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 · Art · Totally Ignorant...Art bash aims for...
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Totally Ignorant...Art bash aims for the unexpected

Robert Downes - August 25th, 2005
Last year’s Ignorant Art show was the hands-down art event of the year for Traverse City. Approximately 400 people attended -- all dressed in black -- raising $5,800 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Grand Traverse through the sale of works by 13 “unknown” artists.
This year, artist Ryan Wells and his comrade organizers hope to top the success of that event with their guerrilla art show, which will be held this Saturday, Aug. 27 from 9 p.m. to midnight. Held on the floor above Trattoria Stella at Building 50 in the Grand Traverse Commons, the show is pumped with high expectations of its two previous outings.
Just be sure to wear black if you attend -- it’s a Japanese tradition of showing respect for a performance, transmogrified in the beatnik era to a hallmark of hipness in locales ranging from London to the East Village... and now even Northern Michigan.

Wells, 30, is a specialist in commercial real estate who has a passion for painting. He and other local artists launched the Ignorant Art show two years ago to give voice to creative types who maintain full-time jobs but have serious artistic aspirations on the side.
A 1994 graduate of TC Senior High, Wells attended Northwestern Michigan College before earning a Bachelor’s degree in finance from Haworth College of Business in Kalamazoo.
After college, he traveled the country, spending a year in Florida building his career. Concurrently, he found artistic impulses creeping irresistably back into his life.
“I had always doodled and played with art a bit,” he recalls. “After college, I packed everything in my Prelude and found a house and a job. I broke myself down and found my place in the world and my value.”
Part of that exploration was drawing with charcoals after work. “Charcoal is an easy medium,” he says. “I knew I wanted to paint, but that’s a big commitment. That’s when I realized the crossover from doodling and drawing to self-expression.”
After returning to Northern Michigan in 2000, Wells began moving past his drawing efforts into painting with oils and acrylics.
“Abstract expressionism is probably my main focus,” he says. “I paint emotions -- painting keeps me in balance with a stressful job.”

Wells cites abstract expressionists such as Jackson Pollack and graffitti icon Jean-Michel Basquiat as influences. “They taught us that we should all be seeking our own way of painting,” he notes. “For Pollack, it was when he found the separation of painting and the line. In my paintings, I start a ‘story’ and the viewer subjectively finishes the story. There should be an emotional connection, like ‘I get it.’”
Indeed, Wells’ paintings have a quality of great depth. You gaze at his work and find yourself noticing details that draw you closer; you fall in, engulfed by myriad levels and dimensions. His paintings are a soup of images with a slink of events roiling just below the surface.
Wells typically works on two-three paintings at a time. “Some I kick out in a few days, others take years at a time.”
One, “Tarnished,” took two years to complete. “It was snippets of my life, not meant to be a pretty picture,” he says. “When I do sell my work, you’re buying part of my life.”
That painting sold for $2,200; others range from $500-$3,000. Despite those respectable prices, Wells avoids local art galleries.
“I’m not comfortable putting my art in a gallery. The Ignorant Art show was my humble yet sarcastic way of getting my art work before the public.”

Like Wells, the exhibitors at Ignorant Art are generally unknown to the local art world. “It’s surprising how many people have other professions but are working at their art in their basements, garages and crypts. What we offer is a one-night show for three hours with a now-or-never feeling of the chance to buy their work.”
For artists, there’s a $75 entry fee to be included in the show, with 15% of their commissions going to support the Boys and Girls Clubs in the nonprofit event.
For attendees, the $15 donation offers wine and hors d’oeuvres from 310 along with music and art that’s guaranteed to be unusual. And plenty of great people-watching -- there’s something about black apparel that adds a touch of unforgettable glamour to an artful endeavor.

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