July 4, 2012
My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.
~Adlai Stevenson, speech in Detroit, 1952
The safety to be unpopular is a freedom we don’t always think of, but something we might well consider. It strikes me that in our relentless drive to get everyone on the same page, we’re not able to get anything done. There is a lot to be done and a lot of places we can find common ground to make our schools and communities better and protect the natural resources that make Michigan the place we love.
If it’s total agreement you’re looking for, that’s probably fascism. Democracy is messy.
Speaking of messy, you’ve no doubt noticed bigger booms over the last few days, That’s due to a new law in Michigan that allows the purchase of any federally allowed firework. The messy democratic process is already at work:
City officials across Michigan have scrambled in recent weeks to try to stymie the party in the sky — limiting when residents can set off fireworks in light of a change in state law that allows a more powerful category of explosives to be sold and used in the state.
Warren Mayor Jim Fouts blasted the state law, saying “pyromaniacs” are terrorizing the community, scaring children, pets, seniors and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder with the louder explosions caused by the more powerful fireworks.
“The state has legalized these ‘consumer fireworks’ and people are going gung ho,” Fouts said. “People, who were hesitant to do illegal fireworks now are empowered.”
State legislators approved the looser fireworks legislation, which went into effect in January, to keep residents from taking their money to other states to purchase fireworks not available here. The new law forces communities to allow the fireworks on the day before, the day of and the day after federal holidays, such as the Fourth of July.
Warren, Grand Rapids, Ferndale, Novi, Birmingham, Royal Oak and other cities across Michigan are already creating ordinances to ban these fireworks during other times of the year.
Here’s hoping you have an explosively fun and very safe Fourth of July! Here’s many more Fourth of July photos from Michigan in Pictures!
This weekend (June 7-10) Owosso holds their annual Curwood Festival honoring Michigan author James Oliver Curwood. The Shiawasse District Library says that James Oliver Curwood was born in Owosso, Michigan on June 12, 1878. He was in the University of Michigan journalism program for 2 years before quitting to become a reporter for the Detroit News-Tribune. Wikipedia’s entry on James Oliver Curwood says that:
By 1909 he had saved enough money to travel to the Canadian northwest, a trip that provided the inspiration for his wilderness adventure stories. The success of his novels afforded him the opportunity to return to the Yukon and Alaska for several months each year that allowed him to write more than thirty such books.
By 1922, Curwood’s writings had made him a very wealthy man and he fulfilled a childhood fantasy by building Curwood Castle in Owosso. Constructed in the style of an 18th century French chateau, the estate overlooked the Shiawassee River. In one of the homes’ two large turrets, Curwood set up his writing studio. He also owned a camp in a remote area in Baraga County, Michigan, near the Huron Mountains as well as a cabin in Roscommon, Michigan.
Curwood was an avid hunter in his youth; however, as he grew older, he became an advocate of environmentalism and was appointed to the Michigan Conservation Commission in 1926. The change in his attitude toward wildlife can be best expressed by a quote from The Grizzly King: “The greatest thrill is not to kill but to let live.”
June 2, 2012
“June is bustin’ out all over.”
~ Oscar Hammerstein II, 1945
We’ve posted our June Michigan Event Calendar on Absolute Michigan. It’s packed full of all kinds of ways to bust out in June. I’m betting we missed some fun ones, so please share your favorite June events in the comments!
One of the events we do have is the annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival, a celebration of lilacs and Mackinac Island that runs June 8-17th. While March’s crazy weather pushed lilacs elsewhere, the unique climate of Mackinac Island coupled with a cold snap has slowed lilacs down so that they’ll have them there. Check their Facebook page for updates and more photos.
Another microclimate where lilacs are still in force are the Les Cheneaux Islands, an archipelago of 36 islands east of the Straits of Mackinac. See this photo bigger, in Suzy’s slideshow or check it out in the Les Cheneaux Islands group!
We were not used to listening to techno outdoors in the day, this was not something that ever happened in Detroit.
~Josh Glazer, 2000 Detroit Electronic Music Festival
Movement (formerly the Detroit Electronic Music Festival aka DEMF) comes to Hart Plaza in Detroit Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-28, 2012. Detroit is widely considered to be the the birthplace of techno, and Movement remains true to those roots. In 2012, 107 acts will perform across five stages with headliners including Zeds Dead, SBTRK, Public Enemy, Claude Vonstroke and Major Lazer.
You can see a great video from 2011 at the link above and you are heartily encouraged to dig into the DEEP story of this festival from 2000 to the modern day at Resident Advisor. It takes you from the first murmurings about a festival celebrating Detroit’s electronic scene, through the planning stages and to the nervous dawn of the first Detroit Electronic Music Festival Memorial Weekend of 2000, all told through photos and the words of the people that have worked on it and followed it through the years:
Richie Hawtin: People who wouldn’t go out to a nightclub, people who had bought a Derrick May record but didn’t really know who was behind it, friends who had stopped going out, people with their kids. The whole family aspect was incredible.
Matthew Dear: Sometime during that first year, I remember walking by a big circle of dancers. Everyone was happy, dancing and watching some guys jit in the center of the circle. Then I realized that the Mayor of Detroit, Dennis Archer was standing on the inside of the circle with his family, smiling, dancing and enjoying the show alongside everyone else.
Phil Talbert: A lot of kids walked up to the Mayor, and said, “You’re the Mayor? I just want to say thank you for doing something for young people.” I think he realized, then, how important it was.
Ernest Burkeen: The Mayor was shocked. Whenever you do a first year event, you’re happy just to make it happen. I never expected the crowds that we saw.
May 1, 2012
This morning the perfectly titled photo was posted to our Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr, and while it’s actually from August, it definitely captures the light and promise of warmth that May brings.
Over on Absolute Michigan we’ve posted our May Event Calendar for Michigan that is packed full of all kinds of fun across Michigan celebrating new life and the beginning of summer in the Great Lakes State.
Opening Day will dawn Thursday afternoon. And in Detroit, it dawns in a big way.
You’ve got reigning AL Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander facing MVP runner-up Jacoby Ellsbury in the first inning. You’ve got Prince Fielder’s Detroit debut and Bobby Valentine’s first game at the steering wheel for Boston. You’ve got Miguel Cabrera manning the hot corner for the first time in four years.
…Regarding that aforementioned Verlander-Ellsbury matchup, it’s pretty rare stuff. The last time a reigning MVP pitcher faced the man who finished second to him in the balloting in his first start of the season? You have to go all the way back to 1932, when Lefty Grove faced Lou Gehrig.
Head over to Absolute Michigan for our Detroit Tigers 2012 season preview that includes all kinds of links and a look back at the very first Detroit Tigers Opening Day!
Much more about the Detroit Tigers on Michigan in Pictures!
April 3, 2012
The Tulip Time website says that there are 31 days until the annual festival celebrating the city of Holland’s Dutch heritage and the beautiful tulip. The festival runs May 5-12, 2012, but nobody told the tulips. As the photo shows, some of Holland’s 100,000+ tulips are beginning to bloom. They are expected to peak by mid-April, and the city is encouraging tulip lovers to visit now and then come back for the festival. They add that the festival will proceed as planned and even hold out a little hope:
“The city plants mostly late blooming varieties of tulips,” explains Gwen Auwerda, Tulip Time Festival Executive Director. “We’re hoping these late bloomers live up to their name and last into the festival. But, either way, if those arriving in Holland for the Tulip Time Festival take advantage of all the great events, they will not be disappointed.”
There’s a garden-full of Tulip Time pics on Michigan in Pictures.
February 22, 2012
The 2012 World Ice and Snow Sailing Championships (WISSA) take place February 20 – 26 in St. Ignace, and are in the US for the first time in 17 years. This event is a major worldwide competition and you can read all about it right here on Absolute Michigan!
February 3, 2012
“Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour.”
~ John Boswell
Our February Michigan Event Calendar features all kinds of cool events, from races like the i500 snowmobile race, the UP 200 sled dog race or (we can’t make this stuff up) outhouse races to winter celebrations like the Winter WOW Fest in Traverse City or Perchville USA in Tawas. One of the neatest happens this weekend: The Michigan Ice Fest in Munising.
A little more about Tannery Falls on Michigan in Pictures.
February 2, 2012
Next weekend (February 10 & 11, 2012) the FIS Continental Cup takes place at Pine Mountain. This annual competition celebrates the long heritage of on of the first ski flying sites and draws competitors from all over the United States and the world along with 20,000 fans!
Over on Absolute Michigan today we have a feature on the Pine Mountain ski jumping tournament. 2012 is the 73rd annual and you can learn all about it and see some videos at the link! There’s also a vintage shot from the 1930s on Michigan in Pictures!