Whether we like it or not, Modesto is about to go Hollywood, at least in the opening credits of the television series “American Crime,” which debuts Thursday night.
This is the perfect time for us to show everyone what Modesto means to the world. Now is not the time for hand-wringing or complaining, but to rally to show who we are and what we can be.
Let the Googling begin.
We need to win this game, and everyone needs to do their part. When it comes to movies and TV, we need everyone to know that Modesto, USA, is the home of “American Graffiti.” We are the city that launched the careers of many famous actors and actresses and propelled Modesto native George Lucas into the space race that led to “Star Wars” and beyond. Modesto’s classic time of the class of ’62, chrome, cars and rock ’n’ roll set the stage of Lucas’ youth and Modesto’s place in cultural history.
For most cities, being the subject of a movie and the home of a famous director would be enough, but we are so much more than this. And we need to tell the rest of the world what we know.
When people look at Modesto, we need them to see our Modesto Historic Cruise Route that tells our history of cars, culture and music. We have the Walk of Fame on 10th Street to introduce the world to our Legends of the Cruise that include Lucas, Gene Winfield, Bart Bartoni, stars of “American Graffiti” and other local legends. The second-year inductees will be honored on June 10 at Tenth Street Place during our annual Graffiti Summer celebration. We need to show them our Classic Community and Motown Murals that showcase our classic cruising heritage and hometown heroes.
Many cities draw people from around the world to visit their murals; we can do the same.
But wait, there’s more! Rock ’n’ roll is the music loved around the world, and back in 1938, the slappin’ bass beat of Maddox Brothers and Rose rockabilly music was broadcast into the 1940s and ’50s for the world to hear on KTRB 860 AM. Modesto music put the “rock” in the “roll.”
Our wine is a favorite around the world, and we have one of the greatest wineries right here in Modesto. Not only is E.&J. Gallo Winery the biggest, the Gallos helped invent the “business” of making and marketing wine.
The mountains of Yosemite challenge the greatest climbers in the world, and our own Royal Robbins not only conquered the granite walls but changed the entire ethos of the sport of climbing.
These are just a few samples. But what has Modesto done for us lately?
Our dining options are first-class. The Modesto Area Music Awards celebrate Modesto music each October. Our performing arts rival the biggest cities. Our community comes together each summer for MoBand, a unique institution.
Our volunteer spirit sets the pace for community giving, service and support. We are a city of food technology innovation, and our tomatoes, fruits, cheeses and nuts ship all over the world. Our current generation of performers is conquering the big screen and television. Local entrepreneurs are growing global companies in Modesto.
These are all here and ready for their close-up, not just from our visitors but our own residents who need to take time to learn why Modesto is a really good place to be from, live and visit. There is still much to do.
We need you. What articles do you share online or on Facebook? What do you tweet? What stories do you comment on? What do you tell your friends and family? When you, your friends, reporters, the editors of Forbes (where so many of those ugly lists appear) and anyone else Googles Modesto, it should return thousands of hits and links with music, arts, food and community. It is up to you to make this happen. Let’s load the Net with all the good stuff happening here. Let’s get the billboards along the freeway and put the welcome mat out.
Let’s take advantage of our opening credits on “American Crime” and make sure that when people come to see us, we show them what we’re really made of. #modestousa
Chris Murphy is a Modesto-based logistics executive and magazine publisher. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.