty good being the best though.
For making every word possible, I’d like to thank:
My mom and dad & the rest of my fam and friends. Dan Shea, Sam Potrykus, Emma Leavitt, Sophia Giordano, Sinai Simpson-Hill, Molly Dower, Clara Messina, Matt Mitchelltree, Mark Fallon, Jesse Manfra, Tom Faix, James Grant, Chloe Dubois, Emily Bass, Oscar Goff, Lani Asuncion, David Benway, the rest of Brain Arts ORG. and all the Hassle Writers who still do, have, or at least tried to write, Dig Boston, my cats, & my ex-roomies.
Here’s to our upcoming Telethon, Hassle Fest 10 & 2019 being the best year imaginable.
Chris Hughes-Zimmerman //// is a poet & writer from Boston, Ma & music editor of bostonhassle.com. //// They can be reached at [email protected] or @crsjh_ via instagram & twitter.
For more of Chris’ musings, visit their medium page
& for the continued sustainability of bostonhassle.com & BRAIN-ARTS ORG. please consider volunteering or donating.