Michigan House at SXSW

Flint Eastwood, photo by Joel Williams

A big thing that’s happening right now is the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. SXSW celebrates the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries and is ground zero for the future of media. I was gratified to learn through my friend Seth Bernard (who’s at SXSW) that a number of Michigan artists, organizations and companies have partnered for Michigan House, an effort spearheaded by Creative Many Michigan. Creative Many is a statewide organization focused on developing creative people, creative places and the creative economy for a competitive Michigan.

They have some cool things on the schedule including a Michigan music showcase featuring Flint Eastwood and the Go Rounds, so if you’re in Austin, definitely drop by and in any case, check out the folks who are taking Michigan messages to the world!

View Joel’s photo bigger and see more in his Favorites slideshow.

 

Harvest Moon on Harvest Gathering

harvest-moon-at-harvest-gathering

Harvest Moon on Harvest Gathering, photo by Adam Johnson / Brockit, inc

This weekend I’m where I am this weekend every year, helping out at the Earthwork Harvest Gathering. One of the photographers who’s helping out is Michigan in Pictures contributor Adam Johnson of Brockit, inc.

Follow his work for Harvest on Instagram and also on the Earthwork Harvest Gathering Facebook.

Only Getting Hotter

Eye in the Sky by Noah Sorensen

Eye in the Sky, photo by Noah Sorensen

“The heat is rising and only getting hotter, ready to blow
I think I’ll pour myself a glass of water, let it flow
She’ll show you what she’s made of
Yeah she’s comin’ for ya
She’s gonna try to break ya
Yeah she’s comin’ for ya
No, she don’t mess around”
-Cage The Elephant, Mess Around

You know that when I pull out Cage the Elephant lyrics, I’m probably going to say something that will anger a slice of Michigan in Pictures readers, so be warned! Longtime readers will also know that I am pretty committed to saying what I want to say, so it’s probably good keep that in mind as well.

Speaking of warnings, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) spends a lot of time looking at the Earth and crunching data from an extensive satellite and – in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Anyway, these folks – literally rocket scientists – have reported (based on science and data) that the Earth is warming at an unprecedented rate:

The planet is warming at a pace not experienced within the past 1,000 years, at least, making it “very unlikely” that the world will stay within a crucial temperature limit agreed by nations just last year, according to Nasa’s top climate scientist.

This year has already seen scorching heat around the world, with the average global temperature peaking at 1.38C above levels experienced in the 19th century, perilously close to the 1.5C limit agreed in the landmark Paris climate accord. July was the warmest month since modern record keeping began in 1880, with each month since October 2015 setting a new high mark for heat.

But Nasa said that records of temperature that go back far further, taken via analysis of ice cores and sediments, suggest that the warming of recent decades is out of step with any period over the past millennium.

“In the last 30 years we’ve really moved into exceptional territory,” Gavin Schmidt, director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said. “It’s unprecedented in 1,000 years. There’s no period that has the trend seen in the 20th century in terms of the inclination (of temperatures).”

Read on for more. I’d like to go on record as a parent and member of the human race that I’m really alarmed by this, and also the fact that what appears to be a serious emergency is being ignored.

View Noah’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his slideshow.

I would really like to share the video of Mess Around from Cage the Elephant because I really like the band. In the interests of responsibility however, here’s a 30-second video showing the temperature rise of the last 145 years:

Purple Rain: Colors of the Northern Lights

Purple Aurora

Isle Royale Aurora, photo by Ross Ellet

Music is music, ultimately. If it makes you feel good, cool.
~Prince

Prince was a musician who had a huge effect on my life. I went to school near Minneapolis when he was transforming music through his own work and what he did with a host of artists. I’m very sad at his passing. Down at the bottom I have one of my favorite clips of Prince.

I’ve been lucky enough to see the northern lights dozens of times but have probably only seen purple auroras three or four times. Causes of Color explains the colors of the northern lights:

The sun radiates all visible colors, which is why sunlight appears white. The spectrum of visible light associated with the aurora is much more restricted. The aurora is caused by charged particles in the solar wind colliding with atmospheric atoms and ions. The collisions cause the electrons of the atmospheric atoms to become excited. As the electrons return to their original energy levels, these atoms emit visible light of distinct wavelengths, to create the colors of the display we see.

The color of the aurora depends on the wavelength of the light emitted. This is determined by the specific atmospheric gas and its electrical state, and the energy of the particle that hits the atmospheric gas. The atmosphere consists mainly of nitrogen and oxygen, which emit the characteristic colors of their respective line spectra. Atomic oxygen is responsible for the two main colors of green (wavelength of 557.7 nm) and red (630.0 nm). Nitrogen causes blue and deep red hues.

Most of the auroral features are greenish-yellow, but sometimes the tall rays will turn red at their tops and along their lower edges. On rare occasions, sunlight will hit the top part of the auroral rays to create a faint blue color. On very rare occasions (once every 10 years or so) the aurora can be a deep blood red color from top to bottom. Pink hues may also be seen in the lower area of the aurora. In addition to producing light, the energetic auroral collisions transmit heat. The heat is dissipated by infrared radiation, or transported away by strong winds in the upper atmosphere.

Read on for more and also check out more about the Northern Lights on Michigan in Pictures.

Ross took this on August 10th last summer. He says “The Northern Lights over Moskey Basin in Isle Royale National Park. This is the first time in my life I have seen a bright purple aurora develop.

View his photo background bigilicious and see more in his Aurora slideshow.

Check ignition, and may God’s love be with you

photo date/id to order a print: click the pic to view on black
Good Harbor Bay starry night, photo by Ken Scott Photography

“If you’re ever sad, just remember the world is 4.543 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie.”
~Dean Podestá

When I was a kid my parents had a kicking stereo, and the album we decided was the most rocking was Space Oddity. We would turn the title track up to 11, turning the windows of the old farmhouse into a crazy bass reverberator and dance around and sing. Probably because of the science fiction/fantasy feel of the album, Bowie was my first rock idol, and he’s always remained a favorite for giving voice to the struggle of fitting into a world that doesn’t always fit you and the need reinvent yourself again and again.

View Ken’s photo bigger, see more in his massive Skies Above slideshow and be sure to follow him on Facebook.

Now here’s a video of Space Oddity … I find I don’t care that he’s probably lip synching.

Detroit’s Grande Ballroom

Jeff Beck Group and Rod Stewart at the Grande Ballroom

Jeff Beck Group and Rod Stewart at the Grande Ballroom, photo courtesy Louder Than Love

The documentary Louder Than Love: The Grande Ballroom Story premieres on Detroit Public Television this Friday (Dec 18) at 8 PM. Dan Austin of Historic Detroit has a great look at the history of Detroit’s Grande Ballroom that says (in part):

Designed in 1928 by Charles N. Agree for dance hall entrepreneurs Edward J. Strata and his partner Edward J. Davis, the Grande started off as a place Detroiters would go to dance and listen to jazz and big band sounds, but it would later achieve immortal status in the annals of music history as a rock venue. It is arguably the birthplace of punk and hard-driving rock, where bands like The MC5 and The Stooges cut their chops and became legends.

The building was designed in the Moorish Deco style and contained storefront space on the first floor and on the second a ballroom with Moorish arches featuring a floor on springs that gave dancers the feeling of floating. The dance floor held 1,500 dancers and was one of the largest in the city. Its ground floor had several retail tenants, such as W.T. Grant Department Stores, Beverly’s and a drugstore. The neighborhood was a predominately Jewish enclave in the 1930s and ’40s.

…Russ Gibb, a social studies teacher at Maples Junior High School in Dearborn was a popular local radio DJ at the time. Gibb took a trip out to San Francisco to visit a friend in early 1966 and paid a visit to the storied Fillmore Auditorium and saw The Byrds. When he returned to Detroit, he set out to bring Bill Graham’s Fillmore to the Motor City. He scouted out several locations, including the then-closed, since-demolished Gayety Burlesque theater on Cadillac Square downtown and the ballroom of the Statler Hotel on Grand Circus Park, which also has been razed. He settled on the Grande, which was near the neighborhood he grew up in back in the 1940s and entered a rent-to-buy deal with the Kleinman family.

Read on for the story of how the Grande Ballroom grew through local acts like the MC5 to become the place to play in Detroit in the late 60s, hosting amazing acts including Led Zeppelin, John Lee Hooker, the Yardbirds, The Who, Cream, Pink Floyd, Canned Heat, the Jeff Beck Group, The Byrds, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf, the Velvet Underground, Canned Heat, and many more.

Watch the trailer for the movie below and see many more photos of the Grande past & present, on the Louder Than Love website. Also don’t miss their collection of posters for some of the concerts at the Grande Ballroom from artists Gary Grimshaw, Carl Lundgren, and Donnie Dope and be sure to check out the Louder Than Love group on Facebook for many more great photos!

Farewell, David West

Flint Eastwood

Flint Eastwood, photo by Joel Williams

The Lansing State Journal reports that Flint native & amp builder David West has passed away:

In the late 1960s, three Flint musicians were on a mission to emulate the power-trio sound of Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. They found a piece of it in David West’s 200-watt Fillmore amplifiers.

“Not only did they sound great, but they looked great,” said Don Brewer, the drummer for that Flint band, which eventually took the name Grand Funk Railroad.

West, a longtime resident of the Lansing area and architect of West Amps, died Nov. 10 at age 71. A Flint native, West last operated West Laboratories in Okemos, but started the business in Flint and operated in downtown Lansing for several years.

…”He was like a mad scientist in the shop. He’d get these fender amps and rip them all apart see how they were made and beat them up,” said Rob Grange, who built cabinets for West’s amplifiers. “He should have been a multi-millionaire. He was way ahead of his time.”

Read on for more, including news that West had intended to relaunch West Amps, which his son Aaron intends to continue. They don’t appear to have a website, but there is a Facebook page where more news might be shared.

View Joel’s photo bigger and see more of his concert photos right here.

In a wild coincidence that may be cool only to me, the band Flint Eastwood has a role in the post I’m hoping to feature tomorrow. So it goes…

More music on Michigan in Pictures.