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..

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Tango‘d Web/ Oblivion Project 3/21/11

Kristi Kates - March 21st, 2011
Tango’d Web: The Oblivion Project plays Piazzolla
By Kristi Kates
Gabe Bolkosky, Derek Snyder, John Holkeboer, Alex Trajano, Tad Weed,
Julien Labro, and sometimes Peter Soave make up the unique jazz/classical
group known as The Oblivion Project, whose music may be somewhat oblivious
to those not familiar with the singular artist Astor Piazzolla.
Piazzolla, known for his unique take on tango music, infused classical and
jazz sounds into the tango base, effectively creating a genre called
nuevo tango, or “new tango.” No slouch as a performer, Piazzolla was also
a master on the bandoneon (an instrument similar to the concertina, which
some may misidentify as an accordian) and performed often live.
For musicians as skilled as The Oblivion Projects, it’s no wonder that
emulating Piazzolla’s work was a welcome challenge. But why focus an
entire group around it?

“(Cellist) Derek Snyder approached me about Piazzolla’s music out of the
pure love of it,” violinist Gabe Bolkosky explains. “He heard a famous
cellist, Rotropovich, perform it and immediately fell in love with it. I
have a nonprofit, The Phoenix Ensemble, and we are dedicated to helping
individual artists create projects; we helped Derek get the band going by
supporting the first several concerts, and the band took off from there.”
Since Piazzolla has written thousands of works, Bolkosky explains, the
group figures the range of available performance material will keep the
band going for a long time, especially given the fact that they give each
piece their own distinctive Oblivion Project stamp.
“The arrangements that we have, some directly from Piazzolla and some put
together by band members, are usually stretched by the members of the
band,” Bolkosky says, “they become somewhat like jazz charts. Tad (Weed)
and Alex (Trajano) create a musical atmosphere in my opinion that keeps
the passion of the music and adds a unique sound.”

Also unique is the band’s name, which conjures up any number of images,
from modern art to science fiction. But according to the band members,
it’s basically yet another homage to Piazzolla himself.
“The name of the group is simple,” Derek Snyder explains, “it came from
one of Piazzolla’s works, “Oblivion,” which he wrote for a film score. I
picked it because we needed a name, and that particular tune is super
nice; we play it at every concert.”
Interestingly, Snyder explains, Piazzolla doesn’t seem to have ever
recorded the piece, even though it is one of his most-performed works now.
“He cranked out music so quickly, once writing a complete movie score in
one night, that he never spent much time with that particular piece,”
Snyder chuckles.
“Also, the orchestration of our group - bandoneon, violin, cello, piano,
bass and percussion - is one that Piazzolla used during his career,”
Snyder continues, “he most often chose to use either violin or cello in
his ensemble depending on his mood. We are using both instruments in our
group. Piazzolla would arrange his music for whatever ensemble he
preferred at the time.”

Piazzolla’s music is indeed a mix of instruments and an “amalgam of many
different cultures,” as Bolkosky calls tango. For Bolkosky as a violinist,
he appreciates the opportunity that the genre gives him to stretch his
talents past what is usually expected of his particular instrument.
“It gives me a chance to explore the depth of the violin sound while also
having a chance to touch other nonclassical worlds of music,” he says.
And as for the whole Oblivion Project, they’re visiting plenty of other
worlds of music through their live shows, which will hopefully include
some larger events and more wide-ranging projects soon.
“We’re hoping to play in Detroit for the Jazz Festival,” Bolkosky says,
“and we’re hoping to create recordings of our own, too.”
The Oblivion Project will be performing at the Crooked Tree Arts Center in
Petoskey at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 26, funded in part by the Michigan
Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Michigan Humanities
Council. For tix and more info, please visit www.crookedtree.org or
telephone 231.347.4337.

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