Letters

Letters 10-27-2014

Paging Doctor Dan: The doctor’s promise to repeal Obamacare reminds me of the frantic restaurant owner hurrying to install an exhaust fan after the kitchen burns down. He voted 51 times to replace the ACA law; a colossal waste of money and time. It’s here to stay and he has nothing to replace it.

Evolution Is Real Science: Breathtaking inanity. That was the term used by Judge John Jones III in his elegant evisceration of creationist arguments attempting to equate it to evolutionary theory in his landmark Kitzmiller vs. Dover Board of Education decision in 2005.

U.S. No Global Police: Steven Tuttle in the October 13 issue is correct: our military, under the leadership of the President (not the Congress) is charged with protecting the country, its citizens, and its borders. It is not charged with  performing military missions in other places in the world just because they have something we want (oil), or we don’t like their form of government, or we want to force them to live by the UN or our rules.

Graffiti: Art Or Vandalism?: I walk the [Grand Traverse] Commons frequently and sometimes I include the loop up to the cistern just to go and see how the art on the cistern has evolved. Granted there is the occasional gross image or word but generally there is a flurry of color.

NMEAC Snubbed: Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is the Grand Traverse region’s oldest grassroots environmental advocacy organization. Preserving the environment through citizen action and education is our mission.

Vote, Everyone: Election Day on November 4 is fast approaching, and now is the time to make a commitment to vote. You may be getting sick of the political ads on TV, but instead, be grateful that you live in a free country with open elections. Take the time to learn about the candidates by contacting your county parties and doing research.

Do Fluoride Research: Hydrofluorosilicic acid, H2SiF6, is a byproduct from the production of fertilizer. This liquid, not environmentally safe, is scrubbed from the chimney of the fertilizer plant, put into containers, and shipped. Now it is a ‘product’ added to the public drinking water.

Meet The Homeless: As someone who volunteers for a Traverse City organization that works with homeless people, I am appalled at what is happening at the meetings regarding the homeless shelter. The people fighting this shelter need to get to know some homeless families. They have the wrong idea about who the homeless are.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Winter Shows

Features Al Parker What’s hot on the region’s stages

It may be wintry outside, but Northern Michigan theatre stages are warming up with several exciting performance choices in coming months, from professional presentations to community theatre to student performances...

 
Monday, October 3, 2011

A PRESSING Engagement

Features Al Parker Driving west and north out of Mancelona, it’s not too long before you’re surrounded by a lush green forest where you find the gurgling waters of the under-rated Cedar River.
 
Monday, August 29, 2011

Todd Warner's Zoo Charlevoix sculptor loves animals & 'sophisticated whimsey'

Art Al Parker In his downtown Charlevoix studio, sculptor Todd Warner puts flame to his first Dominican Excalibur cigar of the day, exhales a plume of fragrant smoke and recalls his early artistic efforts.
“I was always drawing stuff,” he says with a chuckle. “From the time I could pick up a pencil. My kindergarten teacher said ‘We need to foster this.’”
Decades later, Warner’s clay-and-wood works include life-size cowboys, Indians, butlers and fishermen. He has a special affinity for animals and crafts unique beasts from armadillos to zebras.
“I’ve always loved animals,” says Warner, who grew up in Farwell, near Clare. “And I really like the more interesting animals – wart hogs, rhinos – not the sleek one. I spent some time in Africa and really want to go back.”
Described as ‘sophisticated whimsy,’ his works can be found in lobbies, living rooms, zoos, museums, offices and airports across the nation. His creations are cornerstones of collections at the corporate headquarters of USA Today, McDonald’s, Gannett Publishing and Detroit Tigers and Little Caesar’s owner Mike Illitch.
Celebrities who own at least one of Warner’s works include Randy Travis, David Copperfield, Kelly McGillis, Charlie Gibson and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
 
Monday, August 15, 2011

Photo Replay

Art Al Parker Steve Ballance says his interest in photographic processes is comparable
to the ancient practice of alchemy where the wizard attempted to turn base
metals into gold.
For decades, he’s been intrigued by how one’s perception is changed by the
processes that translate subject matter to the viewer.
 
Monday, August 15, 2011

Mi Farm Market

Dining Al Parker Scotty Bruce is one of those uber-creative guys who just seems born to be
an entrepreneur.
His creative mind, coupled with a strong work ethic, thrives on generating
money-making opportunities. At his 2004 Ellsworth High School graduation,
much to the chagrin of school officials, Bruce sold advertising space on
his graduation gown.
 
Monday, August 1, 2011

Anna Farrell & Tyler Bier

Art Al Parker A high school project has turned into a creative, popular line of detailed
ceramic guitars produced by Charlevoix artisans Anna Farrell and Tyler
Bier.
“I made one that was about two-feet high, a Fender, for a class project
years ago,” recalls the 24-year-old Bier, who has seven real guitars of
his own. “After that I just started making them, though smaller.”
For about two years, both Bier and Farrell constructed the guitars, but
now she specializes in the axes, while Bier has moved on to more
functional ceramics like dishes, mugs, piggy banks and serving bowls.
“Anna’s guitars are a lot neater (than mine),” says Bier with a smile.
“She’s incredibly talented and precise. I stick to the wheel now.”
 
Monday, July 25, 2011

Eye of the Beholder Michelle Hart Jahraus captures Leelanau in its element

Art Al Parker Van Gogh did it. So did Monet and Renoir.
And Leelanau County artist Michelle Hart Jahraus is an outspoken advocate
of painting outdoors, or “plein air” – especially near water. Capturing
the elusive qualities of light and landscapes are fascinating to her. She
even teaches classes in the classic artistic practice.
“If I haven’t had a day near the water, I feel unfulfilled or
irresponsible,” she says with a smile. “I feel it’s sort of a
responsibility to art.”
 
Monday, July 18, 2011

Jesse Hickman

Art Al Parker There’s Something Fishy about Jesse Hickman
By Al Parker
Artist Jesse Hickman has created well more than 1,000 witty, whimsical
fish over the years, but like a devoted catch-and-release angler, he
hasn’t kept any for himself.
“I have to work, it’s an obsession,” says Hickman. “But once it’s done,
it’s out of my life. I don’t own a fish of my own. For me, the art is not
the finished product, it’s the process. Once it’s completely finished,
it’s okay to let it go.”
 
Monday, June 27, 2011

The Contemporary Quilts of Sarah Bearup-Neal

Art Al Parker It’s been about 25 years since Sarah Bearup-Neal visited a small historical museum in Flint and was taken aback by what she saw there.
“There was a twist,” she recalls. “The quilts were hung from the ceiling rather than spread horizontally across a bed. It was explained to me these quilts were being exhibited for the strength of their design.”
Quilts as Art?
“The idea struck me as revolutionary and it germinated inside my brain for 20 years,” she says.
Art has been part of Bearup-Neal’s life since she was growing up in Grand Blanc, south of Flint. In 1978, she earned a BFA in studio art from Michigan State University. Despite this background, she didn’t pursue art professionally until the late 1990s when she displayed her fiber arts.
“I created women’s clothing using techniques from the quilting world,” she explains. “But then I decided my heart wasn’t really in that and I began really studying contemporary quilts. They’re different from traditional quilts. People believe they just belong in the bedroom. Quilting as an art medium is sometimes difficult for people to get their minds around.”
 
Monday, June 20, 2011

The Contemporary Quilts of Sarah Bearup-Neal

Art Al Parker It’s been about 25 years since Sarah Bearup-Neal visited a small historical museum in Flint and was taken aback by what she saw there.
“There was a twist,” she recalls. “The quilts were hung from the ceiling rather than spread horizontally across a bed. It was explained to me these quilts were being exhibited for the strength of their design.”
Quilts as Art?
“The idea struck me as revolutionary and it germinated inside my brain for 20 years,” she says.
Art has been part of Bearup-Neal’s life since she was growing up in Grand Blanc, south of Flint. In 1978, she earned a BFA in studio art from Michigan State University. Despite this background, she didn’t pursue art professionally until the late 1990s when she displayed her fiber arts.
“I created women’s clothing using techniques from the quilting world,” she explains. “But then I decided my heart wasn’t really in that and I began really studying contemporary quilts. They’re different from traditional quilts. People believe they just belong in the bedroom. Quilting as an art medium is sometimes difficult for people to get their minds around.”
 
Monday, June 13, 2011

Rick Daigh

Art Al Parker Gaze on the evocative works of Rick Daigh and you might wonder who his
early artistic inspirations were.
The Old Masters? Perhaps the Impressionists?
“When I was about 9 years old, I got Mad Magazine,” he says with a wry
smile. “My heroes were those artists – Jack Davis, Wally Wood, Mort
Drucker. I loved those guys. By the time I was in high school, I wanted to
be an illustrator.”
After a year and a half as nt art major at Sacramento City College and a
tour of duty in the U.S. Air Force, Daigh found work at a number of print
shops and ad agencies in Southern California. He gradually got more
art-related jobs, working as a cartoonist at a greeting card company and
for several design studios where his detailed illustrations were featured
on brochures, print ads and publications.
 
Monday, June 6, 2011

The nature side of Kaye Krapohl

Art Al Parker Kaye Krapohl finds the perfect view atop Sleeping Bear Dunes, pulls out her gear and settles in to interpret the stunning scene before her. 
“Here’s my ‘very technical’ approach to painting,” she says with a laugh. “Get a clip board, gessoed paper, or piece of wood, grab whatever paints will fit into my Oryana cloth bag, roll brushes up in a dishtowel, grab a small china plate and water in a water bottle. Get on my bike or travel to a nice location and paint. I take a backpack, sit on a rock and do my little sketches.”
Then she returns to her in-home studio in Traverse City and turns those ‘little sketches’ into 24x36-inch or 38x38-inch things of beauty. Her favorite medium is oil on wood with very thin washes.
Nature dominates Krapohl’s works, mostly landscapes of stunning appeal and accuracy. Her acrylics, oils and watercolors capture clouds, rivers, lakes, marshes, streams and sunsets from across northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. 
“I do landscapes because it’s there,” she explains. “You can always expect my work to give a sense of being there in the present. The greatest compliment anyone could give me is ‘I can hear the snow crunch’ or ‘I can smell the river.’”
 
Monday, June 6, 2011

The nature side of Kaye Krapohl

Art Al Parker Kaye Krapohl finds the perfect view atop Sleeping Bear Dunes, pulls out her gear and settles in to interpret the stunning scene before her. 
“Here’s my ‘very technical’ approach to painting,” she says with a laugh. “Get a clip board, gessoed paper, or piece of wood, grab whatever paints will fit into my Oryana cloth bag, roll brushes up in a dishtowel, grab a small china plate and water in a water bottle. Get on my bike or travel to a nice location and paint. I take a backpack, sit on a rock and do my little sketches.”
Then she returns to her in-home studio in Traverse City and turns those ‘little sketches’ into 24x36-inch or 38x38-inch things of beauty. Her favorite medium is oil on wood with very thin washes.
Nature dominates Krapohl’s works, mostly landscapes of stunning appeal and accuracy. Her acrylics, oils and watercolors capture clouds, rivers, lakes, marshes, streams and sunsets from across northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. 
“I do landscapes because it’s there,” she explains. “You can always expect my work to give a sense of being there in the present. The greatest compliment anyone could give me is ‘I can hear the snow crunch’ or ‘I can smell the river.’”
 
Monday, May 23, 2011

Char Brickel

Art Al Parker It’s easy to see that artist Char Bickel is serious when it comes to joy and fun.
“It’s good to keep in touch with that childhood joy,” advises the smiling Northport resident who creates evocative, handsome shadow boxes of painted silk and cotton fabric that is painstakingly cut and glued. “I loved making art as a kid and I still do.”  
Paying homage to collage, Bickel’s works draw their inspiration from the nature that surrounds her in Leelanau County and most of her works include images of animals – rabbits, fish, birds, and most noticeably, bears. In fact, her haunting image of a Juggling Bear has become synonymous with her work, appearing in a variety of her shadow boxes.
“There’s something about the shape of bears,” she says. “I’ve been doing the Juggling Bear since 1992. It’s sort of a logo for me now. To me, it reflects that you should handle parts of life in balance and joyfully.” 
Bickel’s shadow boxes begin simply with white silk that is screen printed with splashes of color. Then she cuts and glues the silk into images as simple and subtle as bears flying kites or ponies romping on a beach. The scenes may seem other-worldly, yet are rooted in the familiar. Take a closer look and you’ll see sturdy stitching linking a stone to the beach or fixing the moon in the sky.
“I like adding detail,” she says. “I like to start with a strong image first, then see something else and something else, adding details.”
 
Monday, December 20, 2010

Dining with Gusto

Dining Al Parker Dining with Gusto! in Suttons Bay
By Al Parker
Just for the record, the colorful Italian eatery in Suttons Bay is pronounced “Goose-tow,” not “Gus-tow.”
“I don’t care how they say it, as long as they come in,” laughs Sam Hybels, owner of Gusto! on M-22 just a couple of doors north of Suttons Bay’s south blinker light.
In a prior life, the building housed Hattie’s, operated by noted restaurateur Jim Milliman. In 2003, Milliman decided to sell Hattie’s and Hybels, who had worked at the eatery, saw an opportunity. He bought Hattie’s, changed the menu and reintroduced the restaurant as Samuel’s.
About 18 months ago he transformed Samuel’s into Gusto!
“It’s been a good direction for us to go,” says Hybels, who comes from a family of self-proclaimed foodies and has been a chef for 20 years. “I really modeled Gusto! after a couple of Italian restaurants in Kalamazoo where we went when I was growing up.”
Hybels devotion to authentic Italian cuisine goes back many years and was sparked when he spent two weeks visiting Sicily. “I had been a corporate chef for 10 years and was burned out,” he recalls. “The Italian people are food people. They emphasize freshness and quality. That’s the way I do it.”
 
 
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