Art & Music

by Jeff Milo

No more clichés, no more cynicism. Rock’s not dead. Never was. The Beggars are here to save the day. Rock’s redeemers, Steven Tuthill, Jim Faulkner, Pookie Grech and Chris Krez, each understand that rock n’ roll can be more than just music, it can be something to live for…

And don’t you dare doubt their powers. Attendees of Beggars concerts are often quickly converted by their charms: a combination of the wild and the raucous with the wholesome and the nostalgic; it’s head-banging, fist-pumping, guitar-shredding, ballad-belting music, but it’s done with this charismatic grin and studded with a classy (if half-crazed) showmanship that conjures the most glorious of rock’s glory days.

Last month, the Ferndale quartet released their second full-length record, a self-titled album produced by a powerhouse team, Eddie Spaghetti (of Arizona garage rock legends The Supersuckers,) Andy Patalan (guitarist of Detroit-bred alt-rock group Sponge) and local producer Tony Maisano.

The album is their most definitive work to date, with the versatile Faulkner’s driving backbeats, the dynamics of Krez’s cascading riffs, and Grech’s subtle coiling bass licks. It’s a rock that has a lot of heart and gets a floor shaking, rattles windows and brings bodies to move, dance or jump, spurred on by Tuthill’s trilling baritone lead vocal.

“Genuine rock and roll,” Tuthill calls it; “…the Good-Time Rock.”

That means drums that get you moving, blurring guitars bellowing those electric growls and bass that sweetens with a soulful crest. Tuthill, meanwhile, a former football player and wrestler, is keen to throw his whole body into his performance and that’s key to the infectious energy of the Beggars, assuming a larger-than-life presence on stage, ready to back flip off of turnbuckles, if they could. When rock n’ roll can seem heroic, like its participants, the performers on the stage evidently appreciate that certain kind of caution-to- the-wind sacredness that rock deserves. That’s when you know you’re at a Beggars show.

“We’re normal guys, most of the time,” Tuthill says, as he digs a Frisbee out of the bed of his truck. “But, when you get on that stage,” he stops to set his coffee down at the foot of an oak tree, “then it’s no time to be normal. At that point it’s like…” he tosses the Frisbee over to me, “…like you’re from a different planet, ya’ know?”

He nods, his long curled hair blown back by the late autumn breeze. “Not a better planet! Just…a different planet. It is a lot of fun.”

Tuthill meets me on the last beautiful day of the season, strolling through Geary Park in Ferndale on a weekday morning. “I couldn’t find my football,” he admits. “That’s like a low point, for me. I have to use my Frisbee…”

The Beggars have been a Ferndale band for a long time now. Tuthill’s second show with the band was performed at Club Bart’s (where John D now operates.) “I always love bringing up Club Bart’s cuz I have such fond memories of that bar, so many great shows, particularly with Duende.”

Indeed, Tuthill, and the entire Beggars alumni go way back… The band was started in the early 00’s by Jonny Wilkins, Jim Hansard, Joe Senac, Jon Epstein and Keith Thompson. That’s right, the current line-up of the Beggars technically has no original members. To his credit, though, Tuthill, the longest-serving Beggar, joined the band ten years ago. The album’s liner notes give respectful shout-outs to all former members, including Johnny Miller, Jim Hansard, Jeremy Cybulski and Rod “Pool Party” Jones.

“Awesome dudes all across the board,” says Tuthill with his characteristically easygoing exuberance. “And everyone still gets along great. All classy dudes, from start to finish Everybody’s still a family, it’s good. And that’s rare (for bands).” I can see a glint of contented nostalgia in his eyes as he pauses, “Man,” he says, “it’s been nuts, all of the great venues we’ve played at through the years. The Majestic, The Magic Stick, The Magic Bag…aWoodwardDreamCruisePartybackin2002, aHomecomingDanceorona Pontoon boat, or the Pig & Whiskey and DIY…”

“We plan to rock from here to eternity,” Tuthill assures us.

The Beggars perform on New Year’s Eve at The Loving Touch with Broadzilla and White Shag. Doors 8pm – more info at: http://beggarsrock.com/ / http://thelovingtouchferndale.com/

If something happened with our health, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a cure. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotence and other states connected to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What men talk about “viagra stories“? The most essential aspect you must look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as core trouble. Causes of sexual malfunction include injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a state called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual dysfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this treatment passes into breast milk.

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If you’ve noticed the wonderful photographs gracing the pages of Ferndale Friends, one of the persons you can thank is Ed Abeska.

He and his wife Joyce were united by a passion for photography, and four years ago decided to turn their hobby into a business by starting Fluid Photography. Ed had always been interested in drawing and art and used photography as a creative outlet while studying Engineering in college.

He was naturally drawn to portraiture and figure studies. Joyce was a lifelong point-and-shoot, memory-capturing kind of person.

“I was always the one with the camera out on vacations,” she explained. While she didn’t have any formal training or tutoring, Ed admired her natural ability to capture unique and artistic views without fancy equipment and post-shoot editing.

While vacationing around the state of Michigan they began gathering hundreds of photographs of iconic Michigan views; sunsets on the Great Lakes, lighthouses on piers, gorgeous gardens and forests. After returning home they decided to share the beauty that many Michiganders may overlook. They have been selling a variety of prints at art festivals as well as on their online shop at fluidphoto.zenfolio.com.

In addition to Michigan’s gorgeous landscapes, Ed and Joyce also specialize in wedding photography. As a team they are able to capture a variety of shots to ensure each wedding album is as unique as each wedding day is. Ed captures classic portraits and group shots while keeping a gainful eye on scenery and candid opportunities. Joyce has the eye for little details that will keep every little memory of the special day sharp for years to come.

Fluid Photography has also worked a variety of events other than weddings,including auto shows, car races and fashion shoots.

Portrait opportunities other than weddings are also a big focus for Fluid Photography. Senior photos and family portraits can be done on site at their studio (located at 9 Mile and Hilton) or at a location of the model’s choosing. Break away from the typical yearly family portrait and try a session at a favorite park or in your home. FP offers full print services as well as high-resolution digital files, according to customer preference.

Ed and Joyce are also currently looking for a candidate to take part in an entire pregnancy-capturing portfolio. The project will entail monthly portraits showing pregnancy progress ending with a newborn photo shoot. The candidate will receive a free coffee table book of the images as compensation, a beautiful memento for your child and family. If interested, contact the team at info@fluidfoto.com.

If you’re looking for a unique gift for a significant other or for yourself, or if you’re a model interested in nude shots, Joyce and Ed are also talented boudoir photographers. Models are able to select between the two photographers as well as their own desired location for a more comfortable session. Fluid Nudes has produced many sexy boudoir shots and fine art black and white nudes.

The Abeskas are big fans of the simplicity and artistry of photography. They try to avoid post-shoot editing at all costs, letting the camera do all of the work. Whether you are looking for Michigan scenery to adorn your walls or want to capture your wedding or loved ones, make Fluid Photography your first stop. Visit their website at www.fluidfoto.com. Besides their online store, Ed and Joyce’s photographs can be viewed and purchased at the Gallery of Royal Oak starting in October.

If slightly happened with our soundness, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a preparation. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotence and other states coupled to erectile disfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What men talk about “viagra stories“? The most essential aspect you must look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as heart trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction include injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a status called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual disfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this medication passes into breast milk.

Zander Melidis wonders aloud whether it’s just cooler to seem like you don’t care.

Melidis performs as Zander Michigan; he tends bar over at Dino’s Lounge and cut his teeth (and turned local ears) by performing at a handful of its open mic nights. He’s confused as to why more local singer/songwriters, artists, performers, you name it, aren’t as prepared nor as presentable toward the level he aspires to, complete with striped bowtie, straw basher hat, blazer, coat and vintage saddle shoes along with an E.P. of songs that he’d already recorded before anyone knew who he was or had seen him play.

If Melidis doesn’t care about something, actually, it’s whatever sarcastic remark any chucklehead at a sports bar might throw his way when this stylized singer casually saddles up on a Sunday night just to hang out. That’s how he’s going to look, regardless; because ever since he started performing as Zander Michigan, one year ago next month, now he can no longer leave his house in Clawson without dressing to the nines (or at least up to the sevens).
But then, Melidis is pretty much over feeling stressed about anything, least of all music, since he just graduated with a degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Michigan, which boasts one of the highest-ranked programs in the world.

“Stress? You can’t even use that word for that program,” said Melidis. “But now, with (music), this is something I’ve always dreamed of doing, so I know how to handle that.” He can remember the moment he knew he wanted to pursue music: he was six years old, listening to the Beatles for the first time. It wasn’t long before Melidis, barely through the first grade, dreamt up starting a band with his cousins, to be just like the Beatles. “We could do this,” he remembers thinking to himself at that young age.

We ask if he’s ever gotten nervous. Like, when he went in for a live session on Essential Music with Ann Delisi on WDET, or when he performed River Days in Detroit and Ann Arbor’s Summer Festival in one weekend?

“No, I don’t get nervous. I get anxious. It’s a different kind of nervousness, more like: where am I going to go next?”

And that’s Melidis in a nutshell. He’s self-assured without any ego. Happy to perform but humble as hell. He exudes an inviting vibe, even if his singing voice mimics that raspy warble of Bob Dylan – an acquired taste for some, maybe, but his guitar playing can lasso a listener inward with its rivulet of riffs churning along under the occasional gusty fuzz from his harmonica. Yes, that harmonica’s strapped around his neck, just like the Highway 61 Revisited-era Dylan and yes, that’s intentional, if just incorrigible.

“In my junior year of college, someone told me: you gotta’ listen to this guy…”

Bob Dylan?

“Yeah! I mean, I must have heard of him, somewhere, but never listened to him at all. I sat down, listened, and…WOW! This edgy, raspy voice and I’d been wanting to do more solo stuff. So, hey, why couldn’t I maybe be Bob Dylan’s grandson, or something? I picked up the folk patterns, started strumming and wrote some weird, indecipherable lyrics down and got to a twang in my voice and said: Hey, this works. No, wait, this actually really fits!”
He wrote more than ten songs in just two months, eventually recording four of them onto a CD so that he could have something ready for his first show. “Yeah, I think I did it kinda’ backwards, compared to what most musicians might do, they might play live a lot and get people to know their songs first before they record. But I had it ready to go.”

“I was ready to hit the ground running.”Flashy business cards, CDs, bow-tie and basher hat, he was ready.

It’s one thing to dream, as Melidis did – be it about The Beatles or Bob Dylan; it’s another thing to experiment and find your voice and find your style – be it with an early screamo/metal band in which he played drums or a brief trip down lanes derivative of Coldplay or The Strokes; it’s another thing to establish a work ethic.
“That’s part of the game. You have to be starving, you have to be hungry, you have to chase it.” And he did. He started working here in Ferndale a year ago; Dino’s catchphrase, actually,also fits Zander Michigan’s live presentation and style of music: “Upscale But Not Uptight.” Or, as Melidis’ friend once praised him: He “keeps it G’edup from the feet-up.” Ever since, his work ethic instilled him in a diligence – to chase open mic nights, set up modest coffee shop gigs, and eventually grab ears at WDET or for River Days or for as far west as Ann Arbor. Slow, but steady.

“And it comes down to a sense of entitlement,” Melidis said.

“That’s a key word in any conversation regarding any field. If you feel you’re God’s gift to the Earth and you’re so talented and sexy? Whatever. Get over yourself.”

We tell him that the popular perception, or stigma, of singers and bands is that they’re inherently flakey, aloof and too cool to care, when it comes to work ethic. “And I think that’s the biggest load of crap,” Melidis says, signature sun glasses shading his eyes from the summer sun as he flashes a characteristically affable and toothy smile. “It’s so important! Like, what if I see Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr or Flint Eastwood or a guy from The Beggars out at the grocery store. Here’s my card! Here! I would love to play with you or maybe you could come out and hear my songs.”

Even if they don’t like his songs – they’re going to remember him, if just by his dynamic wardrobe. “People have stopped me on the street just to ask for a photo of my shoes.”

Zander Michigan (i.e. Melidis) will be getting his newest songs ready to record this month and hopefully return to the studio this Autumn. What’s next? “…just keep playing.”

Listen to songs and follow up on upcoming shows by Zander Michigan:soundcloud.com/zander-michigan – facebook.com/zandermichigan/info

Full length album, titled “Zander The Great,” will be released in late October with a release party to follow in late November/early December. For more information and to hear Zander’s music: www.zandermichigan.com

If some happened with our soundness, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a cure. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotency and other states coupled to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What men talk about “viagra stories“? The most substantial aspect you must look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile malfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as heart trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction turn on injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a condition called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual disfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this medication passes into breast milk.

Ferndale Police Detective Brendan Moore has a voice that’s anything but hard-boiled.

A tenor, he began singing in high school, performing in theater productions and in choir as a hobby. After a stint in the armed forces, he joined the Ferndale Police Department, where he’s helped keep the community safe for the past 27 years. Besides a couple of stints with community theater, he didn’t sing much at all. That began to change a few years ago.

“The kids were grown.” He explains, “I had more time.” He was drawn to a local classical singing group called the Twelfth Night Singers, where he discovered that his old high school choir coach was the director.

His co-workers knew of his singing endeavors, because one day the police chief came up to him and asked, “Do you know the national anthem?”

Detective Moore said yes, and the chief handed him a flyer for something called the “Home of the Brave Contest.”

Sponsored by Comerica Bank, the contest is open to firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians, members of the armed forces, and military veterans. Entrants record themselves singing the national anthem and upload it to YouTube. People vote on their favorite, and the winner gets a $10,000 grant for their station or unit, plus the opportunity to sing the anthem before a Tigers game at Comerica Park — plus 35 game tickets,so all your family, friends, and colleagues can come and see you do it.

“I entered last year and this year.” Detective Moore says,with a laconic shrug. “This year, I won.” His wife shot the video in their living room, a simple set-up with drawn blinds and an American flag hanging behind him.

I congratulate him, and he looks almost apologetic. “It isn’t really a talent contest.” He says. It’s more about who can get the most people to vote for them. “But I hope that if my version was terrible, they wouldn’t vote for me.”

No worries there. Detective Moore went to the Tigers game on September 27 against the Minnesota Twins and, before about 38,000 fans, looking smart in uniform, he sang the anthem.

Was he nervous? “No.” He says. Everything looks bigger than you think when you’re standing out on the field, he admits, but there were no butterflies. “It was just amazing.”

Does he get any ribbing from his co-workers? “Constantly,” he says, dryly.

Will his experience change any aspect of his job? Will he be singing suspects their Miranda Rights from now on? I finally get a chuckle, and an emphatic “No.”

I ask if he plans to branch out, maybe start singing for a rock band? No, he’s happy with classical. Then he stops and thinks about it for a second. “Maybe something like James Taylor.” he says thoughtfully.

If slightly happened with our soundness, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a preparation. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotency and other states coupled to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What folk talk about “viagra stories“? The most essential aspect you should look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong heartiness problem such as core trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction switch on injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a state called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual disfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this medication passes into breast milk.

One can best comprehend the kaleidoscopic rock of Duende as a journey, since you’ll just be ceaselessly searching for the perfectly proper way to sum up their sound. Keep searching.

The Ferndale foursome (Jeff Howitt — singer/guitarist, Laura Willem — drums/backing vocals, (“Jelly Roll”) Joel McCune — guitar/backing vocals and Scott Sanford — bass/backing vocals) share a slew of diverse musical tastes, embodied dynamically by the piquant variety found on their most recent album, Murder Doesn’t Hide The Truth. Whereas several local music fans felt that album could well prove to be their defining musical moment, it seems it’ll be topped, still, by the tremendously cool and confident ventures of their next LP, Mezcal, which debuted at the end of May
and is now available.

At seven years and running, Duende is the era-defying, genre-defying and category-denying soundtrack of a wild walkabout through greenrooms, basements, dim lots and loud venues that’ll assuredly entice all those still comparably reverent for the purely defiant poets of trashy garage-pop and Beat-crazed carpe-diem, and for all those equally curious about the exhilarating possibilities when you merge funk with psychedelia, surf-rock with blues, do-si-do and some rockabilly into an amped-up garage-rock boogie.

How a band can coherently translate such an eclectic mix demonstrates the range of talents and graceful balance realized by the group on their recordings, captured over at Ferndale’s Tempermill Studios, the de facto HQ for Gangplank Records. They sufficiently endeared themselves to the scene by regularly hosting monthly revues at The Loving Touch called DUENSEDAYS, a series started five years ago at the old Club Bart. Mezcal was released on May 31, with Bellyache Records providing an impressive run of vinyl, featuring artwork by Tato Caraveo, photography by Brian Roxman and a layout by Slasher Dav. (Mezcal was produced by Dave Feeny of Gangplank Records).

THE APPROACH
Laura Willem: “Many practices start with us warming up, messing around and then Jeff says ‘Hold on, let’s record that!’”

Jeff Howitt: “Originally, I’d bring in lyrics and a riff or a progression and we’d lock into simple arrangements. After a year and 20 shows with essentially two different line ups (with Laura
and I at the core), Joel then moved to Detroit in late ’07, and we started a different approach. By Florence To The Mad Man (released in late ’10,) every member (with Sanford) was in on the song.”

Scott Sanford: “We have a certain connection as musicians and as people and it allows us to work together pretty efficiently. Some parts are open ended so we never play them the same way twice. We have to pay attention to each other to see where it’s going to go.”

Joel McCune: “We became more at home with (Producer) Dave Feeny in Tempermill. We’ve evolved our recording process to allow even more freedom and spontaneity. It’s much more fun when we are done, because we never know what it will sound like until we finish.”

SONG STYLES
Sanford: “Regardless of what type of song anyone’s idea ends up becoming, we still make it sound like ‘Duende’.”

Willem: “Sometimes I think: ‘Are we all-over-the-place?’ Yes, maybe…but that’s just what we do. It’s interesting, fresh and we’re able to showcase our influences in that way.”

NEW ALBUM
Mezcal opens up with a doozy of a dance storm called “One More Time.” It’s a trippy surf-rock shuffler that documents a frenzied weekend filled with friends spinning all the hits: Thee Milkshakes, The Woggles, Heavy Trash, Sebadoh, The Halo Benders, Jack Oblivion and even fellow Ferndale outfits like The Beggars and The Oscillating Fan Club. Those all form a small fraction of their jostling influences.

EVOLUTION/JOURNEY
Howitt: “With Murder Doesn’t Hide The Truth (in ’13) we developed half the songs in studio, making our psychic and sonic decisions in the moment. We wanted something collectible, to hold in your hand, we included the lyrics for you to pore over in a playbill for a story. Mezcal (out now) is close to how fuzzy and lurching our live show is, even though we’ve mostly always record live.”

Willem: “With Joel in the band for seven years and Scott for four, yes, this feels like the band. I feel more comfortable maneuvering through shows and recordings, with the time we’ve put in. I think evolving is led by letting yourself continue to be inspired and letting that translate back to the music.”

McCune: “It’s hard to have opposing muses: a reverence for folk forms, country, rockabilly, bluegrass, jazz, blues—and I mean original, old timey blues, then for that whole ‘kill your idols’ mentality of punk, post-punk and experimental noise. I think Duende is the first band that really allows the indulgence of both sides and still makes coherent sense. Songs, evolving on the spot, it requires more trust and courage, but is also more rewarding.”

Sanford: “We all have a hand in shaping songs, and that’s what’s most rewarding for us.”

FERNDALE
McCune: “Tempermill, Loving Touch, (Duensedays) are very important parts of what we do. Having a local forum to hone our set, and a place to rub elbows with quantities of local talents, is invaluable and a pleasure. And Dave Feeny (Tempermill) has become the essential ingredient in our records, the filet’ to our gumbo! Duende is always looking to ‘get around’ more but we are very lucky to have it so good, here in Ferndale.”

Howitt: “Duenseday’s allowed us not to treat every show as a publicity stunt with a perfectly scene-groomed line up and focus more on people who are Family or could be to us. At seven years (with Duende,) I love playing with a band that’s only been hacking away a year or so. That keeps intact, for us, the raw excitement anyone has when they make their thing public and start finding what works…outside of the basement.”

…Duende have found what works…just about anywhere. The journey continues with Mezcal.

NEXT SHOW
Duende perform at the New Way Bar on June 27th with Bay City’s YUM and The Ghost Wolves (from Austin TX). More info: https://www.facebook.com/duende.ole and http://duendetroit.bandcamp.com/

If something happened with our health, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a medicament. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotence and other states connected to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What people talk about “viagra stories“? The most vital aspect you have to look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as soul trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction include injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a state called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual disfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this medication passes into breast milk.

Grant Gamalski got into screen printing years ago, mostly because he was in a band. He was an artist, too, but he also needed a way to spread the word about his band (posters) and provide some merchandise at their shows (t-shirts). Screen printing fit the bill.

Gamalski, the co-owner of Progress Custom Screen Printing, nods over towards one of his most integral staffers, the impressively-bearded Sean Clancy, as he rinses off some screens in a trough-like sink in front of a brick wall emblazoned with a dazzling graffiti-styled symbol (“PROGRESS”) stretching across the entire side of the rectangular shop, acknowledging that both of them “got really into this because of being in a band.”

“Every tour with my bands,” Clancy recalls, “I’d have to have a poster made. I was just so into that culture, as a fan of gig posters, I had stacks of posters under my bed and I’d curate them all from my bands’ shows.”

“We’re generating a very tangible form of art, here,” Gamalski says. As he speaks, he’s spinning a 6-screen carousel, each with platens for a line of shirts to slip over, while screens blended with film-positives of individual bands’, companies’ or organizations’ logos/images are lowered onto them. Special discharge water-based ink is then squeegeed onto each, one color/layer at a time. He arches his back and rakes the ink-slathered squeegee down across the screen and over the shirt with both hands. It’s proving to be a quite a work-out.

“But music,” he continues, “can be a very intangible art-form. You have no way to capture that experience of music other than bringing home the poster or the t-shirt. Memories might fade, but the shirt sticks around. So this is a cool way to be part of the music industry even when you’re not playing music. It’s a cool form of art.”

Gamalski, who studied fine arts and screen printing at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, has worked at Progress for seven years, from back in its early days when the business
was based out of a house on Vester and was owned and operated by Steven McCrumb. “I met Steve through CCS, he started off printing my band’s tshirts.” Gamalski explains.

About five years ago, current co-owner Brian Larson, who has more than 10 years experience in screen printing and graphic design, joined Progress to do more of the “front end work” with customer’s orders along with some custom designing. “I kinda knew (Gamalski) a bit when I came here,” Larson recalls, “our bands had played together in high school.”

While Clancy (who primarily works on poster designs here at Progress) still records/performs and tours with Ferndale’s premier post-metal outfit Child Bite, Larson and Gamalski have transitioned from their band days and become business owners, eventually securing an agreement with McCrumb to take over the company on January 1, 2013.

“It was stressful and intense at first,” Larson recalls of those first few months. The pair had to open up an entirely new account for the business, using Gamalski’s own credit card for the first month. “But things got rolling,” Larson recalls with a smile that sends off any of those firstmonth-worries.

“After the first three months we realized that we were already way above the sales of the previous year, and that last year had been our best year (up until then)…” Gamalski said. “So, every single year, sales have gone up. I think a lot of it is Ferndale, because we have a strong artistic base in this area. Everybody seems really down for supporting local stuff.”

“We really do feel that sense of community,” Larson said. “We work with so many local businesses. We’ve done work for Western Market, Chazzano Coffee, Valentine Distillery, B-Nectar, the Ferndale Library.”

Larson and Gamalski both consider this to be a rewarding business – they can contribute to their community through promotional printing for a business, supplying copies of poster designs for a local graphic artist or squeegee-ing an awesome t-shirt for a local band’s upcoming show, while also quenching their artistic sides. Clancy goes so far as to say that this is his first job he’s found “emotionally rewarding.”

“It’s like: ‘What cool, awesome artist’s work, who’s probably also my friend, who’s poster am I going to make happen today?’” says Clancy. “Posters have really picked up lately. There was no scene for poster art here six years ago. And I feel like it’s only building here. So it’s nice to be working, printing tons of posters. We do them all by hand, too.”

Larson studied at the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago, eventually moving back to Pontiac where he helped operate a screen printing and graphic design collective out of his loft, while also hosting monthly concerts. “I’ve always been into making things,” Larson admits, acknowledging a certainty, above all else, that he wanted to be working in a print shop. “And, just doing things, that goes back to the loft, trying to make a DIY venue, ya know? I’ve always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit. I like making things happen.”

For Gamalski, at first, it was just a means to an end for his band. “But after that band hit a brick wall, I decided to just see how far we could take (Progress). I’m excited just to take this company to the next step. What’s built up our reputation is quality over quantity. We get orders from Illinois and New York, even California.”

Without their posters, their tote-bags, their hoodies and tshirts… Ferndale’s special events, their businesses, their bands (and we have many bands) would be noticeably less adorned, less
dynamic, less unique. “I mean, would you rather pay five grand for a masterpiece or 15 bucks for a sweet poster?” Gamalski asks aloud. But then, with reverence: “All these artists and institutions that I’ve looked up to for years are now coming into my shop.” More than ever, he says, he’s felt connected to the Detroit and Ferndale arts communities — all because of screen printing.

Progress Custom Screen Printing
SHOP HOURS:Monday–Friday 10am–6pm
248-982-4247 • info@printwithprogress.com
364 Hilton Road • Ferndale, Michigan 48220
www.printwithprogress.com

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Anthony Bacon certainly has an artistic name. Any relation to Francis?

“I wish I was related to either the writer or the artist.” He chuckles. “If I was, I could be creative full time.” Instead, he chooses to help tackle thoroughly modern issues. “Our world is now dominated by computers and video games, which means the need for many of our students to be creative is lost.”

Like a renaissance man, he wears many different hats while pursuing his goal of art education for everyone. A working artist (with an exhibition open now at Level One Bank on Woodward in Ferndale), he’s also an art instructor at Schoolcraft College as well as the founder of Information Plus Art, LLC, an art instruction and educational consulting company.

“Our vision is to provide consulting and instructional services, including art training, for businesses, schools, and individual families.” Bacon explained. IPA can plan anything from a one-day employee appreciation art program to a complete curriculum for an entire school district.

“Our two-person corporation has experience in education, special education and art, from grades K-12 and college. Our motto is ‘Education is a lifelong process and art creations are inspired through engagement and life’s experiences’.”

IPA is quite keen on providing art experiences to special education students. “Art programs benefit special education students by helping them to see differently and think on their own without criticism from others.” Bacon says.

As a college instructor, Bacon has seen firsthand the effects that cuts in art programs have had on new higher education students. “One of the effects on incoming students taking art classes for the first time is that they have to be taught the basics, how to think (visualization) and how to be creative.” He explains. As for those students who choose not to go on to college, Bacon argues that, while in high school, they deserve to have a choice beyond the usual STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) concept in many districts. Bacon is pleased to see that this has been modified to STEAM in some places, with the arts now included.

As an artist, Bacon isn’t content to stick with one medium, one style, or one particular theme. “I do scenery, still life, city-scapes, music-related subjects, dogs, cats, people, and superheroes.” He’s very excited about his new exhibition at Level One Bank, celebrating Detroit and Southeast Michigan. “They offer local artists a great opportunity to display their creations in an alternative setting.” Bacon says. “The staff and management are fantastic. The approval method to exhibit at the bank was not complicated and the gallery space is top-notch.” The displayed works run the length and breadth of his varied interests, reflecting the diversity of the area, and range from pencil drawings to assemblages, realistic to abstract. “It’s been an eye-opening experience.” Bacon says about the preparation of his exhibition. “I plan to do it again in 2015.”

To learn more about Information Plus Art, their philosophy, programs and full range of services, visit their website at http://ipa879.wix.com/ipaab. Reach them by phone at (313) 801-222 or e-mail them at ipa8@comcast.net.

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“Our city screams ‘art’,” says Meg, giving the Senior Report in the online Ferndale Friends. True? If so, the Ferndale Arts & Cultural Commission offers a means for voices to be heard and artistic talent to strut its stuff.

On tap for sure: Two summer evenings of music in the park. Probably coming in the Fall: A murder mystery. A longer term possibility: Big band or orchestra concerts, or both. What else? It depends on what residents say they want to see or hear, what they will show up for and support. It also depends on finding those with a flair or aptitude for singing, dancing, designing, composing or otherwise able to put on an exhibit or show.

The Ferndale Arts & Cultural Commission originated at the turn of this century. It languished over the past few years; the rumor is that there was too little direction and interest, not enough volunteers. The Commission was revived in January of this year; various Ferndale residents attribute this to a belief in the possibilities of an eclectic and artistic community, along with urgings of Councilman Dan Martin, Francine Hachem and others.

Five appointments were made to the Board of the Commission: Francine Hachem, Jeannie Davis, Sherry Kruzman-Martin, Joanne Wilcock and Mark Burton. They all are volunteering their time and services. The Commission meets every second Monday at the Kulick Center, and the public is welcome to attend and give input.

The Commission’s goals encompass promotion of all of the arts, including the visual, dramatic, musical and storytelling. However; “we want to give Ferndale residents what they want,” says Mark Burton, one of the new appointees to the Board. “A LOT depends on feedback,” he notes.

In that regard, the Commission has a survey on its Facebook page. There are boxes that can be checked in connection with artistic interests, along with room to comment and elaborate on ideas and suggestions for happenings and events.

So far, Music in the Park is one event that many have wanted back. It’s returning on July 18th and August 27th; both concerts to be held at the Kulick Center (for an indoor option should the weather be bad), and scheduled from 6:00 P.M. until 9:00 P.M. The Commission expects to pay local groups to perform, and will have food available. Burton plans to put together promotional materials,like posters and flyers, with Sherry Kruzman-Martin, another member of the Board. Both have a background in visual arts, Mark as a painter and framer of art, Sherry as a photographer. The necessary monies are anticipated to come from the Community Foundation upon approval of the Board’s budget in the grant application.

Much or most of the funds for other Commission shows or events will also be dependent on community demand and budget approval by the Community Foundation. Volunteer talent and service is also a major factor. For example, big band or orchestra performances would entail, at the minimum, volunteer time by musicians, active or retired, and perhaps band members in high school or college.

The Commission does not have its own bank account but monies can be donated specifically for its purposes and channeled through the Community Foundation for its use.

A fundraiser is scheduled for Saturday, June 14 at Dino’s from 3:00 to 6:00 P.M. Snacks and finger foods will be available. It’s also an opportunity to meet all of the Board members, as well as provide input about future cultural and artistic showings or events.

At, and partnering with the Ferndale Public Library, the Commission expects to put on a murder mystery this Fall. Participants will be assigned characters, with suspense and surprise to be expected. “This is something where we’re trying to see the reaction,” says Mr. Burton, “as with other programs and events, turnout and response will determine if we have it again or regularly.”

“We really do want feedback from the public,” emphasizes Mark. Want a poetry slam, folk singing, a showing of local painters or photographers? Are you willing to contribute your artistic talent? Let the Ferndale Arts and Cultural Commission know: Take the survey on their Facebook page, or write something on its wall; attend the fundraiser in June or come to one of the Board meetings. Give voice to your thoughts and opinions that scream art.

Ferndale Arts and Cultural Commission: contact on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Ferndaleartsculturalcommission<

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IT’S A LAZY SUNDAY AFTERNOON and I’m waiting on my brunch companion, Laura Mendoza, the front woman and bass player for the famed Detroit rock trio, White Shag. I’ve written several articles on Mendoza and White Shag, and I was eager to hear what she and the band had been up to lately. We are meeting at Ferndale’s gem, The Emory, and as she approaches me I notice that her ‘70s rock style is still intact. Dressed in tight blue jeans, a Doors T- shirt, and black leather vest, Mendoza gingerly sipped her mimosa and caught me up on the details of her latest adventure of touring across the United States.

Laura explained that she and her bandmates booked, promoted, and managed their latest tour without the help of management or a booking agent – quite an endeavor for any group working in the music business. Mendoza recounted to me what inspired her to ambitiously book her first tour on her own.

“One day a very good friend of mine and colleague in the music biz said, ‘Laura, you guys have done Detroit. Now go out and do the rest of the world.’” So, off Mendoza went.

Thanks to her efforts, White Shag played an astounding twelve-show tour from Indianapolis to Austin. Most notably, Mendoza booked six gigs at the famous South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. She notes the highlights of the tour were playing for crowds as big as 400 people and spontaneously recording three songs for their next album at Austin’s Super Pop recording studio.

Mendoza also tells me that while on the road, she and her bandmates crashed at the homes of two Detroit legends, Ricky Rat, of the glam band The Trash Brats, and Nick Lucassian, formerly of Big Block and Shipwreck Union.

Having played nearly 100 gigs in Detroit over the last few years, Mendoza warily adds, “We’ve done all we can in Detroit at this point. If we stay, we’ll just keep spinning our wheels. In order to be one of those great rock bands we recognize and are proud to say are from Detroit, we need to get out show the rest of the world.”

Not only is Mendoza busy booking gigs, managing a tour, and performing, she also found the time to chronicle her touring experiences in a five-part blog for The Metro Times. There, she writes in depth about being on tour for the the first time, the adventures she had on the road, and her account of the accident that happened when a suspected drunken driver plowed into a South By Southwest festival crowd, killing three people.

Mendoza also works full time as the music director for the School Of Rock in Farmington Hills, where she mentors kids, gives music lessons, and helps run their program. She casually mentions she is headed to the school just after her interview on her day off to supervise a free concert her students are performing for the mentally disabled. The flames of my girl-crush on Mendoza are stoked higher at the thought.

When asked what’s next for her and her band, Mendoza talks about an East Coast tour, her band’s recent Detroit Music Awards nomination for outstanding music video “Die For Me,” and completing their second album. As she quickly pays her brunch tab and rushes out the door to meet her students, Mendoza ap- pears quite unstoppable. With a plate full of new adventures, it looks like we will be seeing a lot more from this Ferndale sweetheart in the future.

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FERNDALE READS:
Are you reading Annie’s Ghosts yet? How far along are you? Have you even gotten your copy, yet? This April and May, we’re hosting our 5th Annual “Ferndale Reads” program, encouraging Ferndale to read-as-one-community, with one book: the 2014 Great Michigan Read selection: Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret by Steve Luxenburg. The book takes place mostly in Detroit and its surrounding suburbs. Author/ journalist Steve Luxenberg grew up never knowing he’d had an aunt. He and his siblings were told their mother was an only child. is a true story about Luxenberg’s investigation into why his mother denied the existence of her sister for decades.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS, AS WE’RE hosting special events tied to the themes of throughout Spring. On May 14th @ 7PM: Kris Rzepczynski from the Library of Michigan will teach people how to get started with their own family history research with Getting Started: Researching Your Family’s Heritage. “Ferndale Reads offers an opportunity for readers to sit in the same room with the author of a book they’ve just finished,” said Reference Librarian Darlene Hellenberg, who has coordinated the program since it started in 2010. “For book lovers, writers are kind of like our Rock Stars… only, they don’t always go on tour,” Hellenberg, said. “And, even when they do, they don’t often swing through metro Detroit. So this is like going back- stage at your favorite band’s concert, only better!”

Past Meet The Author events have had visiting writers share wonderful stories about their personal creative process, their favorite books, and answered those seemingly unanswerable questions readers have had about the book as they’ve read along. Meet The Author events, said Hellenburg, always make her “…fall deeper in love with books, reading, and writing.” For a full list of events and special programs, visit ferndalepubliclibrary.org or LIKE the Ferndale Reads on Facebook. (Ferndale Reads Sponsors include: Ferndale Elks, GoComedy!, Michigan Humanities Council, and Ferndale Education Foundation).

BLOWOUT: THE LIBRARY WILL participate as a host venue for the 17th annual Metro Times Blowout, when it returns to the streets, bars, and show-spaces of Ferndale May 2nd and May 3rd. Blowout is  the largest all-local music festival in North America and this is the second year that Ferndale will share in host-duties (with Hamtramck and Detroit). Last year was a blast – but as we go to print, details are still developing. Stay tuned at  ferndalepubliclibrary.org for a list of  bands, times, and further details.

TEEN VOTING FOR THUMBS UP!: The Thumbs the Up! Award celebrates excellence in books for teens, awarded annually to an author  for an outstanding  contribution to  young-adult literature. Teen Voting for the Michigan “Thumbs res Up” Award is going on now until May 31st. There is a list of all ten nominees in the teen area and FPL owns all the nominees. Stop in at the Kids Corner (and follow on Facebook: Facebook.com/ferndalekids).

If something happened with our soundness, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a preparation. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotence and other states united to erectile disfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What men talk about “viagra stories“? The most substantial aspect you should look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as core trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction switch on injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a state called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual dysfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this curing passes into breast milk.