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 · Features · Summer of Sam
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Summer of Sam

Kristi Kates - July 1st, 2014  

Sam Porter’s brain does not idle well. In one 45-minute conversation, Northern Michigan’s event king touches on an impressive range of concepts, ideas, and plans.

Branded events are his specialty, and countless projects keep Porter – and his mind – moving at top speed.


A typical day at Porterhouse Productions starts in an office above Kilwin’s in downtown Traverse City, when Porter and his staff check in around 8:30am.

The coffee’s always brewing; the bright room is filled with art and whiteboards. A huge wall features awards that the company has won for more than 50 festivals and events in the past seven years.

Inevitably, the phones start ringing. “Conversations about logistics and production, and lots of appointments, take up the majority of each day,” Porter said.

Calling the Porterhouse offices “a community-supported laboratory,” Porter says his main goal is to show as many people as possible what a great place Northern Michigan is.

In answer to some complaints that his events are too big and noisy, Porter takes the long view.

“A lot of people are thinking, ‘Oh, there are so many people at these events, it’s such a problem,’” he said. “But that’s just going to happen regardless, because we live in such an amazing region.”

Porter says that regardless of how people feel, he and his staff will continue to “make the best of it.”

“So what do we do with that? Are we going to be negative? No,” he said. “We’re going to be positive and build on that.”

That’s a statement that can be taken quite literally. Porter and his team are replicating their Traverse City events model and bringing it to other Midwestern cities, such as Lansing and Chicago.

“We’re committed to putting forth exceptional experiences that make a positive impact on communities,” he said. “TC is the place for us to grow ideas and build events that highlight the region, and we’re taking those events to other places around the Midwest.”


Most are familiar with two of these events: the TC Microbrew and Music Festivals and Paella in the Park.

This summer, Porter is putting on several new shows and projects that support things close to his heart: symphony orchestras and youth concerts.

First up is TSO @ The Village, a layered, unique event that will feature the Traverse Symphony Orchestra on the Commons lawn, part of Porterhouse’s Symphony 2.0 Tour to help support independent symphony groups.

“Symphonies are dying all around the world, and we take that as a challenge,” Porter said. “We’re blending an EDM [electronic dance music]-style light show with foodie elements, photography, and geo-specific ‘aerial art.’” EDM means specially programmed lighting, and the aerial art will be a huge, earthy map sketching out the Up North peninsulas that people can actually walk on.

“We want people to fall in love with this event,” Porter said.

On August 15, Porter is working on a youth-friendly show featuring Toronto grime-electronica band Keys N Krates.

The event will be silent, with wireless headsets for 600 teens, as well as family friendly and alcohol-free.

It’s Porter’s effort to offer something cool for the high school set.

“I’m a big fan of youth, and I think no one really asks them what they want to listen to, so we’re trying to address that,” he said.


The Paella event happens on August 15, featuring “one of the best Cuban-Latin bands around,” Porter said about Grand Rapids based Group Aye. The set also includes bluegrass band Rootstand.

On August 16, it’s the TC Waterman Stand Up Paddle Boarding Challenge, with a concert from Laith Al Saadi in the evening.

At a new venue called Flintfields in Williamsburg, Lyle Lovett is playing on August 8 and ‘60s country-rock band Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen takes the stage on August 9.

And then, of course, there is the Microbrew and Music August 22-23, possibly the biggest one yet.

“It’s so different this year,” Porter said.

“I’m passionate about the exit from shows and filling people with rich senses, sending them back into their community with a full bucket.”

In addition to the food and brews, big name headliner Brandi Carlile will take the stage on Friday night, with additional performances over the weekend from Chicago blues artist L’il Ed and the Blues Imperials, Ann Arbor’s The Ragbirds, Lansing indie popsters Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, Afrobeat/soul/funk hybrid Orgone, and Saturday headliners Nahko and Medicine for the People.

Local faves like The Accidentals and Grand Traverse Pipes and Drums and will round out the lineup.


Hardly overwhelmed by his summer calendar, Porter’s got more in store.

His other project is called Tent Venue, the cornerstone of which is a futuristic canopy that can host 4,000 people.

To get one in the U.S., Porterhouse partnered with a company whose typical clients are The Walt Disney Company and the country of Dubai. To create it, the company fused four smaller tents together to make one big, modern-looking canopy.

“There’s really nothing else like it available in the U.S.,” Porter said. “And with our other focus being mobile touring, this is an important tool. We can set one up in eight to 10 hours just with ten guys and a truck.”

Porter might have to put another order in. He already staged a successful Microbrew and Music event in Lansing this past April, and his company is part of this year’s Electric Forest Festival in Rothbury, Mich.

He is also taking part in Petoskey’s Blissfest concert series and in The Hudson Music Project in Saugerties, NY.

The biggest news? Porter is planning to take his show model to Chicago next year.

“We want Chicago people to literally experience Northern Michigan in Grant Park,” he said. “We’ll build the map, bring in music from Michigan, bring in Michigan food vendors and craft breweries.”

Porter has even coined his own term for the concept: geotourism.

“[We are creating] incredible connections to our region through event design,” he said. “I love the idea of putting Northern Michigan on wheels.”

For more about Porterhouse Productions and their schedule of events, visit porterhouseproductions.com. To learn more about Tent Venue, search YouTube.

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