Thursday, October 24, 2019

ypsiGLOW is Tomorrow

ypsiGLOW, the autumnal luminary event from WonderFool Productions, is this Friday in downtown Ypsilanti. This event is a wonderful companion piece to FoolMoon. The party is from 7:00-9:30 pm on Washington Street. There will be music, dancing, and, ofcourse, luminaries. This event is super fun, and if you haven't been to Ypsi in a minute, why not stop by and check things out. You can pop on in on the AAATA's 3, 4, 5, or 6.

The festivities kick off with preGLOW. From 4-6:30 you can grab some last minute glowies at Cultivate. From 5:30 to 7, there is Halloween Downtown at the YDL's Michigan Ave Branch. At 6:30, simultaneous glowing processionals will leave from Sweetwater's, the YDL, and Cultivate. And at 7:00 the festivities on Washington begin. Seriously, you should check it out!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Bang! Must Die: the History of the Sweatiest Dance Party in Town

The Bang! is a semi-regular to occasional dance party hosted at the Blind Pig. It is the sweatiest dance party in town. Known for its creative themes and overthetop costumes, The Bang! is coming to an end after 18 years. The Bang! Must Die is this Saturday Night at the Blind Pig. In honor of the occasion, I reached out to several people who had been involved with the Bang! In various ways over the years. They were kind enough to share their memories with me. Big thanks to Jeremy Wheeler and Jason Gibner who co-founded The Bang! as well as all the other members of Team Bang! who shared their memories with me.

On a personal note, the Bang! featured heavily in my early adult life in Ann Arbor. I moved back for grad school in 2009. I lived in a house on 3rd at Liberty with several of the other Damn Arbor founders. Being just around the corner from the Blind Pig, we went to almost every Bang! from 2009 to 2011.

The Early Years

Jeremy Wheeler: We were hangin’ around a bunch of indie kids at house shows at the time (at The Pirate House, a house venue on William and Thompson, in particular). Jason Gibner and I had moved to Ann Arbor the year before and *the* thing to do on the weekends was hit the nightclub The Loop in Windsor. Cool stylish kids from all over would go there. So many babes! So many tight-shirted indie dudes! They’d play everything from Bowie to Pulp to hot indie pop bands like The Push Kings. It was always a fun sweaty, sexy mess but it all ended when 9/11 happened. Suddenly you couldn’t cross the Canadian border. It was shut down. Obviously tragic, but you know, we still wanted to dance! A bunch of our pals were part of the EQMC (East Quad Music Co-Op) who booked the Halfway Inn (lovingly known as the Halfass), so we took the occasional basement parties we were doing at the Pirate House and adapted them there, mixtapes and all. We came up with The Bang! name and Gibner hyped it up on the Michigan Indie List as the biggest craziest night ever and it just took off from there. As for who was involved in that first one… mostly me and Gibner, but dear pals like Emily Linn (later of City Bird fame) were there to help, among a motley crew of others. First one’s kind of a blur. It definitely helped that our buddy Will Calcutt (Ghostly Int.) photographed it. Those photos definitely helped get us Detroit’s attention (even if there wasn’t a bar at the Halfass, much to the dismay of some Motor City rockers who made the trip).

Jason Gibner: Jeremy and I were roommates at the time we started The Bang! I remember we had no idea what to expect for the first one and we were nervous as hell. Would anyone show up? Would it be a total flop? remember walking from my job at Borders Bookstore to the Halfway Inn and my stomach just doing flips. Once friends and random people started showing up there were way more people than I expected. EVERYONE was dancing and all my nerves went away. I remember Jeremy and I ended that night on a real high. We felt great and we couldn’t wait to do more. But if someone told me I’d be talking about this 18 years later I’d say they were nuts!

Lauren Hill: I think what made the bang special for me-was that I had a bit of context within my experience of attending. I used to work with Jeremy and Jason at Harmony House on State St. I really got to know them from having quite a bit of downtime in a slow moving record store. Lots of inside jokes, drawing on computer paper, BS-ing about movies and talking about shows, house parties ect. I got to know their sense of humor pretty well, so when The Bang first started- all of those elements came to life. There was a real need to party and have a platform that encompassed the art of a mixtape, no wall flowers, the constraints and creativity of having a theme. The formula was that really there was no formula, except to have fun-which was really quiet freeing.

Dustin Krcatovitch: I first went to The Bang! in the late spring of 2005, and immediately loved it. I had been Jason Gibner's coworker at the downtown Borders Books & Music (RIP), and had known about it since almost the beginning (it started a couple months before I moved back to A2 from Kalamazoo), but didn't go the first couple years because I was a grump.

Anyway, in the spring of 2005, I'd just gone through an unnecessarily rough breakup and, in trying to cheer me up, Gibner said "how about you come to The Bang? I'll get ya in for free." He'd said the magic word; the rest is history. I became part of Team Bang a couple months later, and worked alongside all those beautiful weirdos for years. I've attended dozens of Bang!s, and often plan trips home around them.

Jeremy: We quickly outgrew the Halfass. The cops busted up the third and final one there. People were dropping 40oz bottles of Mickey’s and scattering like roaches when the lights went up! Jason Berry from the Blind Pig had already reached out to us saying they’d love to try it out at the Pig so we pretty smoothly just moved it there and then basically never stopped. Berry deserves a lotta credit for taking a chance on us and then sticking with us all these years.

Jason Berry: It was in the dead of August, I think 2002. Jeremy Wheeler had hit me up to do it at the Pig because it had grown too big for the Half Ass. Our default would have been to say no, because at that time "dance parties" made us think "Necto." But it was August, so fuck it. Little did we know that we were a part of perhaps the most perfect event/venue match in all of human history. Chocolate and peanut butter from day one.

Phil Attee: My first Bang! is surprisingly clear in my memory. It was May of 2006, Pirate Bang! I had a few friends that had been going to The Bang! for a while and had tried to explain it to me, but weren't doing a great job. The Bang! has never fit easily into any category. I was working full time and doing 18 credit hours at U of M, so I didn't have a lot of free time. Truth be told, in those years, I was not the type of guy who danced at bars or parties; so a dance party seemed like a waste of time that I already didn't have. But I loved dressing up in costumes for any reason I could find, so when they told me there was pirate-themed party coming up, I was totally into it. I went to the thrift store and put together a ridiculous pirate costume from head to toe and made a bunch of my friends do the same. When we got there, however, we discovered that it was a pirate themed party, not a pirate costume party. So most people were wearing their regular clothes, embellished with some pirate regalia, like a plastic eye patch, nautical striped shirts, or a bandana on their head. I was definitely too dressed up, but I didn't really give a shit because my friends were over the top too and the music was awesome. I was hesitant to start dancing, but then the booze kicked in and rock jams got me moving. I ended up dancing my ass off. At the end of the night, me and my sweaty friends were handed a flyer for the Physical Bang! and I got super pumped about the spandex-clad possibilities.

The Themes

Monday, October 21, 2019

Ann Arbor City Council Preview: October 21, 2019

Gentle readers it's time for the final spooktacular #a2council meeting of the year. Here's the agenda.

The evening starts off with a scant, 7 item consent agenda. CA-1 is interesting and would allow the digitization of historic city code books. Nice.

There are 5 Public hearings on the docket. I am just going to focus on 4 and 5.PH-4 is for the approval of the brownfield site plan for Leslie Science and Nature Center. If you will recall, there was recently an old chemical dump found on the city property. PH-5 is on approval of fees for cannabis use establishments.

Elsewhere in the agenda there are 3 township island rezonings. There is also DS-1, which would allow the DDA to issue $23 Million of Bonds to finance the construction of an addition to the Ashley/Ann structure.

Gentle readers, what agenda items are you most interested in? Make sure you tune in to the action tonight 7:00 on CTN and follow along with the #a2council hashtag on twitter.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Ann Arbor City Council Preview: Oct. 7th 2019

Gentle readers, tonight is the first spooktacular #a2council meeting of October. We've got a lot on the docket, so let's dive in.

Starting with the 22 item Consent Agenda. We've got a road closing for Oktoberfest on Oct. 18. We've also got CA 14, for a special assessment district for Fullter Ct. & Nixon/Traver sidewalk gaps. Here's a fun game: guess how many of the 22 items will be pulled from the Consent Agenda and which items are most likely to get pulled.

On to the Public Hearings! There are 6 and they all have to do with zoning/upcoming projects. PH-1/B-1 and PH-2/DB-1 are on the Glen project at 201, 213, 215, 217 Glen Avenue and 1025 East Ann Street. PH-1 is a modification of the Zoning Ordinance which is how one modifies or creates a PUD. PH-2 is on the site plan.

PH-3/B-2 and PH-4/DB-2 are on the PUD and Site plan for 2857 Packard.

That leaves us with PH-5/B-3 and PH-6/B-4. PH-5 would amend the zoning code w/r/t cannabis businesses and consumption facilities. PH-6 sets rules for medical and non medical cannabis establishments.

There you have it gentle reader. Our spooktacular preview of the Oct. 7rd City Council Meeting. Feel free to share the items you are most intersted in in the comments, especially if it's something I forgot. Make sure you follow all the action on CTN's live stream and the #a2council hashtag on twitter.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Ignite 12 - Call for Speakers

Gentle readers, I know that you are a passionate bunch. Here's my question to you: do you want to share that passion with others? If so, you should submit a proposal to speak at Ignite 12. Ignite presentations are fast: 5 minutes, 20 slides. They offer a great opportunity for you to get up and share something that is important to you with an engaged audience. If you are looking for inspiration, check out the setlist for Ignite 8. Ignite Ann Arbor is currently hosted by the Ann Arbor District Library. I asked AADL Deputy Director, Eli Neiburger, what makes for a great Ignite presentation. Here's what he said:

A great presentation touches on the most interesting aspects of a topic for a general audience, inspiring them to want to know more about that topic. The best talks put the presenter's enthusiasm on display and make new enthusiasts out of the audience. A story of a personal journey rarely achieves this goal; the best talks are about how to do something, or how something works, or hidden histories or unheard voices.
Gentle readers, does this inspire you? If so, submit your proposal here. The application deadline is 11:59pm, Oct 2. You will be notified whether you are successful or not on Oct. 7. Presentations for Ignite 12 start at 6:30 pm on Nov. 7.