Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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Monday, March 7, 2011

4Play: Cake, Soundgarden, Wire, The Go! Team

Music Kristi Kates Cake - Showroom of Compassion - Upbeat/ILG
Cake’s latest album - their first since 2004 - sounds pretty much like… their last album in 2004. This isn’t a bad thing. It just means that Cake still pretty much sounds like Cake, complete with horns, punchy guitars, callback harmonies, and John McCrea’s oft-acerbic, wry vocal stylings. There’s nothing particularly edgy here, but the songs are definitely catchy, from the “Never There”-reminiscent “Sick of You,” “Federal Funding,” and “Got to Move” to their left-field cover of Frank Sinatra’s “What’s Now is Now” to the country-inflected “Bound Away.” Groundbreaking, no - entertaining, yes.
Monday, February 28, 2011


Music Kristi Kates Chanticleer: An Orchestra of Voices
By Kristi Kates
First, a little background. Chanticleer, the internationally-renowned singing group, has actually been around since 1978. Founded by musicology grad student Louis Botto - who found it unusual that much of the repertoire he was studying wasn’t actually being performed - the group was initially pulled from members of choirs in which Botto sang (namely the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and the Grace Cathedral Choir), and began as a nine-member endeavor.
They named themselves after Chanticleer, the singing rooster in one of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales - and the group debuted before a capacity audience at San Fran’s historic Old Mission Dolores. With their very first show a smash success, the nonet agreed to continue on, and a singing tradition was born.
Monday, February 28, 2011


Music Kristi Kates MilkDrive Shakes Up the Austin Music Scene
By Kristi Kates
The sounds of Austin, Texas resonate in Northern Michigan this weekend
with a band that knows how to fiddle around.
Comprised of Brian Beken, Noah Jeffries, and Dennis Ludiker (all who play
guitar, mandolin, and fiddle) and Matt Mefford on bass, Austin-based
alt-folk band MilkDrive first found its feet in Idaho, the homeland of
main songwriter Jeffries, who grew up playing music with his family’s
bluegrass/gospel band.
Monday, February 28, 2011

Miss Tess

Music Kristi Kates Miss Tess’ leads the Retro Parade
By Kristi Kates
Being compared to the likes of both Ella Fitzgerald and Madeleine Peyroux - and being dubbed Outstanding Folk Artist of the Year by the Boston Music Awards - is no small feat.
But Boston-launched, New York-based singer-songwriter Miss Tess, who will be appearing in Traverse City at the InsideOut Gallery, on March 2, is no small-minded musician, pushing and pulling her talents through a wide range of projects but always keeping her own musical sensibilities inta
Monday, February 28, 2011

St. Patrick‘s Day

Music Rick Coates St. Practice Day:: Raise a toast with The Young Dubliners, Shrub and 12 Year Reunion
By Rick Coates 
Almost 20 years ago Guinness started The Great Guinness Toast, nicknamed 
“St. Practice Day,” where on the third Friday of February Guinness
drinkers gather at pubs to raise a toast to set a Guinness Book of World
Records for the largest simultaneous toast. Each year a new record has
been set. The St. Practice Day concept has expanded beyond what Guinness
originally intended with clubs putting their own spin on it.
Ground Zero Nightclub in Traverse City will launch its first-ever St.
Practice Day on Friday March 4 with three bands, The Young Dubliners,
Shrub and 12-Year Reunion. Tickets are only $10 in advance and doors open
at 8 p.m.
Monday, February 28, 2011

4Play: Ron Sexsmith, Adele, The Jayhawks, Duffy

Music Kristi Kates Ron Sexsmith - Long Player, Late Bloomer - Thirty Tigers
Long underrated and often (unfortunately) unnoticed by U.S. audiences,
Canadian singer-songwriter Sexsmith nonetheless counts among his fans
everyone from Coldplay’s Chris Martin to Elvis Costello. Opening track
“Get in Line” is actually instantly reminiscent of Elvis Costello, right
down to the bobs and warbles at the end of the verse lines; other
highlights include “No Help at All” (on which he sounds a little like
Bruce Hornsby) and “Everytime I Follow,” with its off-beat acoustic and
heavier rhythms. This album full of quiet, stealthy hits closes with
“Nowadays,” prettily plucked on guitar and seasoned faintly with pedal
steel in the background.
Monday, February 21, 2011

Bye, Bye winter blues

Music Kristi Kates Bye Bye, Winter Blues Petoskey’s Got the Cure
By Kristi Kates
“It all started because our marketing consultant told us we were doing
well in the summer, but that we needed to get more people here in the
winter,” explains Petoskey Downtown Director Becky Goodman, “there had
been nothing in the past here in the winter, or for the locals.”
Monday, February 21, 2011

4Play: Jamiroquai, Ice Cube, Cee-Lo Green, Ne-Yo

Music Kristi Kates Jamiroquai - Rock Dust Light Star - Mercury UK
Frontman Jay Kay and crew’s first album in over five years, Jamiroquai’s latest set was recorded half in the UK and half in Thailand, giving this set both a grounded and a more exotic side. First single “Blue Skies” sticks close to England - reminiscent, even, of the best possibilities of England’s boy band roster with its pop sensibilities - while other tracks show more depth. The lighter side continues on tracks like the zippy “Lifeline” and “Two Completely Different Things,” while the heavier grooves surface on songs like “White Knuckle Ride,” the bass-y “All Good in the Hood,” and the cool funk-reggae anti-drug anthem “Hey Floyd.”

Monday, February 14, 2011


Music Kristi Kates Amos Lee - Mission Bell - Blue Note
Melding the vocal stylings of Bill Withers and James Taylor together into a soulful American roots-music mix, Lee’s latest (his fourth album) includes a wide range of guest musicians and amps up his arranging skills with more complexity than previous releases. He brings Lucinda Williams in for a duet on “Clear Blue Eyes” to great effect, while Willie Nelson steps in on a secondary version of Lee’s song “El Camino,” although Lee’s Nelson-free version is as good as, if not better than, the collaborative take on the tune. Other standouts include the downtrodden but pretty “Out of the Cold,” the joyful “Violin,” the well-constructed balladry of “Stay With Me,” and the pensive-meets-instructive “Learned a Lot.”

Monday, February 7, 2011

4Play: Nic Dawson Kelly, Chet Baker, Various Artists, Tom Waits

Music Kristi Kates Nic Dawson Kelly - Old Valentine - 101
This debut set from the newbie Brit singer-songwriter finds him inviting over a few pals to help fill in his genre-crossing songs, including Portis head’s Jim Barr and Primal Scream’s Marco Nelson. Set on a foundation of folky guitars and rattling harmonicas, the set focuses on old Valentine’s Day love letters to sketch portraits of what seem to be a couple of Kelly’s
old loves. “Thursday 3-23” secures its harmonica right next to uplifting banjo riffs, while “The Musician” leans more on ‘50s/’60s era rock-folk, and “Delicate” showcases Kelly’s pensive, lovelorn vocals.
Monday, February 7, 2011

Tracking the Bliss Train to Petoskey

Music Kristi Kates Songs by Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, The Eagles... country, folk, blues... guitars, banjos, harmonicas, and mandolins. All of the above have made “appearances” at the Bliss Train Coffee House, the quietly-progressive open mic that takes over Petoskey’s Grain Train cafe every Sunday afternoon - and that’s been around a lot longer than you might expect.
“The idea for the Bliss Train Coffee House was developed at the program committee of the Blissfest Music Organization,” Bob Fawcett explains, “Jim Gillespie (executive director of Blissfest) came up with the name. At that time, around 2003, I was treasurer of BMO, a board member, and part of the program committee, as were Jim, Kirby, and Mitch Weber.”
Initially, Fawcett says, the group’s newbie jam sessions were held at the old Blissfest office on Lake Street in Petoskey. But it wasn’t long before more space was needed.
“As it grew, the venue was moved to a coffee house on Howard Street in Petoskey,” Fawcett recollects, “When that coffee house closed, we moved to the Grain Train four or five years ago.”
Monday, February 7, 2011

The Gypsy Grooves of Caravan of Thieves

Music Kristi Kates The husband and wife team simply known as “Carrie and Fuzz” are at the wheel of the indie pop/gypsy/jazz band known as Caravan of Thieves. The partnership flourishes in both directions, musically and personally, and the result is an unusual musical configuration that started acoustically and has expanded its dynamics to include a whole lot more.
The Caravan will pull into Traverse City’s InsideOut Gallery for a concert on Friday, Feb. 11.
Monday, February 7, 2011

Great Indoor Folk Festival

Music Robert Downes Great Indoor Folk Festival
A new day is dawning for the Great Indoor Folk Festival this year, as
the family-friendly event moves to the Sunday before Valentine’s Day.
That’s Sunday, Feb. 13, to be exact, with more than 50 musicians set
to perform in the sprawling Mercado  shopping area of Building 50 at
the Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City.  If attendance matches
that of years past, the third annual event is expected to draw as many
as 1,000 people throughout the day.
Monday, January 31, 2011

Dick Siegel

Music Kristi Kates Petoskey Welcomes Dick Siegel
By Kristi Kates

Michigan transplant Dick Siegel, born in New Jersey but now firmly a
part of the Detroit music scene, has become well-known over the years
for his quirky lyrics, singer-songwriter styling, and his unique
fusion of roots, folk, and jazz.
Monday, January 31, 2011

4Play: Klaxons, Gasoline Silveer, Manic Street Ptreachers, Vincent Minor

Music Kristi Kates Klaxons - Surfing the Void - Polydor 1/31/11
Electro-rock band Klaxons stepped out of Europe and into Los Angeles to record their sophomore set with producer Ross Robinson, and have added even more of an alternative feel to their music via several experimental elements and plenty of dark harmonies. First single “Echoes” presents a zippy beat and chiming guitars, while the title track ventures into unusual vocal territory with high falsettos and electronica fx; “Future Memories” sets the tune to a military beat, and “Flashover” echoes Interpol with its near-disco beat and heavy instrumentals.