Spring / Summer 2019


By Sara Teller

EACH YEAR, THE FRONT PORCH FESTIVAL BRINGS FERNDALE RESIDENTS TOGETHER for a day of music on neighborhood porches with a variety of bands playing an eclectic mix of tunes. Planning for this year’s event is well underway. “We are looking to have a porch this year dedicated to children’s music,” said Michael Benghiat, its founder and executive producer. “Additionally, we are always looking at components outside of music such as comedy or spoken word on porches in between performances.”

He added, “From day one we’ve always explored how we can extend the Front Porch brand and the event past the 6:00 P.M. cutoff into the downtown area.” The idea would be for merchants and venues to host music well into the night. Benghiat called the concept “kind of like a Front Porch at Nite.”

This summer, the line-up is also set to expand. “The first two years we focused on just getting the event under our legs. This year, however, we just may accomplish something like this,” Benghiat explained. “Last year we had twenty-seven porches and fifty-seven performances. This year, if we choose, we can have as many as thirty-five porches” which would equate to seventy performances. However, he said there is a need to “try to keep the footprint as tight as possible so that attendees can easily get from porch-to-porch and see as much music as possible.”

There will be some return acts from the first two years as well as new entertainment with submissions being received from bands all over Michigan. Benghiat said, “While the concept of music on porches fits so well with the folk, singer songwriter and Americana genres, we have submissions from performers labeling themselves as powerpop, blues, jazz, classical, gospel, house/dance/EDM, worldbeat improv, hip-hop, funk instrumental, modern country and more.”

In addition to planning the festival, The Front Porch television show is still in the works. “We’re still working on the production of a potential show, which may not necessarily be on a TV platform per se,” Benghiat said. “The most important component needed, of course, is funding. We’re still seeking the needed funding to produce a ten-to-thirteen-episode series.” 

Benghiat is pleased with the success of the first two events and is thankful for the support received. “Enough cannot be said for the tremendous support we receive from Ferndale residents to lend us their porches that are turned into stages for the day and all the artists and performers for their willingness to participate,” he said. “And, we so appreciate our partnership and collaboration with the City of Ferndale and police.”

For more information, check out www.thefrontporchmi.com.



Palmer Park Art Fair

DETROIT’S PALMER PARK hosts one of the area’s most beautiful boutique art fairs on June 1-2. The artist tents are in a serpentine pattern winding near the lake and up to the log cabin. This creates a relaxed environment inviting shoppers to take their time and explore. The jurors for this show tend to select artists that enhance that calm atmosphere, though there certainly are some of the edgier Detroit artists participating. The show features over 60 professional artists from across the region and also includes more emerging artists than just about any other juried art fair. Mint Artists Guild, the teen art program that has a small presence at the Funky Ferndale Art Fair features as many as fourteen teens in a group tent. The Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club adds another ten adult emerging artists. Breakfast Club tent participants are new to art fairs and include artists in their twenties and others close to seventy. This year the fair adds an authors’ tent, featuring area writers. Food trucks and a beer tent round out the offerings. The art fair is June 1st and 2nd. Saturday hours are 10 AM-7 PM, Sunday 11 AM-5 PM. Free parking is available in area lots and along Merrill Plaisance. To get to the art fair head south on Woodward and take the first right, about 3/4 mile south of Seven Mile. Information and artists lists are at PalmerParkArtFair.com. 



Fine Art Fine Wine Fair

THE FINE ART FINE WINE FAIR WILL BE HAPPENING AGAIN at St Mary’s June 22-23, featuring dozens of juried fine artists with one-of-a-kind exquisitely crafted works. Artists from many states participate and display works of painting, mixed-media, fiber art, drawing, jewelry, sculpture, and many more categories. We will also have wine tasting tickets available so that you can enjoy your art shopping experience while tasting an amazing variety of wines. For details visit FineArtFineWineFair.com. The Grosse Pointe Art Fair will also be returning for its second year to the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club May 18-19 in partnership with the Great Lakes Boating Festival, which has free admission and free parking at the high school with a complimentary shuttle. For more information visit GrossePointeArtFair.com. 

By David Ryals

EACH SUMMER, FERNDALE KICKS OFF SUMMER WITH A PRIDE FEST THAT STRETCHES UP AND DOWN 9 MILE. There’s no better place to host an inclusive and colorful Pride Fest than Ferndale. The city’s Pride draws more than 25,000 attendees for an entire day of sponsors, street vendors, LGBTQ+ performances and celebratory energy. 

Ferndale Pride strives to recognize and promote pride for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and asexual and ally communities, working with residents, businesses, community groups, and all segments of the community to welcome and promote the celebration of diversity and the celebration of Ferndale. 

Julia Music, the head organizer and all-out genius behind Ferndale Pride, gave Ferndale Friends a preview of what to expect at this year’s event. “Ferndale Pride is on June 1st this year and there are lots of exciting plans for Ferndale pride 2019. One thing people can look forward to is our weddings at the Rust Belt. We have availability for up to six couples to get married throughout the day in the beautiful space within the Rust Belt. To sign up for weddings go to the website and click the registration link.”

Julia is planning with precision consideration this year to make sure the weather, whatever it may be, will not be a factor for certain festivities. “Moving the weddings indoors gives us the opportunity to make sure that weather doesn’t factor into anyone’s special day. Using the Rust Belt Market gives participants a beautiful background, a cash bar, and a premium event space at a very reasonable price. We are also looking at expanding the children’s area to have a few more fun interactive events for the children. Most importantly, we’re working with the library and several businesses to create events all over the city of Ferndale in the month of June.”

Metro Detroit is very fortunate to have two pride festivals, both Ferndale and Motor City in Detroit, but there are a few differences between them that Julia clarified. “Both events are wonderful days of celebration. Our event is a little bit different because it happens in a downtown. Bars, restaurants and stores all get in on the fun. Patrons can support the businesses that support LGBTQAI-inclusivity every single day of the year. In addition, we also donate money to local nonprofits. To this date we donated over $145,000 to five charities. It is our continued hope that Ferndale pride is the most inclusive LGBTQAI event in the state of Michigan. We want to make sure that it is a great day for Ferndale businesses and guests of the event.”

“We have many volunteers who go above and beyond to make sure this event happens. Shawn Starkey works on logistics, Mayor Pro Tem Greg Pawlica does all of our finance, AG Phoenix is in charge of IT, Andrew Shankles helps us with fundraising and there are many more on our committee and at the day of the event who make Ferndale Pride happen.” 




Rainbow Run

LOVE PRIDE? LOVE YOUR COLORS? Love your flags? Then wear your rainbows with PRIDE and sign up for the 7th annual RAINBOW RUN! Celebrate diversity and acceptance on June 1st by kicking off Ferndale Pride weekend with a 5K run/walk through the streets of Ferndale! Earn your celebratory libations and foods with a little run in the morning. This year’s Run will feature rainbow socks. No more messy paint! Awards will be given for first and last place and the runner who wears their rainbow best! Dress for the occasion, warm up with Ensoul Yoga and be ready for fun along the route. Sign up at getlocalhop.com/rainbow-run-2019 or contact: info@ferndalechamber.com. ■


Ferndale Community Concert Band

THE FERNDALE COMMUNITY CONCERT BAND wants to thank our patrons, advertisers, donors and friends for their continued support. The FCCB will end their Fourth Concert Season on Sunday, June 16, 2019, 3:00 PM, with its “Salute to our Fathers” Concert, held on Father’s Day, at Ferndale High School, 881 Pinecrest. Historically, a patriotic and father-themed concert will be enjoyed by all! Immediately following the concert, the FCCB will host their Annual Ice Cream Social, to say “Thank You” to all our concert goers who have attended our concerts, this season.

The 2019-2020 Concert Season runs from September through June. The FCCB performs (5) five concerts per season, usually in October, December, February, April and June. The Ferndale Community Concert Band is a diverse, multigenerational musical ensemble of experienced volunteer musicians from all over Metro Detroit. Its Mission is twofold: to provide quality, challenging musical and mentoring experiences for the members and student musicians, as well as educating and entertaining the citizens of Ferndale and surrounding communities. Please check out our website at www.fcconcertband.org or email us at fcconcertband@gmail.com for more information about the Band. The FCCB was established in May 2015 as a nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization.


7/18 – 8/15 – 9/19 | VESTER & WOODWARD

Get Reel Movies On Vester

OUTDOOR MOVIES IN THE MIDDLE OF DOWNTOWN FERNDALE return for the 8th year this Summer on July 18, August 15 and September 19! Enjoy a summer evening under the stars, watching a blockbuster movie while lounging in your camp chair or blanket, right in the middle of the street. FREE outdoor movies include pre-show activities and entertainment, food and snack vendors and, most importantly, a guaranteed good time. Movies start at dusk, but get there early, pick your spot and enjoy treats from our vendors or nearby restaurants! The big – 26-foot wide! – screen will be set up right on Vester Street, between Woodward & Bermuda. Get all the details at www.downtownferndale.com or www.facebook.com/DowntownFerndale or www.facebook.com/DowntownFerndale



Detroit Soup

DETROIT SOUP, A PROGRAM OF BUILD INSTITUTE, is a microgranting dinner celebrating and supporting creative projects in Detroit. For a $5 donation, attendees receive soup, salad, bread and a vote and hear four presentations ranging from art, urban agriculture, social justice, social entrepreneurs, education, technology and more. Each presenter has four minutes to share their idea and answer four questions from the audience. At the event, attendees eat, talk, share resources, enjoy art and vote on the project they think benefits the city the most. At the end of the night, we count the ballots and the winner goes home with all of the money raised to carry out their project. Winners come back to a future SOUP dinner to report their project’s progress.

In addition to funding projects, SOUP aims to:

• Empower residents • Help create jobs

• Allow people to establish new relationships and networks

• Promote action and change

• Foster critical dialogue • Instill neighborhood pride

• Provide a deeper understanding of democracy

The SOUP model is now being replicated in over 170 cities around the world, while in Detroit is has lead over $140,000 in local giving $5 at a time with over 20,000 attendees participating in one of the 176 community dinners throughout the city. Build Institute is hosting an upcoming Youth SOUP, a special Detroit SOUP focused on celebrating and supporting projects by changemakers age 14-24. Anyone is welcome to attend, but proposals must involve and should be presented by Detroit young people. Youth SOUP takes place on Saturday, March 30th at Durfee Innovation Society from 1-4. To find out more about these and other upcoming events, check out www.detroitsoup.com or http://buildinstitute.org. ■

ALL YEAR LONG, KIDS ANTICIPATE A SUMMER OF FREEDOM from school assignments, but studies have proven that a three-month period without proper stimulation of literacy skills can undo some academic achievements from the previous semesters. Ferndale Library’s Summer Reading assures young minds are raring to go when September comes around by keeping the reading wheels turning for all grades with educational, fun, and free enrichment activities to go along with programs that are inspired by the theme: “A Universe of Stories.” With this July marking the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing, our Youth Services Librarians will be designing programs and events inspired by all things space-related (including cosmology, space exploration, discovery, etc.). Along with Summer Reading for kids, we’ll have three outdoor Summer Concerts in our courtyard. The Ferndale Library’s Summer Concert Series has always strived to expose library visitors to music that is new and exciting in a setting that is both lively and thoughtful. FADL’s biggest music event features three free, family-friendly concerts spread across the season. You can see Lansing-based singer/songwriter Joe Hertler (a blend of indie-folk and classic pop) on July 18. Ferndale’s own ‘30s-’40s-era swing jazz and string-band strummers The Aston Neighborhood Pleasure Club will perform on  July 16. And Detroit-based singer/songwriter Ronny Tibbs leads a versatile ensemble on August 20. Each of these performances are free and begin at 6:30pm, each date is a Tuesday evening; if the weather turns, performances will be hosted indoors, instead.

THE FERNDALE ARTS AND CULTURAL COMMISSION is starting a new era of innovation with a slate of new board members and lots of inspiring ideas aimed at enhancing the role of the arts in the city of Ferndale. The Arts Commission is a board of city residents and business persons that are interested in volunteering their time and expertise towards promoting the arts in the city. Mark Loeb, owner of Integrity Shows and the Director of the Funky Ferndale Art Fair, recently stepped down as president of the Ferndale Arts Commission and will continue as a Commission member. He handed over the chairmanship to Brittney Kramer of Ferndale who is employed by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. When the commission met early in 2018, a number of newcomers joined, bringing their expertise in city planning, public spaces and the arts, as well as plenty of enthusiasm and ideas, to the board. In addition to Kramer, Kelly Kaatz, a Ferndale resident who is a ceramic artist and Director of the Janice Charach Art Gallery, came aboard and was voted treasurer. Linda Ashley of Ferndale and President of Linda Ashley & Associates, a public relations firm specializing in art fairs, galleries and special events, became co-chairman. Jenna Stanek of Ferndale is secretary, with Matt Livengood of Ferndale acting as co-secretary. Recently added to the board are Matthew Eaton of Ferndale, who is Director and Curator of the The Red Bull House of Art in Detroit, and Corissa Green of Ferndale, who brings her expertise from the Urban Land Institute of Michigan. Other members include Ferndale residents Joe Bailey, Kristopher Caster, Meghan Evoy, Elizabeth Leib, and Amy Wipp. “The goal of the Commission is to create and collaborate on public art projects ranging from art installations to concerts to events that showcase the term ‘Art-Town’ that is synonymous with the City of Ferndale,” said Kramer. “The Commission has created a number of special activities since it was founded in 2014 and we are actively seeking new projects that will expand the commission’s role.”

The Commission recently completed the installation of a large public mural promoting inclusivity, located on the side wall of the Cupcake Station on Allen Street at the corner of Nine Mile. It is the second of a three-mural project. “What was especially wonderful about this project is that it was the work of Ferndale High School art student Christina Kesiak,” said Kramer. “Working with retired Ferndale High art teacher, Jerry Lemenu, the Commission paired the young artist with professional artist Natalie Balazovich in order to take the teen artist’s original concept and drawing to fruition as a large-scale outdoor mural. “ At the Funky Ferndale Art Fair, visitors were asked to contribute to the mural project, by creating their own small square that would serve as a border around the mural. More than 200 individuals, young and old, participated. Today the colorful five by ten-foot mural with 200 squares bordering it is installed as a point of pride for the young artist, for Ferndale High School and the Commission. Currently the Commission is also in the process of collaborating with the Ferndale Parks and Recreation Department to commission a new kinetic sculpture for Harding Park. “As an organization with experience and contacts in the art world and in civic management and the use of public space, our goal is to connect the City of Ferndale with the larger art community. We are seeking to bring artists and the city together, creating community wide projects in all of the arts, that enhance our community life and give voice to the many talented people who call Ferndale home.” said Kramer. The Commission is actively seeking input from the community for ideas and talent that can add to the work of the Ferndale Arts and Cultural Commission. The Commission can be contacted on Facebook 




23rd Annual ArtWorks Detroit

MATRIX HUMAN SERVICES PRESENTS ARTWORKS DETROIT, Thursday, September 12, 2019, 6-9 PM in partnership with The Wasserman Projects, 3434 Russell St. #502, Detroit. The event will feature more than 100 pieces of donated art from mostly local artists available for live and silent auction, musical entertainment, appetizers, a fashion show and a cash bar. Contact Kerrie Mitchell, kmitchell@matrixhs.org for sponsorship opportunities. Detroit-based Matrix Human Services is a 112-year-old, 501(c)(3), social services organization committed to youth, individuals and families reaching self-sufficiency. Matrix offers positive life experiences, assistance with basic needs, education, and supportive services that defuse crisis, treat individuals and family problems, prevent abuse and neglect. With over 550 employees and 33 locations, Matrix is the 22nd largest non-profit in Southeast Michigan. Matrix serves over 20,000 annually by operating the largest pre-K Head Start program in the City serving more than 1,900 children per school year. Matrix also runs teen programming throughout the city, one of the largest HIV outreach/prevention programs, and a large community center in the eastside Osborn neighborhood that houses basic care needs as well as our social mobility centers that aim to help adults by providing workforce development training, financial literacy, housing assistance, an online high school diploma program and assistance to seniors. For more about Matrix Human Services, visit www.matrixhumanservices.org.


SAT SEPT 21 | 5:30-11 PM | 4 RIDGE ROAD

2019 PR Home & Garden Tour

THE PLEASANT RIDGE HOME AND GARDEN TOUR will take place Saturday, September 21 from 10 AM until 4 PM. The tour will include 5 or 6 homes and gardens located within the Historic Districts of the City. Tickets are $15 in advance from City Hall (23925 Woodward Avenue) or on the city website and $20 the day of the tour at the Historical Museum behind City Hall. Proceeds from the tour are used to maintain the Historical Museum and for other civic projects such as period lighting within the city parks. Information may be found at www.cityofpleasantridge.org or by calling City Hall at 248-541-2901.



Veterans Day Observance

THIS ANNUAL EVENT HONORS ALL VETERANS who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. This year’s Veterans Day observance is still in the planning stages as of press time. A bell will be rung eleven times, and there will be a guest speaker (to be determined.) Following the observance, there will be an open house, with refreshments, at the Ferndale Fire Station on Livernois, next to the Memorial Mall. All are welcome to attend.



Fido Does Ferndale

DOWNTOWN FERNDALE GOES TO THE DOGS on Thursday, October 17 when Fido Does Ferndale takes over the district with canine activities, vendors and doggone good fun. The fun happens from 5-8 pm throughout downtown with headquarters at Schiffer Park (Planavon & West Nine Mile). The event includes a canine treasure hunt featuring FREE doggie goodies at more than a dozen participating businesses, a Pooch Parade, dog contests and more. Don’t have a Fido (or Fluffy) of your own? Don’t worry – there will be many opportunities to meet and make a new best friend via several local pet rescues and adoption agencies at the event. Plus lots of dog-friendly vendors will be set up on Downtown Ferndale sidewalks for the event – and they’ll be selling all sorts of fun stuff, from organic foods, boarding and grooming services and much more. So, grab your leashes and your furry friends, if ya got ‘em, and come on downtown! Additional details available at www.downtownferndale.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DowntownFerndale



Holiday Ice Fest

RING IN THE HOLIDAYS WITH DOWNTOWN FERNDALE’S annual Holiday Ice Festival, Saturday, December 14th from 10am to 4pm! Come for plenty of traditional holiday-time activities for the whole family to enjoy. Experience downtown as it transforms into a winter wonderland with over 50 magnificent ice creations lining 9 Mile, Woodward and Vester Streets! Watch the ice carvers as they chain-saw, chisel and shape blocks of ice into magical holiday masterpieces. Stop by Downtown Ferndale’s North Pole at W. 9 Mile and Planavon for lots of fun wintertime activities kids from 1-100 will enjoy, including free photos with Santa and urban hayrides! Take the chill off in the Warming Tent with hot cocoa and goodies, or to decorate a card for soldier! Plus, Lunch with Santa and lots of other fun activities to be announced. The Holiday Ice Festival, proudly produced by the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority, is also a great time to get some holiday shopping done. So, bundle up and bring the whole family out to enjoy the festivities. For more information, visit the Downtown Ferndale web site at www.downtownferndale.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DowntownFerndale.


Berkley Street Art Fest

DOWNTOWN BERKLEY WILL BE ARTISTICALLY TRANSFORMED by professional and aspiring artists for the Berkley Street Art Fest. Chalk artists will create colorful street art with chances to win prizes. Commissioned mural artists will create murals on commercial buildings. Children and families will have the opportunity to create their own art in highlighted areas. In the days prior to the event, people will have an opportunity to watch the muralists work on their masterpieces as they come to life. All works of art will be completed by 4pm on Saturday, July 13, 2019 during the Berkley Street Art Fest. Coolidge Hwy. between Catalpa and Wilshire in downtown Berkley. www.BerkleyStreetArtFest.com



EOPNA Picnic

THE 10TH ANNUAL EAST OAK PARK NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOC. PICNIC will be held on July 20, 2019, at Best Park, Roanoke Ave. south of I-696, from Noon-4 P.M. This is a fun event for the whole family. Food will include hot dogs, hamburgers, snack chips, corn on the cob, and soft drinks. Bring a dish to pass (optional) and some cash for the picnic raffle. There will be some great prizes of goods and services from local businesses such as hardware and automotive stores, boutiques, restaurants, and gyms. Games and prizes provided for the kids. Oak Park Public Safety will bring their ice cream truck by to hand out treats and officers will socialize with the residents. Remember to bring a lawn chair. No alcoholic beverages, please! The picnic takes place rain or shine. The EOPNA is the city’s largest block club and is dedicated to civic improvement. It has placed hundreds of the often-seen, yellow “SLOW 25” signs, and participates in city-wide events such as the Fourth of July parade and picnic. We will have a dedicated table with information about EOPNA events and photos from past picnics. Money for this annual event is raised from monthly meeting 50/50 raffles. EOPNA meetings are held the first Thursday of each month at 7:00 P.M., at Upper Elementary School library, Rosewood at Northfield. For further information contact eastopna@gmail.com. 



Detroit Improv Fest

THE NINTH ANNUAL DETROIT IMPROV FESTIVAL takes place August 7 through August 11, 2019. Improvisors from across North America descend upon Metro Detroit for five days of unbelievable improv comedy. Previous headliners include Keegan Michael-Key (Key & Peele), Paul F. Tompkins (SPONTANEANATION), Horatio Sanz (SNL), Rachel Dratch (SNL), and many more. This year’s line-up looks to be the best yet. Ferndale shows take place at Go Comedy! Improv Theater, The Ringwald and The Magic Bag. For more information, visit www.detroitimprovfestival.org.



Summer Beer Fest

FRIDAY, AUGUST 9 BRINGS ANOTHER FANTASTIC CRAFT BEER CELEBRATION, with warmer temps allowing for a fun indoor-outdoor event featuring multiple stages with live entertainment, and even more room for craft beer! Each attendee receives a commemorative event pint glass, keepsake photograph, live entertainment and an opportunity to sample their way through the event. Offering beer from dozens of breweries from around the world, across the state and down the street, each brewery has the opportunity to showcase their unique libations. The focus of Royal Oak Beer Fest is the promotion of craft beers and the brewers that create them – and furthermore, how much everyone loves drinking them! RoyalOakBeerFest.com



Sierra Club Green Cruise

THE 15TH ANNUAL SIERRA CLUB GREEN CRUISE, Saturday, August 10th, 2019, will feature two bicycle rides – an 8 AM 42-mile ride to Belle Isle and a 9 AM ride to Birmingham, both starting from Ferndale City Hall at 300 E. Nine Mile Road. Tickets are available on Eventbrite for $11.54 or $15 on the day-of event. Help us promote the Sierra Club principles of exploration, enjoyment and protection of the Planet through this non-fossil fuel event! Contact chairmen, Jerry Hasspacher jhasspac@gmail.com or Dave Cottrill, (248) 635-8152 or visit Green Cruise/Sports & Recreation on FaceBook. 



25th Annual Ferndale Woodward Dream Cruise

WOODWARD & NINE IS “WHERE THE DREAM BEGAN” in 1995. The 2019 Ferndale Dream Cruise will take place August 15, 16 & 17 featuring its signature events: Ferndale Emergency Vehicle Show, Lights & Sirens Cruise, Official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Classics & Cruis’n Legends Vehicle Show and Mustang Alley. Plus— the Kids Play Zone and Rockn’ Live Entertainment Stage. For event times and updates, go online: http://FerndaleDreamCruise.com


Huntington Woods Home Tour

THE 27TH ANNUAL HUNTINGTON WOODS HOME TOUR is an open house tour of five beautiful homes, featuring a variety of architectural styles which reflect the diversity and character of our city. All proceeds raised from this event are redistributed to local charities supporting education, women and children’s causes, such as Berkley High School scholarships, the Huntington Woods 4th of July Parade, Berkley Youth Assistance program, Norup Food Pantry and other great organizations. Sunday, June 2, 2019, 1:00 – 5:00 PM. Ticket prices: $20 advanced $25 at the door (16 years and older). Huntington Woods Library 26415 Scotia Rd, Huntington Woods MI www.hwwl.org/ ■



Forgotten Harvest’s 27th Annual Comedy Night

ACTOR/COMEDIAN JIM GAFFIGAN WILL HEADLINE the 27th Annual Comedy Night hosted by Metro Detroit’s only food rescue organization, Forgotten Harvest. Comedy Night will take place on Friday, June

7th at the Fox Theatre. Tickets range from $35 – $175, and will be available through the Fox Theatre box office or at www.forgottenharvest.org/2019comedynight. Corporate sponsorships start at $1000 and can be purchased by contacting Rebecca Gade-Sawicki at (248) 864-7527. Jim Gaffigan is a four-time Grammy nominated comedian, actor, two-time New York Times best-selling author, top touring performer, and multi-platinum-selling father of five. Gaffigan is known around the world for his unique brand of humor which largely revolves around fatherhood and his observations on life and food. The event offers a chance for Forgotten Harvest and its supporters to celebrate their achievements in the community. Tickets are going fast. Act now to get into the action. ■



Art Of The Cocktail

THE FERNDALE DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY’S signature fundraising event, The Art of the Cocktail, returns a fun-filled sixth year on June 20th. The Ferndale DDA continues its efforts to raise funds for public art in the district by bringing back the event of the year! Exhibiting the creative blending talents of the district’s best bartenders, attendees will be the judge of each cocktail creation, crafted from identical

ingredients supplied to each bartender. Guests can watch the creative genius at work, taste the results and vote for their favorite to designate Downtown Ferndale’s Cocktail of the Year. The evening also includes a silent

auction, music, appetizers and much more! A limited quantity of tickets will be available, via the Ferndale DDA or PayPal, so make sure you get yours! All proceeds help the DDA continue its efforts to raise funds for public art in Downtown Ferndale. www.downtownferndale.com ■



Berkley Art Bash

ART, MUSIC AND FOOD LOVERS looking to add a little color to their weekend will find a diverse assortment of photographs, garden art, jewelry, pottery, paintings, gourmet offerings, live music and more at the Berkley Art Bash in beautiful downtown Berkley. The show, which is presented by the Berkley Area Chamber of Commerce, has more than 150 vendors with many of them showcasing Michigan artists. Kids activities

include inflatable moon bouncer, creative craft projects and air brush tattoos. Attendees will enjoy free parking and many shops along Twelve Mile and Coolidge will be hosting sidewalk sales and offering


up additional entertainment & activities throughout the day. 12 Mile Road between Kipling and Buckingham in downtown Berkley. www.BerkleyArtBash.com ■



Michigan Rib Fest

KICK OFF THE SUMMER IN GRAND FASHION! Rib Fest will once again welcome thousands of guests for a weekend of BBQ, bands, and family fun in downtown Royal Oak. Rib Fest will showcase an unparalleled selection

of unique cuisine, food trucks, and BBQ – along with a selection of adult beverages. More than a dozen food vendors will be offering up mouthwatering fare that’s sure to please even the most discerning palate. With a list of bands as long as the food vendors, Michigan Rib Fest presents a carefully crafted entertainment lineup that’s fit for all ages. The event will feature some of the state and region’s most impressive local talent with a range of musical genres and styles performing all day that will please any crowd! Admission is free all weekend, with festivities running Thursday, July 4 – Sunday, July 7. MichiganRibFest.com. ■


By Peter Werbe

THE ONLY THING THAT MAKES the dark, dull, slate-gray days of November and December tolerable is the holidays those months. We all treasure our time off. We work too damn much even if we like our jobs.

Americans work longer hours than any other Western industrial country. Adults working full-time clock an average of 47 hours a week and that’s an average! Whatever happened to the eight-hour day?

In the 1950s, a UAW caucus advocated a “30-for-40” work week from the then-Big 3 — 30 hours work for 40 hours pay. But in too many work places today we’ve gone in the opposite direction.

Working longer hours for less pay is the equation for enriching the one percent, and it’s been amazingly successful — for them. 

Not so much for us, though. We would like to spend less time at our desks, at a counter, or in front of a

machine, and more at leisure and things we want to do!

Even 30 hours at labor would seem onerous to the pre-industrial people who lived here previously on the land our forebears seized. University of Michigan anthropologist Marshall Sahlins wrote in his classic, Stone Age Economics, that hunter-gatherer bands labored very little to sustain themselves to the extent that priests who accompanied the first European invaders were dismayed by how little tribal people worked and instead spending so much time lazing about.

Most of us aren’t ready for a return to tribal ways, so at least let’s see if we can get a little more time off by agitating for more holidays! There are plenty of days that need official recognition (and a few that should be retired), so here’s a month-by- month list which creates some new opportunities for time off with pay.

NEW YEAR’S DAY and the birthday of MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. on the third Monday of the year are definite keepers. The King celebration may be the most important holiday in contemporary America.

PRESIDENT’S DAY; third Monday in February. This one has to go. Really, Republicans, do you want to celebrate Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama? And, Democrats certainly don’t want to honor Richard Nixon, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump. The first 15 presidents were slave owners. All of them since have been responsible for so many misdeeds, including theft of native land, lies about wars, suppression of civil liberties and civil rights, that we ought to forget about this one and replace it with a PEOPLE’S DAY. Celebrate ourselves, our diversity, and our communities. 

VALENTINE’S DAY; February 14. A tribute to love and romance. This needs to be an all-day holiday for re-invigorating our relationships and finding new ones. The Third Century Bishop Valentine helped Christian couples wed and for his efforts was beheaded by the pagan Roman emperor Claudius II. Maybe this is where the expression “losing your head” over a romantic interest came from.

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY; March 8. Given world-wide recognition in 1975 by the United Nations,

this celebration of the role of women was declared at a 1910 International Socialist Woman’s Conference in Copenhagen. Women, who are paid less than men and often do double work on the job and at home, need a day off.

SPRING EQUINOX; March 20. The date when the day and night are of equal length. Celebrated in many cultures as a day of renewal and rebirth.

TAX DAY; April 15. A day off to reflect on where our tax dollars are going. A huge transfer of wealth occurs by taxing our incomes which the government turns over to Military/Industrial Complex corporations. For our generous

contribution to the war industry’s bottom line, we deserve at least one day off.

EARTH DAY; April 22. A day on which we ponder what is happening to our planet and that everything bad that Chicken Little predicted is coming true. The sky is really going to fall unless we do something quickly. Also, on the happier side, celebrate what is left of the beauty of the Earth.

MAY DAY/BELTANE; May 1. This is both the date of the original Labor Day (the U.S. put ours in September to

avoid international worker solidarity), and an important pagan holiday of May Poles and fertility rites. Linked together, they are the ideal holiday which needs the entire day to consider serious labor issues followed by pagan revelry.

CINCO DE MAYO; May 5. Annual celebration to commemorate the Mexican Army’s victory over the French Empire in 1862. A significant triumph over imperialism which also can be used to acknowledge that the U.S. ripped off the entire northern half of Mexico. People are understandably upset over Russia’s annexation of Crimea which is about 10,000 square miles. Arizona alone, part of the U.S. conquest, is over 100,000. Let’s treat ourselves to tacos and a margarita, but remembering that to Mexicans this was land theft of enormous proportions.

MOTHER’S DAY. Move to second Monday in May so we get the day off. The origins of the holiday go back to 1870 when Julia Ward Howe, an abolitionist who wrote “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” wanted to establish a Mother’s Peace Day. Howe dedicated the celebration to the eradication of war. Later, it became a sappy Hallmark card day, but still, Mom always deserves to be celebrated.

MEMORIAL DAY; last Monday of May. Combine with Veterans Day. No disrespect to veterans, but two holidays devoted to wars that mostly shouldn’t have been fought doesn’t seem appropriate. For all their sacrifices, the men who fell in American conflicts mostly gave their lives in wars based on outright lies such as the ones in Vietnam and Iraq. And, really, can very many people conjure up why the U.S. fought the War of 1812, the Spanish American War? How about World War I?

FATHER’S DAY. Move to third Monday in June. Let’s honor dad by giving him the day off.

JUNETEENTH; June 19. also known as Freedom Day, commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement

of the final abolition of slavery in the U.S. at the end of the Civil War. This holiday is celebrated almost exclusively by African-Americans, but it should be one we all take part in since it marked the end of a hideous institution, one that enslaved millions of people and was defended tenaciously by the southern states leaving three/quarters of a million Americans dead.

SUMMER SOLSTICE, June 21. The pagan holiday, Litha, celebrates the longest day of the year.

INDEPENDENCE DAY; July 4. Can’t touch this one, but we should remember that one of the colonists’ complaints against King George was that he wouldn’t allow further expansion into Native people’s land. Also, that the Southern states signed onto independence almost solely because they feared England was going to abolish slavery. “In order to form a more perfect union,” the South insisted that slavery be enshrined in the U.S. Constitution in three places which guaranteed them national political dominance until the Civil War.

We need at least one more holiday in July. International Kissing Day? Tell the Truth Day? The dog days of Summer are in August, so there’s nothing specific to celebrate. This month should be designated as when all workers get two weeks paid vacation in the manner that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed for his city’s employees.

HIROSHIMA DAY; August 6. A day of grim commemoration of the destruction of a civilian city at the moment Japan was about to surrender. It had no real military necessity, but rather was a notice to the Soviet Union that not only did the U.S. possess a terrible weapon, but was willing to use it. It will be a good time to consider that we and other countries still face nuclear destruction from possession of these insane weapons. I don’t want to ruin your day, but the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has set the Doomsday Clock at two minutes to midnight.

LABOR DAY; first Monday in September. Yes, working people deserve two holidays to celebrate their labor.

INTERNATIONAL PEACE DAY; September 21/Fall equinox. ‘Nuff said.

COLUMBUS DAY; October 12. This one has definitely got to go! By 1492, Europeans had ruined their continent with wars, environmental destruction, religious insanity, and was on the verge of social and economic collapse when they burst beyond their geography and began looting what was, to them, a new world. On his first day on Hispaniola, Columbus wrote in his diary about the Arawak people who had welcomed him, “They will make fine servants.” The rest is well-known: slavery, ethnic cleansing, and finally, genocide. New holiday in its place; Indigenous People’s Day.

HALLOWEEN, October 31. We need the whole day for costuming and revelry. Come as your fantasy, but white people: no black face or sombreros and mustaches, or the like. Confused as to what is cool to wear? Google “Halloween: what not to wear.”

VETERANS DAY; November 11. Gone. See Memorial Day. This originally was Armistice Day marking the end of the World War I carnage.

THANKSGIVING DAY. This celebration has the same problems as Columbus Day but, like Christmas, its original meaning is pretty much lost and is mostly a family event, so it stays.

CHRISTMAS/WINTER SOLSTICE, December 25. So much of the Christmas stuff was taken from the pagan recognition of the Solstice marking the returning of the light, and its religious element is so minimized that it is now a festival of gift giving, family, and feasting. So, it stays. 

We really deserve a lot more days off than chronicled above, but let’s start with these and make them a reality. Let them all be marked by processions, festivals, dancing in the streets, and feasts. Workers of the world, relax!

Peter Werbe is a member of the Fifth Estate magazine’s editorial collective www.FifthEstate.org.

By Jeff Milo

MARK MCDANIEL BURTON HAS HEARD SIMILAR COMMENTS OVER THE YEARS FROM LOCAL ARTISTS: “…I need a space!” Burton is a former chair of the Ferndale Arts & Cultural Commission, as well as the current curator for the Level One Bank gallery at Woodward and Saratoga and manager of local framing business Frame.ography, so he knows the logistical dilemma faced by many local artists.

That’s why he’s partnered with a trio of fellow creatives who each bring a breadth of experience in different mediums (as well as comparable empathy for the necessity of “space”); their collaboration is “The Stratford,” a former church at 8 Mile and Stratford that’s been revitalized into a multi-purpose artist’s collective.

“It can be an event space, a gallery, a band hotel, a photography studio, a creative space…” said Stratford co-founder Chris Ahern. Burton brought the idea for the Stratford during an exhibition last summer at Level One that featured some of Ahern’s photography. But Ahern is also a musician, and he and bandmate/collaborator Ian Davidson had actually been talking about wanting something like this for years. “I mean, we’ve had times where we’re jamming outside in the garage…and if it’s not a garage, then it’s a basement, or an attic, or a spare room…” The Stratford, which also includes Davidson as well as Paul Giannetti, is here to make space for Ferndale’s creatives!

Burton said that the owner of the nearly 3,500 sq. ft. property happens to do his banking at Level One, which is how the conversation with Burton started, last August, about whether this could be utilized as a studio or gallery of some kind.

“We always need space,” said Burton, humbly speaking for all local artists. “(The Stratford) is something I’ve been pushing for for several years.” He admits that there were a bit of wracked nerves building up to the opening since this was a new kind of adventure for everyone involved, but enthusiasm was restored by the knowledge that Ferndale needed a cooperative arts space as well as the unique ingenuities of everyone on board. Davidson has experience in carpentry and construction (as well as music), Ahern has experience in marketing and copywriting (as well as photography), and Giannetti is a local restaurant owner. So, whenever there’s a reception, etc., there’s the potential for some exceptional catering.

Ahern said that the obvious inspiration to start something like the Stratford draws from how involved each of the four of them have been in the arts. “But we also wanted to create a place that the community can be a part of,” said Ahern. That means more than just art exhibitions in the upper level, but also live music performances and biannual art festivals.

WHILE THEIR UPPER LEVEL WILL BE FOR EVENTS, the former church’s lower level is remodeled into multiple mini-studios that can function as rehearsal spaces for bands. Think of it as a “band hotel…,” where a local band would pay a monthly rent to gain 24/7 secure access to their “room,” where they could have their drum kit, guitar, synthesizer, laptop, you name it, set up and ready for practice (or songwriting). Burton credits Davidson with the work of putting up the walls and making spaces are soundproofed. “This would have been nice to have, ten years ago, back when we started doing band type work,” Ahern said.

“Ferndale is a very arty city,” said Burton. “(With) really diverse talent across the board. But we don’t have larger spaces like this in town. We have several smaller galleries, but nothing quite like this. Everyone I’ve talked to, the (Downtown Development Authority), the Chamber of Commerce, they’re all really excited. The more we’ve talked about it, the more it just seems like a win-win situation for the community.”

The six creative spaces downstairs will be outfitted for bands, but they can also accommodate visual artists who need space for canvases, paints, etc, or maybe podcasters. There is also one space reserved for photography. Those spaces will be private and accessible only to Stratford members, but any event hosted upstairs (or, in the warmer months, outside in their backyard/lot), will be open to the public.

“We’re looking forward, in the summer, to have an Arts & Crafts Fair,” said Burton. This could manifest pretty easily, considering Burton worked with the city, through his role with the Arts & Cultural Commission, to initiate the Art Fair at City Hall in the past.

Part of their recent Kickstarter campaign involved the goodwill of local visual artists who donated their works to be offered as rewards for funders. Not surprisingly, they got a very enthusiastic response—indicating that many artists in the area appreciate the need for something like The Stratford.