He has a radio program on WXOU out of Oakland University
Wild At Heart
Sorry about not posting earlier but my Monday was divided between looking for a job and trying to reach people and then going to three film premieres of which I will write about in future blogs. So thanks for your patience and let's get this week's blog started. First off, I ended up going to the Russell Industrial Complex this past weekend and helping out the blog by holding down the merch table. On Saturday, the band Light In August performed, who put on a good show esp with the sitar playing, and we had Jesus Chainsaw Massacre on Sunday. I also had the sadness of selling off part of my record collection which I thought I would never do. Of course the records mean different things to me now due to the technological age and the easy access to popular music. This means getting rid of some stuff I have on CD or some of the more popular greatest hits collections. I think I was most surprised that the first album I sold was a Chevy Chase album where he does covers of songs by the Troggs, Randy Newman, Bob Marley and the Sugarhill Gang. Lots of memories!
Moving on, the Detroit Science Center has extended it's run for "STAR TREK: THE EXHIBITION!" through Sept 13th along with the Star Trek feature film. This will be the last chance area Trekkers will have to experience the props from the series including recreations of the original bridge, transporter and the portal from the classic episode "The City On The Edge Of Forever" (my favorite part of the exhibit). Fans can also give last respects to Picard's quarters, the various costumes and props from Trek's 40 year history and ride in the motion simulator. Star Trek has proven to be more than just a regular TV show but becomming entrenched in our social consciousness due to 10 feature length movies, 5 spin-off TV series, popular books and comics, phrases such as "Beam me up, Scotty", the success of the 1976 letter-writing campaign to NASA to name the newest space shuttle the Enterprise and the fact that it has influenced the design of many current technologies, including the Tablet PC, the PDA, mobile phones and the MRI (based on Dr. McCoy's diagnostic table). So even if you are not a fan, get down there and take a look at what all the fuss is about and enjoy what makes Star Trek special.
Speaking of special, this past weekend the Michigan State Fair opened up and is looking a bit different. The first official Michigan State Fair was held in in 1849, which is claimed by the state of Michigan to be the oldest state fair in the United States. The first fair was held in Detroit, Michigan though subsequent fairs were held in other cities until it received its permanent home in 1905 at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit. I have been down there a couple times now to check out the fair and it seems smaller than previous years with a few standards missing such as the cooking demos from the cookware guys (so much for free dinner). However, there are still things to see and do down there such as my personal favorite, the bow and arrow exhibit though I miss the targets shaped like the deer and bear, I enjoy testing my skills on the range. The Budweiser Clydesdale horses are at the fair until the 7th. To be a member of the team, the horses must be at least three years of age, stand approximately 18 hands (6 feet) at the shoulder, weigh an average of 2000 pounds, must be bay in color have four white stockings, and a blaze of white on the face with a black mane and tail. A gentle temperament is essential as hitch horses meet millions of people each year and we don't want an angry Clydesdale coming at us. Kids can see the petting zoo to feed the kangaroos, llamas camels and other animals or have their picture taken with a lion cub. For concerts, we have a range of artists including Cavo, Red and Pop Evil tonight, country artists Joe Nichols and Chuck Wicks on Sept 2nd, more local country on Sept 3rd, Starship (aka Jefferson Starship or Jefferson Airplane) on Sept 4th, Survivor ("Eye Of the Tiger") on Sept 5th, country artist Jake Owne on Sept 6th and Bill Squier ("The Stroke") on Sept 7th. Of course, there are the many rides, livestock exhibits and other happenings going on. For full fair information, go to www.michigan.gov/mistatefair.
Other special events going on around town include 2 festivals starting with Arts Beats and Eats in downtown Pontiac which has taken a bit of a hit due to lack of corporate sponsorship. To help make up for that lost revenue and still make it a worth while event, they are charging $2 admission fee to the festival and all concerts, but will balance the extra fee by offering lower costs for parking, food and beverages items, and other value incentives throughout the weekend including free admission on Friday. This fee will be shared with thirteen worthy non-profits including the March of Dimes, Volunteers of America, The Rainbow Connection, Detroit Public Television, etc. The music line-up includes Los Lobos and Candlebox on Friday (9/04) with local stand outs Laith Al-Saadi, The Orbitsuns, Beth Stalker and Giftus. Ashes Of Soma and Joan Jett headline on Saturday (9/05) with recommended local artists Stewart Franke, Robin Horlock Band, Aran Ruth, Friendly Foes, Band B and Nadir Distorted Soul. The headliners on Sunday (9/06) are Alexander Zonjic & Friends with special guest James Lloyd, Keiko Matsui and Angie Stone with local talents to check out with Broadzilla, the Muggs, The Ragbirds, Misty Lyn & Big Beautiful and Sky Covington. Lastly, we have Phil Vassar, Critical Bill and Puddle Of Mudd headlining on Monday (9/07) with notable local acts Reefermen, Free Dirt Band, Ultraviolet Hippopotamus and Jesse Palter. Overall this should still be a good time despite the fee. Go to www.artsbeatseats.com for full information.
The other festival is of course the Detroit International Jazz Fest which has five stage and over 100 artists. There mission statement is to 1) foster the history and nurture the development of jazz, 2) perpetuate Detroit’s significant jazz legacy through educational and collaborative opportunities accessible to all and 3) present a world-class signature event that makes Detroit a tourist destination and in my opinion, they succeed on a grand scale. Located downtown between Campus Martius and Hart Plaza there are numerous musical stand-outs this year. While not a full line-up, here are some suggestions for each day to check out. For Friday (9/04), I recommend pianist Hank Jones & the supergroup Return To Forever with Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke & Lenny White. Saturday (9/05) has the Brubeck Brothers Quartet featuring drummer Dan Brubeck and bassist/trombonist Chris Brubeck, Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express, pianist and composer Dave Brubeck's Quartet, the Contours featuring Sylvester Potts, Grammy Award-winning bassist/composer/bandleader Christian McBride and singer Irma Thomas. Sunday (9/06) showcases Jesse Palter Quartet (doing double duty with ABE), the Marcus Belgrave All-Star Quintet, tenor saxophone great Ernie Krivda, funk guitar master Dennis Coffey, the great Booker T (of the MG's "Green Onions" fame) and legendary percussionist Pete Escovedo. Lastly, on Monday (9/07) there is the Clark Sisters, T.S. Monk (playing the music of his father Thelonious) and the Carolyn Striho-Rayse Biggs Project. Overall, a very impressive list and you can get full schedules at www.detroitjazzfest.com.
If neither festival suits your concert itch, you might have to really look around this week. Also, is it just me or does Motorhead and Nashville Pussy playing at Motor City just seem weird? Anyway, here are some concerts to try starting with Wednesday (9/02) where I have nothing else (remember I only promote artists here that I have seen perform and would recommend seeing). Ditto Thursday (9/03). On Friday (9/04) you have Randy Bachman (of Guess Who and BTO fame) @ the Riverfront, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels @ Lexington Music and Theatre Company, OAR @ Meadowbrook Theatre or Sax Maniacs @ the Rusty Nail. Saturday (9/05) is interesting for rock lovers with Steely Dan @ Motor City Casino, ZZ Top @ the Fillmore (thanks to Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler falling sideways off the stage while attempting to spin in place during an Aerosmith concert near Sturgis, South Dakota thus injuring his head, neck and breaking his shoulder causing ZZ to go solo the rest of the tour) or local favs Amino Acids @ Small's. Sunday (9/06) has Rare Earth @ Lexington Music and Theatre Company. Also in music news, the industrial band Revolting Cocks is looking to tour this year so please come to Detroit motherf*ckers.
The Detroit Shock also play three homes games this week facing the Phoenix Mercury tonight, Indiana Fever on Friday and Chicago Sky on Sunday. They have a chance to make the playoffs so come out and give them some much needed support. Katie Smith might sit out tonight's game with a sore back.
For movie fans, check out "Taking Woodstock", the newest film by Ang Lee. The movie is set in 1969 (the year I was born which might explain my passion for music), the film follows the true story of Elliot Tiber (played by Demetri Martin) who was instrumental in helping make the original Woodstock happen. He was an aspiring Greenwich Village interior designer whose parents owned a small dilapidated motel in Upstate New York. As a member of the town board, he held the only musical festival permit for the town of Bethel, New York and offered it and accommodations at his parents Catskills motel to the organizers of the Woodstock Festival after things fell through at the original site in Wallkill, NY. The film itself has moments which really work as the movie focuses on two main things: 1) the organizing of the festival and 2) the relationship of Elliot with his parents. While the movie itself doesn't include any performances, you can always get the movie "Woodstock" to supplement your viewing pleasure. I enjoyed seeing the prep work of the festival in the film and moments such as when Tiber and his family run off some gansters trying to get a piece of the action or Liev Schreiber as Vilma, a transvestite security guard which helps the family. Sadly, while Tiber's homesexuality is looked at, it is never fully explored in the film which leaves some of his family bonding a little disappointing. I also enjoyed Eugene Levy as Max Yasgur, who owns the nearby farm where the festival is held but his character disappears near the middle and is sorely missed. Overall, the film has a good feel and we don't miss the music as much (though it looks like a killer soundtrack) since that has been most of the focus in media prior to this. It is nice showing some of the historical background and it should be interesting for the true music fans to experience the making of a festival. The film does comes across more like a light comedy than actual historical drama which is what I guess you get by casting Demitri. While I did hope for more, the movie gets a grade of B- from me.
Some Woodstock facts: In April 1969, newly-minted superstars Creedence Clearwater Revival were the first act to sign a contract for the event, agreeing to play for ten thousand dollars. Tickets for the event cost US$18 in advance (equivalent to approx. US$75 after adjusting for inflation) and $24 at the gate for all three days. Around 186,000 tickets were sold beforehand though half a million showed up prompting the free event. There were two recorded fatalities: one from what was believed to be a heroin overdose and another caused in an accident when a tractor ran over an attendee sleeping in a nearby hayfield. There also were two births recorded at the event (one in a car caught in traffic and another in a hospital after an airlift by helicopter). Afterwards, Bethel voters tossed out their supervisor in an election held in November 1969 because of his role in bringing the festival to the town. New York State and the town of Bethel passed mass gathering laws designed to prevent any more festivals from occurring. In more recent years, the town of Bethel is trying to find ways to market themselves with the festival.
That is it for the week. Have a great Labor Day and stay safe.