Detroit’s Fisher Building, December 31, 2019

January 31, 2020

I happened to be visiting the Fisher Building on the last day of last year.  It was all spruced up for a party.  This included a mirror ball, dramatic lighting effects and two huge nets full of balloons.  Here are some of the interesting photos that I took.

These photos will enlarge if you click on them and hit the backspace to return to the post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Glass Bowls, November 2019

January 29, 2020

 

I caught these five glass bowls at just the right time.  They were on a table in the break room at my work.  The first version appears, top, followed by two versions.

 

These photos will enlarge if you click on them and hit the backspace to return to the post.

 

Found Photos, Part Three

December 30, 2019

In 2015, I posted a brief post including some scans from my found photo collection.  I posted another group of photos last month.  They included two group shots and five photos of couples or duos. Here are some more.  I’ll likely do something different for 2020 but will get back to the found photos eventually.  The first photo seems to be a woman in a sort of uniform, circa early 1900’s.  The second is a formal portrait, with a signed dedication to a friend.  The third is a slightly blurred snapshot of an older lady with a child’s doll.

“To my very best friend”

 

 

Lady with Doll

 

The following photos are from a dual photo system.  Did they cut them in half?

 

 

 

 

The previous dual photos depict people out and about, exploring nature. This last photo shows a couple on the grass with one smiling and one laughing.  Are they on vacation?  Or is it a Sunday out in the park?

 

These photos will enlarge if you click on them and hit the backspace to return to the post.

Found Photos, Part Two

November 30, 2019

There’s a hat on the ground.

 

In 2015, I posted a brief post including some scans from my found photo collection.  Here are a few more.

 

 

A group of men, circa early 1900’s.

 

 

 

 

A Tintype, circa late 1800’s.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintype

 

Men by a bank vault, early 1900’s.

 

Couple with a liquor bottle and tea trays..

 

My 2015 Found Photos post:

https://maugre22.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/found-photos/

 

Circa 1940’s-1950’s.

These photos will enlarge if you click on them and hit the backspace to return to the post.

 

A Few Toys

September 30, 2019

Most of these are from my own collection.  I don’t actually own the wonder hat though.  I think that I do have a version of a similar item.  It may be up in my attic.

My most extensive toy collection is my cast of cast-off puppets.

There were two pieces of cheese here. What happened?

I also have musical toys which I use in performance with the Spaceband.  We used to use battery operated robots and animals as a sort of mechanical dance group who’d try to initiate a mosh pit.  We also have various masks, costumes and props, like the giant pencils.

From a vintage cardboard toy block.

From the Top Floor of Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital

August 31, 2019

Looking east toward the Fisher Building

 

These photos will enlarge if you click on them and hit the backspace to return to the post.

 

Part of the hospital and nearby neighborhoods

 

On August 5th I went to see a doctor at Henry Ford Hospital.  That’s where I go when I need to see a doctor.  The clinics are in the tallest building in the hospital complex.  Also, the hospital is within walking distance of where I live.

Recently, I was on the elevator with a woman who is a librarian at the Sladen Library.  She told me that the library is open to the public as long as you are a patient or otherwise connected with the Henry Ford Health System.  In other words full services are for employees only, yet others can visit. She emphasized that the view of the city up there is amazing.  After my August 5th appointment, Jennifer Gariepy and I took the elevator up to the 17th floor and had our first visit to the library.

 

The downtown skyline and in the upper left hand corner, my block

 

Buildings and landscaping, with Grand Boulevard, left

 

It was an interesting library.  As a library worker myself, I appreciated its qualities as a library.  Yet its wraparound windows were the main attraction.  I took some good photos through  the glass.  Sometimes it’s hard to avoid reflections.   I did OK on that count though.

 

Constructing the new Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion

 

 

I’ve spent at least 10 or 15 nights in this hospital over the years.  A few of them were just this year.  They saved my father’s life years ago, when he had a serious heart attack.  He’s still with us, at age 91 in 2019.  Thus the building has a good standing with myself and my family.  I really, really don’t want to spend the night.  If I have to though, they’re professional and treat me right.  I’ll try to get by the library now and then.  It does have a good view.

 

 

https://henryford.libguides.com/aboutsladen/overview

Detroit Radio Station WDET Needs an Archive

July 31, 2019

The Detroit Radio Station WDET-FM needs to get an archive.  So far as I can discern, they have little or no audio archive or paper archive.  I write this post in order to initiate a discussion and maybe even to try to help start a campaign or a movement.

Many live performances, interviews and other material seem to be lost to history.  They need to try to start to save and conserve this material.  Ralph Valdez used to interview visual artists and writers as well as musicians.  W. Kim Heron often had a some excellent musical performances live and on the air.  I’m sure that there are plenty of other examples of this.

WDET-FM

What can you do?

1.

I was going to say, write to the general manager at WDET.  I checked and they don’t have a general manager.  Michelle Srbinovich has left the station.  Write to someone at WDET.

Here are the best people to write to, for now:

Jerome Vaughn, News Director  jvaughn@wdet.org

Joan Isabella, Program Director  joanisabella@wdet.org

Courtney Hurtt, Associate Director of Business Operations  courtney.hurtt@wdet.org

2.

If you have any old paper material related to the station including promos, ads, reviews, photos etc. Hang onto it.  They may well be interested in it.  If you have digital copies of paper material that would also be of interest.  If you taped stuff off of the air, especially live musical performances or interviews, try to get it digitized, that is, not just on tape.  Then we’ll see.

 

Charles Moore

Last year I had a story on Story Corps about my mid 1990’s street art project on the abandoned  J.L Hudson Building.  I asked WDET if they still had a copy my radio essay on the Hudson’s drawings.  I recorded it at the station years ago with Celeste Headlee.  They didn’t have it.  I have cassette copy somewhere that I need to digitize.

This is an excerpt from an email that I received in response to one that I sent to WDET reporter Laura Herberg:

“I would LOVE to hear that old story you did with Celeste. If you’re able to get into a .wav or .mp3 send it on over and we can try to add it to the StoryCorps Detroit post. Believe it or not, WDET does not have a proper archive. This is actually something I’ve been trying to advocate for at the station but we really can’t do it without getting some kind of massive grant and even if that happens, unfortunately, at this point I think a lot of amazing content has already been lost. From my understanding, most of what still exists from our days up the street on Woodward is just what the hosts of those shows (or guests like you) recorded and held on to. For example, that’s what happened here with Gayly Speaking, the hosts held on to some recordings of the shows.  I think what could put us over the edge on getting an archive is if our listeners started asking if we have an archive.”

I was surprised that WDET didn’t have much of an archive.  It’s taken me a year to get it together and try to start a campaign for WDET to get an archive.  We’ll see how it goes.

Bud Spangler

Is Detroit Sound Conservancy interested in the project?  It would  seem to overlap with their own concerns:

http://detroitsoundconservancy.org/heaven/

Detroit Sound Conservancy

This is a list of radio show hosts on WDET.  These are people who were more on the music side instead of on the news side.  Most of them would interview Detroit musicians and artists.  Some of them would broadcast live musical performances.  I’ll keep adding to this as time goes by: Charles Moore, Bud Spangler, Jim Gallert, Ed Love, W. Kim Heron, Ralph Valdez, Liz Copeland, Judy Adams, Robert Jones, Matt Watroba, John Sinclair, Mick Collins, Michael Julien, Martin Bandyke, Chris Felcyn, Jay Butler, John Moshier, Chuck Horn, John Penney, the Famous Coachman, Ann Delisi, Kim Hunter, Dave Dixon, Larry McDaniel, Rob Reinhart, Ismael Ahmed, Nick Austin, Chris Campbell and many more.

https://wdet.org/

https://wdet.org/staff/#Leadership

Further information on WDET circa 1960-2010:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WDET-FM

https://today.wayne.edu/news/2003/02/19/wdet-program-hosts-martin-bandyke-and-ralph-valdez-celebrate-20-years-at-detroit-public-radio-393

http://www.organissimo.org/forum/index.php?/topic/33360-wdets-liz-copeland-is-leaving-the-building/

WDET’s Dimension

wdet

 

There was a very good Charles Mingus performance broadcast on WDET.  This survives because someone had a quality tape recording of it.  It too, could easily have been lost.  Listening to it is a real flashback to WDET and to Detroit in 1973.  This is the sort of material that I think should be saved:

https://www.wcbe.org/post/mingus-jazz-detroit-catches-giant-moment-full-possibility

https://www.jazzwax.com/2018/11/charles-mingus-in-detroit-1973.html

https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/charles-mingus-jazz-in-detroit-strata-concert-gallery-46-selden/

https://www.npr.org/2018/11/09/666123401/mingus-jazz-in-detroit-catches-a-giant-at-a-moment-full-of-possibility

Howard J. Klop 1953-2019

June 30, 2019

Howard Klop, at the Piper house. October 1981

In 1970 my high school closed.  I was a Junior at Saint Martin’s High School in Detroit’s Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood.  Many of my classmates opted to go to Nativity High School.  It was on Shoemaker and McClellan, not far from Gratiot.  It was my Senior year.  One of the first people we met there was Howard.  He really fit in with the Saint Martin’s gang.  We were kindred spirits.  We found we were nearly exactly the same age, both of us were born in October 1953.  We became good friends and engaged in a wide variety of adventures and escapades.  There were a lot of fellows in our circle.  Dennis “Buzz” Gallagher and the late Michael Sova were two of the mainstays.

We were often like a comedy team, full of fun and pranks, jokes and wisecracks.  Sometimes rubber animal masks and the letters O.O.E. had a part to play.  We were young and energetic and life was full of possibilities and promise.  Howard was often very funny.  You never knew what he was going to say or do next.  I had just a few good friends in my youth.  I had a tendency toward solitude and not fitting in, but I kept trying to get out of my shell as best I could.  I think that Howard was my best friend for 10 or 15 years.  Outside my family, he was the main person that I saw a lot and got to know.  Eventually, he moved out of Michigan.  Most of our interaction was by postal mail and occasionally by telephone.    Yet he remained in my thoughts, another good friend, once close, now more distant.

Howard Klop and Maurice Greenia, Jr. in October of 1981

Things were especially lively in those halcyon days, in the 1970’s.  I was in college from 1971 to 1976, working part time at the Detroit Public Library.  In 1977 I went on a two month, cross-country hitchhiking adventure.  I finished the 1970’s working a lot of bad jobs and trying to find a good job.  In 1985, I finally landed at a longtime job working for Crowley’s department store.  Throughout this time, I’d often be hanging out with Howard.  Sometimes we’d go to a concert or a movie.  Other times we’d go to a park or to a bar.  There were usually others who were also part of the party.  I’m the oldest of nine kids.  Sometimes some of my siblings came along.  Others in our circle included my cousin Joe White, Mike Morrison, Tom Garvin, Don Handy, Tim Mcleod, James Dionne and others.  I didn’t really make new friends at college.  I spent time with a few of my old high school friends and people from the Catacombs Coffee House.

Howard, right, at the Catacombs Coffee House

The Catacombs Coffee House was one of our regular spots to hang out.  It was in the church basement at Saint Martin’s.  I was on the staff.  It was an amazing place.  We had music, movies, comedy acts, poetry and more.  Other haunts included Belle Isle, the nearby parks along the Detroit river, movie theatres like the Esquire and the Woods, drive-ins, museums, taverns and house parties.  We’d always find something interesting to do.  It was mostly Detroit but we’d get to stuff in Grosse Pointe or Hamtramck.  We ‘d play softball or go swimming.  We enjoyed watching the boats and freighter ships go by on the river.  Sometimes we’d yell at them and sometimes they’d yell back.

On a camping trip, 1980’s

Eventually, we’d have a long series of camping trips.  Locations included state parks, cottages, the Pinery Provincial Park in Canada and a friend’s farm.  Sometimes, we’d go boating on the Detroit River or at various Michigan Lakes.

We’d go catch musical acts at Cobo Hall, the Masonic theatre, Olympia Stadium, Ford Auditorium, Wayne State University, the University of Detroit, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Cinderella Theatre, the Vanity Ballroom and more.  We saw a lot of amazing concerts.  Special favorites included Rod Stewart and the Faces, the Who, and Iggy and the Stooges.  Sometimes we’d catch some live theatre or look at visual art.  There were some wild comic book conventions, especially the Detroit Triple Fan Fair.  People would dress up in costumes and there would often be nightlong movie marathons.

We’d hang out at an abandoned train station behind Cobo Hall, the old Union Depot.  These were some of our great adventures.  It was Howard’s idea to explore this building, built in the 1890’s.  We found it because we’d sometimes go to a nearby bar.  I believe that it was the Thomas Bar, now closed.  Eventually, we got a good group of people hanging out there.  We could make the hands move on the clock in the old clock tower!  We started to explore the train station in January or February of 1973.  It was torn down in January 1974.

I’d visit Howard’s place on Pelkey street in Detroit.  His parents were both very nice.  I got to have dinner there several times.  He visited my house a lot.  We lived on Piper in Jefferson-Chalmers until 1983.  He was an only child and I was the eldest in a big, lively family.  He got to know my parents and my brothers and sisters.  More and more, I started on a path as a poet, writer and visual artist.  I think that Howard had some appreciation of my early efforts, back in the late 1970’s and in the 1980’s.

All in all, Howard was a great guy.  He had unique personality. We were always on the move but we’d talk.  We’d “shoot the bull.”  He’d come over to my house and listen to records, look at books or watch something on television.  When you’re young and full of energy, the times are lively and many things are interesting.

Eventually, Howard moved away to Georgia, and later to Maine.  He worked as a nurse.  Occasionally he’d visit, or he’d phone, or I’d phone.  His longtime wife, Lisa is a fine person.  She tracked me down and let me know the sad news of his passing.  I knew that he had some health issues and had been worried about him.  He’s well thought of and well remembered by many of us, who knew him well in his younger days.

Don Handy remembers:

(After going to a Ramones Concert): “….as we were getting into his Dodge Dart, someone we’d never met jumped into the car with us. Most people would be pissed and order them to leave. Not Howard. He laughed and asked the guy where we wanted us to take him. It wasn’t far from there, and while he was in the car Howard conversed with him about the difference between east and west siders. Pure Howard.”

Random notes from my journals:

March 26, 1971 Howard tells me of his adventures in California,  He got to see a free Jefferson Airplane concert in the park.

May 30, 1971 It’s the big Rock N’ Roll Revival at the State Fairgrounds.  Acts include the Allman Brothers including Duane Allman.  Somehow we get backstage and meet Johnny and Edgar Winter.  After we lose track of Howard and find him directing traffic!  We give him a ride.  A few days later was the Nativity High School field trip to the Bob-Lo Island Amusement Park.  A few days after that, we graduated.

September 5, 1971 Howard impersonates “the Greenias’ cousin from England” and talks with an English  accent all night.  He’d repeat this impersonation occasionally but this was the debut.

I’ve kept a diary for most of my life, since 1964 or so.  I’ll try to find additional entries related to Howard and to post them here over the next few months.

Books That I’ve Read Recently/ Number 4

May 31, 2019

This feature returns after a 3-year absence.  It doesn’t include every book I’ve read in the past 3 years, just a few of the highlights.  It’d be good to do this yearly.  Hopefully in May or June of 2020, I’ll be back at this once more.

2017

The Great Nadar: The Man Behind the Camera by Adam Begley c2017 256 pages.  This was a good short biography of the pioneerring phographer, Nadar.

Just Enough Leibling by A.J. Leibling c2004 534 pages.  I read several books by Leibling. This was a fine anthology and a good introduction to his work.

The Gypsies by Jean-Paul Clébert c1967 282 pages

Paris Vagabond by Jean-Paul Clébert c2016 352 pages

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/jean-paul-clebert/paris-vagabond/

KRAZY; George Herriman, a Life in Black and White by Michael Tisserand c2016 560 pages

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/michael-tisserand/krazy/

2018

A Different Drummer a novel by William Melvin Kelley c1962

Dancers on the Shore short stories by William Melvin Kelley c1964

Design for Death by Barbara Jones c1967 304 pages.

The American Slave Coast by Ned and Constance Sublette c 2016 754 pages. “A history of the slave breeding industry.”  This was a long and detailed book and worth reading.

W. Eugene Smith: Shadow and Substance by Jim Hughes c1989 606 pages. “The Life and Work of an American photographer.”  I did an extensive study of Smith including several books, a film and a podcast from WKCR radio.  He was a great photographer and a real character.

Gene Smith’s Sink by Sam Stephenson c2017 229 pages.  This was a shorter but more recent book on W. Eugene Smith.

Diane Arbus: A Biography by Patricia Bosworth c1984 366 pages  Reread after so many years.  I did a major study on Arbus in 2018, reading some 4 or 5 books, some of them ongoing into 2019.

Song from the Forest by Louis Sarno c1993 330 pages.  The late Louis Sarno in an early take on his life with the pygmies and their music.  This was another major study for me in 2018.  I found quite a lot of pygmy music to listen to and studied their culture and history.

2019

The Private Life of Plants by David Attenborough c1995 320 pages

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Private_Life_of_Plants

The Dodo and the Solitaire by Jolyon C. Parish c2013 408 pages

America’s Forgotten Holiday; May Day and Nationalism 1867-1960 by Donna T. Haverty-Stocke c2009 303 pages

Vaudeville; From the Honky Tonks to the Palace by Joe Laurie c1953 561 pages         I’ve had a copy of this for years and finally got around to reading it, very good.

A Pictorial History of Vaudeville by Bernard Sobel c1961 224 pages

Underground; A Human History of the World Beneath our Feet by Will Hunt c2019 352 pages  This includes tunnels, sewers, mines and more.  I saw some abandoned railroad tunnels in New York City once.

Visionary Women; How Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall, and Alice Waters Changed Our World by Andrea Barnet c2018 514 pages

The Invention and Reinvention of Big Bill Broonzy by Kevin D. Greene c2018 226 pages.   This got me listening to more of his music, excellent work.

Sophisticated Giant; The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon by Maxine Gordon c2018 279 pages

Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon by Maxine Gordon (University of California Press)

When Magoo Flew; The Rise and Fall of Animation Studio UPA by Adam Abraham c2012 332 pages.  I love the UPA cartoons  This was a good history of  this unique group of artists and producers.

Previous reading lists, from 2014 to 2016:

https://maugre22.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/books-that-ive-read-recently-number-1/

https://maugre22.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/books-that-ive-read-recently-number-2/

https://maugre22.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/books-that-ive-read-recently-number-3/

My Mother and My Aunt Turn 90

April 30, 2019

My mother, circa 1950’s

 

My mother and her twin, my Aunt Pat just turned 90 on April 17.  We had several celebrations for them.

They’re both extraordinary people.  My mother helped raise nine children.  I’m the eldest, so I had a ringside seat for most of our family history.  We’ve had plenty of times and adventures.  She has a great sense of humor and is very smart about things.  When you get to be in your nineties, you’re bound to have learned a thing or two.  My mom’s just the greatest, such a unique and lovely person.

My Aunt Pat was my Godmother.  She and my Aunt Mary were schoolteachers.  Likewise, my Aunt Pat is also truly wonderful, such a considerate and kind person.  It’s always been great to see her. When we were kids, she’d take us on on excursions to movies and to places like Belle Isle.

My father is 91 and is also doing well, for 91.  So far, my parents can get along OK on their own.  My siblings and I try to visit them frequently and make sure that they’re doing alright and that they have what they need.

My Aunt Pat is in an assisted living home.  It’s a good one though, and she seems to have adjusted to being there.

My Aunt Pat and I at the Children’s Zoo on Belle Isle

If I get to live to be in my 80’s and 90’s, I hope that I’m doing as well as my parents.  They’ve taught me a few things about aging well.  I’ve just started on the path to being older, elderly and, eventually, retired.  They’re pretty well along that path.

We try to live our lives, and live our lives well until that last day.  Most of us try to delay that day as best we can.  Life is amazing, both fragile and strong.

My Aunt Pat and my mother, circa 2011. That’s my father, standing.