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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Made in Michigan 2016 On The Cover
The Made in Michigan cover is brought to you by Dave & Buster’s and was photographed at the Utica store. More than 80 Dave & Buster’s have opened nationwide since the establishment first merged food, fun, and games in December 1982. Every location has more than $1 million in games, innovative drinks, and a diverse food menu that’s available whenever the store is open. Photo by Vaughn Gurganian. The models, from left to right, are Kristen Laski, Ravyn Williams, and Alex Vanderlinden, and are courtesy of 7 Stone Management.
Metro times Group Publisher - Chris Keating Publisher - John Badanjek Associate Publisher - Jim Cohen Editor - Dustin Blitchok
Editorial Project Editor - Michael Jackman Associate Editor - Alysa Offman Music Editor - Mike McGonigal Web KWEEN - Alexandra Fluegel Dining Editor - Serena Maria Daniels Investigative Reporter - Allie Gross Contributing Editors - Larry Gabriel, Jack Lessenberry Copy Editor - Esther Gim Senior Intern - Jack Roskopp Editorial Interns - Selena Aguilera, Sarah Lewis, Megan Fleming, John Akers, Mitchell Kukulka, Andrew Withers, William Hynde, Skyler Knapp, Aaron Robertson Contributors - Taylor Bembery, Stephanie Brothers, Kahn Santori Davison, Aaron Egan, Cornelius Fortune, Cal Garrison, Curt Guyette, Charles L. Latimer, Noelle Lothamer, Jim McFarlin, Dan Savage, Jane Slaughter, Doug Coombe, Tanya Moutzalias, Dontae Rockymore, Brian Rozman, Steve Sergent, Sean Bieri, Rob Widdis, Adam Woodhead, Shelley Salant, Vaughn Gurganian, Mike Ferdinande, Mike Pfeiffer
Advertising Associate Publisher - Jim Cohen Regional Sales Directors - Vinny Fontana, Danielle Smith-Elliott Senior Multimedia Account Executive Paul Biondi, Jeff Nutter Multimedia Account Executives Drew Franklin, Cierra Wood Classified Multimedia Account Executive Bill Rigley Advertising Assistant - Josh Cohen
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Circulation Circulation Manager - Annie O’Brien
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INTRO Take a trip through Michigan
FOOD & DRINK Al Ameer is an American classic Eat your way through Michigan Getting food businesses cooking Get roasted at Anthology Coffee We all scream for Hudsonville ice cream Suds across Michigan Leelanau wine country
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ART, CULTURE & RETAIL Summer reading list Catch this Michigan map Timeless toys Detroit Wood Type Co. Murals in the Market Detroit cycles harder Hamtamck Disneyland needs help Love & Vodka
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MUSIC Detroit Violin Co. Doug Coombe captures soul of Detroit music scene Music is a natural high
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From the automobile to craft beer, Michiganders are known for making our own whenever we can. The state may no longer have the number of assembly lines it once did, but the culture of buying local has exploded. In Detroit, where prominent restaurants ranging from those with white tablecloths to carryout joints pride themselves on using locally sourced ingredients. In this year’s Made in Michigan issue, a foodie road trip to Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City underlines how dynamic the dining scene is on every side of the mitten. Across the state, chefs draw on Michigan’s strong agricultural industry and network of urban gardens, breweries, distilleries, and food incubators
for ingredients, and support fellow small businesses in the process. In Michigan, our cuisine reflects our diversity and spirit of innovation. That spirit extends to Michigan’s intellectual output. From literature and photography to electronic music and rock ‘n’ roll, we don’t have to look far to find a famous musician, writer, or painter whose work has touched our lives. In this issue, we look at everything from iconic Ann Arborbased rock photographer Doug Coombe’s work to that of Ron Nolan, a Roscommon craftsman who’s made children’s toys out of wood for 35 years. Take a trip with us as we highlight some of the eclectic entrepreneurs, dining destinations, and creative spirits that make Michigan’s culture rich.
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The Alameer platter. Photo by Serena Maria Daniels.
Al Ameer 12710 W. Warren Ave., Dearborn; 313-582-8185; alameerrestaurant.com; 10 a.m.-11 p.m. daily
Straight outta Dearborn, an American classic by Serena Maria Daniels When we think about classic Michigan food, our minds tend to wander to the obvious: the Coney dog, lake fish, pasties, Faygo. Chances are good, too, that Middle Eastern cuisine is on that list — particularly from Dearborn. In fact, it’s hard to think about the local dining scene without it. Truth is, not quite 30 years ago, that section of metro Detroit, specifically in east Dearborn on West Warren Avenue — which abounds with imported spice and fruit markets, hookah bars, and halal butcher shops — was mostly void of Middle Eastern cuisine. That is, of course, until Al Ameer came onto the scene. It began in 1989 when Khalil Ammar and Zaki Hashem opened Al Ameer — then a tiny, three-booth eatery, serving a brief menu of Lebanese shawarma, hummus, and fattoush salad. The idea was to be a quick go-to place for the many Arab American autoworkers employed at the nearby Ford plant. Word got out about the restaurant and it soared in popularity in the 1990s, says Hashem’s son, Hassan, who’s a general manager at the flagship location (he also calls Ammar his uncle, in part, because of the found-
ers’ longtime partnership). Before long, other similar concepts began popping up, and the stage was set for Dearborn to become a premiere destination for Middle Eastern dining. “Middle Eastern food is extremely popular. Back then, we were on it way before every other place started opening,” Hassan Hashem tells us. Maybe that’s why Al Ameer, which now boasts three locations in metro Detroit, became the state’s first restaurant to take home a coveted James Beard America’s Classics Award. The prestigious culinary foundation called the restaurant back in February to break the news. Ammar picked up the phone and, completely unfamiliar with the organization (James Beard Awards are the food equivalent to the Oscars), directed the caller to contact his son, who did know its significance for the family-run operation. “When (the foundation) called, my uncle was like, ‘what are you talking about?’ he didn’t know what it was,” Hashem tells us. “Coming from Lebanon and not knowing what anything was to receiving an award like this is unbelievable.” It wasn’t until Ammar and Hashem were flown out to Chicago in May for
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the awards ceremony that the duo were able to take in what the recognition meant. Each year since 1998, the foundation has awarded close to 100 restaurants around the country that serve food that reflects the character of the community while offering a timeless appeal. Of Al Ameer, judges said it’s “one of the nation’s most welcoming introductions to the pleasures of Lebanese cuisine” and took special note of entrees like the visually appealing sujuk sausage with paprika and cumin, and the almond- and yogurt-rich shredded lamb with rice. If you’ve ever dined there, you’ll see what they’re raving about. The menu has evolved over the years. While the shawarma and fattoush are still central to Al Ameer’s appeal, diners are invited to flex their adventurous side with dishes like the raw kibbeh — a plate of raw ground meat made with bulgur (cracked wheat) and spices. For a more interesting take on breakfast, there’s the spot’s meat and eggs or the foul mudamas (mashed, boiled fava beans with garlic and lemon juice) — a dish typical in Middle Eastern cuisine. During a recent visit, we sampled the Alameer Platter off the special
house favorites menu. A meaty delight, it was loaded with stuffed grape leaves, fried kibbeh, hummus, salad, falafel, and piles of chicken and beef shawarma, chicken and beef kabobs, and kafta (skewers of ground beef with onions and parsley.) The proteins come from the family’s meat market next door. This is obviously a feast for at least two, and provides ample leftovers to-go. What stands out about the food here is the simplicity of it. Some restaurants load their meats with unique spices, which tends to take away from their natural essence. Al Ameer’s fare is light on spices, instead letting the meat’s full flavor shine through. Another factor is consistency. Of the service, James Beard judges say “unfailingly warm servers explain the fine points of maza,” the 10-dish spread of appetizers, “and define the differences between fattoush and Lebanese salad.” It’s that level of steadiness that gives guests not only a tasty meal during each visit, but also a mini cultural lesson with every bite, and thus makes Al Ameer a lasting bright spot in Michigan dining.
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Patisserie Amie. Photo via Facebook.
The Downtown Market Grand Rapids. Photo via Facebook.
Eating our way through Michigan
brewpubs, fine-dining restaurants, intimate cafes, and legendary destination eateries.
by Serena Maria Daniels The Detroit dining scene has certainly taken up the restaurant headlines as of late, what with the spattering of trendy, New American eateries taking hold across the city. Long before the Motor City began garnering attention, several other parts of the Mitten dominated the restaurant landscape. We offer you four prime foodie road trips in the state, so you can indulge no matter where you go.
Detroit We start off in Detroit, famous for its classic Coney diners, ethnic dining enclaves, and chef-inspired locavore bistros. 8 a.m. – Breakfast at Rose’s Fine Food We begin our trip at this eastside establishment, where you’re bound to be enticed by the made-from-scratch menu featuring garlicky greens, expertly poached eggs, aromatic slices of house-made bread, and delectable pastries like the Crybabies. You’ll want to show up early, as seating is limited and the kitchen space is jam-packed. As long as you’re patient, you’ll be rewarded with a restorative first meal brought to you by a warm staff. 10551 E. Jefferson Ave.; rosesfinefood.com 10 a.m. – Coffee at Urban Bean Co. You’re on some sort of deadline and you need a quiet place to hole up with your laptop. A high-quality, caf-
feinated pick-me-up wouldn’t hurt, either. You’re guaranteed all of that at Urban Bean Co., a stalwart Capitol Park cafe that’s been around since the neighborhood was still weird. The place features a DJ booth on the second floor that’s used for evening sessions, but during the day, the mod space is surprisingly tranquil. Keep it simple with a pour-over cup o’ Joe or fancy with the Pure Evil Latte, with espresso, amaretto, cherry, and milk. If you can’t have your coffee without something to dunk it in, there’s the 313 combo, featuring a small drip and a Dutch Girl doughnut. 200 Grand River Ave.; urbanbeanco.com Noon – Lunch at Taqueria El Rey Chicken is the name of the game at this Southwest Detroit joint. The pollo is smoked low and slow over lump coal in an open-air grill pit, situated under an adjoining tent. The result, a wonderfully charred flavor, is punctuated with a mix of spices. At just $11.50 for a whole chicken, plus sides of rice, beans, tortillas, and salsa, or about $7 for a half chicken, you can easily split a lunch for two or bring back enough to feed the co-workers in the office. If chicken is not your jam, the spot also specializes in tacos with a variety of meats (pastor, lengua/tongue, even cabeza/beef head), ribs, and seafood cocktails. 4730 W. Vernor Hwy.; taqueria-elrey.com
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4 p.m. – Happy hour at Northern Lights Lounge Stop in this laid-back spot in the New Center neighborhood, where you’ll be met with a diverse crowd, chill music, free shuffleboard, and one of the best outdoor patio spaces in the city. During weekdays 3:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m., bottles of domestics are $2, well drinks are $3, and martinis are $5. If you can’t wait ‘til dinner time, there’s a decent bar food menu from which to nosh. 660 W. Baltimore St.; northernlightslounge.com 6 p.m. – Dinner at Mabel Gray This much-celebrated restaurant takes you just outside the city limits and delivers an exquisitely executed, hand-written menu that changes daily. Local celeb chef James Rigato, a co-owner, lets his imagination be his guide, often drawing inspiration from the region’s culturally diverse culinary traditions, while sourcing his ingredients locally. 238 John R Road, Hazel Park; mabelgraykitchen.com
Ann Arbor On the edge of metro Detroit sits Ann Arbor, whose food scene is more established, and for good reason. While there are plenty of cheap eats to be had by the college crowd, and you probably daydream about the Reubens at Zingerman’s on a daily basis, you’ll also find a number of craft
8 a.m. – Breakfast at The Fleetwood Diner It’s a hungover college student’s best morning cure: the Hippie Hash at Fleetwood Diner. It’s loaded with browns topped with broccoli, grilled tomato, onion, green pepper, mushroom, and feta cheese. Either you’ll be all set to face another day or you’ll be lulled into a food coma. In which case, see below. 300 S. Ashley St.; thefleetwooddiner.com 11 a.m. – Coffee break at Comet Coffee For most of us, coffee is a necessary evil to wake up our senses in the morning. For others, it’s a craft. You’ve got your pour-over, your French press, and then there’s the latte art — whimsically designed foam. Just how do the baristas do it? For those of you whose Instagram accounts are filled with the stuff, there’s Comet Coffee. 16 Nickels Arcade; mkt.com/comet-coffee Noon – Lunch at Frita Batidos You can’t go wrong with a burger, but how about one with a Cuban twist? At this sleekly designed and popular spot, you’ll find a mix of Cuban-inspired street food with burgers made with spicy chorizo, black bean, chicken, fish, or beef. For a refreshing end to your meal, a cajeta or coconut cream batido will hit the spot. 117 W. Washington St.; fritabatidos.com
FOOD 5 p.m. – Happy hour at Raven’s Club The drinks here are on par with any craft cocktail spot. The Blood & Sand, for example, will hit the spot on a warm summer night, with blood orange-infused Scotch, fresh orange juice, and Cherry Heering. The original hand-pulled old-fashioned features house-made Old-Fashioned bitters. And for the non-drinkers, there’s a pretty sweet ginger beer, also made in-house. The best part: Happy hour goes from 5 p.m.–7 p.m. and late night on Thursdays from 9 p.m.-closing time. That means $7 cocktails, $1 off select draft beer, and $4 for snacks. 207 S. Main St.; theravensclub.com 7 p.m. – Dinner at Slurping Turtle Marvel at the many culinary talents of chef Takashi Yagihashi (who brought us Tribute in Farmington Hills), who can throw down a masterful rendition of Japanese delights. Think homemade ramen, sashimi, nigiri, and maki rolls, all set in an impressive atmosphere. 608 E. Liberty St.; slurpingturtle.com/annarbor 11 p.m. – Night cap at the Last Word You’ve bopped around town all day. How about unwinding in this intimate, low-lit speakeasy, where your bedtime story comes from the cocktail menu, printed in an old-fashioned book? Whether you’re a cocktail gal, a whiskey connoisseur, or you’re more of a craft beer buff, this place has you covered. 301 W. Huron St.; thelastword.com
Grand Rapids If we’re being honest, listicles seem to have a knack for pointing out qualities you’re looking for when you’re in search of the next big thing in the foodie-verse. If lists don’t lie, then we’re to believe that Grand Rapids (not Detroit), is in fact the new food mecca in Michigan. That’s according to a recent Thrillist list. With a number of iconic breweries, a diverse offering of ethnic cuisine (think Latin, German, and others), and an abundance of
fresh produce and meats at its fingertips, we’ll have to agree. 8 a.m. – Breakfast at Marie Catrib’s Spend breakfast in a busy, yet homey kind of place, where the menu is all made from scratch, and you get to choose from decadent sweets right of the griddle like the Panukakku (a Finnish pancake, with homemade berry jam) or stuffed French toast (we drool over the caramelized bananas ones.) 1001 Lake Dr. SE; mariecatribs.com 10 a.m. – Coffee at Madcap Coffee Co. Not just any coffee will do. The more you know about each and every bean that goes into making your favorite caffeinated beverage, the best. Which is why GR has Madcap. You’ll feel good about where it’s roasted because it’s done so right in the city. The best part, you can sample the pour-over brews to figure out your favorite by ordering a flight of three 8-ounce cups. Plus, you’re set in super sleek, modern space that’ll put you in a warm, fuzzy place in a way only a coffee shop can achieve. 98 Monroe Center St. NW; madcapcoffee.com Noon – Lunch at Kitchen 67 When you’re in Beer City, you’re going to want to dive into a menu that celebrates it. And it wouldn’t hurt if that menu got top accolades as having one of the best sandwiches in the country. That place would be Kitchen 67, home of the Bird in Hand. The Huffington Post called the chicken sandwich — made with beer-braised chicken, breading made with Founder’s Red Rye beer batter, mayo, lettuce, and served on a caramelized, 67-branded brioche bun — the No. 1 sandwich to try before you die. 1977 E. Beltline Ave. NE; kitchen67.com 3 p.m. – Shop at Downtown Market Be part of the farm-to-table movement by picking up your own farm fresh fruits, veggies, and meats in the Market Hall. This space rivals anything we’ve got going on at Eastern Market.
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The Slurping Turtle. Photo via Facebook.
Not only will you find local produce, but you’ll also come across a number of eateries that vend a variety of nom noms like sushi, tacos, Thai, baked goods, and more. Really, a place where you can bring something back home for later. 435 Ionia Ave. SW; downtownmarketgr.com 6 p.m. – Dinner at Founders Brewing Co. No trip to Grand Rapids would be complete without stopping off at one of its many famous breweries. You’ve been meaning to see where this brewmaker puts together the magic ingredients that make up the All Day IPA. Plus, nothing works up an appetite quite like a few swills of beer. To satiate that craving, there are specials in the tap room’s deli like the Glutton: smoked pulled pork butt, thick-cut bacon, house-made beer cheese dip, fried onions, all topped with Dirty Bastard BBQ sauce and smashed into an everything bun from Nantucket Baking Co. 235 Grandville Ave. SW; foundersbrewing.com
Noon — Lunch at Trattoria Stella At one of the most iconic restaurants in TC, you’ll find a great meal, no matter if you come for lunch or dinner. The farm-to-table rustic Italian eatery features house-made breads, pastas, and cheeses, as well as heritage breeds of beef, pig, and lamb. The menu changes frequently, but here are a few recent examples of what you’ll find for lunch. A chilled serving of Burrata Pugliese, with charred tomato, vinaigrette, and crostini, pizza (in red or white sauce), a cheese board with your choice of three varieties, or a plate of gnocchi, with green beans, lemon, garlic, sautéed kale, and crisp shiitake mushrooms. The best part about this place: During lunch, it’s far lower in price than some of what you’d see on the dinner menu. Trattoria Stella, 1200 W. 11th St.; stellatc.com
Traverse City TC is without a doubt the veteran of the food cities, with its close proximity to fresh lake fish, picturesque scenery that sets the mood at any one of its fine-dining establishments, the many wineries nearby. It’s the summer home of celeb chef Mario Batali and his wife.
6 p.m. – Dinner at the Cooks’ House Plan ahead and make reservations at this petite, yet highly popular place, because you’ll need them. Again, the ingredients on the menu here are sustainable, meaning that they were procured as responsibly as possible. For dinner, the tasting menu is the way to go. Diners choose from a fivecourse or seven-course menu and get to sample the famous hay smoked walleye, oxtail and beef cheeks, and chocolate stout cake, to name a few selections. 115 Wellington St.; cookshousetc.com
8 a.m. – Breakfast at Patisserie Amie The attention to detail in the preparation of the French pastries here is on point. The croissants sell out quickly every morning, the crepes can be had either sweet or savory, and you have the choice to either take your goodies to go or dine in the quaint bistro space. 237 Lake Ave. No. 200; patisserieamietc.com
10 p.m. – Night cap at 7 Monks Taproom While Traverse City is more known for vino, there are plenty of destination wineries that belong on another road trip list. But when you’d just like a sudsy pint of brew, you come to this spot. You’ll find 46 handles of Michigan brews and other rare beers on tap. 128 S. Union St.; 7monkstap.com
Dr. Flynn’s Organic Granola is made at The Starting Block food incubator. Courtesy photo.
Making it right here
Incubators help Michigan produce something it needs: Homegrown food businesses by Michael Jackman Michigan is what you call an “agricultural diversity state.” It means we produce a lot of different fruits, grains, and vegetables. You name it, we grow it, second only to California, a state almost half again as big as the Wolverine State. An increasingly important dividend of that diversity is our shelf-stable food products. From Eastern Market to the shelves at Meijer, local foods are increasingly offering Michiganders the opportunity to keep their food dollars in-state. But the state isn’t just churning out food products: Increasingly, the state is producing local food businesses. One of the places to see those
businesses going from concept to concern is at the state’s food business incubators. According to the website Culinary Incubator, there are almost two dozen businesses dedicated to helping Michiganders turn their dreams of running a food-related business into realities. At the heart of a culinary incubator is a certified kitchen, an expensive bit of needed infrastructure that meets all the state requirements for the handling of food products. An incubator will allow several different food businesses to rent the use of the kitchen at low cost. One of the main reasons so many food businesses fail during their first two
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The Starting Block food incubator in Hart. Photo by Rob Steiner. Courtesy of The Starting Block.
FOOD years is the direct costs: rent, heat, lighting, gas, insurance, and food expenses. Based on the west side of the state in Lowell, Facility Kitchens has been in business since 2010, when former accountant Janet Tlapek saw an opportunity to help businesses get their start. She has a number of clients passing through her 2,800-square-foot kitchen: spice blenders, juicers, sauce makers, hummus producers, fruit and vegetable preppers, tea repackagers, jam makers. By being able to rent affordable commercial kitchens, food start-ups don’t tap themselves out by sinking a lot of money into commercial-grade equipment. One of the more established culinary incubators in Michigan is the Starting Block, based on the west side of the state in Hart. The nonprofit got off the ground a little more than 10 years ago, and was licensed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture in 2006. They’ll typically give a client three years to “graduate” from the incubator, and they’ve had a few high-profile success stories come out of their operation, including Good Life Granola, jam and jelly maker Wee Bee Jammin’, and Uncle Gene’s Backwoods Pretzels. The company’s director, Ron Steiner, says, “What we learned is that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in almost everybody. An incubator is a magnet for people to come out of the woodwork and discuss their ‘idiotic’ dream. People always say, ‘You’re crazy for wanting to start your own business,’ because everybody assumes you have to make an elaborate business plan and get a loan. Well, in any incubator, whether it’s kitchen or high-tech or whatever, it fills those holes. You can actually start your business with no capital investment and just pay as you go on kitchen rental time, along with business counseling as you go.” Steiner’s philosophy is that formal business practices shouldn’t get in the way of pursuing your
dreams, but should help you once you’re on your way with them. “Our focus is a little heretical compared to the academic approach to starting a business,” he says. “We say if you already know how to make grandma’s heritage chili, let’s get you started making it. Take it one step at a time. Our first focus is to get people producing their product. Then we help them find their own market, and once they start generating cash, we pay attention to accounting side and business counseling.” To that end, incubators provide a bundle of complementary services, which is a fancy way of saying the group can do some pretty helpful hand-holding when it comes to helping entrepreneurs file for an LLC, work with the state offices overseeing cottage food industries, or advice on packaging, marketing, and more. In the end, it’s not just about producing marketable food, it’s about producing a good entrepreneur. “I talk about the holy trinity; the product or service, the marketing, and the financial management,” Steiner says. “They are all equally important. We try to introduce all the aspects as people go along.” Again, an incubator allows somebody to get a toe in the water and, in many cases, find out if it’s to their liking, whereas conventional wisdom would have them sink significant resources into an idea first. “The fallacy of writing a whole business plan, is it dictates that you just need the right equipment or investment — and if you make any mistakes you’re stuck,” Steiner says. “And I think the incubators can fill this gap.” Or as Facility Kitchens’ Tlapek says, incubators provide a place for people to try out their ideas without sinking much money into them. “I’ve had two customers who tried it and realized that they didn’t like it,” she says, “so they didn’t have to buy a $100,000 facility before figuring that out.”
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‘We just want you to enjoy coffee’ Anthology Coffee is both roasting plant and tasting room by Carol Hopkins In case you hadn’t heard, Corktown’s Anthology Coffee is getting good buzz. Owner Josh Longsdorf of Detroit opened the doors to his unique shop that’s both roasting operation and tasting room inside PonyRide, an entrepreneurial incubator on Vermont Street, in 2012. “Business is good,” says Longsdorf, 35. “May, June, and July, believe it or not, have been the biggest months of the year.” Consider this: Martha Stewart has stopped into the shop, and Food Network star Alton Brown named Anthology’s rich brew one of the top five best hand-pours he’s ever had. Most of Anthology’s business is wholesale, with the small staff selling roasted coffee to area restaurants and coffee shops. But for the rest of us, there’s a small cafe where coffee lovers stop in and sample the day’s offerings, which could be anything from a cup from Kenya to Guatemala. “We consider (our shop) a tasting room where you can come up and take part in the process as much as you like,” says Longsdorf, who also offers brewing classes.. Cups of coffee range between $3 to $4. Specialty teas are also offered.
Longsdorf is a fan of the coffee made from washed Ethiopian beans. “It’s a light floral coffee with notes of jasmine and lavender,” he says. “It’s pretty refreshing.” A Denver native who grew up in Canton, Longsdorf has been around the coffee business for 15 years, learning the entire process. Longsdorf, now a husband and
father, loves Detroit. “People say hi to each other and there is a strong sense of community,” he says. “When you’re raising a family, that’s important. I’ve lived all over and Detroit is the only place that has felt like home to me.” Specialty coffee businesses often get a bad rap, he says. People expect the “pretentious baristas who just want you to
Photos by Michelle and Chris Gerard. Courtesy of Anthology Coffee.
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have black coffee,” Longsdorf says. “At Anthology, we ask you if you want cream or sugar. We just want you to enjoy coffee.” Anthology Coffee 1401 Vermont St., Detroit 313-355-4040
Business hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m., MondayFriday; 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Visit anthologycoffee.com for more information.
The â€œVari-Tipsâ€? bracelet in silver and 18k gold with interchangeable gemstones. Perfect for color coordinating your wardrobe and jewelry for a great fashion look.
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Hudsonville ice cream: A 90-year Michigan tradition by Ryan Felton For a company that’s successfully operated during three different centuries, Hudsonville has more than established a name for itself. With such a muggy, hot summer already beating down across metro Detroit, getting down on some delicious, local ice cream is a perfect way to fight the heat. So we caught up with CJ Ellens, who leads sales and marketing for the company.
Metro Times: So it’s the 90th anniversary this year? CJ Ellens: It’s the 120th year of the creamery; we’ve made ice cream for 90 years. 1895 is the year Hudsonville started. So it was a co-op, everything from products like milk, cream, and butter. And then they started churning, as a co-op, the ice cream in 1926. MT: Are you planning anything to mark the occasion? Ellens: In terms of that, we’ve been doing that for 90 years — what we’re really excited about is we launched a new website in the last two weeks, which is kind of a testament to where we’ve come from over those 90 years. And it’s a look at where we’re going for the next 90. So we’re celebrating by finding ways to make our ice cream continually better, and to get in touch for our consumer base for what they’re looking for in ice cream and desserts. MT: What are some of the new,
innovative technologies that you’ve been able to utilize that allow to you to different things with ice cream? What sort of things can you do differently? Ellens: We can trace everything back to when it was made to the exact time and date. It also has allowed us to do great things like our new “Summer Celebration,” which is a new Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island flavor. That’s a vanilla ice cream with raspberry and blueberry sherbert throughout, and you get really cool, fun, vibrant colors within our ice cream. It’s also allowed us to look at different form factors, not only in the 56-ounce carton that we have, to looking at what the size will be for the future. We launched a new line this year called our Hudsonville Naturals, with 100 percent cane sugar and no added colors or sweeteners. MT: You guys have made a recent effort to establish more of a presence in Detroit. Can you talk about that?
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FOOD CJ Ellens. Courtesy photo.
Ellens: Detroit, being from Michigan, is a place that I really, really love because, especially in the last couple of years, you’ve seen the energy of the entrepreneurial spirit come back there. We’re kind of looking for, as we continue to progress as a brand, how can we become a part of that. One of the ways that we’ve done that is we’ve had a group of interns that are doing these things called Random Acts of Ice Cream, which [are] large events and small events — such as stopping at the local fire station, stopping at the local schools, and just showing appreciation for people taking care of each other. That’s definitely something for people to keep their eyes peeled for with us in the next couple of years, as we work with local food entrepreneurs in the area on how we might incorporate their products into our ice cream. MT: Anything else you’d like to add? Ellens: I think there’s a couple things: We are the No. 1 ice cream
sold statewide in Michigan. We are one of the few Michiganmade ice creams. Through that, we’ve got a partnership with Pure Michigan where we’ve created unique flavors. We’re [also] the official ice cream of the Detroit Tigers and the Grand Hotel. What we’re working toward overall, if you take a large theme, is to bring the great taste of artisan ice cream to more people, but at a better value than traditionally has been the case. We’re not necessarily looking to use our processes to make some of those really expensive craft ice creams that are $8-$12 a pint — [ours are] available at a much more reasonable price and have even better quality than what they can deliver. We want to make sure that we can bring that premium ice cream experience to everyone. So that’s the unique position we have. We’re relying on great innovators and influencers in Detroit to help us do that. 345 E. 48th St., Ste. 200, Holland; 616-546-4005; for more info, visit hudsonvilleicecream.com.
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Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo Featured beer: Two Hearted Ale ABV: 7 percent IBU: 55 Consistently named one of the best IPAs in the country, this homegrown hero has put Michigan on the map. Crisp and clean, this hoptastic beer is always a crowd pleaser.
Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids Featured beer: Dirty Bastard ABV: 8.5 percent IBU: 50 A beer with attitude, Dirty Bastard has a variety of malts that give it a rich, smoky flavor and a hit of hops to make it one of Michigan’s finest beers.
Perrin Brewing Co. in Comstock Park Featured beer: Grapefruit IPA ABV: 5 percent IBU: 35 This beer is a citrus wonderland: Bold up front but with gentle grapefruit notes to keep your thirst quenched. Beach bound? Grab a sixpack of Perrin Grapefruit IPA and soak up the sun.
North Peak Brewing Co. in Traverse City Featured beer: Diabolical IPA ABV: 6.6 percent IBU: 66.6 This heavily hopped India Pale Ale packs a punch, all while using locally grown hops from northern Michigan. With an ABV of 6.6, your night just got that much more dangerous.
Blackrocks Brewery in Marquette Featured beer: Coconut Brown ABV: 6 percent IBU: 18 Sweet to the tongue, Coconut Brown is fully loaded with chocolate and coconut, but stays true to the boldness of a brown ale. Perfect for campfires.
Keweenaw Brewing Co. in Houghton Featured beer: Widow Maker Black Ale ABV: 5.2 percent IBU: Unknown This American Black Ale pours as dark as the Keweenaw coal mines, but it’s light on the lips and packed with roasty, malty goodness. Short’s Brewing Co. in Bellaire Featured beer: Soft Parade ABV: 7.5 percent IBU: 15 Short’s has a cornucopia of beers, but Soft Parade is a unique gem. Its perfect puree of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries is a refreshing break in a world surrounded by hops.
by Chaz Parks | Design by Kristin Borden
Motor City Brewing Works in Detroit Featured beer: Ghettoblaster ABV: 4.2 percent IBU: 15 This Detroit brew has been making waves for years in the city; simple and clean is all you need with this English ale. Known as the “beer you can hear,” Ghettoblaster rocks the Motor City.
Dark Horse Brewing Co. in Marshall Featured beer: Crooked Tree IPA ABV: 6.5 percent IBU: 46 Another Michigan staple, this dry-hopped IPA hits heavy on the nose and tickles the tongue with a dry, crisp finish. Best enjoyed on sunny summer days.
Petoskey Brewing Co. Featured beer: Cranium Crush Waffle Cone Raspberry Cream Ale ABV: 7 percent IBU: 15 Yes, waffle cones. When you thought beers couldn’t get any weirder, this cream ale is everything you ever wanted. With a light, fruity finish, find this summer beer before it’s gone.
Suds across Michigan
New Holland Brewing in Holland Dragon’s Milk ABV: 11 percent IBU: 31 Born in bourbon barrels, this Imperial stout sends a tingle down your spine with every sip. A touch of vanilla gives this beer a sweet side, but don’t let your guard down with this one.
Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City Featured beer: CEO Stout ABV: 5.5 percent IBU: 25 Dark, rich, and fully loaded, this coffee stout is the perfect nightcap after a long day. It’s brewed with local chocolate espresso and oatmeal — who needs to eat dessert when you can drink it?
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Photo courtesy of Leelanau Cellars.
The taste of northern Michigan Leelanau Cellars has 90 acres of vineyards, waterfront tasting room by MT staff A four-and-a-half hour drive from Detroit, Leelanau — an Indian word meaning “delight of life” or “little piece of heaven” — isn’t just a place to get amazing wine, it’s a destination to get away from the city and take in the beautiful outdoors. Of course the wines, which you can purchase in the city as well, are a plus. When we think about the meaning of our Made in Michigan issue, and how important it is to support local businesses and products, it’s difficult for us to not highlight the Leelanau Cellars. Producing red, white, fortified, and fruit wines, Leelanau Cellars markets itself as a “taste of Northern Michigan,” and we couldn’t agree more. In 1969, Mike Jacobson and his family purchased a summer home in Northport. A cherry orchard was located on the 300-acre property, turning Jacobson into an impromptu farmer. Jacobson hired Charles Kalchik Jr., a local fruit farmer, to help oversee operations on the farm. This relationship quickly became a partnership, and together they acquired more farm properties and
additional orchards. In 1974, Kalchik was the one to suggest that they expand their grape growing, planting the seeds for what would later become wine. Producing their first bottle of wine in 1977, Leelanau Cellars is proud of its evolving tastes but also attention to history and lineage. Nestled within 90 acres of vineyards, a waterfront tasting room on the shores of Grand Traverse Bay provides the perfect respite for those who need a break from day-to-day of life in metro Detroit and want a breath of fresh air and a taste of wine. Jacobson’s son, Bob, joined the winery full time in 1994 when he graduated from the University of Michigan. Bob previously worked at the vineyard during the summer, but now would be taking on more responsibilities of operating the vineyard, winery, and tasting room. In 2007, Bob, the co-owner of the vineyard, was appointed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm to serve on the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council. Leelanau Cellars is one of nearly 30 wineries that dot the Leelanau
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DRINK Peninsula. The peninsula’s geography creates many microclimates that are perfect for growing a variety of grapes — making it an excellent location for those who have decided to participate in the ancient art of winemaking. Some of the crowd favorites at the Leelanau Cellar Tasting Room include Witches’ Brew, a spicy and warm mulled wine kept in a toasty pot, and the Tall Ship Chardonnay. The wine tasting in the tasting room is free, which is great, but it’s also unlimited. We recommend, of course, buying a bottle or two as a thank you, but also as a great way to take a bit of up north home with you. “A beautiful atmosphere, and we enjoyed a large majority of the wines we tried, and walked away with a boxful of choices to take home,” Robin M. from Charlotte writes on Yelp about Leelanau Cellars. Leelanau Cellars is just one stop
we recommend making while in Leelanau County. How can you go to the region and not visit Sleeping Bear Dunes, one of the gems of northern Michigan? More specifically, we recommend the Dune Climb. Located about five miles north of Empire on M-109, the Dune Climb is a famous dune that people are known to walk up — it’s hard — and then run down as fast as possible. It feels amazing, especially after putting all your energy into the climb. The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is another option for someone who may not be so interested in a steep, sandy hike but still wants to get some rigorous walking in. The sites are beautiful, and what makes Leelanau stunning is the beautiful mix of forests and beaches. Leelanau Wine Cellars is located at 5019 North West Bay Shore Drive in Omena. Visit leelanaucellars.com, call 231-386-5201 for more information, or find the winery on Facebook.
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ARTS & CULTURE
Summer reading list 13 new books by Michigan-based authors by Aaron Robertson
It’s summertime, and that means we finally have to cash in on the old line we kept telling ourselves: “There’s so much I want to read, but I’ll wait until the summer.” You probably already have a lot on your plate, but why not load it up just a bit more? If you’re interested in regional literature, or works written by people from the region, here are some suggestions of books by authors from Detroit to the Upper Peninsula.
Detroit Hustle: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Home by Amy Haimerl Running Press Book Publishers, May 2016
After being priced out of their Brooklyn neighborhood, journalist Amy Haimerl and her husband use their savings to buy an abandoned house in Detroit for $35,000. When they arrive, the 1914 Georgian Revival has no plumbing, heat, or electricity. With charming anecdotes, Haimerl writes about the joys and difficulties of making a home in a city whose future is hard to determine. If you’re into urban
memoirs, give this one a look.
Desert Boys by Christopher McCormick Picador, May 2016
Author Christopher McCormick, who lives in Ann Arbor, sets his debut novel in the land of his childhood: California’s Antelope Valley. The book is a series of stories that center on a character named Daley Kushner, his life in San Francisco, and the interesting people that surround him: an alfalfa farmer, a black politician and former confederate mascot, Daley’s Armenian mother, and his childhood friend Robert Karinger. It’s a good, ol’ fashioned bildungsroman that also explores what it’s like for a small town to grow into a sprawling city.
Sharp Blue Search of Flame by Zilka Joseph Wayne State University Press, April 2016
Sharp Blue Search of Flame is a poetry collection that reflects the author’s experience living among Eastern and Western cultures, as well as her Jewish Indian roots. She uses free verse and other forms to explore real and imaginary landscapes in India and the United States. It’s a dark collection that broaches difficult subjects (e.g. infanticide, bride burnings, etc.), but that’s no reason to turn away from them. Joseph teaches creative writing in Ann Arbor and is an independent editor and manuscript coach.
Know the Mother by Desiree Cooper WSU Press, March 2016
Desiree Cooper keeps catching fire. She’s a former attorney, Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist, a Detroit community activist,
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and a former Metro Times editor. After being named a 2015 Kresge Artist Fellow, she’s come out with Know the Mother, a short story collection that celebrates and examines the archetype of the mother through the lenses of race and gender. It’s a book inhabited by women – black and white – who try to understand their roles as daughters, sisters, grandmothers, and wives. You know, humans.
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ AllTime Greatest Hits by Mark Binelli Metropolitan Books, May 2016
Rolling Stone journalist and native Detroiter Mark Binelli received much-deserved attention for his 2013 book Detroit City is the Place to Be. With his second novel, Binelli turns his attention to the mythically eccentric R&B
musician Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (“I Put a Spell on You” was his only hit). Hawkins was the kind of guy who came onstage in a coffin, carried a staff with a human skull on top, and made wild claims of joining the Army at 14 and fathering 75 illegitimate children. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ AllTime Greatest Hits is an anomaly. How to define it? A fantastical unauthorized anti-biography? Read it for yourself and come up with a suitable category.
Love That Boy: What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trips, and My Son Taught Me About a Parent’s Expectations by Ron Fournier Harmony, April 2016
In Love That Boy, Ron Fournier, a respected political journalist for The National Journal, recounts his journey to love and accept
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ARTS & CULTURE
his son Tyler, who has Asperger’s syndrome. Fournier had grown up in Detroit bonding with his father over sports. He’d hoped to do the same with Tyler, but when it became clear that Tyler’s interests and sensibilities were very different, Fournier had to learn that the expectations of parenthood rarely align with reality. It’s a beautiful story that could be especially revealing for parents.
I Want to be Once by M.L. Liebler Wayne State University Press, April 2016
It’s a fruitful year for M.L. Liebler. In addition to co-editing a delightful collection of stories by Michigan authors (Bob Seger’s House and Other Stories, WSU Press, May 2016), he also published his most recent book of
poetry. I Want to be Once melds autobiography, satire, journalistic commentary, and poetic invention to give readers insight into the author’s personal life and a kind of truncated history of American media. We’re shown a man who is the product of working-class 1960s America and who would go on to work in Afghanistan for the U.S. State Department. A humorous and emotionally honest book.
Seasonal Roads: Stories by L.E. Kimball Wayne State University Press, April 2016
L.E. Kimball, an assistant professor at Northern Michigan University, gives us a collection of nonlinear stories set in the Upper Peninsula that follow the lives of a mother, daughter, and grand-
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daughter. Playing with time and perspective, the grandmother’s two-room cabin serves as the uniting element amid a series of ephemeral, dark memories.
Lying in the River’s Dark Bed: The Confluence of the Deadman and the Mad Angler by Michael Delp Wayne State University Press, April 2016
Michael Delp — the other coeditor of Bob Seger’s House and a resident of Interlochen — has a sizable poetry collection featuring the two titular characters: Deadman and the Mad Angler. The Deadman is a mischievous demon, a lofty philosopher of the inner lives of humans. Meanwhile, the Mad Angler is something of an exotic shaman and environmentalist. This is a
humorous, provocative collection of persona writing and conversational poetry that may appeal to those who enjoy the surreal. Notable mentions: The Cherokee Rose: A Novel of Gardens and Ghosts by Tiya Miles John F. Blair, April 2015 The Blondes by Emily Schultz St. Martin’s Press, April 2015 Yamasaki in Detroit: A Search for Serenity by John Gallagher Wayne State University Press, September 2015 simulacra by Airea D. Matthews Yale University Press, 2017 (Keep an eye out for it!)
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A handy-dandy way to keep the kids busy in the back seat by MT staff
Ask people from the Lower Peninsula where they’re from and they’ll point to it on the palm of their right hand. Taking that idea one step further is Michigan Mitt Maps, an activity book that comes with plastic mittens adorned with images of Michigan, upper and lower peninsula both. It’s the picture-perfect package for those kids in the back seat on a long summer road trip. The plastic mittens have a special coating that makes them receptive not just to ink but to crayons. And the accompanying activity booklet comes with more than 300 restickable decals representing summer fun in Michigan, including lighthouses, cabins,
inner tubes, parasailing, and more. The decals can be used to decorate the mittens, providing a camera-ready record of the trip. They can also go on the car windows and come right back off without scraping or peeling. Plus, the activity book has plenty to keep young hands occupied, from line drawings to fill in with color to trivia that could even challenge an adult with a smartphone. It’s made in Michigan, and owes its existence to the many Michigan companies who advertise in it. But best of all, it’s practically tailor-made for you to put on your mitts for that funny selfie when you finally arrive at your destination.
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Talking with a Michigan toymaker by Michael Jackman Michigan craftsman Ron Nolan, 68, has been making children’s toys out of wood for 35 years. He was brought to our attention by the Michigan Guild of Artists and Artisans, who praised not only his work, but his bone-dry sense of humor. Nolan, who lives up near Higgins Lake, says the extent of his training was a high school shop class, but that got him started with woodworking. He’s worked more than 1,200 craft shows over the last 35 years, selling the children’s toys he makes out of hard maple, walnut, and cherry that he dries and mills himself. In his 35 years of tabling craft shows, he hasn’t missed the Ann Arbor Art Fair once. “I’m starting to sell to third-generation customers there,” he says. “It’s like I’m part of the family almost at that show.” Nolan was kind enough to spend a half-hour chatting with us about his work, the craft fair circuit, and the challenges and rewards of selling things person-to-person. Here are the high points of that conversation. Metro Times: Just how does a guy get into making wooden toys for children? Ron Nolan: That’s one of the strangest stories ever: I taught school for nine years in southern Michigan, and it was all fine, but I’m from northern Michigan and kind of wanted to get back, so I applied to a few jobs in north-
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ern Michigan in 1981. I ended up having an interview in Houghton Lake, and the superintendent said, “You’re hired — pending the passage of the millage. But we haven’t had a millage fail in 15 years or so.” That was good enough for me, so I went back and quit the old job. You can probably figure out
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RETAIL what happened with the millage. So there I was with two house payments and no job, and I’ve always kind of liked to monkey around with wood. Just to keep myself halfway sane over the situation, I was making various things. I didn’t know such a thing as arts and crafts existed, and as the shop kept filling up with items, a buddy of mine was over and said, “Go to an arts and crafts show.” And I said, “What’s that?” I started out just doing a couple local shows and through word of mouth heard of better shows. That was at a great time to enter the field: Craft shows were well-attended, and they kept growing by leaps and bounds. It didn’t take long for me to think that this was a pretty viable way of making a living. The overhead was so much lower than it is now. The gas was cheap, the motels were cheap, the shows were cheap. It isn’t nearly as lucrative as it used to be. MT: What did you start out making from wood? Was it toys? Nolan: I really had no direction when I started out: I might make shelves, end tables. I might make a toy as a birthday present for nieces or nephews. But as I got to doing shows, it just seemed like the toys were more consistent sellers, and that was the direction I went in. I still make other things — and kind of like making them better — but because of the method of selling, you know, cabinets and end tables are fine and dandy, but when you’re transporting them all over the country to shows, they’re a hassle. So the toys are what I specialized in and stuck with. MT: What’s the kind of stuff that sells best? Nolan: Not to brag or any-
thing, but it’s just a matter of fact that just about any show I go to, I outsell any other toymakers, and they often have more intricate things. I’m not really doing this to become an artist; I’m doing this for a living, and there’s no money in that high-priced stuff. Customers are looking for something that’s going to keep the kid happy for a year or two, and not fall apart. The way I look at it, it’s easier to sell Chevys than to sell Cadillacs. MT: We know a little bit about your “waste-not, want-not” practices. Can you tell us what that’s like? Nolan: If there’s any art in me, that’s the art right there. I have very little waste. For example, I make animal banks with a stomach area cut out for Plexiglas so the kids can see the money in the bank. And that cutout from the middle of the bank turns into $14 worth of toothbrush holders. So there isn’t any waste, which allows me to keep my prices competitive. I get rough-cut lumber and dry it in my own kiln. You get to pick out your own price when you do it that way. That’s the whole key to being a businessperson. That’s part of the fun of it. MT: Do you still enjoy seeing the kids react to your toys? Nolan: Oh, sure. There’s the excitement when they come into the booth. They go from one thing to another and the parents are trying to zero in on what the kids like the best, and at that point the kids are so excited they really don’t know. It’s like the old expression — “a kid in a toy store.” Ron Nolan has no website yet, but he can be reached by telephone at his Roscommon studio at 989-821-7490.
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Photos by Jesse David Green.
ARTS & CULTURE
Modern creatives, traditional methods The Detroit Wood Type Company keeps it real by Mike McGonigal Don Kilpatrick grew up in Salt Lake City, while Joe Benghauser grew up in Lansing. Kilpatrick is one of Signal Return’s founding members. “The printmaking community is a very supportive group of people, which makes it even more enjoyable to be a part of,” Benghauser says. The two started their innovative and labor-intensive print shop in 2011. “We both have a strong love for the handmade object, and especially typography and how it sometimes relates to illustration and design,” Benghauser says. “We use a lot of wood type in our design and illustration, but not exclusively.” Wood type dates back to the beginnings of printing and printmaking. Its use stems from people carving letterforms as woodcuts with illustrations. Over time, people made breakthroughs in creating type that could be moved around and rearranged into different words and sentences. Wood type became available en masse in the early 19th century, with companies such as Hamilton Type Co., who produced loads of wood type in unique designs. Benghauser is more of a graphic
designer, and Kilpatrick is more of an illustrator. “But we sometime trade hats and responsibilities,” Benghauser says. Their work is incredibly strong, both in terms of craft and design. As both have day jobs, they don’t do too much work. The division between their own creations and work-for-hire is evenly split. Michigan work is a big inspiration. “I am inspired by [Gary] Grimshaw’s poster work here locally, because some of my Michigan or Detroit influences are music-related,” Kilpatrick says. “I also am inspired by local printers like Lynne Avadenka, Amos Kennedy, and Steve Schudlich.” Kilpatrick teaches at the College for Creative Studies, where he’s the illustration department chairman, and Benghauser is an alum. “We both have taught workshops at our studio in the recent past, as well as workshops at Signal Return,” Benghauser says. “We’ve done one workshop with the first-graders at the Detroit Achievement Academy. I really hope to engage DPS to do more workshops with students. This seems to be more important, as art classes seem to be first to get cut.”
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Detroit Wood Type Co. are beloved for their Detroit-themed merch that is well-made, beautifully designed, and not cheesy. “We take pride in being based in Detroit, and realized a few years ago that there wasn’t much Detroit-themed merchandise out there at the time that wasn’t sports-related,” Benghauser says. “We set out to create things that we ourselves would want to buy or use, give away as gifts to others, and this, in conjunction with really taking the time to experience and observe what is happening in the city, we were able to create work that others would want.” The duo recently collaborated on a large-scale hotel mural project in Corktown at Trumbull and Porter. They’ve also purchased a building on Mount Elliott, right on the border of Hamtramck and Detroit, that will allow them to spread out a bit more and add new presses and machinery to the repertoire. Visit detroitwoodtypeco.com. Follow them on Instagram @detroitwoodtypeco.
ARTS & CULTURE
Love & Vodka: A memoir from outside the comfort zone by Ryan Felton Sure, you’ve probably been in love. But have you ever been so head over heels that you’d travel across the world for it? R.J. Fox, a metro Detroit writer, falls into that category: His quest for love is captured with colorful prose in his recently published memoir Love & Vodka. After meeting Katya, a Ukrainian exchange student, at Universal Studios in Hollywood, and a year of writing letters back and forth, he headed to Ukraine with an engagement ring in hand. The following three weeks is captured in the memoir, a rich narrative that’s a pleasure to read front to back. We spoke briefly with Fox about the book, and the process of writing. Metro Times: The title of your book, Love & Vodka, immediately captured my attention. It manages to distill your wild experience in Ukraine down to three words. Can you talk about what led you to writing the book, and what excited your publisher about it? R.J. Fox: When you are a writer
and you have the most memorable, life-defining experience of you life, then you have no other choice but to put it all down on paper ... In March of 2000, I met an Ukrainian exchange student on the E.T. Ride at Universal Studios in Hollywood. I was in L.A. for a screenwriting workshop. We spoke for 20 minutes, exchanged contact info, became pen pals. A year later, I headed to Ukraine with an engagement ring in hand. The three weeks that followed are the focus of my book. I returned home just days before 9/11 and started writing my experience as a screenplay (screenwriting had been my passion and only type of writing I did at the time). I later optioned the script to a producer (the first of two optioned scripts that I turned into books!) The option later expired before it got produced. My frustration led to me turning the script into a book. A few years after that, it was published. Of course, I’m still more determined than ever to get the movie made. Just had to take a detour first.
R.J. Fox. Courtesy photo.
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MT: What are some of your fondest memories about your time in Ukraine? Fox: My favorite moments from the book are the ones that are most bizarre and humiliating (like being chased by an old babushka woman threatening to spray me with bleach), or having a Ukrainian man force my fingers down my throat in an attempt to vomit up the vodka force fed to me. However, I would say the most profound experiences for me were the two- to three-hour-long meals that were so routine over there, which consisted of endless toasts that were not only thought up off the cuff, but flowed like poetry. While on the subject of flowing, there was the endless stream of vodka that accompanied each toast. And if you didn’t partake, they made you feel guilty about it. When you have low tolerance to straight shots of liquor like me, you can see how it can lead to a grown man shoving his fingers down your throat. MT: Was it difficult to transition from writing screenplays to prose fit for a memoir? RF: There was definitely a learning curve involved. On one hand, prose was so much liberating. Screenwriting has so many more limitations and is so much more cookie-cutter and formulaic. My initial attempts at prose were very choppy. Brevity is king in screenwriting. So I think I overcompensated by overcooking my prose in an attempt to break away from terse approach in screenwriting. I had to find a
middle ground. Once I found that right balance, there was no looking back. I can also thank my screenwriting background for my ability to craft dialogue, which many prose writers will often say is their weakness. Even though my book is nonfiction, it wasn’t like I was recording every conversation I had. I had to recreate dialogue to the best of my memory and stay true to the spirit of my real-life experiences. MT: Anything else you’d like to add? RF: It is my hope that anyone reading Love & Vodka who is sitting idly on a dream will be inspired to pursue it — to not be afraid to take a chance on something that many wouldn’t be willing to try. At the very least, and I can’t stress this enough, to find a way to take at least one trip in your lifetime that is out of your comfort zone. Especially if you are still in your 20s. And especially if you are still single. Because that window will close. Forever. I realize this is easier said than done, but I never in a million years would have predicted that my life would lead me to such a zany adventure… yet it did. I’m glad nobody managed to talk me out of it. Some tried, but they failed. For more info on R.J. Fox, visit rjfoxwriter.wordpress.com.
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ARTS & CULTURE
‘The arts bring us together’
Murals in the Market set to return this fall with 50 new artworks by Andrew Withers Caratoes, left, Drummer B, Clifton Perry, Nic Notion, and Sydney James at Eastern Market. Courtesy photo.
Local artists, Eastern Market brass, and festival organizers and sponsors have announced the return of the Murals in the Market art initiative. The upcoming event will feature live painting, tours, exhibitions, live music, and lectures as local and international artists paint up to 50 large murals within the Eastern Market area. The event runs September 15 through September 23. Partnering with Eastern Market in the initiative is Detroitbased art publisher 1xRun, which focuses on new contemporary art and seeks out emerging and established artistic talent for its collections. The selected artists hail from all over: California, Spain, Germany, and of course, Detroit. Among the 50 or so artists slated to paint are local favorites Tyree Guyton, creator of the Heidelberg Project, Pat Perry, and Sheefy McFly. “We want to nourish the community, not just through food, but through art as well,” said Eastern Market President Dan
Carmody. “We want to encourage interaction with the arts.” Carmody hopes the continued addition of the murals throughout the Eastern Market area will encourage the public to explore and discover parts of the Market they hadn’t experienced before. “People are finding the market again, and all of the restaurants, businesses, projects, and infrastructure here,” said Carmody. He hopes the murals will remind the public of the historical significance of the Eastern Market to Detroit, which is especially relevant this year as the Market celebrates its 125th anniversary. “The market brought marginalized people into the economy; you could rent a stall for $80 and sell your goods to people,” said Carmody. “It’s how many family fortunes were born.” The creation of murals in the area over the past several years has led to increased foot traffic and economic development, increased safety, and boosted the Market’s overall visual appeal. It’s also an avenue for celebrat-
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Eastern Market President Dan Carmody at the Murals in the Market announcement. Courtesy photo.
ing the rich history and tradition of Detroit. “The Eastern Market is a place where people are welcomed across the lines that typically
separate us,” said Carmody. “The arts bring us together.” Visit www.muralsinthemarket. com for additional information.
Amina Daniels. Courtesy photos.
ARTS & CULTURE
Detroit native returns home to open indoor cycling studio by Megan Fleming
Amina Daniels was 11 when she started her first business. It was a concession stand she manned during baseball games in Roseville, and the young entrepreneur handled everything from the inventory list to the cashbox. Now, the metro Detroit native is using her lifelong entrepreneurial spirit to bring the first contemporary indoor cycling studio to the city. After graduating with a degree in public relations from Clark Atlanta University in 2008, Daniels took a leap of faith and moved from Atlanta to New York with no job. A go-getter in every sense of the word, Daniels found a job after only two weeks and went on to build an impressive resume that includes big name brands like Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, and Juicy Couture. She never forgot about home, though. “My parents had been telling me about Detroit — that it was changing,” Daniels says. So in August 2013, she packed up and
moved back. Upon returning, Daniels knew she wanted to open a fitness facility, but she wasn’t sure what kind. In New York, she biked for transportation and practiced Bikram throughout the week. “I knew Detroit had a huge opportunity for expanding its fitness offerings,” Daniels says. Two months after moving back to Detroit, Daniels was working at LA Fitness and was hit by a car. One cast, two surgeries, and three bouts of physical therapy later, Daniels relied on her bike for exercise and the idea came to her: she could open a spin studio. “I could not believe, after living in New York where SoulCycle is king, that there was no spin studio in Detroit,” she says. “It kind of blew my mind, and that’s where the concept came from.” Daniels started Live Cycle Delight in 2014 when she was in between surgeries. “Being in physical
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therapy and seeing people in their 40s with mobility issues made me want to make sure that everybody has an opportunity to take fitness classes,” Daniels says. The only thing missing was a studio. Daniels got one step closer last year when she won the 2015 Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest. Live Cycle Delight received the $50,000 grand prize following a public vote and a live pitch to a panel of judges. This fall, the doors to the studio’s permanent space in West Village will open, and its mission is simple: provide an opportunity for Detroiters to find delight through cycling. “Our focus is dedicated to transforming the mind, body and spirit through cycle classes, community outreach, bike safety awareness initiatives, and social cycling events throughout Detroit,” its mission statement reads. Before the official grand opening, Live Cycle Delight is offering out-
door rides and exercises throughout the summer. Here’s Daniels giving the full rundown of what’s available: The studio will be located at 8019 Agnes St., open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. everyday, and feature three types of cycling classes with varying lengths and intensity levels. Cyclists can purchase single day passes or monthly memberships. A free Bike Lounge for riders has a tire pump station, lockers, Wi-Fi, and water. A hydrate station includes cold-pressed juices and healthy snacks available for purchase. “If you exercise and eat right, you will live a more delightful life,” says Daniels, in a nod to the studio’s name. For more information, visit livecycledelight.com or find Live Cycle Delight’s Instagram or Facebook.
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ARTS & CULTURE
Hamtramck Disneyland. Photo by Jerry Paffendorf via Flickr CC.
Hatch Art launches crowdfunding campaign to restore Hamtramck Disneyland by Aaron Robertson
A colorful medley of plastic horses, fan propellers, and other contraptions needs your help. It’s Hamtramck Disneyland, of course, the popular art installation by the late Ukrainian-born artist Dmytro Szylak that was recently sold to Hatch Art, a nonprofit arts organization based in Hamtramck. About a month and a half ago, Hatch Art told MT of plans to begin a crowdsourcing effort to help them cover the costs of a $100,000 purchase. Well, the all-or-nothing campaign has begun. Two days ago, Hatch Art launched “Save Hamtramck Disneyland” through Patronicity, a Michigan-based crowdfunding platform. Their goal is to raise $50,000 by August 20. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan State Housing Development Authority have agreed to match the donations if the goal is met. The installation — which looks like what would happen if Walt Disney built a steampunk ship — was constructed atop two garages on properties Szylak owned. It was an ongoing, 30-year project that Szylak began after retiring
from GM. It’s possible to interpret the assemblage as an experiment in renewability. Materials compound and build upon the layers beneath them in quirky, post-industrial glee. But materials degrade, wiring fails, and the art project becomes the sum of a community’s efforts to sustain it. What began as a retired worker’s hobby evolved into a tangible parable of the cities that surround it. If Hatch Art achieves their goal, they will use the money for muchneeded renovations and exciting initiatives, including the creation of an artist residency program and gallery space, as well as a publicly-accessible archive of the project. Other work would involve replacing the roofs of the garages supporting the art, installing security cameras and public safety lighting, and rewiring the electrical components that power the sculpture’s mechanics. In addition to visiting the Save Hamtramck Disneyland page, you can call 313-346-5465 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
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Detroit Violin Co. brings personal touch to the orchestra business by Ryan Felton For a quarter-century, McCourt’s Music has been regarded as one of metro Detroit’s go-to retail shops for school music. At the turn of the century, owner Dan McCourt and the company decided to break the company in two, upon realizing his shop was offering “two very distinctly separate businesses” — the band business, and the orchestra business.
“Trying to run them under one roof, we were doing them well, but people weren’t taking them seriously,” he told Metro Times. So McCourt’s broke in two: The band business kept the McCourt’s moniker; the stringed instruments fell under what was initially called the String Shop, a name McCourt admits was a “a little vanilla.” After moving brickand-mortar locations, McCourt said “we wanted to take a leap,” and transformed the String Shop into the Detroit Violin Co. Once the flagship location set sail, the violin company settled into a new location in April on 12 Mile Road in Berkley. Last year alone, the company did 26,000 lessons between four locations, highlighting the importance of the “educational end of things,” McCourt says. We recently caught up with McCourt to chat about how the company came to be. Metro Times: So you’re in your 25th year? Dan McCourt: McCourt’s music just turned 25 years, yep. It turned 25 on April 1. MT: Were you a string player growing up? McCourt: (laughs) I was not. I’ve always been fascinated by violins; I’m a drummer by trade … [we] realized that the orchestra business was there, and nobody
was really doing a great job with it. So we decided to jump on board, and I love them. We get 100-year-old violins in here and you wonder what stories they could tell, if they could speak words and not music. The whole physics end of it is amazing to me. MT: Do you offer training lessons? McCourt: Yep, all of the locations — the two McCourt’s, and the two Detroit Violin Co. locations — have private studios. And we have about 70 teachers on staff. Last year, we did just over 26,000 lessons between the four stores in 2015, so the educational end of things is huge for us for a number of reasons. We didn’t want to just offer sales and say, “Good luck, hope you learn how to play it.” We wanted to give them the opportunity to be able to come in and learn it. MT: Anything else you’d like to add about the company? McCourt: Well, I think the best part about it is, I tell everybody who works for us, shy of some of our house brands, there’s nothing you can get in any of our stores that you can’t get somewhere else. The only thing that you can’t get anywhere else — can’t get online, can’t get it in other stores — is the focus on my staff. I mean, there’s really, really special people there. They’re talented, super friendly, super nice, and that’s what a lot of people don’t get in a lot of other orchestral-based stores. The Detroit Violin Co.’s newest location is at 3096 W. 12 Mile Rd. in Berkley; 248-546-0095; thedetriotviolincompany.com
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Photos courtesy of Detroit Violin Co.
music Dennis Coffey.
Jack White and the Go at the Gold Dollar. Eminem.
Looking at you
Doug Coombe captures the soul of Detroit
Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May.
by Mike McGonigal. Photos by Doug Coombe. “This city is awash with talent; my friends inspire me constantly,” says photographer Doug Coombe. A longtime Ann Arbor resident who grew up in Dearborn, his photos are vibrant in every sense of the term: color, subject matter, styling, frame, and tone. Whether action shots or portraits, his photos are alive, which suits Coombe, who’s exceptionally convivial and earnest. “I kind of view my camera as a passport into all these amazing worlds I probably wouldn’t get to see otherwise,” he says. Inspired by the iconic live action cover image on the first Fugazi EP, Coombe began to document live shows while working at Schoolkids Records. After walking into the Metro Times office with his portfolio in 1999, his career took off. He’s
worked for Rolling Stone, Spin, Billboard, NME, Mojo, Wax Poetics, various record labels, and for Concentrate Media and Urban Innovation Exchange Detroit. “Michigan and Detroit are incredibly important to me,” he says. “I really think this is the greatest music city in the world. We cover so many bases it’s insane: soul, rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, hip-hop, techno, noise, folk, classical, juggalos — Detroit does it all.” Asked to describe his best experience taking pictures, Coombe immediately flashes on a rave in 1999 that the Hells Angels were doing security for and Eminem performed at. “It was the closest I had ever come to experiencing something like Beatlemania,” he says. “There was a small barricade in front of the stage. He wasn’t famous yet, but
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Eminem had a lot of charisma. All the women were reaching out trying to touch him — it was like I wasn’t even there. I realized I was going to get trampled unless I got out of there. I hopped up on the stage briefly just to get out of there, and someone inadvertently knocked me off the stage. I did what any good photographer would do, which was to protect my equipment, and I smashed the hell out of my shin. I still have a scar from that. It was totally worth it. A photo from that wound up in [Eminem]’s coffee table book. “I believe we create our own reality, so I’m really interested in people who are a positive force in the world — be it in arts, music, culture, government, education — you name it.” Coombe’s reality looks especially
good of late. His work will be featured in the Detroit After Dark exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts, which opens Oct. 21. “I’m psyched to be in a show with such great local photographers as Scott Hocking, Jenny Risher, Sue Rynski, Steve Shaw, and Leni Sinclair,” he says. A book is in the works, as well, a photo book of his Detroit music photography covering the last 20 years, to be published in early 2017. “I haven’t come up with a final title, but Jamie Monger of Great Lakes Myth Society gave me the great idea to subtitle it ‘Volume One,’” he says. “I’m totally stealing that from him.” Doug Coombe’s work can be viewed at dougcoombe.com.
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Photos courtesy of Heath Moerland.
Heath Moerland: music is a natural high Travel documents from the nether zone by Mike McGonigal A 38-year-old Detroiter who grew up in Grand Rapids, Heath Moerland is a visual artist, musician, and entrepreneur. “My parents liked to jam records and there was MTV,” the plain-spoken Moerland says. He has the appearance and demeanor of a grown-up surfer. “There were pianos and a jukebox at my grandparents’ house and a drum kit around; listening to music became fascinating, which then pointed to wanting to figure out how to make it. Skateboarding blew my mind and opened up my eyes to a million things.” Begun in 2005, his label Fag Tapes has over 400 releases (409, to be exact) plus a handful of T-shirts and other items. These are artisanal and handcrafted items — highly limited CD-Rs, DVDs, and hand-dubbed cassettes. Moerland was making cassette tapes well before there was a resurgence in the medium a few
years ago, brought about by West Coast labels like Burger and Mississippi. It’s a vital label and situated in one of contemporary experimental and electronic sound’s ground zeroes. Michigan is a prime place for noise/ experimental music, and has been since the ONCE Festival in the 1960s. Moerland’s own project Sick Llama is among the best projects of its kind. Wolf Eyes, Andrew Coltrane, Odd Clouds, Tarpit, Aaron Dilloway, Cygnus, Emeralds, Fossils, and Slither — these are all huge names in this scene, and all have tapes on the label. He also plays in the longrunning art-garage group Tyvek and the newer and slightly heavier band the Intended. Both acts have albums due soon on the celebrated Los Angeles-based label In the Red. There is a punk/slacker aesthetic behind the label’s unfortunate
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name. “It came about by horsing around in a crew think tank,” Moerland says. “Didn’t want the label to be too serious or anything and so Fag Tapes just stuck like a nickname.” The music presents a wide swath of experimental sound, from pounding and scraping noise to heavily textured ambient swirly stuff, and any space in-between those zones you can think of. The artwork for each release was created and executed by Moerland himself, encompassing multiple styles and methods. They are each clearly hand-made, often with swaths of acrylic and stenciled spray paint on them. They may be released in as few as six copies. “It depends on supply and demand, how many tapes I have around at the time and other intuitive business decisions,” Moerland says. “They are art objects and the hand numbering is a kind
of signature.” A box set with three unlabeled CD-Rs might come with original ink drawings, for instance. “I just use a one-to-one real time dubbing process [to make the tapes],” Moerland says. “It’s a raw style. Keep it rude!” The labels’ biggest seller might be t-shirts that read “Music is a natural high.” “Handcuffed to the neck of a guitar, you are a prisoner to music,” Moerland says, referring to the image at the center of the shirt. “Everywhere is the same, and everywhere is different. But Michigan has something shining about it. It’s my home planet away from home and Fag Tapes are my travel documents.” To purchase tapes, CDs, shirts, or artwork, go to fagtapes.bigcartel. com.
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