Shadow Art Fair: July 16

This summer’s Shadow Art Fair is going to take place on Saturday, July 16. As usual, it will run from noon to midnight at the Corner Brewery. If past Shadow Art Fairs are any indication, much beer will be drank, and much fun will be had. We’d love for you to come, of course, so be sure to put it on your schedule. And, if you’re the kind of person who has interesting ideas and the like, I’d encourage you to think about applying for a table. If you’re up for it, you’ll find the application here. The deadline for submissions is May 5, so you’d better hurry.

If you’ve attended the Shadow Art Fair in the past, you know that those of us on the judging committee are particularly receptive to offbeat ideas – especially those that promise to engage the members of SAF audience. That isn’t to say that we won’t consider your more traditional artists, zine publishers, and assorted makers of cool stuff, but we do go out of our way to involve people who will be fucking with the normal craft fair buyer/seller dynamic. In the past, to give you some idea as to I’m talking about, we’ve had people powering shit with bikes, documenting people on video, writing live haikus, drawing hideous live portraits, and serving gumbo with hugs. So, I encourage you to think not only out of the box, but as though the box has been blown to shit.

And, for those designers and illustrators out there, we’re also still looking for designs for our annual poster competition. So, if you’ve got an idea, just fill out the application and send it in. The winner, in addition to being the envy of everyone within 100 miles, will receive $100, a handful of the screen-printed posters, and a Shadow Art Fair t–shirt. (The winner will be notified by June 1.)

If you have any questions, just leave a comment and I’ll try to respond in a timely fashion.

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  1. Mr. X
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    What about some kind of speed dating table? Attendees of the Shadow Art Fair should be encouraged to mate. It’s the only chance humanity has. Alternatively, there could be an orgy tent set up in the empty field next door.

  2. Ted
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Food carts outside would be cool. I don’t know what the owners of the Brewery would think, though.

  3. Bob
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Permalink
    Very interesting piece on Rick Snyder. Perhaps anyone supporting events or product at the Corner Brewery should be aware of the owners support of our fine “tough nerd” Gov.

  4. dragon
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Bockholm syndrome

    a paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein teachers express empathy and have positive feelings towards their Financial Managers.

  5. Bob
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    I hesitate to make another mention of this because you have always been great about not censoring comments, no matter how awful they might be. I certainly wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from avoiding your event. Having said that, I find myself weirdly disturbed by the a2politico article I linked earlier. Though I know on one hand their personal political support should be their own business, I found the information about the Greff’s seemingly opportunistic support of Snyder disturbing. Supporting Snyder while making money off the perception of support for opponents? The fact that struggling, hard-scrabble Ypsi business people have enough money to be the highest Ypsi donors to a Republican (or any) candidate is surprising. It kind of goes against the whole spirit of things like the Shadow Art Fair, no? We always rail against corporations like Wal-Mart for their financial support of right wing causes, local people should at least know about this.

  6. gary
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Instead of hugs and gumbo, I’d like to see a booth where when you order a beer Matt Greff kicks you in the balls and then Rene throws your beer in your face. Bonus points if Matt is wearing a nehru jacket.

  7. Rene Greff
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I would like to think that Matt and I and our businesses have proven ourselves enough over the years that people wouldn’t throw us under the bus for one questionable decision. In all of our years of politics we have given money to exactly one republican and at the same time have given tens of thousands of dollars to democrats both inside and outside of our own districts.

    We hosted election night events for Rebekah Warren, Jeff Irwin, and Paul Schreiber because we endorsed, gave money, wrote letters, canvassed, and hosted events for them – just like we did for Mark Schauer, John Dingell and a host of other democrats. I wonder if Bob committed that much time, energy and money to getting democrats elected.

    Over the years we have received a lot of hate mail from angry right-wing customers, had our busineness picketed by the right to life, had our home picketed by anti-tax nut-jobs, and had threatening letters sent to our businesses and slipped inside of the door at our house for our very vocal public support for everything from immigrant workers’ rights, Planned Parenthood, GLBT rights, Michigan Peaceworks, and for hosting partisan democratic events.

    This last election cycle honestly scared the crap out of us. We have friends who worked in Mike Cox’s office and had enough inside knowledge of Bouchard and of course Hoekstra to know that if any of them were to win the governor’s seat, it would mean a complete dismantling of our state’s public safety net and a big step backward for gay rights.

    We also knew that, once again, as is our way, the dems put up a completely lame candidate that couldn’t possibly win in a mid-term election where everyone knew there would be a republican sweep. We knew Rick personally because he is the uncle of a good (dem) friend of ours and he had helped us re-write our operating agreement a few years back when the brewpub was struggling to survive.

    So when he contacted us to tell us he was considering running, we did our due diligence. We met with Rick and asked a lot of questions and in the end thought that helping him win the Republican primary was our best chance of avoiding disaster in the general. We didn’t even vote in the republican primary because we had too many friends running in the democratic primary. And of course, we didn’t sneak around and try to pretend that we weren’t supporting Rick. We were completely public about our choice and our reasons.

    Are we thrilled with how things have turned out? No. But we made our best judgment with the information we had, and I still believe that any of the other Republicans would have been MUCH worse and trust me – a republican was going to win that election.

    And I have to say I think it’s pretty shitty to compare us to Walmart because of one questionable decision after 21 years of living in this community and not only supporting, but putting ourselves out there and fighting for democrats and progressive causes.

    Since Corner opened in 2006, we have contributed to hundreds of local non-profits and hosted fundraisers for democrats running for everything from the local school board to the US Senate. We currently employ 25 people – most of whom are within walking distance and since opening, have partnered with local non-profits to provide employment opportunities and training to people recovering from addiction or struggling with mental health issues.

    We pay a living wage, promote from within, and strive to provide a positive work environment for our staff. We put a lot of time and effort in finding and purchasing local ingredients, goods, and services. And we are getting ready to undertake a green energy renovation with geo-thermal, solar-thermal, and photo-voltaic. We donate our space, our beer, our food, and our time to support organizations and non-profits that improve the quality of life in our community (like the Shadow Art Fair).

    As one of our favorite staff-members liked to say “we work our asses off motherf@!#er” and I think your damnation of us is unfair. Fortunately for us, most of the people in this community know us well enough not to have judged us too harshly and continue to support us both personally and professionally (even if they do still give us a lot of grief).

  8. Kerri
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Well said, Rene. My guess is that people who are making these comments are just not aware of all that you and Matt have done for Democrats throughout the county and the state, not to mention all of the good you do for causes in the community that aren’t related to politics.

    If Matt and Rene are not business owners who embody the spirit of Shadow Art Fair, I don’t know who is!

  9. Bob
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    It’s still America and you’re certainly free to vote for, or support any candidate you like. I didn’t compare you to Wal-mart exactly, just pointed out the irony of us always slamming giant corporations and their politics when the same thing happens on a small, local level. My only reason for bringing it to anyone’s attention is that again, I find much irony in an “alternative arts festival” being held at a business that was the largest local contributor to a guy looking to: slash funding for everyone not associated with large corporations, break unions, employ financial Marshall law, etc. People will likely jam the art fair and your brewery as usual. I don’t really follow the logic of the rest of your argument. Supporting both sides of the aisle, regardless of the opposing positions of the candidates, doesn’t make sense to me. It’s certainly your right. I don’t know you personally and don’t have the right to question your motives in general. But certainly some of that work involved putting people on bar stools? It wasn’t all charity, I assume?
    I do not understand why anyone in this state was so easily duped by Snyder, or why Bernaro has been so vilified. What was lame was his lack of support and not having millions of dollars in venture capitol profits to draw on. Snyder got elected with virtually no experience and a flat refusal to say what he stood for or would do as Gov.

  10. Rene Greff
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    One more thing Bob – Corner Brewery didn’t support Rick Snyder, Matt and Rene did. And if it makes you feel any better, since we opened in 2006 we have not taken a dime home from the business. We have put every penny back into growing the business, hiring more staff, increasing wages, and supporting non-profits.

  11. Posted May 4, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Permalink


    You played for both teams in the last election. Lots of people do that. However, the one team you played for is doing some pretty shitty things to poor people, gay people and Democracy in our state. I’m not saying your businesses should be boycotted, but I am saying you could have backed Snyder without giving him $4,000. So, until Snyder’s out of office, you can do without my money. I forgive you your mistake. I just need a bit of time to get over it. In the end, of course, my beer money to you is just like your $4,000 to Rick Snyder. It’s a pittance, but symbolically very meaningful in a multitude of ways.

  12. Bob
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Look, I want to be clear. I don’t have a personal axe to grind or a beef with the brewery, I don’t know you. I have been a customer since the beginning, brought people from metro Detroit to CB, had work meetings there, holiday gatherings, helped hump equipment and work sound for bands and fundraisers, bought Arbor beer almost exclusively from our local grocery store, and go out of my way to buy it from restaurants around the state whenever possible. I go out of my way to buy local, support local, avoid chains, and generally patronize my small town business owners. I guess that’s why I was so surprised and bummed by the information in the web article. It mattered more than if it were some faceless corporate entity.
    I truly did not intend to ask you to drag your personal finances out for public scrutiny. I’m honestly puzzled that anyone supporting a growing business would be in a position to make extensive personal contributions to any candidate, but I don’t know your position. Again, it’s your money and your business who you support. But since it’s all being put out there, I don’t really understand how you could possibly cite your efforts supporting causes like Planned Parenthood, then support Snyder. It’s really opposing positions. Important ones at that.

    If the article is correct, it wasn’t just making a bad choice in the voting booth, but multiple donations…the most in all of Ypsilanti. Kerri’s point about me not knowing all the donations you’ve made to Democrats over the years doesn’t mean much when all that good work gets wiped away by helping put this guy in charge of the state. Your point about it not being support from the Corner, but from you and your husband, is silly. You and the business are linked, no matter how you divide the pie. I really didn’t intend to spend this much time thinking about it. I’m not saying you are bad people or spearheading a boycott of your business. I’m not saying I’ll never buy another one of your beers, though it will honestly make me think twice. I promise to shut up about it now

  13. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    now ypsi has to circle the wagons and help each of us…the brewery makes excellent beer, right here in the hood…we all have to forget the party and help Ypsilanti…regardless of party…

  14. LaidOffTeacherPatti
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Yup, agree with wetdolphinmissile. My entire livelihood is at stake because of the law that this asshole passed. My contract and salary and everything else is up for grabs on May 17th. Nevertheless, I am not boycotting or speaking against the Greffs/Corner and I will not do that unless and until they host the We Hate Patti party. I’m sure there is a rather sizeable audience for that :), and that’s what about it would take (not that they would do that!). Getting upset at the CB for a $4,000 donation is up to you…you can do what you want. But let’s focus on bigger things like Dickity-Dick himself, teabaggers, whatever. Turning against the local community reminds me of when we girls turn on each other over some guy or something…I know that’s not a good analogy but I’m tired and I just don’t think we should turn on ourselves…we’re all in this together (except boy o boy and them).
    And further, I don’t think ANYONE knew what this turd was up to. I was happy when he got the nomination b/c I was so scared of Bouchard and Cox and them. Who knew he’s do this to us? (Well, I guess some folks knew but I sure didn’t).

  15. Boy O Boy
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    I could not be more outraged at “Rene Greffs” “support” of Rick Snyder. It is a perfect illustration of how far “liberals” will go to undermine and destroy the Will of the People. Mr. Snyder is making SMALL steps in the RIGHT direction. This election RIGHTLY belonged to the PEOPLE. Instead of a true champion for Citizen RIGHTS we get Snyder. That is small consolation when this “election” was RIGHTLY ours. The moral “CRIME” is that Snyder was elected through big moneyed liberal subterfuge. I will not enter any establishment owned by these fakers until they WAKE UP and decide to support a REAL candidate for Revolutionary change.

  16. Alex
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Pardon, but I’m going to bring things a little bit back in the direction of the topic of this blog post.

    Bob – I’m not sure there’s much point in me posting since you’ve promised to shut up about it, and I do agree that might be best since you’re shedding more heat than light here (But really, you have no choice since you self-admittedly don’t really know Matt and Rene that well.) But for the benefit of those continuing the conversation I’ll add my piece.

    You say your only reason for bringing the Greff’s support of Snyder to anyone’s attention is because you find irony in the situation. I’m not sure where irony figures in to the process of identifying an appropriate location for the SAF, but I’m pretty sure the selection process wasn’t random either (admittedly, I’m not privy to the process). While you suggest that Corner
    Brewery may not be the most appropriate host, you make no suggestion for how the SAF might go about identifying a more ‘appropriate’ host. Perhaps it’s because a vetting process would likely lead right back to Corner Brewery as an appropriate location, due, in part to their track record as decent citizens. How can track record NOT mean something? Of course it’s important – you even say as much yourself in your opinion of Snyder – he has “…virtually no experience”, and perhaps you didn’t vote for Snyder because you didn’t look favorably on his ‘track record’ in his business dealings.

    You suggest that Matt and Rene voting for Snyder wipes away all other good work they’ve done. The only way you’d be qualified to make that statement is if all the individuals and organizations that have benefitted from Matt and Rene’s support tell so much; Your (and anyone else’s) opinion is irrelevant. Can the SAF say that Corner’s support in the past is now undone?

  17. dragon
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    On January 21, 1940, her maid discovered Patti’s body in her bedroom; she had committed suicide, shooting herself in the head with a small pistol. She left a suicide note which read: “My four kidnappers are probably the four people on earth who don’t consider me an utter fool. You have your death penalty now – so – please – give them a chance. Patti.

  18. LaidOffTeacherPatti
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Dragon, if you want to call me a fool, man/woman up and have the balls to do so. And if you have to resort to ad hominem attacks, I pity you. Learn to debate me, not call me names.

  19. Steph
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Bob that we should pay attention to not only a business’ words, but also their deeds. Walmart, and other corporations, invest heavily and consistently in lawmakers who will cater to their narrow profit-driven self interest.

    And, in all of their words and deeds, Matt & Rene invest in their community, they invest in their values of equality and justice, and they invest in the enlightened self-interest of building a stronger Michigan for everyone. They have the courage to take risks and often put themselves in difficult situations when the rest of us would be too afraid to make a stand.

    The last election was such a circumstance. After making the hard calculation that no Democratic candidate would win the governorship, they decided to support the Republican who would do the least damage to the people and values they care about. That was a risk (as this kind of public backlash shows) but they had the courage to do what they felt was right. Now that we all see how Snyder is acting, let’s not play Monday morning quarterback. It was their decision and at least they were in the game and working hard for what they believe in.

    My request of Bob, and A2Politico, and others, is to be thoughtful. Don’t just rush to judge people – people who you don’t know, with a whole history and value system you don’t know, and a decision-making logic that you yourself admit you don’t understand. That’s how we end up in these silly partisan camps. We don’t do the hard work to see each other as complete, complicated, human beings. Let’s treat each other with a little more dignity and respect and then maybe, we can build a government that does the same.

  20. kjc
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    As my coworker and I were just discussing, Matt and Rene acted like stupid liberals, not like true progressives. We can’t stop going to all the places owned by stupid liberals. As the liberals would tell us, “It’s just not realistic.”

  21. Bob
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Steph: I think every one of my posts was thoughtful. I never said I didn’t understand the issue, my only qualification was to give people some benefit of the doubt on their own end. I certainly don’t think I rushed to judge anyone. I merely thought the information in the article was interesting and worth a conversation. I have no link to the authors and no personal ill will to any of the parties. And I think I treated anyone I addressed with respect, even if you don’t agree with what I said. I can’t feel responsible for the crazies, even if I pushed the topic.

    Alex: Again, I never advocated boycotting the Corner or even suggested moving the Shadow to another location. You are kind of putting words in my mouth. My comment about all of the “good works being wiped away” could have been articulated better. The good things they did are not worthless. I simply meant that all the liberal, progressive contributions and canvassing in the world can swiftly be undone by the election of a guy like Snyder, or Walker in Wisconsin. They can do more damage in a week than most grassroots can in a year. I will never understand supporting Planned Parenthood types causes and candidates and then contributing a huge chunk of money to a guy with a radical opposition agenda. I’m growing mighty tired of the lame “wolf in sheeps clothing” line on Snyder. It was pretty clear which way he was gonna go, even if he kept it quiet prior to the election.

  22. Matt Greff
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Thank you all for weighing in on this topic. Corner Brewery DID NOT contribute to Rick Snyder’s campaign. It was a personal donation. Also, here’s something more fun ” Measure mark layout…getting the jobsite at the corner brewery in Ypsilanti ready for the near net-zero beer storage addition. Geothermal, earth tubes, radiant in slab heating and cooling. Doing something nice for our Mother (Earth) for mothers day.”

  23. Kim
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    I appreciate your comments, Bob, and I don’t see them as being anything but serious and thoughtful. Furthermore, I agree that we must always be vigilant because, as you say, decades of good progressive work can be undone in a heartbeat. With that said, however, I didn’t think that Rick would be this aggressive. I thought, as the Greffs apparently did, that he’d be a whole lot better than his Republican opponents. And I didn’t think the Democrats had a shot. (That’s why Cherry dropped out.) Now, I think that I was wrong. I think that Rick is more clever than Cox. And I think he did a damned good job of telling people what they wanted to hear. Now, it seems, a lot of people are coming forward, saying that they knew all along how Rick would govern. I don’t buy it. No one that I knew thought that Rick would raise taxes on the poor to pay for corporate give aways. He did not run on that. He did not mention that. I feel sorry for the Greffs that they’re the ones confronting this wave of hostility. It reminds me of the people protesting in front of the Peoples Food Coop calling them Nazis because they sell rice from Israel. If you’re serious about standing up to Rick, the way to do that isn’t by attacking people who could be your partners.

  24. Posted May 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    What Steph said.

  25. Brandon
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    A2politico and Pat Lesco is a little too sanctimonious.

    This state is in serious trouble. You may disagree with Rick Synder, but can we leave the overheated rhetoric at home?

    The guy may not be making all the moves you’d like to see him make, but at least he’s making some moves. Like education reform. A tax on pension income. My, that might be called progressive. An end to spending giveaways for hollywood.

    I’m glad the Greffs use their own money to support whomever they want. I may disagree, but I admire their involvement in the community and willingess to support political action.

    You may disagree with them, but they’ve certainly thought through their choices, which is much more than most people.

    I’d raise a glass to them.

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