Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Features · Tales o‘ the Tanz:...
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Tales o‘ the Tanz: Legendary Local Rock Palace Rises again Oct. 15

Rick Coates - October 14th, 2004
It was a warm Saturday afternoon in August 1968. Sue Sivek was helping Elsie Ogden clean up the Tanz Haus, a popular teen nightclub located in Acme. They didn’t have the jukebox on; they didn’t need it, as Bob Seger and The Last Heard were practicing.
The only problem was Seger and the band sounded like a broken record. For two hours they rehearsed only one song: “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man.”
“I remember after about the 25th time hearing that song looking over at Elsie and saying, ‘if he plays that song one more time I am going to scream.’ I think it was driving the guys nuts in the band too.” said Sivek. “That night after the concert we were all sitting around and the band was giving Seger a hard time about it. But he was a perfectionist and it was new song and he wasn’t going to perform any song unless it was perfect.”
That song would become the title track of Seger’s debut album with Capital Records six months later. Seger would play the Tanz Haus a couple dozen times in the 1960’s. Ah what Sivek would give to hear that song live again and in that same club. But Seger no longer performs live and the Tanz Haus gave way to Kmart 17 years ago.

For just about every teenager growing up in the area during the 1960s the Tanz Haus was Northern Michigan’s version of Detroit’s Grande Ballroom. It was a magical place created by two people who wanted a place for teenagers to be able to go to be teenagers, to be safe and have a good time. Elmer and Elsie Ogden seemed like characters out of a movie. You knew them and they you whether you walked in a hundred times or just once.
While the Tanz Haus has disappeared its memories have not. Traverse City residents Deni Whaley and Gary Keyes wanted to do something to honor not only the memory of the Tanz Haus but the Ogden’s as well.
The two approached Doug Street at Streeters with the idea of a Tanz Haus reunion. Street thought the idea had merit and The Tanz Haus Revisited was launched. A celebration of the Tanz Haus, its music and memories will take place October 15 at Streeters Ground Zero Nightclub. The evening will feature several area musicians and invitations have gone to many who once played the club.
One musician who played regularly at the Tanz was drummer Denny Kline. His bands The Nightwalkers, The Rainmakers and Gross National Product were staples at the club that opened in 1965. Kline was the first to agree to play at the reunion and will serve as the evening’s musical director.
“I would never trade my teenage years with anyone from today’s generation,” said Kline. “We had the Tanz Haus and they don’t. It was a place we could go as teenagers and act like adults. Kids came from all over and you got to meet a lot of people. It was a great era. There was no reason to get into any trouble out there and no one really did.”

Sivek credits the relatively few problems the club had to Elmer.
“He walked around with his big cigar and his German shepherd Tonka, and everyone just behaved,” said Sivek. “He appeared mean but he had a heart of gold. The Ogden’s were a second set of parents for all who came through their doors. They looked after all of us and they helped us, we loved them and they loved us like we were their own kids.”
Kline concurs:
“Yeah we loved them, they created our version of ‘Happy Days.’ The Tanz had that same atmosphere and they were our version of Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham, remember Richie’s parents were like parents to everyone on the show,” said Kline. “You know thousands of kids came through that place but they seem to know us all.”
The Ogdens are retired and reside in Traverse City. Elmer recently suffered a stroke and they will be unable to attend the celebration but have given event organizers their blessing to celebrate the Tanz and its memories.
Street is creating a large banner with a photograph of the Tanz Haus and special message to the Ogdens that will be signed by all who attend that night. Sue Sivek and others will present it to the Ogdens later next week.
While the Ogdens were the heart of the Tanz Haus the music was its soul. The club was off the radar to attract bands like The Who, Cream and Led Zeppelin who performed at the Grande; instead it got the best that Michigan had to offer and that wasn’t half shabby. Sivek kept a diary of the bands that came through.

“Besides those hot local bands Denny played in there was this band The Excels from Sault Ste. Marie that was pretty popular,” said Sivek. “They looked and sounded like the Beach Boys. They had this song ‘Little Innocent Girl’ that climbed up to number six on WCCW weekly countdown.”
Another guy who would later become famous that played the Tanz Haus a few times was Glenn Frey of The Eagles.
“Yeah I remember the place,” laughed Frey. “One time I borrowed The Rationals van to get up there and I was flying through a small town (Manton) and lost control of the van on the curve and totaled the van and trashed the equipment I borrowed as well.”
Sivek also remembers that night.
“It was May 13, 1967 and I noted in my diary that his band The Mushrooms were not very good, they were mediocre at best,” said Sivek. “But I also noted that the singer (Glenn) was good and had talent. You could tell he was better than the rest. Though most of us were shocked when he made it big.”
So will Frey make it in for the big reunion?
“No, I will be in Australia,” said Frey.
Oh yeah that’s right, The Eagles are on their 5th Farewell Tour.

Another Michigander who played the Tanz a few times was the Motor City Madman, Mr. Ted Nugent. Jan Staycer recalls one special night when Nugent performed.
“All of a sudden BB King walked in,” said Staycer. “BB got up and jammed with Ted. It was unbelievable.”
Another band that floated through during the 1960’s was Popcorn Blizzard.
“They were great and they were sort of based out of Saginaw, though their lead singer was from California. Marvin Lee Aday was his name but he’s better known as Meatloaf.”
But is doesn’t end with Meatloaf. Reports are that the MC5 played there a few times under a different name. Then there was the time Terry Knight and The Pack came to the Tanz -- well, sort of.
“Yeah, I think they were breaking up so just The Pack came,” said Sivek. “The Pack was Don Brewer and Mark Farner, the guys that started Grand Funk.”
Sivek remembers Dick Wagner and Frost from Saginaw being another band that was popular.

“There are so many I am glad I made notes,” said Sivek. “One of the best shows of all time there was in 1971 when New Heavenly Blue performed. The band was made of Dave Brubeck’s
son Chris and Peter “Madcat” Ruth. Yeah, and Cub Koda and Brownsville Station played there as well and eventually their song ‘Smokin’ In The Boys Room,’ became a huge national hit.”

Other popular bands included two from Lansing: Danny Hernandez and The Ones (drummer/vocalist Ronnie Hernandez lives and performs in Northern Michigan) and The Woolies.
“Oh yeah, the Baldori Brothers loved playing up here. Their band The Woolies had a couple of hits and they played every summer from 1967-1970,” said Sivek.
While the 1960s were magical times for The Tanz Haus, times do change and while the 1970s brought in great regional bands another force came into play: alcohol.
The Tanz Haus opened alcohol free and catered to 16 to 21 year-olds. But two things happened.
“Well, people loved that place and soon those that were passed the age of 21 kept hanging out,” said Kline. “Then Michigan lowered the drinking age to 18 and everyone 18 started migrating to places in town that had booze. The Ogden’s tried for as long as possible but they had to get a liquor license to stay open. The club was never the same after that.”
While the Tanz Haus evolved in the 1970s into an adult nightclub its great musical tradition continued. Bands like Salem Withcraft, Lady Grace and The Rich Kidz along with others came through Tanz Haus drawing full houses and packed dance floors.
“We loved it, it was like a vacation for us,” said Stephan Adcock, former lead singer of The Rich Kidz. “We played the Tanz for years it was a great place.”

In the early ‘80s the club continued to thrive and attracted popular bar bands.
In 1983 Robyn Robbins, the former keyboardist for Bob Seger and Silver Bullet Band, started his own band and played the Tanz Haus. Robbins, who was living in Cheboygan, had convinced Pat Simmons (founder of the Doobie Brothers and their lead guitarist) to move to Cheboygan and join his band. The bass player Wally Stocker and drummer Tony Brock were both from The Babys. The show was unbelievable, but it was the group’s only live performance. Later that week, Robbins said he was ‘quitting the music business,’ Simmons rejoined the Doobie’s and the other two joined up with Rod Stewart.
As for Sivek, who was sort of a jack-of-all-trades for the Ogdens at The Tanz Hause, she moved to Lansing in the early ‘70s to work for the State of Michigan. She would return often on weekends to meet friends at the Tanz Haus. She sees this weekend’s reunion as an important opportunity to pay homage and rekindle old friendsips.
“I think it will be better than a high school reunion,” said Sivek. “You went to the Tanz because you wanted to be there. You made friends there; people met their spouses there. I see this being an annual event. Organizers got off to a late start and several musicians already had other gigs who would like to be a part of this, so maybe next year.”

Street also sees it as an annual event. He was 14 when the Tanz Haus closed and never had a chance to go. His parents met there and he has heard several great stories about the place.
“I am looking forward to hearing more stories,” said Street. “It was a wonderful place and I see this being an annual event. I also see this as a celebration of music. Three generations floated through the Tanz Haus during nearly 25 years and each had its own music.”
Kline also wants to encourage people who attended similar clubs in the area to attend The Tanz Haus Revisted. He recalls The Platters in Cadillac; Paul’s Place in Manistee; Club Ponytail in Harbor Springs; and The Teen Chalet in Gaylord as the hot spots in his day.
Anyone who has memorabilia such as concert posters and pictures from the Tanz Haus is encouraged to contact Street. The Tanz Haus Revisited on Friday October 15 is open to everyone whether you went to the Tanz Haus or not. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 the day of the show.
Doors open at 7 p.m. and Denny Kline and his band The Ones will get things started at 8 p.m. with music from the early years at the Tanz. They will be followed by a collection of area musicians jamming tunes from the different generations. The evening will also offer an opportunity to share stories in between bands. Air personalities from WKLT will be on hand to host the evening. For additional information or tickets visit www.streetersonline.com or call (231) 932-1300.
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