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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Monday, June 27, 2011

Dominic Fortuna

Music Rick Coates Dominic Fortuna is back in Northern Michigan, at least for the moment. Fresh off his third stint with Grease, that kept Fortuna on Broadway and on the road for much of the past three and half years, he is happy to be back in Northern Michigan and working on a new summer season.
Fortuna and his wife Ashley Moeggenberg Fortuna are producing three shows this summer at the Williamsburg Dinner Theater beginning this Friday, July 1 and continuing through August.
“I launched the Williamsburg Dinner Theater eight years ago and we have had a great run and we want to keep it going,” said Fortuna, who is a 33-year veteran of the region’s entertainment scene. “My wife and I talked and decided we are going to put everything we can into making this work as we want to stay here in Northern Michigan and be performers and raise our children.”

IN DEMAND
The challenge Fortuna is facing is that the rest of the country is calling for his talent. Vegas wants him, so does LA and Nashville and New York is also calling and they want him back.
“I started performing in Northern Michigan in 1978 at Brownwood, I was in the Young Americans and built a following performing at my father’s restaurant,” said Fortuna. “I have been fortunate to be able to perform throughout the region and I love it here; I am hoping to stay but I have to make it work financially.”
 
Monday, June 27, 2011

Rock Fusion The Max Allen Band

Music Kristi Kates Most of today’s up and coming bands - with good reason - don’t like to be pigeonholed, nor do they like to be limited. Indianapolis band Max Allen Band, who will be performing in Traverse City the first week of July, are no exception.
“This band has been influenced by way too many genres and artists to list,” Max Allen explains. “We like to call what we do ‘rock fusion’ - there’s some rock, rap, Latin, funk, blues, bluegrass, baroque, R&B, electronica - if it sounds good and it moves us, we’ll play it.”
See for yourself when the band plays the Loading Dock in TC this Friday, July 1.
 
Monday, June 27, 2011

Aten Place

Music Kristi Kates “This is probably the best schedule we have been able to put together in the 17 years we have offered shows,” grins William Aten, organizer of Aten Place Concerts in Boyne Falls.
Aten - who, perhaps somewhat incongruously, also works as a mathematics consultant and data coach for the Charlevoix-Emmet ISD - runs the Aten Place Concerts shows with his wife, Maxine, and has watched as their “house concerts” have become part of a growing movement in Northern Michigan.
The Rhubarbary Farm House Concerts in Harbor Springs and the Black Cat Concert Series at the Dhaseleer Events Barn in Charlevoix are two other venues that are spearheading this growing trend - great music being showcased in low-key, homegrown venues, usually privately-owned homes or barns that have been converted into personalized and friendly local concert stages. Aten Place is no exception, and have been doing their musical thing since 1995.
 
Monday, June 27, 2011

Musical Roots on the River in Manistee

Music Kristi Kates Roots on the River is the moniker that’s been given to a relatively new
music series in Manistee, at the impetus of two locals who simply wanted
to bring more music to the community.
“In 2007, Noah Joseph and I decided that with so many talented musicians
in Michigan, we wanted to support them,” organizer Erin Garcia explains.
“Recently joining the Manistee Jaycees, we thought this would be a great
community project to initiate. The community has really embraced Roots on
the River, and we are now celebrating our fifth season.”
 
Monday, June 27, 2011

Free Summer Concerts Charlotte Ross Lee?s musical legacy

Music Kristi Kates The Charlotte Ross Lee Concert Series at Pennsylvania Park in downtown
Petoskey was the dream of its namesake.
“She was the champion of this community event,” explains Carlin Smith,
president of the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce. “She raised the
money, booked the shows, and made all of the preparations. I look at it as
Charlotte’s legacy - a gift she left to our community.”
 
Monday, June 27, 2011

4Play: Third Day, Antlers, Brandon Heath, Gus Gus

Music Kristi Kates Third Day - Move - Provident
Third Day’s 11th set, recorded in the band’s own studio in Georgia, features 12 tracks that blend together heavy, Southern-rock influenced instrumentals with soulful, introspective, pensive lyrics and hooks, with a focus on faith. While the songs here are very specifically focused and solid in their beliefs - some of the most inspirational being “Surrender,” “What Have You Got To Lose,” and “Don’t Give Up Hope” - the album adds yet another dimension via the band’s collaboration with The Blind Boys of Alabama on “Lift Up Your Face,” and encouraging tune that showcases both the band’s traditional rock abilities and their positive attitude.
 
Monday, June 20, 2011

Seamus Shinners: The Man Behind the Music

Music Rick Coates Just mention his name in certain music circles and one will quickly find
that Seamus Shinners is a legend. He may not be a household name in
Northern Michigan, but there is a good chance over the past 20 years if
you are an aficionado of music you have attended at least one of the more
than 500 concerts he has presented around the region.
The founder of Connemara Concerts, Shinners has brought an eclectic
collection of performers, from Greg Brown to Second City to Lynn Miles to
Chris Smither to name just a few. His quiet but passionate demeanor has
helped shape the culture of the music scene in the region. While
concertgoers from the area have benefitted so have the performers Shinners
has brought in. 
 
Monday, June 20, 2011

Nocturnal Jazz A night of sight and sound at the Dennos

Music Erin Crowell Having grown up in California and experiencing the all-senses performance
of The Blue Oyster Cult and laser light show of Pink Floyd, Stosh — a
Traverse City artist who moved to the area in 1993 — knew firsthand that
an audience at a jazz concert could experience more than
just sound.
 
Monday, June 20, 2011

4Play: Moby, Blondie, Above & Beyond, BT

Music Kristi Kates Moby - Destroyed - Mute
Moby’s latest set is a thematic one, focusing on the busy musician’s many hours spent in spare hotel rooms, impersonal airport lounges, and in transit. All of the songs were written on the road - many fueled by Moby’s insomnia - and many are also accompanied by photographs that Moby took, which can be acquired via a separate photography book of the same name. Opening the album is the evocative instrumental piece “The Broken Places” (several other “just” instrumentals are also included here, the best being “Sevastopol”); also included are danceable tracks “After” and “Blue Moon,” and the more introspective “When You Are Old.”
 
 
Monday, June 20, 2011

Meredith Fierke?s Triple Threat

Music Kristi Kates By Kristi Kates

Singer-songwriter Meredith Fierke grew up in the small town of Northfield, Minnesota, and has been writing and singing songs for “as long as I can remember.” 
“I learned to love music by listening to it obsessively as a kid,” she explains, “I loved the radio; I would tape my favorite songs by holding my radio speakers up next to the tape recorder. What would come back was a crackling ‘far away’ version of the songs that I would sing along with over and over again. But it wasn’t until I decided to write and record my first album (The Procession, 2008) that I really started learning the art of recording and collaborating with other musicians.”
Today, Fierke is a busily ambitious musician, collaborating with a father-son team who make up her trio. She’ll be performing in Petoskey at the Crooked Tree Arts Center this Thursday.
 
Monday, June 20, 2011

Stripped-down Cracker brings acoustic rock to Legs Inn

Music Rick Coates In the early ‘80s when major record companies were trying to get every band to sound the same, the indie-rock scene emerged to counter the money-oriented music industry. As commercial radio embraced the homogenized rock sounds, college radio and MTV were busy ushering in the independent labels, with such bands as R.E.M. and U2, among others, leading the way. 
Another band that was part of the second generation of the indie-rock scene was Cracker founded by vocalist and songwriter David Lowery and guitarist Johnny Hickman. Formed in 1991, Cracker signed with Virgin Records and released their self-titled debut CD in 1992 with alternative rock hits “Happy Birthday to Me” and “Teen Angst.”  Cracker would become best known for their platinum-selling album, “Kerosene Hat”  in 1993, which featured the hit songs “Low”, “Euro-Trash Girl”, and “Get Off This.”
Lowery and Hickman will head to Northern Michigan on Friday June 24 at Legs Inn (Cross Village, north of Harbor Springs) with a special version of Cracker.
“Johnny and I do a stripped down version of Cracker. I can’t afford to bring the full band to a small venue in Northern Michigan so this works. we call it Cracker Duo,” said David Lowery. “It gives us a chance to play out of the way places and we still rock out, we are not sitting on stools we are standing up and jamming. Our fans love this, they view the Cracker Duo as a separate entity from Cracker. This format gives us an opportunity to play a different set of songs, of course w
 
Monday, June 20, 2011

Val du Lakes

Music Rick Coates It has been 15 years since Val Du Lakes hosted their last summer concert
series. The popular concert and camping venue located just south of
Pentwater (two hours from Traverse City) is back after a long hiatus. The
16-week concert series kicked off in May with the return of Pop Evil, from
neighboring Ludington that has hit the big time, and concerts will
continue through the end of August.
 
Monday, June 13, 2011

4Play: Gomez, Dave Alvin, Bon Iver, Matt Nathanson

Music Kristi Kates Gomez - Whatever’s On Your Mind - ATO/Red
Although they’re probably best known as a British band, Gomez’ bandmates are actually scattered across a couple of countries, with its members now living in the UK, L.A., and NY. Fortunately for them, they had a common production ground in producer Sam Farrar, who helped them bring together this, their latest album. Recorded primarily in a remote studio locale in Virginia, this is both a smoother and more experimental set than previous efforts, with new in-band approaches taken to horns and guitars (“Options”), synth/strings (“Our Goodbye”), and electronica (“Song in my Heart.”) It’s fresh, eclectic, and interesting.
 
Monday, June 13, 2011

Elvis Costello

Music Rick Coates When Elvis Costello takes the stage at Interlochen’s Kresge Auditorium on
Tuesday June 21 to kick off the music portion of their Summer Arts
Celebration, his eclectic approach will be a fitting tribute to
Interlochen’s summer concert series.
The 2003 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee has extended his popular
“Revolver Tour” to include Interlochen and other dates this summer and for
the first time in 25 years he is bringing along his “Spectacular Spinning
Songbook.” This carnival-like atmosphere will feature a gigantic game-show
wheel with 40 song titles on it ranging from hits to rarities to covers.
Concertgoers will be invited up on stage to spin the wheel to help create
the setlist for the evening and then after spinning the wheel they have
the option to hear their song while hanging out in the “Hostage to Fortune
Go-Go Cage,” or taking a seat at the “Society Lounge,” where light
refreshments are served.
 
Monday, June 13, 2011

Soul Patch

Music Kristi Kates Soul Patch brings maximum grooves to Northern Express Minifest
By Kristi Kates
“Soul Patch has been a long and interesting journey,” begins Soul Patch singer Christopher “Wink” Winkelmann. The band, a Traverse City hometown favorite, began as a two-piece acoustic act made up of Winkelmann and Michael “Mando” Peck (on guitar and mandolin), and evolved into a two-piece with a whole lot of guest musicians sitting in.
“We are still in TC and probably always will be. This is our home and we love ‘Da Mitten!’” Winkelmann says.
 
 
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