Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

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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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