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 · Mike Curths
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Mike Curths

Kristi Kates - August 30th, 2010
Mike Curths: Art’s InsideOut Man Warehouse District gallery renovated & ready
By Kristi Kates
It’s been five years in April since Mike Curths “hung a shingle,” as
he simply puts it, and began what is now one of Traverse City’s
must-see, most eclectic art galleries.
Fans of the venue were dismayed when the InsideOut closed its doors in
January to undergo a major renovation throughout the spring and
summer. But now the gallery is back on track with an expansive new
exhibition area and improved concert facility.
Curths says the InsideOut was started without a business plan or a lot
of money - but with plenty of verve for what he saw as art that was
both underrated and underexposed in the Northern Michigan area.

“I did not have a business plan,” Curths confirms, “still do not on
paper. I’ve never known why a bank or the money industry wants to know
what your projections are in two or three or five years. Hell, I don’t
know what my projections are for tomorrow,” he laughs, “if anyone
thinks they do, call me.”
The gallery started as a short-term project, spurred by both his love
of art and a personal struggle of his own, one that for some, would
take them out of the running - but for Curths, it simply made him run
“I was searching for a business I could do on my own,” he remembers.
“It also had to be something I loved and was passionate about.
Something that did not require a lot of startup money. I was diagnosed
with a serious case of cancer a short time before, so at that point I
felt pretty mortal; I needed something besides my illness to kick me
in the ass.
“Looking back now, I’m surprised people from this area kept walking
through the door. We made it with the folks who collected original
art; people who were traveled, people who looked at the world a little
bit differently, a little bigger - people who didn’t match their art
to their sofa.”

Curths, who some may remember as John Knight’s engineer and right-hand
man at the Full Circle recording studio in Traverse City back in the
early ’90s, was in part inspired by a family member, and by the pop
culture that surrounded him growing up.
“I was born in mid-century, and grew up in an incredible time,” Curths
says, “times that changed the world, times that changed everything. I
gravitated to music, art, and politics at an early age. Mad Magazine,
The Beatles, Famous Monsters of Filmland, building models of the Rat
Fink, all blew my mind - well, maybe it was the Testors glue.
“I hung out with my cousin Tom for most of those years,” Curths
continues. “He was more like a brother, and he also became a pretty
serious sought-after ‘outsider artist.’ His stuff piqued my interest
in the lowbrow/pop surrealism side of art. So, after Full Circle
closed down, I contacted Tom, who basically set me up in the art
business. I still show his work, and consider him a great artist, a
real artist.”

Art is definitely the focus of InsideOut Gallery, although Curths and
crew have also expanded the gallery to include film and music
presentations, music being one of Curths’ favorite elements of the
“If I had to pick a favorite event, it might be actually having a
musical hero play in my living room, so to speak,” he says.
But InsideOut, he insists, will always return to art.
“Art will always be the ace card,” Curths says, “visual art is such a
magnificent thing. Everybody sees it differently, which is
fascinating. I think this region is slowly discovering a genre of art
they knew nothing about. Second, are music and film. The gallery took
on a life of its own in size, so naturally I added music; my only
degrees are in record engineering and the music business, so I added
what I knew. To date, we have had over a hundred touring music acts,
mostly stuff I personally love, so it was great to experience that
other people loved it too and actually showed up.”
Currently, InsideOut Gallery also shows movies each week, another
genre of art that Curths works to present in a distinctive fashion.
“Our 25-foot screen makes it feel like a real theatre,” he says,
“There is something about sitting in a big, dark room and being taken
away by moving visuals.”
Other upcoming events at the InsideOut include Detroit urban
landscape painter Tony Roko, Sept. 17; a Makers Market craft bazaar on
Sept. 18; and the Nervous But Excited folk duo on Sept. 24.

The future of InsideOut Gallery looks bright, according to Curths, who
has remodeled and expanded the gallery to over 8,000 square feet.
“It will always change and grow - on a budget,” he says wryly, “mostly
because we don’t have any money, and also because I really love using
interesting materials for a use that they were not intended for.
Besides, lots of money makes a place look like Applebee’s.”
Inside Out doesn’t have to fear becoming an Applebee’s copy, that’s
for sure - uniformity is one thing that Curths avoids, and, as a
matter of fact, thinks that Northern Michigan’s art world could better
strive to grow past.
“This area has always touted itself as a great art mecca,” he says.
“Nah. I don’t think so. The art community needs to stop letting the
Chamber of Commerce dictate what it thinks is art. There are a couple
of really good, serious art galleries here - the rest falls under
‘Arts and Crap.’ Most of the art and music we bring in now is not so
local; we still display some local art, but it is almost impossible to
find our genre in this region, with the very notable exception of D.R.
Curths has a message for you local folks claiming to be “artists,”
too: “It’s time to start thinking,” he says.
“That’s another thing that keeps me scratching my head - where are all
the hipsters? The scenesters? The creative class don’t seem to get it
here. Get out of the lame bar scene, put down the bong, give up the
Jager shots, and spend some time hanging out in cool spaces created
specifically for you!”

Mike Curths’ InsideOut Gallery is located on Garland Street in
downtown Traverse City, telephone 231-929-3254.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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