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 · Rush
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Rick Coates - July 26th, 2010
Rush Behind The Lighted Stage
By Rick Coates
Filmmakers Sam Dunn and Scot McFayden will be in Traverse City this week with their latest project Rush: Behind The Lighted Stage, an intimate look at one of rock music’s most influential yet often misunderstood bands. The documentary gives an insider’s look and unprecedented access to the Canadian power trio’s musical journey through the decades.
The film will screen Friday night at 9 p.m. and Saturday at 11:59 p.m. with Dunn and McFayden appearing at both screenings as well as at the panel discussion on Saturday morning.
Rush ranks third for the most consecutive gold and platinum albums in the world behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Yet unlike the latter two bands, Rush has been primarily ignored by critics despite being revered by musicians and having legions of loyal fans. Even the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has failed to recognized the group’s accomplishments by not nominating them for the HOF.
Rush is a musical anomaly; as the band says themselves, “you either love us or hate us -- there is no middle ground with Rush.” The band’s music is hard to define by traditional categories.
“We are not the kind of music you put on to dance to or as background music at a party,” said Geddy Lee, lead singer and bassist. “Our music requires some thought and work to listen to, and that is not for everybody.”

Rush has never been a band that has sought the public spotlight. They have avoided the tabloids, and while they have made themselves accessible to the media, there remains a mystique about them.
The documentary created by Dunn and McFayden doesn’t eliminate all the mystique but it certainly quenches the thirst for avid Rush fans. Even the non-Rush fan will be fascinated by this film.
So what was the biggest surprise the filmmakers found about Rush when making the film?
“Their sense of humor,” said Dunn. “I think when you look at the intellectual aspects of their music and lyrics you wouldn’t gather that they have much of sense of humor, but actually they do and I really feel that without that sense of humor this film would have been different.”
The filmmakers were also impressed with the group’s genuine respect for each other - a key factor in the band’s longevity.
So what inspired Dunn and McFayden to make a film about Rush (the duo recently had a metal documentary on Iron Maiden)?
“Rush is one of the longest-running intact rock band’s ever,” said Dunn. “I started asking a questions such as, how does a band accomplish that? Equally important was finding out how a band makes as many stylistic changes over the years as they did and maintain their fan base. So when you look at them you ask, why hasn’t this band had their story told?”
So how much did Rush control the final product?
“Amazingly they didn’t. They wanted this to be our film not a film from Rush,” said McFayden. “Their management was very hands off whereas Iron Maiden’s was very hands on. Rush really trusted us to tell their story and when you are given that sort of trust you really want to make sure you get it right. They were very cooperative, even Neil.”

Drummer Neil Peart is revered as among the greatest rock drummers of all time. He also brought the lyrical complexity to the group. The tragedy of his 19-year-old daughter being killed in a car accident in 1997 and his wife passing away of cancer a year later resulted in Rush taking a hiatus. When Peart announced four years later he was ready to return it was agreed that he would not participate in media interviews and meet and greets. So it would be expected that Peart’s contributions to the project would be minimal, but the filmmakers found otherwise.
“Neil was great, once you got him talking he really had a lot to say,” said McFayden. “We worked our way into those challenging years for him. We essentially talked to him on his turf and that is after a long bike ride (Peart motorcycles to all Rush shows) out to the desert. We took a different approach and instead of sensationalizing those tragic moments we had him reflect through his healing process.”
Dunn is quick to add the following:
“There is this misperception about Neil. He is very articulate and it’s not that he doesn’t like to talk, he just prefers to do it in a controlled setting,” Dunn. “He feels uncomfortable in an environment where fans are gushing over him. Neil loves conversation, he is very intelligent and very reflective.”

Why did Rush give Dunn and McFayden essentially unlimited access and creative control?
“They are very likable guys,” laughs Lee. “It was hard for us to say no to them.”
As for whether they like the film or not, Peart has yet to weigh in publicly while lead guitarist Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee have given their nod of approval.
“I think it would be a lot better with less of me talking,” said Lee. “But for me it is hard to assess and I think for Alex and Neil as well. We are forward-thinking in our approach, so certainly there are some sentimental aspects of reviewing the past, but our focus is more on the future of Rush and less on the past.”
While Lee may not be focused on the past, it was his collection of memorabilia that was the most help to the filmmakers.
“Geddy is definitely the Rush archivist; we sifted through lots of photos and articles on the band in his basement,” said Dunn. “We found a lot of really cool things like some lost concert footage from the early days.”
As to what the secret component that has kept Rush intact for 36 years, the filmmakers said that Rush has mastered something few bands and relationships have been able to do.
“Communicate,” said Dunn. “Rock bands typically do not know how to communicate with one another and these guys do. These guys genuinely care about each other. It is not that they don’t disagree, they just know how to disagree with each other and still get along. It is this ability that will keep this band intact for years to come.”

Rush: Behind The Lighted Stage screens Friday night at Lars Hockstead at 9 p.m. and Saturday night at 11:59 p.m. at the State Theater. Tickets remain for both shows. Sam Dunn and Scot McFayden will appear at both screenings and will speak at the filmmaker panel discussion Saturday morning. For additional details check out www.traversecityfilmfest.org.
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