The January 19th article, “Creating Cool Cities“ and “Way Cool? Not,“ hit the nail on the head.
The Petoskey area is a prime example of a community that could be on the verge of “coolness“ if it were not for the fact the “controllers“ have and are still looking backward. Restoration drives and conservative art approaches maintain the status quo. Change is not only resisted in Northern Michigan, it is actively opposed.
There are movements afoot in the Petoskey area to produce contemporary visual and performing art. Even though rejected, repressed and restricted by the “controllers,“ these new venues are starting to offer the community new and different sensual experiences. It will take time and effort, but we, the community must get behind and support these exciting new venues.
One such group is Petoskey Contemporary Art, made up of nine local artists working in a variety of mediums and celebrating their second year of innovative exhibitions with “Seeing Red,“ opening at Harbor Wear Gallery, 319 E. Lake in Petoskey, Saturday, February 7 from 6-9 p.m. and running through March 6. Petoskey Contemporary Art premiered last year offering “This is Black Mail Art,“ in which 42 local artists were invited to participate and “Vessel.“
This organization is only one example of what is needed to achieve “Cool City“ status, but the beginnings are here, we just need to be there with our support.
Micheal M. Cromley Afton
Our uncool city
I am writing in response to the January 15th issue of the Express, which contained the article “Creating Cool Cities.“ Within this article was a list of what it takes to be a “cool city.“ One of the items on the list was having an exciting music scene. While I do agree that there may be an active music scene for adults, I have to express my disappointment over the way the youth music scene is treated in this area.
Many people may not even realize how hard some young people in this area work to try and keep a music scene going. There are many talented local bands, mostly featuring kids aged 16-21, such as Tanooki Suit and the Decompostion of Us, that many adults in this area have probably never heard of. The concerts I am referring to usually feature rock, punk, hardcore or metal music, and not just local acts. Bands come from all over the state, and even all over the country, to play in our little Northern Michigan town. I have been attending these rock concerts for the past six years, since I was 15 years old. For the past year and a half I have been actively involved in organizing, promoting, and producing these concerts. No one who is an active participant in the local music scene can deny what an impact these shows have had on them. These concerts promote a great sense of community with the alternative youth (who may lack acceptance in their homes or schools), provide a creative outlet of energy, and encourage kids to develop their own musical skills and make their own music. These concerts are for all ages and drug/alcohol free.
Unfortunately, we seem to run into a lot of opposition from the adult community regarding these concerts. It‘s very difficult to find a hall to rent for shows. Most halls are unaffordable, or not trusting. Some halls hold grudges over incidents that happened at concerts four years ago, when a completely different group of young people was responsible. Our last affordable option, the UAW Hall on Rose St., will not allow us to rent for concerts anymore. Nothing has ever been broken at a show there, no property has been damaged, we try to keep the noise level to a minimum, and we always thoroughly clean the hall when our concerts are finished. Apparently there were some residential complaints that the noise was too loud and “kids wouldn‘t stay inside.“ We are trying to do something positive for the youth community, not gather a bunch of hooligans on a Saturday night to cause trouble. If anything, these concerts may be keeping many kids out of trouble, seeing how options are very limited for teen activity on a weekend night.
I think that the Northern Michigan community needs to be more open-minded about our young musicians and our teenaged music fans. Keep in mind that these young musicians are the Claudia Schmidts and Don Julins of the future. Let‘s encourage their musical development by making them feel that their talents are appreciated.
For more information about youth rock concerts in the area, please visit www.tclocal.com.
Aaron Gooch TC
Drs. Mudgett & Van Dalson
Having skied (water and cross country) with the docs, I enjoyed this week‘s column (Random Thoughts, “Friends to the End“). Nicely crafted. Two of the region‘s legitimate heroes who will be missed by many....
Gregg Smith TC
Bush out of sync
I had thought Mr. Bush was a bit short-sighted when he failed to keep his campaign promise to reduce global warming and instead pulled the U.S. out of the Kyoto Protocol (and the International Criminal Court, and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the Land Mine Ban agreement, etc.).
When he squandered the federal budget surplus with huge tax giveaways and turned it into monstrous deficits, I thought he was irresponsible.
And when he said that 9/11 happened because “they hate our freedom,“ I saw then that he was manipulative and a simpleton. They don‘t hate our freedom, they hate our foreign policy!
But I knew he had completely lost touch with reality when he proposed going back to the moon. While states all across America struggle to provide basic services to their citizens and 43 million Americans have no health insurance, at a time when young American soldiers are dying daily and our annual deficit is nearly half a trillion dollars, President Bush proposes new space programs that we simply can‘t afford. His priorities are out of sync with the real needs of our nation.
Bush has created a government of, by, and for the corporation. Every policy put forth, from education to the environment, from war to welfare, is at the expense of the citizenry. He has repeatedly lied and misled the American people in an attempt to divert attention from his real agenda.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, while George W. wants us to be afraid, very afraid, and just leave everything to him.
Well democracy is not a spectator sport. Each of us has a duty to educate ourselves regarding the real motives of the Bush Administration. Things are not always what they seem.
Mark Thompson TC
It appears the Iraqis need liberation not from Saddam but from the American army. Iraq is now an occupied country. People are dying on all sides every day as Iraq becomes a magnet for extremists from all over the Middle East. We have President Bush‘s extreme right-wing knee jerk over-reaction to 9/11 to thank for this war. We are never leaving lraq. This administration had no intention of doing so. Bush and his thugs will decide how Iraq will be governed and will leave a permanent military base in Iraq as well. That is not liberation, that is occupation.
Spending billions of our tax dollars to feed, educate, and generally rebuild Iraq is immoral, insulting, shameful, and wasteful. Being in a permanent wartime economy has effectively bankrupted America. Every state is in red figures. There are shortfalls in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The deficit is $500 billion and will easily go to $1 trillion if this administration does not stop its runaway spending on all things military.
Every day, however, brings us closer to the truth about the lies coming out of Washington about this war. I have faith in the American people to determine this truth and stand up and take back our country from this scandalous and corrupt administration. Next November, vote out the Bush administration. They are clearly taking this great nation of ours in the wrong direction.
Steve Little Charlevoix