18 posts categorized "Music"


Graffiti Birds



Sunday, April 15: Screening of Film Winners 11:00 am

The Capital City Film Fest wraps up Sunday, April 15 with a full day of film and music.  At 11:00am, check out the finalists and award winners of the "Make A Damn Movie" Fortnight Fim Contest.

The Film Fest has tons of events with movies, concerts, TEDx presentations, and more.  Single events are $5, full festival passes are $50.  Check out CCFF for Capital City Film Festival tickets and info.

It goes all weekend.  Have fun!




B-Rad's Sun Pickles (Recipe Included)

These refrigerator pickles are an easy weekend or evening project.  Start by filling clean jars with uniformly sized (or sliced) cucumbers, then toss in a few dill tops and garlic cloves.  You can also add peppercorns, chile peppers or other spices according to your taste.


Next, just mix up a bowl or pitcher with the following ingredients (makes enough to cover 4 quarts or 1 gallon of pickling cukes):

        Sunshine Brine

  • 5.5 cups water
  • 2.5 cups white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pickling salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon Alum (in the spice aisle)

Stir until salt is dissolved.  Pour into jars to cover cucumbers.


Here comes the fun part: set the jars outside in the sun for a few days.


Yep.  This is my first go at it, but B-Rad swears by the method and has had success over the years.

 According to the maestro, check the developing flavor of the pickles as they relax in the sun, and when they taste how you want just stash the jars in your fridge.  Estimated keeping time?  About a month.

I'll keep you posted on how these sun pickles come along.  You can 'pickle' just about anything, not just cucumbers.  Let me know if you've got a favorite pickling procedure.



Coop Scoop for Hot Chicks

My neighbor has a well-deserved reputation for quality construction projects.  So when he said he and his son were "throwing together" a chicken coop a few months ago, I already knew that his thrown together shelter would end up looking better than any I might build, no matter how carefully.  I was right.

The south-facing window on most chicken coops which lets in that precious winter sun also turns the coop into a greenhouse if you're not careful.  Make sure to vent as necessary, but there's no substitute for a patch of ground for the birds to roam.  Pecking out grain and bugs from the ground give the animals a workout while keeping their food supply diverse.  Chickens will eat most anything from the compost bucket (or most anything, period).  A healthy diet will result in healthier chickens, which means better eggs and/or meat according to your tastes.

Another friendly household with chickens I know used some nice found branches for accents like door handles for their coop.  With local laws lenient on fowl, many city-dwellers in Lansing are finding that with a simple shelter and a little consistent care, keeping chickens is a productive delight.

Don't forget that a little shade goes a long way to make animals comfortable on a hot day.  No need for AC in the coop.



Scrapfest Exceeds Expectations

This weekend the third annual Scrapfest in Old Town allowed nealry 20 teams to grab a pile of scrap from Friedland Industries and fashion it into any thing they fancied.  One of the most popular pieces was the guitar-playing skeleton, but each work of art was a show-stopper.  Some highlights:


Yes, you can ride it.


The tree (above) featured exquisite detail (below).





The table above is completely functional, complete with shelf storage and accessories.


The attention to detail on the pieces prompted many comments.  Some were interactive, allowing the observer to play music or otherwise use the piece.  The skeleton (above) and bird (below) received some of the highest bids (all pieces are auctioned off via silent auction during Scrapfest).




Local Lansing Lady Goes to Haiti: Building houses...

I first met Kelly working together on a community gardening project, but soon found out she was coach to some friends raised around here.  Just a few weeks ago I was starting to get used to seeing Kelly at her regular volunteer session at The Garden Project Resource Center.  Then comes the sudden news: Kelly's moving to Haiti to help construct prototype housing!  But wait, it gets better...she's blogging about it!  Check it out!!! 

Her posts are already sparkling, you can read her blog here.   As she notes in her background info, "I am ready for a new adventure. I still haven't figured out if I am running from or running to something. Maybe a little of both. I have been offered a job to help build prototype housing in the wake of the quake in Haiti. I am going to be part of a small work crew problem solving, sweating and building two homes...."  Oh, and she has multiple degrees and has raised three kids.  Go on, girl!

Kelly says other than the blog, she will be "incommunicado;" here's wishing all the best for her.

Kelly's deft but welcoming humor is obvious to anyone who's met her, her skill working with others is enhanced by this natural friendliness.  Despite the incredible challenges faced by the people and land of Haiti that have been exponentially exacerbated since the earthquake, we trust Kelly will find a niche

Continue reading "Local Lansing Lady Goes to Haiti: Building houses..." »


Soul Rock

 While at Gone Wired Café to take advantage of their kids-eat-free Monday deal this week, I ran into DeShaun Snead and Larry Neuhardt from local band Mighty Medicine.  The duo is psyched for a number of upcoming shows, but Mighty Medicine sees themselves as more than just performers trying to scratch out an existence in a competitive music landscape: they emphasize the warm sense of community among Lansing-area musicians.  “We’re a bridge to other bands,” says vocalist/percussionist Snead.  Her and guitarist Neuhardt take pride and pleasure in hearing other bands credit Mighty Medicine as their catalyst.  Here's the video for their song Today, produced by Lansing Public Media and shot at the Wild Goose Inn...


MM’s own inspirations range from Stevie Wonder and The Beatles to the fringes of the soul, rock, jazz and blues genres to the likes of the Grateful Dead.  The band is all about fresh, subtle takes on a wide variety of covers that appeal to all ages.  In addition, they explore their own material, most recently with such simple, song-writerly tracks as "Michigan Rock and Roll" and other tunes from their new album now in pre-release, a follow up to the 2009 release Bloom.

The local music scene veterans—MM has played over 300 shows—are eager to shout out some of their favorite bands on the scene: Burton’s Garden, Elden Kelly, The Love Brothers, Cloudmagic…the list goes on.  Neuhardt, an MSU grad and former Lansing School District high-school teacher, credits Snead’s voice for much of their popularity:  “DeShaun has the voice of an angel, and I’ve been playing finger-style guitar for 30 years," he says.  When the two take the stage, the musicianship is the focus:  “One thing we’re not, is loud.  We don’t scream—we sing.”

 Mighty Medicine is also playing this year’s Old Town Blues Fest in September.  For more info check their site, they’re also on Facebook. 



Mid-April Gardening

This is the kind of weather that gets you itching to plant seeds out in the garden.  Some can be planted as soon as soil is 'workable' in spring.  But when is soil workable?

Soil moisture or wetness is a big determining factor.  Garden soil or compost that forms clumps when handled is usually still too wet from early spring thaw and rain.  Standing water near a garden is also a good sign that it may be too early for heavy cultivation.


On the other hand, soil that crumbles when handled is usually more ready.  


To get your soil workable and ready to plant sooner, there are a few things you can do:

  • Let wind and sun work for you.  To get drier soil sooner, fork or rake your garden to expose more surface area.  However, don't roto-till if soil is still clumping.
  • Mound it up.  Mounds or simple raised beds allow soil to drain more quickly.  These areas of your garden will also warm earlier in the season, which means better germination for not only the first seeds of spring, but also later summer crops.
  • Mix it up.  Working in compost, leaves, pine needles, or other organic materials according to the needs of your soil can help create more air space and encourage the beneficial action of worms.


Wind and Rain

April showers brings May flowers.  And what do May flowers bring?  Pilgrims.  And what do Pilgrims bring?

Well, among other things they brought the 'scientific' (oy-vey) mind to North America's native planting habits--thus a jug of fish emulsion at best or a tanker of petroleum-derived nitrogen as worst has supplanted the healthy fish planted beneath hills of companionable, heterogenous native food crops like corn, beans and squash.  Crops planted together, and in changing locations so as never to overtax one facet of nature's vast unity.

What could alleviate the burdensome implications of a mid-month tax deadline quite like the sweet prospects born of pea-planting?  In a time when people of all religions and histories are bound ever closer together in a mad spiral of insidious self-destruction, where are the reflections of hope but in our living cultivations, our understandings of mutual reliance?

The TV mocks and hypnotizes, computers and their hand-held dopplegangers mock and synthesize our understanding in a dancing weft of untraceable, tangled infinity.

Pitted are we against one another, neighbor and sister and brother, for a lesser cheese than we could mouse together.

Lets enjoy a bowl of cherries together.


Of Nukes and Nerds


In the words of Gyptian, "These Are Some Serious Times."  Warm weather may lighten the mood, but...

It was especially poignant to see the inscription on the statue of former Michigan "War Governor" Austin Blair in front of the Capitol amidst protesters against Gov. "Rick" Snyder's bogus agenda.  To wit, the passage below underscoring the shared nature of power in our state government.

Not a dictstorship

Michigan has multiple nuclear reactors, one of which is the same model as the facility currently causing mayhem in Japan.  Meanwhile, Michigan's governor is making a power grab to blight local governance.

On the hill
Critical mass

Humanity and our ecological underpinnings cannot pay the cost of either fossil or nuclear fuel except with our own extinction.  Renewable energy sources may not have the most powerful lobbies, but we don't need a tsunami for a reactor to blow right here in the Great Lakes state.  


Our current governor (for how long?) is unashamedly selling out the working class for the benefit of the rich.  No surprise there, that's been Republican's M.O. for my whole life.  Spineless Democrats with no fight in them are no less pathetic or reprehensible, but the outright exploitation perpetrated by the GOP surely is more focused, debased form of political scumbaggery.  Sigh.  I guess the signs say it better.


Steak vs. spam
Dick Snyder
A quick glance at the nearby newspaper boxes outside city hall underscored some of the crowd's concerns:


Gabriel Biber

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