On the Make
The Hustle of Urban Nightlife
David Grazian’s riveting tour of downtown Philadelphia and its newly bustling nightlife scene reveals the city as an urban playground where everyone dabbles in games of chance and perpetrates elaborate cons. Entertainment in the city has evolved into a professional industry replete with set designers, stage directors, and method actors whose dazzling illusions tempt even the shrewdest of customers. As entertaining and illuminating as the confessional stories it recounts, On the Make is a fascinating exposé of the smoke and mirrors employed in the city at night.
“If you want to understand the contemporary city, you have to look beyond the office towers and real estate developments to the city at night. Too long ignored, the city at night is a multi-billion dollar industry, a large-scale mating market, and a way station for our ever-extending adolescence. David Grazian takes us on a backstage tour of the ritualistic games, hustlers and attempted hookups, and enduring stories and myths that define the city at night. This book takes nightlife out of the shadows and shows how it is a core concern for understanding the economy and sociology of the modern city.”
“On the Make is where the action is. The settings are the cool bars and restaurants of the big city where adults pretend they look like kids, kids act out being adults, and masters of entertainment create exclusive scenes available to everyone. Drawing from hundreds of stories and years of fieldwork, David Grazian reveals how scenes are made, how the ‘girl-hunt’ works (not) and why some boys like coconut shampoo. Along the way, Grazian is revealed to be a brilliant ethnographer and an imaginative writer.”
“This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the rhythms and beats of nightlife in the metropolis. It is in the best tradition of modernist ethnography and could be used as an exemplar for courses on qualitative methods, urban sociology, social interaction, and consumerist or class culture. Much like the fine-dining experiences Grazian describes, this book should be savored, devoured, and accompanied with a bottle of wine. . . . It is a scrumptious read."
“The data are rich and compelling. As a tour guide, Grazian’s account of Philadelphia’s nightlife is vivid and well organized. . . . On the Make is mot just readable but riveting. It is an exceptional piece of sociology in the finest traditions of qualitative analysis."
2 Dynamic Imagineering: The Staging of Urban Nightlife
3 Spin Control: Public Relations and Reality Marketing
4 Winning Bar: Nightlife as a Sporting Ritual
5 In the Company of Men: The Girl Hunt and the Myth of the Pickup
6 Hustling the Hustlers: Challenging the Girl Hunt
7 Where the Action Is: Storytelling and the Imagination of Risk
8 Smoke and Mirrors: The Experience of Urban Nightlife
Appendix: Research Methods