Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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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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