Art & Music

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Picture a painting of Van Gogh in your head. Colorful and crazed, right? That sums up the sound of The Audionics pretty effectively.

The Audionics are loosening the constrictions of rock ‘n roll music. Instrumentally, they present an oud, a double-octave baritone saxophone, and a trapezoid-shaped hammered dulcimer (or “santoor”). There are vibes of Middle Eastern folk mingling into a danceable psychedelic style — but, as drummer Kerry Gluckman insists: “We’re trying to be a rock band.”

Only, unlike most rock bands, they’ve “removed the bass,” as lead singer Leo Gillis II says, and changed the typical 4/4 time signature of rock music to more unconventional meters. “Cerebral, visceral meters that fool you into thinking you’re listening to straight-rock when you’re really not,” says Gillis. “We’re trying to make a 7/8 time swing a bit.”

The group (with multi-instrumentalist Djeto Juncaj and saxophonist Sheldon Santamaria) still have their feet firmly in the campgrounds of rock ‘n’ roll, but their collective talent, experience, their meticulous approach to music, and their unique inventiveness in songcraft allows them to “go far out,” as Gillis says, “without crossing the line of only appealing to a small niche of musicians or people who want that experimental edge.”

But Audionics are wary not to cut too deeply into that “experimental edge,” so as to come off too prog-rocky (imagine the overly heady/theatrical ‘70s stuff from Pink Floyd or Yes or Rush). They consider themselves not avantgarde, but avant-rock; somewhere between Led Zeppelin’s spaced-out blues and psychedelic-folk styles, and King Crimson’s maverick melding of art-rock and jazzy mutations of aggressive post-punk. “I think Detroit may be the only place where a band like this could be created,” said Gillis, who grew up in Southwest Detroit playing music with three of his brothers.

Gluckman elucidates that it’s abouteach player having what he calls a, “Detroit attitude.” “We’re going to do it our way. But it’s not like we’re going out of our way to be weird, we’re going out of our way to be less weird.” At that, he chuckles warmly.

The band was born in March 2011, during that year’s Metro Times Blowout in Hamtramck. Gluckman’s wife, bassist Raquel Falcon, was performing with a band that no one in the crowd had ever heard of; it was Jeecy & the Jungle’s very first show. They were spinning heads, dropping jaws, and getting the whole house to shake instantly. Song one wrapped, the crowd went wild and Gluckman smiled with wide eyes. This was a wilder reception than he’d ever seen out of any audience. Something was in the air, and it was spurred by the special energy being conjured on the stage that night.

Juncaj, who Gluckman has known for years but never collaborated with directly, was standing right nearby having the same epiphany. Soon after, when they caught up, they decided they wanted a piece of that — to strike a similar creative fervor.

Gluckman, an architect by day, teaches Interior Design at Wayne State University, where he soon tapped the young talented music student Santamaria, extending an invitation to come join him, and Juncaj, for a jam session. After a year’s worth of experimenting in the basement, honing their craft and exploring the free-jazz-tinged possibilities of psychedelic rock, Juncaj sent some demos to Gillis and inquired if he’d be interested in contributing.

Yes, but, only if his primary role could be singing, Gillis recalls stipulating. Gillis had been playing bass (and singing) in various groups for years but felt an itch to return to being a solo frontman styled vocalist. He was also particularly drawn to the idea of maintaining a bass-less format and wrote songs in advance of their first practice tailored to such an unconventional rhythmic formatting.

Juncaj’s invitation arrived just in time, as Gillis had recently attained his masters in library science, and was looking to leave town to find work. “After that first rehearsal,” Gillis says, “I knew that this band really had something special and a lot of potential.” So Gillis stayed and continued writing with the band. After four rehearsals, they had nearly enough songs for a full-length release. Mere months after Gillis had joined, they were finishing their debut album The Big Note (recorded and mixed right here in Ferndale).

Gluckman and Gillis bring a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to rock, ambient psychedelia, and even a bit of jazz, while Juncaj, of Albanian descent, provides insights into eastern European folk music (he also happens to be an excellent flamenco guitarist, by the way). Then there’s the youngest but perhaps most studied player, Santamaria, currently working towards his masters in ethnomusicology, (lately he’s been quite taken with experimental 20th century composers like Philip Glass).

With an eclectic mix of talents and backgrounds, varied hues and pigments, The Audionics are stirring together a provocative blend of pop-music paints to spill and layer across the rock ‘n’ roll canvas. Avant-Van-Goh-Rockers.

More information can be found online at www.theaudionics.com. Their debut album,

The Big Note, can be purchased at CD Baby and other fine internet retailers.

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 coupled to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What people 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 dysfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as heart trouble. Causes of sexual disfunction 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.

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Play It Forward is taking on a task, moving to the beat, changing lives one child at a time. The keys are music and concern. The means involve time and method. The goal is to build self-esteem and encourage self-develop- ment in the lives of foster children. Play It Forward, chaired by Sonya Mastick of The Lesson Rooms, is a nonprofit entity that provides musical instruments and a full year of one-on-one weekly lessons to foster children free of charge.
A multitude of foster children have huge needs that go far beyond the capabilities of governmental and judicial services, or the financial means of many foster parents. The needs stem from the children having come from an unstable home, facing difficult situations, and often bouncing from one institution or foster home to another. Dr. Ellen Fedon-Keyt, who worked with foster kids in Wayne County for over 15 years doing psychological assessments and providing therapy, says, “Many [foster children] suffer from anxiety over the lack of control in their lives and become withdrawn, oppositional or behaviorally challenged. For any child, there’s a need to be valued; with foster children individual attention is essential, as is the need to connect with at least one adult who genuinely cares for them.”

Ms. Mastick, a Ferndale resident, became aware of the problem through Lorraine Weber, an attorney involved with recent programs designed to fill the gaps in the lives of foster children. She found out that additional needs of the youth, so that they could thrive, not just survive, were being addressed and expanded beyond probono legal services, with the addition of volunteer medical and dental services and the hope to go even further. This was being done under the auspices of The Seventh Generation, an entity established in 2005 by the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association [DMBA] Foundation in cooperation with the 3rd Judicial Circuit Court and the Department of Human Services. The impetuous was, in large part, because of the experience, brainstorming,and concerns of Chief Referee Kelly Ann Ramsey, who dealt with foster children in the court’s Family Division, Juvenile Section. This caught the interest of Ms.Weber, the DMBA Foundation Director, and she began turning the idea of s matching needs with services into a working model.

Ms. Mastick thought about what she learned and read one of The Seventh Generation success stories (a girl who transitioned from a classification of having emotional and developmental disabilities into being an honors college student and member of student government). Sonya realized she could make a difference, “I had the capability to do something, and I wanted to do the right thing for the kids.”

Sonya is a professional drummer and session player who also has 20 years of experience in musical production and promotion. Moreover, Ms. Mastick owns and operates The Lesson Rooms, a musical instruction business in Royal Oak. She knows the dramatic positive changes music lessons can bring from personal experience in not only instructing children but also having conducted musical workshops for men with head injuries. Indeed, a plethora of studies show that children with weekly musical training understand mathematical and scientific concepts more readily, score higher on the math and verbal portions of standardized tests, and increase their reading proficiency.

Play It Forward, under the umbrella of The Seventh Generation, was launched this past January. It didn’t happen overnight. It took almost a year of board and committee meetings, phone calls and fundraising. Stability and continuity were prime factors. Sonya says, “It’s important that the lessons are given in a safe and secure spot and that the child knows someone will follow up with them for an entire year.” Talented musicians willing to (essentially) donate their time had to be brought on board. Instruments had to be gathered and stored, along with the funds and ability to make any needed repairs. Logistical arrangements had to be considered along with the ability to obtain insight and address particularized situations. In this regard, Ms. Mastick assembled a variety of experts in the Play It Forward committee, including Dr. Fedon-Keyt, a musician herself who is presently working with youth as Director of Diagnostic Assessment at Oakland University.
Play It Forward now has the funds and capacity to accommodate 20 children over the coming year; at this point two children are enrolled. More are expected but, as Sonya says, “The infrastructure is still being set up. It’s a process because we’re dealing with a new service, bogged-down case- workers and other red tape in the [foster child] system.” Meanwhile, waiting in the wings are a wide variety of musical instructors, including Gayelynn McKinney, drummer and founding member of the Gram- my-nominated all-female jazz group, Straight Ahead. Ms. McKinney, who has a long history of mentoring youth, says, “Children are important to the continuation of the planet. Some have a particularly hard time, and I want to be involved in helpingff023 ae give a leg up, steering them in a better direction than they might go if no one cared.”

The way Play It Forward works: The foster child first picks an area of interest and style. Then, vocalists and musicians are paired up with the youth. Different styles of play are available, from rock to country, as well as a large variety of instruments, from guitar, drums and keyboards, to violin and clarinet. Weekly 30-minute lessons are given for one year, ideally at the same day and time. The child may pick an instrument of choice, and has up to three months to change his or her mind. After that, the child owns the instrument. The lessons are currently given at two safe spots; one at The Lesson Rooms on Main Street in Royal Oak and the other in SE Detroit.

Music can turn a world around, make wrong things right. Music lessons for children can make them smarter; the stability and continuity of the lessons can build self-worth and growth. Scientific studies have attributed the magic to jumping neurons, synapses, and electrical pulses in the brain. For foster children in need, the magic is in the wherewithal provided by a host of people sharing their concern, time, and talents.

Sonya Mastick lives in Ferndale. Find about and/or reach her and Play It Forward at 248-677-1341 or www.thelessonrooms.com.

Like them on facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Play-It- Forward/181222628682446. Note: Donations are always accepted and there is still a need for additional musical instructors and instruments.

If some 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 impotency and other states united to erectile disfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What people 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 malfunction 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 dysfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this medication passes into breast milk.

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There is no doubt that Ferndale offers some of the best nightlife in all of the Metro Detroit area. And one person who has helped bring the area from a dilapidated downtown to an essential hangout is Chris Johnston. He and his partners are responsible for such cornerstone spots as the WAB (Woodward Avenue Brewers), The Emory, The Loving Touch and even the DIY Street Fair. Their ideas, creativity and efforts have helped shape downtown Ferndale as the suburbs go-to hangout spot. We sat down with Chris to find out more about why he chose Ferndale for his businesses and the DIY Street Fair, and how he got into the business in the first place.

Ferndale Friends: How did you get into the line of work you’re in?
Chris Johnston: I was a musician trying to make a go at that business. All of the beating my head against the wall made me believe that starting a microbrewery in a sleepy little town with not a lot going on sounded like a fantastic idea. Thanks to my ability to put forth a pretty convincing argument for just about anything, I got my girlfriend, Krista – now my wife – and my brother Grant – unbelievably still my brother – along with another childhood friend, Brian Reedy – still my friend but we’re no longer in our childhoods – to come along for the ride. Looking back on it, it still seems pretty ridiculous. But that’s what makes things exciting.

FF: Why did you choose Ferndale to open up the microbrewery? Did you grow up here?
CJ: No, I grew up in Birmingham. My mom is still there in the house I grew up in with my three brothers. Family is really important to me. When we decided to open up, we searched all over the area for a location, focusing on Royal Oak because it was just starting to get popular. There weren’t any buildings of the size we needed available, so we ventured into Ferndale. I always had fond memories of the city. Instantly we knew it was the right place, as it felt like it was a blank canvas, which I view as a good thing. In many ways it still feels that way, as it seems like any kind of business from the heart could come in here and get a fighting chance.

FF: What do you think it is that makes Ferndale so unique?
CJ: People that live here are proud of their city, and for good reason. I think there’s a tremendous sense of self associated with the city of Ferndale. I feel like it’s a positive place. Life can be challenging. This economy can be challenging. I like the feeling that we have here that we’re all in this together, whether that’s working with the city, the police, DPW, fire or standing in our driveway talking to our neighbors.

FF: How did the idea for the DIY Street Fair come about?
CJ: We started the DIYSF to be a city event that could benefit as many people and businesses in this city as possible. I sat on the DDA Board for a while and had an inside ear to dissent regarding events: there was always some group that felt left out or was unhappy with each event. I’m not saying we created some utopian event, but that was our goal. For the record, you have to have those events that don’t please everyone. For example the Dream Cruise. I think it’s a very valuable event for the city, yet a lot of people cruise out of town when it happens. I’m a people-pleaser by nature. Listening to complaints really gets old quick for me.
FF: And do you think something like the DIYSF could really take root in other communities?
CJ: I wish I could say yes, but DIY fits Ferndale to a tee. The amount of creativity that is in this area is so inspiring. DIY came after all of that was already here. And, at the risk of sounding unpopular or closed minded, I don’t get that same sense of creativity from many other communities.

FF: What does it mean to you to see all of your endeavors become so popular in Ferndale?
CJ: This is a great opportunity for me to inject this in this conversation: Our businesses, and whatever success and popularity they have now or forever, is a direct result of the four partners involved in them, as well as the amazing people that we work with. DIY Street Fair happened because I had an idea and called on some really creative people who I was lucky enough to be able to convince to help organize it. I’m really good at starting conversations, making introductions and then finding a sandwich and thinking about the next thing. I can see how it takes a lot to work with me, and I’m really lucky anyone does.

FF: Why do you think people come to Ferndale?
CJ: People like Ferndale for the same reason they like DIYSF: You can walk 20 feet and be pleasantly surprised by the next thing you see. It may be completely different yet there are common threads that weave through it all of integrity, expression and optimism.

FF: Chris, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us. We wish you continued success.
CJ: Thanks to Ferndale Friends for being a great conduit for this community. It’s a great way to get to know what makes people around us tick.

The DIY Street Fair, sponsored by the Woodward Avenue Brewery will take place September 14th-16th East of Woodward and South of Nine Mile. Admission is free. For more information visit http://diystreetfair.com.

If slightly happened with our heartiness, 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 united 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 dysfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as core trouble. Causes of sexual malfunction 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 medication passes into breast milk.

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Dan Snitgen wields a circular saw and a box cutter in his workshop, a garage in Ferndale. Inside it are tree stumps, branches, rolls of bark peeled from fallen trees along with drying pine cones, seeds and nuts. Dan uses these and his imagination to bring outdoor visions inside: a Muskie diving, catching a smaller fish in its open jaws; two brown squirrels sitting on a stump with acorns scattered around; a big ol’ black bear, haunches on a rock, staring out at the realm he rules.

While wandering in the U.P. or walking along the nature trail in Madison Heights, Dan might spy a bent tree limb; he sees the makings of an arm or leg. A long piece of peeled bark, shaped just so, can be turned into a wing of an owl. Long pine needles and crushed bark can turn into a feathery or furry coat. Dan makes some big cuts with his saw, but does most of his work fine tuning by chipping and carving with a box cutter. He holds things together with rubber bands and uses screws and glue. Then he tosses in some paint, adds some stain and lots of epoxy.

Dan is a self-taught artist; he began when his grandmother brought out the crayons, colored pencils and lots of paper. He went outside when he wasn’t making doodles, lines and swirls. He fell in love with nature after going up north. He liked the animals roaming the fields and forest, and the fish swimming the streams. He became a fisherman and hunter who didn’t hunt; although he admits to having once shot an arrow. “I just liked to look around.” Dan says.

Mr. Snitgen moved on from crayons while a drummer in a local band (Pavlov’s Dogs) during the 1990s. He began using acrylics. He sold one of his favorite pieces, Jokers Gone Wild (www.workingcanvas.com/dan.html), not long ago. But he couldn’t get the outdoors out of his mind — he wanted to bring it inside with him to calm him down, and add tranquility to his artistic inspirations.

Then, just a few years ago, his grandmother, now 89, once again played an instrumental part in his creativity. She gave him a piece of driftwood from Lake Michigan. “Hmmmm,” he thought, “this could be…”

He began to look at tree branches with a different eye. He noticed the differences in barks, elm and ash. He found a nearby source for tree stumps, maple and buckeye. He went to the Internet for images of his favorite animals and birds (he has always enjoyed the look of a blue heron; it will be one of his next creations). He considered mounting larger pieces on stands with wheels so they could be moved around a room. And Dan began to collect pine cones and tree roots, to start drying wood and bark, to put together shapes and add this touch and that.

Dan loves creating works from wood and other materials, like pine needles and seeds. He will happily tell you what he used for the toes or the teeth on a particular piece. Like artists everywhere, he will probably continue creating “art for art’s sake.” Still, he thrilled to the oohs-and-ahhs his pieces engendered at a private showing given last Fall for friends and family. The challenge is now to sell some of pieces, to see if he can begin making a living doing what he loves.

Mr. Snitgen has put together a body of work meant to be displayed inside, “bringing the ‘outdoors’ indoors”; in a living room, a store front window or a lodge. Even the bigger pieces, like King of the Black Bears which is towering, even sitting on a rock – are surprisingly light and portable. (Some are mounted on a base with wheels.) He uses a combination of self-hardening foam and other lightweight materials to build much of the body around. You can see some of the works on his website — they look interesting, but even good photographs don’t do justice to the impact when seeing them in person.

And you can see Dan’s “outdoors” creations indoors, up close and personal. Give him a call, he delights in giving a tour. Dan Snitgen has a workshop in Ferndale, as well as having a separate location in a private home where his pieces are on display (both are west of Pinecrest, between Marshall and W. 9 Mile). Call him at 1 248 752-2709. < Visit his web site: www.workingcanvas.com/houseofwood.html or email him at dan@workingcanvas.com

If something happened with our health, 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 vital aspect you must look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as heart trouble. Causes of sexual disfunction 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 physic is not for use in women, it is not known whether this treatment passes into breast milk.

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You may not know the name Megyn Hermez yet, but chances are you will soon. The Southfield-born, Novi native is on a trajectory toward stardom that defies the speed of light.

Hermez (nee Kashat), 21, a dancer, singer and actress, has already won dance competitions in Barcelona, Spain, and appeared on TV on the Wendy Williams Show, the Mo’Nique Show, Lopez Tonight and many more. In two weeks’ time, she wrote 12 songs, which will appear on her “Anxiety” album, slated for release this March.

“It was an experiment,” she says of the album, a mix of “funk rock, R&B and jazz. I had to try every genre before I found my style.” Interestingly, “I didn’t expect to do anything with music,” she recalls.

One of three children of Sue and Keith Kashat of St. Clair Shores— dad owns the Tire Outlet and Auto Pro on Nine Mile in Ferndale— Hermez is a bundle of energy. It feels like she’s going to jump out of the chair or explode any minute. She’s a woman on the move.

This movement was fueled at age eight when she began dance lessons at Sheryl’s School of Dance in Novi. She started with jazz and then took lessons in every style of dance. “I did it my whole life,” she says, and she’s still dancing—20 to 30 hours a week. She teaches at Sheryl’s, performs in night clubs and continues her dance training.

Mom Sue Kashat recalls the long hours her daughter spent at the dance school. “She lived in the dance studio. Sometimes, I would pick her up at midnight (from dance practice, competitions or performances).”

But Hermez, who took her mother’s maiden name professionally, wasn’t always into dancing. At Novi High School, she was in the choir and pursued solo and ensemble opportunities. “I loved it,” she exclaims. “I was heavy into choir.” And she liked acting too, performing in school musicals, at one point portraying Cruella DeVil in a musical adaptation of “101 Dalmatians.” A teacher took note of her talent and told her that one day she’d be an actress.

A bit of a Renaissance individual, she also tried her hand at poetry. Hermez recalls walking home from school rhyming words. “I always liked English. I was writing, writing, writing. I love to write. I feel like I was ahead of my years.”

But despite loving to sing in the school choir, acting in plays and writing, she just didn’t get school. She would miss two to three days a week, and teachers and classmates would get on her case about it. So she dropped out at the age of 16 to pursue her dreams.

Hermez calls herself, “a little outrageous. I dress outlandish. I have a big personality. I’m okay with that.” Friend Brittany Cigna, a student at Michigan State University and a friend since age ten, calls her oneof- a-kind. “You’ll never meet anyone like Megyn,” Cigna says. “She’s a really goofy person. She loves to be original and I love it too. She never fails to surprise you.” Cigna saw her friend’s talent early on. “She always wanted to be on stage, the center of attention. She loved to perform.”

Kashat says her daughter was always headstrong, “a real go-getter. She’ll stop at nothing. She is really strong about her career.” Aunt Sandra Hermez sees both sides of her niece’s personality. “She’s good-hearted, positive, and has no problem speaking her mind. She’s beautiful inside and out, and close to her family—a good person.”

Coming from a Chaldean tradition, which promotes modesty for girls and women, Hermez’s family was nevertheless supportive of her career choices. “We’re basically her sponsors,” explains Kashat. “We’re responsible for anything she has to do for her music.”

After dropping out of high school and beginning her career, the singer/dancer took some jobs at a local mall, selling body jewelry and working for Rosetta Stone—the language education company. “I wanted to work,” Hermez says. “I wanted to help pay for dance and to give my parents a break.” Soon her career took off like a rocket. She was a dancer with the band of former Gap Band lead singer Charlie Wilson and appeared on cruises and around the world.

And the national TV gigs “just felt right. I felt at home.” Hermez says she wasn’t star-struck, and is grateful for the opportunity. “It confirmed that this is what I’d be doing the rest of my life.”

She made a temporary move to Los Angeles, but her connections were in Michigan and she came back home to finish her album. Will she remain in the Detroit area? Hermez keeps her options open. “When the right opportunity comes across, I will leave here.”

February and March will bring a lot of gigs, including hosting a Valentine’s Day party in Dearborn and dancing at the MGM casino. “I don’t turn down any opportunity,” she says.

Kashat’s hope is that her daughter is happy. “Whatever the outcome is (with her career), we’re very proud of her.” And according to her aunt, she knows Hermez will succeed. “I have no doubt she’ll get where she wants to be.” Hermez calls herself religious, and has a strong belief that she will be successful. “I don’t leave room for a backup plan. Failure is not an option. If you put all your time into it, God can’t refuse you.”

< Heidi Press is a Detroit-area writer and editor

If slightly happened with our heartiness, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a cure. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat emasculation and other states coupled to erectile malfunction. 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 disfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as core 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 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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To pursue the arts, you don’t need top-of-the-line materials. Nor do you have to study under a highly-skilled painter, fashion designer, or film director who proclaims, “You’re a genius!”

Just ask Ferndale resident Courtney Spivak—whose career in media resulted from
an ordinary school assignment. In 1995, during her sophomore year at Lamphere High School in Madison Heights, her French teacher unnerved her with the requirement to either give a speech or read a short literary selection in front of the class.

Spivak felt confident about her increasing fluency in French, but was shy then and dreaded public speaking. To get out of it, she chose to make a video of her presentation instead. “I knew a kid at school whose father owned an electronics repair shop and agreed to loan me a camcorder,” says Spivak. “My friend taped me reciting this flowery French poem. It was pretentious but fun.”

With encouragement from her teacher, Spivak designed and starred in a series of short videos using different props and settings. Observing how well the vignettes entertained the class, her French teacher took Spivak aside one day and told her to consider video-making as her true calling.

Spivak’s parents also noticed their daughter had an affinity for making videos. “That December,” she says, “my parents bought me my own camcorder.
I spent my entire Christmas vacation recording anything I could—the sky, running water, my foot—it didn’t matter. I was consumed by it.”

Pleased by the enthusiasm, her parents bolstered her hobby with more purchases that winter: a TV monitor, two VCRs (one with just editing capabilities), and a “primitive” personal computer. Each week, she spent hours experimenting with the electronics. To create special effects for her videos, she learned how to manipulate different color filters and lenses onthe camcorder.

The quality of her recordings impressed her theatre arts teacher who taught the only video production class offered at Lamphere back in the 1990s. Since her theatre teacher didn’t know much about making videos, Spivak says he relied on to teach the other students how to use the editing equipment.

By senior year, she was eager to entertain a wider audience than teachers and classmates with her communication projects. The opportunity to try her hand at mass media came from Media One (now Comcast). The cable provider advertised training for anyone interested in hosting their own public-access show – Spivak signed up with three of her friends for the three-day instructional session.

As soon as Spivak and her friend received their certificates to operate the company’s video equipment, they hit the Ferndale and Royal Oak streets to find participants for the variety/community information show she called “Staticvision.” With her crew, she taped local band performances, interviewed artists and musicians, and spotlighted business owners.

To spice up the bi-monthly program, whose metro viewing area extending as far west as Keego Harbor, Spivak says, “We’d talk to and record street performers and groups of kids hanging out around Royal Oak. Watching us tape, some people would spontaneously come up to us and want to be interviewed. Often, they’d make funny remarks that added humor to the show.”

During the program’s two-year run, Spivak also immersed herself in other projects. After graduating from high school in 1998, she enrolled at Oakland Community College and took classes at the Royal Oak campus. In addition, she attended filmmaking and screenwriting classes offered through the Detroit Film Center (DFC), an organization sponsored by the Old Redford Theatre. Through the connections she made producing “Staticvision,” she secured a yearlong internship with a company filming local commercials.

After she transferred from OCC to Wayne State in 2000, her creativity soared to new heights. As an undergrad, she amassed numerous awards for her short-subject films. In 2003, her experimental won First Place in Comedy at Wayne State Media Festival; the following year, it received a debut screening at the Planet Ant Film Festival in Hamtramck. The judges of the Wayne State 2004 Moving Media Festival also heaped accolades on her next film which won First Place in the Narrative category.

With a few scenes shot at Xhedos, now A. J.’s Café, on Nine Mile Road, takes place during one evening of a 20-year-old woman’s life. On the surface, the plot seems simple—the woman is disheartened because she’s just ended a relationship—yet the story line quickly gains momentum.

Says Spivak, “The woman feels isolated, and the people around her reinforce her loneliness because they keep ignoring her. Some moments in it are quite sad, others are comedic. The film is about the difficult moment when you must decide if you’ve made the right decision about breaking up with someone.”

The film closes with a cliffhanger. The former beau calls the woman at home. From the caller ID, she can tell it’s him. As she vacillates about whether or not to pick up the phone, the scene fades to black.

Enjoying her recognition at Wayne State, Spivak completed her bachelor’s degree in film studies there in 2005. The following year, she took a temporary job designing prop signs for the basketball feature film , partially shot around Detroit. Almost ten years to the date she took the Introduction to Film course at OCC, she taught that same class at Wayne State in 2008, while finishing her master’s degree at the university in media arts.

“I thought that teaching film classes,” says Spivak, “in addition to doing my own creative projects on the side, was the stable way to go.”

Although she still contemplates story lines for narrative films, her current focus has been on experimental pieces, in which traditional story plots and explicit meanings are missing. Viewers can interpret the themes of these movies in a variety of ways. Her contemporary influence is Michel Gondry, who has created avant-garde music videos for electronic and rock bands, including the Daft Punk and the now-defunct White Stripes. Spivak admires his work because of its dreamlike logic, technical creativity, and limited or no digital effects. “I’m in awe of his cleverness over pre-packaged polish,” she says. “Who would’ve thought of using Legos to animate a video? But that’s what he accomplished for the White Stripes.”

Most recently, Spivak received admiration for her very short film “Sequestered,” which she collaborated on with Detroit-based filmmaker Sean Hages. In 2009, the movie was the official selection at both the Detroit Shorts Festival and the Midwest 3 Minute Film Festival. The following year, Spivak and Hages traveled to Cannes, France, where it was screened at the (short film corner). An experimental work, “Sequestered” contrasts images of humanity with frames of objects in decay. As Spivak states, one interpretation of the contrasting format is society’s obsession with aging.

Since 2008, Spivak has been an adjunct Henry Ford Community College telecommunications instructor, as well as a judge at film festivals and a guest speaker at film screening events. Every semester, she encounters students who question their talent and available resources for creating innovation videos.

Fortunately, she has words of wisdom that can apply to any artistic endeavor. Paraphrasing French filmmaker Jean Cocteau’s words, she advises them: “Don’t wait around for reinforcement from others, or until you have the right equipment or just the right inspirational moment. Jump in there and get your feet wet. Start creating something. Worry about perfection later.”

If slightly 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 impotency and other states connected to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What people 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 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 malfunction. Even though this physic is not for use in women, it is not known whether this therapy passes into breast milk.

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Remember those first few seconds of silence, as the tension slowly built just before the first track hit your ears and hooked you in, urging you to listen on? That’s the “lead in,” the shiny black part at the outer edge of the record.

…And then the journey of the needle began down the spiral, through every track and towards the center on one looong groove. This story is essentially about one extraordinarily long groove – it’s about The Record Collector’s non-stop groovy groove, which has kept Detroit vinyl junkies high for 30 years.

Happy Dirty 30, Record Collector! You made it through the economic trenches of the ‘80s, ‘90s, and ‘00s, thanks to the leadership of Warren Westfall.

“It has an indefinable spiritual value. It’s part of our DNA. We’re wired for language, we’re wired for religion; we’re wired for music. No other species has anything like that,” said Westfall, owner of The Record Collector, Ferndale’s only (used) record store at 327 West Nine Mile.

One after another, metro Detroit record stores have kicked the bucket. Why? “There are people that want this stuff, but one has to understand that stores close.

The consumer makes choices, and I sell buggy whips in the era of the automobile,” said Westfall. “The technological paradigm has changed to one of downloading and streaming, so why would you want to have hard copy? Hard copy becomes a distraction that they [kids] don’t see a necessity for.”

It’s true. The scenario: You’re in the mall and you hear a song come over the speakers that moves you, so you hold your iPhone up and Shazam it. Next, you happily identify the mystery song. Then, you quickly find it on iTunes, buy it and play it in the car on the way home from the mall. What a luxury!

Not according to a real listener of music. “Audiophiles” like Westfall say that “There’s a presence and a dimension that you hear that you would never get any other way” when listening to a record—especially the highs and lows. “We think this is important, we can’t get enough. We want to know all the nuances. It becomes a sort of obsessive/ compulsive dimension,” said Westfall.

Westfall’s music career commenced spinning at Harmony House one day, after a store manager witnessed his natural ability to sell Irish albums to fellow shoppers. After that three-year adventure, he did a spell at Full Moon in Pontiac and then ended up at Sam’s Jams in the summer of 1981. His enthusiasm led him down yet another path, and
with a little help from family he started The Record Collector in northwest Detroit.

“It was in a black neighborhood. I wanted to buy used records and I wanted to make it clear, so The Record Collector seemed pretty obvious. Not very imaginative, but to the point,” he said. “I didn’t do new records, really. Being in Detroit, Motown, as far as a new product, was over.”

But when he did carry new stuff he “was probably one of the only places in the city that focused more on carrying catalogue. Older stuff. Because in the city, none of the black stores carried any of the older stuff.” Westfall carried old R&B and some rock, “but for the most part northwest Detroit was predominantly black and I was going more for black records. It was also a crossover for whites who wanted black records,” he said.

Westfall continued to build his cross-cultural music bridge when he opened shop in Ferndale in 1997 at its current location, nestled right next to the Bangkok Café and across the street from Assaggi Bistro. The shelves are stocked with loads of vinyl – the RC sells CDs, DVDs and cassette tapes too.

“We have some die-hards who have cassette players in their car,” said Mike Ross, who’s worked at the store for ten years. Ross is also an eyewitness to economic business trends in the used marketplace. “The recession hasn’t affected us too much. I think it’s because we’re in the used business. I don’t want to say necessarily that we’ve done better, but I think with the economy being down people don’t go out and buy new things. So they’re more likely to come in here and buy something used,” said Ross.

Other vinyl victors, like Record Graveyard in Hamtramck, could very well be experiencing the same positive trend, but many have fallen victim to the changing economic and audio world—like classic favorites Car City Records and Record Time.

“This whole thing about vinyl coming back – it’s a nice conversation, but the reality is that there are fewer and fewer people buying it. It used to be that every white boy with two turntables was a DJ, and I just don’t see them a lot anymore,” said Westfall.

BUT – “white boys with two turntables” do, in fact, exist in this mp3-pandemic world. Ferndale Friends caught up with one of these rare, Detroit species to get an angle on modern day collecting and DJ-ing.

“Going to record stores is like going to the casino. You never know whether you’re going to hit or not,” said connoisseur of fine, quality music, Brian Gillespie. “I like the Record Collector because I can go in there and buy obscure records. I’ve found some great jazz records there and some good 12-inches back in the day. We’re talkin’ like ten years ago. I’ve found some funk records. I found a good Dorothy Ashby record there that was reasonably-priced. Original copy. The people who know music know that’s rare,” said Gillespie. Ashby was legendary on the jazz scene for decades.

Like a rare book librarian who examines, cleans and catalogues the master works, Westfall knows the nitty-gritty on record lore and care.

“I’ve always thought that a record store can make a difference in a community, much like a library. And my knowledge is a resource,” said Westfall. Gillespie agrees. “You have to have these small record stores. It’s an education. You have to teach the youth. It’s the art form of it. You’re holding the physical object.”

Gillespie, who DJs all over Detroit and beyond, called Westfall “a survivor” and depends on stores like his for not only his livelihood but also his hobby and passion. “It’s the love of fine music. There’s so much right here in Metro Detroit. People buy records from all the way on the East Side to way down Grand River. There’s so much heritage and music here in Detroit that it’s crazy. It’s so above par that people from all over the world come here to buy records,” said Gillespie.

Vinyl revival? “If you go from one-percent to two-percent of the industry, it’s a revival okay. It’s still only two-percent,” said Westfall with a laugh.

So what about these retro turntables with USB ports and CD converters that Crosley is shelving at Target and Urban Outfitters? “You get what you pay for. Cartridges matter, the arm matters when it comes to reproducing records. The needles, the styluses…” said Westfall.

He continued, “Vinyl requires commitment. Intro level audiophile turntables start at around $400,” he said—in comparison to the cheap models at the big box stores.

“Crosleys are consumer grade and for most people that meets their needs. But most of us who want better sound, speakers, amplifiers, good styluses. We’ll spend.” However, “It’s declining, the amount of audio stores. Up there on 14 and Woodward you have Audio Dimensions, Almas…I’m not sure if there’s anybody else left up there. That used to be audio ghetto up there, now it’s just two or three stores left. You’re alternative is what, Best Buy? ‘No highs no lows, it must be Bose.’ It kind of smashes the high and low and gives you a solid mid. It doesn’t give you accurate sound.

“I’m clear that I have a problem. My problem is that this stuff really means something to me. It’s not like the background, or the piece of clothing that I’m wearing this week, or this week’s pop tune. There’s a more transcendental thing to be achieved,” said Westfall.

As our conversation drew to a close, we walked Nine Mile back towards the store and Westfall pointed to his glass window storefront. “See what it says on there,” he said. We’re committed to making a difference in your listening. “That’s what I’m about.”

Remember when you had to “wake up,” as Westfall says, and walk over to the record when the needle hit that shiny circle in the middle? —that’s the “lead-out,” the end of the record. Time to flip the vinyl and listen to side two.

Like a rare book librarian who examines, cleans and catalogues the master works, Westfall knows the nitty-gritty on record lore and care.

“I’ve always thought that a record store can make a difference in a community, much like a library. And my knowledge is a resource,” said Westfall. Gillespie agrees. “You have to have these small record stores. It’s an education. You have to teach the youth. It’s the art form of it. You’re holding the physical object.”

Gillespie, who DJs all over Detroit and beyond, called Westfall “a survivor” and depends on stores like his for not only his livelihood but also his hobby and passion. “It’s the love of fine music. There’s so much right here in Metro Detroit. People buy records from all the way on the East Side to way down Grand River. There’s so much heritage and music here in Detroit that it’s crazy. It’s so above par that people from all over the world come here to buy records,” said Gillespie.

Vinyl revival? “If you go from one-percent to two-percent of the industry, it’s a revival okay. It’s still only two-percent,” said Westfall with a laugh.

So what about these retro turntables with USB ports and CD converters that Crosley is shelving at Target and Urban Outfitters? “You get what you pay for. Cartridges matter, the arm matters when it comes to reproducing records. The needles, the styluses…” said Westfall.

He continued, “Vinyl requires commitment. Intro level audiophile turntables start at around $400,” he said—in comparison to the cheap models at the big box stores.

“Crosleys are consumer grade and for most people that meets their needs. But most of us who want better sound, speakers, amplifiers, good styluses. We’ll spend.” However, “It’s declining, the amount of audio stores. Up there on 14 and Woodward you have Audio Dimensions, Almas…I’m not sure if there’s anybody else left up there. That used to be audio ghetto up there, now it’s just two or three stores left. You’re alternative is what, Best Buy? ‘No highs no lows, it must be Bose.’ It kind of smashes the high and low and gives you a solid mid. It doesn’t give you accurate sound.

“I’m clear that I have a problem. My problem is that this stuff really means something to me. It’s not like the background, or the piece of clothing that I’m wearing this week, or this week’s pop tune. There’s a more transcendental thing to be achieved,” said Westfall.

As our conversation drew to a close, we walked Nine Mile back towards the store and Westfall pointed to his glass window storefront. “See what it says on there,” he said. We’re committed to making a difference in your listening. “That’s what I’m about.”

Remember when you had to “wake up,” as Westfall says, and walk over to the record when the needle hit that shiny circle in the middle? —that’s the “lead-out,” the end of the record. Time to flip the vinyl and listen to side two.

If some happened with our soundness, 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 humanity talk about “viagra stories“? The most substantial 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 soundness problem such as core 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 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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Ferndale is the place to be this December 9–11, for the 2011 Ferndale Holiday Market and Ice Sculpture Festival.

There will be a Ferris wheel, a train for kids to ride around in, and even Santa will be there with live reindeer, hay rides, and tons of ice sculptures all on Nine Mile Road on the east and west side of Woodward.Como’s Restaurant & Motorcity Casino Hotel are putting on a giant party and it’s FREE.

There will be a giant, heated tent full of great Christmas shopping opportunities, including lots of international gifts and imports, as well as great gift ideas for Christmas.

There will be live entertainment at Como’s, with

bands including the Howling Diablos Saturday evening and the Jill Jack Band Friday night. The

bands start at 6:00 P.M. on Saturday and Sunday so come early. On Sunday, the bands play during the afternoon. There will be lots of pizza and beer specials too.

There’s even magic and clowns for kids during the daytime hours.

This event is being produced by the Ferndale DDA and Integrity Shows, the people who bring you the Funky Ferndale Art Fair and the Ferndale Live Green Fair, so you know it’s going to be great.

Special thanks to our sponsors including the Metro Times Magazine, WDET Public Radio, and of course the Ferndale Friends for making this great Holiday event possible.

If you are interested in volunteering or in sponsorships or exhibitor space at this or any of the Ferndale events mentioned here please contact Bart Loeb at 734.320.522 or bart@LiveGreenFair.com

Thanks and hope to see you there.

 

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 coupled to erectile malfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What folk talk about “viagra stories“? The most vital aspect you should 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 heart trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction turn 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 medication passes into breast milk.