Friday, September 23, 2011
So the big news around here this week is the breakup of Athens-based rock band R.E.M. Sad news for music fans, but why is this Land Use Prof blogable? Well, first off, R.E.M. - through band manager and UGA law alum Bertis Downs - has given financial support to the UGA Land Use Clinic, including the money to buy our first real office furniture. Also, association with R.E.M. has made icons of several community features or locations. The most prominent of these features is the railroad trestle featured on the cover of their 1983 album "Mumur" - music fans have rallied multiple times to save the trestle, which is now onthe local Oconee Rivers Greenway. The other most commonly associated structure is the steeple of St. Mary's Episcopal Church, where the band played an early (possibly their first) show in 1980. The church is now gone, and the steeple molders in the parking lot of a local condominium association while the Athens-Clarke Heritage Assocation and local leaders try to figure out how to save it. The band itself has steered mostly clear of these battles, which are likely to continue. Athens won't be the same without R.E.M., but the town is permanently changed by the bands' legacy.
Jamie Baker Roskie