A Binninng Culture in Ann Arbor?

Last week a couple of senior-highschool-looking kids walked boldly on to my porch and took the bottles and cans from my recycling bin. They returned them to a minivan piloted by a soccer-dad looking dad. They were not perturbed when I came out on the porch and watched them leaving. Today a homeless guy (at least he claimed to be homeless) knocked on the door and asked if he could do the same. And tried to sell me a colour TV. Apparently it works good.

My household manages to get the recycling to the curb about one week out of two. So having the porch cleared of the tin and glass weekly is a service to me. And I’m enough of a capatilist to assume that if these folks are taking my waste somewhere that is willing to pay them for it, then that somewhere is presumably more reliably going to in turn move it somewhere productive. So this is all fine with me. Bring on the binners. If Ann Arbor’s economy is supporting this degree of specialization, maybe it means it is really a city.

We Would Like to Thank

we would like to thank

Empty Seats at the Pow Wow

So I got a few hours in at the pow wow. Fun, as expected. Can’t really beat it for people-watching, and everybody is doing something and having a good time. Still digesting my fry bread and (fried) buffalo burger. I got waved down to an intertribal dance by some friendly old folks in buckskin, but I pretended they were waving at somebody else. I’m shy.

A couple of weeks ago when we were having a GEO rally outside the administration building, we had to wait while a group of Indians and supporters held their own gathering to demand the return of ancestral remains which they say the university keeps in storage. At the pow wow, somebody had thought to drive this point home by roping off sections of seats. Each section had signage indicating the number of people, what county their remains had been removed from, and in what year. The number I heard (or misheard) was something like 1100 seats held empty.

University president Mary Sue Coleman gave some remarks after the opening grand procession. I wonder if she was aware.

blue pow wow from the maize seats

Jefferson Market is Open?

The Jefferson Market is back open. Big “Open” banner and everything. How did that happen?

Ann Arbor Pow Wow

Last year I went to the Ann Arbor Pow Wow on a whim. I can’t really tell you what it was I liked so much about it, but I sure did. I just sat in the stands and ate overpriced buffalo burgers and watched. Somehow that was really satisfying. Something about the energy and the event felt really right.

Since then I’ve had a dream of spending a good chunk of summer riding from pow wow to pow wow across the US. I haven’t quite been able to figure out when that is going to happen, probably not this summer, but next summer is still a possibility.

The 36th annual is this weekend.

pow wow mc

An Unpublished Hunter S. Thompson Novel

I was in Dawn Treader today, which may just be my favourite of many favourite used book stores. They didn’t have The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson. Nobody ever does. They didn’t have it in the place in Virginia either, and when I got home from looking I found out he had just shot himself. Swear to god.

So I’ve ordered it from the book cloud. I like buying from used book stores, but I like the sensation of having books in the incoming mail too.

Checking wikipedia, I discover that in addition to the Rum Diary, Thompson wrote one other novel, “Prince Jellyfish“. Like Rum Diary, it didn’t get published back in the gonzo era. Unlike Rum Diary, it still isn’t.

It’s A Walkout

Just in case anybody hasn’t heard, the GEO walkout is on. See you on the picket lines.

Black Cat on the Railroad Tracks

Last weekend, I watched a black cat walking down a railway track rail. Probably because the ground was snowy but the rail was clear. It was a remarkable sight, for reasons I couldn’t put my finger on. I just wanted to remark on that before I forgot it.

My Dear Disco Did a Show

I don’t take advantage of the local music scene nearly enough around here, but last night I got lured out by a no-cover early-doors My Dear Disco gig at Live at PJs. This is a quick review: good.

The band’s “hey wow great crowd” stage banter sounded sincere, so maybe they don’t inspire the same heated dance implosion everywhere they go, but I can’t think why they wouldn’t. In retrospect, I guess the last time I saw people grooving that hard during the sound check was Tabla Beat Science tuning up at a world music festival in the California gold country foot hills. So yes, it may have been an especially willing crowd. But these guys deploy the basic palette of dance-pop with a really competent inventiveness, all fired up with genuine post-ironic hipster glee. And their special weapon (hold B button and move joystick right twice) is to reveal their second keyboardist as an all-of-sudden champion Irish bag-piper, playing an electrified kit. Good trick that. Taken altogether, I haven’t lost that much sweat on a dancefloor in a while.

Their studio material lacks a certain personality that comes from seeing them in-context, but it’s certainly catchy enough that if you’re into catchy, you might want to have a go. They do succeed in dragging some clever new skin to the old ceremony of electro-pop. They’ve got some files on their website and myspace.

On the down side, I think I screwed up my back.

Drive-in History of the Beer Depot

In the comments for this flickr photo of the Beer Despot’s lovely old neon sign is some historical commentary on how the joint used to be a drive-in, why it isn’t now, and why the sign is regulatorily doomed to entropy.

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