Tom Izzo: Definitely One of the Most Famous Natives of Michigan


Tom Izzo, photo by Hillary Higgens

TRUE CONFESSION: Page-at-a-time slideshows make me want to smash my screen, but I have to say that what mLive is doing with slideshows has been pretty cool. Their feature on the Most Famous Natives of Michigan has their pick for the most famous person from each of Michigan’s 83 counties. Definitely worth a read. Share your thoughts here on on the Michigan in Pictures Facebook!

It’s hard to argue with their choice for the most famous person from Dickinson County, Michigan – Michigan State University Spartan coach Tom Izzo:

Since 1995, Tom Izzo has led the Michigan State men’s basketball team as head coach. Born Jan. 30, 1955, Izzo was recently inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Under his watch, the Spartan team has made it to the Final Four seven times and taken home an NCAA Men’s Division I Championship.

Hillary took this photo back in 2011. View it background big and see more in her 2011 Champion’s Class slideshow.

U2 360 @ MSU x2

Bono U2, photo by Buzz Click Photography

Along with 65,000 of his closest friends, Spike attended Sunday night’s U2 show in Spartan Stadium. What many people didn’t know was that it wasn’t the legendary Irish rockers first visit to East Lansing. As the Lansing State Journal reports, the campus pub Dooley’s hosted the band way back in 1981:

George Scofes, now 82, booked the up-and-coming Irish band to play Dooley’s bar (now Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub) in East Lansing in December 1981.

Another Dooley’s owner asked George to give U2’s debut album “Boy” a listen and decide if the band should be booked for the Irish pub.

George said he didn’t know much about music, but the band sounded good to him.

You can see the 1981 Dooley’s set right here.

Spike seems to have had great seats – heh. View his shots from the concert in his U2 Live slideshow. Click through to the photo for his observations of the show which begin:

On Sunday night, June 26, the biggest rock band in the world brought the massive rock show to Southeast Michigan. The stadium-sized spectacle of U2’s “360 Tour” may very well be the biggest show on Earth. It’s certainly the largest stage with its 167-foot-high, 29,000-square-foot, four-legged superstructure known as The Claw, which could be seen for miles, peeking out from atop the stadium walls. The stage that was too big to fit in any Detroit venue, proved to be too big for even Lansing as several concrete walls had to be knocked out to accommodate the stage once it arrived last week. (Read more)

Bop (till you drop) with Bop (harvey)

bop (harvey
bop (harvey), photo courtesy Bop (harvey) Fan Club

Today’s post comes to you under the heading of “What good is your own blog if you can’t feature your favorite band from college when they play a reunion show?”

Bop (Harvey) returns to the East Lansing Art Festival for a 4:45 – 6 PM show today on the main stage. Michigan’s premiere worldbeat band, Bop (harvey), reunites for East Lansing fest on Absolute Michigan quotes longtime Tonight Show & Bruce Springsteen E‐Street Band drummer Max Weinberg:

“Bop (harvey) was the first American band that I had heard successfully integrate American pop, R&B and funk with island and African grooves and form. I flew out to Seattle and was blown away by the power coming off of the stage.” In no time the band was in the studio finishing up “Gitchee Gumee To Me”, their 1992 studio release.

And then the president called. Or to be more accurate, the Clinton campaign team, who were seeking an act to fire up crowds attending various Midwest rallies. The band ended up playing a string of Clinton events, including an election day airport rally, concluding with substantial face‐time with the candidate, who returned the favor by inviting the band to play not one by two events during his inaugural festivities.

Nobody ever said the music industry was kind or predictable, however, and within a few years, Bop decided to hang up their goofy hats and dance groove. Last winter, they played a pair of shows at Rick’s and have launched a mini-tour this summer that takes them to East Lansing, the Kalamazoo Island Fest and maybe one more location.

Creating Cities in Michigan

Lansing, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Traverse City, Marquette and Kalamazoo are by no means all of Michigan’s cities (or even the largest). Each, however, seems to be an anchor for its region – a center to which people look to for culture, entertainment and commerce.

October 13-15, 2008, lovers of cities large & small from Michigan and all over the country will head to Detroit for the Creative Cities Summit 2.0 (CCS2), an exploration of what our cities could become and how we can work to make them. Organizers have chosen Detroit, a city so deeply forged in America’s industrial fires that it’s been devastated by the flickering of that flame. I’m headed down there and will try to bring some of the ideas back to you through Absolute Michigan – I hope that some of you can join me there.

The Photos (left to right)

Creative Cities Summit 2.0 in Detroit on Oct. 13-15, 2008

CCS2 will present a dynamic and engaging conversation about how communities around the world are integrating innovation, social entrepreneurship, sustainability, arts & culture and business to create vibrant economies. Full conference registration is $300 for the two and half day event, and there’s also a “no frills” registration that is only $100. There’s also a free “Unconference” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) on the 12th for designers, urban planners, civic leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, students, community leaders to explore and discuss what’s possible for Detroit.
Keynote speakers include:

  • Bill Strickland, MCG-Bidwell Corp.
  • Richard Florida, Author Who’s Your City
  • Charles Landry, Author The Art of City Making
  • John Howkins, Author The Creative Economy
  • Dean Kamen, Inventor, DEKA
  • Majora Carter, Sustainable South Bronx
  • Doug Farr, Architect and Author Sustainable Urbanism
  • Ben Hecht, Pres. & CEO Living Cities
  • Tom Wujec, Fellow, Autodesk
  • Carol Coletta, CEOs for Cities
  • Giorgio Di Cicco, Poet Laureate, City of Toronto and Author, The Municipal Mind
  • Diana Lind, Editor, Next American City magazine

Breakout sessions on topics such as:

  • Race and the Creative City
  • Cities, Universities & Talent
  • Marketing, Media and the Creative City
  • Measuring New Things – ROI in the Creative Economy
  • Creative (Small) Cities
  • New Ideas in Urban Amenities
  • Community Vitality: The Role of Artists, Gays, Lesbians & Immigrants
  • Midwest Mega-region: How the Midwest Can Compete
  • Transportation Innovation for Cities
  • Making the Scene: Music & Economic Development

Much (much) more at

A great weekend for the Great Lakes Folk Festival!

Stephen LeBlanc by Patrick T Power

Stephen LeBlanc, photo by Patrick T Power

The annual Great Lakes Folk Festival takes place this weekend [August 8-10, 2008] in East Lansing. It showcases the traditional musical, art & cultural treasures of the upper Midwest along with a sampling of the best of traditional artists from around the country and the world.

The festival encourages cross-cultural understanding of our diverse society through the presentation of musicians, dancers, cooks, storytellers and craftspeople whose traditions are rooted in their communities.

The festival includes nearly 100 musicians or dancers in groups, who perform at least twice and sometimes as many as four times over the weekend. Also featured are traditional and other food vendors, craft vendors and many other individual artists/demonstrators. There are five performance stages (including one with a 2,400 sq. ft. dance floor), a children’s hands-on activity area, crafts demonstrations, and crafts marketplace. In addition there are special programs every year, which feature some aspect of traditional culture.

You can click for a listing of musical performers that run the gamut from bluegrass to zydeco to gospel to performers of all kinds of ethnic music that make up our shared musical experience. There’s a bunch of MP3s to listen to as well!

This photo is part of Patrick’s Great Lakes Folk Festival 2007 set (slideshow). You may also want to check out his 2005 and 2006 photos.

Start of Spring

Start of spring in East Lansing, Michigan

Start of spring in East Lansing, Michigan, photo by eric.whalen81.

I know I should dig up some kind of fact about spring, but I think it’s enough for now to say that no matter how much snow may still be on the ground outside, spring is here!

Michigan March Madness: Jack Breslin Student Events Center, Michigan State University

The Breslin Center, Michigan State University

The Breslin Center, Michigan State University, photo by jgeorge_2006

The Jack Breslin Student Events Center at Michigan State University was named in honor of Battle Creek native and MSU grad Jack Breslin. In 1989, it replaced Jenison Fieldhouse as the site for MSU men’s basketball and women’s basketball games. Wikipedia’s entry on the Breslin Center says that although the arena nominally contains 16,280 seats, seating is about 15,000 for most events.

The arena’s current basketball court is the same floor where the Spartans won the 2000 NCAA Men’s Tournament, which was at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. The school purchased the floor from the NCAA and Final Four floor installer Horner Flooring (based in Dollar Bay, Michigan) after the title game, and had a plaque installed on the baseline near the Michigan State tunnel to commemorate the floor’s purpose in the school’s history.

The Spartans have won two NCAA championships and ten Big Ten championships in men’s basketball. The Spartans won the National Championship in both 1979 and 2000 NCAA Tournaments. MSU alumns who play or have played in the NBA include Maurice Ager, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Greg Kelser, Morris Peterson, Zach Randolph, Shawn Respert, Jason Richardson, Scott Skiles, Steve Smith, Eric Snow, Jay Vincent and Kevin Willis.

I’m not entirely certain who jgeorge is, but they have uploaded the photo above large enough for great wallpaper and have many more MSU sports photos.

For more pictures, check out a Flickr search for Breslin Center, the MSU Basketball set by Blackbeard Ben and this incredible shot of the Breslin Center at MSU’s Convocation by Patrick T Power. The photo gallery at has a few photos from the Breslin including this beauty.

More Michpics Michigan March Madness!