Frommer’s and Lonely Planet travel guides can offer only so much information about cities — to get the true essence of a town, you have to consult with the locals. That is exactly the purpose of This Is the Place, a new short program produced by our friends at MTV (Other) and hosted by comedian Dave Hill. Rather than rehash the same venues and indie shops as travel guides, and rather than send a wide-eyed explorer with a fanny-pack to the city à la Globe Trekker, This Is the Place focuses on the bands, venues, restaurants, shops and more that that city’s denizens recommend.
Take Minneapolis, for instance. To music fans, the Twin Cities are the home of the Replacements, the Rhymesayers label and Prince’s Paisley Park Studios. But the people interviewed in This Is the Place, which range from local DJs to the hip-hop collective Doomtree, reveal a city with its own subcultures. At Studiiyo 23, customers buy shoes and shoot hoops, and at Icehouse, some hungry music fans decided to combine a fine-dining restaurant with a venue that showcases hip-hop and indie rock. But perhaps the most interesting revelation from the Minneapolis episode is the existence of the Marijuana Deathsquads — a multi-drummer, electronic-infused experimental dance group. “It’s nasty,” David Campbell, a radio DJ for 89.3, The Current. “There’s hip-hop guys screaming into some microphone that’s attached to a bunch of effects boxes. It’s psychedelic, but, like the bad kind. The scary kind of psychedelic.” But judging from the way he says it in the video, that’s a good thing.
For more on the series, including episodes on Denver and Athens, Georgia, check out MTV Other.