Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

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Niagara

Kristi Kates - July 19th, 2010
Niagara Brings ‘Dangerous’ Art from Detroit
By Kristi Kates
Detroit performer Niagara isn’t one to pull punches. When asked how she feels about beating Lady Gaga to the scene - Niagara was doing avant garde performance art long before Gaga was even born - she bluntly replied, “I’m not about to jump on the Gaga bandwagon. She’s doing fine without me promoting her anyway.”
Niagara isn’t known for her subtlety. And that seems to be part of the flamboyant persona she’s fashioned for herself.
Best known early on, performance-wise, for her work in the mid-’70s Detroit rock band Destroy All Monsters, which got much of its publicity from the fact that the band also included former members of The Stooges and the MC5, she used her art school experience to put together album and promo art for the band, as well as for her follow-up band, Dark Carnival. Fast-forward to the early ‘90s, and Niagara began to show some of her quirky artwork around the Detroit area. Her art pieces, on which she would represent her vast roster of “Niagara Women” characters - all femme fatales with a “dangerous demeanor” - were reminiscent of pulp comic books with a devil-may-care attitude, and the art community promptly put her on a throne.

DETROIT QUEEN
Soon dubbed the “Queen of Detroit” by various art periodicals, she began taking her artwork to other major cities, hard-selling her brand of feminist swagger - women who would rather “dispatch a man than put up with any of his antics” - combined with images focusing on the “bad” side of female characters in old movies from the 1930s to the ‘50s. “That film connection may be the reason the InsideOut Gallery booked my show to coincide with Michael Moore’s film festival,” Niagara says, “I’ve painted certain film stars of the 20th century for this show, with elements gleaned from film noir.”
In 2002, Niagara refocused her work on what she called her “Opium Series.” These women were more apt to turn their violence inward, and were depicted “in druggy repose amidst swirling opium fumes.” Niagara also used Chinese patterns and applique at this time to craft her artworks.
“What I do in my work is combine violence with humor,” she explains, “my women are unshaken and strong-willed. They are not treated as still-life. They smoke and drink as much as they want, among other things.”

ART AND STAGE
In spite of her busy art schedule, the stage continued - and continues - to call to this eccentric performer. Still living, performing, and working in the Detroit area, she is scheduled to go on a European tour with the Australian band The Hitmen next spring. Meanwhile, she’ll continue to promote her art at various events, including her upcoming show at Traverse City’s InsideOut Gallery. But don’t dare question her approach to art, because you won’t get very far.
“I love danger,” she states. “It’s not my fault.”

Niagara will be at the InsideOut Gallery in Traverse City on July 30; Jason Stollsteimer of Detroit band The Von Bondies will also be playing the gallery that night with his new band Hounds Below. For more information, call the gallery at 231-929-3254.

 
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