Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

From Positive ION and Gothro Studios,
We wish you all Peace and Love!  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Gift of Small and Local

Today's Positive Eye On Small & Local: 
What Positive ION is All About

   I posted this on my Positive ION Facebook page in response to being referred to as a "promoter". Being called a "promoter" does not offend me in any way... but it does compel me to clarify my position by giving you an idea of just what I am trying to do and why I'm doing it: 

   "Please permit me to quibble (in a friendly sort of way) with the term 'promoter', as it has been applied to me. I actually consider myself to be more of an advocate. 
I try to assist the inhabitants of the local community by becoming a guide in finding ways to keep the local economy viable... mostly by pointing out local choices as alternatives to major chains.
   "My services in this capacity are not for sale, and I do not ask for a cent for what I do. I am doing this for myself, because I like these little places.
   "To me, being a 'promoter' is to have a professional occupation, whereas I am rather like a kid with a big mouth beating a metal pot with a large spoon.
   "In short, I am sharing those things local which I find attractive, in hopes that others may be attracted, as well. It is my hope that, thereby, said things local are likely to stick around... which would mean that most of the money spent in these small places will likely stay in the local area, rather than wander off to more exotic and far-away places." 

   I believe that what I'm doing and what I'm writing about are very important. I blogged on that last April (you can read the full blog post here), shortly after Maryanne MacLeod of The Macomb Daily had approached me to suggest creating a blog which would showcase those things I had already been tweeting and posting about. Here is some of the reasoning:

   "I have had many a conversation with friends and former co-workers who wish they could leave the state, are planning on leaving the state, or have left the state... because of the local economy. 'There's no jobs. There's no money.' That's what they told me. 
   "So, about ten years ago, I started thinking about it. Where did the money go? Well, all I could do is take a look at where my money was going. It was really kind of obvious, but it didn't quite hit home until I heard my daughter tell a friend in a local store, 'No... don't get those peanuts. Get this kind... this company is in Michigan.' 
   "Amanda was reading the packaging for more than just nutrients and ingredients. Who knew?
   "Of course, we had always bought stuff from cool local places and took pride sending gifts to out-of-state friends and family that were unique to Michigan... but, at that point, we started taking a very serious look at what was manufactured where and which businesses were based here. 
   "A short time later, my dayshift counterpart posted a 'Buy Michigan Now' Grocery Guide in my work area. The cover proclaimed, 'If every Michigan household spent just $10 more of their weekly food budget on Michigan products we would put nearly $40 million a week into our local economy! The Buy Michigan Now Grocery Guide is designed to make that easier by building awareness of Michigan brands and products.'
   "I didn't bother to check the math. We realized, as many of our family, friends, and co-workers did, that we could best help our state, our county, our town, community, and neighborhood by keeping as much of our spending as local as possible."

   So, folks... I hope you find the things about which I write useful or helpful in some way. Please look over all the links I have in my sidebars to local gems and other blogs. 
   And if you should so happen to have a favorite small shop, service, eatery, or event that is local to you, I would sure like to know about it. 
   You may comment about that here, visit my Facebook page, tweet me @MyPositiveION, or eMail me at
   I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, December 23, 2013

2 Days and Counting Down: Rainy Day Art Supply and Framing Co.

Today's Positive Eye On Small & Local: 
Rainy Day Art and Framing Company in Grosse Pointe Woods. 

I've been drawing for over fifty years and I feel I must tell you that there is far more to getting the right art supplies than just ordering materials. That's why I drive the fourteen miles down to this shop in Grosse Pointe Woods (at 20507 Mack, just a few blocks south of Vernier Road). 
Tell them what you are trying to do and they will help guide you to the right things to help you get it done. Have a question about a choice of tools or media? They will help clarify the advantages and disadvantages of whatever you are curious about. Just starting out? They know what you need and are well-versed in getting you started without breaking your bankbook. Buying for a child? They have things that the kid will enjoy! Don't see what you are looking for? They'll order it, if they can. These people are also artists... and, aside from that, they are a whole lotta fun, too! 
Just in case you are looking for the last-minute gift for either the seasoned or budding artist, they are open from 9:00am intil 2:00pm on Christmas Eve! 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

3 Days and Counting Down: Turning Point's Second Hand Rose

Today's Positive Eye On Small & Local: 
Turning Point's Second Hand Rose in Mount Clemens. 

I often wander into this place (at 158 S Main St, right across from the Mt Clemens Post Office), even when I am not looking for anything in particular.
Back before I lived as close to Mt Clemens as I do now, I discovered the small resale shop in their old location on NB Gratiot. The nice people there told me about Turning Pojnt and what they do to help the victims of domestic and sexual violence. I was still actively employed by a large corporation at the time and what they were doing so impressed me that I made the organization my Charity of Choice, donating a little of my weekly paycheck to their efforts.
Shopping there helps a good cause, but that's not the only reason I go in there. Besides having a pleasant and friendly staff, the place is a real treasure trove of cool and useful things... check it out!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

4 Days and Counting Down: PYRO Art Glass

Today's Positive Eye On Small & Local: 
PYRO Art Glass in Mount Clemens. 

You have no idea how incredibly blessed I feel to have a glassblowing studio and store such as PYRO Art Glass just two miles from my house (123 S. Main). Not only do they create some of the most gorgeous glass pieces I've ever had the pleasure to set my eyes on, but they are the most friendly, good-hearted people around. They love what they do and show it by holding demonstrations during events (or, when possible, even if you just ask 'em) while talking with the customers and onlookers about what goes into this beautiful art. They are constantly inventing new things to make and new ways to make them. While I was shooting this Tout video, I saw the vintage Chevy Bel-Air they whipped up out of molten glass... fantastic!
The really cool part of this is that they are not just a local shop... the items for sale are made right there! You just can't get any more local than that! 

No... I did not include the glass Chevy in the video. But, If you get over there quick enough, it may still be around to look at. If you miss it, don't fret... they have a lot of pretty things to please the eye! They also have extended holiday hours. Click on that link and give 'em a ring!

Friday, December 20, 2013

5 Days and Counting Down: Used on New Books and More

Today's Positive Eye On Small & Local: 
Used on New Books and More in Mount Clemens. 

This was my second big find near the beginning of my rediscovery of Downtown Mount Clemens, a bit over two years ago. I bill this store, in my little Tout video vignette (below), as "The Book Shop with a Personality". I'm not sure I can improve on that statement, nor even explain it... but I stand behind it. If you want to feel it for yourself, go on in and look around for a while. Take your time. 
Used on New Books and More is most definitely a work of love: the love of books... of all kinds. 
Together with Weirdsville Records (see yesterday's blog post) housed somewhat neatly inside, the shops form a powerful team that give the love of books, music, art, and film a personal touch that is available to all who wander inside. 
After-hours events such as artist sketching jams and murder mystery parties make this place far better than a mere neighborhood book shop... that's all part of the "and More".
It's no wonder that this is one of my all-time favorite places! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

6 Days and Counting Down: Weirdsville Records

Today's Positive Eye On Small & Local: 
Weirdsville Records in Mount Clemens. 

Weirdsville Records is neatly nestled inside the Used on New Books & More shop (which, not-so-coincidentally, will be the subject of Countdown, Day 5). Since its inception, Weirdsville has grown and evolved into a fascinating blend of the cool and the odd, offering far more than just offbeat records and strange items (although those things abound there... check out the famous commercial to see what I mean: 
This is not just My Opinion, either... Weirdsville was voted Best Indie Record Store of 2013 by the Metro Times and, not only that, was the subject of a segment by Under The Radar Michigan!
There's a lot of new vinyl to be had here, too (yes... vinyl records are still being produced.)! Also, there's a wide variety of local art hanging on their walls. 
As if that isn't enough, they also offer many fun and interesting after-hours events like the seasonal zombie make-up workshop, listening parties which showcase the new releases from local bands, and (of course) Weirdsville Movie Night, which starts promptly at 8:08pm most Thursday nights (and, just so ya know, the $2.00 donation goes to an animal adoption service). 
Special bulletin: tonight is no exception! Drop on by 36 New Street to see Boris Karloff and Jack Nicholson in "The Terror"...and heckling the film is encouraged! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

7 Days and Counting Down: The Peanut Peddler

Today's Positive Eye On Small & Local: 
The Peanut Peddler in Mount Clemens. 

If you want a real treat (or even just a snack), I recommend that you mosey on over to The Peanut Peddler (58 Cherry St). As I mention in the accompanying Tout snippet, they have far, far more than just peanuts. You can find all manner of different nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and trail mixes. My personal fave is the Cajun peanuts, but I have been know to grab cashews, pecans, or pistachios for recipes, too. They have so many different ways of packaging them, that it makes them great gifts. Just ask the girls at my doctor and dentist offices! They'll tell ya! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

8 Days and Counting Down: Christmas Market at Anton Art Center

Today's Positive Eye On Small & Local:
The Christmas Market at Anton Art Center in Mount Clemens. 

Actually, I just wandered into the Christmas Market for the first time, today. I thought it was going to be occupying the space normally reserved for the gift shop. 
Boy, did I get a big surprise! What a dazzling display of wonderful things they have... spread throughout all the rooms of the gallery! Of course I shot my customary Tout, but that only gives you a tiny taste of the wide variety of artistically beautiful gift items they have to offer! 
The Christmas Market is only open through this Sunday, December 22nd. The Market hours are 10:00am - 5:00pm on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday; 10:00am - 8:00pm on Friday; Noon until 4:00pm on Sunday! 
Go ahead and check out the fifteen-second video but, by all means, get on down there and see it for yourself! You won't be sorry you did!

Monday, December 16, 2013

9 Days and Counting Down: Ardis Music

Today's Positive Eye On Small & Local:
Ardis Music in Mount Clemens.

I'm not kidding when I say that Ardis Music has just about anything that maketh music. Whether you want a guitar, brass, woodwinds, percussion, or even something more specialized such as a child's guitar, electronic drums, harmonicas, a harp, a gong (I've even seen bagpipes!), you can find it there... along with books, accessories and sheet music of all sorts. Don't see it? Talk to 'em... they'll order it if they can! They also have lessons at reasonable rates (I took piano there and learned a lot in a short time). You can find them at 49 Walnut in Downtown Mount Clemens... take a look for yourself!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

10 Days and Counting Down: 'Tis Country

Today's Positive Eye On Small and Local:
'Tis Country in Mount Clemens. 

When I think of Sunday, I often think of those long rides in the country. What a warm and cheery way to spend ones time, huh? Well, I get that same feeling every time I walk into this shop. They have all manner of fine things to give that homey feeling to any spot one could want it, whether it be kitchen or man-cave, dining room or front porch, living room or ice shanty. I shot a short Tout video to give you an idea of the wide variety of things they have to offer which lend that old fashioned charm to any place, in or out of the house... but your best bet would be go pay them a visit at 55 Macomb Place, and see for yourself! Tell 'em I said hello! 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

11 Days and Counting Down: Gemini Moon

Today's Positive Eye On Small and Local:
Gemini Moon in Mount Clemens. 

Despite the countless times I have been in this shop, I am still captivated by the serene atmosphere of the place and the magical allure of all the strange and beautiful things that can be found in it. You will find the friendliest, most positive people there... and not just the ones who own and operate the store; there are also those who regularly do various kinds readings, who teach, and who conduct group activities. I find the most interesting folk wandering in, whenever I am there! Don't take my word for it... check out this short video I shot and go say hello! 

Friday, December 13, 2013

12 Days and Counting Down: Max and Ollie's Vintage Boutique

Today's Positive Eye On Small and Local:
Max and Ollie's Vintage Boutique in Mount Clemens. 

It was just a little under three years ago that I began my rediscovery of Downtown Mount Clemens, which actually started when I was looking for old friends and former schoolmates as I began to enter the world of Facebook. 
In my online wanderings there, I recognized Diane Kubik from my High School days and saw that she was running a small shop, less than two miles from my house, on Pine Street in Mt Clemens. That visit turned into an exploration of her charming store and, in the days that followed, an adventure that would lead me to discover all kinds of strange and fascinating shops around town.
Since then, Diane has moved the shop to a much larger space (65 Macomb Place) and, through her gift for finding the finest treasures, her keen eye for arrangement, and her genuine love for the customers who appreciate these things, has nurtured that small bud of a shop to bloom into the amazing flower of downtown that it is today. Trust me when I say that she makes Christmas shopping easier for me.

Take a look at this short Tout video I shot and see a little of what I'm talking about. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

13 Days and Counting Down: Champagne Chocolates

Today's Positive Eye On Small and Local:
Champagne Chocolates in Mount Clemens.

Champagne Chocolates is a marvelous little chocolate factory in Downtown Mount Clemens (54 Cherry Street). They have such a wide variety of tasty chocolate treats that the mind boggles. They have the best truffles anywhere around, various barks, chocolate covered pretzels, potato chips, ginger, and depending on what day you stop by, they may have some of their limited specialties like hand-dipped fresh strawberries or raspberries... or even chocolate-covered bacon! My favorites are the dark-chocolate Rustic Bars with almonds or tart cherries. Deb crushes up the imported cocoa beans herself and they are mildly sweetened with evaporated cane sugar! Right now, they have special holiday chocolates all over the place, but they can make up special chocolates for any occasion in nearly any shape with whatever you want on them... business logo, wedding or anniversary names and dates... you name it! Check 'em out and tell 'em I sentcha!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

14 Days and Counting Down: ABC Magic Shop

Today's Spotlight on Small and Local:
The ABC Magic Shop in Mount Clemens. 

The ABC Magic Shop in Downtown Mt Clemens (69 N. Walnut) has more than just magic tricks, books, kits, shows, and classes... they also have many cool toys and activity sets for children! They are also a bunch of fun people! So, stop on by and check out all the nifty stuff they have there... and while you're at it, ask 'em to do a magic trick for you. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

My Christmas Shopping... Small & Local.

Last year, 99% of my Christmas shopping dollars were spent in businesses that are based, owned, and operated within ten miles of my house. I don't just talk about supporting small, local shops and eateries... I do it.

Help yourself by helping your neighborhood.

Shop small. Shop local. 

This announcement was paid for by absolutely no one.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Small Business Saturday! Shop Local and Shop Small!

Before you go off looking for deals, first understand that 
cheap goods are not always the best deal
But also, remember to ask yourself this: 
Which stores are most likely to go away if not enough people shop in them? 
Then, ask yourself if you're okay with that. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Note of Thanks.

I have thought long about this, and there is no way. Not even if I had started at midnight... not even if I only decided to just go through this year. How about just this month? This week? Nope... not possible. I've not the words.
That's right. Me. Don't have the words. Wrap your head around THAT. 
If I typed for a full day and sifted through that mental thesaurus of mine, I could not find all the words I would need to tell everyone how grateful I am. 
Oh, and then there's the "For What?" and the "For Whom?". Oh, yeah... good luck with that, Gothro! I could spend a lifetime and never finish the lists. 
I can just tell you I am so very thankful for the here and the now... that I AM here, and now. Therefore, I must... MUST... be grateful for all those people, places, things, and situations... good, bad, and indifferent... that got me to where and when I am. 
Each of you who reads this (and many of you who don't, or can't) had a part in this.
Please accept my blessings for peace and for love this day, and every day.
Tell your family, your dear ones, your friends... heck, tell your enemies... to have a very, very Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Clinton Township Gem: The Senior Adult Life Center

Are you 55 or older? Do you know someone in that age group? This is a cool place with a lot going on! Program Coordinator, Debbie Travis tells us some of what's happening in November at the Clinton Township Senior Adult Life Center... 
The Center is located at 40730 Romeo Plank Road, Clinton Township, Michigan 48038, behind the main branch of the Clinton Township Public Library at Romeo Plank & Canal Roads... so, mosey on over there and check it out! You can give 'em a call at (586) 286-9333. Their newsletter has a complete guide to programs and services for November/December. You can view that by clicking here. These folks are a whole lot of fun, too! Don't take my word for it... go see for yourself!
P.S.: This is where I take my T'ai Chi classes! 
P.P.S.: Yours truly will be teaching a class on Drawing for Beginners, right there starting January 15th! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Weirdsville Listening Party, Tuesday Oct 29 at 7pm: 'At Home with Denny'!

At 7:00pm, on Tuesday, October 29th: it's the long awaited "At Home with Denny" Weirdsville Records Listening Party! You may remember seeing this fabulous and rare record on Davey's YouTube commercial for the record shop (which is found inside Used-on-New Books & More at 36 New Street in Downtown Mount Clemens) and also on the episode of Under The Radar Michigan which featured Weirdsville Records, earlier this year... and if you don't, that's no problem! You can check out the hilarious YouTube spot here and Episode #314 of UTR Michigan here (Mount Clemens comes in at the 14:00min mark)! 
Also, even better than just listening to this finely-produced record... Dennis Gapczynski, local musician who recorded this gem on vinyl (many years ago when he lived in Macomb County) will be coming down from his Alpena home to jam with Davey at this party! 
Davey Taylor tells us why it's cool...

Friday, October 25, 2013

This Saturday in Downtown Mount Clemens!

The festivities go on all day long! They start at 8:00am, when the Mount Clemens Farmers Market begins their annual Pumpkin Party... then Turning Point starts their Trunk or Treat event at noon. Of course, there's the multi-activity kid's event, The 6th Annual Halloween Spooktacular, followed by the 2nd Annual Block Party, and it winds up with the 3rd Annual Zombie Walk! You want details, you say? We got 'em! They can be had by clicking right here:! Also... the PYRO Art Glass Studio has created even more beautiful glass pumpkins, so stop in and have a look! If you want to know even more of what is going on around the area, check out the Positive ION RebelMouse page (or peek at it here, just below the current blogpost)!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Zombie Make-Up Class Tonight!

That's right! Tonight at 7:00pm in a FREE class hosted by Used-on-New Books & More and Weirdsville Records, world-famous Zoe Brown will share techniques how to make-up as a zombie! They are located at 36 New Street in Downtown Mount Clemens, right next door to Seeburger's Cheeseburgers!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Halloween is Coming to Downtown Mount Clemens!

Besides the The Halloween Spooktacular, The 3rd Annual Zombie Walk, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, all of which are coming to Downtown Mount Clemens in the next couple of weekends, the individual shops are all doing their own neat little things that contribute to that cool Halloween atmosphere. Here's a couple of fun examples:

Max and Ollie's Vintage Boutique has some nifty Halloweeny-type items for sale...

...and Champagne Chocolates is featuring some sweet and spooky treats!

Friday, October 18, 2013

My Haunts in Downtown Mount Clemens... in 15 Seconds!

That's right.
I am going to start at the corner of Walnut & New Streets, head west, turn south down the Cherry Street mall, then east on Macomb Place, until I turn to go north up Walnut, and end up right back where I started... and I will name my favorite places along the perimeter of that block as I go.
In just fifteen seconds.
Ready? Set...
Here I go!

To My Friends & Loved Ones Who May Be Struggling...

Remember that nothing you do is unimportant. 

You may have periods of anger, doubt, fear, or weariness. Life may sometimes seem overwheming. That is part of what makes us human.

I know, in my own case, that sometimes the things that I may find overwhelming would be as gifts and treasures to those who have less than I.

If you find yourself in a period of darkness, remember that the seeds of great trees and beautiful flowers sprout in the blackness of the loving Earth, and struggle through toward the light of the Sun.

Remember who you are and why you do what you do. Think of all the lives and hearts you have touched in your generosity.

Do not despair when those sick with wickedness or selfishness appear to prevail. Their seeming rewards are not real. To be discouraged in the face of such things is the first step to becoming like those who have given in to illnesses of the spirit. Be yourself.

All these things are those things of which I must remind myself. I offer them freely to whomever may find them of use.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

This Weekend: Oct. 12th & 13th!

Coming up fast this Saturday and Sunday in Mount Clemens: Two events offering a lot of really nifty stuff and fun for everyone! Whether you're Christmas shopping early or you just love creative and interesting things, this is for you! Even better... they are less than a mile from each other!

Here are links to the Facebook event pages for these fabulous happenings:

Trunk & Treasure Extravaganza
51 Belleview, Mt. Clemens, MI 48043 (October 12th, 10am - 5pm & October 13th, 10am - 3pm)

Pick a PYRO Pumpkin Patch
123 S. Main St., Mt. Clemens, MI 48043 (October 12th & 13th, 11am - 6pm)

Here's a map showing how to get from one place to the other (click on it to go to the Google map):

Max & Ollie's Vintage Boutique will have a booth at the Trunk & Treasure show... and I count myself as fortunate to be setting up my own Gothro Studios table! I will even have a little time on Sunday to skate on over to the Pyro Art Glass Studio for their glass pumpkin event!

I hope to see you!

Oh, yeah... don't forget to check out the Positive ION Facebook Page for more news and events!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The New Positive ION Facebook Page!

As if this blog, its Twitter presence, the Google+ circle, and Tout account, aren't enough!
Check out the new Positive ION facebook page (I welcome feedback, too)!
What's next... maybe a YouTube channel?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What a Wonderful Wednesday!

The Mount Clemens Farmers Market will be next to the Anton Art Center in the Roskopp parking lot for just two more Wednesdays... today and September 18th,  from 3:00 - 7:00pm!

Parking is FREE for market patrons and always free after 6:00pm.

Didja know that you can get a 20% discount at Max & Ollie's Vintage Boutique just by running over there and telling them what you bought at the Farmers Market?

If that's not enough for you, Nashville in the Neighborhood will be having another FREE concert this evening on Macomb Place, between Pine Street and Southbound Gratiot, from 7:00 - 9:00pm right there in that same general area!

This isn't the last concert, either, despite what the poster says... there will be another one on September 25th, to make up for the rain-out earlier this summer!

Many of the shops in Downtown Mount Clemens stay open late for special events (like The Peanut Peddler, Gemini Moon, and Max & Ollie's, among others), so have some fun wandering around while listening to the music!

Just so you know... the Farmers Market will still be open Friday and Saturday mornings, from 7:00am until 1:00pm, through mid-November at their normal location on North River Road.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Gift Shop at the Anton Art Center

     I've not been by the gift shop of the Anton Art Center in a while, so I think I will wander by there before I go check out all the delicious wares offered at the Mount Clemens Farmers Market (which is in the adjacent parking lot, every Wednesday from 3:00 - 7:00pm).
    I happen to know a fellow blogger who writes about the gift shop, so I figured I would share an interesting post from her blog. You may read it here:
    I'd love to elaborate further, but the gift shop closes in less than an hour!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

What the Macomb Media Lab Launch Means to You...

I had the honor and pleasure of being there for the official festivities, just this past Tuesday! You can read all about the launch and what it means here. I believe this to be a very positive move for the Macomb Daily and for our local community. The beauty of it all is that the audience gets a chance to participate!

The ribbon-cutting ceremony which officially launched the Macomb Media Lab.

Publisher Jim O'Rourke put it very well when he said, "You know, digital has been a big disruptor for our business, and some people can run from that or some people can rally behind it and make it the best period in business... that's how I look at it and that's how the team here looks at it." He goes on to say that it gives them an opportunity to engage more with their community as they expand their digital audience.  I always appreciate a positive outlook!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Eastside Teen Outreach Needs Help!

They are having a fundraiser to offset repair costs following a break-in. This video explaining the damages and financial difficulties resulting from them is courtesy of WXYZ Channel 7 Action News from their article on the occurrence. The article, which includes details on the fundraiser set for this coming Saturday, can be found by clicking here

More details on the fundraiser and donations can be found on their website: or at the Facebook event page:

It's Movie Night at Weirdsville!

This week's horror to heckle is "The Hearse"! Show starts at 8:00pm... donation is just two bucks (throw in soda pop and a small popcorn, and you're still under five bucks), which buys you a chance for a door prize! Weirdsville Records is located at 36 New Street, in the Used on New Books & More shop, Downtown Mount Clemens. Don't wait to get a seat... people are dying to get into this one!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Where I Will Be Friday Night...

The Uptown Friday Night Concert series is still happening! Roots Vibrations has been voted the Best Reggae Band by the Detroit Music Awards, five years out of the last six... and they will be playing live at the Fountain Stage in Downtown Mount Clemens, this Friday evening (August 16th), from 7:30pm until 9:00pm! You can check out their music by clicking here. Don't forget that a lot of the local shops and eateries will be open late for the event. I will definitely be there!

According to their Facebook page, "Roots Vibrations is a musical force that provides authentic Caribbean music. Made up of members from the exotic islands of the Caribbean and the funky streets of Detroit, this band will stimulate your senses with positive roots music. Roots Vibration’s sound is uplifting and fun, and features creative and seasoned musicians who have a multigenerational and multinational appeal. They bring decades ...of experience and authenticity to the Reggae scene.
Roots Vibrations founder and lead singer Winfred Julien, hailing from Dominica, West Indies, has been the driving force in the regional Caribbean and Reggae scene for over two decades. He produced and performed on eight original CD’s and has worked with dozens of international, national, and local artists, including Calypso Rose. Roots Vibration has delighted audiences in the East, South, West and North with their unique blend of original and popular Caribbean music in Reggae, Zouk, Calypso, and Soca styles. Whenever Roots Vibrations performs, it's Edutainment time".

Where I Will Be, Tonight...

Monday, June 10, 2013

2nd Annual New Street Urban Fair

    I love art and I love music. I also love Downtown Mount Clemens (I throw that in, in case you didn't already know that). What could be finer than all three of these elements combined?
   Well, if you missed the Made in Michigan Show, a month ago... and if you didn't make the Anton Art Fair, a week or so ago... then I have good news for you!
    Courtesy of Used-on-New Books and Weirdsville Records, in conjunction with the Mount Clemens Downtown Development Authority, the 2013 New Street Urban Fair takes place this Saturday (June 15th), from 11am - 9pm.
    I know of at least four scheduled musical guests (with times subject to slight changes, according to Davey Taylor of Weirdsville Records) : Emily Rose at 1:30pm, RattleTrap at 2:30pm, Hatchetmen at 4:00pm, and The Slot Rods at 5:00pm.
    I am not privy to the identities of all the artists that will be having booth spaces along New Street, but I know that a friend of mine and her daughter will be selling their hand-crafted works, and that my good-friend and fellow artist, Bill Bryan will be bringing his fabulous skills to the party!
    Oh, yeah... I nearly forgot! I will also have a spot of my very own at this fair where I will have my artwork and woodwork available!
    Come on down, this Saturday, and have a good time. I know I will!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Brief Highlights

   This doesn't have anything to do with strolling around the shopping district, but I really would love to share how proud I felt when I watched my sister, Lucy, walk across the stage and collect her Associate's Degree in Applied Sciences from Macomb County Community College, last Friday.
   That's the kind of local phenomenon I love to spread around. Congrats, kid!

   Another highlight came on Mother's Day, when I could finally give my mom that uniquely beautiful glass flower that I was able to create with the help of  Philip Yamron and Robin Ochs at PYRO Art Glass, the weekend before. It turned out beautifully... and the smile on her face was really worth it. Being part of the creation process was so much more fulfilling than just going out and buying a knick-knack, since it is a one-of-a-kind gift with a personal touch.

   Tonight is Weirdsville Movie Night. The feature tonight will be Bubba Ho-Tep which, according to Davey Taylor's description should be just my kind of funny. If you've not experienced the Thursday night Weirdsville after-hours fun, you should get it in gear and come on down to 36 New Street in Downrown Mount Clemens at 8:00pm, tonight!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Art Attack

   You might notice that I've been adding links to the websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts of various local people and places to the right-hand sidebar of the blog. Among them is PYRO Art Glass, which is located just north of the Mount Clemens Post Office.
    These guys create some of the most beautiful hand-blown glass works that I've ever had a chance to personally regard... and I've seen a lot of good blown glass!
    They also do their best to get everybody into the act. For instance, this afternoon I have a 3:00pm slot to participate in a special event. They describe it this way: "Saturday, May 4th our glass artists will help you, and/or your special person, make a one of a kind glass flower. The cost is $25 per person and we can accommodate 2 people every half hour.". I couldn't pass that up!
    At last report, there only two time slots left for this pre-Mother's Day flower pull... that means 4 spots for people: 2 at 2:30, and 2 at 7:00. Call the studio to reserve your spot: 586-954-4994!
    I am so lucky that these artists are only a couple miles from me!

   I'm sure there will be some cool arts and crafts at the 2nd Annual "Made in Michigan" Show which will be going on downtown in Mount Clemens Friday, May 10th and Saturday, May 11th, 2013.

   While I am on the subject of local artists... didja know that more than a few quality artists from our general neck of the woods will be having tables set up in the Artist's Alley, May 17th through May 19th, at the Motor City Comicon in Novi?
   I knew that my longtime friend and brother artist, Bill Bryan, would be there as a guest, and I was sure a few artists that belong to the Motor City Sketch Facebook Group were going to have tables (like Jay Fosgitt)... but beyond that, I wasn't sure. So, I struck up a conversation with Kelly O'Hara, who not only draws with the MCS group, but also happens to be a manager at the Rainyday Art Supply & Framing Company (another very cool small business that is not as close as I wish it was, being in Grosse Pointe Woods, as it is... but, as an artist myself, I have patronized the shop more than a few times). She was kind enough let me in on who she knew would be there from the group off the top of her head. The list includes Bruce Gerlach, Anne Garavaglia, Bill Pulkovski, Jason Westlake, and Alex Buechel. I'm sure there is going to be more local talent at the convention than we could come up with.
   You might want to check it out!

   In addition to all this, there is currently an exhibit entitled, "The Portrait" at the Anton Art Center in Mount Clemens, which runs until June 2nd. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

"Local" Means "Local to You"

   I live in Clinton Township, several hundred feet north of the Mount Clemens border. The closest concentrated small-business shopping district local to me is Downtown Mount Clemens.
   I can walk there.
   It is (almost literally) in my back yard. It is not so far from me that my visits must be infrequent due to time constraints or limitations on fuel economy. That's why I am able to get to know it so well... and how I manage to stumble over something new to me so delightfully often.
   What I am trying to do, is to get across the notion that what I have here, so close to me, is something that you, wherever you might be located, have near to you, too!
   It may well be that you are already familiar with the little places close by your home... but, if you are not, I think if you would just take the time to bop around and get to know the local shops and eateries in your area, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised!
   Know some little local place where you love to shop, eat, or just visit?
   I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Friday Night That Planned itself

   I'd already known for a couple weeks that tonight at 8:00pm would be the only chance I would get to see On Golden Pond at The Box Theater. It does have one more show, tomorrow night (Saturday, April 27th at 8:00pm)... but I've duties elsewhere in that time slot, so its to be tonight or not at all.
   Then I got to thinking about what I might want to do for dinner before the show.
   Just yesterday, I got my answer when I found out that at 5:00pm there was to be a special sneak-preview screening party for tomorrow's episode of Under The Radar Michigan at The Mitt Restaurant, in Mount Clemens. This particular show includes some interesting places in Traverse City, but (more importantly to me... and maybe to you, too) also some very cool local spots right here in Downtown Mount Clemens... including Weirdsville Records, among others! The show itself is screening at 6:00pm, so I should have plenty of time to get down to the theater.
   So, I get to finally set foot in this local eatery that I have been wanting to try out for some time, whilst getting a chance to see some television time devoted to this downtown area that I find so likable, and I get to top it all off by enjoying some pricelessly charming small theater.
   I just found out, mere minutes ago, that if I get down to Champagne Chocolates before they close at 5:00pm, I can grab a few of their new "Nutty Butter Bites - Peanut Butter with an extra crunch".
   See? That's how it seems to happen. Dinner planned itself, and now dessert has done so, as well!
   Have I mentioned that I love this town?

Friday, April 19, 2013

What I'm Doing (Part II)

   As soon as I am done typing this, I am heading to Downtown Mount Clemens for the Moonlight Madness, which is going on from, well... like now, until 9:00pm. I know I need to grab my selected book for World Book Night (coming up on Tuesday, April 23rd) from Lisa at Used On New Books & More.
   I will likely stop by my usual haunts, Max & Ollie's, Gemini Moon... and especially Champagne Chocolates! They still have a Customer Appreciation sale going on and they've got a whole lot of freshly-made Non-Pareils!
    Tomorrow (Saturday, April 20th), PYRO Art Glass is having an Open House from 11:00am until 6:00pm to celebrate their One Year Anniversary! I'm so glad for them. They work hard and make gorgeous pieces!
   Also tomorrow, Weirdsville Records is celebrating Worldwide Record Store Day from 10:00am until 9:00pm with all kinds of cool discounts an' stuff! Musical guests Rattletrap will be there to play live for us, starting at 1:00pm, so don't miss 'em!
   I will be bouncing back and forth between these two places, all day tomorrow. So, come on ad join me... I'll be lookin' for ya!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What I'm Doing (Part I)

   That's really all I can write about.
   So, rather than write about what I'm doing around town for the next few days (that will be Part II), I would like to write a little about what I'm doing, right now.
   I'm writing about what I love.
   I love where I live. I love Michigan, and I love my particular current locale. I live in Clinton Township, just outside Mount Clemens and have no plans to leave the immediate area. I've moved several times in the past three decades (or so)... but never very far from where I'd been born and raised. In fact, I live less than twenty miles from that house.
   I've endured the plaintive cries about Michigan weather. So, I like variety... what can I say?
   However, I have had many a conversation with friends and former co-workers who wish they could leave the state, are planning on leaving the state, or have left the state... because of the local economy. "There's no jobs. There's no money." That's what they told me.
   So, about ten years ago, I started thinking about it. Where did the money go? Well, all I could do is take a look at where my money was going. It was really kind of obvious, but it didn't quite hit home until I heard my daughter tell a friend in a local store, "No... don't get those peanuts. Get this kind... this company is in Michigan."
   Amanda was reading the packaging for more than just nutrients and ingredients. Who knew?
   Of course, we had always bought stuff from cool local places and took pride sending gifts to out-of-state friends and family that were unique to Michigan... but, at that point, we started taking a very serious look at what was manufactured where and which businesses were based here.
   A short time later, my dayshift counterpart posted a "Buy Michigan Now" Grocery Guide in my work area. The cover proclaimed, "If every Michigan household spent just $10 more of their weekly food budget on Michigan products we would put nearly $40 million a week into our local economy! The Buy Michigan Now Grocery Guide is designed to make that easier by building awareness of Michigan brands and products."
   I didn't bother to check the math. We realized, as many of our family, friends, and co-workers did, that we could best help our state, our county, our town, community, and neighborhood by keeping as much of our spending as local as possible.
   For instance, I did almost all of my Christmas shopping in Downtown Mount Clemens, as well as a little in the immediate area. The first immediate savings was at the gasoline pump. The downtown shopping district is a mile-and-a-half from my home. That's about six round-trips per gallon in my Jeep.
   Other savings and benefits are more long term... but they are very real.
   The further I send my money out of the local area, the less of a bargain it is, in the long run. This is where I have to be a little unselfish, but for selfish reasons. The more I spend in local shops, which pay local taxes, which are run by local people, who live and spend in the local area, the more money there is to improve the community and the neighborhood.
   These people are not faceless corporations who have boards of directors who are trying to satisfy stockholders... these people are my neighbors. Their children go to schools in the area. They know me. The know what I like. Sure, I knew a couple of them before they owned businesses of their own... but I have become friends with many more of them.
   Now,  I would be a liar if I were to tell you that I shop exclusively at locally owned and operated businesses. I have to get gasoline and some groceries, too. I hit Costco once a month, and you will see me in Kroger, Meijer, Petco, and Staples. I get only what I need at these places, and try to buy products made in Michigan whenever I can.
   All of these things benefit me directly, one way or another, sooner or later.
   Sometimes, money is tight, though... and even when it isn't, I just can't eat at Seeburger's, Thai Orchid or Chantel's Jailhouse Deli, every meal of every day. I would love to buy something from Diane at Max & Ollie's once a week, or get a book and a record every time I visit Davey and Lisa at Weirdsville & Used-on-New, or buy some cool crystal from Gemini Moon, but I can't. I cannot eat chocolate every day, even though I love Champagne Chocolates and nearly every cool thing they produce. I can't buy a ticket to every show at The Box Theater.
   I love these places. I truly enjoy talking to the owners about their businesses, their families, their dreams, and just general day-to-day things. I want them to be there, whenever I can get down to see them and grab a couple of things, here and there... maybe get a bite to eat.
   So what can I do to help?
   All I can do is share their news and events on Twitter and on Facebook. I can tell people where I go and what I buy and what I eat and why I like it.
   That's why I write this blog. I hope other people, like you, will get curious about why I make the effort. Maybe you will check it out for yourself... take a friend with you... recommend it to a family member.
   Michelle Weiss once referred to me as a "cheerleader".
   My friend, Cindy, proclaimed me the "Ambassador to Mount Clemens".
   Another friend, Mike, observed that it sounds like I'm "bucking for City Councilman".
   Others have called me a "promoter".
   I'm none of those things. I don't own pom-poms, I don't have the temperament to be a diplomat, I've absolutely no political aspirations, and I don't think I could be an ad-man.
   I'm just a guy who writes about what he does.
   That's really all I can write about.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Strolling in Early April

   I had been trying to think of a way to put down (in one, short sentence) how I feel about strolling around in Downtown Mount Clemens. Then, just last week, someone did it for me.
   I was with my friends, Steve & Kristy, prior to taking in the second-to-last showing of The Fantasticks at the Box Theater. We had just left Seeburger's Cheeseburgers and, as we walked strolled past Used-on-New Books & More, Kristy mentioned that she had been looking for a little bookshop in the area. Then, she burst out with a big smile and remarked, "I feel like I'm on vacation!"
   That's it.
   See, I get that very same feeling in my own figurative back-yard. I just couldn't put my finger on it... that is, until Kristy put it into words in just the way that she did.
   I love small-town business districts. All the shopkeepers and restaurant owners know each other. More than that, they form a community. They are all in it together. When strolling through downtown Paradise, Central Lake, Bellaire, Leland, Copper Harbor... I always get that same feeling. There is an atmosphere of friendliness, an air of comfort.
   I like it.
   Plus, when you are just taking a casual stroll, stopping in here and there, you never know what you may see or hear...

   Yesterday, while I was downtown, I saw a sign in the window of Champagne Chocolates that I had never noticed before. It reads, "Raspberry Delight Day Every Thursday". Of course, I had to wander in and ask what that is all about. I was told that it involves a dark chocolate cup topped with a Fresh raspberry. This sounds delicious... and, since tomorrow is Thursday, I think I will toddle on down and try one. While I was there, I found that all of their Easter treats are on sale at 50% off! They still have a lot left, but I don't think it will last too long... so get it while you can.

   After I left, I strolled over to Max & Ollie's Vintage Boutique to chat with long-time friend, Diane Kubik. She had a sign out front which proclaims "25% off jewelry", a sale which she'd told me is good until the end of the day, on Saturday. 
   While I was there, Catherine Gulette from the neighboring Gemini Moon shop came in to talk to Diane about their concern for injured members of the business community. One of them is Nick, a waiter at Bath City Bistro (if I understood correctly) who was recently in a terrible motorcycle accident. The other (I learned later) is Rick, owner of the Detroit Pub, who suffered a heart attack.
   I am moved by the deep concern these people express for each other and the outpouring of love and support visible to me on Facebook.
   This is community.

   I walked in to Gemini Moon to see what's going on over there, and I find that they are still running their 60%-off-sale on the delicately beautiful Egyptian oil burners, glass bottles, and papyrus. I love the tremendously positive energy of that place. Having a bad day? Ask them about their Stone Circle.
   Tell 'em Lee sentcha.

   Lastly, let me not forget to remind you all that what happens at Weirdsville Records every Thursday night at 8:00pm is Weirdsville Movie Night! Tomorrow night's movie is Head, the 1968 Monkees movie... with Victor Mature, Sonny Liston, Annette Funicello, Carol Doda and a guest cameo by none other than Frank Zappa, himself! You dare not miss this!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I on Downtown Mt Clemens - Late March 2013

   It has been a very busy week for me, and I plan to have a bit of fun to unwind.
   I begin tomorrow evening. Every Thursday night is Weirdsville Movie Night at Weirdsville Records on New Street. The feature for March 28th is Plan 9 from Outer Space, which should be loads of fun because of its cult-favorite, B-movie status. If you have never experienced Weirdsville Movie Night, you should really check it out. Do not expect to see super-serious, trendy, avant-garde film fanatics soberly analyzing little-known flicks, here... it is more like being in the silhouette audience of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Don't take my word for it, just head on down there, tomorrow night... I'll keep an eye out for ya!
   While I'm on the subject of Weirdsville Records, I ought to mention that they have won the award for Best Indie Record Store in Macomb County according to the MetroTimes Best of Detroit 2013! They are celebrating this on Friday, March 29th. The store is open from 11:00am - 8:00pm, that day.
   Coincidentally, March 29th is Mom and Pop Business Owners Day. How about that?

   Friday night, I will be taking in the second-to-last performance of The Fantasticks at the Box Theater, which is at the corner of Macomb Place and Pine Street (formerly the site of the Ché Cosa coffee shop). I saw this, last Friday night and I feel compelled to see it again... and I'm bringing friends.
   Rarely have I ever had such a great time watching local theater. The cast acts like they were born performing this play together. It is an engaging story, at once charming, delightful, and funny.

   A couple of other tidbits:

   I stopped by Champagne Chocolates on Cherry Street to gather some Easter candy. If you have never partaken of their fresh and wonderful wares, you should really treat yourself and your loved ones. Just the ears off of one of their chocolate bunnies is far more satisfying than whole rabbits that have been sitting in warehouses for who-knows-how-long waiting for the drugstore Easter sale. Trust me on this... they are a worthy purchase!

   Last (but not the least bit least!), for another delightful experience, stop on by Max & Ollie's Vintage Boutique at 65 Macomb Place. Owner Diane Kubik is a most charming shopkeeper... and she is letting go a whole lot of Easter treasures at a discount. Tell her that Lee sentcha!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Postitive I On... Positive Eye On...

   So what is this "Positive Ion" blog all about?
   Simply put, it is all about what "positive me" has his eye on, at the moment.
As many of my friends are already aware, I am very big on getting the word around about worthy local shops and eateries, and also the cool and interesting happenings that have been cropping up in my own backyard, or not too far from it.
   With this end in mind, I will use this blog to post about notable people, places, things, and events... chiefly, but not limited to, the immediate Mount Clemens area.
   If you are even remotely interested, then Watch This Space!