Letters

Letters 08-29-2016

Religious Bigotry President Obama has been roundly criticized for his apparent unwillingness to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” His critics seem to suggest that through the mere use of that terminology, the defeat of ISIS would be assured...

TC DDA: Focus On Your Mission What on earth is the Traverse City DDA thinking? Purchasing land around (not within) its TIF boundaries and then offering it at a discount to developers? That is not its mission. Sadly enough, it is already falling down on the job regarding what is its mission. Crosswalks are deteriorating all around downtown, trees aren’t trimmed, sidewalks are uneven. Why can’t the DDA do a better job of maintaining what it already has? And still no public restrooms downtown, despite all the tax dollars captured since 1997. What a joke...

European-Americans Are Boring “20 Fascinating People” in northern Michigan -- and every single one is European-American? Sorry, but this is journalistically incorrect. It’s easy for editors to assign and reporters to write stories about people who are already within their personal and professional networks. It’s harder to dig up stuff about people you don’t know and have never met. Harder is better...

Be Aware Of Lawsuit While most non-Indians were sleep walking, local Odawa leaders filed a lawsuit seeking to potentially have most of Emmet County and part of Charlevoix County declared within their reservation and thus under their jurisdiction. This assertion of jurisdiction is embedded in their recently constructed constitution as documentation of their intent...

More Parking Headaches I have another comment to make about downtown TC parking following Pat Sullivan’s recent article. My hubby and I parked in a handicap spot (with a meter) behind Mackinaw Brew Pub for lunch. The handicap spot happens to be 8-10 spaces away from the payment center. Now isn’t that interesting...

Demand Change At Women’s Resource Center Change is needed for the Women’s Resource Center for the Grand Traverse Area (WRCGT). As Patrick Sullivan pointed out in his article, former employees and supporters don’t like the direction WRCGT has taken. As former employees, we are downright terrified at the direction Juliette Schultz and Ralph Soffredine have led the organization...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Incognoto No Longer
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Incognoto No Longer

Eric Pokoyway - August 10th, 2006
Golf champion Walter Hagen was a frequent visitor of Lil Bo’s tavern on Front Street in the early 1960s. Today, this “little bohemian” bar has become a place for many musicians looking for a start or just a place to play.
“Walter Hagen, when he retired, spent
a lot of time in here… He called Lil Bo’s his ‘second home’,” co-owner Nancy Freund said.
Blues, rock, folk, and country musicians have found the same comfort within the bar’s lacquered wood walls. With the support of Darla Rowland and Dan Babiarz, Traverse City musicians can test their talent in front of a live audience at open-mic night on Fridays.
Rowland, who works at the Grand Traverse Resort, and Babiarz, who is involved in food marketing, have been hosting Lil Bo’s open mic night for six years. They are musicians themselves and understand how difficult it can be to find a place to play. Rowland plays bass and sings while Babiarz is the lead guitar and sings in their own band, Incognito.
“We are all musicians, and we have to stick together,” Rowland said. “ If we can’t count on each other, then who can you count on?”
Its not uncommon for either Rowland or Babiarz to loan equipment, or even jump in and jam when a band needs someone to fill a spot. They feel they should support anyone who has the guts to perform in front of a crowd.
“We want to give them a lot of support, accommodate them, and have them come back,” Babiarz said of the players. “We will definitely plug and promote anyone’s upcoming show.”
 
WELCOME MATT
Rowland and Babiarz want the musicians who sign up for open-mic to feel like they are welcome. Rowland bakes cookies for participants around the holidays, and Babiarz hosts an annual musician’s softball game.
The two have seen everything from indie-rock to folk musicians striking wood boxes with their hands.
“You really never know who is going to walk in that door,” Rowland, said.
“It’s unbelievable how much stuff we have packed in this place.”
Regardless of what kind of musician or who has signed-up, Rowland and Babiarz give the same amount of time to each band. It’s completely first-come, first-serve said Rowland.
“You live and die by the list,” Rowland said. “If you are the third person on the list then I am not going to bump you.”
Lil Bo’s open mic night has been a place where many local musicians and bands get started.
 
FIRST-TIMERS
The heavy metal rock band SMYT, has been together for two years, released two CDs, and are gearing up for a third. They have played venues ranging from Streeters to The Loading Dock, yet the first time they ever played together was at Lil Bo’s open-mic night. Rowland and Babiarz have even engineered the soundboard for the headbangers’ band outside of open mic.
“Darla and Dan are not selfish people; they would rather be a part of something than have that something be about them,” Dane Deroshia, lead singer of SMYT said. “They have supported us from the beginning, no one knows how to mix our sound on the board better
than Dan.”
Like SMYT, Hursh had its early beginnings at Lil Bo’s open-mic night; they are now playing at Le Naro’s Pub in Lake Leelanau on Friday nights. They have found it difficult to find gigs in Traverse City because there are a lot musicians fighting for the same crowds.
“You can’t throw a cat in this town without hitting a musician, it’s very competitive.” said Guy Hursh, lead guitarist. 
“The bars that do feature live music are kick-ass, but there are only a handful of them in Traverse City.” Ben Hursh, lead singer of Hursh said. “It doesn’t matter what kind of musician you are, Darla and Dan will always have a spot for you and will support you. ”
 
AUDITIONING
Rowland and Babiarz have also given Lil Bo’s a chance to test out new talent trying to find a regular gigs.
“If you want to play here [at Lil Bo’s regularly] come to open mic night, sign-up and we will let the crowd decide,” Sal Capone general manager at Lil Bo’s said.
Sol de Luna (formerly Bo Bossa), Hands Down, and Egon are all bands that have auditioned at open-mic night and have played paying gigs for Capone. All three of these bands Capone booked after hearing them play at open-mic night.
“These are young musicians struggling to see if they have it; that’s what open-mic is all about,” Capone said. “It gives them a place to play other than a garage or basement.”
 
Open mic night at Lil Bo’s is on Friday from 10:30-1:30 pm. For more information go to Rowland and Babiarz’s band web site www.incognitorocks.net
 
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