That’s the premise behind EGO, an Electric Guitar Orchestra I am launching for the community this summer. I hope to retire next year after 19 years as publisher of Ferndale Friends, and I need new ways to make a nuisance of myself around Ferndale. EGO should be splendid mischief!

Playing music is good for our mind, body and soul. Music unites humanity in spite of our bitter political and cultural divides. Pythagoras, Kepler, Newton, Galileo and other great minds have been intrigued by the mathematical mysteries of music. There is also, of course, much magic in it beyond the realm of science. Music is possibly the great bridge between science and our souls. There is something very special about music and our society is enriched every time one of us picks up an instrument.

It’s also incredibly fun! Won’t you please come join our band? We want YOU in EGO! Neither talent nor much time are required. We want everyone, young and old, and if you need a guitar we’ll try to to get one for you. We need at least 30 players but 60 is way better and there is always room for one more.

You do NOT have to know how to read music. Even if you are a complete beginner, in 20 minutes we’ll have you plucking the easy parts to Verdi’s Grand March or Bach’s Air on the G String. You can do this. We also have challenging parts for more advanced players.

There’s no commitment. This is about having fun. Show up as often as you like. We will rehearse in a Ferndale park twice a month using little battery- powered amps, and perform every couple of months.

It helps to start with the music of geniuses, and we’ll be playing some of the most beautiful and beloved music of the last 400 years. You already know most of these compelling melodies.

Electric guitars produce incredibly delicious overtones and harmonics, which is another reason EGO should sound pretty awesome even with beginners. And the battery-powered amps today include all manner of wonderful effects: Reverb and echo, phase-shifters, flanging and chorus, effects, etc. Imagine that delicious sound multiplied by 60 or more. It might just be extraordinary.

What You Need:

  • Electric guitar ($50-$100 at garage sales. We will try to get one for you if needed, and we are not turning you down if all you have is an acoustic.)
  • Small, battery-powered amp. $100-$200
  • Tuner $35-$40
  • Folding chair and music stand

Go see Andy at Pursell Lutherie (248-439-0700, 23430 Woodward) or Dana at Berkley Music (248-543-3900, 3039 W 12 Mile) to get a special EGO deal, and support our local music stores at the same time.

You Will Be Provided With:

  • A binder with all of the parts in easy-to-read tablature (photo right)
  • MP3 recordings of all the parts separately and complete as a group.
  • A coach to help you get started.


So glad to have you aboard! Drop me an email, and I will get you started:

Do you have a guitar you can donate?

We’re not looking for your ‘57 sunburst Les Paul! It just has to be playable. We will put new strings on it and try to do any needed minor repairs. You can make someone very happy by giving them a chance to participate! Please write me at

By Ryan E. Ennis


The free events occur on the first and middle Sunday of the month, from 2:00 until 4:30 P.M. These occasions treat the patrons to light refreshments, and sometimes are accompanied by live music
and poetry readings.

Coordinating the exhibitions are 30 members of a cooperative of art lovers and the art-minded who all pitch in to run the gallery. They are all shareholders and pay dues. Ensuring the space is adequately staffed, each member works two days per month. During their work shifts, they welcome visitors and guide them on tours around the space. They also offer information about the displays between the bi-monthly shows, when the exhibiting artists are not available.

The gallery embraces a variety of artistic forms — such as drawings, paintings, printmaking, ceramics, pastel artistry, and wood sculptures. The variations in the forms attract visitors from many surrounding communities who have an array of artistic interests.

ON EXHIBITION IN MAY WERE THE SOME OF THE WORKS of the artist Suzanne Allen, who is also a member of the Lawrence Street Gallery cooperative and a Ferndale resident. For over 30 years, Allen taught college English courses. When she retired, she became inspired to create works of art. Her pieces encompass acrylics, water media paintings, monoprints, collagraphs, and assemblages. In creating her pieces, she employs materials from nature and history, such as newsprints, maps, seashells, textiles, and seeds. To contact Allen or learn more about her works, visit the website

In June, the gallery will showcase the works of local artist Glenn “Fuzzy” Corey. His productions follow the belief that most drawings and paintings are in keeping with the trends of “expression” and “reference” in the past and present century. Not only do his drawings contain expressive elements, they are often crafted purposefully to jog the beholders’ memories to periods in history and to traditions or scenes depicted in mythology. As he plans and sketches, he goes about his work in a way that honors the past artistic movements by producing fresh approaches to drawings while maintaining a high level of detail in them. In that manner, his pieces aim to elicit a sense of amazement with new renditions for the modern eye. To learn more about Corey and see some of his works, check out the website

When Corey’s show wraps up, the next in July will be the gallery’s annual Summer Invitational. In planning this event, the gallery members ask their favorite artists and artist friends to enter some of their best pieces. Typically, there are as many as 50 artists who eagerly take part. For the public, it provides a regular occasion to see the vast amount of creativity available in the Metro Detroit area and beyond. With July often being Michigan’s hottest month, visitors can enjoy an air-conditioned break from the outside heat when they step inside the gallery and spend the afternoon perusing the artwork.

FOLLOWING THE ANNUAL SUMMER INVITATIONAL EVENT IS THE SHOWING of Jeri Magid’s paintings in August. A resident of Huntington Woods, she studied art at Michigan State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree. She is a member of the Birmingham-Bloomfield Art Center and the Birmingham Society of Women Painters. With both experimental and deliberate color mixtures, she makes her abstract art using brushstrokes that range from spontaneous to intentional. Her end results, she hopes, will stir her audience’s imagination and lead the individuals to personal interpretations of what they observe on the canvases.

In September, the gallery will promote the works of Sherry Adams Foster, a painter and printmaker. At the age of 34, she attended her first art class at Dondero High School in Royal Oak. Finding a new niche, she branched out by enrolling in additional art courses and workshops throughout the state. She is a Signature member of the Michigan Watercolor Society. While many artists seek to represent human challenges and high levels of emotions through their works, Foster’s paintings and printmaking strive to elicit feelings of happiness by capturing peaceful lights, colors, and other delightful details in our world. More information about Foster and her art can be found at

After Sherry Adams Foster’s exhibition, the gallery will host an artist competition in October with the theme of “animals.” All local artists are welcome to apply to enter their works related to the theme, and all forms of media are accepted.

IN NOVEMBER, THE MUSICIAN AND VISUAL ARTIST CHRIS MOORE will present his unique creations. While still a teenager, he began his music career as the original drummer for the punk band Negative Approach. Around the same time, he design- ed flyers for the band and wrote lyrics. In recent years, he has been incorporating his lyrics into the experimental artworks he creates, and thus furnishing a visual and literary feast for his patrons’ senses.

The final event of 2023, in December, is called “Think Small.” To be approved for the showing, the artists’ media types intended for submission must be 12 inches or smaller.

Selected art pieces for the upcoming shows will be available to view online and purchase by visiting Updates about the forth- coming events will also be posted on the same site.

If you are a local artist and interested in joining the cooperative to help with the exhibits, you can check out the Membership Information section on the web site, and then download an application and send a completed one to the email address

As a gallery member, in addition to receiving a guarantee of eight linear feet of wall space to display your own artistic achievements for sale, you are able to “participate in the decision-making and experience the running of the gallery, and learn more of the business side of being an artist,” as stated on the establishment’s home page.

22620 Woodward Avenue || 248-544-0394
Open Weds.-Sat. from Noon until 5:00 P.M. and Sun. from 1:00 P.M. until 5:00 P.M.

By Jeff Milosevich


On Saturday, June 17, we’ll be kicking off our annual Summer Reading Challenge at Martin Road Park: kids, teens, and adults can all be signed up to participate in our reading challenge and be connected to the Beanstack app, which can be used to log everyone’s recreational reading throughout the season. Cool prizes are in store for those who log the most reading!

SUMMER READING: IT ALL STARTS ON JUNE 17, from 1:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M. at Martin Road Park: Library staff will be providing onsite Summer Reading signup assistance at the park’s pavilion. There will be lawn games and a new book on the Story Trail for kids, food trucks, including tacos for lunch and ice cream for dessert, plus live music featuring a rousing singalong of Beatles covers! This year’s Summer Reading theme is “All Together Now,” emphasizing a sense of community as we all participate in a fun reading challenge together. If you want to find out more, you can visit the library’s website:

Along with encouraging patrons to log their reading on Beanstack, we’ll also host a variety of engaging events and activities for all age groups.

TINY ART: ON MAY 15, we unveiled another craft kit giveaway, providing “art kits” containing a “tiny” 5”x5” canvas, along with a “tiny” tripod easel and “tiny” assorted paints and paint brushes. These kits were distributed on a first-come/first-serve basis, so we can’t guarantee whether or not they’ll be available by the time you’re reading this. Our goal is to collect all the artwork from the community to curate an exhibition that will be on display through- out the library all summer long. We’ll host a special reception, scheduled for June 29 at 6:00 P.M., where we’ll celebrate everyone’s artistic talents. To find more info about “tiny art” and all upcoming art exhibitions, visit:

SUMMER CONCERT SERIES: Our ever-popular crowd-pleasing Summer Concert Series returns to our Library’s courtyard starting June 13. These free, all-ages concerts are made possible by the Friends of the Ferndale Library, allowing music lovers to catch an early evening outdoor performance by some of Michigan’s most talented songwriters. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own folding chairs, blankets, or any transportable seating apparatus, but you can also just sit on the grass or find a spot at one of our picnic tables. This year’s lineup includes Dani Darling (soul/funk/indie) on June 13, Chris Bathgate (folk/Americana/roots/ ambient) on July 18, and the Theatre Bizarre Orchestra (jazz) on August 22.

UPCOMING YOUTH EVENTS: June 24: Painting Workshop with Living Arts Detroit (ages 7- 12); June 28: Tie-Blankets for Shelter Animals (multigenerational); June 29: Life-Sized Candy Land (ages 2-5); July 10: Sadarri & Company theatre troupe’s Multicultural Storytelling (ages 2- 12); July 24: Acting for Kids with OpenSpot Theatre (ages 5-12); July 27: Make Your Own Animal Masks! (ages 5-8); July 28: Sharpie Tie-Dying Workshop for Teens (ages 13-18+); July 31: Zine-Making Program (ages 7 and up); August 1: Sloan-Longway: City Shapes (ages 4-7). Ongoing: Reading Rainbow, Middle School Board Game Club, Middle Grade Tabletop RPG, and Pokemon Club.

Meanwhile, we’ll continue to host storytimes, but we’re changing it up a little just for the summer-time: Baby Storytimes will be hosted on the first three Fridays of each month at 10:30 A.M. and then our new Family Storytime will be hosted on the first three Wednesdays of each month at 10:30 A.M. Find more info at:

Parents/caregivers can bring kids of all ages into the youth area to enjoy the latest seasonal decor, with lively cardboard cut-outs created by our youth librarians portraying fun new scenes featuring the friendly creatures of “Fern Forest.” We’ll also be planning another scavenger hunt where kids can scour every aisle of the Kids Corner to help retrieve a variety of hidden items that belong to one of the furry citizens of Fern Forest.

UPCOMING SUMMERTIME ADULT EVENTS: June 12: Movie Trivia Night at 215 West; June 22: Costumed Model/Figure Drawing (sketch work-shop); June 25, July 23, August 27: New Adult RPG Group – a new limited series of three monthly meet-ups where adults can play short-duration RPG games together.  July 17: the return of our popular “Chopped Challenge” take-home craft kit containing three “mystery ingredients” for our local foodies to use in creating a dish of their choosing. Ongoing: All of our book clubs will occur at their set times and dates, including the Ferndale Project Book Club, Graphic Novel Book Club, Science Fiction Book Club, and Film Club (find more info on our website).

GAMES & GARDENS: Stop by the Library to enhance your enjoyment of the outdoors this summer: use your Ferndale Library card to check out an array of games and sporting equipment from our Library of Things, including a croquet set, bocce ball set, pickleball set, and a bike repair stand! After that, stop by the Seed Library and check out a variety of herb, flower, or vegetable seed packets to plant in your garden! And speaking of gardening, mark your calendars for August 3, when Rachael Carter from Floraculture gives a presentation on starting your own herbal tea garden!

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more information at updates@ferndalelibrary


By Sara Teller


“We measure our success in community engagement and satisfaction with our programs, parks, services, and outreach efforts,” explained Recreation Manager, Emanuel Johnson.

Currently operating out of Incubizo, which is only a few blocks from City Hall, P&R not only provides ongoing community programming, but assists in providing safety shelters and services during severe weather events, mass power outages, evacuations, and other emergencies, and has made efforts to improve outdoor public spaces with paved pathways, adaptable features, and accessible amenities. The Department also offers a Ride SMART/Ferndale Community Transportation program, providing transportation to Ferndale residents throughout the city and within a five-mile radius. The program is open to all residents.

Johnson said, “We provide the community with healthy outlets for all ages and abilities, life-changing experiences, safe spaces, and connections to nature and to each other. In functioning as a dynamic department, we consider ourselves the heart of our community.” The Department’s focus has always been on inclusivity, and staff members strive to ensure all visitors can access and utilize park features. The past few months have brought about many changes – some good, some not so good. For starters, unfortunately, the pandemic reduced available staff to maintain the Kulick Community Center, and it has been permanently closed. The City has slated it to be reverted back to school ownership.

Johnson said of this new development, “Facility problems that already existed were exacerbated and ultimately rendered the facility inoperable.”

In November of last year, former Parks Deputy Director Lisa Bryant also left to take a position with the federal government. Since her departure, P&R has welcomed two full-time staff members – Robert Burch, from the City of Pontiac, now serving as Deputy Director, and Program Specialist Matthew King, who leads youth and adult sports programming.

STILL TO COME IN 2023, JOHNSON SAID, “WE HAVE A HANDFUL OF POSITIONS that we are looking to fill in the next few months. Specifically, we’ll be looking to hire two part-time recreation aides, a new seasonal camp director, and several seasonal camp counselors for our thriving summer camp program. Our team members share a passion for serving the community and work hard to bring programs, improvements, and joy to every resident and participant. We work to provide a space where our staff can bring their whole self to work to help make magical moments for the community.”

2023 will also mark the first year in which the splash pad at Martin Road Park will open for a full summer season. The pad will be available to the public every day from Memorial Day to Labor Day, 10:00 A.M to 8:00 .PM.

“We’re hoping to kick-start [the season with] our concessions stand and offer the community some delicious food options at Martin Road during park hours,” Johnson said. “We’re also looking forward to our upcoming special events that include the return of our Gravity Art Fair & Skate Contest on June 10, our Movies in the Park series, and our annual Ferndale Fall Festival on October 7.”

IN ADDITION TO THESE FESTIVITIES, P&R IS WORKING HARD TO SOLIDIFY THE REMAINDER of 2023’s sports leagues and is continuing to ramp up amenities and programming opportunities.

“Residents should look for- ward to the Wilson Park Improvement Project, which begins construction in late-spring or early-summer and will see amenities add- ed to the park that include a new walking path, a new shade structure, a new basketball court, parking lot improvements, and a new accessible water fountain, among others,” Johnson said.

The Wilson project is backed by more than $300,000 in grant funding that Department staff worked hard to secure over the past four years. Grant-funders include the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Oakland County, the Community Foundation’s Ralph C. Wilson Legacy Grant, and America in Bloom.

“We’ve also secured grant funding to help sup- port several future projects at other parks, so keep an eye out for upcoming announcements,” he added. “We are continuing to utilize our community partners to offer some of our programs (shout out to Ferndale Public Schools) as we continue to plan for a new home for our Parks & Recreation operations.”

FERNDALE’S P&R DEPARTMENT IS ALWAYS LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS and donations to continue bringing free family events like EGGstravaganza and Movies in the Park to Ferndale residents. The staff welcomes residents to apply for a position on the Parks & Recreation Commission (P&RC), a volunteer board made up of Ferndalians who advise, provide input, and suggest direction for Parks & Recreation programs and projects. Anyone looking to volunteer for one or more events can also add their name to the volunteer contact list available online.

“For donations, please feel free to add any dollar amount during checkout when registering for any of our programming online,” Johnson said. He added, “We’re continuously working to seek and secure funding to improve our parks, public spaces, programs, services, and offerings. We work hard to secure sponsorships and grants for our programs and projects to help minimize their impact on resident tax dollars. If any business is interested in sponsoring a program or park feature, contact Director LaReina Wheeler at”

The Parks & Recreation Department can also be reached Monday through Saturday at 248-544-6767 or via email at

By Jeff Milosevich

THERE ARE SO MANY EVENTS COMING UP AT THE FERNDALE LIBRARY this Summer I’m not sure it can be contained in one column!

But let’s start with some music! Our ever-popular Summer Concert Series is coming back: These free musical performances for all ages are hosted outdoors in our courtyard, made possible by the Friends of the Ferndale Library. This year’s lineup brings a mix of jazz and world music sweetened by an array of eclectic instrumentation.



OUR SUMMER CONCERTS ARE SCHEDULED ON TUESDAY EVENINGS, June 18, July 19, and August 9, each performance beginning at 6:30 P.M. Nessa (June 18) performs original world music that is Celtic-inspired but also infuses sound and rhythmic elements from the Caribbean, Africa, and India, as well as a mix of genres, from classical and jazz to folk and funk. Djangophonique (July 19) is a virtuosic, instrumentally driven acoustic jazz quartet bringing to life the rich musical language of Django Reinhardt’s jazz manouche. Klezundheit (August 9) is a 10-piece ensemble group performing traditional and modern klezmer, gypsy, Balkan, and jazz music, featuring a mix of accordion, trombone, tuba, flute, and soprano saxophone.


THIS YEAR’S THEME FOR OUR SUMMER READING CHALLENGE is An Ocean of Possibilities, so you can anticipate a range of water-themed events (and prizes) for all ages. When you sign up for Summer Reading, you (and your family) can create an account with the Beanstack app to track your reading throughout the season. Starting as early as June 11 and continuing until August 31, adults will be challenged to read four books, teens will be challenged to read three books, and kids will be challenged to read for five full hours. As you read, you can earn digital badges and raffle tickets through Beanstack: the more tickets you earn, the more you can submit for our range of prizes.

Some of the events we have planned include a watercolor class (June 9), a look at lake monsters (June 23), a history of sea shanties (July 7), and an instructional presentation on rain barrels (July 14). Sign up for our Summer Reading Challenge opens on June 11; for more info, visit: And remember, if you take our Summer Reading Challenge and are ever in need of recommendations, visit, where you can request book bundles and receive personalized recommendations.


WHILE WE’RE HIGHLY ENCOURAGING EVERYONE TO TAKE our summer reading challenge, you can certainly use your library card for more than just reading. We were particularly excited, at the start of spring, to unveil our “Library of Things.” This special collection features tools, gadgets, instruments, and more, anything from a thermal leak detector to a sewing machine or even a ukulele. Ferndale Library cardholders can check out items from the collection of “Things” for up to two weeks. For a full list of these unique items, visit:

The Library of Things is just one facet of some of our recent updates. You might have already noticed our new signage facing along the north, west, and south-facing sides of our building, but there are a few updates inside that you should check out! We’ve added an accessible laptop bar that stretches across the windows of our atrium, along with several new (and rather comfy) chairs along the windows and near our quiet reading room. Parents/caregivers will also find new furniture, new carpeting, and many new shelves inside our Kids Corner. We’ve also added new resources and materials, including a restocked seed library, an Adobe Suite computer station, and a set of telescopes available in our Kids Corner.


• Our Youth Librarians will be hosting walk-in/drop-in sessions for Reading With Dogs (ages 4-17), starting Monday June 6, and continuing every Monday evening from 5:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M. (except July 4). Meanwhile, there are plans for a Reading With Dogs for Adults to begin on Wednesday,  June 29, hosted monthly on the last Wednesday of each month. There is no registration available for the kids’ drop-in sessions, but you can sign-up for our adult sessions online (space is limited!)

• We’ve partnered with the Ferndale Project to host a monthly book club, and our librarians will be there on Tues., June 28, partnering with Ferndale Pride for a special Pride-themed event discussing Let’s Go Back to the Party by Zak Salih.

• Local artist Loralee Grace will be showing some of her amazing artwork here throughout the summer, with dazzling paintings celebrating our rich environmental and cultural diversity. Check our website for information on a Reception and Artist Talk (set for June 30).

Finally: don’t forget to try out our online resources! We have databases, craft tutorials, streaming movies, and an odyssey of eBooks and audiobooks, all of which you can access with your Ferndale Library card.

Visit for more information.

By Jenn Goedekke

GEORGE MONTRELLE IS A LOCAL MUSICIAN WHOSE SOULFUL SONGWRITING ENCOMPASSES a broad array of influences, from Allen Stone to Fall Out Boy, and more in between.

With an EP named LOVE UNFOLDING released on May 20th, 2022, Montrelle is expressing his “passion for music and who I am today. It ties everything together!” The EP comprises five songs that were independently recorded and produced. It marks a significant milestone in his musical career, which he describes as “a long journey – but I’m moving at a good pace!”

Montrelle began songwriting around 16 years of age. He comes from a creative, loving, and resourceful single-parent household. Often, he would listen to his siblings’ music collections, including soul, R&B, hip-hop, and gospel music. Since those early days, he has played some unique gigs and has formed a clear vision of his musical path.

Prior gigs have included the Willis Show Bar in Midtown Detroit; Otus Supply in Ferndale (‘Singers in the Round’); and the Axis Lounge within the MGM Grand in downtown Detroit.

Montrelle graduated from the Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME) in 2020 and was awarded a Bachelor’s in Commercial Songwriting. There, he learned a lot about all aspects of the music industry, including the business culture and networking. He told me, “It felt good to finish the program. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!” He also auditioned for American Idol.

Please tell me more about LOVE UNFOLDING.

LOVE UNFOLDING is the first group of songs I’ve ever released that is self-recorded and self-produced. It represents the adoration and development of my path, my partner, my passion, and myself. It also symbolizes growth, joy, humility, challenges overcome, and the pursuits of my deepest desires in life.

Any collaborations or core influences?

Briefly, Allen Stone, Hiatus Kaiyote, the ‘90s, and 2000s hip-hop, older R&B, oldies, and 2000s alternative rock are some of my influences for LOVE UNFOLDING. I also like Sam Smith and Bruno Mars.

Which of your gigs stand out, and for what reasons?

Willis Show Bar in Midtown was amazing, pre-Covid. Loved the stage and the music we got to play. More recently, MGM Grand has been a great time. Loved being able to perform classics and modern tunes to an appreciative crowd!

Future gigs or perhaps a tour?

I’ll be performing for the Juneteenth Celebration hosted by the Ferndale Library at the Green Acres Park in Hazel Park, with my band. The event is on a Saturday, June 18th, 2022, the day before the official Juneteenth holiday. Also, Sunday, July 31st, 2022, I’ll be playing for Ferndale’s Nine on Nine Series down at Schiffer Park.

Have you got a favorite song?

Allen Stone’s “Brown Eyed Lover” was a long-time favorite for me. Sam Smith’s “Omen” and “Diamonds” are the other latest ones.

Any “shoutouts” to family, friends, or people in the music industry?

My fiance, and partner of nine years, first and foremost. My entire family and friend groups for their support too. You all are amazing. Lastly, the DIME faculty and student body, as a whole, I have to thank. The network and education have been a gift that has kept on giving.

What DIME experiences stood out the most?

DIME was a lot of different things. Albeit, it was a Bachelor’s degree program; it was also networking, experiencing, performing, writing music, collaborating, and being immersed in a very musical environment. I’m glad I saw what I did there. Probably being in the same environment with so much talent and opportunity stood out the most to me.

On a parting note, Montrelle added, “Trust in yourself, as you never know who you might impact. Trust your instincts and intuition, and truly be who you are.”

Visit George Montrelle’s website for more information:

Montrelle’s songs can be found on all streaming sources, including Bandcamp and Spotify.

By Sara Teller

GO COMEDY IMPROV THEATER WAS FOUNDED IN 2008 BY GERALD KNIGHT, CHRIS DIANGELO, TOMMY LEROY, AND PJ JACOKES. When Second City Detroit moved to Novi, where it would later close, there were a lot of talented improvisers and comedians who suddenly had no home. The four owners came together, hoping they could fill that gap.

The theater currently offers weekly improv opportunities showcasing short-form, game-style skits such as ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway’ as well as long-form, improvised scene work. It also hosts a variety of entertainment venues open to the public.

“In addition, we offer improv and sketch-writing classes designed to help working professionals get better at public speaking and thinking on their feet,” said manager Jess Krrzyczkowski, adding that the theater trains “the next generation of improvisers to keep pushing the art form forward. We also have our corporate improv and workshops division, Go Corp, which offers corporate-training, team-building, and entertainment for basically any event you can imagine.”

GO COMEDY’S INTRO PROGRAM INCLUDES CLASSES OPEN TO ANYONE, from any background, with any level of talent. Newcomers always start at Intro I and learn to use long-practiced improv tools to improve their communication skills. Those who just want to meet new people in the area or improve their public speaking skills are welcome, as are business professionals and budding artists.

The theater’s Advanced Improv is for anyone who has completed the Intro Program and is looking to build upon these skills. The workshops focus primarily on scene work and long-form montages, which are more complicated than what participants are introduced to at the Intro level. The program challenges members who are looking to move beyond basic skill-building.

Go Comedy’s Sketch-Writing Program focuses on various types of sketches, fundamentals, and writing exercises over the course of an entire term, allowing students to hone their craft as they develop a show which will run before an audience.

Even though the pandemic has taken a hit on the theater since its inception, the staff is looking forward to becoming active in the community once again and will be involved in several upcoming events and activities, including Ferndale Pride (June 4, 2022), the Run for Laughs 5k (June 11, 2022) and the Detroit Improv Festival (August 2022, Go Comedy will be setting up a booth at Pride and will host Run for Laughs, a charity run/walk event meant to continue the theater’s mission to foster community, inspire movement, and promote mental health in an inclusive, supportive, and humorous environment. It will also host the Improv Festival.

Krrzyczkowski explained, “The theater is obviously slow to return post-pandemic. We had to shut our doors from March 2020 to September 2021, and rebuilding has been slow. We’re still operating at a reduced capacity, and requiring masks and proof of COVID vaccine, because keeping our casts and staff safe is priority number one. I think more than ever before, people are looking for escape from the heaviness of life in these unprecedented times, and if we can provide that freedom and levity, we’re happy to do that.”

She encourages all residents to get involved, saying, “Improv comedy has been a historically white and cis-male space, and we’re doing our best to shift that and create better, more inclusive entertainment. Our audiences have always been diverse, and we want to offer shows that cater to a variety of people and progressive viewpoints. We offer a diversity scholarship for interested students and have a proven commitment to putting forth shows that feature diverse casts.”

Go Comedy Improv Theater is located at 261 E. 9 Mile Rd. For more information, please visit or call 248.327.0575

By Sara Teller

THE FERNDALE PARKS & RECREATION DEPARTMENT HAS BEEN HOUSED AT THE GERRY KULICK COMMUNITY CENTER SINCE 2001. It was originally located, in 1922, on the site of Washington Elementary School up until it was re-purposed as a community center. The center’s namesake, Gerry Kulick, served on the Ferndale City Council from 1998 to 2000.

“As an active member of the community and president of several of Ferndale’s boards and organizations, Kulick was a major proponent [of community togetherness], bringing the Center to fruition,” explained current Director LaReina Wheeler who added, “Ferndale’s Parks & Recreation Department regularly champions this vision and mission to create community through people, parks, and programs. We are dedicated to improving the quality of life of residents by providing a wide variety of activities that encourage health, fitness, and cultural enrichment.”

Keeping this vision in mind, “We’ve also made great strides in implementing long overdue improvements to our parks that include renewed amenities (pavilions, park benches, etc.), ADAaccessible walking paths, outdoor fitness equipment, a state-of-the-art skate park, and a bioswale,” she explained. “Many more improvements are on the way, including the city’s first splash pad currently being installed at Martin Road Park.”

COVID-19 HAS HAD A SIGNIFICANT EFFECT ON THE WAY THE P&R TEAM develops programming. However, it has brought with it some positive changes.

“If the pandemic has revealed anything,” said Wheeler, “it’s that Parks & Recreation is the heart of the city. Our Department continues to be flexible to meet the current, future, and emergency needs of our residents. At the start of the pandemic, we closed our building due to safety concerns. “Those concerns have been reduced [over time]. However, our building remains closed due to facility safety issues.” In lieu of a physical building, the Department has turned to the parks system as one of its best assets in safely implementing and expanding in-person programming.

Wheeler added, “During the early stages, the team focused on reaching out to our local Ferndale seniors providing wellness checks and resources to help them manage through the pandemic. We have also provided free grocery and food giveaways, free sports equipment giveaways, virtual programming, and outdoor recreational programming.

The Department created a ‘You’ve Been BOOed’ program to connect families to each other while social distancing during the 2020 Halloween season and worked within social distancing guidelines in organizing scavenger hunts and a road rally.”

They continue to offer senior programming and social events in a safe manner utilizing the Martin Road Activity Center (the Detroit Curling Club) during the spring and summer months and working with partnerships with other communities to house senior meetings. In Spring 2021, the community saw the return of youth and adult sports with participation steadily returning to its robust pre-COVID levels. Residents are now using park and pavilion rentals again, too, hosting outdoor gatherings.

WHEELER EXPLAINED, “WE WORK OUTSIDE of what is considered typical parks-and-recreation functions and strive to meet a variety of the needs of all our residents.

“We provide active and passive activities for all ages and demographics; we support and implement health and wellness initiatives; we subsidize and accommodate programs for our low-income participants; we act as a warming/cooling center and provide accommodations for medical needs including COVID testing, wellness checks, etc.; we train and empower our youth; we work tirelessly to secure grant funding to make park improvements and offer free programming; we provide free sports equipment, service our seniors; we work with legislatures as it relates to outdoor recreation policy throughout the pandemic, and we help support neighboring cities and businesses as well as build partnerships locally.”

Geary Park and Wanda Park have undergone important renovations as of late with the P&R Department making much needed improvements and upgrades. At Geary, alongside its award-winning skatepark built in 2019, ADA-accessible walking paths, outdoor fitness equipment, drinking fountains, and other amenities were installed, including benches, trash and recycling bins and bike racks. At Wanda Park, similar improvements were made with the Department installing ADA-accessible walking paths, a pavilion, new play equipment, drinking fountains, and other amenities.

“WE’VE ALSO RECENTLY UPDATED OUUR FIVE-YEAR Parks & Recreation Master Plan that was adopted by City Council in 2022,” said Wheeler. “This document enables us to get valuable feedback from our residents, youth, and stakeholders on our offerings throughout the pandemic and how we should plan to adapt for the future.

“As part of the Master Plan update, we developed concept design plans for the Wilson Park improvements that will take place in 2023 and proposed improvements to Martin Road Park. Since 2017, Ferndale has made it a priority to activate our parks and make them more accessible.”

Community members are urged to participate in, and volunteer for, Parks & Recreation events. Some of the upcoming activities include youth and adult recreation leagues, sponsored food giveaways, and senior programming. Events include:

FERNDALE SENIOR GROUP meetings, which take place the second and fourth Wednesday every month at 11:00 A.M. at the Hazel Park Community Center.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON CRAFTING (CRAFTERNOON), which launched Tuesday, May 17th and takes place weekly. Seniors can enjoy crafting together at the Detroit Curling Club near Martin Road Park from 1:00 to 3:00 P.M.

THE GRAVITY ART FAIR & SKATEBOARD CONTEST on June 11, 2022, at Geary Park from 11:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. This features skateboard, BMX, scooters and inline skating hosted by Modern Skate & Surf. More than 50 unique artists will display works inspired by the skate, bike and wheels culture.

THE M-1 JAZZ COLLECTIVE CONCERT will take place on June 15, 2022, outside the Kulick Center from 6:30 P.M. to 7:30 P.M.

SUMMER DAY CAMP, licensed by the State of Michigan and hosted by Ferndale Parks & Rec., will offer nine weekly themes to school-aged children ages 5 to 12. Activities like swimming, arts and crafts, music, nature, sports, and games will be available. Group projects will also be offered.

MOVIES IN THE PARK, hosted by Ferndale P&R and DDA, will take place at several of Ferndale’s parks every other Thursday from 8:30 P.M. to 10:30 P.M. starting Juneteenth. In addition to viewings at dusk, lawn games, food vendors, and small activities will be offered. Movie-goers should bring blankets and lawns chairs. The schedule is: June 16 at Schiffer Park, June 30 at Wilson Park, July 7 at Schiffer Park, July 21 at Martin Road Park, August 4 at Schiffer Park and August 18 at Harding Park.

“The Kids Zone hosts a rock climbing wall and guided sports activities,” Wheeler added, and the Fall Festival will take place on October 1, 2022, from 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. at Martin Road Park.

“We also encourage our residents to attend our Parks & Recreation Commission meetings on the first Wednesday of every month at 6:30 P.M.,” she said. “Meetings will be held at the Detroit Curling Club through-out the summer. This is your opportunity to be the first to know about upcoming events and park improvements and other matters, as well as a platform for you to provide valuable feedback. In addition, we are currently looking for volunteers to be park stewards. Stewards will play an important role in our parks, helping the Department beautify them while finding ways in which we can improve activities.” All stewards will have an opportunity to adopt a garden in one of city’s parks.

FERNDALE’S P&R HAS BEEN DILIGENTLY APPLYING FOR GRANTS to fund local park revitalization projects. It has recently received several to fund the Wilson Park improvement project, which is set to begin in Spring 2023. These grants include a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Land and Water Conservation Fund grant, an Oakland County Parks grant, and the America in Bloom grant. P&R also received funding for the Martin Road Park improvement project from Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund grant and America in Bloom grant.

For more information, visit Ferndale P&R’s Facebook page at or the City of Ferndale website,

THE FERNDALE GARDEN CLUB (FGC), founded in 1931, continues to be vibrant and active.

Fall activities included the annual mum sale, a scholarship fundraiser. FGC has offered a scholarship to a graduating Ferndale High School senior since 1998!

In September, the FGC held their annual zinnia bloom contest (Ferndale’s city flower). Everyone votes on the best bloom and the winner takes home a blue ribbon. The contest is open to all and is a fun way for local gardeners to meet in person.

A big highlight of 2021 was the special field trip to the Piet Oudolf Garden on Belle Isle.

And free zinnia seeds were handed out at the annual Seed swap at the Ferndale Library in February.

The FGC maintains the Memorial Mall, a public garden on Oakridge at Livernois “as a place of respite and contemplation” for the community. Garden club volunteers also helped rejuvenate the plants around the Hilton Convalescent home.

MONTHLY MEETINGS INCLUDE PRESENTATIONS on a variety of gardening topics includeing intentional meadows, planting native plants and trees, supporting pollinators (including monarch and black swallowtail butterflies), restoring native bird habitats with healthy nesting materials, rooting houseplant cuttings, hydroponic seed starting, growing aquatic plants, and more. Meeting dates are May 12, June 9, July 14, Sept. 9; 7:00 P.M. at Harding Park Pavillion.

The club also hosts garden workdays at Oakridge and Livernois the first Saturday of each month at 10:00 A.M. Feel free to bring your own tools and help out! April 2 / May 7 / June 4 / July 2 / Aug. 6 / Sept. 3 / Oct. 1 / Nov. 5.

FGC membership includes residents of Ferndale, Oak Park, Detroit, Royal Oak and more. Garden lovers of all skills and abilities are invited from beginners to master gardeners to “folks that just enjoy looking at gardens.”

• @theferndalegardenclub

By Sara E. Teller
Photos by Ashley Poirer

THE BERKLEY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (BACC) IS DEDICATED TO CREATING A SPACE for business owners to come together to serve Berkley and our surrounding communities. The Chamber has organized many events and activities over the years, with this year being no exception despite the ongoing Covid pandemic.

Many great things have been happening around town in general, even as the world is faced with a ‘new normal.’ There are businesses continuing to come into Berkley, and the close-knit community has witnessed a growing number of people settling in, especially younger singles and families. Drawn to the area because of the ‘everyone-knows-everyone’ ambiance, free parking and many fun things to do, Berkley continues to be a go-to spot for newcomers.

BACC primarily supports small businesses by engaging in local events, organizing affordable marketing options, offering a high-volume social media presence, and initiating networking activities. In 2021, BACC was instrumental in supporting businesses through a grant from Oakland County. The Chamber offered PPE items for its members, as well as propane for outdoor heaters, hand sanitizer, wipes, and other items that weren’t in the budget before the pandemic hit. The Chamber ensured members were given as much online attention as possible, particularly regarding adjustments made to days and hours they were open, and the innovative ways owners came up with to continue serving residents.

“We organized very successful 2021 summer events that brought thousands of people to Berkley, in a strategic, safely-spaced manner,” explained BACC’s Executive Director, Darlene Rothman, adding, “We had beautiful days for these events, and everyone enjoyed being outside. You could feel the excitement in the air!”

BERKLEY ART BASH & STREET ART FEST: While the Berkley Art Bash is traditionally held annually during the second weekend in June, the event was postponed to September 11 this year to allow for more people to receive the Covid-19 vaccination. Pinspiration Berkley and Vibe Credit Union sponsored the Kids Zone. Nearly 100 vendors offered a diverse assortment of photographs, garden art, jewelry, pottery, wearables, paintings, and gourmet offerings.

“We expanded the footprint by a few more blocks to ensure more space between vendors and to allow for safer shopping,” said RoseAnn Nicolai, BACC Events & Operations Manager and owner of Nicolai Events & Communications. “A lot of the success of the event was due to April McCrumb, owner of Catching Fireflies and Yellow Door Art Market. She did such a great job curating the show and finding such talented artists to be vendors.”

The County Oakland Irish Fest group hosted the entertainment which included Doug Thompson, the Flanagan-O’Hare Irish Dancers and Michael O’Brian & the Distractions. Children who attended could either make a craft there or take a kit home. Pinspiration Berkley also had a splatter-paint tent where children could fling paint onto a small canvas, creating their own piece of artwork.

The Berkley Street Art Fest date was also postponed to August 7 this year due to the pandemic. Downtown Berkley was transformed with art as professional and aspiring chalk artists created colorful street art with chances to win prizes. Shop for Good Village, a newly-added component coordinated by VITRINE owner Susan Rogal, was a curated collection of handmade products made by sellers with a primary focus on ‘doing good’ on a local or global scale. A commissioned artist, Ed Irmen, created a mural at Folio Offices. People throughout Metro Detroit watched these artists as their masterpieces came to life. The event was presented by the MSU Federal Credit Union.

“We are looking forward to Berkley Art Bash returning back to its usual time of year in 2022, Nicolai said. “Mark your calendar for June 11, 2022. Berkley Street Art Fest date will be announced in 2022, and County Oakland Irish Fest, which the Chamber is a sponsor, will return on September 10, 2022.”

CRUISEFEST: The 2021 CruiseFest shirt, designed by Jon Murrell of Armadillo (owned by Dave Lakatos), was such a big hit that it sold out prior to the event for the first time in the CruiseFest’s history. The Chamber responded by adding a limited timeframe for residents to purchase them online.

The shirt was created to promote the 25th anniversary of the CruiseFest, which was held on August 20, 2021. The event draws car lovers from all over and includes a parade of classic vehicles for attendees to enjoy. Darron Moore & the 14th Floor provided the event’s entertainment. New for 2021, the Berkley Parks & Recreation hosted an outdoor movie experience in front of the Neighbor’s Shoppe. The film Grease was screened immediately following the parade.

RESTAURANT WEEKEND & NIGHT MARKET: BACC partnered with the Berkley DDA to bring, for the first time, a Restaurant Weekend to downtown Berkley the first weekend of October. Katie Kutscher and Christine Gross, sister owners of Berkley Common, also helped pulled together this amazing event.

“Berkley Common was the driving force behind this,” Rothman said. “Katie initiated the conversation, encouraging us to do something to help the restaurants.” The owners wanted everyone (BACC, DDA, and the participants) to join together as a team to bring extra attention to the restaurant community during an especially difficult time.

Those who participated included Berkley Common, 24 Seconds, Amici’s Kitchen & Living Room, Casa Amado Tacqueria, Coco Fairfield’s, Crispelli’s, Dog & Pony Show Brewing, Fresh Collective Kitchen & Market, Green Lantern, Oak Park Social and Republica. Each eatery had food and drink specials local foodies could retrieve online by scanning a QR code or simply take note of signs placed around town.

The same weekend, the DDA Night Market was held on October 2nd, giving residents the opportunity to visit their regular go-tos after hours and explore new businesses along the way. Retailers stayed open late to give visitors a magical night-time shopping experience. A complimentary downtown trolley sponsored by the Berkley DDA ran throughout the event and dozens of storefronts transformed with spooky décor.

The retailers who participated included Articipate, The Artsy Umbrella, Fresh Collective Market, GateKeeper Games, …Have You Any Wool?, June & December, Peninsulas, Pinspiration Berkley, PUCK HCKY, Red Arrow Tattoo Collective, Reware Vintage, Toadvine Books, Tootie & Tallulah’s, The Twisted Shamrock, Ullman’s Health & Beauty and VITRINE.

Rothman said, “The restaurants and retail stores were thrilled that the community supported them by eating and shopping locally, for as many items as possible and being gracious to their staff as many are understaffed. The holidays are approaching soon, so please consider buying local to support these businesses.”

STATE OF THE CITIES: The State of the Cities event, produced by CMNTv and sponsored by Beaumont Health, was held virtually on October 28, 2021. The purpose of the event is to provide an opportunity for local government entities including the City of Berkley, City of Huntington Woods, the Berkley School District, the Berkley Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the BACC, to report out to the community about the accomplishments and issues faced over the past year as well as talk about what is up-and-coming.

The Chamber honored local businesspeople and organizations during the State of the Cities that had been especially supportive of the Berkley community. Its Best of Berkley awards are traditionally given to Chamber members who exemplify leadership, have passion for the area, and go out of their way to support businesses with a commitment to making the community shine.

Rothman added, “This past year, with the pandemic, they had to be especially creative and think outside of the box.” The 2021 recipients focused largely on ensuring that the community flourished despite the Coronavirus.

THE 2021 CHAMBER HONOREES INCLUDED VITRINE, owned by Susan Rogal, as Business of the Year, and Robyn Cohen, owner of Sum Girls Boutique, as Businessperson of the Year.

VITRINE and Rogal have been instrumental in bringing attention to downtown Berkley businesses, especially along the Coolidge Corridor, where VITRINE is located.

“VITRINE is always coming up with new ways to promote Berkley, and Susan personally recruits businesses to participate in the downtown shopping events,” Nicolai said. “Susan is so willing to help new businesses on Coolidge succeed by offering them advice and connecting them with people who can help.”

“In particular, they were instrumental in growing this year’s Berkley Street Art Fest, using their summer marketing dollars usually allocated to promoting their business,” Nicolai said. “And their staff personally, on their own, promoted the event.”

The second honoree, Robyn Coden, “is a champion for downtown Berkley and its businesses,” Nicolai said. “At least once a month, she has an event that brings different vendors and businesses to town to promote at her store. She also consistently donates, both monetarily and of her time, to the community, civic groups, and Berkley Schools.”

Coden regularly employs students from Berkley High School and Anderson Middle School to work in the store and creates cross-promotional opportunities with other businesses. She has recruited new businesses to open their storefronts in Berkley, and through her social media presence, she is always drawing attention to these businesses.

Nicolai explained, “Both honorees are passionate about making sure everyone in downtown Berkley succeeds.”

Rothman and Nicolai are especially grateful to the “wonderful writers of this annual City Guide who all do a fantastic job.”

For more information on BACC activities and events, or to become a member, visit the Chamber’s newly launched site: